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THE LIBRARY 

of 

VICTORIA UNIVERSITY 
Toronto 



Illustrated Sterling edition 



THE PARISIANS 



BY 



EDWARD BULWER LYTTON 




BOSTON 
DANA ESTES & COMPANY 

PUBLISHERS 



PR 



V. II 



PREFATORY NOTE. 

(BY THE AUTHOR'S SON.) 



" The Parisians " and " Kenelm Chillingly " were begun 
about the same time, and had their common origin in the 
same central idea. That idea first found fantas.tic expres- 
sion in " The Coming Race ; " and the three books, taken 
together, constitute a special group, distinctly apart from 
all the other works of their author. 

The satire of his earlier novels is a protest against false 
social respectabilities ; the humour of his later ones is a 
protest against the disrespect of social realities. By the 
first he sought to promote social sincerity and the free play 
of personal character; by the last, to encourage mutual 
charity and sympathy amongst all classes, on whose inter- 
relation depends the character of society itself. But in 
these three books, his latest fictions, the moral purpose is 
more definite and exclusive. Each of them is an expostu- 
lation against what seemed to him the perilous popularity 
of certain social and political theories, or a warning against 
the influence of certain intellectual tendencies upon indi- 
vidual character and national life. This purpose, however, 
though common to the three fictions, is worked out in each 
of them by a different method. " The Coming Race " is a 
work of pure fancy, and the satire of it is vague and spor- 
tive. The outlines of a definite purpose are more distinctly 



VI PREFATORY NOTE. 

drawn in " Chillingly," a romance which has the source 
of its effect in a highly wrought imagination. The humour 
and pathos of " Chillingly " are of a kind incompatible 
with the design of " The Parisians," which is a work of 
dramatized observation. " Chillingly " is a romance ; " The 
Parisians " is a novel. The subject of " Chillingly " is 
psychological; that of "The Parisians" is social. The 
author's object in " Chillingly " being to illustrate the 
effects of " modern ideas " upon an individual character, 
he has confined his narrative to the biography of that one 
character ; hence the simplicity of plot and small number 
of dramatis personce, whereby the work gains in height and 
depth what it loses in breadth of surface. " The Parisians," 
on the contrary, is designed to illustrate the effect of 
" modern ideas " upon a whole community. This novel is 
therefore panoramic in the profusion and variety of figures 
presented by it to the reader's imagination. No exclusive 
prominence is vouchsafed to any of these figures. All of 
them are, drawn and coloured with an equal care, but by 
means of the bold, broad touches necessary for their effec- 
tive presentation on a canvas so large and so crowded. 
Such figures are, indeed, but the component features of 
one great form, and their actions only so many modes of 
one collective impersonal character, that of the Parisian 
Society of Imperial and Democratic France ; a character 
everywhere present and busy throughout the story, of 
which it is the real hero or heroine. This society was 
doubtless selected for characteristic illustration as being 
the most advanced in the progress of " modern ideas." 
Thus, for a complete perception of its writer's fundamental 
purpose, " The Parisians " should be read in connection with 
" Chillingly," and these two books in connection with 
" The Coming Race." It will then be perceived that 
through the medium of alternate fancy, sentiment, and 



PREFATORY NOTE. vii 

observation, assisted by humour and passion, these three 
books (in all other respects so different from each other) 
complete the presentation of the same purpose under 
different aspects, and thereby constitute a group of fictions 
which claims a separate place of its own in any thoughtful 
classification of their author's works. 

One last word to those who will miss from these pages 
the connecting and completing touches of the master's 
hand. It may be hoped that such a disadvantage, though 
irreparable, is somewhat mitigated by the essential char- 
acter of the work itself. The aesthetic merit of this kind 
of novel is in the vivacity of a general effect produced by 
large, swift strokes of character ; and in such strokes, if 
they be by a great artist, force and freedom of style must 
still be apparent, even when they are left rough and un- 
finished. Nor can any lack of final verbal correction much 
diminish the intellectual value which many of the more 
thoughtful passages of the present work derive from a 
long, keen, and practical study of political phenomena, 
guided by personal experience of public life, and enlight- 
ened by a large, instinctive knowledge of the human 
heart. 

Such a belief is, at least, encouraged by the private com- 
munications spontaneously made to him who expresses it, 
by persons of political experience and social position in 
France, who have acknowledged the general accuracy of 
the author's descriptions, and noticed the suggestive saga- 
city and penetration of his occasional comments on the 
circumstances and sentiments he describes. 

L. 



INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER. 



THEY who chance to have read the " Coming Race " may 
perhaps remember that I, the adventurous discoverer of the 
land without a sun, concluded the sketch of my adventures by 
a brief reference to the malady which, though giving no per- 
ceptible notice of its encroachments, might, in the opinion of 
my medical attendant, prove suddenly fatal. 

I had brought my little book to this somewhat melancholy 
close a few years before the date of its publication, and in the 
meanwhile I was induced to transfer my residence to Paris, 
in order to place myself under the care of an English physi- 
cian, renowned for his successful treatment of complaints 
analogous to my own. 

I was the more readily persuaded to undertake this jour- 
ney, partly because I enjoyed a familiar acquaintance with 
the eminent physician referred to, who had commenced his 
career and founded his reputation in the United States ; partly 
because I had become a solitary man, the ties of home broken, 
and dear friends of mine were domiciled in Paris, with whom 
I should be sure of tender sympathy and cheerful companion- 
ship. I had reason to be thankful for this change of resi- 
dence: the skill of Dr. C soon restored me to health. 

Brought much into contact with various circles of Parisian 
society, I became acquainted with the persons and a witness 
of the events that form the substance of the tale I am about 
to submit to the public, which has treated my former book 
with so generous an indulgence. Sensitively tenacious of 
that character for strict and unalloyed veracity which, I 
natter myself, my account of the abodes and manners of the 
Vril-ya has established, I could have wished to preserve the 



THE PARISIANS. 



BOOK I. 



CHAPTER I. 



IT was a bright day in the early spring of 1869. All Paris 
seemed to have turned out to enjoy itself. The Tuileries, 
the Champs Elysees, the Bois de Boulogne, swarmed with 
idlers. A stranger might have wondered where Toil was at 
work, and in what nook Poverty lurked concealed. A mil- 
lionnaire from the London Exchange, as he looked round on 
the magasins, the equipages, the dresses of the women; as 
he inquired the prices in the shops and the rent of apart- 
ments, might have asked himself, in envious wonder, How 
on earth do those gay Parisians live? What is their fortune? 
Where does it come from? 

As the day declined, many of the scattered loungers crowded 
into the Boulevards ; the cafes and restaurants began to light 
up. 

About this time a young man, who might be some five or 
six and twenty, was walking along the Boulevard des Italiens, 
heeding little the throng through which he glided his solitary 
way : there was that in his aspect and bearing which caught 
attention. He looked a somebody; but though unmistakably 
a Frenchman, not a Parisian. His dress was not in the pre- 
vailing mode : to a practised eye it betrayed the taste and the 
cut of a provincial tailor. His gait was not that of the Pari- 
sian, less lounging, more stately; and, unlike the Parisian, 
he seemed indifferent to the gaze of others. 

I 



2 THE PARISIANS. 

Nevertheless there was about him that air of dignity or dis- 
tinction which those who are reared from their cradle in the 
pride of birth acquire so unconsciously that it seems heredi- 
tary and inborn. It must also be confessed that the young 
man himself was endowed with a considerable share of that 
nobility which Nature capriciously distributes among her fa- 
vourites with little respect for their pedigree and blazon, 
the nobility of form and face. He was tall and well shaped, 
with graceful length of limb and fall of shoulders ; his face 
was handsome, of the purest type of French masculine beauty, 
the nose inclined to be aquiline, and delicately thin, with 
finely -cut open nostrils; the complexion clear, the eyes 
large, of a light hazel, with dark lashes, the hair of a chest- 
nut brown, with no tint of auburn, the beard and mustache 
a shade darker, clipped short, not disguising the outline of 
lips, which were now compressed, as if smiles had of late 
been unfamiliar to them ; yet such compression did not seem 
in harmony with the physiognomical character of their for- 
mation, which was that assigned by Lavater to temperaments 
easily moved to gayety and pleasure. 

Another man, about his own age, coming quickly out of 
one of the streets of the Chausee d'Antin, brushed close by 
the stately pedestrian above described, caught sight of his 
countenance, stopped short, and exclaimed, " Alain ! " The 
person thus abruptly accosted turned his eye tranquilly on 
the eager face, of which all the lower part was enveloped in 
black beard; and slightly lifting his hat, with a gesture of 
the head that implied, "Sir, you are mistaken; I have not 
the honour to know you, " continued his slow indifferent way. 
The would-be acquaintance was not so easily rebuffed. 
"Peste," he said, between his teeth, "I am certainly right. 
He is not much altered : of course / am ; ten years of Paris 
would improve an orang-outang." Quickening his step, and 
regaining the side of the man he had called " Alain, " he said, 
with a well-bred mixture of boldness and courtesy in his tone 
and countenance, 

" Ten thousand pardons if I am wrong. But surely I accost 
Alain de Kerouec, son of the Marquis de Rochebriant." 



THE PARISIANS. 8 

"True, sir; but " 

"But you do not remember me, your old college friend, 
Frederic Lemercier?" 

"Is it possible?" cried Alain, cordially, and with an ani- 
mation which changed the whole character of his countenance. 
" My dear Frederic, my dear friend, this is indeed good for- 
iune! So you, too, are at Paris?" 

"Of course; and you? Just come, I perceive," he added, 
somewhat satirically, as, linking his arm in his new-found 
friend's, he glanced at the cut of that friend's coat-collar. 

" I have been here a fortnight, " replied Alain. 

"Hem! I suppose you lodge in the old Hotel de Roche- 
briant. I passed it yesterday, admiring its vast/apaefe, little 
thinking you were its inmate." 

"Neither am I; the hotel does not belong to me; it was 
sold some years ago by my father." 

" Indeed ! I hope your father got a good price for it ; those 
grand hotels have trebled their value within the last five 
years. And how is your father? Still the same polished 
grand seigneur ? I never saw him but once, you know ; and I 
shall never forget his smile, style grand monarque, when he 
patted me on the head and tipped me ten napoleons." 

"My father is no more," said Alain, gravely; "he has been 
dead nearly three years." 

" del ! forgive me ; I am greatly shocked. Hem ! so you 
are now the Marquis de Rochebriant, a great historical name, 
worth a large sum in the market. Few such names left. 
Superb place your old chateau, is it not?" 

" A superb place, no a venerable ruin, yes ! " 

" Ah, a ruin ! so much the better. All the bankers are mad 
after ruins : so charming an amusement to restore them. You 
will restore yours, without doubt. I will introduce you to 
such an architect! has the moyen age at his fingers' ends. 
Dear, but a genius." 

. The young Marquis smiled, for since he had found a col- 
lege friend, his face showed that it could smile, smiled, but 
not cheerfully, and answered, 

"I have no intention to restore Rochebriant. The walls 



4 THE PARISIANS. 

are solid : they have weathered the storms of six centuries -, 
they will last my time, and with me the race perishes." 

"Bah! the race perish, indeed! you will marry. Parlez- 
moi de ya : you could not come to a better man. I have a list 
of all the heiresses at Paris, bound in russia leather. You 
may take your choice out of twenty. Ah, if I were but a 
Rochebriant! It is an infernal thing to come into the world 
a Lemercier. I am a democrat, of course. A Lemercier 
would be in a false position if he were not. But if any one 
would leave me twenty acres of land, with some antique right 
to the De and a title, faith, would not I be an aristocrat, and 
stand up for my order? But now we have met, pray let us 
dine together. Ah ! no doubt you are engaged every day for 
a month. A Rochebriant just new to Paris must be fet6 by 
all the Faubourg." 

"No," answered Alain, simply, "I am not engaged; my 
range of acquaintance is more circumscribed than you 
suppose." 

" So much the better for me. I am luckily disengaged to- 
day, which is not often the case, for I am in some request in 
my own set, though it is not that of the Faubourg. Where 
shall we dine? at the Trois Freres?" 

" Wherever you please. I know no restaurant at Paris, ex- 
cept a very ignoble one, close by my lodging." 

"Apropos, where do you lodge?" 

"Rue de 1' University, Numero ." 

" A fine street, but triste. If you have no longer your fam- 
ily h6tel, you have no excuse to linger in that museum of 
mummies, the Faubourg St. Germain; you must go into one 
of the new quarters by the Champs Elyse"es. Leave it to me ; 
I '11 find you a charming apartment. I know one to be had a 
bargain, a bagatelle, five hundred naps a-year. Cost you 
about two or three thousand more to furnish tolerably, not 
showily. Leave all to me. In three days you shall be set- 
tled. A propos ! horses ! You must have English ones. 
How many ? three for the saddle, two for your coupe ? 
I '11 find them for you. I will write to London to-morrow. 
liese [Rice] is your man." 



THE PARISIANS. 6 

Spare yourself that trouble, my dear Frederic. I keep 
no horses and no coupe. I shall not change my apartment." 
As he said this, Rochebriant drew himself up somewhat 
haughtily. 

"Faith," thought Lemercier, "is it possible that the Mar- 
quis is poor? No. I have always heard that the Roche- 
briants were among the greatest proprietors in Bretagne. 
Most likely, with all his innocence of the Faubourg St. Ger- 
main, he knows enough of it to be aware that I, Frederic 
Lemercier, am not the man to patronize one of its greatest 
nobles. Sacre bleu! if I thought that; if he meant to give 
himself airs to me, his old college friend, I would I 
would call him out." 

Just as M. Lemercier had come to that bellicose resolution, 
the Marquis said, with a smile which, though frank, was not 
without a certain grave melancholy in its expression, "My 
dear Frederic, pardon me if ,1 seem to receive your friendly 
offers ungraciously. But I believe that I have reasons you 
will approve for leading at Paris a life which you certainly 
will not envy ; " then, evidently desirous to change the sub- 
ject, he said in a livelier tone, " But what a marvellous city 
this Paris of ours is ! Remember I had never seen it before : 
it burst on me like a city in the Arabian Nights two weeks 
ago. And that which strikes me most I s#y it with regret 
and a pang of conscience is certainly not the Paris of former 
times, but that Paris which M. Buonaparte I beg pardon, 
which the Emperor has called up around him, and identi- 
fied forever with his reign. It is what is new in Paris that 
strikes and enthrals me. Here I see the life of France, and 
I belong to her tombs ! " 

"I don't quite understand you," said Lemercier. "If you 
think that because your father and grandfather were Legiti- 
mists, you have not the fair field of living ambition open to 
you under the Empire, you never were more mistaken. 
Moyen dye, and even rococo, are all the rage. You have no 
idea how valuable your name would be either at the Imperial 
Court or in a Commercial Company. But with your fortune 
you are independent of all but fashion and the Jockey Club 



6 THE PARISIANS. 

And a propos of that, pardon me, what villain made your 
coat? let me know; I will denounce him to the police." 

Half amused, half amazed, Alain Marquis de Rochebriant 
looked at Frederic Lemercier much as a good-tempered lion 
may look upon a lively poodle who takes a liberty with his 
mane, and after a pause he replied curtly, "The clothes I 
wear at Paris were made in Bretagne; and if the name of 
Rochebriant be of any value at all in Paris, which I doubt, 
let me trust that it will make me acknowledged as gentil- 
homme, whatever my taste in a coat or whatever the doctrines 
of a club composed of jockeys." 

" Ha, ha ! " cried Lemercier, freeing himself from the arm 
of his friend, and laughing the more irresistibly as he encoun- 
tered the grave look of the Marquis. "Pardon me, I can't 
help it, the Jockey Club, composed of jockeys! it is too 
much! the best joke. My dear Alain, there is some of the 
best blood of Europe in the Jockey Club; they would exclude 
a plain bourgeois like me. But it is all the same : in one re- 
spect you are quite right. Walk in a blouse if you please : 
you are still Rochebriant; you would only be called eccentric. 
Alas ! I am obliged to send to London for my pantaloons : that 
comes of being a Lemercier. But here we are in the Palais 
Royal." 



CHAPTER H. 

THE salons of the Trois Freres were crowded ; our friends 
found a table with some little difficulty. Lemercier proposed 
a private cabinet, which, for some reason known to himself, 
the Marquis declined. 

Lemercier spontaneously and unrequested ordered the 
dinner and the wines. 

While waiting for their oysters, with which, when in sea- 
son, French bon-vivants usually commence their dinner, Le- 



THE PARISIANS. 7 

mercier looked round the salon with that air of inimitable, 
scrutinizing, superb impertinence which distinguishes the 
Parisian dandy. Some of the ladies returned his glance co- 
quettishly, for Lemercier was beau garyon ; others turned 
aside indignantly, and muttered something to the gentlemen 
dining with them. The said gentlemen, when old, shook 
their heads, and continued to eat unmoved; when young, 
turned briskly round, and looked at first fiercely at M. Le- 
mercier, but, encountering his eye through the glass which 
he had screwed into his socket, noticing the hardihood of his 
countenance and the squareness of his shoulders, even they 
turned back to the tables, shook their heads, and continued 
to eat unmoved, just like the old ones. 

"Ah! " cried Lemercier, suddenly, "here comes a man you 
should know, mon cher. He will tell you how to place your 
money, a rising man, a coming man, a future minister. 
Ah! bonjour, Duplessis, bon jour, 1 ' kissing his hand to a gen- 
tleman who had just entered and was looking about him for 
a seat. He was evidently well and favourably known at the 
Trois Freres. The waiters had flocked round him, and were 
pointing to a table by the window, which a saturnine English- 
man, who had dined off a beefsteak and potatoes, was about 
to vacate. 

M. Duplessis, having first assured himself, like a prudent 
man, that his table was secure, having ordered his oysters, 
his chablis, and his potaye a la bisque, now paced calmly and 
slowly across the salon, and halted before Lemercier. 

Here let me pause for a moment, and give the reader a 
rapid sketch of the two Parisians. 

Frederic Lemercier is dressed, somewhat too showily, in 
the extreme of the prevalent fashion. He wears a superb pin 
in his cravat, a pin worth two thousand francs; he wears 
rings on his fingers, breloyites to his watch-chain. He has 
a warm though dark complexion, thick black eyebrows, full 
lips, a nose somewhat turned up, but not small, very fine 
large dark eyes, a bold, open, somewhat impertinent expres- 
sion of countenance; withal decidedly handsome, thanks to 
colouring, youth, and vivacity of regard. 



8 THE PARISIANS. 

Lucien Duplessis, bending over the table, glancing first 
with curiosity at the Marquis de Rochebriant, who leans his 
cheek on his hand and seems not to notice him, then concen- 
trating his attention on Frederic Lemercier, who sits square 
with his hands clasped, Lucien Duplessis is somewhere 
between forty and fifty, rather below the middle height, 
slender, but not slight, what in English phrase is called 
"wiry." He is dressed with extreme simplicity : black frock- 
coat buttoned up; black cravat worn higher than men who 
follow the fashions wear their neckcloths nowadays; a hawk's 
eye and a hawk's beak; hair of a dull brown, very short, and 
wholly without curl; his cheeks thin and smoothly shaven, 
but he wears a mustache and imperial, plagiarized from 
those of his sovereign, and, like all plagiarisms, carrying the 
borrowed beauty to extremes, so that the points of mustache 
and imperial, stiffened and sharpened by cosmetics which 
must have been composed of iron, looked like three long 
stings guarding lip and jaw from invasion; a pale olive- 
brown complexion; eyes small, deep-sunk, calm, piercing; 
his expression of face at first glance not striking, except for 
quiet immovability. Observed more heedfully, the expres- 
sion was keenly intellectual, determined about the lips, cal- 
culating about the brows : altogether the face of no ordinary 
man, and one not, perhaps, without fine and high qualities, 
concealed from the general gaze by habitual reservs, but jus- 
tifying the confidence of those whom he admitted into his 
intimacy. 

" Ah, mon cher, " said Lemercier, " you promised to call on 
me yesterday at two o'clock. I waited in for you half an 
hour; you never came." 

''No; I went first to the Bourse. The shares in that 
Company we spoke of have fallen; they will fall much 
lower: foolish to buy in yet; so the object of my calling 
on you was over. I took it for granted you would not 
wait if I failed my appointment. Do you go to the opera 
to-night?" 

"I think not; nothing worth going for: besides, I have 
found an old friend, to whom I consecrate this evening. Let 



THE PARISIANS. 9 

me introduce you to the Marquis de Rochebriant. Alain, M. 
Duplessis." 

The two gentlemen bowed. 

"I had the honour to be known to Monsieur your father," 
said Duplessis. 

"Indeed," returned Kochebriant. "He had not visited 
Paris for many years before he died." 

" It was in London I met him, at the house of the Russian 
Princess C ." 

The Marquis coloured high, inclined his head gravely, and 
made no reply. Here the waiter brought the oysters and the 
chablis, and Duplessis retired to his own table. 

"That is the most extraordinary man," said Frederic, as he 
squeezed the lemon over his oysters, "and very much to be 
admired." 

"How so? I see nothing at least to admire in his face," 
said the Marquis, with the bluntness of a provincial. 

"His face. Ah! you are a Legitimist, party prejudice. 
He dresses his face after the Emperor ; in itself a very clever 
face, surely." 

" Perhaps, but not an amiable one. He looks like a bird of 
prey." 

"All clever men are birds of prey. The eagles are the 
heroes, and the owls the sages. Duplessis is not an eagle nor 
an owl. I should rather call him a falcon, except that I 
would not attempt to hoodwink him." 

"Call him what you will," said the Marquis, indifferently; 
" M. Duplessis can be nothing to me." 

"I am not so sure of that," answered Frederic, somewhat 
nettled by the phlegm with which the Provincial regarded 
the pretensions of the Parisian. "Duplessis, I repeat it, is 
an extraordinary man. Though untitled, he descends from 
your old aristocracy; in fact, I believe, as his name shows, 
from the same stem as the Richelieus. His father was a 
great scholar, and I believe he has read much himself. Might 
have distinguished himself in literature or at the bar, but his 
parents died fearfully poor; and some distant relations in 
commerce took charge of him, and devoted his talents to the 



10 THE PARISIANS. 

Bourse. Seven years ago he lived in a single chamber, au 
quatrieme, near the Luxembourg. He has now a hotel, not 
large but charming, in the Champs Elysees, worth at least 
six hundred thousand francs. Nor has he made his own for- 
tune alone, but that of many others; some of birth as high as 
your own. He has the genius of riches, and knocks off a mil- 
lion as a poet does an ode, by the force of inspiration. He is 
hand-in-glove with the Ministers, and has been invited to 
Compiegne by the Emperor. You will find him very useful." 

Alain made a slight movement of incredulous dissent, and 
changed the conversation to reminiscences of old school-boy 
days. 

The dinner at length came to a close. Frederic rang for the 
bill, glanced over it. " Fifty -nine francs," said he, care- 
lessly flinging down his napoleon and a half. The Marquis 
silently drew forth his purse and extracted the same sum. 

When they were out of the restaurant, Frederic proposed 
adjourning to his own rooms. " I can promise you an excel- 
lent cigar, one of a box given to me by an invaluable young 
Spaniard attached to the Embassy here. Such cigars are not 
to be had at Paris for money, nor even for love ; seeing that 
women, however devoted and generous, never offer you any- 
thing better than a cigarette. Such cigars are only to be had 
for friendship. Friendship is a jewel." 

"I never smoke," answered the Marquis, "but I shall be 
charmed to come to your rooms; only don't let me encroach 
on your good-nature. Doubtless you have engagements for 
the evening." 

"None till eleven o'clock, when I have promised to go to a 
soirjse to which I do not offer to take you; for it is one of 
those Bohemian entertainments at which it would do you 
harm in the Faubourg to assist, at least until you have 
made good your position. Let me see, is not the Duchesse de 
Tarascon a relation of yours? " 

"Yes; my poor mother's first cousin." 

" I congratulate you. Tres grande dame. She will launch 
you in puro cado, as Juno might have launched one of her 
young peacocks." 



THE PARISIANS. 



11 



"There has been no acquaintance between our houses," re- 
turned the Marquis, dryly, "since the mesalliance of her 
second nuptials." 

"Mesalliance! second nuptials ! Her second husband was 
the Due de Tarascon." 

"A duke of the First Empire, the grandson of a butcher." 

"Diable! you are a severe genealogist, Monsieur le Mar- 
quis. How can you consent to walk arm-in-arm with me, 
whose great-grandfather supplied bread to the same army to 
which the Due de Tarascon's grandfather furnished the 
meat? " 

" My dear Frederic, we two have an equal pedigree, for our 
friendship dates from the same hour. I do not blame the 
Duchesse de Tarascon for marrying the grandson of a butcher, 
but for marrying the son of a man made duke by a usurper. 
She abandoned the faith of her house and the cause of her 
sovereign. Therefore her marriage is a blot on our scutcheon. " 

Frederic raised his eyebrows, but had the tact to pursue 
the subject no further. He who interferes in the quarrels of 
relations must pass through life without a friend. 

The young men now arrived at Lemercier's apartment, ail 
entresol looking on the Boulevard des Italiens, consisting of 
more rooms than a bachelor generally requires ; low-pitched, 
indeed, but of good dimensions, and decorated and furnished 
with a luxury which really astonished the provincial, though, 
with the high-bred pride of an oriental, he suppressed every 
sign of surprise. 

Florentine cabinets, freshly retouched by the' exquisite skill 
of Mombro; costly specimens of old Sevres and Limoges; 
pictures and bronzes and marble statuettes, all well chosen 
and of great price, reflected from mirrors in Venetian frames, 
made a coup d'wil very favourable to that respect which 
the human mind pays to the evidences of money. Nor was 
comfort less studied than splendour. Thick carpets covered 
the floors, doubled and quilted portie res excluded all draughts 
from chinks in the doors. Having allowed his friend a few 
minutes to contemplate and admire the salle a manger and 
(talon which constituted his more state apartments, Frederic 



12 THE PARISIANS. 

then conducted him into a small cabinet, fitted up with scar- 
let cloth and gold fringes, whereon were artistically arranged 
trophies of Eastern weapons and Turkish pipes with amber 
mouthpieces. 

There, placing the Marquis at ease on a divan and flinging 
himself on another, the Parisian exquisite ordered a valet, 
well dressed as himself, to bring coffee and liqueurs; and 
after vainly pressing one of his matchless cigars on his friend, 
indulged in his own Regalia. 

"They are ten years old," said Frederic, with a tone of 
compassion at Alain's self-inflicted loss, "ten years old. 
Born therefore about the year in which we two parted " 

"When you were so hastily summoned from college," said 
the Marquis, "by the news of your father's illness. We 
expected you back in vain. Have you been at Paris ever 
since?" 

"Ever since; my poor father died of that illness. Hia 
fortune proved much larger than was suspected: my share 
amounted to an income from investments in stocks, houses, 
etc., to upwards of sixty thousand francs a-year; and as I 
wanted six years to my majority of course the capital on 
attaining my majority would be increased by accumulation. 
My mother desired to keep me near her; my uncle, who was 
joint guardian with her, looked with disdain on our poor 
little provincial cottage ; so promising an heir should acquire 
his finishing education under masters at Paris. Long before 
I was of age, I was initiated into politer mysteries of our 
capital than those celebrated by Eugene Sue. When I took 
possession of my fortune five years ago, I was considered a 
Croesus ; and really for that patriarchal time I was wealthy. 
Now, alas! my accumulations have vanished in my outfit; 
and sixty thousand francs a-year is the least a Parisian can 
live upon. It is not only that all prices have fabulously in- 
creased, but that the dearer things become, the better people 
live. When I first came out, the world speculated upon me ; 
now, in order to keep my standing, I am forced to speculate 
on the world. Hitherto I have not lost; Duplessis let me 
into a few good things this year, worth one hundred thousand 



THE PARISIANS. 13 

francs or so. Croesus consulted the Delphic Oracle. Du. 
plessis was not alive in the time of Croesus, or Croesus would 
have consulted Duplessis." 

Here there was a ring at the outer door of the apartment, 
and in another minute the valet ushered in a gentleman some- 
where about the age of thirty, of prepossessing countenance, 
and with the indefinable air of good-breeding and usage du 
monde. Frederic started up to greet cordially the new-comer, 
and introduced him to the Marquis under the name of " Sare 
Grarm Varn." 

"Decidedly," said the visitor, as he took off his paletot and 
seated himself beside the Marquis, "decidedly, my dear 
Lemercier," said he, in very correct French, and with the 
true Parisian accent and intonation, "you Frenchmen merit 
that praise for polished ignorance of the language of barba- 
rians which a distinguished historian bestows on the ancient 
Romans. Permit me, Marquis, to submit to you the consid- 
eration whether Grarm Varn is a fair rendering of my name 
as truthfully printed on this card." 

The inscription on the card, thus drawn from its case and 
placed in Alain's hand, was 

MR. GRAHAM VANE, 

No. Rue d'Anjou. 

The Marquis gazed at it as he might on a hieroglyphic, and 
passed it on to Lemercier in discreet silence. 

That gentleman made another attempt at .the barbarian 
appellation. 

"'Grar ham Varne.' C'est go,! I triumph! all difficul- 
ties yield to French energy." 

Here the coffee and liqueurs were served; and after a 
short pause the Englishman, who had very quietly been ob- 
serving the silent Marquis, turned to him and said, "Mon- 
sieur le Marquis, I presume it was your father whom I 
remember as an acquaintance of my own father at Ems. It 
ia many years ago; I was but a child. The Count de Cham- 
bord was then at that enervating little spa for the benefit of 



14 THE PARISIANS. 

the Countess's health. If our friend Lemercier does not 
mangle your name as he does mine, I understand him to say 
that you are the Marquis de Roche briant." 

" That is my name : it pleases me to hear that my father 
was among those who flocked to Ems to do homage to the 
royal personage who deigns to assume the title of Count de 
Chambord." 

" My own ancestors clung to the descendants of James II. 
till their claims were buried in the grave of the last Stuart; 
and I honour the gallant men who, like your father, revere in 
an exile the heir to their ancient kings." 

The Englishman said this with grace and feeling; the 
Marquis's heart warmed to him at once. 

"The first loyal gentilhomme 1 have met at Paris," thought 
the Legitimist; "and, oh, shame! not a Frenchman !" 

Graham Vane, now stretching himself and accepting the 
cigar which Lemercier offered him, said to that gentleman: 
" You who know your Paris by heart everybody and every- 
thing therein worth the knowing, with many bodies and many 
things that are not worth it can you inform me who and 
what is a certain lady who every fine day may be seen walk- 
ing in a quiet spot at the outskirts of the Bois de Boulogne, 
not far from the Baron de Rothschild's villa? The said lady 
arrives at this selected spot in a dark-blue coupe without ar- 
morial bearings, punctually at the hour of three. She wears 
always the same dress, a kind of gray pearl-coloured silk, 
with a cachemire shawl. In age she may be somewhat about 
twenty a year or so more or less and has a face as haunt- 
ing as a Medusa's ; not, however, a face to turn a man into a 
stone, but rather of the two turn a stone into a man. A clear 
paleness, with a bloom like an alabaster lamp with the light 
flashing through. I borrow that illustration from Sare Scott, 
who applied it to Milor Bee-ron." 

" I have not seen the lady you describe, " answered Lemer- 
cier, feeling humiliated by the avowal; "in fact, I have not 
been in that sequestered part of the Bois for months; but I 
will go to-morrow: three o'clock you say, leave it to me; 
to-morrow evening, if she is a Pansienne, you shall know all 



THE PARISIANS. 



15 



about her. But, mon cher, you are not of a jealous tempera- 
ment to confide your discovery to another." 

"Yes, I am of a very jealous temperament," replied the 
Englishman ; " but jealousy conies after love, and not before 
it. I am not in love; I am only haunted. To-morrow even- 
ing, then, shall we dine at Philippe's, seven o'clock?" 

"With all my heart," said Lemercier; "and you too, 
Alain?" 

"Thank you, no," said the Marquis, briefly; and he rose, 
drew on his gloves, and took up his hat. 

At these signals of departure, the Englishman, who did not 
want tact nor delicacy, thought that he had made himself de 
trap in the tete-a-tete of two friends of the' same age and na- 
tion; and, catching up his paletot, said hastily, "No, Mar- 
quis, do not go yet, and leave our host in solitude ; for I have 
an engagement which presses, and only looked in at Lemer- 
cier's for a moment, seeing the light at his windows. Per- 
mit me to hope that our acquaintance will not drop, and 
inform me where I may have the honour to call on you." 

"Nay," said the Marquis; " I claim the right of a native to 
pay my respects first to the foreigner who visits our capital, 
and, " he added in a lower tone, " who speaks so nobly of those 
who revere its exiles." 

The Englishman saluted, and walked slowly towards the 
door; but on reaching the threshold turned back and made a 
sign to Lemercier, unperceived by Alain. 

Frederic understood the sign, and followed Graham Vane 
into the adjoining room, closing the door as he passed. 

" My dear Lemercier, of course I should not have intruded 
on you at this hour on a mere visit of ceremony. I called 
to say that the Mademoiselle Duval whose address you sent 
me is not the right one, not the lady whom, knowing your 
wide range of acquaintance, I asked you to aid me in finding 
out." 

"Not the right Duval? Diable! she answered your de- 
scription exactly. " 

"Not at all." 

"You said she was very pretty and young, under twenty.** 



16 THE PARISIANS. 

"You forgot that I said she deserved that description 
twenty-one years ago." 

"Ah, so you did; but some ladies are always young. 'Age, 
says a wit in the ' Figaro, ' ' is a river which the women com- 
pel to reascend to its source when it h^,s flowed onward more 
thau twenty years.' Nevermind: soyez tranquille ; I will 
find your Duval yet if she is to be found. But why could not 
the friend who commissioned you to inquire choose a name 
less common? Duval! every street in Paris has a shop-door 
over which is inscribed the name of Duval." 

"Quite true, there is the difficulty; however, my dear Le- 
mercier, pray continue to look out for a Louise Duval who 
was young and pretty twenty-one years ago : this search ought 
to interest me more than that which I entrusted to you to- 
night, respecting the pearly-robed lady; for in the last I hut 
gratify my own whim, in the first I discharge a promise to a 
friend. You, so perfect a Frenchman, know the difference; 
honour is engaged to the first. Be sure you let me know if 
you find any other Madame or Mademoiselle Duval ; and of 
course you remember your promise not to mention to any 
one the commission of inquiry you so kindly undertake. I 
congratulate you on your friendship for M. de Rochebriant. 
What a noble countenance and manner ! " 

Lemercier returned to the Marquis. "Such a pity you 
can't dine with us to-morrow. I fear you made but a poor 
dinner to-day. But it is always better to arrange the menu 
beforehand. I will send to Philippe's to-morrow. Do not 
be afraid." 

The Marquis paused a moment, and on his young face a 
proud struggle was visible. At last he said, bluntly and 
manfully, 

" My dear Frederic, your world and mine are not and can- 
not be the same. Why should I be ashamed to own to my 
old schoolfellow that I am poor, very poor; that the dinner 
I have shared with you to-day is to me a criminal extrava- 
gance? I lodge in a single chamber on the fourth story; I 
dine off a single plat at a small restaurateur's ,- the utmost, in- 
come I can allow to myself does not exceed five thousand francs 



THE PARISIANS. 



17 



a year ; my fortunes I cannot hope much to improve. In his 
own country Alain de Kochebriant has no career." 

Lemercier was so astonished by this confession that he re- 
mained for some moments silent, eyes and mouth both wide 
open ; at length he sprang up, embraced his friend well-nigh 
sobbing, and exclaimed, " Tant mieux pour moi ! You must 
take your lodging with me. I have a charming bedroom to 
spare. Don't say no. It will raise my own position to say 
'I and Eochebriant keep house together.' It must be so. 
Come here to-morrow. As for not having a career, bah! 
I and Duplessis will settle that. You shall be a millionnaire 
in two years. Meanwhile we will join capitals : I my paltry 
notes, you your grand name. Settled! " 

"My dear, dear Frederic," said the young noble, deeply 
affected, "on reflection you will see what you propose is im- 
possible. Poor I may be without dishonour; live at another 
man's cost I cannot do without baseness. It does not require 
to be gentilhomme to feel that : it is enough to be a French- 
man. Come and see me when you can spare the time. There 
is my address. You are the only man in Paris to whom I 
shall be at home. Au revoir." And breaking away from 
Lemercier's clasp, the Marquis hurried off. 



CHAPTER III. 

ALAIN reached the house in which he lodged. Externally 
a fine house, it had been the hotel of a great family in the old 
regime. On the first floor were still superb apartments, with 
ceilings painted by Le Brun, with walls on which the thick 
silks still seemed fresh. These rooms were occupied by a 
rich agent de change ; but, like all such ancient palaces, the 
upper stories were wretchedly defective even in the comforts 
which poor men demand nowadays : a back staircase, narrow, 
dirty, never lighted, dark as Erebus, led to the room occupied 

VOL. i. 3 



18 THE PARISIANS. 

by the Marquis, which might be naturally occupied by a 
needy student or a virtuous grisette. But there was to him a 
charm in that old hotel, and the richest locataire therein was 
not treated with a respect so ceremonious as that which at- 
tended the lodger on the fourth story. The porter and his 
wife were Bretons; they came from the village of Roche- 
briant; they had known Alain's parents in their young days; 
it was their kinsman who had recommended him to the hotel 
which they served : so, when he paused at the lodge for his 
key, which he had left there, the porter's wife was in waiting 
for his return, and insisted on lighting him upstairs and see- 
ing to his fire, for after a warm day the night had turned to 
that sharp biting cold which is more trying in Paris than 
even in London. 

The old woman, running up the stairs before him, opened 
the door of his room, and busied herself at the fire. " Gently, 
my good Marthe," said he, "that log suffices. I have been 
extravagant to-day, and must pinch for it." 

"M. le Marquis jests," said the old woman, laughing. 

"No, Marthe; I am serious. I have sinned, but I shall re- 
form. Entre noiis, my dear friend, Paris is very dear when 
one sets one's foot out of doors: I must soon go back to 
Rochebriant." 

"When M. le Marquis goes back to Rochebriant he must 
take with him a Madame la Marquise, some pretty angel 
with a suitable dot." 

"A dot suitable to the ruins of Rochebriant would not 
suffice to repair them, Marthe: give me my dressing-gown, 
and good-night." 

" Bon repos, M. le Marquis ! beaux reves, et bel aveuir. " 

"Bel avenir!" murmured the young man, bitterly, leaning 
his cheek on his hand ; " what fortune fairer than the present 
can be mine? yet inaction in youth is more keenly felt than 
in age. How lightly I should endure poverty if it brought 
poverty's ennobling companion, Labour, denied to me! 
Well, well; I must go back to the old rock: on this ocean 
there is no sail, not even an oar, for me." 

Alain de Rochebriant had not been reared to the expecta- 



THE PARISIANS. 



19 



kion of poverty. The only son of a father whose estates were 
large beyond those of most nobles in modern France, his des- 
tined heritage seemed not unsuitable to his illustrious birth. 
Educated at a provincial academy, he had been removed at 
the age of sixteen to Rochebriant, and lived there simply and 
lonelily enough, but still in a sort of feudal state, with an 
aunt, an elder and unmarried sister to his father. 

His father he never saw but twice after leaving college. 
That brilliant seigneur visited France but rarely, for very 
brief intervals, residing wholly abroad. To him went all the 
revenues of Rochebriant save what sufficed for the menage of 
his son and his sister. It was the cherished belief of these 
two loyal natures that the Marquis secretly devoted his for- 
tune to the cause of the Bourbons; how, they knew not, 
though they often amused themselves by conjecturing: and 
the young man, as he grew up, nursed the hope that he 
should soon hear that the descendant of Henri Quatre had 
crossed the frontier on a white charger and hoisted the old 
gonfalon with its fleur-de-lis. Then, indeed, his own career 
would be opened, and the sword of the Kerouecs drawn from 
its sheath. Day after day he expected to hear of revolts, of 
which his noble father was doubtless the soul. But the Mar- 
quis, though a sincere Legitimist, was by no means an enthu- 
siastic fanatic. He was simply a very proud, a very polished, 
a very luxurious, and, though not without the kindliness and 
generosity which were common attributes of the old French 
noblessey a very selfish grand seigneur. 

Losing his wife (who died the first year of marriage in giv- 
ing birth to Alain) while he was yet very young, he had 
lived a frank libertine life until he fell submissive under the 
despotic yoke of a Russian Princess, who, for some mysteri- 
ous reason, never visited her own country and obstinately re- 
fused to reside in France. She was fond of travel, and moved 
yearly from London to Naples, Naples to Vienna, Berlin, 
Madrid, Seville, Carlsbad, Baden-Baden, anywhere for ca- 
price or change, except Paris. This fair wanderer succeeded 
in chaining to herself the heart and the steps of the Marquia 
de Rochebriaut. 



20 THE PARISIANS. 

She was very rich; she lived semi-royalty. Hers \ras just 
the house in which it suited the Marquis to be the enfant 
gate. I suspect that, cat-like, his attachment was rather to 
the house than to the person of his mistress. Not that he 
was domiciled with the Princess ; that would have been some- 
what too much against the proprieties, greatly too much 
against the Marquis's notions of his own dignity. He had his 
own carriage, his own apartments, his own suite, as became 
so grand a seigneur and the lover of so grand a dame. His 
estates, mortgaged before he came to them, yielded no income 
sufficient for his wants ; he mortgaged deeper and deeper, year 
after year, till he could mortgage them no more. He sold his 
hotel at Paris; he accepted without scruple his sister's for- 
tune; he borrowed with equal sang froid the two hundred 
thousand francs which his son on coming of age inherited 
from his mother. Alain yielded that fortune to him without 
a murmur, nay, with pride; he thought it destined to go 
towards raising a regiment for the fleur-de-lis. 

To do the Marquis justice, he was fully persuaded that he 
should shortly restore to his sister and son what he so reck- 
lessly took from them. He was engaged to be married to his 
Princess so soon as her own husband died. She had been 
separated from the Prince for many years, and every year it 
was said he could not last a year longer. But he completed 
the measure of his conjugal iniquities by continuing to live; 
and one day, by mistake, Death robbed the lady of the Mar- 
quis instead of the Prince. 

This was an accident which the Marquis had never counted 
upon. He was still young enough to consider himself young ; 
in fact, one principal reason for keeping Alain secluded in 
Bretagne was his reluctance to introduce into the world a son 
" as old as myself " he would say pathetically. The news of 
his death, which happened at Baden after a short attack of 
bronchitis caught in a supper alfresco at the old castle, was 
duly transmitted to Rochebriant by the Princess; and the 
shock to Alain and his aunt was the greater because they had 
seen so little of the departed that they regarded him as a he- 
roic myth, an impersonation of ancient chivalry, condemning 



THE PARISIANS. 



21 



himself to voluntary exile rather than do homage to usurpers. 
But from their grief they were soon roused by the terrible 
doubt whether Kochebriant could still be retained in the fam- 
ily. Besides the mortgagees, creditors from half the capitals 
in Europe sent in their claims; and all the movable effects 
transmitted to Alain by his father's confidential Italian valet, 
except sundry carriages and horses which were sold at Baden 
for what they would fetch, were a magnificent dressing-case, 
in the secret drawer of which were some bank-notes amount- 
ing to thirty thousand francs, and three large boxes contain- 
ing the Marquis's correspondence, a few miniature female 
portraits, and a great many locks of hair. 

Wholly unprepared for the ruin that stared him in the 
face, the young Marquis evinced the natural strength of his 
character by the calmness with which he met the danger, and 
the intelligence with which he calculated and reduced it. 

By the help of the family notary in the neighbouring town, 
he made himself master of his liabilities and his means ; and 
he found that, after paying all debts and providing for the 
interest of the mortgages, a property which ought to have re- 
alized a rental of 10,000 a year yielded not more than 
400. Nor was even this margin safe, nor the property out 
of peril ; for the principal mortgagee, who was a capitalist in 
Paris named Louvier, having had during the life of the late 
Marquis more than once to wait for his half-yearly interest 
longer than suited his patience, and his patience was not 
enduring, plainly declared that if the same delay recurred 
he should put his right of seizure in force; and in France 
still more than in England, bad seasons seriously affect the 
security of rents. To pay away 9,600 a year regularly out 
of 10,000, with the penalty of forfeiting the whole if not 
paid, whether crops may fail, farmers procrastinate, and 
timber fall in price, is to live with the sword of Damocles 
over one's head. 

For two years and more, however, Alain met his difficulties 
with prudence and vigour; he retrenched the establishment 
hitherto kept at the chateau, resigned such rural pleasures 
as he had been accustomed to indulge, and lived like one of 



22 THE PARISIANS. 

his petty farmers. But the risks cf the future remained 
undiminished. 

"There is but one way, Monsieur le Marquis," said the 
family notary, M. Hubert, "by which you can put your estate 
in comparative safety. Your father raised his mortgages 
from time to time, as he wanted money, and often at interest 
above the average market interest. You may add considera- 
bly to your income by consolidating all these mortgages into 
one at a lower percentage, and in so doing pay off this for- 
midable mortgagee, M. Louvier, who, I shrewdly suspect, is 
bent upon becoming the proprietor of Rochebriant. Unfor- 
tunately those few portions of your land which were but 
lightly charged, and, lying contiguous to small proprietors, 
were coveted by them, and could be advantageously sold, are 
already gone to pay the debts of Monsieur the late Marquis. 
There are, however, two small farms which, bordering close 
on the town of S , I think I could dispose of for build- 
ing purposes at high rates; but these lands are covered by 
M. Louvier's general mortgage, and he has refused to re- 
lease them, unless the whole debt be paid. Were that debt 
therefore transferred to another mortgagee, we might stipu- 
late for their exception, and in so doing secure a sum of 
more than 100,000 francs, which you could keep in reserve 
for a pressing or unforeseen occasion, and make the nucleus 
of a capital devoted to the gradual liquidation of the charges 
on the estate. For with a little capital, Monsieur le Marquis, 
your rent-roll might be very greatly increased, the forests 

and orchards improved, those meadows round S drained 

and irrigated. Agriculture is beginning to be understood in 
Bretagne, and your estate would soon double its value in the 
hands of a spirited capitalist. My advice to you, therefore, 
is to go to Paris, employ a good avou6, practised in such 
branch of his profession, to negotiate the consolidation of 
your mortgages upon terms that will enable you to sell out- 
lying portions, and so pay off the charge by instalments 
agreed upon; to see if some safe company or rich individual 
can be found to undertake for a term of years the manage- 
ment of your forests, the draining of the S meadows, the 



THE PARISIANS. 28 

superintendence of your fisheries, etc. They, it is true, will 
monopolize the profits for many years, perhaps twenty; but 
you are a young man : at the end of that time you will re- 
enter on your estate with a rental so improved that the mort- 
gages, now so awful, will seem to you comparatively trivial." 
In pursuance of this advice, the young Marquis had come 
to Paris fortified with a letter from M. Hebert to an avou6 of 
eminence, and with many letters from his aunt to the nobles 
of the Faubourg connected with his house. Now one reason 
why M. Hebert had urged his client to undertake this im- 
portant business in person, rather than volunteer his own ser- 
vices in Paris, was somewhat extra-professional. He had a 
sincere and profound affection for Alain ; he felt compassion 
for that young life so barrenly wasted in seclusion and severe 
jrivations ; he respected, but was too practical a man of busi- 
ness to share, those chivalrous sentiments of loyalty to an 
exiled dynasty which disqualified the man for the age he 
lived in, and, if not greatly modified, would cut him off from 
le hopes and aspirations of his eager generation. He 
lought plausibly enough that the air of the grand metropolis 
necessary to the mental health, enfeebled and withering 
lidst the feudal mists of Bretagne ; that once in Paris, Alain 
rould imbibe the ideas of Paris, adapt himself to some career 
jading to honour and to fortune, for which he took facilities 
>m his high birth, an historical name too national for any 
ly nasty not to welcome among its adherents, and an intellect 
lot yet sharpened by contact and competition with others, 
jut in itself vigorous, habituated to thought, and vivified by 
the noble aspirations which belong to imaginative natures. 

At the least, Alain would be at Paris in the social position 
rhich would afford him the opportunities of a marriage, in 
rhich his birth and rank would be readily accepted as an 
juivalent to some ample fortune that would serve to redeem 
endangered sei^neuries. He therefore warned Alain that 
affair for which he went to Paris might be tedious, that 
iwyers were always slow, and advised him to calculate on 
smaining several months, perhaps a year; delicately suggest- 
ig that his rearing hitherto had been too secluded for hia 



24 THE PARISIANS. 

age and rank, and that a year at Paris, even if he failed in 
the object which took him there, would not be thrown away 
in the knowledge of men and things that would fit him better 
to grapple with his difficulties on his return. 

Alain divided his spare income between his aunt and him- 
self, and had come to Paris resolutely determined to live 
within the 200 a year which remained to his share. He 
felt the revolution in his whole being that commenced when 
out of sight of the petty principality in which he was the ob- 
ject of that feudal reverence, still surviving in the more un- 
frequented parts of Bretagne, for the representatives of 
illustrious names connected with the immemorial legends of 
the province. 

The very bustle of a railway, with its crowd and quickness 
and unceremonious democracy of travel, served to pain and 
confound and humiliate that sense of individual dignity in 
which he had been nurtured. He felt ihat, once away from 
Rochebriant, he was but a cipher in the sum of human beings. 
Arrived at Paris, and reaching the gloomy hotel to which he 
had been recommended, he greeted even the desolation of 
that solitude which is usually so oppressive to a stranger in 
the metropolis of his native land. Loneliness was better 
than the loss of self in the reek and pressure of an unfamiliar 
throng. For the first few days he had wandered over Paris 
without calling even on the avou& to whom M. Hebert had 
directed him. He felt with the instinctive acuteness of a 
mind which, under sounder training, would have achieved no 
mean distinction, that it was a safe precaution to imbue him- 
self with the atmosphere of the place, and seize on those gen- 
eral ideas which in great capitals are so contagious that they 
are often more accurately caught by the first impressions than 
by subsequent habit, before he brought his mind into colli- 
sion with those of the individuals he had practically to deal 
with. 

At last he repaired to the avou&, M. Gandrin, Eue St. Flor- 
entin. He had mechanically formed his idea of the abode 
and person of an avou& from his association with M. Hebert. 
He expected to find a dull house in a dull street near the cen* 



" 



THE PARISIANS. 25 

trc of business, remote from the haunts of idlers, and a grave 
man of unpretending exterior and matured years. 

He arrived at a hotel newly fronted, richly decorated, in 
the fashionable quartier close by the Tuileries. He entered a 
wide porte cochere, and was directed by the concierge to mount 
au premier. There, first detained in an office faultlessly neat, 
with spruce young men at smart desks, he was at length ad- 
mitted into a noble salon, and into the presence of a gentle- 
man lounging in an easy-chair before a magnificent bureau of 
marqueterie, genre Louis Seize, engaged in patting a white 
curly lapdog, with a pointed nose and a shrill bark. 

The gentleman rose politely on his entrance, and released 
the dog, who, after sniffing the Marquis, condescended not 
to bite. 

"Monsieur le Marquis," said M. Gandrin, glancing at the 
card and the introductory note from M. Hebert, which Alain 
had sent in, and which lay on the secretaire beside heaps of 
letters nicely arranged and labelled, "charmed to make the 
honour of your acquaintance; just arrived at Paris? So M. 
Hubert a very worthy person whom I have never seen, but 
with whom I have had correspondence tells me you wish 
for my advice; in fact, he wrote to me some days ago, men- 
tioning the business in question, consolidation of mortgages. 
A very large sum wanted, Monsieur le Marquis, and not to be 
had easily." 

"Nevertheless," said Alain, quietly, "I should imagine 
that there must be many capitalists in Paris willing to invest 
in good securities at fair interest." 

"You are mistaken, Marquis; very few such capitalists, 
n worth money nowadays like quick returns and large 
profits, thanks to the magnificent system of Credit Mobilier, 
in which, as you are aware, a man may place his money in 
any trade or speculation without liabilities beyond his share. 
Capitalists are nearly all traders or speculators." 

"Then," said the Marquis, half rising, "I am to presume, 
sir, that you are not likely to assist me." 

"No, I don't say that, Marquis. I will look with care into 
the matter. Doubtless you have with you an abstract of the 



26 THE PARISIANS. 

necessary documents, the conditions of the present mortgages, 
the rental of the estate, its probable prospects, and so forth." 

"Sir, I have such an abstract with me at Paris; and having 
gone into it myself with M. Hebert, I can pledge you my 
word that it is strictly faithful to the facts." 

The Marquis said this with naive simplicity, as if his word 
were quite sufficient to set that part of the question at rest. 

M. Gandrin smiled politely and said, "Eh bien, M. le Mar- 
quis: favour me with the abstract; in a week's time you shall 
have my opinion. You enjoy Paris? Greatly improved under 
the Emperor. A propos, Madame Gandrin receives to-morrow 
evening; allow me that opportunity to present you to her." 

Unprepared for the proffered hospitality, the Marquis had 
no option but to murmur his gratification and assent. 

In a minute more he was in the streets. The next evening 
he went to Madame Gandrin's, a brilliant reception, a 
whole moving flower-bed of "decorations" there. Having 
gone through the ceremony of presentation to Madame Gan- 
drin, a handsome woman dressed to perfection, and convers- 
ing with the secretary to an embassy, the young noble 
ensconced himself in an obscure and quiet corner, observing 
all and imagining that he escaped observation. And as the 
young men of his own years glided by him, or as their talk 
reached his ears, he became aware that from top to toe, 
within and without, he was old-fashioned, obsolete, not of 
his race, not of his day. His rank itself seemed to him a 
waste-paper title-deed to a heritage long lapsed. Not thus 
the princely seigneurs of Rochebriant made their debut at the 
capital of their nation. They had had the entree to the cab- 
inets of their kings ; they had glittered in the halls of Ver- 
sailles ; they had held high posts of distinction in court and 
camp ; the great Order of St. Louis had seemed their heredi- 
tary appanage. His father, though a voluntary exile in man- 
hood, had been in childhood a king's page, and throughout 
life remained the associate of princes; and here, in an avoue's 
soiree, unknown, unregarded, an expectant on an avoue's 
patronage, stood the last lord of Rochebriant. 

It is easy to conceive that Alain did not stay long. But h 



THE PARISIANS. 27 

stayed long enough to convince him that on 200 a year the 
polite society of Paris, even as seen at M. Gandrin's, was 
not for him. Nevertheless, a day or two after, he resolved 
to call upon the nearest of his kinsmen to whom his aunt had 
given him letters. With the Count de Vandemar, one of his 
fellow-nobles of the sacred Faubourg, he should be no less 
Rochebriant, whether in a garret or a palace. The Vande- 
mars, in fact, though for many generations before the First 
Revolution a puissant and brilliant family, had always recog- 
nized the Rochebriants as the head of their house, the 
trunk from which they had been slipped in the fifteenth 
century, when a younger son of the Rochebriants mar- 
ried a wealthy heiress and took the title with the lands 
of Vandemar. 

Since then the two families had often intermarried. The 
present count had a reputation for ability, was himself a large 
proprietor, and might furnish advice to guide Alain in his 
negotiations with M. Gandrin. The Hotel de Vandemar 
stood facing the old Hotel de Rochebriant; it was less spa- 
cious, but not less venerable, gloomy, and prison-like. 

As he turned his eyes from the armorial scutcheon which 
still rested, though chipped and mouldering, over the portals 
of his lost ancestral house, and was about to cross the street, 
two young men, who seemed two or three years older than 
himself, emerged on horseback from the Hotel de Vandemar. 

Handsome young men, with the lofty look of the old race, 
dressed with the punctilious care of person which is not fop- 
pery in men of birth, but seems part of the self-respect that 
appertains to the old chivalric point of honour. The horse 
of one of these cavaliers made a caracole which brought it 
nearly upon Alain as he was about to cross. The rider, 
checking his steed, lifted his hat to Alain and uttered a word 
of apology in the courtesy of ancient high-breeding, but still 
with condescension as to an inferior. This little incident, 
find the slighting kind of notice received from coevals of his 
own birth, and doubtless his own blood, for he divined truly 
that they were the sons of the Count de Vandemar, discon- 
certed Alain to a degree which perhaps a Frenchman alone 



28 THE PARISIANS. 

can comprehend. He had even half a mind to give up his 
visit and turn back. However, his native manhood prevailed 
over that morbid sensitiveness which, born out of the union 
of pride and poverty, has all the effects of vanity, and yet is 
not vanity itself. 

The Count was at home, a thin spare man with a narrow 
but high forehead, and an expression of countenance keen, 
severe, and un pen moqueuse. 

He received the Marquis, however, at first with great cor- 
diality, kissed him on both sides of his cheek, called him 
"cousin," expressed immeasurable regret that the Countess 
was gone out on one of the missions of charity in which the 
great ladies of the Faubourg religiously interest themselves, 
and that his sons had just ridden forth to the Bois. 

As Alain, however, proceeded, simply and without false 
shame, to communicate the object of his visit at Paris, the 
extent of his liabilities, and the penury of his means, the 
smile vanished from the Count's face. He somewhat drew 
back his fauteuil in the movement common to men who wish 
to estrange themselves from some other man's difficulties; 
and when Alain came to a close, the Count remained some 
moments seized with a slight cough-, and, gazing intently 
on the carpet, at length he said, "My dear young friend, 
your father behaved extremely ill to you, dishonourably, 
fraudulently." 

"Hold!" said the Marquis, colouring high. "Those are 
words no man can apply to my father in my presence." . 

The Count stared, shrugged his shoulders, and replied with 
sang froid, 

"Marquis, if you are contented with your father's conduct, 
of course it is no business of mine : he never injured me. I 
presume, however, that, considering my years and my charac- 
ter, you come to me for advice; is it so?" 

Alain bowed his head in assent. 

" There are four courses for one in your position to take, " 
said the Count, placing the index of the right hand succes- 
sively on the thumb and three fingers of the left, "four 
courses, and no more. 



THE PARISIANS. 29 

"First. To do as your notary recommended: consolidate 
your mortgages, patch up your income as you best can, return 
to Rochebriant, and devote the rest of your existence to the 
preservation of your property. By that course your life will 
be one of permanent privation, severe struggle ; and the prob- 
ability is that you will not succeed : there will come one or 
two bad seasons, the farmers will fail to pay, the mortgagee 
will foreclose, and you may find yourself, after twenty years 
of anxiety and torment, prematurely old and without a sou. 

"Course the second. Rochebriant, though so heavily in- 
cumbered as to yield you some such income as your father gave 
to his chef de cuisine, is still one of those superb terres which 
bankers and Jews and stock-jobbers court and hunt after, for 
which they will give enormous sums. If you place it in good 
hands, I do not doubt that you could dispose of the property 
within three months, on terms that would leave you a consid- 
erable surplus, which, invested with judgment, would afford 
you whereon you could live at Paris in a way suitable to your 
rank and age. Need we go further? does this course smile 
to you?" 

"Pass on, Count; I will defend to the last what I take from 
my ancestors, and cannot voluntarily sell their roof-tree and 
their tombs." 

"Your name would still remain, and you would be just as 
well received in Paris, and your noblesse just as implicitly 
conceded, if all Judaea encamped upon Rochebriant. Con- 
sider how few of us gentilshommes of the old regime have any 
domains left to us. Our names alone survive : no revolution 
can efface them." 

" It may be so, but pardon me ; there are subjects on which 
we cannot reason, we can but feel. Rochebriant may be 
torn from me, but I cannot yield it." 

" I proceed to the third course. Keep the chateau and give 
up its traditions; remain de facto Marquis of Rochebriant, 
but accept the new order of things. Make yourself known to 
the people in power. They will be charmed to welcome you : 
a convert from the old noblesse is a guarantee of stability to 
the new system. You will be placed in diplomacy; effloresce 



80 THE PARISIANS. 

into an ambassador, a minister, and ministers nowadays 
have opportunities to become enormously rich.'' 

"That course is not less impossible than the last. Till 
Henry V. formally resign his right to the throne of Saint 
Louis, I can be servant to no other man seated on that 
throne." 

"Such, too, is my creed," said the Count, "and I cling to 
it; but my estate is not mortgaged, and I have neither the 
tastes nor the age for public employments. The last course 
is perhaps better than the rest ; at all events it is the easiest. 
A wealthy marriage; even if it must be a mesalliance. I 
think at your age, with your appearance, that your name is 
worth at least two million francs in the eyes of a rich roturier 
with an ambitious daughter." 

" Alas ! " said the young man, rising, " I see I shall have to 
go back to Rochebriant. I cannot sell my castle, I cannot 
sell my creed, and I cannot sell my name and myself." 

" The last all of us did in the old regime, Marquis. Though 
I still retain the title of Vandemar, rny property comes from 
the Farmer-General's daughter, whom my great-grandfather, 
happily for us, married in the days of Louis Quinze. Mar- 
riages with people of sense and rank have always been mari- 
ages de convenance in France. It is only in le petit monde 
that men having nothing marry girls having nothing, and I 
don't believe they are a bit the happier for it. On the con- 
trary, the quarrels de menage leading to frightful crimes 
appear by the 'Gazette des Tribunaux' to be chiefly found 
among those who do not sell themselves at the altar." 

The old Count said this with a grim persiflage. He was a 
Voltairian. 

Voltairianism, deserted by the modern Liberals of France, 
has its chief cultivation nowadays among the wits of the old 
regime. They pick up its light weapons on the battle-field 
on which their fathers perished, and re-feather against the 
canaille the shafts which had been pointed against the 
noblesse. 

"Adieu, Count," said Alain, rising; "I do not thank you 
less for your advice because I have not the wit to profit by it." 



THE PARISIANS. 81 

"Au revoir, my cousin, you will think better of it when 
you have been a month or two at Paris. By the way, my 
wife receives every Wednesday; consider our house yours." 

" Count, can I enter into the world which Madame la Com- 
tesse receives, in the way that becomes niy birth, on the in- 
come I take from my fortune?" 

The Count hesitated. "No," said he at last, frankly; "not 
because you will be less welcome or less respected, but be- 
cause I see that you have all the pride and sensitiveness of a 
seigneur de province. Society would therefore give you pain, 
not pleasure. More than this, I know, by the remembrance 
of my own youth and the sad experience of my own sons, that 
you would be irresistibly led into debt, and debt in your cir- 
cumstances would be the loss of Rochebriant. No; I invite 
you to visit us. I offer you the most select but not the most 
brilliant circles of Paris, because my wife is religious, and 
frightens away the birds of gay plumage with the scarecrows 
of priests and bishops. But if you accept my invitation and 
my offer, I am bound, as an old man of the world to a young 
kinsman, to say that the chances are that you will be ruined." 

" I thank you, Count, for your candour ; and I now acknowl- 
edge that I have found a relation and a guide," answered the 
Marquis, with a nobility of mien that was not without a 
pathos which touched the hard heart of the old man. 

"Come at least whenever you want a sincere if a rude 
friend;" and though he did not kiss his cousin's cheek this 
time, he gave him, with more sincerity, a parting shake of 
the hand. 

And these made the principal events in Alain's Paris life 
till he met Frederic Lemercier. Hitherto he had received no 
definite answer from M. Gandrin, who had postponed an in- 
terview, not having had leisure to make himself master of all 
the details in the abstract sent to him. 



32 THE PARISIANS. 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE next day, towards the afternoon, Frederic Lemercier, 
somewhat breathless from the rapidity at which he had as- 
cended to so high an eminence, burst into Alain's chamber. 

u Pr-r! mon cher; what superb exercise for the health 
how it must strengthen the muscles and expand the chest! 
After this who should shrink from scaling Mont Blanc? 
Well, well. I have been meditating on your business ever 
since we parted. But I would fain know more of its details. 
You shall confide them to me as we drive through the Bois. 
My coupt is below, and the day is beautiful; come." 

To the young Marquis, the gayety, the heartiness of hi8 
college friend were a cordial. How different from the dry 
counsels of the Count de Vandemar ! Hope, though vaguely, 
entered into his heart. Willingly he accepted Frederic's in- 
vitation, and the young men were soon rapidly borne along 
the Champs Elys4es. As briefly as he could Alain described 
the state ot his affairs, the nature of his mortgages, and the 
result of his interview with M. Gandrin. 

Frederic listened attentively. "Then Gandrin has given 
you as yet no answer?" 

"None; but I have a note from him this morning asking 
me to call to-morrow." 

"After you have seen him, decide on nothing, if he 
makes you any offer. Get back your abstract, or a copy of 
it, and confide it to me. Gandrin ought to help you; he 
transacts affairs in a large way. Belle clientele among the 
millionnaires. But his clients expect fabulous profits, and so 
does he. As for your principal mortgagee, Louvier, you 
know, of course, who he is." 

"No, except that M. Hebert told me that he was very rich." 
'Rich! I should think so; one of the Kings of Finance. 
Ah! observe those young men on horseback." 



THE PARISIANS. 33 

Alain looked forth and recognized the two cavaliers 
whom he had conjectured to be the sons of the Count de 
Vandemar. 

" Those beaux garfons are fair specimens of your Faubourg," 
said Frederic; "they would decline my acquaintance because 
my grandfather kept a shop, and they keep a shop between 
them." 

" A shop ! I am mistaken, then. Who are they? " 

" Raoul and Enguerrand, sons of that mocker of man, the 
Count de Vandemar." 

"And they keep a shop! You are jesting." 

" A shop at which you may buy gloves and perfumes, Rue 
de la Chaussee d'Antin. Of course they don't serve at the 
counter; they only invest their pocket-money in the specula- 
tion ; and, in so doing, treble at least their pocket-money, 
buy their horses, and keep their grooms." 

"Is it possible! nobles of such birth! How shocked the 
Count would be if he knew it!" 

" Yes, very much shocked if he was supposed to know it. 
But he is too wise a father not to give his sons limited allow- 
ances and unlimited liberty, especially the liberty to add to 
the allowances as they please. Look again at them; no better 
riders and more affectionate brothers since the date of Castor 
and Pollux. Their tastes indeed differ: Raoul is religious 
and moral, melancholy and dignified; Enguerrand is a lion of 
the first water, klbgant to the tips of his nails. These demi- 
gods nevertheless are very mild to mortals. Though Enguer- 
rand is the best pistol-shot in Paris, and Raoul the best 
fencer, the first is so good-tempered that you would be a 
brute to quarrel with him, the last so true a Catholic, that if 
you quarrelled with him you need not fear his sword. He 
would not die in the committal of what the Church holds a 
mortal sin." 

"Are you speaking ironically? Do you mean to imply that 
men of the name of Vandemar are not brave?" 

" On the contrary, I believe that, though masters of their 
weapons, they are too brave to abuse their skill ; and I must 
add that, though they are sleeping partners in a shop, they 

a 



84 THE PARISIANS. 

would not cheat you of a farthing. Benign stars on earth, as 
Castor and Pollux were in heaven." 

" But partners in a shop ! " 

" Bah ! when a minister himself, like the late M. de M , 

kept a shop, and added the profits of bon boiis to his revenue, 
you may form some idea of the spirit of the age. If young 
nobles are not generally sleeping partners in shops, still they 
are more or less adventurers in commerce. The Bourse is the 
profession of those who have no other profession. You have 
visited the Bourse ? " 

"No." 

"No! this is just the hour. We have time yet for the 
Bois. Coachman, drive to the Bourse," 

" The fact is, " resumed Frederic, " that gambling is one of 
the wants of civilized men. The rouge-et-noir and roulette 
tables are forbidden; the hells closed: but the passion for 
making money without working for it must have its vent, and 
that vent is the Bourse. As instead of a hundred wax-lights 
you now have one jet of gas, so instead of a hundred hells 
you have now one Bourse, and it is exceedingly convenient; 
always at hand; no discredit being seen there as it was to be 
seen at Frascati's; on the contrary, at once respectable, and 
yet the mode." 

The coupi stops at the Bourse, our friends mount the steps, 
glide through the pillars, deposit their canes at a place des- 
tined to guard them, and the Marquis follows Frederic up 
a flight of stairs till he gains the open gallery round a vast 
hall below. Such a din ! such a clamour ! disputations, wrang- 
ling, wrathful. 

Here Lemercier distinguished some friends, whom he joined 
for a few minutes. 

Alain left alone, looked down into the hall. He thought 
himself in some stormy scene of the First Revolution. An 
English contested election in the market-place of a borough 
when the candidates are running close on each other the 
result doubtful, passions excited, the whole borough in civil 
war is peaceful compared to the scene at the Bourse. 

Bulls and bears screaming, bawling, gesticulating! as ii 



THE PARISIANS. 



35 



one were about to strangle the other; the whole, to an unini- 
tiated eye, a confusion, a Babel, which it seems absolutely 
impossible to reconcile to the notion of quiet mercantile trans- 
actions, the purchase and sale of shares and stocks. As 
Alain gazed bewildered, he felt himself gently touched, and, 
looking round, saw the Englishman. 

" A lively scene ! " whispered Mr. Vane. " This is the heart 
of Paris: it beats very loudly." 

"Is your Bourse in London like this?" 

" I cannot tell you : at our Exchange the general public are 
not admitted; the privileged priests of that temple sacrifice 
their victims in closed penetralia, beyond which the sounds 
made in the operation do not travel to ears profane. But had 
we an Exchange like this open to all the world, and placed, 
not in a region of our metropolis unknown to fashion, but in 
some elegant square in St. James's or at Hyde Park Corner, 
I suspect that our national character would soon undergo a 
great change, and that all our idlers and sporting-men would 
make their books there every day, instead of waiting long 
months in ennui for the Doncaster and the Derby. At pres- 
ent we have but few men on the turf ; we should then have 
few men not on Exchange, especially if we adopt your law, 
and can contrive to be traders without risk of becoming bank- 
rupts. Napoleon I. called us a shopkeeping nation. Napo- 
leon III. has taught France to excel us in everything, and 
certainly he has made Paris a shopkeeping city." 

Alain thought of Raoul and Enguerrand, and blushed to 
find that what he considered a blot on his countrymen was so 
familiarly perceptible to a foreigner's eye. 

"And the Emperor has done wisely, at least for the time," 
continued the Englishman, with a more thoughtful accent. 
" He has found vent thus for that very dangerous class in 
Paris society to which the subdivision of property gave birth; 
namely, the crowd of well-born, daring young men without 
fortune and without profession. He has opened the Bourse 
and said, 'There, I give you employment, resource, an avenir." 1 
He has cleared the byways into commerce and trade, and 
opened new avenues of wealth to the noblesse, whom the great 



36 THE PARISIANS. 

Eevolution so unwisely beggared. What other way to re- 
build a noblesse in France, and give it a chance of power be- 
side an access to fortune? But to how many sides of your 
national character has the Bourse of Paris magnetic attrac- 
tion! You Frenchmen are so brave that you could not be 
happy without facing danger, so covetous of distinction that 
you would pine yourselves away without a dash, coute que 
coute, at celebrity and a red ribbon. Danger! look below 
at that arena: there it is; danger daily, hourly. But there 
also is celebrity; win at the Bourse, as of old in a tourna- 
ment, and paladins smile on you, and ladies give you their 
scarves, or, what is much the same, they allow you to buy 
their cachemires. Win at the Bourse, what follows? the 
Chamber, the Senate, the Cross, the Minister's portefeuille. 
I might rejoice in all this for the sake of Europe, could it 
last, and did it not bring the consequences that follow the de- 
moralization which attends it. The Bourse and the Credit 
Mobilier keep Paris quiet, at least as quiet as it can be. 
These are the secrets of this reign of splendour; these the 
two lions couchants on which rests the throne of the Imperial 
reconstructor." 

Alain listened surprised and struck. He had not given the 
Englishman credit for the cast of mind which such reflections 
evinced. 

Here Lemercier rejoined them, and shook hands with Graham 
Vane, who, taking him aside, said, " But you promised to go 
to the Bois, and indulge my insane curiosity about the lady in 
the pearl-coloured robe?" 

" I have not forgotten ; it is not half -past two yet ; you said 
three. Soyez tranquille ; I drive thither from the Bourse 
with Eochebriant." 

"Is it necessary to take with you that very good-looking 
Marquis?" 

" I thought you said you were not jealous, because not yet 
in love. However, if Eochebriant occasions you the pang 
which your humble servant failed to inflict, I will take care 
that he do not see the lady." 

"No," said the Englishman; "on consideration, I should 



THE PARISIANS. 37 

be very much obliged to any one with whom she would fall 
in love. That would disenchant me. Take the Marquis by 
all means." 

Meanwhile Alain, again looking down, saw just under him, 
close by one of the pillars, Lucien Duplessis. He was stand- 
ing apart from the throng, a small space cleared round him- 
self, and two men who had the air of gentlemen of the beau 
monde, with whom he was conferring. Duplessis, thus seen, 
was not like the Duplessis at the restaurant. It would be 
difficult to explain what the change was, but it forcibly struck 
Alain: the air was more dignified, the expression keener; 
there was a look of conscious power and command about the 
man even at that distance ; the intense, concentrated intelli- 
gence of his eye, his firm lip, his marked features, his pro- 
jecting, massive brow, would have impressed a very ordi- 
nary observer. In fact, the man was here in his native 
element; in the field in which his intellect gloried, com- 
manded, and had signalized itself by successive triumphs. 
Just thus may be the change in the great orator whom you 
deemed insignificant in a drawing-room, when you see his 
crest rise above a reverential audience ; or the great soldier, 
who was not distinguishable from the subaltern in a peaceful 
club, could you see him issuing the order to his aids -de-camp 
amidst the smoke and roar of the battle-field. 

" Ah, Marquis ! " said Graham Vane, " are you gazing at 
Duplessis? He is the modern genius of Paris. He is at 
once the Cousin, the Guizot, and the Victor Hugo of specula- 
tion. Philosophy, Eloquence, audacious Komance, all Lit- 
erature now is swallowed up in the sublime epic of 'Agiotage,' 
and Duplessis is the poet of the Empire." 

"Well said, M. Grarm Varn," cried Frederic, forgetting 
his recent lesson in English names. " Alain underrates that 
great man. How could an Englishman appreciate him so 
well?" 

"Mafoif" returned Graham, quietly: "I am studying to 
think at Paris, in order some day or other to know how to act 
in London. Time for the Bois. Lemercier, we meet at 
seven, Philippe's." 



38 THE PARISIANS. 



CHAPTER V. 

"WHAT do you think of the Bourse?" asked Lemercier, as 
their carriage took the way to the Bois. 

"I cannot think of it yet; I am stunned. It seems tv, me 
as if I had been at a Sabbat, of which the wizards were agents 
de change, but not less bent upon raising Satan." 

" Pooh ! the best way to exorcise Satan is to get rich enough 
not to be tempted by him. The fiend always loved to haunt 
empty places; and of all places nowadays he prefers empty 
purses and empty stomachs." 

" But do all people get rich at the Bourse ? or is not one 
man's wealth many men's ruin?" 

"That is a question not very easy to answer; but under our 
present system Paris gets rich, though at the expense of indi- 
vidual Parisians. I will try and explain. The average lux- 
ury is enormously increased even in my experience; what 
were once considered refinements and fopperies are now 
called necessary comforts. Prices are risen enormously, 
house-rent doubled within the last five or six years ; all arti- 
cles of luxury are very much dearer; the very gloves I wear 
cost twenty per cent more than I used to pay for gloves of 
the same quality. How the people we meet live, and live so 
well, is an enigma that would defy (Edipus if (Edipus were 
not a Parisian. But the main explanation is this: specula- 
tion and commerce, with the facilities given to all invest- 
ments, have really opened more numerous and more rapid 
ways to fortune than were known a few years ago. 

"Crowds are thus attracted to Paris, resolved to venture a 
small capital In the hope of a large one; they live on that 
capital, not on their income, as gamesters do. There is an 
idea among us that it is necessary to seem rich in order to be- 
come rich. Thus there is a general extravagance and profu- 
sion. English milords marvel at our splendour. Those who, 



THE PARISIANS. 39 

while spending their capital as their income, fail in their 
schemes of fortune, after one, two, three, or four years, van- 
ish. What becomes of them, I know no more than I do what 
becomes of the old moons. Their place is immediately sup- 
plied by new candidates. Paris is thus kept perennially 
sumptuous and splendid by the gold it engulfs. But then 
some men succeed, succeed prodigiously, preternatural ly; 
they make colossal fortunes, which are magnificently ex- 
pended. They set an example of show and pomp, which is 
of course the more contagious because so many men say, 'The 
other day those millionnaires were as poor as we are; they 
never economized; why should we?' Paris is thus doubly 
enriched, by the fortunes it swallows up, and by the for- 
tunes it casts up ; the last being always reproductive, and the 
first never lost except to the individuals." 

"I understand: but what struck me forcibly at the scene 
we have left was the number of young men there ; young men 
whom I should judge by their appearance to be gentlemen, 
evidently not mere spectators, eager, anxious, with tablets 
in their hands. That old or middle-aged men should find a 
zest in the pursuit of gain I can understand, but youth and 
avarice seem to me a new combination, which Moliere never 
divined in his 'Avare. " 

"Young men, especially if young gentlemen, love pleasure; 
and pleasure in this city is very dear. This explains why so 
many young men frequent the Bourse. In the old gaming- 
tables now suppressed, young men were the majority ; in the 
days of your chivalrous forefathers it was the young nobles, 
not the old, who would stake their very mantles and swords 
on a cast of the die. And, naturally enough, mon cher ; for 
is not youth the season of hope, and is not hope the goddess 
of gaming, whether at rouge-et-noir or the Bourse ? " 

Alain felt himself more and more behind his generation 
The acute reasoning of Lemercier humbled his amour propre. 
At college Lemercier was never considered Alain's equal in 
ability or book-learning. What a stride beyond his school- 
fellow had Lemercier now made ! How dull and stupid the 
young provincial felt himself to be as compared with the easy 



40 THE PARISIANS. 

cleverness and half-sportive philosophy of the Parisian's 
fluent talk! 

He sighed with a melancholy and yet with a generous envy. 
He had too fine a natural perception not to acknowledge that 
there is a rank of mind as well as of birth, and in the first 
he felt that Lemercier might well walk before a Rochebriant ; 
but his very humility was a proof that he underrated himself. 

Lemercier did not excel him in mind, but in experience. 
And just as the drilled soldier seems a much finer fellow than 
the raw recruit, because he knows how to carry himself, but 
after a year's discipline the raw recruit may excel in martial 
air the upright hero whom he now despairingly admires, and 
never dreams he can rival ; so set a mind from a village into 
the drill of a capital, and see it a year after; it may tower a 
head higher than its recruiting-sergeant. 



CHAPTER VI. 

"I BELIEVE," said Lemercier, as the coupi rolled through 
the lively alleys of the Bois de Boulogne, " that Paris is built 
on a loadstone, and that every Frenchman with some iron 
globules in his blood is irresistibly attracted towards it. 
The English never seem to feel for London the passionate de- 
votion that we feel for Paris. On the contrary, the London 
middle class, the commercialists, the shopkeepers, the clerks, 
even the superior artisans compelled to do their business in 
the capital, seem always scheming and pining to have their 
home out of it, though but in a suburb." 

"You have been in London, Frederic?" 

"Of course; it is the mode to visit that dull and hideous 
metropolis." 

" If it be dull and hideous, no wonder the people who are 
compelled to do business in it seek the pleasures of home out 
of it." 



THE PARISIANS. 41 

" It is very droll that though the middle class entirely gov- 
ern the melancholy Albion, it is the only country in Europe 
in which the middle class seem to have no amusements ; nay, 
they legislate against amusement. They have no leisure-day 
but Sunday; and on that day they close all their theatres, 
even their museums and picture-galleries. What amusements 
there may be in England are for the higher classes and the 
lowest." 

" What are the amusements of the lowest class? " 

"Getting drunk." 

"Nothing else?" 

" Yes. I was taken at night under protection of a police- 
man to some cabarets, where I found crowds of that class 
which is the stratum below the working class; lads who 
sweep crossings and hold horses, mendicants, and, I was told, 
thieves, girls whom a servant-maid would not speak to, 
very merry, dancing quadrilles and waltzes, and regaling 
themselves on sausages, the happiest-looking folks I found 
in all London; and, I must say, conducting themselves very 
decently." 

" Ah ! " Here Lemercier pulled the check-string. " Will 
you object to a walk in this quiet alley? I see some one 
whom I have promised the Englishman to But heed me, 
Alain, don't fall in love with her." 



CHAPTEE VII. 



THE lady in the pearl-coloured dress! Certainly it was a 
face that might well arrest the eye and linger long on the 
remembrance. 

There are certain "beauty-women" as there are certain 
" beauty -men, " in whose features one detects no fault, who 
are the show figures of any assembly in which they appear, 
but who, somehow or other, inspire no sentiment and excite 



42 THE PARISIANS. 

no interest; they lack some expression, whether of mind, or 
of soul, or of heart, without which the most beautiful face is 
but a beautiful picture. This lady was not one of those 
"beauty -women." Her features taken singly were by no 
means perfect, nor were they set off by any brilliancy of col- 
ouring. But the countenance aroused and impressed the imag- 
ination with a belief that there was some history attached to 
it, which you longed to learn. The hair, simply parted over 
a forehead unusually spacious and high for a woman, was of 
lustrous darkness ; the eyes, of a deep violet blue, were shaded 
with long lashes. 

Their expression was soft and mournful, but unobservant. 
She did not notice Alain and Lemercier as the two men slowly 
passed her. She seemed abstracted, gazing into space as one 
absorbed in thought or revery. Her complexion was clear 
and pale, and apparently betokened delicate health. 

Lemercier seated himself on a bench beside the path, and 
invited Alain to do the same. "She will return this way 
soon, " said the Parisian, " and we can observe her more atten- 
tively and more respectfully thus seated than if we were on 
foot; meanwhile, what do you think of her? Is she French? 
is she Italian? can she be English?" 

" I should have guessed Italian, judging by the darkness of 
the hair and the outline of the features ; but do Italians have 
so delicate a fairness of complexion? " 

" Very rarely ; and I should guess her to be French, judg- 
ing by the intelligence of her expression, the simple neatness 
of her dress, and by that nameless refinement of air in which 
a Parisienne excels all the descendants of Eve, if it were 
not for her eyes. I never saw a Frenchwoman with eyes of 
that peculiar shade of blue; and if a Frenchwoman had such 
eyes, I flatter myself she would have scarcely allowed us to 
pass without making some use of them." 

"Do you think she is married?" asked Alain. 

"I hope so; for a girl of her age, if comme il faut, can 
scarcely walk alone in the Bois, and would not have ac- 
quired that look so intelligent, more than intelligent, 
so poetic." 




ALAIN AM> LKMKKCIKI: MKK/IINC TIIK STKANCK LADY IN THE 

BnlS DK BnriMONE. 



THE PARISIANS. 43 

"But regard that air of unmistakable distinction; regard 
that expression of face, so pure, so virginal: comme il faut 
she must be." 

As Alain said these last words, the lady, who had turned 
back, was approaching them, and in full view of their gaze. 
She seemed unconscious of their existence as before, and Le- 
mercier noticed that her lips moved as if she were murmuring 
inaudibly to herself. 

She did not return again, but continued her walk straight 
on till at the end of the alley she entered a carriage in waiting 
for her, and was driven off. 

" Quick, quick ! " cried Lemercier, running towards his own 
<'<>ttp&; "we must give chase." 

Alain followed somewhat less hurriedly, and, agreeably to 
instructions Lemercier had already given to his coachman, 
the Parisian's coupk set off at full speed in the track of the 
strange lady's, which was still in sight. 

In less than twenty minutes the carriage in chase stopped 
at the grille of one of those charming little villas to be found 

in the pleasant suburb of A ; a porter emerged from the 

lodge, opened the gate; the carriage drove in, again stopped 
at the door of the house, and the two gentlemen could not 
catch even a glimpse of the lady's robe as she descended from 
the carriage and disappeared within the house. 

" I see a cafe yonder, " said Lemercier ; " let us learn all we 
can as to the fair unknown, over a sorbet or & petit verre." 

Alain silently, but not reluctantly, consented. He felt in 
the fair stranger an interest new to his existence'. 

They entered the little cafe, and in a few minutes Lemer- 
cier, with the easy savoir vivre of a Parisian, had extracted 
from the garcon as much as probably any one in the neigh- 
bourhood knew of the inhabitants of the villa. 

It had been hired and furnished about two months previ- 
ously in the name of Signora Venosta; but, according to the 
report of the servants, that lady appeared to be the gouver- 
nante or guardian of a lady much younger, out of whose in- 
come the villa was rented and the household maintained. 

It was for her the coupk was hired from Paris. The elder 



44 THE PARISIANS. 

lady very rarely stirred out during the day, but always ac* 
companied the younger in any evening visits to the theatre or 
the houses of friends. 

It was only within the last few weeks that such visits had 
been made. 

The younger lady was in delicate health, and under the 
care of an English physician famous for skill in the treatment 
of pulmonary complaints. It was by his advice that she took 
daily walking exercise in the Bois. The establishment con- 
sisted of three servants, all Italians, and speaking but imper- 
fect French. The garqon did not know whether either of the 
ladies was married, but their mode of life was free from all 
scandal or suspicion; they probably belonged to the literary 
or musical world, as the garfon had observed as their visi- 
tors the eminent author M. Savarin and his wife; and, still 
more frequently, an old man not less eminent as a musical 
composer. 

"It is clear to me now," said Lemercier, as the two friends 
reseated themselves in the carriage, " that our pearly ange is 
some Italian singer of repute enough in her own country to 
have gained already a competence ; and that, perhaps on ac- 
count of her own health or her friend's, she is living quietly 
here in the expectation of some professional engagement, or 
the absence of some foreign lover." 

"Lover! do you think that?" exclaimed Alain, in a tone of 
voice that betrayed pain. 

"It is possible enough; and in that case the Englishman 
may profit little by the information I have promised to give 
him." 

"You have promised the Englishman?" 

"Do you not remember last night that he described the 
lady, and said that her face haunted him : and I " 

"Ah! I remember now. What do you know of this Eng- 
lishman? He is rich, I suppose." 

" Yes, I hear he is very rich now ; that an uncle lately left 
him an enormous sum of money. He was attached to the 
English Embassy many years ago, which accounts for his 
good French and his knowledge of Parisian life. He comes 



THE PARISIANS. 



45 



to Paris very often, and I have known him some time. In- 
deed he has intrusted to me a difficult and delicate commis- 
sion. The English tell me that his father was one of the 
most eminent members of their Parliament, of ancient birth, 
very highly connected, but ran out his fortune and died poor; 
that our friend had for some years to maintain himself, I 
fancy, by his pen; that he is considered very able; and, now 
that his uncle has enriched him, likely to enter public life 
and run a career as distinguished as his father's." 

"Happy man! happy are the English," said the Marquis, 
with a sigh; and as the carriage now entered Paris, he 
pleaded the excuse of an engagement, bade his friend good- 
by, and went his way musing through the crowded streets. 



CHAPTER VIII. 



LETTER FROM ISAURA CICOGNA TO MADAME DE 
GRANTMESNIL. 

VILLA D' , A . 

I CAN never express to you, my beloved Eulalie, the strange 
charm which a letter from you throws over my poor little 
lonely world for days after it is received. There is always 
in it something that comforts, something that sustains, but 
also a something that troubles and disquiets me. I suppose 
Goethe is right, "that it is the property of true genius to dis- 
turb all settled ideas," in order, no doubt, to lift them into a 
higher level when they settle down again. 

Your sketch of the new work you are meditating amid the 
orange groves of Provence interests me intensely; yet, do 
you forgive me when I add that the interest is not without 
terror? I do not find myself able to comprehend how, amid 
those lovely scenes of Nature, your mind voluntarily sur- 
rounds itself with images of pain and discord. I stand in 



46 THE PARISIANS. 

awe of the calm with which you subject to your analysis the 
infirmities of reason and the tumults of passion. And all 
those laws of the social state which seem to me so fixed and 
immovable you treat with so quiet a scorn, as if they were 
but the gossamer threads which a touch of your slight 
woman's hand could brush away. But 1 cannot venture to 
discuss such subjects with you. It is only the skilled en- 
chanter who can stand safely in the magic circle, and compel 
the spirits that he summons, even if they are evil, to minis- 
ter to ends in which he foresees a good. 

We continue to live here very quietly, and I do not as yet 
feel the worse for the colder climate. Indeed, my wonderful 
doctor, who was recommended to me as American, but is in 
reality English, assures me that a single winter spent here 
under his care will suffice for my complete re -establishment. 
Yet that career, to the training for which so many years have 
been devoted, does not seem to me so alluring as it once did. 

I have much to say on this subject, which I defer till I can 
better collect my own thoughts on it; at present they are 
confused and struggling. The great Maestro has been most 
gracious. 

In what a radiant atmosphere his genius lives and breathes ! 
Even in his cynical moods, his very cynicism has in it 
the ring of a jocund music, the laugh of Figaro, not of 
Mephistopheles. 

We went to dine with him last week. He invited to meet 

us Madame S , who has this year conquered all opposition, 

and reigns alone, the great S ; Mr. T , a pianist of 

admirable promise; your friend M. Savarin, wit, critic, and 
poet, with his pleasant, sensible wife ; and a few others, who, 
the Maestro confided to me in a whisper, were authorities in 

the press. After dinner S sang to us, magnificently, of 

course. Then she herself graciously turned to me, said how 
much she had heard from the Maestro in my praise, and so 
and so. I was persuaded to sing after her. I need not say 
to what disadvantage. But I forgot my nervousness ; I for- 
got my audience; I forgot myself, as I always do when once 
my soul, as it were, finds wing in music, and buoys itself in 



THE PARISIANS. 47 

the air, relieved from the sense "of earth. I knew not that 1 
had succeeded till I came to a close, and then my eyes resting 
on the face of the grand prima donna, I was seized with an 
indescribable sadness, with a keen pang of remorse. Perfect 
artiste though she be, and with powers in her own realm of 
art which admit of no living equal, I saw at once that I had 
pained her: she had grown almost livid; her lips were quiv- 
ering, and it was only with a great effort that she muttered 
out some faint words intended for applause. I comprehended 
by an instinct how gradually there can grow upon the mind 
of an artist the most generous that jealousy which makes the 
fear of a rival annihilate the delight in art. If ever I should 
achieve S 's fame as a singer, should I feel the same jeal- 
ousy? I think not now, but I have not been tested. She 
went away abruptly. I spare you the recital of the compli- 
ments paid to me by my other auditors, compliments that 
gave me no pleasure; for on all lips, except those of the 
Maestro, they implied, as the height of eulogy, that I had in- 
flicted torture upon S . "If so," said he, "she would be 

as foolish as a rose that was jealous of the whiteness of a lily. 
You would do yourself great wrong, my child, if you tried to 
vie with the rose in its own colour." 

He patted my bended head as he spoke, with that kind of 
fatherly king-like fondness with which he honours me ; and I 
took his hand in mine, and kissed it gratefully. " Neverthe- 
less," said Savarin, "when the lily comes out there will be a 
furious attack on it, made by the clique that devotes itself to 
the rose: a lily clique will be formed en revanche, and I fore- 
see a tierce paper war. Do not be frightened at its first out- 
burst: every fame worth having must be fought for." 

Is it so? have you had to fight for your fame, Eulalie? and 
do you hate all contests as mucli as I do? 

Our only other gayety since I last wrote was a soiree at M. 
Louvier's. That republican millionnaire was not slow in 
attending to the kind letter you addressed to him recommend- 
ing us to his civilities. He called at once, placed his good 
offices at our disposal, took charge of my modest fortune, 
which he has invested, no doubt, as safely as it is advantage- 



48 THE PARISIANS. 

ously in point of interest, hifled our carriage for us, and in 
short has been most amiably useful. 

At his house we met many to me most pleasant, for they 
spoke with such genuine appreciation of your works and your- 
self. But there were others whom I should never have ex- 
pected to meet under the roof of a Croesus who has so great a 
stake in the order of things established. One young man a 
noble whom he specially presented to me, as a politician who 
would be at the head of affairs when the Red Republic was 
established asked me whether I did not agree with him that 
all private property was public spoliation, and that the great 
enemy to civilization was religion, no matter in what form. 

He addressed to me these tremendous questions with an 
effeminate lisp, and harangued on them with small feeble 
gesticulations of pale dirty fingers covered with rings. 

I asked him if there were many who in France shared his 
ideas. 

"Quite enough to carry them some day," he answered with 
a lofty smile. " And the day may be nearer than the world 
thinks, when my confreres will be so numerous that they will 
have to shoot down each other for the sake of cheese to their 
bread." 

That day nearer than the world thinks ! Certainly, so far 
as one may judge the outward signs of the world at Paris, it 
does not think of such things at all. With what an air of 
self -content the beautiful city parades her riches ! Who can 
gaze on her splendid palaces, her gorgeous shops, and believe 
that she will give ear to doctrines that would annihilate pri- 
vate rights of property; or who can enter her crowded 
churches, and dream that she can ever again install a republic 
too civilized for religion? 

Adieu. Excuse me for this dull letter. If I have written 
on much that has little interest even for me, it is that I wish 
to distract my mind from brooding over the question that in- 
terests me most, and on which I most need your counsel. I 
will try to approach it in my next. 

ISAURA. 



THE PARISIANS. 49 



FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME. 

Eulalie, Eulalie ! What mocking spirit has been permitted 
in this modern age of ours to place in the heart of woman the 
ambition which is the prerogative of men? You indeed, so 
richly endowed with a man's genius, have a right to man's 
aspirations. But what can justify such ambition in me? 
Nothing but this one unintellectual perishable gift of a voice 
that does but please in uttering the thoughts of others. 
Doubtless I could make a name familiar for its brief time to 
the talk of Europe, a name, what name? a singer's name. 
Once I thought that name a glory. Shall I ever forget the 
day when you first shone upon me; when, emerging from 
childhood as from a dim and solitary bypath, I stood forlorn 
on the great thoroughfare of life, and all the prospects before 
me stretched sad in mists and in rain? You beamed on me 
then as the sun coming out from the cloud and changing the 
face of earth ; you opened to my sight the fairy-land of poetry 
and art; you took me by the hand and said, "Courage! there 
is at each step some green gap in the hedgerows, some soft 
escape from the stony thoroughfare. Beside the real life ex- 
pands the ideal life to those who seek it. Droop not, seek 
it: the ideal life has its sorrows, but it never admits despair; 
as on the ear of him who follows the winding course of a 
stream, the stream ever varies the note of its music, now 
loud with the rush of the falls; now low and calm as it glides 
by the level marge of smooth banks; now sighing through 
the stir of the reeds ; now babbling with a fretful joy as some 
sudden curve on the shore stays its flight among gleaming 
pebbles, so to the soul of the artist is the voice of the art 
ever fleeting beside and before him. Nature gave thee the 
bird's gift of song: raise the gift into art, and make the art 
thy companion. 

"Art and Hope were twin-born, and they die together." 
See how faithfully I remember, methinks, your very words. 
But the magic of the words, which I then but dimly under- 
stood, was in your smile and in your eye, and the queen-like 

VOL. I. 4 



50 THE PARISIANS. 

wave of your hand as if beckoning to a world which lay be- 
fore you, visible and familiar as your native land. And how 
devotedly, with what earnestness of passion, I gave myself 
up to the task of raising my gift into an art! I thought of 
nothing else, dreamed of nothing else ; and oh, now sweet to 
me then were words of praise ! " Another year yet, " at length 
said the masters, "and you ascend your throne among the 
queens of song." Then then I would have changed for 
no other throne on earth my hope of that to be achieved in 
the realms of my art. And then came that long fever: my 
strength broke down, and the Maestro said, "Rest, or your 
voice is gone, and your throne is lost forever." How hateful 
that rest seemed to me! You again came to my aid. You 
said, " The time you think lost should be but time improved. 
Penetrate your mind with other songs than the trash of Li- 
bretti. The more you habituate yourself to the forms, the 
more you imbue yourself with the spirit, in which passions 
have been expressed and character delineated by great writ- 
ers, the more completely you will accomplish yourself in your 
own special art of singer and actress." So, then, you allured 
me to a new study. Ah ! in so doing did you dream that you 
diverted me from the old ambition ? My knowledge of French 
and Italian, and my rearing in childhood, which had made 
English familiar to me, gave me the keys to the treasure- 
houses of three languages. Naturally I began with that in 
which your masterpieces are composed. Till then I had not 
even read your works. They were the first I chose. How 
they impressed, how they startled me! what depths in the 
mind of man, in the heart of woman, they revealed to me! 
But I owned to you then, and I repeat it now, neither they 
nor any of the works in romance and poetry which form the 
boast of recent French literature satisfied yearnings for that 
calm sense of beauty, that divine joy in a world beyond this 
world, which you had led me to believe it was the preroga- 
tive of ideal art to bestow. And when I told you this with 
the rude frankness you had bid me exercise in talk with you, 
a thoughtful, melancholy shade fell over your face, and you 
said quietly, "You are right, child; we, the French of our 



THE PARISIANS. 51 

time, are the offspring of revolutions that settled nothing, 
unsettled all : we resemble those troubled States which rush 
into war abroad in order to re-establish peace at home. Our 
books suggest problems to men for reconstructing aome social 
system in which the calm that belongs to art may be found 
at last : but such books should not be in your hands ; they are 
not for the innocence and youth of women as yet unchanged 
by the systems which exist." And the next day you brought 
me Tasso's great poem, the "Gerusalemme Liberata," and 
said, smiling, "Art in its calm is here." 

You remember that I was then at Sorrento by the order of 
my physician. Never shall I forget the soft autumn day 
when I sat amongst the lonely rocklets to the left of the 
town, the sea before me, with scarce a ripple; my very 
heart steeped in the melodies of that poem, so marvellous for 
a strength disguised in sweetness, and for a symmetry in 
which each proportion blends into the other with the perfect- 
ness of a Grecian statue. The whole place seemed to ine 
filled with the presence of the poet to whom it had given 
birth. Certainly the reading of that poem formed an era in 
my existence : to this day I cannot acknowledge the faults or 
weaknesses which your criticisms pointed out; I believe be- 
cause they are in unison with my own nature, which yearns 
for harmony, and, finding that, rests contented. I shrink 
from violent contrasts, and can discover nothing tame and 
insipid in a continuance of sweetness and serenity. But it 
was not till after I had read " La Gerusalemme " again and 
again, and then sat and brooded over it, that I recognized the 
main charm of the poem in the religion which clings to it as 
the perfume clings to a flower, a religion sometimes melan- 
choly, but never to me sad. Hope always pervades it. Surely 
if, as you said, "Hope is twin-born with art," it is because 
art at its highest blends itself unconsciously with religion, 
and proclaims its affinity with hope by its faith in some fu- 
ture good more perfect than it has realized in the past. 

I Be this as it may, it was in this poem so pre-eminently 
Christian that I found the something which I missed and 
craved for in modern French masterpieces, even yours, a 



52 THE PARISIANS. 

something spiritual, speaking to my own soul, calling it 
forth ; distinguishing it as an essence apart from mere human 
reason ; soothing, even when it excited ; making earth nearer 
to heaven. And when I ran on in this strain to you after my 
own wild fashion, you took my head between your hands and 
kissed me, and said, "Happy are those who believe! long 
may that happiness be thine ! " Why did I not feel in Dante 
the Christian charm that I felt in Tasso? Dante in your 
eyes, as in those of most judges, is infinitely the greater gen- 
ius ; but reflected on the dark stream of that genius the stars 
are so troubled, the heaven so threatening. 

Just as my year of holiday was expiring, I turned to Eng- 
lish literature; and Shakspeare, of course, was the first Eng- 
lish poet put into my hands. It proves how childlike my 
mind still was, that my earliest sensation in reading him was 
that of disappointment. It was not only that, despite my 
familiarity with English (thanks chiefly to the care of him 
whom I call my second father), there is much in the meta- 
phorical diction of Shakspeare which I failed to comprehend ; 
but he seemed to me so far like the modern French writers 
who affect to have found inspiration in his muse, that he 
obtrudes images of pain and suffering without cause or motive 
sufficiently clear to ordinary understandings, as I had taught 
myself to think it ought to be in the drama. 

He makes Fate so cruel that we lose sight of the mild deity 
behind her. Compare, in this, Corneille's "Polyeucte," with 
the "Hamlet." In the first an equal calamity befalls the 
good, but in their calamity they are blessed. The death of 
the martyr is the triumph of his creed. But when we have 
put down the English tragedy, when Hamlet and Ophelia 
are confounded in death with Polonius and the fratricidal 
king, we see not what good end for humanity is achieved. 
The passages that fasten on our memory do not make us hap- 
pier and holier : they suggest but terrible problems, to which 
they give us no solution. 

In the "Horaces" of Corneille there are fierce contests, 
rude passions, tears drawn from some of the bitterest sources 
of human pity; but then through all stands out, large and 



THE PARISIANS. 53 

visible to the eyes of all spectators, the great ideal of devoted 
patriotism. How much of all that has been grandest in the 
life of France, redeeming even its worst crimes of revolution 
in the love of country, has had its origin in the " Horaces " 
of Corneille. But I doubt if the fates of Coriolanus and 
Caesar and Brutus and Antony, in the giant tragedies of 
Shakspeare, have made Englishmen more willing to die for 
England. In fine, it was long before I will not say I un- 
derstood or rightly appreciated Shakspeare, for no English- 
man would admit that I or even you could ever do so, but 
before I could recognize the justice of the place his country 
claims tor him as the genius without an equal in the litera- 
ture of Europe. Meanwhile the ardour I had put into study, 
and the wear and tear of the emotions which the study called 
forth, made themselves felt in a return of my former illness, 
with symptoms still more alarming; and when the year was 
out I was ordained to rest for perhaps another year before I 
could sing in public, still less appear on the stage. How I 
rejoiced when I heard that fiat ! for I emerged from that year 
of study with a heart utterly estranged from the profession 
in which I had centred my hopes before Yes, Eulalie, 
you had bid me accomplish myself for the arts of utterance 
by the study of arts in which thoughts originate the words 
they employ ; and in doing so I had changed myself into an- 
other being. I was forbidden all fatigue of mind : my books 
were banished, but not the new self which the books had 
formed. Recovering slowly through the summer, I came 
hither two months since, ostensibly for the advice of Dr. 

C , but really in the desire to commune with my own 

heart and be still. 

And now I have poured forth that heart to you, would you 
persuade me still to be a singer? If you do, remember at 
least how jealous and absorbing the art of the singer and the 
actress is, how completely I must surrender myself to it, 
and live among books or among dreams no more. Can I be 
anything else but singer? and if not, should I be contented 
merely to read and to dream? 

I must confide to you one ambition which during the lazy 



54 THE PARISIANS. 

Italian summer took possession of me; I must tell you the 
ambition, and add that I have renounced it as a vain one. I 
had hoped that I could compose, I mean in music. 1 was 
pleased with some things I did: they expressed in music 
what I could not express in words; and one secret object in 
coming here was to submit them to the great Maestro. He 
listened to them patiently : he complimented me on my accu- 
racy in the mechanical laws of composition ; he even said that 
my favourite airs were "touchants et gracieux." 

And so he would have left me, but I stopped him timidly, 
and said, "Tell me frankly, do you think tliat with time and 
study I could compose music such as singers equal to myself 
would sing to?" 

" You mean as a professional composer? " 

"Well, yes." 

" And to the abandonment of your vocation as a singer? " 

"Yes." 

" My dear child, I should be your worst enemy if I encour- 
aged such a notion : cling to the career in which you can be 
greatest ; gain but health, and I wager my reputation on your 
glorious success on the stage. What can you be as a com- 
poser? You will set pretty nrnsic to pretty words, and will 
be sung in drawing-rooms with the fame a little more or less 
that generally attends the compositions of female amateurs. 
Aim at something higher, as I know you would do, and you 
will not succeed. Is there any instance in modern times, 
perhaps in any times, of a female composer who attains even 
to the eminence of a third-rate opera-writer? Composition 
in letters may be of no sex. In that Madame Dudevant and 
your friend Madame de Grantmesnil can beat most men; but 
the genius of musical composition is homme, and accept it as 
a compliment when I say that you are essentially femme. " 

He left me, of course, mortified and humbled; but I feel 
he is right as regards myself, though whether in his depreci- 
ation of our whole sex I cannot say. But as this hope has 
left me, I have become more disquieted, still more restless. 
Counsel me, Eulalie; counsel, and, if possible, comfort me. 

ISAURA. 



THE PARISIANS. 55 



FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME. 

No letter from you yet, and I have left you in peace for ten 
days. How do you think 1 have spent them? The Maestro 
called on us with M. Savarin, to insist on our accompanying 
them on a round of the theatres. I had not been to one since 
my arrival. I divined that the kind-hearted composer had 
a motive in this invitation. He thought that in witnessing 
the applauses bestowed on actors, and sharing in the fascina- 
tion in which theatrical illusion holds an audience, my old 
passion for the stage, and with it the longing for an artiste's 
fame, would revive. 

In my heart I wished that his expectations might be real 
ized. Well for me if I could once more concentrate all my 
aspirations on a prize within my reach! 

We went first to see a comedy greatly in vogue, and the 
author thoroughly understands the French stage of our day. 
The acting was excellent in its way. The next night we 
went to the Odeon, a romantic melodrama in six acts, and I 
know not how many tableaux. I found no fault with the 
acting there. I do not give you the rest of our programme. 
We visited all the principal theatres, reserving the opera and 

Madame S for the last. Before I speak of the opera, let 

me say a word or two on the plays. 

There is no country in which the theatre has so great a 
hold on the public as in France; no country in which the 
successful dramatist has so high a fame ; no country perhaps 
in which the state of the stage so faithfully represents the 
moral and intellectual condition of the people. I say this 
not, of course, from my experience of countries which I have 
not visited, but from all I hear of the stage in Germany and 
in England. 

The impression left on my mind by the performances I 
witnessed is, that the French people are becoming dwarfed. 
The comedies that please them are but pleasant caricatures of 
petty sections in a corrupt society. They contain no large 
types of human nature ; their witticisms convey no luminous 



56 THE PARISIANS. 

flashes of truth; their sentiment is not pure and noble, it is 
a sickly and false perversion of the impure and ignoble into 
travesties of the pure and noble. 

Their melodramas cannot be classed as literature : all that 
really remains of the old French genius is its vaudeville. 

Great dramatists create great parts. One great part, such 
as a Rachel would gladly have accepted, I have not seen in 
the dramas of the young generation. 

High art has taken refuge in the opera; but that is not 
French opera. I do not complain so much that French taste 
is less refined. I complain that French intellect is lowered.. 
The descent from " Polyeucte " to " Ruy Bias " is great, not 
so much in the poetry of form as in the elevation of thought; 
but the descent from " Ruy Bias " to the best drama now pro- 
duced is out of poetry altogether, and into those flats of prose 
which give not even the glimpse of a mountain-top. 

But now to the opera. S in Normal The house was 

crowded, and its enthusiasm as loud as it was genuine. You 

tell me thai, S never rivalled Pasta, but certainly her 

Norma is a great performance. Her voice has lost less of its 
freshness than I had been told, and what is lost of it her 
practised management conceals or carries off. 

The Maestro was quite right : I could never vie with her in 
her own line ; but conceited and vain as I may seem even to 
you in saying so, I feel in my own line that I could command 
as large an applause, of course taking into account my brief - 
lived advantage of youth. Her acting, apart from her voice, 
does not please me. It seems to me to want intelligence of 
the subtler feelings, the under-current of emotion which con- 
stitutes the chief beauty of the situation and the character. 

Am I jealous when I say this? Read on and judge. 

On our return that night, when I had seen the Venosta to 
bed, I went into my own room, opened the window, and looked 
out. A lovely night, mild as in spring at Florence, the 
moon at her full, and the stars looking so calm and so high 
beyond our reach of their tranquillity. The evergreens in 
the gardens of the villas around me silvered over, and the 
summer boughs, not yet clothed with leaves, were scarcely 



THE PARISIANS. 57 

visible amid the changeless smile of the laurels. At the 
distance lay Paris, only to be known by its innumerable 
lights. And then I said to myself, 

" No, I cannot be an actress ; I cannot resign my real self 
for that vamped-up hypocrite before the lamps. Out on 
those stage-robes and painted cheeks ! Out on that simulated 
utterance of sentiments learned- by rote and practised before 
the looking-glass till every gesture has its drill!" 

Then I gazed on those stars which provoke our question, 
ings/ and return no answer, till my heart grew full, so 
full, and I bowed my head and wept like a child. 



FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME. 

And still no letter from you! I see in the journals that 
you have left Nice. Is it that you are too absorbed in your 
work to have leisure to write to me? I know you are not ill, 
for if you were, all Paris would know of it. All Europe has 
interest in your health. Positively I will write to you no 
lore till a word from yourself bids me do so. 

I fear I must give up my solitary walks in the Bois de 

Kilogne: they were very dear to me, partly because the 
juiet path to which I confined myself was that to which you 
directed me as the one you habitually selected when at Paris, 
and in which you had brooded over and revolved the loveliest 
:>f your romances ; and partly because it was there that, catch- 
ing, alas! not inspiration but enthusiasm from the genius 
that had hallowed the place, and dreaming I might originate 
music, I nursed my own aspirations and murmured my own 
airs. And though so close to that world of Paris to which 
all artists must appeal for judgment or audience, the spot was 
so undisturbed, so sequestered. But of late that path has 
lost its solitude, and therefore its charm. 

Six days ago the first person I encountered in my walk was 
a man whom I did not then heed. He seemed in thought, or 
rather in revery, like myself; we passed each other twice or 
thrice, and I did not notice whether he was young or old, tall 



58 THE PARISIANS. 

or short; but he came the next day, and a third day, and then 
I saw that he was young, and, in so regarding him, his eyes 
became fixed on mine. The fourth day he did not come, but 
two other men came, and the look of one was inquisitive and 
offensive. They sat themselves down on a bench in the 
walk, and though I did not seem to notice them, I hastened 
home; and the next day, in talking with our kind Madame 
Savarin, and alluding to these quiet walks of mine, she hinted, 
with the delicacy which is her characteristic, that the customs 
of Paris did not allow demoiselles comme llfaut to walk alone 
even in the most sequestered paths of the Bois. 

I begin now to comprehend your disdain of customs which 
impose chains so idly galling on the liberty of our sex. 

We dined with the Savarins last evening: what a joyous 
nature he has! Not reading Latin, I only know Horace by 
translations, which I am told are bad; but Savarin seems to 
me a sort of half Horace, Horace on his town-bred side, so 
playfully well-bred, so good-humoured in his philosophy, so 
affectionate to friends, and so biting to foes. But certainly 
Savarin could not have lived in a country farm upon endives 
and mallows. He is town-bred and Parisian, jusqu'au bout 
des angles. How he admires you, and how I love him for it! 
Only in one thing he disappoints me there. It is your style 
that he chiefly praises : certainly that style is matchless ; but 
style is only the clothing of thought, and to praise your style 
seems to me almost as invidious as the compliment to some 
perfect beauty, not on her form and face, but on her taste and 
dress. 

We met at dinner an American and his wife, a Colonel 
and Mrs. Morley : she is delicately handsome, as the Ameri- 
can women I have seen generally are, and with that frank 
vivacity of manner which distinguishes them from English 
women. She seemed to take a fancy to me, and we soon 
grew very good friends. 

She is the first advocate I have met, except yourself, of 
that doctrine upon the rights of Women, of which one reads 
more in the journals than one hears discussed in salons. 

Naturally enough I felt great interest in that subject, more 






THE PARISIANS. 59 

especially since my rambles in the Bois were forbidden ; and 
as long as she declaimed on the hard fate of the women who, 
feeling within them powers that struggle for air and light be- 
yond the close precinct of household duties, find themselves 
restricted from fair rivalry with men in such fields of knowl- 
edge and toil and glory as men since the world began have 
appropriated to themselves, I need not say that I went with 
her cordially: you can guess that by my former letters. But 
when she entered into the detailed catalogue of our exact 
wrongs and our exact rights, I felt all the pusillanimity of 
my sex and shrank back in terror. 

Her husband, joining us when she was in full tide of elo- 
quence, smiled at me with a kind of saturnine mirth. " Made- 
moiselle, don't believe a word she says: it is only tall talk! 
In America the women are absolute tyrants, and it is I who, 
in concert with my oppressed countrymen, am going in for a 
platform agitation to restore the Rights of Men." 

Upon this there was a lively battle of words between the 
spouses, in which, I must own, I thought the lady was 
decidedly worsted. 

No, Eulalie, I see nothing in these schemes for altering 
our relations towards the other sex which would improve our 
condition. The inequalities we suffer are not imposed by 
law, not even by convention : they are imposed by nature. 

Eulalie, you have had an experience unknown to me : you 
have loved. In that day did you, you, round whom poets 
and sages and statesmen gather, listening to your words as to 
an oracle, did you feel that your pride of genius had gone 
out from you, that your ambition lived in whom you loved, 
that his smile was more to you than the applause of a 
world ? 

I feel as if love in a woman must destroy her rights of 
equality, that it gives to her a sovereign even in one who 
would be inferior to herself if her love did not glorify and 
crown him. Ah! if I could but merge this terrible egotism 
which oppresses me, into the being of some one who is what 
I would wish to be were I man! I would not ask him to 
achieve fame. Enough if I felt that he was worthy of it, 



60 THE PARISIANS. 

and happier methinks to console him when he failed than to 
triumph with him when he won. Tell me, have you felt 
this? When you loved did you stoop as to a slave, or did 
you bow down as to a master? 



FROM MADAME DE GBANTMESNIL TO ISAURA CICOGNA. 

Chere enfant, All your four letters have reached me the 
same day. In one of my sudden whims I set off with a few 
friends on a rapid tour along the Riviera to Genoa, thence to 
Turin on to Milan. Not knowing where we should rest even 
for a day, my letters were not forwarded. 

I came back to Nice yesterday, consoled for all fatigues in 
having insured that accuracy in description of localities which 
my work necessitates. 

You are, my poor child, in that revolutionary crisis through 
which genius passes in youth before it knows its own self, 
and longs vaguely to do or to be a something other than it 
has done or has been before. For, not to be unjust to your 
own powers, genius you have, that inborn undefmable es- 
sence, including talent, and yet distinct from it. Genius you 
have, but genius unconcentrated, undisciplined. I see, though 
you are too diffident to say so openly, that you shrink from 
the fame of singer, because, fevered by your reading, you 
would fain aspire to the thorny crown of author. I echo the 
hard saying of the Maestro: I should be your worst enemy 
did I encourage you to forsake a career in which a dazzling 
success is so assured, for one in which, if it were your true 
vocation, you would not ask whether you were fit for it; you 
would be impelled to it by the terrible star which presides 
over the birth of poets. 

Have you, who are so naturally observant, and of late have 
become so reflective, never remarked that authors, however 
absorbed in their own craft, do not wish their children to 
adopt it? The most successful author is perhaps the last per- 
son to whom neophytes should come for encouragement. This 
I think is not the case with the cultivators of the sister arts. 



THE PARISIANS. 61 

The painter, the sculptor, the musician, seem disposed to in- 
vite disciples and welcome acolytes. As for those engaged in 
the practical affairs of life, fathers mostly wish their sons to 
be as they have been. 

The politician, the lawyer, the merchant, each says to his 
children, "Follow my steps." All parents in practical life 
would at least agree in this, they would not wish their sons 
to be poets. There must be some sound cause in the world's 
philosophy for this general concurrence of digression from a 
road of which the travellers themselves say to those whom 
they love best, " Beware ! " 

Romance in youth is, if rightly understood, the happiest 
nutriment of wisdom in after-years ; but I would never invite 
any one to look upon the romance of youth as a thing 

" To case in periods and embalm in ink." 

Enfant, have you need of a publisher to create romance? 
Is it not in yourself? Do not imagine that genius requires 
for its enjoyment the scratch of the pen and the types of the 
printer. Do not suppose that the poet, the romancier, is most 
poetic, most romantic, when he is striving, struggling, la- 
bouring, to check the rush of his ideas, and materialize the 
images which visit him as souls into such tangible likenesses 
of flesh and blood that the highest compliment a reader can 
bestow on them is to say that they are lifelike^ No: the 
poet's real delight is not in the mechanism of composing; the 
best part of that delight is in the sympathies he has estab- 
lished with innumerable modifications of life and form, and 
art and Nature, sympathies which are often found equally 
keen in those who have not the same gift of language. The 
poet is but the interpreter. What of? Truths in the hearts 
of others. He utters what they feel. Is the joy in the utter- 
ance? Nay, it is in the feeling itself. So, my dear, dark- 
bright child of song, when I bade thee open, out of the beaten 
thoroughfare, paths into the meads and river-banks at either 
side of the formal hedgerows, rightly dost thou add that I 
enjoined thee to make thine art thy companion. In the cult* 
ure of that art for which you are so eminently gifted, yo* 



62 THE PARISIANS. 

will find the ideal life ever beside the real. Are you not 
ashamed to tell me that in that art you do but utter the 
thoughts of others? You utter them in music; through the 
music you not only give to the thoughts a new character, but 
you make them reproductive of fresh thoughts in your 
audience. 

You said very truly that you found in composing you could 
put into music thoughts which you could not put into words. 
That is the peculiar distinction of music. No genuine mu- 
sician can explain in words exactly what he means to convey 
in his music. 

How little a libretto interprets an opera; how little we care 
even to read it! It is the music that speaks to us; and how? 
Through the human voice. We do not notice how poor 
are the words which the voice warbles. It is the voice itself 
interpreting the soul of the musician which enchants and en- 
thralls us. And you who have that voice pretend to despise 
the gift. What! despise the power of communicating de- 
light ! the power that we authors envy ; and rarely, if ever, 
can we give delight with so little alloy as the singej-. 

And when an audience disperses, can you guess what griefs 
the singer may have comforted? what hard hearts he may 
have softened? what high thoughts he may have awakened? 

You say, "Out on the vamped-up hypocrite! Out on the 
stage-robes and painted cheeks ! " 

I say, "Out on the morbid spirit which so cynically regards 
the mere details by which a whole effect on the minds and 
hearts and souls of races and nations can be produced ! " 

There, have I scolded you sufficiently? I should scold you 
more, if I did not see in the affluence of your youth and your 
intellect the cause of your restlessness. Riches are always 
restless. It is only to poverty that the gods give content. 

You question me about love ; you ask if I have ever bowed 
to a master, ever merged my life in another's : expect no an- 
swer on this from me. Circe herself could give no answer to 
the simplest maid, who, never having loved, asks, "What is 
love? " 

In the history of the passions each human heart is a world 



THE PARISIANS. 



63 



in itself; its experience profits no others. In no two lives 
does love play the same part or bequeath the same record. 

I know not whether I am glad or sorry that the word 
"love" now falls on my ear with a sound as slight and as 
faint as the dropping of a leaf in autunm may fall on thine. 

I volunteer but this lesson, the wisest I can give, if thou 
canst understand it : as I bade thee take art into thy life, so 
learn to look on life itself as an art. Thou couldst discover 
the charm in Tasso; thou couldst perceive that the requisite 
of all art, that which pleases, is in the harmony of propor- 
tion. We lose sight of beauty if we exaggerate the feature 
most beautiful. 

Love proportioned adorns the homeliest existence; love 
disproportioned deforms the fairest. 

Alas! wilt thou remember this warning when the time 
comes in which it may be needed? 

E G . 



BOOK IL 



CHAPTER I. 

IT is several weeks after the date of the last chapter-, the 
lime-trees in the Tuileries are clothed in green. 

In a somewhat spacious apartment on the ground-floor in 
the quiet locality of the Rue d'Anjou, a man was seated, very 
still and evidently absorbed in deep thought, before a writ- 
ing-table placed close to the window. 

Seen thus, there was an expression of great power both of 
intellect and of character in a face which, in ordinary social 
commune, might rather be noticeable for an aspect of hardy 
frankness, suiting well with the clear-cut, handsome profile, 
and the rich dark auburn hair, waving carelessly over one of 
those broad open foreheads, which, according to an old writer, 
seem the "frontispiece of a temple dedicated to Honour." 

The forehead, indeed, was the man's most remarkable feat- 
ure. It could not but prepossess the beholder. When, in 
private theatricals, he had need to alter the character of his 
countenance, he did it effectually, merely by forcing down his 
hair till it reached his eyebrows. He no longer then looked 
like the same man. 

The person I describe has been already introduced to the 
reader as Graham Vane. But perhaps this is the fit occasion 
to enter into some such details as to his parentage and posi- 
tion as may make the introduction more satisfactory and 
complete. 

His father, the representative of a very ancient family, 
came into possession, after a long minority, of what may be 
called a fair squire's estate, and about half a million in mon- 



THE PARISIANS. 65 

eyed investments, inherited on the female side. Both land 
and money were absolutely at his disposal, unencumbered by 
entail or settlement. He was a man of a brilliant, irregular 
genius, of princely generosity, of splendid taste, of a gorgeous 
kind of pride closely allied to a masculine kind of vanity. As 
soon as he was of age he began to build, converting his squire's 
hall into a ducal palace. He then stood for the county ; and 
in days before the first Reform Bill, when a county election 
was to the estate of a candidate what a long war is to the 
debt of a nation. He won the election; he obtained early 
successes in Parliament. It was said by good authorities in 
political circles that, if he chose, he might aspire to lead his 
party, and ultimately to hold the first rank in the government 
of his country. 

That may or may not be true; but certainly he did not 
choose to take the trouble necessary for such an ambition. 
He was too fond of pleasure, of luxury, of pomp. He kept a 
famous stud of racers and hunters. He was a munificent 
patron of art. His establishments, his entertainments, were 
on a par with those of the great noble who represented the 
loftiest (Mr. Vane would not own it to be the eldest) branch 
of his genealogical tree. 

He became indifferent to political contests, indolent in his 
attendance at the House, speaking seldom, not at great length 
nor with much preparation, but with power and fire, orig- 
inality and genius; so that he was not only effective as an 
orator, but combining with eloquence advantages of birth, 
person, station, the reputation of patriotic independence, and 
genial attributes of character, he was an authority of weight 
in the scales of party. 

This gentleman, at the age of forty, married the dowerless 
daughter of a poor but distinguished naval officer, of noble 
family, first cousin to the Duke of Alton. 

He settled on her a suitable jointure, but declined to tie up 
any portion of his property for the benefit of children by the 
marriage. He declared that so much of his fortune was in- 
vested either in mines, the produce of which was extremely 
fluctuating, or in various funds, over rapid transfers in which 

YOfc I 5 



66 THE PARISIANS. 

it was his amusement and his interest to have control, un- 
checked by reference to trustees, that entails and settlements 
on children were an inconvenience he declined to incur. 

Besides, he held notions of his own as to the wisdom of 
keeping children dependent on their father. "What num- 
bers of young men," said he, "are ruined in character and in 
fortune by knowing that when their father dies they are cer- 
tain of the same provision, no matter how they displease him ; 
and in the meanwhile forestalling that provision by recourse 
to usurers." These arguments might not have prevailed over 
the bride's father a year or two later, when, by the death of 
intervening kinsmen, he became Duke of Alton; but in his 
then circumstances the marriage itself was so much beyond 
the expectations which the portionless daughter of a sea-cap- 
tain has the right to form that Mr. Vane had it all his own 
way, and he remained absolute master of his whole fortune, 
save of that part of his landed estate on which his wife's 
jointure was settled; and even from this incumbrance he was 
very soon freed. His wife died in the second year of mar- 
riage, leaving an only son, Graham. He grieved for her 
loss with all the passion of an impressionable, ardent, and 
powerful nature. Then for a while he sought distraction to 
his sorrow by throwing himself into public life with a devoted 
energy he had not previously displayed. 

His speeches served to bring his party into power, and he 
yielded, though reluctantly, to the unanimous demand of that 
party that he should accept one of the highest offices in the 
new Cabinet. He acquitted himself well as an administrator, 
but declared, no doubt honestly, that he felt like Sinbad re- 
leased from the old man on his back, when, a year or two 
afterwards, he went out of office with his party. No persua- 
sions could induce him to come in again; nor did he ever again 
take a very active part in debate. "No," said he, "I was 
born to the freedom of a private gentleman : intolerable to 
me is the thraldom of a public servant. But I will bring up 
my son so that he may acquit the debt which I decline to pay 
to my country." There he kept his word. Graham had been 
carefully educated for public life, the ambition for it dinned 



THE PARISIANS. 67 

Into nis ear from childhood. In his school vacations his 
father made him learn and declaim chosen specimens of mas- 
culine oratory ; engaged an eminent actor to give him lessons 
in elocution ; bade him frequent theatres, and study there the 
effect which words derive from looks and gesture ; encouraged 
him to take part himself in private theatricals. To all this 
the boy lent his mind with delight. He had the orator's in- 
born temperament; quick, yet imaginative, and loving the 
sport of rivalry and contest. Being also, in his boyish years, 
good-humoured and joyoxis, he was not more a favourite with 
the masters in the schoolroom than with the boys in the 
play-ground. Leaving Eton at seventeen, he then entered at 
Cambridge, and became, in his first term, the most popular 
speaker at the Union. 

But his father cut short his academical career, and decided, 
for reasons of his own, to place him at once in diplomacy. 
He was attached to the Embassy at Paris, and partook of the 
pleasures and dissipations of that metropolis too keenly to 
retain much of the sterner ambition to which he had before 
devoted himself. Becoming one of the spoiled darlings of 
fashion, there was great danger that his character would re- 
lax into the easy grace of the Epicurean, when all such loiter- 
ings in the Rose Garden were brought to abrupt close by a 
rude and terrible change in his fortunes. 

His father was killed by a fall from his horse in hunting ; 
and when his affairs were investigated, they were found to be 
hopelessly involved: apparently the assets would not suffice 
for the debts. The elder Vane himself was probably not 
aware of the extent of his liabilities. He had never wanted 
ready money to the last. He could always obtain that from 
a money-lender, or from the sale of his funded investments. 
But it became obvious, on examining his papers, that he knew 
at least how impaired would be the heritage he should be- 
queath to a son whom he idolized. For that reason he had 
given Graham a profession in diplomacy, and for that reason 
he had privately applied to the Ministry for the Viceroyalty 
of India, in the event of its speedy vacancy. He was emi- 
nent enough not to anticipate refusal, and with economy in 



68 THE PARISIANS. 

that lucrative post much of his pecuniary difficulties might 
have been redeemed, and at least an independent provision 
secured for his son. 

Graham, like Alain de Rochebriant, allowed no reproach 
on his father's memory; indeed, with more reason than 
Alain, for the elder Vane's fortune had at least gone on no 
mean and frivolous dissipation. 

It had lavished itself on encouragement to art, on great 
objects of public beneficence, on public-spirited aid of politi- 
cal objects ; and even in more selfish enjoyments there was a 
certain grandeur in his princely hospitalities, in his munifi- 
cent generosity, in a warm-hearted carelessness for money. 
No indulgence in petty follies or degrading vices aggravated 
the offence of the magnificent squanderer. 

"Let me look on my loss of fortune as a gain to myself," 
said Graham, manfully. " Had I been a rich man, my expe- 
rience of Paris tells me that I should most likely have been 
a very idle one. Now that I have no gold, I must dig in 
myself for iron." 

The man to whom he said this was an uncle -in-law, if I 
may use that phrase, the Right Hon. Richard King, popu- 
larly styled "the blameless King." 

This gentleman had married the sister of Graham's mother, 
whose loss in his infancy and boyhood she had tenderly and 
anxiously sought to supply. It is impossible to conceive a 
woman more fitted to invite love and reverence than was 
Lady Janet King, her manners were so sweet and gentle, her 
whole nature so elevated and pure. 

Her father had succeeded to the dukedom when she married 
Mr. King, and the alliance was not deemed quite suitable. 
Still it was not one to which the Duke would have been fairly 
justified in refusing his assent. 

Mr. King could not indeed boast of noble ancestry, nor was 
even a landed proprietor; but he was a not undistinguished 
member of Parliament, of irreproachable character, and ample 
fortune inherited from a distant kinsman, who had enriched 
himself as a merchant. It was on both sides a marriage of 
love. 



THE PARISIANS. 69 

It is popularly said that a man uplifts a wife to his own 
rank : it as often happens that a woman uplifts her husband to 
the dignity of her own character. Kichard King rose greatly 
in public estimation after his marriage with Lady Janet. 

She united to a sincere piety a very active and a very en- 
lightened benevolence. She guided his ambition aside from 
mere party politics into subjects of social and religious inter- 
est, and in devoting himself to these he achieved a position 
more popular and more respected than he could ever have 
won in the strife of party. 

When the Government of which the elder Vane became a 
leading Minister was formed, it was considered a great object 
to secure a name as high in the religious world, so beloved by 
the working classes, as that of Richard King ; and he accepted 
one of those places which, though not in the cabinet, confers 
the rank of Privy Councillor. 

When that brief-lived Administration ceased, he felt the 
same sensation of relief that Vane had felt, and came to the 
same resolution never again to accept office, but from different 
reasons, all of which need not now be detailed. Amongst 
them, however, certainly this: he was exceedingly sensitive 
to opinion, thin-skinned as to abuse, and very tenacious of 
the respect due to his peculiar character of sanctity and phil- 
anthropy. He writhed under every newspaper article that 
had made "the blameless King" responsible for the iniqui- 
ties of the Government to which he belonged. In the loss of 
office he seemed to recover his former throne. 

Mr. King heard Graham's resolution with a grave approv- 
ing smile, and his interest in the young man became greatly 
increased. He devoted himself strenuously to the object of 
saving to Graham some wrecks of his paternal fortunes, and 
having a clear head and great experience in the transaction 
of business, he succeeded beyond the most sanguine expecta- 
tions formed by the family t solicitor. A rich manufacturer 
was found to purchase at a fancy price the bulk of the estate 
with the palatial mansion, which the estate alone could never 
have sufficed to maintain with suitable establishments. 

So that when all debts were paid, Graham found himself in 



70 THE PARISIANS. 

possession of a clear income of about 500 a year, invested 
in a mortgage secured on a part of the hereditary lands, on 
which was seated an old hunting-lodge bought by a brewer. 

With this portion of the property Graham parted very re- 
luctantly. It was situated amid the most picturesque scenery 
on the estate, and the lodge itself was a remnant of the origi- 
nal residence of his ancestors before it had been abandoned 
for that which, built in the reign of Elizabeth, had been ex- 
panded into a Trentham-like palace by the last owner. 

But Mr. King's argument reconciled him to the sacrifice. 
"I can manage," said the prudent adviser, "if you insist on 
it, to retain that remnant of the hereditary estate which you 
are so loath to part with. But how? by mortgaging it to an 
extent that will scarcely leave you 50 a year net from the 
rents. This is not all. Your mind will then be distracted 
from the large object of a career to the small object of retain- 
ing a few family acres; you will be constantly hampered by 
private anxieties and fears; you could do nothing for the 
benefit of those around you, could not repair a farmhouse 
for a better class of tenant, could not rebuild a labourer's 
dilapidated cottage. Give up an idea that might be very well 
for a man whose sole ambition was to remain a squire, how- 
ever beggarly. Launch yourself into the larger world of met- 
ropolitan life with energies wholly unshackled, a mind wholly 
undisturbed, and secure of an income which, however modest, 
is equal to that of most young men who enter that world as 
your equals." 

Graham was convinced, and yielded, though with a bitter 
pang. It is hard for a man whose fathers have lived on the 
soil to give up all trace of their whereabouts. But none saw 
in him any morbid consciousness of change of fortune, when, 
a year after his father's death, he reassumed his place in so- 
ciety. If before courted for his expectations, he was still 
courted for himself; by many of the great who had loved his 
father, perhaps even courted more. 

He resigned the diplomatic career, not merely because the 
rise in that profession is slow, and in the intermediate steps 
the chances of distinction are slight and few, but more be- 



THE PARISIANS. 71 

cause he desired to cast his lot in the home country, and 
regarded the courts of other lands as exile. 

It was not true, however, as Lemercier had stated on re- 
port, that he lived on his pen. Curbing all his old extrava- 
gant tastes, 500 a year amply supplied his wants. But he 
had by his pen gained distinction, and created great belief in 
his abilities for a public career. He had written critical ar- 
ticles, read with much praise, in periodicals of authority, and 
had published one or two essays on political questions which 
had created yet more sensation. It was only the graver lit- 
erature, connected more or less with his ultimate object of a 
public career, in which he had thus evinced his talents of 
composition. Such writings were not of a nature to bring 
him much money, but they gave him a definite and solid 
station. In the old time, before the first Beform Bill, his 
reputation would have secured him at once a seat in Parlia- 
ment; but the ancient nurseries of statesmen are gone, and 
their place is not supplied. 

He had been invited, however, to stand for more than one 
large and populous borough, with very fair prospects of suc- 
cess; and, whatever the expense, Mr. King had offered to 
defray it. But Graham would not have incurred the latter 
obligation; and when he learned the pledges which his sup- 
porters would have exacted, he would not have stood if suc- 
cess had been certain and the cost nothing. " I cannot, " he 
said to his friends, " go into the consideration of what is best 
for the country with my thoughts manacled ; and I cannot be 
both representative and slave of the greatest ignorance of the 
greatest number. I bide my time, and meanwhile I prefer 
to write as I please, rather than vote as I don't please." 

Three years went by, passed chiefly in England, partly in 
travel; and at the age of thirty, Graham Vane was still one 
of those of whom admirers say, "He will be a great man 
some day ; " and detractors reply, " Some day seems a long 
way off." 

The same fastidiousness which had operated against that 
entrance into Parliament, to which his ambition not the less 
steadily adapted itself, had kept him free from the perils of 



72 THE PARISIANS. 

wedlock. In his heart he yearned for love and domestic life, 
but he had hitherto met with no one who realized the ideal 
he had formed. With his person, his accomplishments, his 
connections, and his repute, he might have made many an 
advantageous marriage. But somehow or other the charm 
vanished from a fair face, if the shadow of a money-bag fell 
on it; on the other hand, his ambition occupied so large a 
share in his thoughts that he would have fled in time from 
the temptation of a marriage that would have overweighted 
him beyond the chance of rising. Added to all, he desired 
in a wife an intellect that, if not equal to his own, could be- 
come so by sympathy, a union of high culture and noble as- 
piration, and yet of loving womanly sweetness which a man 
seldom finds out of books ; and when he does find it, perhaps 
it does not wear the sort of face that he fancies. Be that as 
it may, Graham was still unmarried and heart-whole. 

And now a new change in his life befell him. Lady Janet 
died of a fever contracted in her habitual rounds of charity 
among the houses of the poor. She had been to him as the 
most tender mother, and a lovelier soul than hers never 
alighted on the earth. His grief was intense; but what was 
her husband's? one of those griefs that kill. 

To the side of Richard King his Janet had been as the 
guardian angel. His love for her was almost worship : with 
her, every object in a life hitherto so active and useful 
seemed gone. He evinced no noisy passion of sorrow. He 
shut himself up, and refused to see even Graham. But after 
some weeks had passed, he admitted the clergyman in whom 
on spiritual matters he habitually confided, and seemed con- 
soled by the visits; then he sent for his lawyer and made his 
will; after which he allowed Graham to call on him daily, 
on the condition that there should be no reference to his loss. 
He spoke to the young man on other subjects, rather drawing 
him out about himself, sounding his opinion on various grave 
matters, watching his face while he questioned, as if seeking 
to dive into his heart, and sometimes pathetically sinking into 
silence, broken but by sighs. So it went on for a few more 
weeks; then he took the advice of his physician to seek change 



I THE PARISIANS. 78 

of air and scene. He went away alone, without even a servant, 
not leaving word where he had gone. After a little while he 
returned, more ailing, more broken than before. One morning 
he was found insensible, stricken by paralysis. He regained 
consciousness, and even for some days rallied strength. He 
might have recovered, but he seemed as if he tacitly refused to 
live. He expired at last, peacefully, in Graham's arms. 

At the opening of his will it was found that he had left 
Graham his sole heir and executor. Deducting government 
duties, legacies to servants, and donations to public charities, 
the sum thus bequeathed to his lost wife's nephew was two 
hundred and twenty thousand pounds. 

With such a fortune, opening indeed was made for an am- 
bition so long obstructed. But Graham affected no change in 
his mode of life; he still retained his modest bachelor's apart- 
ments, engaged no servants, bought no horses, in no way ex- 
ceeded the income he had posesssed before. He seemed, 
indeed, depressed rather than elated by the succession to a 
wealth which he had never anticipated. 

Two children had been born from the marriage of Richard 
King : they had died young, it is true, but Lady Janet at the 
time of her own decease was not too advanced in years for the 
reasonable expectation of other offspring; and even after 
Richard King became a widower, he had given to Graham no 
hint of his testamentary dispositions. The young man was no- 
blood-relation to him, and naturally supposed that such rela- 
tions would become the heirs. But in truth the deceased seemed 
to have no blood-relations : none had ever been known to visit 
him; none raised a voice to question the justice of his will. 

Lady Janet had been buried at Kensal Green; her hus- 
band's remains were placed in the same vault. 

For days and days Graham went his way lonelily to the 
cemetery. He might be seen standing motionless by that 
tomb, with tears rolling down his cheeks; yet his was not a 
weak nature, not one of those that love indulgence of irre- 
mediable grief. On the contrary, people who did not know 
him well said "that he had more head than heart," and the 
character of his pursuits, as of his writings, was certainly not 



74 THE PARISIANS. 

that of a sentimentalist. He had not thus visited the tomb 
till Richard King had been placed within it. Yet his love 
for his aunt was unspeakably greater than that which he 
could have felt for her husband. Was it, then, the husband 
that he so much more acutely mourned; or was there some- 
thing that, since the husband's death, had deepened his rev- 
erence for the memory of her whom he had not only loved as 
a mother, but honoured as a saint? 

These visits to the cemetery did not cease till Graham was 
confined to his bed by a very grave illness, the only one he 
had ever known. His physician said it was nervous fever, 
and occasioned by moral shock or excitement; it was attended 
with delirium. His recovery was slow, and when it was suffi- 
ciently completed he quitted England; and we find him now, 
with his mind composed, his strength restored, and his spirits 
braced, in that gay city of Paris; hiding, perhaps, some ear- 
nest purpose amid his participation in its holiday enjoyments. 
He is now, as I have said, seated before his writing-table in 
deep thought. He takes up a letter which he had already 
glanced over hastily, and reperuses it with more care. 

The letter is from his cousin, the Duke of Alton, who had 
succeeded a few years since to the family honours, an able 
man, with no small degree of information, an ardent politi- 
cian, but of very rational and temperate opinions ; too much 
occupied by the cares of a princely estate to covet office for 
himself; too sincere a patriot not to desire office for those to 
whose hands he thought the country might be most safely en- 
trusted; an intimate friend of Graham's. The contents of 
the letter are these: 

MY DEAR GRAHAM, I trust that you will welcome the brilliant 
opening into public life which these lines are intended to announce to 
you. Vavasour has just been with me to say that he intends to resign 
his seat for the county when Parliament meets, and agreeing with me 
that there is no one so fit to succeed him as yourself, he suggests the 
keeping his intention secret until you have arranged your committee 
and are prepared to take the field. You cannot hope to escape a con- 
test ; but I have examined the Register, and the party has gained rather 
than lost since the last election, when Vavasour was BO triumphant!/ 



THE PARISIANS. 75 



returned. The expenses for this county, where there are so many out- 
voters to bring up, and so many agents to retain, are always large in 
comparison with some other counties ; but that consideration is all in 
your favour, for it deters Squire Hunston, the only man who could beat 
you, from starting ; and to your resources a thousand pounds more or 
less are a trifle not worth discussing. You know how difficult it is now- 
adays to find a seat for a man of moderate opinions like yours and mine. 
Our county would exactly suit you. The constituency is so evenly 
divided between the urban and rural populations, that its representative 
must fairly consult the interests of both. He can be neither an ultra- 

>Tory nor a violent Radical. He is left to the enviable freedom, to 
which you say you aspire, of considering what is best for the country 
as a whole. 

Do not lose so rare an opportunity. There is but one drawback to 
your triumphant candidature. It will be said that you have no longer 

an acre in the county in which the Vanes have been settled so long. 
That drawback can be removed. It is true that you can never hope to 
buy back the estates which you were compelled to sell at your father's 

I death : the old manufacturer gripes them too firmly to loosen his hold ; 
and after all, even were your income double what it is, you would be 
overhoused in the vast pile in which your father buried so large a share 
of his fortune. But that beautiful old hunting-lodge, the Stamm Schloss 
of your family, with the adjacent farms, can be now repurchased very 
reasonably. The brewer who bought them is afflicted with an extrava- 
gant son, whom he placed in the Hussars, and will gladly sell the 

property for 5,000 more than he gave ; well worth the difference, as 
he has improved the farm-buildings and raised the rental. I think, in 

addition to the sum you have on mortgage, 23,000 will be accepted, 
and as a mere investment pay you nearly three per cent. But to you it 
is worth more than double the money ; it once more identifies your 
ancient name with the county. You would be a greater personage with 
that moderate holding in the district in which your race took root, and 
on which your father's genius threw such a lustre, than you would be if 
ou invested all your wealth in a county in which every squire and 
rmer would call you " the new man." Pray think over this most 
seriously, and instruct your solicitor to open negotiations with the 
brewer at once. But rather put yourself into the train, and come back 
to Knprland straight to me. I will ask Vavasour to meet you. What 
news from I'aris? Is the Emperor as ill as the papers insinuate? And 
is the revolutionary party gaining ground ? 

Your affectionate cousin, 

ALTON. 



76 THE PARISIANS. 

As he put down this letter, Graham heaved a short impatient 
sigh. 

"The old Stamm Schloss," he muttered, "a foot on the 
old soil once more! and an entrance into the great arena with 
hands unfettered. Is it possible ! is it? is it? " 

At this moment the door-bell of the apartment rang, and a 
servant whom Graham had hired at Paris as a laquais de place 
announced " Ce Monsieur." 

Graham hurried the letter into his portfolio, and said, 
"You mean the person to whom I am always at home?" 

"The same, Monsieur." 

"Admit him, of course." 

There entered a wonderfully thin man, middle-aged, clothed 
in black, his face cleanly shaven, his hair cut very short, 
with one of those faces which, to use a French expression, 
say "nothing." It was absolutely without expression: it had 
not even, despite its thinness, one salient feature. If you 
had found yourself anywhere seated next to that man, your 
eye would have passed him over as too insignificant to notice; 
if at a cafe, you would have gone on talking to your friend 
without lowering your voice. What mattered it whether a 
bete like that overheard or not? Had you been asked to guess 
his calling and station, you might have said, minutely observ- 
ing the freshness of his clothes and the undeniable respecta- 
bility of his tout ensemble, "He must be well off, and with 
no care for customers on his mind, a ci-devant chandler 
who has retired on a legacy." 

Graham rose at the entrance of his visitor, motioned him 
courteously to a seat beside him, and waiting till the laquais 
had vanished, then asked, "What news?" 

" None, I fear, that will satisfy Monsieur. I have certainly 
hunted out, since I had last the honour to see you, no less 
than four ladies of the name of Duval, but only one of them 
took that name from her parents, and was also christened 
Louise." 

"Ah Louise!" 

"Yes, the daughter of a perfumer, aged twenty-eight. 
She, therefore, is not the Louise you seek. Permit me to 



THE PARISIANS. 77 

?fer to your instructions." Here M. Renard took out a 
lote-book, turned over the leaves, and resumed, "Wanted, 
jouise Duval, daughter of Auguste Duval, a French drawing- 
laster, who lived for many years at Tours, removed to Paris 

1845, lived at No. 12, Rue de S at Paris for some 

fears, but afterwards moved to a different quartier of the 

)wn, and died 1848, in Rue L , No. 39. Shortly after 

lis death, his daughter Louise left that lodging, and could 
lot be traced. In 1849 official documents reporting her death 
rere forwarded from Munich to a person (a friend of yours, 
Consieur). Death, of course, taken for granted; but nearly 
ive years afterwards, this very person encountered the said 
raise Duval at Aix-la-Chapelle, and never heard nor saw 
lore of her. Demande submitted, to find out said Louise 
ival or any children of hers born in 1848-9; supposed in 
1852-3 to have one child, a girl, between four and five years 
jld. Is that right, Monsieur? " 
"Quite right." 

"And this is the whole information given to me. Monsieur 
giving it asked me if I thought it desirable that he should 
)mmence inquiries at Aix-la-Chapelle, where Louise Duval 
last seen by the person interested to discover her. I 
jply, No; pains -thrown away. Aix-la-Chapelle is not a 
>lace where any Frenchwoman not settled there by marriage 
rould remain. Nor does it seem probable that the said 
ival would venture to select for her residence Munich, a 
;ity in which she had contrived to obtain certificates of her 
leath. A Frenchwoman who has once known Paris always 
/ants to get back to it; especially, Monsieur, if she has the 
3auty which you assign to this lady. I therefore suggested 
that our inquiries should commence in this capital. Monsieur 
agreed with me, and I did not grudge the time necessary for 
investigation." 

" You were most obliging. Still I am beginning to be im- 
patient if time is to be thrown away." 

" Naturally. Permit me to return to my notes. Monsieur 
informs me that twenty-one years ago, in 1848, the Parisian 
police were instructed to find out this lady and failed, but 






78 THE PARISIANS. 

gave hopes of discovering her through her relations. He 
asks me to refer to our archives; I tell him that is no use. 
However, in order to oblige him, I do so. No trace of such 
inquiry : it must have been, as Monsieur led me to suppose, 
a strictly private one, unconnected with crime or with poli- 
tics; and as I have the honour to tell Monsieur, no record of 
such investigations is preserved in our office. Great scandal 
would there be, and injury to the peace of families, if we 
preserved the results of private inquiries intrusted to us by 
absurdly jealous husbands, for instance. Honour, Monsieur, 
honour forbids it. Next I suggest to Monsieur that his sim- 
plest plan would be an advertisement in the French journals, 
stating, if I understand him right, that it is for the pecuniary 
interest of Madame or Mademoiselle Duval, daughter of Au- 
guste Duval, artiste en dessin, to come forward. Monsieur 
objects to that." 

"I object to it extremely; as I have told you, this is a 
strictly confidential inquiry ; and an advertisement which in 
all likelihood would be practically useless (it proved to be 
so in a former inquiry) would not be resorted to unless all 
else failed, and even then with reluctance." 

"Quite so. Accordingly, Monsieur delegates to me, who 
have been recommended to him as the best person he can em- 
ploy in that department of our police which is not connected 
with crime or political surveillance, a task the most difficult. 
I have, through strictly private investigations, to discover 
the address and prove the identity of a lady bearing a name 
among the most common in France, and of whom nothing 
has been heard for fifteen years, and then at so migratory an 
endroit as Aix-la-Chapelle. You will not or cannot inform 
me if since that time the -lady has changed her name by 
marriage. " 

" I have no reason to think that she has ; and there are rea- 
sons against the supposition that she married after 1849." 

" Permit me to observe that the more details of information 
Monsieur can give me, the easier my task of research will bo." 

" I have given you all the details I can, and, aware of the 
difficulty of tracing a person with a name so much the reverse 



THE PARISIANS. 79 

of singular, I adopted your advice in our first interview, of 
asking some Parisian friend of mine, with a large acquaint- 
ance in the miscellaneous societies of your capital, to inform 
me of any ladies of that name whom he might chance to en- 
counter; and he, like you, has lighted upon one or two, who, 
alas! resemble the right one in name and nothing more." 

"You will do wisely to keep him on the watch as well as 
myself. If it were but a murderess or a political incendiary, 
then you might trust exclusively to the enlightenment of our 
corps, but this seems an affair of sentiment, Monsieur. Sen- 
timent is not in our way,. Seek the trace of that in the haunts 
of pleasure." 

M. Renard, having thus poetically delivered himself of that 
philosophical dogma, rose to depart. 

Graham slipped into his hand a bank-note of sufficient value 
to justify the profound bow he received in return. 

When M. Renard had gone, Graham heaved another impa- 
tient sigh, and said to himself, "No, it is not possible, at 
least not yet." 

Then, compressing his lips as a man who forces himself to 
something he dislikes, he dipped his pen into the inkstand, 
and wrote rapidly thus to his kinsman: 

MY DEAR COUSIN, I lose not a post in replying to your kind and 
considerate letter. It is not in my power at present to return to Eng- 
land. I need not say how fondly I cherish the hope of representing the 
dear old county some day. If Vavasour could be induced to defer his 
resignation of the seat for another session, or at least for six or seven 
months, why then I might be free to avail myself of the opening ; at 
present I am not. Meanwhile I am sorely tempted to buy back the old 
Lodge ; probably the brewer would allow me to leave on mortgage the 
sum I myself have on the property, and a few additional thousands. I 
have reasons for not wishing to transfer at present much of the money 
now invested in the Funds. I will consider this point, which probably 
does not press. 

I reserve all Paris news till my next ; and begging you to forgive so 
curt and unsatisfactory a reply to a letter so important that it excites 
me more than I like to own, believe me your affectionate friend and 

cousin, 

GRAHAM. 



80 THE PARISIANS. 



CHAPTER II. 

AT about the same hour on the same day in which the Eng- 
lishman held the conference with the Parisian detective just 
related, the Marquis de Rochebriant found himself by ap- 
pointment in the cabinet d'affaires of his avoub M. Gandrin: 
that gentleman had hitherto not found time to give him a 
definite opinion as to the case submitted to his judgment. 
The avouti received Alain with a kind of forced civility, in 
which the natural intelligence of the Marquis, despite his 
inexperience of life, discovered embarrassment. 

"Monsieur le Marquis," said Gandrin, fidgeting among the 
papers on his bureau, "this is a very complicated business. 
I have given not only my best attention to it, but to your 
general interests. To be plain, your estate, though a fine one, 
is fearfully encumbered fearfully frightfully." 

"Sir," said the Marquis, haughtily, "that is a fact which 
was never disguised from you." 

" I do not say that it was, Marquis ; but I scarcely realized 
the amount of the liabilities nor the nature of the property. 
It will be difficult nay, I fear, impossible to find any 
capitalist to advance a sum that will cover the mortgages at 
an interest less than you now pay. As for a Company to 
take the whole trouble off your hands, clear off the mortgages, 
manage the forests, develop the fisheries, guarantee you an 
adequate income, and at the end of twenty-one years or so 
render up to you or your heirs the free enjoyment of an estate 
thus improved, we must dismiss that prospect as a wild dream 
of my good friend M. Hebert. People in the provinces do 
dream; in Paris everybody is wide awake." 

"Monsieur," said the Marquis, with that inborn imperturb- 
able loftiness of sang froid which has always in adverse cir- 
cumstances characterized the French noblesse, " be kind enough 
to restore my papers. I see that you are not the man for me. 



THE PARISIANS. 81 



82 THE PARISIANS. 

mortgagees M. Louvier has been hitherto the severest and 
most menacing, the one whom Hebert dreads the most; and 
should he become sole mortgagee, my whole estate would pass 
to him if, through any succession of bad seasons and failing 
tenants, the interest was not punctually paid." 

"It could so pass to him now." 

"No; for there have been years in which the other mort- 
gagees, who are Bretons and would be loath to ruin a Roche- 
briant, have been lenient and patient." 

" If Louvier has not been equally so, it is only because he 
knew nothing of you, and your father no doubt had often 
sorely tasked his endurance. Come, suppose we manage to 
break the ice easily. Do me the honour to dine here to meet 
him; you will find that he is not an unpleasant man." 

The Marquis hesitated, but the thought of the sharp and 
seemingly hopeless struggle for the retention of his ancestral 
home to which he would be doomed if he returned from Paris 
unsuccessful in his errand overmastered his pride. He felt 
as if that self-conquest was a duty he owed to the very tombs 
of his fathers. " I ought not to shrink from the face of a 
creditor," said he, smiling somewhat sadly, "and I accept the 
proposal you so graciously make." 

" You do well, Marquis, and I will write at once to Louvier 
to ask him to give me his first disengaged day." 

The Marquis had no sooner quitted the house than M. 
Gandrin opened a door at the side of his office, and a large 
portly man strode into the room, stride it was rather than 
step, firm, self-assured, arrogant, masterful. 

"Well, mon ami," said this man, taking his stand at the 
hearth, as a king might take his stand in the hall of his vas- 
sal, "and what says our petit muscadin? " 

"He is neither petit nor muscadin, Monsieur Louvier," 
replied Gandrin, peevishly; "and he will task your powers 
to get him thoroughly into your net. But I have persuaded 
him to meet you here. What day can you dine with me? I 
had better ask no one else." 

"To-morrow I dine with my friend , to meet the 

chiefs of the Opposition," said M. Louvier, with a sort of 



THE PARISIANS. 83 

careless rollicking pomposity. "Thursday with Pereire; 

Saturday I entertain at home. Say Friday. Your hour? " 
"Seven." 

"Good! Show me those Rochebriant papers again; there 
something I had forgotten to note. Never mind me. Go 

MI with your work as if I were not here." 
Louvier took up the papers, seated himself in an armchair 
f the fireplace, stretched out his legs, and read at his ease, 

but with a very rapid eye, as a practised lawyer skims 

through the technical forms of a case to fasten upon the 
larrow of it. 

"Ah! as I thought. The farms could not pay even the 
iterest on my present mortgage; the forests come in for 
lat. If a contractor for the yearly sale of the woods was 
inkrupt and did not pay, how cpuld I get my interest? 

Answer me that, Gandrin." 

"Certainly you must run the risk of that chance." 
"Of course the chance occurs, and then I foreclose, 1 I 
size, Roohebriant and its seigneuries -are mine." 
As he spoke he laughed, not sardonically, a jovial laugh, 
and opened wide, to reshut as in a vice, the strong iron 
md which had doubtless closed over many a man's all. 
"Thanks. On Friday, seven o'clock." He tossed the 
ipers back on the bureau, nodded a royal nod, and strode 

forth imperiously as he had strode in. 



CHAPTER III. 

MEANWHILE the young Marquis pursued his way thought- 
fully through the streets, and entered the Champs Elysees. 
ilince we first, nay, since we last saw him, he is strikingly 

1 For the sake of the general reader, English technical words are here, as 
ewhere, substituted as much as possible for French. 



84 THE PARISIANS. 

improved in outward appearances. He has unconsciously 
acquired more of the easy grace of the Parisian in gait and 
bearing. You would no longer detect the Provincial per- 
haps, however, because he is now dressed, though very sim- 
ply, in habiliments that belong to the style of the day. 
Rarely among the loungers in the Champs Elysees could be 
seen a finer form, a comelier face, an air of more unmistak- 
able distinction. 

The eyes of many a passing fair one gazed on him, admir- 
ingly or coquettishly. But he was still so little the true 
Parisian that they got no smile, no look in return. He was 
wrapped in his own thoughts; was he thinking of M. Louvier? 

He had nearly gained the entrance of the Bois de Boulogne, 
when he was accosted by a voice behind, and turning round 
saw his friend Lemercier arm-in-arm with Graham Vane. 

" Bonjour, Alain," said Lemercier, hooking his disengaged 
arm into Rochebriant's. " I suspect we are going the same 
way." 

Alain felt himself change countenance at this conjecture, 
and replied coldly, "I think not; I have got to the end of my 
walk, and shall turn back to Paris;" addressing himself to 
the Englishman, he said with formal politeness, "I regret 
not to have found you at home when I called some weeks ago, 
and no less so to have been out when you had the complais- 
ance to return my visit." 

"At all events," replied the Englishman, "let me not lose 
the opportunity of improving our acquaintance which now 
offers. It is true that our friend Lemercier, catching sight 
of me in the Rue de Rivoli, stopped his coupe and carried me 
off for a promenade in the Bois. The fineness of the day 
tempted us to get out of his carriage as the Bois came in sight. 
But if you are going back to Paris I relinquish the Bois and 
offer myself as your companion." 

Frederic (the name is so familiarly English that the 
reader might think me pedantic did I accentuate it as French) 
looked from one to the other of his two friends, half amused 
and half angry. 

" And am I to be left alone to achieve a conquest, in which 3 



THE PARISIANS. 85 

if I succeed, I shall change into hate and envy the affection 
of my two best friends? Be it so. 

" ' Un veritable amant ne connait point d'amig.' " 

"I do not comprehend your meaning," said the Marquis, 
with a compressed lip and a slight frown. 

"Bah!" cried Frederic ; "come, franc jeu ; cards on the 
table. M. Gram Varn was going into the Bois at my sugges- 
tion on the chance of having another look at the pearl- 
coloured angel; and you, Rochebriant, can't deny that you 
were going into the Bois for the same object." 

"One may pardon an enfant terrible," said the Englishman, 
mghing, " but an ami terrible should be sent to the galleys. 
)me, Marquis, let us walk back and submit to our fate. 
Sven were the lady once more visible, we have no chance of 
iing observed by the side of a Lovelace so accomplished and 
audacious ! " 

"Adieu, then, recreants: I go alone. Victory or death." 
The Parisian beckoned his coachman, entered his carriage, 
md with a mocking grimace kissed his hand to the compan- 
ions thus deserting or deserted. 

Rochebriant touched the Englishman's arm, and said, 
; Do you think that Lemercier could be impertinent enough 
accost that lady?" 

"In the first place," returned the Englishman, "Lemercier 
dmself tells me that the lady has for several weeks relin- 
quished her walks in the Bois, and the probability is, there- 
fore, that he will not have the opportunity to accost her. In 
le next place, it appears that when she did take her solitary 
ralk, she did not stray far from her carriage, and was in 
iach of the protection of her laquais and coachman. But to 
speak honestly, do you, who know Lemercier better than I, 
ike him to be a man who would commit an impertinence to a 
roman unless there were viveurs of his own sex to see him 
lo it?" 

Alain smiled. "No. Frederic's real nature is an admir- 
able one, and if he ever do anything that he ought to be 
shamed of, 't will be from the pride of showing how finely 



86 THE PARISIANS. 

he can do it. Such was his character at college, and such it 
still seems at Paris. But it is true that the lady has forsaken 
her former walk; at least I I have not seen her since the 
day I first beheld her in company with Frederic. Yet yet, 
pardon me, you were going to the Bois on the chance of see- 
ing her. Perhaps she has changed the direction of her walk, 
and and " 

The Marquis stopped short, stammering and confused. 

The Englishman scanned his countenance with the rapid 
glance of a practised observer of men and things, and after 
a short pause said : " If the lady has selected some other spot 
for her promenade, I am ignorant of it; nor have I ever vol- 
unteered the chance of meeting with her, since I learned 
first from Lemercier, and afterwards from others that her 
destination is the stage. Let us talk frankly, Marquis. I 
am accustomed to take much exercise on foot, and the Bois is 
my favourite resort: one day I there found myself in the 
allee which the lady we speak of used to select for her prom- 
enade, and there saw her. Something in her face impressed 
me; how shall I describe the impression? Did you ever open 
a poem, a romance, in some style wholly new to you, and be- 
fore you were quite certain whether or not its merits justified 
the interest which the novelty inspired, you were summoned 
away, or the book was taken out of your hands? If so, did 
you not feel an intellectual longing to have another glimpse 
of the book? That illustration describes my impression, and 
I own that I twice again went to the same allee. The last 
time I only caught sight of the young lady as she was getting 
into her carriage. As she was then borne away, I perceived 
one of the custodians of the Bois ; and learned, on questioning 
him, that the lady was in the habit of walking always alone 
in the same allee at the same hour on most fine days, but that 
he did not know her name or address. A motive of curiosity 
perhaps an idle one then made me ask Lemercier, who 
boasts of knowing his Paris so intimately, if he could inform 
me who the lady was. He undertook to ascertain." 

"But," interposed the Marquis, "he did not ascertain who 
she was, he only ascertained where she lived, and that she 



n 

T 

ch 

us 



THE PARISIANS. 87 

and an elder companion were Italians, whom he suspected, 
without sufficient ground, to be professional singers." 

" True ; but since then I ascertained more detailed particu- 
lars from two acquaintances of mine who happen to know 
her, M. Savarin, the distinguished writer, and Mrs. Morley, 
an accomplished, and beautiful American lady, who is more 
than an acquaintance. I may boast the honour of ranking 

among her friends. As Savarin's villa is at A , I asked 

him incidentally if he knew the fair neighbour whose face 
had so attracted me; and Mrs. Morley being present, and 
iverhearing me, 1 learned from both what I now repeat to 
ou. 

"The young lady is a Signorina Cicogna, at Paris, ex- 
anging (except among particular friends), as is not un- 
sual, the outlandish designation of Signorina for the more 
conventional one of Mademoiselle. Her father was a member 
f the noble Milanese family of the same name, therefore the 
oung lady is well born. Her father has been long dead; 
is widow married again an English gentleman settled 
Italy, a scholar and antiquarian; his name was Selby. 
his gentleman, also dead, bequeathed the Signorina a 
11 but sufficient competence. She is now an orphan, and 
siding with a companion, a Signora Venosta, who was once 
singer of some repute at the Neapolitan Theatre, in the 
rchestra of which her husband was principal performer; but 
he relinquished the stage several years ago on becoming a 
idow, and gave lessons as a teacher. She has the character 
f being a scientific musician, and of unblemished private re- 
spectability. Subsequently she was induced to give up gen- 
eral teaching, and undertake the musical education and the 
ial charge of the young lady with her. This girl is said 
to have early given promise of extraordinary excellence as a 
singer, and excited great interest among a coterie of literary 
critics and musical cognoscenti. She was to have come out at 
the Theatre of Milan a year or two ago, but her career has 
en suspended in consequence of ill-health, for which she is 
ow at Paris under the care of an English physician, who has 
ade remarkable cures in all complaints of the respiratory 



88 THE PARISIANS. 

organs. M , the great composer, who knows her, saya 

that in expression and feeling she has no living superior, 
perhaps no equal since Malibran." 

"You seem, dear Monsieur, to have taken much pains to 
acquire this information." 

"No great pains were necessary; but had they been T might 
have taken them, for, as I have owned to you, Mademoiselle 
Cicogua, while she was yet a mystery to me, strangely inter- 
ested my thoughts or my fancies. That interest has now 
ceased. The world of actresses and singers lies apart from 
mine." 

"Yet," said Alain, in a tone of voice that implied doubt, 
"if I understand Lemercier aright, you were going with him 
to the Bois on the chance of seeing again the lady in whom 
your interest has ceased." 

" Lemercier's account was not strictly accurate. He stopped 
his carriage to speak to me on quite another subject, on which 
I have consulted him, and then proposed to take me on to the 
Bois. I assented; and it was not till we were in the carriage 
that he suggested the idea of seeing whether the pearly-robed 
lady had resumed her walk in the allee. You may judge how 
indifferent I was to that chance when I preferred turning 
back with you to going on with him. Between you and me, 
Marquis, to men of our age, who have the business of life 
before them, and feel that if there be aught in which noblesse 
oblige it is a severe devotion to noble objects, there is nothing 
more fatal to such devotion than allowing the heart to be 
blown hither and thither at every breeze of mere fancy, and 
dreaming ourselves into love with some fair creature whom 
we never could marry consistently with the career we have 
set before our ambition. I could not marry an actress, 
neither, I presume, could the Marquis de Rochebriant; and 
the thought of a courtship which excluded the idea of mar- 
riage to a young orphan of name unblemished, of virtue 
unsuspected, would certainly not be compatible with ' de- 
votion to noble objects. ' " 

Alain involuntarily bowed his head in assent to the propo- 
sition, and, it may be, in submission to an implied rebuke. 



THE PARISIANS. 



The two men walked in silence for some minutes, and Graham 
first spoke, changing altogether the subject of conversation. 

" Lemercier tells me you decline going much into this world 
of Paris, the capital of capitals, which appears so irresistibly 
attractive to us foreigners." 

" Possibly ; but, to borrow your words, I have the business 
of life before me." 

"Business is a good safeguard against the temptations to 
excess in pleasure, in which Paris abounds. But there is no 
business which does not admit of some holiday, and all busi- 
ness necessitates commerce with mankind. A propos, I was 
the other evening at the Duchesse de Tarascon's, a brilliant 
assembly, filled with ministers, senators, and courtiers. I 
heard your name mentioned." 
"Mine?" 

"Yes; Duplessis, the rising financier who rather to my 
surprise was not only present among these official and deco- 
,ted celebrities, but apparently quite at home among them 
asked the Duchess if she had not seen you since your ar- 
ival at Paris. She replied, ' No; that though you were 
ong her nearest connections, you had not called on her; ' 
d bade Duplessis tell you that you were a monstre for not 
oing so. Whether or not Duplessis will take that liberty I 
now not; but you must pardon me if I do. She is a very 
harming woman, full of talent; and that stream of the world 
hich reflects the stars, with all their mythical influences on 
: ortune, flows through her salons." 
"I am not born under those stars. I am a Legitimist." 
" I did not forget your political creed ; but in England the 
aders of opposition attend the salons of the Prime Minister, 
man is not supposed to compromise his opinions because he 
xchanges social courtesies with those to whom his opinions 
p e hostile. Pray excuse me if I am indiscreet, I speak as 
traveller who asks for information: but do the Legitimists 
really believe that they best serve their cause by declining any 
mode of competing with its opponents? Would there not be 
fairer chance of the ultimate victory of their principles if 
made their talents and energies individually prominent j 




90 THE PARISIANS. 

if they were known as skilful generals, practical statesmen, 
eminent diplomatists, brilliant writers? Could they com- 
bine, not to sulk and exclude themselves from the great 
battle-field of the world, but in their several ways to render 
themselves of such use to their country that some day or 
other, in one of those revolutionary crises to which France, 
alas! must long be subjected, they would find themselves 
able to turn the scale of undecided councils and conflicting 
jealousies." 

" Monsieur, we hope for the day when the Divine Disposer 
of events will strike into the hearts of our fickle and erring 
countrymen the conviction that there will be no settled repose 
for France save under the sceptre of her rightful kings. But 
meanwhile we are, I see it more clearly since I have quitted 
Bretagne, we are a hopeless minority." 

" Does not history tell us that the great changes of the world 
have been wrought by minorities, but on the one condition 
that the minorities shall not be hopeless? It is almost the 
other day that the Bonapartists were in a minority that their 
adversaries called hopeless, and the majority for the Emperor 
is now so preponderant that I tremble for his safety. When 
a majority becomes so vast that intellect disappears in the 
crowd, the date of its destruction commences; for by the law 
of reaction the minority is installed against it. It is the 
nature of things that minorities are always more intellectual 
than multitudes, and intellect is ever at work in sapping 
numerical force. What your party want is hope; because 
without hope there is no energy. I remember hearing my 
father say that when he met the Count de Chainbord at Ems, 
that illustrious personage delivered himself of a belle phrase 
much admired by his partisans. The Emperor was then 
President of the Republic, in a very doubtful and dangerous 
position. France seemed on the verge of another convulsion. 
A certain distinguished politician recommended the Count de 
Chambord to hold himself ready to enter at once as a candi- 
date for the throne. And the Count, with a benignant smile 
on his handsome face, answered, ' All wrecks come to the 
shore: the shore does not go to the wrecks.'" 



THE PARISIANS. 91 



" Beautifully said ! " exclaimed the Marquis. 
"Not if ' Le beau est toujours le vrai. ' My father, no inex- 
perienced nor unwise politician, in repeating the royal words, 
remarked: ' The fallacy of the Count's argument is in its 
metaphor. A man is not a shore. Do you not think that the 
seamen on board the wrecks would be more grateful to him 
who did not complacently compare himself to a shore, but 
nsidered himself a human being like themselves, and risked 
is own life in a boat, even though it were a cockle-shell, in 
e chance of saving theirs? " 

Alain de Rochebriint was a brave man, with that intense 
ntiment of patriotism which characterizes Frenchmen of 
very rank and persuasion, unless they belong to the Inter- 
ationalists; and, without pausing to consider, he cried, 
Your father was right." 

The Englishman resumed: "Need I say, my dear Marquis, 
at I am not a Legitimist? I am not an Imperialist, neither 
I an Orleanist nor a Republican. Between all those polit- 
1 divisions it is for Frenchmen to make their choice, and 
or Englishmen to accept for France that government which 
'ranee has established. I view things here as a simple ob- 
rver. But it strikes me that if I were a Frenchman in your 
sition, I should think myself unworthy my ancestors if I 
nsented to be an insignificant looker-on." 
'You are not in my position," said the Marquis, half 
ournfully, half haughtily, " and you can scarcely judge of it 
en in imagination." 

"I need not much task my imagination; I judge of it by 
nalogy. I was very much in your position when I entered 
pon what I venture to call my career; and it is the curi- 
us similarity between us in circumstances, that made me 
ish for your friendship when that similarity was made 
own to me by Lemercier, who is not less garrulous than 
.e true Parisian usually is. Permit me to say that, like 
ou, I was reared in some pride of no inglorious ancestry. I 
as reared also in the expectation of great wealth. Those 
xpectations were not realized : my father had the fault of 
oble natures, generosity pushed to imprudence: he died 



92 THE PARISIANS. 

poor and in debt. You retain the home of your ancestors; 1 
had to resign mine." 

The Marquis had felt deeply interested in this narrative, 
and as Graham now paused, took his hand and pressed it. 

"One of our most eminent personages said to me about 
that time, ' Whatever a clever man of your age determines to 
do or to be, the odds are twenty to one that he has only to 
live on in order to do or to be it.' Don't you think he spoke 
truly? I think so." 

"I scarcely know what to think," said Rochebriant; "1 
feel as if you had given me so rough a shake when I was in 
the midst of a dull dream, that I am not yet quite sure 
whether I am asleep or awake." 

Just as he said this, and towards the Paris end of 
the Champs Elysees, there was a halt, a sensation among 
the loungers round them; many of them uncovered in 
salute. 

A man on the younger side of middle age, somewhat in- 
clined to corpulence, with a very striking countenance, was 
riding slowly by. He returned the salutations he received 
with the careless dignity of a Personage accustomed to re- 
spect, and then reined in his horse by the side of a barouche, 
and exchanged some words with a portly gentleman who was 
its sole occupant. The loungers, still halting, seemed to con- 
template this parley between him on horseback and him in 
the carriage with very eager interest. Some put their 
hands behind their ears and pressed forward, as if trying to 
overhear what was said. 

"I wonder," quoth Graham, "whether, with all his clever- 
ness, the Prince has in any way decided what he means to do 
or to be." 

"The Prince! " said Rochebriant, rousing himself from rev- 
ery; "what Prince?" 

"Do you not recognize him by his wonderful likeness to 
the first Napoleon, him on horseback talking to Louvier, 
the great financier." 

"Is that stout bourgeois in the carriage Louvier, my mort- 
gagee, Louvier? " 



THE PARISIANS. 93 

"Your mortgagee, my dear Marquis? Well, lie is rich 
enough to be a very lenient one upon pay-day." 

"Hein! I doubt his leniency," said Alain. "I have 
promised my avou6 to meet him at dinner. Do you think 
I did wrong?" 

"Wrong! of course not; he is likely to overwhelm you 
with civilities. Pray don't refuse if he gives you an invita- 
tion to his soiree next Saturday; I am going to it. One meets 
there the notabilities most interesting to study, artists, 
authors, politicians, especially those who call themselves Re- 
publicans. He and the Prince agree in one thing; namely, 
the cordial reception they give to the men who would destroy 
the state of things upon which Prince and financier both 
thrive. Hillo! here comes Lemercier on return from the 
Bois." 

Lemercier's coup& stopped beside the footpath. "What 
tidings of the Belle Inconnue ? " asked the Englishman. 

"None; she was not there. But I am rewarded: such an 

.venture! a dame of the haute volee; I believe she is a 
.uchess. She was walking with a lap-dog, a pure Pome- 
ian. A strange poodle flew at the Pomeranian, I drove 
the poodle, rescued the Pomeranian, received the most 
gracious thanks, the sweetest smile : femme superbe, middle- 
aged. I prefer women of forty. Au revoir, I am due at the 

ub." 

Alain felt a sensation of relief that Lemercier had not seen 

e lady in the pearl-coloured dress, and quitted the English- 
with a lightened heart. 





CHAPTER IV. 

"Piccola, piccolaf com' e cortese ! another invitation from 
M. Louvier for next Saturday, conversazione." This 
as said in Italian by an elderly lady bursting noisily into 
e room, elderly, yet with a youthful expression of face, 



94 THE PARISIANS. 

owing perhaps to a pair of very vivacious black eyes. She 
was dressed, after a somewhat slatternly fashion, in a wrap- 
per of crimson merino much the worse for wear, a blue hand- 
kerchief twisted turban-like round her head, and her feet 
encased in list slippers. The person to whom she addressed 
herself was a young lady with dark hair, which, despite its 
evident redundance, was restrained into smooth glossy braids 
over the forehead, and at the crown of the small graceful head 
into the simple knot which Horace has described as " Spartan." 
Her dress contrasted the speaker's by an exquisite neatness. 

We have seen her before as the lady in the pearl-coloured 
robe; but seen now at home she looks much younger. She 
was one of those whom, encountered in the streets or in so- 
ciety, one might guess to be married, probably a young bride ; 
for thus seen there was about her an air of dignity and of self- 
possession which suits well with the ideal of chaste youth- 
ful matronage; and in the expression of the face there was a 
pensive thoughtfulness beyond her years. But as she now sat 
by the open window arranging flowers in a glass bowl, a book 
lying open on her lap, you would never have said, "What a 
handsome woman ! " you would have said, " What a charming 
girl ! " All about her was maidenly, innocent, and fresh. The 
dignity of her bearing was lost in household ease, the pensive- 
ness of her expression in an untroubled serene sweetness. 

Perhaps many of my readers may have known friends en- 
gaged in some absorbing cause of thought, and who are in 
the habit when they go out, especially if on solitary walks, to 
take that cause of thought with them. The friend may be an 
orator meditating his speech, a poet his verses, a lawyer a 
difficult case, a physician an intricate malady. If you have 
such a friend, and you observe him thus away from his home, 
his face will seem to you older and graver. He is absorbed 
in the care that weighs on him. When you see him in a holi- 
day moment at his own fireside, the care is thrown aside; 
perhaps he mastered while abroad the difficulty that had 
troubled him; he is cheerful, pleasant, sunny. This appears 
to be very much the case with persons of genius. When in 
their own houses we usually find them very playful and 



THE PARISIANS. 95 

childlike. Most persons of real genius, whatever they may 
seem out of doors, are very sweet-tempered at home, and 
sweet temper is sympathizing and genial in the intercourse 
of private life. Certainly, observing this girl as she now 
bends over the flowers, it would be difficult to believe her to 
be the Isaura Cicogna whose letters to Madame de Grant - 
mesnil exhibit the doubts and struggles of an unquiet, dis- 
contented, aspiring mind. Only in one or two passages in 
those letters would you have guessed at the writer in the girl 
as we now see her. It is in those passages where she 
expresses her love of harmony, and her repugnance to con- 
test : those were characteristics you might have read in her 
face. 

Certainly the girl is very lovely : what long dark eyelashes ! 
what soft, tender, dark-blue eyes ! now that she looks up and 
smiles, what a bewitching smile it is ! by what sudden play 
of rippling dimples the smile is enlivened and redoubled! Do 
you notice one feature? In very showy beauties it is seldom 
noticed; but I, being in my way a physiognomist, consider 
that it is always worth heeding as an index of character. It 
is the ear. Remark how delicately it is formed in her : none 
of that heaviness of lobe which is a sure sign of sluggish in- 
tellect and coarse perception. Hers is the artist's ear. Note 
next those hands: how beautifully shaped! small, but not 
jll-hke hands, ready and nimble, firm and nervous hands, 
that could work for a helpmate. By no means very white, 
still less red, but somewhat embrowned as by the sun, such 
as you may see in girls reared in southern climes, and in her 
jrhaps betokening an impulsive character which had not 
jcustomed itself, when at sport in the open air, to the thral- 
lom of gloves, very impulsive people even in cold climates 
jldom do. 

In conveying to us by a few bold strokes an idea of the 
jnsitive, quick-moved, warm-blooded Henry II., the most 
ipulsive of the Plantagenets, his contemporary chronicler 
alls us that rather than imprison those active hands of his, 
sven in hawking-gloves, he would suffer his falcon to fix its 
claws into his wrist. No doubt there is a difference as 



96 THE PARISIANS. 

to what is befitting between a burly bellicose creature like 
Henry II. and a delicate young lady like Isaura Cicogna; 
and one would not wish to see those dainty wrists of hers 
seamed and scarred by a falcon's claws. But a girl may not 
be less exquisitely feminine for slight heed of artificial pretti- 
ness. Isaura had no need of pale bloodless hands to seem one 
of Nature's highest grade of gentlewomen even to the most 
fastidious eyes. About her there was a charm apart from her 
mere beauty, and often disturbed instead of heightened by her 
mere intellect: it consisted in a combination of exquisite 
artistic refinement, and of a generosity of character by which 
refinement was animated into vigour and warmth. 

The room, which was devoted exclusively to Isaura, had in 
it much that spoke of the occupant. That room, when first 
taken furnished, had a good deal of the comfortless showiuess 
which belongs to ordinary furnished apartments in France, 
especially in the Parisian suburbs, chiefly let for the summer: 
thin limp muslin curtains that decline to draw; stiff mahog- 
any chairs covered with yellow Utrecht velvet; a tall secrfr 
taire in a dark corner; an oval buhl-table set in tawdry ormolu, 
islanded in the centre of a poor but gaudy Scotch carpet ; and 
but one other table of dull walnut-wood, standing clothless 
before a sofa to match the chairs; the eternal ormolu clock 
flanked by the two eternal ormolu candelabra on the dreary 
mantelpiece. Some of this garniture had been removed, others 
softened into cheeriness and comfort. The room somehow 
or other thanks partly to a very moderate expenditure in 
pretty twills with pretty borders, gracefully simple table- 
covers, with one or two additional small tables and easy- 
chairs, two simple vases filled with flowers; thanks still more 
to a nameless skill in re-arrangement, and the disposal of the 
slight knick-knacks and well-bound volumes, which, even in 
travelling, .women who have cultivated the pleasures of taste 
carry about them had been coaxed into that quiet harmony, 
that tone of consistent subdued colour, which corresponded 
with the characteristics of the inmate. Most people might 
have been puzzled where to place the piano, a semi-grand, so 
as not to take up too much space in the little room; but where 



THE PARISIANS. 97 

it was placed it seemed so at home that you might have 
supposed the room had been built for it. 
There are two kinds of neatness, one is too evident, and 
lakes everything about it seem trite and cold and stiff; and 
lother kind of neatness disappears from our sight in a satis- 
ied sense of completeness, like some exquisite, simple, fin- 
shed style of writing, an Addison's or a St. Pierre's. 
This last sort of neatness belonged to Isaura, and brought 
mind the well-known line of Catullus when on recrossing 
his threshold he invokes its welcome, a line thus not inele- 
gantly translated by Leigh Hunt, 

" Smile every dimple on the cheek of Home." 

I entreat the reader's pardon for this long descriptive digres- 
sion; but Isaura is one of those characters which are called 
lany -sided, and therefore not very easy to comprehend. She 
fives us one side of her character in her correspondence 
rith Madame de Grantmesnil, and another side of it in her 
)wn home with her Italian companion, half nurse, half 

iperon. 

"Monsieur Louvier is indeed very courteous," said Isaura, 

Dking up from the flowers with the dimpled smile we have 
loticed. " But I think, Madre, that we should do well to stay 

home on Saturday, not peacefully, for I owe you your 
avenge at Euchre" 

"You can't mean it, Piccolo,/" exclaimed the Signora, in 
rident consternation. " Stay at home ! why stay at home? 
Vuchre is very well when there is nothing else to do: but 

inge is pleasant; le bon Dieu likes it, 

" ' Ne caldo ne gelo 
Reata inai in cielo.' 

Lnd such beautiful ices one gets at M. Louvier's ! Did you 
ste the pistachio ice? What fine rooms, and so well lit 
ip! I adore light. And the ladies so beautifully dressed: 
sne sees the fashions. Stay at home! play at Euchre in- 
leed! Piccola, you cannot be so cruel to yourself: you are 
roung," 
VOT.. T 7 



98 THE PARISIANS. 

"But, dear Madre, just consider; we are invited because 
we are considered professional singers: your reputation as 
such is of course established, mine is not ; but still I shall 
be asked to sing, as I was asked before; and you know Dr. 

C forbids me to do so except to a very small audience; 

and it is so ungracious always to say 'No; ' and besides, did 
you not yourself say, when we came away last time from M. 
Louvier's, that it was very dull, that you knew nobody, and 
that the ladies had such superb toilets that you felt mortified 
and " 

"Zitto! zitto! you talk idly, Piccola, very idly. I was 
mortified then in my old black Lyons silk; but have I not 
bought since then my beautiful Greek jacket, scarlet and 
gold lace? and why should I buy it if I am not to show it?" 

" But, dear Madre, the jacket is certainly very handsome, 
and will make an effect in a little dinner at the Savarins or 
Mrs. Morley's; but in a great formal reception like M. 
Louvier's will it not look " 

"Splendid!" interrupted the Signora. 

" But singolare. " 

"So much the better; did not that great English Lady wear 
such a jacket, and did not every one admire her, piu tosto in- 
vidia che compassions ? " 

Isaura sighed. Now the jacket of the Signora was a sub- 
ject of disquietude to her friend. It so happened that a 
young English lady of the highest rank and the rarest beauty 
had appeared at M. Louvier's, and indeed generally in the 
beau monde of Paris, in a Greek jacket that became her very 
much. The jacket had fascinated, at M. Louvier's, the eyes 
of the Signora. But of this Isaura was unaware. The Sig- 
nora, on returning home from M. Louvier's, had certainly 
lamented much over the mesquin appearance of her old-fash- 
ioned Italian habiliments compared with the brilliant toilette 
of the gay Parisiennes; and Isaura quite woman enough to 
sympathize with woman in such womanly vanities pro- 
posed the next day to go with the Signora to one of the prin- 
cipal couturieres of Paris, and adapt the Signora's costume 
to the fashions of the place. But the Signora having prede- 






THE PARISIANS. 99 




termined on a Greek jacket, and knowing by instinct that 
Isaura would be disposed to thwart that splendid predilection, 
had artfully suggested that it would be better to go to the 
couturiere with Madame Savarin, as being a more experienced 
viser, and the coupt only held two. 

As Madame Savarin was about the same age as the Signora, 
d dressed as became her years and in- excellent taste, Isaura 
ought this an admirable suggestion; and pressing into her 
iperon's hand a billet de banque sufficient to re-equip her 
ip-a-pie, dismissed the subject from her mind. But the Sig- 
nora was much too cunning to submit her passion for the 
Greek jacket to the discouraging comments of Madame Sava- 
rin. Monopolizing the coupe, she became absolute mistress 
if the situation. She went to no fashionable couturiere's. 
he went to a mayasin that she had seen advertised in the 
'etites Affiches as supplying superb costumes for fancy-balls 
d amateur performers in private theatricals. She returned 
ome triumphant, with a jacket still more dazzling to the eye 
an that of the English lady. 

When Isaura first beheld it, she drew back in a sort of 
perstitious terror, as of a comet or other blazing portent. 
" Cosa stupenda ! " (stupendous thing!") She might well 
dismayed when the Signora proposed to appear thus attired 
M. Louvier's salon. What might be admired as coquetry 
dress in a young beauty of rank so great that even a vul- 
rity in her would be called distinguie, was certainly an 
.udacious challenge of ridicule in the elderly ci-devant music- 
acher. 

But how could Isaura, how can any one of common human- 
;y, say to a woman resolved upon wearing a certain dress, 
You are not young and handsome enough for that?" 
aura could only murmur, " For many reasons 1 would rather 
y at home, dear Madre." 

" Ah ! I see you are ashamed of me, " said the Signora, in 
ftened tones : " very natural. When the nightingale sings 
more, she is only an ugly brown bird;" and therewith 
e Signora Venosta seated herself submissively, and began 
cry. 



100 THE PARISIANS. 

On this Isaura sprang up, wound her arms round the Sig- 
nora's neck, soothed her with coaxing, kissed and petted her, 
and ended by saying, " Of course we will go ; " and, " but let 
me choose you another dress, a dark-green velvet trimmed 
with blonde: blonde becomes you so well." 

"No, no: I hate green velvet; anybody can wear that. 
Piccola, 1 am not clever like thee; I cannot amuse myself 
like thee with books. I am in a foreign land. I have a 
poor head, but I have a big heart " (another burst of tears) ; 
"and that big heart is set on my beautiful Greek jacket." 

"Dearest Madre," said Isaura, half weeping too, "forgive 
me, you are right. The Greek jacket is splendid; I shall be 
so pleased to see you wear it: poor Madre ! so pleased to 
think that in the foreign land you are not without something 
that pleases you I " 



CHAPTER V. 

CONFORMABLY with his engagement to meet M. Louvier, 
Alain found himself on the day and at the hour named in 
M. Gandrin's salon. On this occasion Madame Gandrin did 
not appear. Her husband was accustomed to give diners 
d'hommes. The great man had not yet arrived. " I think, 
Marquis," said M. Gandrin, "that you will not regret having 
followed my advice : my representations have disposed Louvier 
to regard you with much favour, and he is certainly flattered 
by being permitted to make your personal acquaintance." 

The avoui had scarcely finished this little speech, when M. 
Louvier was announced. He entered with a beaming smile, 
which did not detract from his imposing presence. His flat- 
terers had told him that he had a look of Louis Philippe; 
therefore he had sought to imitate the dress and the bonhomie 
of that monarch of the middle class. He wore a wig, elabo- 
rately piled up, and shaped his whiskers in royal harmony 
with the royal wig. Above all, he studied that social frank- 




THE PARISIANS. 101 

ness of manner with which the able sovereign dispelled awe 
of his presence or dread of his astuteness. Decidedly he was 
a man very pleasant to converse and to deal with so long as 
there seemed to him something to gain and nothing to lose by 
being pleasant. He returned Alain's bow by a cordial offer 
if both expansive hands, into the grasp of which the hands 
f the aristocrat utterly disappeared. "Charmed to make 
our acquaintance, Marquis; still more charmed if you will 
et me be useful during your s&jour at Paris. Mafoi, excuse 
y bluntness, but you are a fort beau garyon. Monsieur 
our father was a handsome man, but you beat him hollow, 
andrin, my friend, would not you and I give half our for- 
nes for one year of this fine fellow's youth spent at Paris? 
'este f what love-letters we should have, with no need to buy 
em by billets de banque f " Thus he ran on, much to Alain's 
nfusion, till dinner was announced. Then there was some- 
ing grandiose in the frank bourgeois style wherewith he ex- 
ded his napkin and twisted one end into his waistcoat; it 
as so manly a renunciation of the fashions which a man so 
andu in all circles might be supposed to follow, as if 
e were both too great and too much in earnest for such 
ivolities. He was evidently a sincere bon vivant, and M. 
ndrin had no less evidently taken all requisite pains to 
atify his taste. The Montrachet served with the oysters 
as of precious vintage; that vin de madere which accom- 
panied the potage a la bisque would have contented an Ameri- 
can. And how radiant became Louvier's face when amongst 
e entries he came upon laitances de carpesf "The best 
-hing in the world," he cried, "and one gets it so seldom 
since the old Rocher de Cancale has lost its renown. At 
private houses, what does one get now? blanc de poulet,- 
flavourless trash. After all, Gandrin, when we lose the 
love-letters, it is some consolation that laitances de carpes and 
utes de foie gras are still left to fill up the void in our 
arts. Marquis, heed my counsel; cultivate betimes the 
te for the table, that and whist are the sole resources of 
declining years. You never met my old friend Talleyrand 
no! he was long before your time. He cultivated both, 



102 THE PARISIANS. 

but he made two mistakes. No man's intellect is perfect on 
all sides. He confined himself to one meal a day, and he 
never learned to play well at whist. Avoid his errors, my 
young friend, avoid them. Gandrin, I guess this pine- 
apple is English, it is superb." 

"You are right, a present from the Marquis of H ." 

"Ah! instead of a fee, I wager. The Marquis gives noth- 
ing for nothing, dear man! Droll people the English. You 
have never visited England, I presume, cher Rochebriant ? " 

The affable financier had already made vast progress in 
familiarity with his silent fellow-guest. 

When the dinner was over and the three men had re- 
entered the salon for coffee and liqueurs, Gandrin left Louvier 
and Alain alone, saying he was going to his cabinet for cigars 
which he could recommend. Then Louvier, lightly patting 
the Marquis on the shoulder, said with what the French call 
effusion, "My dear Rochebriant, your father and I did not 
quite understand each other. He took a tone of grand 
seigneur that sometimes wounded me; and I in turn was 
perhaps too rude in asserting my rights as creditor, shall 
I say? no, as fellow-citizen; and Frenchmen are so vain, 
so over-susceptible; fire up at a word; take offence when 
none is meant. We two, my dear boy, should be superior to 
such national foibles. Bref I have a mortgage on your 
lands. Why should that thought mar our friendship? At 
my age, though I am not yet old, one is flattered if the young 
like us, pleased if we can oblige them, and remove from their 
career any little obstacle in its way. Gandrin tells me you 
wish to consolidate all the charges on your estate into one 
on a lower rate of interest. Is it so?" 

"I am so advised," said the Marquis. 

" And very rightly advised ; come and talk with me about 
it some day next week. I hope to have a large sum of money 
set free in a few days. Of course, mortgages on land don't 
pay like speculations at the Bourse ; but I am rich enough to 
please myself. We will see, we will see." 

Here Gandrin returned with the cigars; but Alain at that 
time never smoked, and Louvier excused himself, with a 



THE PARISIANS. 103 




laugh and a sly wink, on the plea that he was going to pay 
his respects as doubtless that joli garqon was going to do 
likewise to a belle dame who did not reckon the smell of 
bacco among the perfumes of Houbigant or Arabia. 
"Meanwhile," added Louvier, turning to Gandrin, "I 
,ve something to say to you on business about the contract 
'or that new street of mine. JS~o hurry, after our young 
riend has gone to his 'assignation.' ' 

Alain could not misinterpret the hint; and in a few mo- 
ments took leave of his host, more surprised than disap- 
pointed that the financier had not invited him, as Graham 
had assumed he would, to his soiree the following evening. 
When Alain was gone, Louvier's jovial manner disappeared 
so, and became bluffly rude rather than bluntly cordial. 
"Gandrin, what did you mean by saying that that young 
an was no muscadin ! Muscadin, aristocrate, offensive from 
p to toe." 

"You amaze me; you seemed to take to him so cordially." 
"And pray, were you too blind to remark with what cold 
serve he responded to my condescensions; how he winced 
hen I called him Rochebriant; how he coloured when I 
called him 'dear boy ' ? These aristocrats think we ought to 
thank them on our knees when they take our money, and " 

Ere Louvier's face darkened "seduce our women." 
" Monsieur Louvier, in all France I do not know a greater 
istocrat than yourself." 
I don't know whether M. Gandrin meant that speech as a 
tnpliment, but M. Louvier took it as such, laughed com- 
icently and rubbed his hands. " Ay, ay, millionnaires are 
the real aristocrats, for they have power, as my beau Marquis 
will soon find. I must bid you good night. Of course I 
shall see Madame Gandrin and yourself to-morrow. Prepare 
for a motley gathering, lots of democrats and foreigners, 
with artists and authors, and such creatures." 

"Is that the reason why you did not invite the Marquis? " 
"To be sure; I would not shock so pure a Legitimist by 
contact with the sons of the people, and make him still 
colder to myself. No; when he comes to my house he shall 



104 THE PARISIANS. 

meet lions and viveurs of the haut ton, who will play into my 
hands by teaching him how to ruin himself in the quickest 
manner and in the genre Regence. Bonsoir, mon vieux." 



CHAPTEE VI. 

THE next night Graham in vain looked round for Alain in 
M. Louvier's salons, and missed his high-bred mien and 
melancholy countenance. M. Louvier had been for some four 
years a childless widower, but his receptions were not the 
less numerously attended, nor his establishment less magnifi- 
cently monte for the absence of a presiding lady : very much 
the contrary ; it was noticeable how much he had increased 
his status and prestige as a social personage since the death 
of his unlamented spouse. 

To say truth, she had been rather a heavy drag on his tri- 
umphal car. She had been the heiress of a man who had 
amassed a great deal of money, not in the higher walks of 
commerce, but in a retail trade. 

Louvier himself was the son of a rich money-lender; he 
had entered life with an ample fortune and an intense desire 
to be admitted into those more brilliant circles in which for- 
tune can be dissipated with eclat. He might not have at- 
tained this object but for the friendly countenance of a young 
noble who was then 

" The glass of fashion and the mould of form ; " 

but this young noble, of whom later we shall hear more, 
came suddenly to grief, and when the money-lender's son lost 
that potent protector, the dandies, previously so civil, showed 
him a very cold shoulder. 

Louvier then became an ardent democrat, and recruited the 
fortune he had impaired by the aforesaid marriage, launched 
into colossal speculations, and became enormously rich. His 
aspirations for social rank now revived, but his wife sadly 






THE PARISIANS. 105 




? 



i 



interfered with them. She was thrifty by nature; sympa- 
thized little with her husband's genius for accumulation; 
always said he would end in a hospital; hated Republicans; 
despised authors and artists, and by the ladies of the beau 
monde was pronounced common and vulgar. 

So long as she lived, it was impossible for Louvier to real- 
ize his ambition of having one of the salons which at Paris 
establish celebrity and position. He could not then command 
those advantages of wealth which he especially coveted. He 
was eminently successful in doing this now. As soon as she 
was safe in Pere la Chaise, he enlarged his hotel by the pur- 
chase and annexation of an adjoining house; redecorated and 
furnished it, and in this task displayed, it must be said to 

is credit, or to that of the administrators he selected for the 
purpose, a nobleness of taste rarely exhibited nowadays. His 
collection of pictures was not large, and consisted exclusively 
of the French school, ancient and modern, for in all things 
oivier affected the patriot. But each of those pictures was 
gem; such Watteaus, such Greuzes, such landscapes by 
Patel, and, above all, such masterpieces by Ingres, Horace 
Vernet, and Delaroche were worth all the doubtful originals 
Flemish and Italian art which make the ordinary boast of 

rivate collectors. 

These pictures occupied two rooms of moderate size, built 
for their reception, and lighted from above. The great salon 
to which they led contained treasures scarcely less precious ; 
the walls were covered with the richest silks which the looms 
of Lyons could produce. Every piece of furniture here was a 
work of art in its way : console-tables of Florentine mosaic, 
inlaid with pearl and lapis-lazuli ; cabinets in which the ex- 
quisite designs of the Renaissance were carved in ebony; co- 
lossal vases of Russian malachite, but wrought by French 
artists. The very knick-knacks scattered carelessly about the 
room might have been admired in the cabinets of the Palazzo 
Pitti. Beyond this room lay the salle de danse, its ceiling 

painted by , supported by white marble columns, the glazed 

balcony and the angles of the room filled with tiers of exotics. 
In the dining-room, on the same floor, on the other side of 




106 THE PARISIANS. 

the landing-place, were stored in glazed buffets not only ves- 
sels and salvers of plate, silver and gold, but, more costly 
still, matchless specimens of Sevres and Limoges, and medise- 
val varieties of Venetian glass. On the ground-floor, which 
opened on the lawn of a large garden, Louvier had his suite 
of private apartments, furnished, as he said, "simply, ac- 
cording to English notions of comfort, " Englishmen would 
have said, "according to French notions of luxury." Enough 
of these details, which a writer cannot give without feeling 
himself somewhat vulgarized in doing so, but without a loose 
general idea of which a reader would not have an accurate 
conception of something not vulgar, of something grave, 
historical, possibly tragical, the existence of a Parisian mil- 
lionnaire at the date of this narrative. 

The evidence of wealth was everywhere manifest at M. 
Louvier's, but it was everywhere refined by an equal evi- 
dence of taste. The apartments devoted to hospitality min- 
istered to the delighted study of artists, to whom free access 
was given, and of whom two or three might be seen daily in 
the "show-rooms," copying pictures or taking sketches of 
rare articles of furniture or effects for palatian interiors. 

Among the things which rich English visitors of Paris 
most coveted to see was M. Louvier's hotel, and few among 
the richest left it without a sigh of envy and despair. Only 
in such London houses as belong to a Sutherland or a Holford 
could our metropolis exhibit a splendour as opulent and a 
taste as refined. 

M. Louvier had his set evenings for popular assemblies. 
At these were entertained the Liberals of every shade, from 
tricolor to rouge, with the artists and writers most in vogue, 
pele-mele with decorated diplomatists, ex-ministers, Orlean- 
ists, and Republicans, distinguished foreigners, plutocrats of 
the Bourse, and lions male and female from the arid nurse of 
that race, the Chaussee d'Antin. Of his more select reunions 
something will be said later. 

"And how does this poor Paris metamorphosed please 
Monsieur Vane? " asked a Frenchman with a handsome, in- 
telligent countenance, very oarefully dressed though in a 



THE PARISIANS. 107 

somewhat bygone fashion, and carrying off his tenth lustrum 
with an air too sprightly to evince any sense of the weight. 

This gentleman, the Vicomte de Breze, was of good birth, 
and had a legitimate right to his title of Vicomte, which is 
more than can be said of many vicomtes one meets at Paris. 
He had no other property, however, than a principal share in 
an influential journal, to which he was a lively and sparkling 
contributor. In his youth, under the reign of Louis Philippe, 
he had been a chief among literary exquisites; and Balzac was 
said to have taken him more than once as his model for those 
brilliant young vauriens who figure in the great novelist's 
comedy of Human Life. The Vicomte's fashion expired 
with the Orleanist dynasty. 

" Is it possible, my dear Vicomte, " answered Graham, " not 
to be pleased with a capital so marvellously embellished? " 

"Embellished it may be to foreign eyes," said the Vicomte, 
sighing, "but not improved to the taste of a Parisian like me- 
I miss the dear Paris of old, the streets associated with my 
beaux jours are no more. Is there not something drearily 
monotonous in thos > interminable perspectives? How fright- 
fully the way lengthens before one's eyes! In the twists and 
curves of the old Paris one was relieved from the pain of see- 
ing how far one had to go from one spot to another, each 
tortuous street had a separate idiosyncrasy ; what picturesque 
diversities, what interesting recollections, all swept away! 
Mon Dieu! and what for, miles of florid fagades staring and 
glaring at one with goggle-eyed pitiless windows; house-rents 
trebled, and the consciousness that if you venture to grumble 
underground railways, like concealed volcanoes, can burst 
forth on you at any moment with an eruption of bayonets 
and muskets. This maudit empire seeks to keep its hold on 
France much as a grand seigneur seeks to enchain a nymph 
of the ballet, tricks her out in finery and baubles, and in- 
sures her infidelity the moment he fails to satisfy her whims." 

"Vicomte," answered Graham, "I have had the honour to 
know you since I was a small boy at a preparatory school 
home for the holidays, and you were a guest at my father's 
country-house. You were then fete as one of the most prom- 



108 THE PARISIANS. 

ising writers among the young men of the day, especially 
favoured by the princes of the reigning family. I shall never 
forget the impression made on me by your brilliant appear- 
ance and your no less brilliant talk." 

"Ah! ces beaux jours f ce bon Louis Philippe, ce cher petit 
Joinville," sighed the Vicomte. 

"But at that day you compared le bon Louis Philippe to 
Robert Macaire. You described all his sons, including, no 
doubt, ce cher petit Joinville, in terms of resentful contempt, 
as so many plausible gamins whom Robert Macaire was train- 
ing to cheat the public in the interest of the family firm. I 
remember my father saying to you in answer, ' No royal 
house in Europe has more sought to develop the literature of 
an epoch and to signalize its representatives by social respect 
and official honours than that of the Orleans dynasty. You, 
Monsieur de Breze, do but imitate your elders in seeking to 
destroy the dynasty under which you flourish; should you 
succeed, you hommes de plume will be the first sufferers and 
the loudest complainers.' ' 

" Cher Monsieur Vane, " said the Vicomte, smiling com- 
placently, " your father did me great honour in classing me 
with Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Emile de Girardin, and 
the other stars of the Orleanist galaxy, including our friend 
here, M. Savarin. A very superior man was your father." 

"And," said Savarin, who. being an Orleanist, had listened 
to Graham's speech with an approving smile, "and if I re- 
member right, my dear De Bre"ze, no one was more brilliantly 
severe than yourself on poor De Lamartine and the Republic 
that succeeded Louis Philippe ; no one more emphatically ex- 
pressed the yearning desire for another Napoleon to restore 
order at home and renown abroad. Now you have got another 
Napoleon." 

"And I want change for my Napoleon," said De Braze*, 
laughing. 

"My dear Vicomte," said Graham, "one thing we may all 
grant, that in culture and intellect you are far superior to 
the mass of your fellow Parisians ; that you are therefore a 
favourable type of their political character." 



THE PARISIANS. 109 




I "Ah, mon cher, votes etes trop aimable." 
"And therefore I venture to say this, if the archangel 
Gabriel were permitted to descend to Paris and form the 
best government for France that the wisdom of seraph could 
devise, it would not be two years I doubt if it would 
be six months before out of this Paris, which you call 
the Foyer des Idees, would emerge a powerful party, adorned 
by yourself and other hommes de plume, in favour of a 
revolution for the benefit of ce bon Satan and ce cher petit 
Beelzebub." 

" What a pretty vein of satire you have, mon cher ! " said the 
icomte, good-humouredly ; " there is a sting of truth in your 
tticism. Indeed, I must send you some articles of mine in 
hich I have said much the same thing, les beaux esprits se 
rent. The fault of us French is impatience, desire of 
.ge; but then it is that desire which keeps the world go- 
ing and retains our place at the head of it. However, at this 
time we are all living too fast for our money to keep up with 
it, and too slow for our intellect not to flag. "We vie with 
each other on the road to ruin, for in literature all the old 

to fame are shut up." 

Here a tall gentleman, with whom the Vicomte had been 
conversing before he accosted Vane, and who had remained 
beside De Breze listening in silent attention to this colloquy, 
interposed, speaking in the slow voice of one accustomed to 
measure his words, and with a slight but unmistakable Ger- 
man accent. " There is that, Monsieur de Breze, which makes 
one think gravely of what you say so lightly. Viewing things 
with the unprejudiced eyes of a foreigner, I recognize much 
for which France should be grateful to the Emperor. Under 
his sway her material resources have been marvellously aug- 
mented; her commerce has been placed by the treaty with 
England on sounder foundations, and is daily exhibiting 
richer life; her agriculture had made a prodigious advance 
herever it has allowed room for capitalists, and escaped 
m the curse of petty allotments and peasant-proprietors, 
curse which would have ruined any country less blessed by 
ature ; turbulent factions have been quelled ; internal order 



110 THE PARISIANS. 

maintained; the external prestige of France, up at least to 
the date of the Mexican war, increased to an extent that 
might satisfy even a Frenchman's amour propre ; and her ad- 
vance in civilization has been manifested by the rapid crea- 
tion of a naval power which should put even England on her 
mettle. But, on the other hand " 

" Ay, on the other hand, " said the Vicomte. 

" On the other hand there are in the imperial system two 
causes of decay and of rot silently at work. They may not 
be the faults of the Emperor, but they are such misfortunes 
as may cause the fall of the Empire. The first is an absolute 
divorce between the political system and the intellectual cul- 
ture of the nation. The throne and the system rest on uni- 
versal suffrage, on a suffrage which gives to classes the 
most ignorant a power that preponderates over all the health- 
ful elements of knowledge. It is the tendency of all ignorant 
multitudes to personify themselves, as it were, in one indi- 
vidual. They cannot comprehend you when you argue for a 
principle; they do comprehend you when you talk of a name. 
The Emperor Napoleon is to them a name, and the prefects 
and officials who influence their votes are paid for incorpora- 
ting all principles in the shibboleth of that single name. 
You have thus sought the well-spring of a political system in 
the deepest stratum of popular ignorance. To rid popular 
ignorance of its normal revolutionary bias, the rural peasants 
are indoctrinated with the conservatism that comes from the 
fear which appertains to property. They have their roods of 
land or their shares in a national loan. Thus you estrange 
the crassitude of an ignorant democracy still more from the 
intelligence of the educated classes by combining it with the 
most selfish and abject of all the apprehensions that are as- 
cribed to aristocracy and wealth. What is thus embedded in 
the depths of your society makes itself shown on the surface. 
Napoleon III. has been compared to Augustus ; and there are 
many startling similitudes between them in character and in 
fate. Each succeeds to the heritage of a great name that had 
contrived to unite autocracy with the popular cause; each 
subdued all rival competitors, and inaugurated despotic rule 



ler 
col 
the 



(till 

? 



THE PARISIANS. Ill 

in the name of freedom; each mingled enough of sternness 
with ambitious will to stain with bloodshed the commence- 
ment of his power, but it would be an absurd injustice to fix 
the same degree of condemnation on the coup d'etat as hu- 
manity fixes on the earlier cruelties of Augustus; each, once 
firm in his seat, became mild and clement, Augustus per- 
haps from policy, Napoleon III. from a native kindliness of 
disposition which no fair critic of character can fail to ac- 
knowledge. Enough of similitudes; now for one salient dif- 
ference. Observe how earnestly Augustus strove, and how 
impletely he succeeded in the task, to rally round him all 
;he leading intellects in every grade and of every party, the 
followers of Antony, the friends of Brutus; every great cap- 
in, every great statesman, every great writer, every man 
ho could lend a ray of mind to his own Julian constellation, 
and make the age of Augustus an era in the annals of human 
tellect and genius. But this has not been the good fortune 
if your Emperor. The result of his system has been the sup- 
iression of intellect in every department. He has rallied 
und him not one great statesman; his praises are hymned 
not one great poet. The c&Ubrit6s of a former day stand 
.oof; or, preferring exile to constrained allegiance, assail 
him with unremitting missiles from their asylum in foreign 
ores. His reign is sterile of new c6lbrit6s. The few 
,t arise enlist themselves against him. Whenever he shall 
nture to give full freedom to the press and to the legisla- 
re, the intellect thus suppressed or thus hostile .will burst 
rth in collected volume. His partisans have not been 
trained and disciplined to meet such assailants. They will 
as weak as no doubt they will be violent. And the worst 
that the intellect thus rising in mass against him will be 
warped and distorted, like captives who, being kept in chains, 
exercise their limbs on escaping in vehement jumps without 

V finite object. The directors of emancipated opinion may 
us be terrible enemies to the Imperial Government, but 
they will be very unsafe councillors to France. Concurrently 
with this divorce between the Imperial system and the na- 

Ional intellect, a divorce so complete that even your salons 




;: 

wa 

ex( 

,,,, 

thi 



112 THE PARISIANS. 

have lost their wit, and even your caricatures their point, a 
corruption of manners which the Empire, I own, did not 
originate, but inherit, has become so common that every one 
owns and nobody blames it. The gorgeous ostentation of the 
Court has perverted the habits of the people. The intelli- 
gence abstracted from other vents betakes itself to specula- 
ting for a fortune; and the greed of gain and the passion 
for show are sapping the noblest elements of the old French 
manhood. Public opinion stamps with no opprobrium a 
minister or favourite who profits by a job; and I fear you 
will find that jobbing pervades all your administrative 
departments." 

"All very true," said De Brz6, with a shrug of the 
shoulders and in a 'tone of levity that seemed to ridicule 
the assertion he volunteered; "Virtue and Honour banished 
from courts and salons and the cabinet of authors ascend to 
fairer heights in the attics of ouvriers." 

" The ouvriers, ouvriers of Paris ! " -cried this terrible 
German. 

"Ay, Monsieur le Comte, what can you say against our 
ouvriers ? A German count cannot condescend to learn any- 
thing about ces petites gens." 

"Monsieur," replied the German, "in the eyes of a states- 
man there are no petites gens, and in those of a philosopher 
no petites choses. We in Germany have too many difficult 
problems affecting our working classes to solve, not to have 
induced me to glean all the information I can as to the ouv- 
riers of Paris. They have among them men of aspirations as 
noble as can animate the souls of philosophers and poets, 
perhaps not the less noble because common-sense and experi- 
ence cannot follow their flight; but as a body the ouvriers of 
Paris have not been elevated in political morality by the be- 
nevolent aim of the Emperor to find them ample work and 
good wages independent of the natural laws that regulate 
the markets of labour. Accustomed thus to consider the 
State bound to maintain them, the moment the State fails in 
that impossible task, they will accommodate their honesty 
to a rush upon property under the name of social reform, 



THE PAEISIANS. 113 

Have you not noticed how largely increased within the last 
few years is the number of those who cry out, ' La Proprite, 
c'est le vol ' ? Have you considered the rapid growth of the 
International Association? I do not say that for all these 
evils the Empire is exclusively responsible. To a certain 
degree they are found in all rich communities, especially 
where democracy is more or less in the ascendant. To a 
certain extent they exist in the large towns of Germany ; they 
are conspicuously increasing in England; they are acknowl- 
edged to be dangerous in the United States of America; they 
are, I am told on good authority, making themselves visible 
with the spread of civilization in Russia. But under the 
French Empire they have become glaringly rampant, and I 

mture to predict that the day is not far off when the rot at 

ork throughout all layers and strata of French society will 
insure a fall of the fabric at the sound of which the world 

ill ring. 

" There is many a fair and stately tree which continues to 
throw out its leaves and rear its crest till suddenly the wind 
smites it, and then, and not till then, the trunk which seems 
so solid is found to be but the rind to a mass of crumbled 
powder." 

"Monsieur le Comte," said the Vicomte, "you are a severe 
critic and a lugubrious prophet ; but a German is so safe from 
revolution that he takes alarm at the stir of movement which 
is the normal state of the French esprit." 

" French esprit may soon evaporate into Parisian b,etise. As 
to Germany being safe from revolution, allow me to repeat 
a saying of Goethe's but has Monsieur le Vicomte ever 
heard of Goethe?" 

"Goethe, of course, tresjoli 6crivain." 

"Goethe said to some one who was making much the same 
remark as yourself, ' We Germans are in a state of revolution 
now, but we do things so slowly that it will be a hundred 
years before we Germans shall find it out; but when com- 
pleted, it will be the greatest revolution society has yet seen, 
and will last like the other revolutions that, beginning, scarce 

Iticed, in Germany, have transformed the world. ' ' 
TOl. I. 8 



114 THE PARISIANS. 

"Diable, Monsieur le Comte! Germans transformed the 
world! What revolutions do you speak of?" 

"The invention of gunpowder, the invention of printing, 
and the expansion of a monk's quarrel with his Pope into 
the Lutheran revolution." 

Here the German paused, and asked the Vicomte to intro 
duce him to Vane, which De Br6z6 did by the title of Count 
von Kudesheim. On hearing Vane's name, the Count inquired 
if he were related to the orator and statesman, George Graham 
Vane, whose opinions, uttered in Parliament, were still au- 
thoritative among German thinkers. This compliment to his 
deceased father immensely gratified but at the same time con- 
siderably surprised the Englishman. His father, no doubt, 
had been a man of much influence in the British House of 
Commons, a very weighty speaker, and, while in office, a 
first-rate administrator; but Englishmen know what a Ho 
of Commons reputation is, how fugitive, how little cosmo- 
politan; and that a German count should ever have heard of 
his father delighted but amazed him. In stating himself 
be the son of George Graham Vane, he intimated not onl 
the delight but the amaze, with the frank savoir vivre whic 
was one of his salient characteristics. 

"Sir," replied the German, speaking in very correct Eng- 
lish, but still with his national accent, " every German reared 
to political service studies England as the school for practical 
thought distinct from impracticable theories. Long may you 
allow us to do so! Only excuse me one remark, never let 
the selfish element of the practical supersede the generous ele- 
ment. Your father never did so in his speeches, and therefore 
we admired him. At the present day we don't so much care 
to study English speeches; they may be insular, they are 
not European. I honour England; Heaven grant that you 
may not be making sad mistakes in the belief that you can 
long remain England if you cease to be European." Here- 
with the German bowed, not uncivilly, on the contrary, 
somewhat ceremoniously, and disappeared with a Prussian 
Secretary of Embassy, whose arm he linked in his own, into 
room less frequented. 





THE PARISIANS. 115 

"Vicomte, who and what is your German count?" asked 
Vane. 

"A solemn pedant," answered the lively Vicomte, "a 
German count, que voulez-vous de plus ? " 






CHAPTER VII. 



A LITTLE later Graham found himself alone amongst the 
crowd. Attracted by the sound of music, he had strayed 
into one of the rooms whence it came, and in which, though 
his range of acquaintance at Paris was for an Englishman 
large and somewhat miscellaneous, he recognized no familiar 
countenance. A lady was playing the pianoforte playing 
remarkably well with accurate science, with that equal 
lightness and strength of finger which produces brilliancy 
of execution; but to appreciate her music one should be 
musical one's self. It wanted the charm that fascinates the 
uninitiated. The guests in the room were musical connois- 
seurs, a class with whom Graham Vane had nothing in com- 
mon. Even if he had been more capable of enjoying the 
excellence of the player's performance, the glance he directed 
towards her would have sufficed to chill him into indifference. 
She was not young, and with prominent features and puck- 
ered skin, was twisting her face into strange sentimental 
grimaces, as if terribly overcome by the beauty and pathos of 
her own melodies. To add to Vane's displeasure, she was 
dressed in a costume wholly antagonistic to his views of the 
becoming, in a Greek jacket of gold and scarlet, contrasted 
by a Turkish turban. 

Muttering "What she-mountebank have we here?" he sank 
into a chair behind the door, and fell into an absorbed revery. 
From this he was aroused by the cessation of the music and 
the hum of subdued approbation by which it was followed. 
Above the hum swelled the imposing voice of M. Louvier 



116 THE PARISIANS. 

as he rose from a seat on the other side of the piano, by 
which his bulky form had been partially concealed. 

"Bravo! perfectly played! excellent! Can we not per- 
suade your charming young countrywoman to gratify us even 
by a single song? " Then turning aside and addressing some 
one else invisible to Graham he said, " Does that tyrannical 
doctor still compel you to silence, Mademoiselle?" 

A voice so sweetly modulated that if there were any sar- 
casm in the words it was lost in the softness of pathos, an- 
swered, " Nay, Monsieur Louvier, he rather overtasks the words 
at my command in thankfulness to those who like yourself, so 
kindly regard me as something else than a singer." 

It was not the she-mountebank who thus spoke. Graham 
rose and looked round with instinctive curiosity. He met 
the face that he said had haunted him. She too had risen, 
standing near the piano, with one hand tenderly resting on 
the she-mountebank's scarlet and gilded shoulder, the face 
that haunted him, and yet with a difference. There was a 
faint blush on the clear pale cheek, a soft yet playful light 
in the grave dark-blue eyes, which had not been visible 
in the countenance of the young lady in the pearl-coloured 
robe. Graham did not hear Louvier's reply, though no doubt 
it was loud enough for him to hear. He sank again into 
revery. Other guests now came into the room, among them 
Frank Morley, styled Colonel, eminent military titles in 
the United States do not always denote eminent military 
services, a wealthy American, and his sprightly and beau- 
tiful wife. The Colonel was a clever man, rather stiff in his 
deportment, and grave in speech, but by no means without 
a vein of dry humour. By the French he was esteemed a 
high-bred specimen of the kind of grand seigneur which 
democratic republics engender. He spoke French like a 
Parisian, had an imposing presence, and spent a great deal 
of money with the elegance of a man of taste and the gener- 
osity of a man of heart. His high breeding was not quite so 
well understood by the English, because the English are apt 
to judge breeding by little conventional rules not observed by 
the American Colonel. He had a slight nasal twang, and in- 



-~,J, 



THE PARISIANS. 117 






troduced " sir " with redundant ceremony in addressing Eng- 
lishmen, however intimate he might be with them, and had 
the habit (perhaps with a sly intention to startle or puzzle 
them) of adorning his style of conversation with quaint 
Americanisms. 

Nevertheless, the genial amiability and the inherent dig- 
nity of his character made him acknowledged as a thorough 
gentleman by every Englishman, however conventional in 
tastes, who became admitted into his intimate acquaintance. 

Mrs. Morley, ten or twelve years younger than her hus- 
band, had no nasal twang, and employed no Americanisms in 
her talk, which was frank, lively, and at times eloquent. 
She had a great ambition to be esteemed of a masculine un- 
derstanding; Nature unkindly frustrated that ambition in 
rendering her a model of feminine grace. Graham was inti- 
mately acquainted with Colonel Morley; and with Mrs. 
Morley had contracted one of those cordial friendships, which, 
perfectly free alike from polite flirtation and Platonic attach- 
ment, do sometimes spring up between persons of opposite 
sexes without the slightest danger of changing their honest 
character into morbid sentimentality or unlawful passion. 
The Morleys stopped to accost Graham, but the lady had 
scarcely said three words to him, before, catching sight of 
the haunting face, she darted towards it. Her husband, less 
emotional, bowed at the distance, and said, "To my taste, 
sir, the Signorina Cicogna is the loveliest girl in the present 
bee, 1 and full of mind, sir." 

"Singing mind," said Graham, sarcastically, and in the 
ill-natured impulse of a man striving to check his inclination 
to admire. 

" I have not heard her sing, " replied the American, dryly , 
"and the words ' singing mind ' are doubtless accurately Eng- 
lish, since you employ them; but at Boston the collocation 
would be deemed barbarous. You fly off the handle. The 
epithet, sir, is not in concord with the substantive." 

" Boston would be in the right, my dear Colonel. I stand 
rebuked; mind has little to do with singing." 

1 Bee, a common expression in " the West " for a meeting or gathering of 
people. 



1 



118 THE PARISIANS. 

"I take leave to deny that, sir. You fire into the wrong 
flock, and would not hazard the remark if you had conversed 
as I have with Signorina Cicogna." 

Before Graham could answer, Signorina Cicogna stood be- 
fore him, leaning lightly on Mrs. Morley's arm. 

"Frank, you must take us into the refreshment-room," 
said Mrs. Morley to her husband; and then, turning 
Graham, added, "Will you help to make way for us?" 

Grahani bowed, and offered his arm to the fair speaker. 

"No," said she, taking her husband's. "Of course yoi 
know the Signorina, or, as we usually call her, Mademoiselle 
Cicogna. No? Allow me to present you. Mr. Grahai 
Vane, Mademoiselle Cicogna. Mademoiselle speaks Englisl 
like a native." 

And thus abruptly Graham was introduced to the owner of 
the haunting face. He had lived too much in the great worlc 
all his life to retain the innate shyness of an Englishman ; but 
he certainly was confused and embarrassed when his eyes met 
Isaura's, and he felt her hand on his arm. Before quitting 
the room she paused and looked back. Graham's look fol- 
lowed her own, and saw behind them the lady with the scar- 
let jacket escorted by some portly and decorated connoisseur. 
Isaura's face brightened to another kind of brightness, a 
pleased and tender light. 

" Poor dear Madre, " she murmured to herself in Italian. 

" Madre ! " echoed Graham, also in Italian. " I have been 
misinformed, then; that lady is your mother." 

Isaura laughed a pretty, low, silvery laugh, and replied in 
English, " She is not my mother ; but I call her Madre, for I 
know no name more loving." 

Graham was touched, and said gently, " Your own mother 
was evidently very dear to you." 

Isaura's lip quivered, and she made a slight movement as 
if she would have withdrawn her hand from his arm. He 
saw that he had offended or wounded her, and with the 
straightforward frankness natural to him, resumed quickly, 

"My remark was impertinent in a stranger; forgive it." 

"There is nothing to forgive, Monsieur." 




THE PARISIANS. 119 

The two now threaded their way through the crowd, both 
silent. At last Isaura, thinking she ought to speak first in 
order to show that Graham had not offended her, said, 

" How lovely Mrs. Morley is ! " 

"Yes; and I like the spirit and ease of her American 
manner. Have you known her long, Mademoiselle? " 

" No ; we met her for the first time some weeks ago at M. 
Savarin's." 

"Was she very eloquent on the rights of women? " 

'What! you have heard her on that subject? " 
I have rarely heard her on any other, though she is the 

st and perhaps the cleverest friend I have at Paris ; but that 
may be my fault, for I like to start it. It is a relief to the 
languid small-talk of society to listen to any one thoroughly 
earnest upon turning the world topsy-turvy." 

"Do you suppose poor Mrs. Morley would seek to do that 
if she had her rights? " asked Isaura, with her musical laugh. 

"Not a doubt of it; but perhaps you share her opinions." 

" I scarcely know what her opinions are, but " 

"Yes? but " 

"There is a what shall I call it? a persuasion, a senti- 
it, out of which the opinions probably spring, that I do 
share." 

"Indeed? a persuasion, a sentiment, for instance, that a 

unan should have votes in the choice of legislators, and, I 
presume, in the task of legislation? " 

"No, that is not what I mean. Still, that is an, opinion, 

;ht or wrong, which grows out of the sentiment I speak of." 

"Pray explain the sentiment." 

"It is always so difficult to define a sentiment; but does it 
not strike you that in proportion as the tendency of modern 
civilization has been to raise women more and more to an in- 
tellectual equality with men, in proportion as they read and 
study and think, an uneasy sentiment, perhaps querulous, per- 
haps unreasonable, grows up within their minds that the con- 
ventions of the world are against the complete development of 
the faculties thus aroused and the ambition thus animated ; that 
they cannot but rebel, though it may be silently, against the no- 











120 THE PARISIANS. 

tions of the former age, when women were not thus educated, 
notions that the aim of the sex should be to steal through life 
unremarked ; that it is a reproach to be talked of ; that women 
are plants to be kept in a hothouse and forbidden the frank 
liberty of growth in the natural air and sunshine of heaven? 
This, at least, is a sentiment which has sprung up within my- 
self; and I imagine that it is the sentiment which has given 
birth to many of the opinions or doctrines that seem absurd, 
and very likely are so, to the general public. I don't pretend 
even to have considered those doctrines ; I don't pretend to 
say what may be the remedies for the restlessness and uneasi- 
ness I feel. I doubt if on this earth there be any remedies; 
all I know is, that I feel restless and uneasy." 

Graham gazed on her countenance as she spoke with an as. 
tonishment not unmingled with tenderness and compassion, 
astonishment at the contrast between a vein of reflection so 
hardy, expressed in a style of language that seemed to him so 
masculine, and the soft velvet dreamy eyes, the gentle tones, 
and delicate purity of hues rendered younger still by the blush 
that deepened their bloom. 

At this moment they had entered the refreshment-room; 
but a dense group being round the table, and both perhaps 
forgetting the object for which Mrs. Morley had introduced 
them to each other, they had mechancially seated themselves 
on an ottoman in a recess while Isaura was yet speaking. It 
must seem as strange to the reader as it did to Graham that 
such a speech should have been spoken by so young a girl to 
an acquaintance so new ; but in truth Isaura was very little 
conscious of Graham's presence. She had got on a subject 
that perplexed and tormented her solitary thoughts ; she was 
but thinking aloud. 

"I believe," said Graham, after a pause, "that I compre- 
hend your sentiment much better than I do Mrs. Morley 's 
opinions; but permit me one observation. You say truly 
that the course of modern civilization has more or less 
affected the relative position of woman cultivated beyond 
that level on which she was formerly contented to stand, - 
the nearer perhaps to the heart of man because not lifting 








THE PARISIANS. 121 

her head to his height, and hence a sense of restlessness, 
uneasiness ; but do you suppose that, in this whirl and dance 
of the atoms which compose the rolling ball of the civilized 
world, it is only women that are made restless and uneasy? 
you not see amid the masses congregated in the wealthiest 
cities of the world, writhings and struggles against the re- 
ceived order of things? In this sentiment of discontent there 
is a certain truthfulness, because it is an element of human 

ature, and how best to deal with it is a problem yet un- 
solved; but in the opinions and doctrines to which, among 
the masses, the sentiment gives birth, the wisdom of the 

isest detects only the certainty of a common ruin, offering 
for reconstruction the same building-materials as the former 
edifice, materials not likely to be improved because they 
may be defaced. Ascend from the working classes to all 
others in which civilized culture prevails, and you will find 
that same restless feeling, the fluttering of untried wings 
gainst the bars between wider space and their longings. 

!ould you poll all the educated ambitious young men in Eng- 
land, perhaps in Europe, at least half of them, divided 

itween a reverence for the past and a curiosity as to the 

.ture, would sigh, ' I am born a century too late or a century 
too soon!' " 

Isaura listened to this answer with a profound and absorb- 
ing interest. It was the first time that a clever young man 
talked thus sympathetically to her, a clever young girl. 

Then, rising, he said, " I see your Madre and our American 
friends are darting angry looks at me. They have made room 
for us at the table, and are wondering why I should keep you 
thus from the good things of this little life. One word more 
ere we join them, consult your own mind, and consider 
whether your uneasiness and unrest are caused solely by con- 
ventional shackles on your sex. Are they not equally com- 
mon to the youth of ours, common to all who seek in art, in 
letters, nay, in the stormier field of active life, to clasp as a 
reality some image yet seen but as a dream? " 



122 THE PARISIANS. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

No further conversation in the way of sustained dialogue 
took place that evening between Graham and Isaura. 

The Americans and the Savarins clustered round Isaui 
when they quitted the refreshment-room. The party 
breaking up. Vane would have offered his arm again 
Isaura, but M. Savarin had forestalled him. The Americai 
was despatched by his wife to see for the carriage ; and Mrs. 
Morley said, with her wonted sprightly tone of command, 

"Now, Mr. Vane, you have no option but to take care of 
me to the shawl -room." 

Madame Savarin and Signora Venosta had each found their 
cavaliers, the Italian still retaining hold of the portly con- 
noisseur, and the Frenchwoman accepting the safeguard of 
the Vicomte de Br6z6. As they descended the stairs, Mrs. 
Morley asked Graham what he thought of the young lady to 
whom she had presented him. 

" I think she is charming, " answered Graham. 

" Of course ; that is the stereotyped answer to all such ques- 
tions, especially by you Englishmen. In public or in pri- 
vate, England is the mouthpiece of platitudes." 

" It is natural for an American to think so. Every child 
that has just learned to speak uses bolder expressions than its 
grandmamma; but I am rather at a loss to know by what 
novelty of phrase an American would have answered your 
question." 

" An American would have discovered that Isaura Cicogna 
had a soul, and his answer would have confessed it." 

" It strikes me that he would then have uttered a platitude 
more stolid than mine. Every Christian knows that the 
dullest human being has a soul. But, to speak frankly, I 
grant that my answer did not do justice to the Signorina, nor 
to the impression she makes on me; and putting aside thg 






THE PARISIANS. 123 

charm of the face, there is a charm in a mind that seems to 
have gathered stores of reflection which I should scarcely 
,ve expected to find in a young lady brought up to be a 
rofessional singer." 

" You add prejudice to platitude, and are horribly prosaic 
-night; but here we are in the shawl-room. I must take 
aother opportunity of attacking you. Pray dine with us to- 
morrow; you will meet our Minister and a few other 
pleasant friends." 

I suppose I must not say, ' I shall be charmed, ' " an- 
ered Vane; "but I shall be." 

" Bon Dieu ! that horrid fat man has deserted Signora Ve- 
sta, looking for his own cloak, I dare say; selfish mon- 
r! Go and hand her to her carriage; quick, it is 
announced ! " 

Graham, thus ordered, hastened to offer his arm to the she- 
.ountebank. Somehow she had acquired dignity in his eyes, 
d he did not feel the least ashamed of being in contact with 
e scarlet jacket. 

The Signora grappled to him with a confiding familiarity. 
"I am afraid," she said in Italian, as they passed along the 
ious hall to the porte cochere, "I am afraid that I did 
t make a good effect to-night. I was nervous ; did not you 
rceive it? " 

"No, indeed; you enchanted us all," replied the dissimu- 
,tor. 

"How amiable you are to say so! You must think that I 
light for a compliment. So I did; you gave me more than 
deserved. Wine is the milk of old men, and praise of old 
omen ; but an old man may be killed by too much wine, and 
old woman lives all the longer" for too much praise. 
uona notte." 

Here she sprang, lithesomely enough, into the carriage, 
d Isaura followed, escorted by M. Savarin. As the two 
en returned towards the shawl-room, the Frenchman said, 
"Madame Savarin and I complain that you have not let us 
so much of you as we ought. No doubt you are greatly 
ught after; but are you free to take your soup with us the 



124 THE PARISIANS. 

day after to-morrow? You will meet the Count von Rudes- 
heim, and a few others more lively if less wise." 

" The day after to-morrow I will mark with a white stone. 
To dine with M. Savarin is an event to a man who covets 
distinction." 

" Such compliments reconcile an author to his trade. You 
deserve the best return I can make you. You will meet la 
belle Isaure. I have just engaged her and her chaperon. She 
is a girl of true genius ; and genius is like those objects of 
virtu which belong to a former age, and become every day 
more scarce and more precious." 

Here they encountered Colonel Morley and his wife hurry- 
ing to their carriage. The American stopped Vane, and 
whispered, "I am glad, sir, to hear from my wife that you 
dine with us to-morrow. Sir, you will meet Mademoiselle 
Cicogna, and I am not without a kinkle 1 that you will be 
enthused." 

"This seems like a fatality," soliloquized Vane as he 
walked through the deserted streets towards his lodging. " I 
strove to banish that haunting face from my mind. I had 
half forgotten it, and now " Here his murmur sank into 
silence. He was deliberating in very conflicted thought 
whether or not he should write to refuse the two invitations 
he had accepted. 

" Pooh ! " he said at last, as he reached the door of his 
lodging, " is my reason so weak that it should be influenced 
by a mere superstition? Surely I know myself too well, and 
have tried myself too long, to fear that I should be untrue 
to the duty and ends of my life, even if I found my heart in 
danger of suffering." 

Certainly the Fates do seem to mock our resolves to keep 
our feet from their ambush, and our hearts from their snare ! 

How our lives may be coloured by that which seems to us 
the most trivial accident, the merest chance! Suppose that 
Alain de Rochebriant had been invited to that reunion at M. 
Louvier's, and Graham Vane had accepted some other invi- 
tation and passed his evening elsewhere, Alain would prob- 

1 A notion. 



THE PARISIANS. 



125 



ably have been presented to Isaura what then might have 
ippened? The impression Isaura had already made upon 
ic young Frenchman was not so deep as that made upon 
rraham; but then, Alain's resolution to efface it was but 
)mmenced that day, and by no means yet confirmed. And 
he had been the first clever young man to talk earnestly to 
that clever young girl, who can guess what impression he 
light have made upon her? His conversation might have 
less philosophy and strong sense than Graham's, but 
lore of poetic sentiment and fascinating romance. 
However, the history of events that do not come to pass is 
lot in the chronicle of the Fates. 



BOOK III. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE next day the guests at the Morleys' had assembled 
when Vane entered. His apology for unpunctuality was cut 
short by the lively hostess. " Your pardon is granted with- 
out the humiliation of asking for it; we know that the charac- 
teristic of the English is always to be a little behindhand." 

She then proceeded to introduce him to the American Min- 
ister, to a distinguished American poet, with a countenance 
striking for mingled sweetness and power, and one or two 
other of her countrymen sojourning at Paris ; and this cere- 
mony over, dinner was announced, and she bade Graham offer 
his arm to Mademoiselle Cicogna. 

"Have you ever visited the United States, Mademoiselle? " 
asked Vane, as they seated themselves at the table. 

"No." 

"It is a voyage you are sure to make soon." 

"Why so?" 

" Because report says you will create a great sensation at 
the very commencement of your career; and the New World 
is ever eager to welcome each celebrity that is achieved in 
the Old,^ more especially that which belongs to your en- 
chanting art." 

"True, sir," said an American senator, solemnly striking 
into the conversation ; " we are an appreciative people ; and if 
that lady be as fine a singer as I am told, she might command 
any amount of dollars." 



THE PARISIANS. 127 



E Isaura coloured, and turning to Graham, asked him in a low 
ice if he were fond of music. 
" I ought of course to say ' yes, ' answered Graham, in the 
same tone; "but I doubt if that ' yes ' would be an honest 
one. In some moods, music if a kind of music I like 
affects me very deeply; in other moods, not at all. And I 
cannot bear much at a time. A concert wearies me shame- 
fully; even an opera always seems to me a great deal too 
long. But I ought to add that I am no judge of music; that 
music was never admitted into my education; and, between 
ourselves, I doubt if there be one Englishman in five hundred 

fho would care for opera or concert if it were not the fashion 
say he did. Does my frankness revolt you? " 
" On the contrary, I sometimes doubt, especially of late, if 
am fond of music myself." 
" Signorina, pardon me, it is impossible that you should 
not be. Genius can never be untrue to itself, and must love 
that in which it excels, that by which it communicates joy, 
d," he added, with a half-suppressed sigh, "attains to 
ory." 

"Genius is a divine word, and not to be applied to a 
ger," said Isaura, with a humility in which there was an 
rnest sadness. 

Graham was touched and startled; but before he could 
wer, the American Minister appealed to him across the 
ble, asking if he had quoted accurately a passage in a 
eech by Graham's distinguished father, in regard to the 
are which England ought to take in the political affairs 
if Europe. 

The conversation now became general, very political and 
ery serious. Graham was drawn into it, and grew animated 
d eloquent. 

Isaura listened to him with admiration. She was struck 
iy what seemed to her a nobleness of sentiment which ele- 
vated his theme above the level of commonplace polemics. 
She was pleased to notice, in the attentive silence of his in- 
telligent listeners, that they shared the effect produced on 
herself. In fact, Graham Vane was a born orator, and his 



128 THE PARISIANS. 

studies had been those of a political thinker. In common 
talk he was but the accomplished man of the world, easy 
and frank and genial, with a touch of good-natured sarcasm ; 
but when the subject started drew him upward to those 
heights in which politics become the science of humanity, he 
seemed a changed being. His cheek glowed, his eye bright- 
ened, his voice mellowed into richer tones, his language be- 
came unconsciously adorned. In such moments there might 
scarcely be an audience, even differing from him in opinion, 
which would not have acknowledged his spell. 

When the party adjourned to the salon, Isaura said softly to 
Graham, "I understand why you did not cultivate music; 
and I think, too, that I can now understand what effects the 
human voice can produce on human minds without recurring 
to the art of song." 

"Ah," said Graham, with a pleased smile, "do not make 
me ashamed of my former rudeness by the revenge of com- 
pliment; and, above all, do not disparage your own art by 
supposing that any prose effect of voice in its utterance of 
mind can interpret that which music alone can express, even 
to listeners so uncultured as myself. Am I not told truly 
by musical composers, when I ask them to explain in words 
what they say in their music, that such explanation is impos- 
sible, that music has a language of its own untranslatable by 
words? " 

"Yes," said Isaura, with thoughtful brow but brightening 
eyes, "you are told truly. It was only the other day that I 
was pondering over that truth." 

"But what recesses of mind, of heart, of soul, this untrans- 
latable language penetrates and brightens up! How incom- 
plete the grand nature of man though man the grandest 
would be, if you struck out of his reason the comprehension 
of poetry, music, and religion ! In each are reached and are 
sounded deeps in his reason otherwise concealed from him- 
self. History, knowledge, science, stop at the point in which 
mystery begins. There they meet with the world of shadow. 
Not an inch of that world can they penetrate without the aid 
of poetry and religion, two necessities of intellectual man 



THE PARISIANS. 129 



tei 

" 



ISO THE PAKISIANS. 

in that of most true orators, a wonderful degree of intel- 
lectual conscience which impelled him to acknowledge the 
benignant influences of song, and to set before the young 
singer the noblest incentives to the profession to which he 
deemed her assuredly destined ; but in so doing he must have 
felt that he was widening the gulf between her life and his 
own. Perhaps he wished to widen it in proportion as he 
treaded to listen to any voice in his heart which asked if 
the gulf might not be overleapt. 



CHAPTER II. 

ON the morrow Graham called at the villa at A . The 

two ladies received him in Isaura's chosen sitting-room. 

Somehow or other, conversation at first languished. Gra- 
ham was reserved and distant, Isaura shy and embarrassed. 

The Venosta had the frais of making talk to herself. Prob- 
ably at another time Graham would have been amused and in- 
terested in the observation of a character new to him, and 
thoroughly southern, lovable not more from its naive sim- 
plicity of kindliness than from various little foibles and vani- 
ties, all of which were harmless, and some of them endearing 
as those of a child whom it is easy to make happy, and whom 
it seems so cruel to pain; and with all the Venosta's devia- 
tions from the polished and tranquil good taste of the beau 
monde, she had that indescribable grace which rarely deserts 
a Florentine, so that you might call her odd but not vulgar; 
while, though uneducated, except in the way of her old pro- 
fession, and never having troubled herself to read anything 
but a libretto and the pious books commended to her by her 
confessor, the artless babble of her talk every now and then 
flashed out with a quaint humour, lighting up terse fragments 
of the old Italian wisdom which had mysteriously embedded 
themselves in the groundwork of her mind, 



an^ 
wh 

hai 



THE PARISIANS. 131 

But Graham was not at this time disposed to judge the poor 
enosta kindly or fairly. Isaura had taken high rank in his 
thoughts. He felt an impatient resentment mingled with 
xiety and compassionate tenderness at a companionship 
hich seemed to him derogatory to the position he would 
ave assigned to a creature so gifted, and unsafe as a guide 
amidst the perils and trials to which the youth, the beauty, 
d the destined profession of Isaura were exposed. Like 
ost Englishmen especially Englishmen wise in the knowl- 
edge of life he held in fastidious regard the proprieties 
d conventions by which the dignity of woman is fenced 
iund ; and of those proprieties and conventions the Venosta 
.turally appeared to him a very unsatisfactory guardian and 
presentative. 

Happily unconscious of these hostile prepossessions, the 
der Signora chatted on very gayly to the visitor. She was 
excellent spirits; people had been very civil to her both at 
lonel Morley's and M. Louvier's. The American Minister 
praised the scarlet jacket. She was convinced she had 
e a sensation two nights running. When the amour propre 
pleased, the tongue is freed. 

The Venosta ran on in praise of Paris and the Parisians; of 
irier and his soiree and the pistachio ice ; of the Americans, 
d a certain creme de maraschino which she hoped the 
ignor Inglese had not failed to taste, the creme de mara- 
hino led her thoughts back to Italy. Then she grew 
ournful. How she missed the native beau del! Paris was 
easant, but how absurd to call it "le Paradis des Femmes," 
as if les Femmes could find Paradise in a brouilJard ! 
"But," she exclaimed, with vivacity of voice and gesticula- 
on, "the Signer does not come to hear the parrot talk; he 
engaged to come that he may hear the nightingale sing. A 
op of honey attracts the fly more than a bottle of vinegar. " 
Graham could not help smiling at this adage. "I submit," 
id he, "to your comparison as regards myself; but cer- 
tainly anything less like a bottle of vinegar than your 
amiable conversation I cannot well conceive. However, the 
metaphor apart, I scarcely know how I dare ask Mademoiselle 
to sing after the confession I made to her last night." 



132 THE PARISIANS. 

" What confession? " asked the Venosta. 

" That I know nothing of music, and doubt if I can honestly 
say that I am fond of it." 

" Not fond of music ! Impossible ! You slander yourself. 
He who loves not music would have a dull time of it in 
heaven. But you are English, and perhaps have only heard 
the music of your own country. Bad, very bad a heretic's 
music! Now listen." 

Seating herself at the piano, she began an air from the 
"Lucia," crying out to Isaura to come and sing to her 
accom paniment. 

"Do you really wish it?" asked Isaura of Graham, fixing 
on him questioning, timid eyes. 

"I cannot say how much I wish to hear you." 

Isaura moved to the instrument, and Graham stood behind 
her. Perhaps he felt that he should judge more impartially 
of her voice if not subjected to the charm of her face. 

But the first note of the voice held him spell-bound. In 
itself the organ was of the rarest order, mellow and rich, but 
so soft that its power was lost in its sweetness, and so ex- 
quisitely fresh in every note. 

But the singer's charm was less in voice than in feeling; 
she conveyed to the listener so much more than was said by 
the words, or even implied by the music. Her song in this 
caught the art of the painter who impresses the mind with 
the consciousness of a something which the eye cannot detect 
on the canvas. 

She seemed to breathe out from the depths of her heart the 
intense pathos of the original romance, so far exceeding that 
of the opera, the human tenderness, the mystic terror of a 
tragic love-tale more solemn in its sweetness than that of 
Verona. 

When her voice died away no applause came, not even a 
murmur. Isaura bashfully turned round to steal a glance at 
her silent listener, and beheld moistened eyes and quivering 
lips. At that moment she was reconciled to her art. Graham 
rose abruptly and walked to the window. 

"Do you doubt now if you are fond of music? " cried the 
Venosta. 



THE PARISIANS. 133 



I "This is more than music," answered Graham, still with 
eerted face. Then, after a short pause, he approached 
Isaura, and said, with a melancholy half-smile, 

" I do not think, Mademoiselle, that I could dare to hear 
ou often ; it would take me too far from the hard real world : 
d he who would not be left behindhand on the road that 
e must journey cannot indulge frequent excursions into 
iryland." 

"Yet," said Isaura, in a tone yet sadder, "I was told in my 
ildhood, by one whose genius gives authority to her words, 
at beside the real world lies the ideal. The real world 
then seemed rough to me. ' Escape, ' said my counsellor, ' is 
granted from that stony thoroughfare into the fields beyond 
formal hedgerows. The ideal world has its sorrows, but 
never admits despair.' That counsel then, methought, de- 
ided my choice of life. I know not now if it has done so." 
"Fate," answered Graham, slowly and thoughtfully, 
Fate, which is not the ruler but the servant of Providence, 
ecides our choice of life, and rarely from outward circuin- 
ces. Usually the motive power is within. We apply 
e word "genius" to the minds of the gifted few; but in all 
f us there is a genius that is inborn, a pervading something 
which distinguishes our very identity, and dictates to the con- 
science that which we are best fitted to do and to be. In so 
ictating it compels our choice of life; or if we resist the 
dictate, we find at the close that we have gone astray. My 
choice of life thus compelled is on the stony thoroughfares, 
yours in the green fields." 

As he thus said, his face became clouded and mournful. 
The Venosta, quickly tired of a conversation in which she 
had no part, and having various little household matters to 
attend to, had during this dialogue slipped unobserved from 
the room; yet neither Isaura nor Graham felt the sudden 
consciousness that they were alone which belongs to lovers. 

"Why," asked Isaura, with that magic smile reflected in 
countless dimples which, even when her words were those 
of a man's reasoning, made them seem gentle with a woman's 
sentiment, " why must your road through the world be so 



134 THE PARISIANS. 

exclusively the stony one? It is not from necessity, it can- 
not be from taste; and whatever definition you give to 
genius, surely it is not your own inborn genius that dictates 
to you a constant exclusive adherence to the commonplace 
of life." 

"Ah, Mademoiselle, do not misrepresent me. I did not 
say that I could not sometimes quit the real world for fairy- 
land, I said that I could not do so often. My vocation is 
not that of a poet or artist." 

"It is that of an orator, I know," said Isaura, kindling; 
"so they tell me, and I believe them. But is not the orator 
somewhat akin to the poet? Is not oratory an art? " 

"Let us dismiss the word orator; as applied to English 
public life, it is a very deceptive expression. The English- 
man who wishes to influence his countrymen by force of 
words spoken must mix with them in their beaten thorough- 
fares; must make himself master of their practical views and 
interests; must be conversant with their prosaic occupations 
and business; must understand how to adjust their loftiest 
aspirations to their material welfare; must avoid as the fault 
most dangerous to himself and to others that kind of elo- 
quence which is called oratory, in France, and which has 
helped to make the French the worst politicians in Europe. 
Alas ! Mademoiselle, I fear that an English statesman would 
appear to you a very dull orator." 

"I see that I spoke foolishly, yes, you show me that the 
world of the statesman lies apart from that of the artist. 
Yet" 

"Yet what?" 

"May not the ambition of both be the same? " 

"How so?" 

" To refine the rude, to exalt the mean ; to identify their 
own fame with some new beauty, some new glory, added to 
the treasure-house of all." 

Graham bowed his head reverently, and then raised it with 
the flush of enthusiasm on his cheek and brow. 

"Oh, Mademoiselle," he exclaimed, "what a sure guide 
and what a noble inspirer to a true. Englishman's ambition 



THE PARISIANS. 



135 



iture has fitted you to be, were it not " He paused 
ibruptly. 

This outburst took Isaura utterly by surprise. She had 
sen accustomed to the language of compliment till it had 
jgun to pall, but a compliment of this kind was the first 
lat had ever reached her ear. She had no words in answer 
it; involuntarily she placed her hand on her heart as if to 
till its beatings. But the unfinished exclamation, " Were it 
)t," troubled her more than the preceding words had flat- 
jred, and mechanically she murmured, " Were it not 
rhat?" 

"Oh," answered Graham, affecting a tone of gayety, "I 
jit too ashamed of my selfishness as man to finish my 
jntence." 

"Do so, or I shall fancy you refrained lest you might 
round me as woman." 

"Not so; on the contrary, had I gone on it would have 
jen to say that a woman of your genius, and more especially 
)f such mastery in the most popular and fascinating of all 
could not be contented if she inspired nobler thoughts 
a single breast, she must belong to the public, or rather 
le public must belong to her; it is but a corner of her heart 
lat an individual can occupy, and even that individual must 
lerge his existence in hers, must be contented to reflect a 
of the light she sheds on admiring thousands. Who 
juld dare to say to you, ' Renounce your career ; confine your 
snius, your art, to the petty circle of home ' ? To an actress, 
singer, with whose fame the world rings, home would be a 
rison. Pardon me, pardon " 

Isaura had turned away her face to hide tears that would 
)rce their way; but she held out her hand to him with a 
childlike frankness, and said softly, "I am not offended." 
irraham did not trust himself to continue the same strain of 
mversation. Breaking into a new subject, he said, after a 
mstrained pause, " Will you think it very impertinent in so 
lew an acquaintance, if I ask how it is that you, an Italian, 
know our language as a native; and is it by Italian teachers 
that you have been trained to think and to feel?" 



136 THE PARISIANS. 

" Mr. Selby, my second father, was an Englishman, and did 
not speak any other language with comfort to himself. He 
was very fond of me; and had he been really my father I 
could not have loved him more. We were constant compan- 
ions till till I lost him." 

" And no mother left to console you ! " Isaura shook her 
head mournfully, and the Venosta here re-entered. 

Graham felt conscious that he had already stayed too long, 
and took leave. 

They knew that they were to meet that evening at the 
Savarins'. 

To Graham that thought was not one of unmixed pleasure ; 
the more he knew of Isaura, the more he felt self-reproach 
that he had allowed himself to know her at all. 

But after he had left, Isaura sang low to herself the song 
which had so affected her listener; then she fell into ab- 
stracted re very, but she felt a strange and new sort of happi- 
ness. In dressing for M. Savarin's dinner, and twining the 
classic ivy wreath in her dark locks, her Italian servant ex- 
claimed, "How beautiful the Signorina looks to-night! " 



CHAPTER III. 

M. SAVARIN was one of the most brilliant of that galaxy 
of literary men which shed lustre on the reign of Louis 
Philippe. 

His was an intellect peculiarly French in its lightness and 
grace. Neither England nor Germany nor America has pro- 
duced any resemblance to it. Ireland has, in Thomas Moore ; 
but then in Irish genius there is so much that is French. 

M. Savarin was free from the ostentatious extravagance 
which had come into vogue with the Empire. His house and 
establishment were modestly maintained within the limit of 






THE PARISIANS. 13T 



an income chiefly, perhaps entirely, derived from literary 
profits. 

Though he gave frequent dinners, it was but to few at a 
time, and without show or pretence. Yet the dinners, though 
simple, were perfect of their kind; and the host so contrived 
to infuse his own playful gayety into the temper of his 
guests, that the feasts at his house were considered the 
pleasantest at Paris. On this occasion the party extended to 
ten, the largest number his table admitted. 

All the French guests belonged to the Liberal party, though 
in changing tints of the tricolor. Place aux dames ! first to 
be named were the Countess de Craon and Madame Vertot, 
both without husbands. The Countess had buried the Count, 
Madame Vertot had separated from Monsieur. The Coun- 
tess was very handsome, but she was sixty ; Madame Vertot 
was twenty years younger, but she was very plain. She had 
quarrelled with the distinguished author for whose sake she 
had separated from Monsieur, and no man had since presumed 
to think that he could console a lady so plain for the loss of 
an author so distinguished. 

Both these ladies were very clever. The Countess had writ- 
ten lyrical poems entitled "Cries of Liberty," and a drama of 
which Danton was the hero, and the moral too revolutionary 
for admission to the stage ; but at heart the Countess was not 
at all a revolutionist, the last person in the world to do or 
desire anything that could bring a washerwoman an inch 
nearer to a countess. She was one of those persons who play 
with fire in order to appear enlightened. 

Madame Vertot was of severer mould. She had knelt at 
the feet of M. Thiers, and went into the historico-political 
line. She had written a remarkable book upon the modern 
Carthage (meaning England), and more recently a work that 
had excited much attention upon the Balance of Power, in 
which she proved it to be the interest of civilization and the 
necessity of Europe that Belgium should be added to France, 
and Prussia circumscribed to the bounds of its original 
margraviate. She showed how easily these two objects 
could have been effected by a constitutional monarch instead 



138 THE PARISIANS. 

of an egotistical Emperor. Madame Vertot was a decided 
Orleanist. 

Both these ladies condescended to put aside authorship in 
general society. Next amongst our guests let me place the 
Count de Passy and Madame son espouse. The Count was 
seventy-one, and, it is needless to add, a type of Frenchman 
rapidly vanishing, and not likely to find itself renewed. How 
shall I describe him so as to make my English reader under- 
stand? Let me try by analogy. Suppose a man of great birth 
and fortune, who in his youth had been an enthusiastic friend 
of Lord Byron and a jocund companion of George IV. ; who 
had in him an immense degree of lofty romantic sentiment 
with an equal degree of well-bred worldly cynicism, but who, 
on account of that admixture, which is so rare, kept a high 
rank in either of the two societies into which, speaking 
broadly, civilized life divides itself, the romantic and the 
eynical. The Count de Passy had been the most ardent 
among the young disciples of Chateaubriand, the most bril- 
liant among the young courtiers of Charles X. Need I add 
that he had been a terrible lady-killer? 

But in spite of his admiration of Chateaubriand and his 
allegiance to Charles X., the Count had been always true to 
those caprices of the French noblesse from which he de- 
scended, caprices which destroyed them in the old Revo- 
lution; caprices belonging to the splendid ignorance of their 
nation in general and their order in particular. Speaking 
without regard to partial exceptions, the French gentilhomme 
is essentially a Parisian; a Parisian is essentially impres- 
sionable to the impulse or fashion of the moment. Is it a la 
mode for the moment to be Liberal or anti-Liberal? Paris- 
ians embrace and kiss each other, and swear through life and 
death to adhere forever to the mode of the moment. The 
Three Days were the mode of the moment, the Count de 
Passy became an enthusiastic Orleanist. Louis Philippe was 
very gracious to him. He was decorated; he was named 
prefet of his department; he was created senator; he was 
about to be sent Minister to a German Court when Louis 
Philippe fell. The Republic was proclaimed. The Count 



THE PARISIANS. 139 

caught the popular contagion, and after exchanging tears 
and kisses with patriots whom a week before he had called 
canaille, he swore eternal fidelity to the Republic. The fash- 
ion of the moment suddenly became Napoleonic, and with 
the coup d'etat the Republic was metamorphosed into an Em- 
pire. The Count wept on the bosoms of all the Vieilles 
Moustaches he could find, and rejoiced that the sun of Aus- 
terlitz had re-arisen. But after the affair of Mexico the sun 
of Austerlitz waxed very sickly. Imperialism was fast going 
out of fashion. The Count transferred his affection to Jules 
Favre, and joined the ranks of the advanced Liberals. Dur- 
ing all these political changes, the Count had remained very 
much the same man in private life; agreeable, good-natured, 
witty, and, above all, a devotee of the fair sex. When he 
had reached the age of sixty-eight he was still fort bel homme, 
unmarried, with a grand presence and charming manner. At 
that age he said, " Je me range, " and married a young lady of 
eighteen. She adored her husband, and was wildly jealous 
of him ; while the Count did not seem at all jealous of her, 
and submitted to her adoration with a gentle shrug of the 
shoulders. 

The three other guests who, with Graham and the two 
Italian ladies, made up the complement of ten, were the Ger- 
man Count von Rudesheim, a celebrated French physician 
named Bacourt, and a young author whom Savarin had ad- 
mitted into his clique and declared to be of rare promise. 
This author, whose real name was Gustave Rameau, but who, 

t prove, I suppose, the sincerity of that scorn for ancestry 
ich he professed, published his verses under the patrician 
ignation of Alphonse de -Valcour, was about twenty-four, 
and might have passed at the first glance for younger; but, 
looking at him closely, the signs of old age were already 
stamped on his visage. 

He was undersized, and of a feeble slender frame. In the 
es of women and artists the defects of his frame were re- 
deemed by the extraordinary beauty of the face. His black 
hair, carefully parted in the centre, and worn long and flow- 
ig, contrasted the whiteness of a high though narrow fore- 



140 THE PARISIANS. 

head, and the delicate pallor of his cheeks. His features 
were very regular, his eyes singularly bright; but the expres- 
sion of the face spoke of fatigue and exhaustion; the silky 
locks were already thin, and interspersed with threads of 
silver; the bright eyes shone out from sunken orbits; the 
lines round the mouth were marked as they are in the middle 
age of one who has lived too fast. 

It was a countenance that might have excited a compas- 
sionate and tender interest but for something arrogant and 
supercilious in the expression, something that demanded not 
tender pity but enthusiastic admiration. Yet that expres- 
sion was displeasing rather to men than to women; and one 
could well conceive that, among the latter, the enthusiastic 
admiration it challenged would be largely conceded. 

The conversation at dinner was in complete contrast to that 
at the Americans' the day before. There the talk, thoug' 
animated, had been chiefly earnest and serious; here it w 
all touch and go, sally and repartee. The subjects were th 
light on dits and lively anecdotes of the day, not free fro 
literature and politics, but both treated as matters of pet 
siftage, hovered round with a jest and quitted with an epi- 
gram. The two French lady authors, the Count de Passy, 
the physician, and the host far outspoke all the other guests. 
Now and then, however, the German Count struck in with ai 
ironical remark condensing a great deal of grave wisdom, anc 
the young author with ruder and more biting sarcasm. If the 
sarcasm told, he showed his triumph by a low-pitched laugh; 
if it failed, he evinced his displeasure by a conternptuoi 
sneer or a grim scowl. 

Isaura and Graham were not seated near each other, anc 
were for the most part contented to be listeners. 

On adjourning to the salon after dinner, Graham, however, 
was approaching the chair in which Isaura had placed herseli 
when the young author, forestalling him, dropped into the 
seat next to her, and began a conversation in a voice so low 
that it might have passed for a whisper. The Englishman 
drew back and observed them. He soon perceived, with a 
pang of jealousy not unmingled with scorn, that the author's 



THE PARISIANS. 141 

talk appeared to interest Isaura. She listened with evident 
attention; and when she spoke in return, though Graham did 
not hear her words, he could observe on her expressive coun- 
tenance an increased gentleness of aspect. 

"I hope," said the physician, joining Graham, as most of 
the other guests gathered round Savarin, who was in his live- 
liest vein of anecdote and wit, "I hope that the fair Italian 
will not allow that ink-bottle imp to persuade her that she 
has fallen in love with him." 

"Do young ladies generally find him so seductive?" asked 
Graham, with a forced smile. 

"Probably enough. He has the reputation of being very 
clever and very wicked, and that is a sort of character which 
has the serpent's fascination for the daughters of Eve." 

"Is the reputation merited? " 

"As to the cleverness, I am not a fair judge. I dislike 
that sort of writing which is neither manlike nor womanlike, 
and in which young Rameau excels. He has the knack of 
finding very exaggerated phrases by which to express com- 
monplace thoughts. He writes verses about love in words so 
stormy that you might fancy that Jove was descending upon 
Semele ; but when you examine his words, as a sober patholo- 
gist like myself is disposed to do, your fear for the peace of 
households vanishes, they are Vox et prceterea nihil ; no 
man really in love would use them. He writes prose about 
the wrongs of humanity. You feel for humanity; you say, 
' Grant the wrongs, now for the remedy, ' and you find noth- 
ing but balderdash. Still I am bound to say that both in verse 
and prose Gustave Rameau is in unison with a corrupt taste 
of the day, and therefore he is coming into vogue. So much 
as to -his writings; as to his wickedness, you have only to 
look at him to feel sure that he is not a hundredth part so 
wicked as he wishes to seem. In a word, then, M. Gustave 
Rameau is a type of that somewhat numerous class among the 
youth of Paris, which I call ' the lost Tribe of Absinthe.' 
There is a set of men who begin to live full gallop while they 
are still boys. As a general rule, they are originally of the 
sickly frames which can scarcely even trot, much less gallop, 




142 THE PARISIANS. 

without the spur of stimulants, and no stimulant so fasci- 
nates their peculiar nervous system as absinthe. The num- 
ber of patients in this set who at the age of thirty are more 
worn out than septuagenarians increases so rapidly as to 
make one dread to think what will be the next race of 
Frenchmen. To the predilection for absinthe young Rameau 
and the writers of his set add the imitation of Heine, after, 
indeed, the manner of caricaturists, who effect a likeness 
striking in proportion as it is ugly. It is not easy to imitate 
the pathos and the wit of Heine; but it is easy to imitate his 
defiance of the Deity, his mockery of right and wrong, his 
relentless war on that heroic standard of thought and action 
which the writers who exalt their nation intuitively preserve. 
Eameau cannot be a Heine, but he can be to Heine what a 
misshapen snarling dwarf is to a mangled blaspheming Titan. 
Yet he interests the women in general, and he evidently in- 
terests the fair Signorina in especial." 

Just as Bacourt finished that last sentence, Isaura lifted 
the head which had hitherto bent in an earnest listening atti- 
tude that seemed to justify the Doctor's remarks, and looked 
round. Her eyes met Graham's with the fearless candour 
which made half the charm of their bright yet soft intelli- 
gence; but she dropped them suddenly with a half -start and 
a change of colour, for the expression of Graham's face was 
unlike that which she had hitherto seen on it, it was hard, 
stern, and somewhat disdainful. A minute or so afterwards 
she rose, and in passing across the room towards the group 
round the host, paused at a table covered with books and 
prints near to which Graham was standing alone. The Doctor 
had departed in company with the German Count. 
Isaura took up one of the prints. 

" Ah ! " she exclaimed, " Sorrento, my Sorrento. Have you 
ever visited Sorrento, Mr. Vane?" 

Her question and her movement were evidently in conci- 
liation. Was the conciliation prompted by coquetry, or by 
a sentiment more innocent and artless? 

Graham doubted, and replied coldly, as he bent over the 
print, 




GUSTAVE KAMKAV, GKAHAM, AND ISAI KA AT .M. SAVAKIN'.S. 



THE PARISIANS. 143 

" I once stayed there a few days, but my recollection of it 
is not sufficiently lively to enable me to recognize its features 
in this design." 

"That is the house, at least so they say, of Tasso's father; 
of course you visited that? " 

"Yes, it was a hotel in my time; I lodged there." 

" And I too. There I first read ' The Gerusalemme. ' " 
The last words were said in Italian, with a low measured 
tone, inwardly and dreamily. 

A somewhat sharp and incisive voice speaking in French 
here struck in and prevented Graham's rejoinder : " Quel joli 
dessinf What is it, Mademoiselle?" 

Graham recoiled; the speaker was Gustave Rameau, who 
had, unobserved, first watched Isaura, then rejoined her 
side. 

" A view of Sorrento, Monsieur, but it does not do justice 
to the place. I was pointing out the house which belonged 
to Tasso's father." 

"Tasso! Hein ! and which is the fair Eleonora's? " 

" Monsieur, " answered Isaura, rather startled at that ques- 
tion, from a professed homme de lettres, " Eleonora did not 
live at Sorrento." 

"Tant pis pour Sorrente," said the homme de lettres, care- 
lessly. "No one would care for Tasso if it were not for 
Eleonora." 

"I should rather have thought," said Graham, "that no one 
would have cared for Eleonora if it were not for Tasso." 

Rameau glanced at the Englishman superciliously. 

" Pardon, Monsieur, in every age a love-story kjseps its 
interest ; but who cares nowadays for le clinquant du Tasse ? " 

" Le clinquant du Tasse ! " exclaimed Isaura, indignantly. 

"The expression is Boileau's, Mademoiselle, in ridicule of 
the ' Sot de qualite, ' who prefers 

" ' Le clinquant du Tasse a tout I'or de Virgile.' 

But for my part I have as little faith in the last as the 
first." 
"I do not know Latin, and have therefore not read Virgil," 



144 THE PARISIANS. 

"Possibly," remarked Graham, "Monsieur does not know 
Italian, and has therefore not read Tasso." 

" If that be meant in sarcasm, " retorted Rameau, " I con- 
strue it as a compliment. A Frenchman who is contented to 
study the masterpieces of modern literature need learn no 
language and read no authors but his own." 

Isaura laughed her pleasant silvery laugh. " I should ad- 
mire the frankness of that boast, Monsieur, if in our talk just 
now you had not spoken as contemptuously of what we are 
accustomed to consider French masterpieces as you have done 
of Virgil and Tasso." 

"Ah, Mademoiselle! it is not my fault if you have had 
teachers of taste so rococo as to bid you find masterpieces in 
the tiresome stilted tragedies of Corneille and Eacine. Poetry 
of a court, not of a people, one simple novel, one simple stanza 
that probes the hidden recesses of the human heart, reveals 
the sores of this wretched social state, denounces the evils of 
superstition, kingcraft, and priestcraft, is worth a library of 
the rubbish which pedagogues call ' the classics. ' We agree, 
at least, in one thing, Mademoiselle ; we both do homage to 
the genius of your friend Madame de Grantmesnil." 

"Your friend, Signorina! " cried Graham, incredulously; 
"is Madame de Grantmesnil your friend?" 

"The dearest I have in the world." 

Graham's face darkened ; he turned away in silence, and in 
another minute vanished from the room, persuading himself 
that he felt not one pang of jealousy in leaving Gustave 
Rameau by the side of Isaura. " Her dearest friend Madame 
de Grantmesnil! " he muttered. 

A word now on Isaura's chief correspondent. Madame de 
Grantmesnil was a woman of noble birth and ample fortune. 
She had separated from her husband in the second year after 
marriage. She was a singularly eloquent writer, surpassed 
among contemporaries of her sex in popularity and renown 
only by Georges Sand. 

At least as fearless as that great novelist in the frank ex- 
position of her views, she had commenced her career in let- 
ters by a work of astonishing power and pathos, directed 
against the institution of marriage as regulated in Roman 



THE PARISIANS. 145 

Catholic communities. I do not know that it said more on 
this delicate subject than the English' Milton has said ; but 
then Milton did not write for a Roman Catholic community, 
nor adopt a style likely to captivate the working classes. 
Madame de Grantmesnil's first book was deemed an attack 
on the religion of the country, and captivated those among 
the working classes who had already abjured that religion. 
This work was followed up by others more or less in defiance oi 
"received opinions," some with political, some with social 
revolutionary aim and tendency, but always with a singular 
purity of style. Search all her books, and however you 
might revolt from her doctrine, you could not find a hazardous 
expression. The novels of English young ladies are naughty 
in comparison. Of late years, whatever might be hard or 
audacious in her political or social doctrines softened itself 
into charm amid the golden haze of romance. Her writings 
had grown more and more purely artistic, poetizing what is 
good and beautiful in the realities of life rather than creating 
a false ideal out of what is vicious and deformed. Such a 
woman, separated young from her husband, could not enunci- 
ate such opinions and lead a life so independent and uncon- 
trolled as Madame de Grantmesnil had done, without scan- 
dal, without calumny. Nothing, however, in her actual life 
had ever been so proved? against her as to lower the high posi- 
tion she occupied in right of birth, fortune, renown. Wher- 
ever she went she was fette, as in England foreign princes, 
and in America foreign authors, are fetds. Those who knew 
her well concurred in praise of her lofty, generous, lovable 
qualities. Madame de Grantmesnil had known Mr. Selby; 
and when, at his death, Isaura, in the innocent age between 
childhood and youth, had been left the most sorrowful and 
most lonely creature on the face of the earth, this famous 
woman, worshipped by the rich for her intellect, adored by 
the poor for her beneficence, came to the orphan's friendless 
side, breathing love once more into her pining heart, and 
waking for the first time the desires of genius, the aspirations 
of art, in the dim self-consciousness of a soul between sleep 
and waking. 

VOL. I. 10 



146 THE PARISIANS. 

But, my dear Englishman, put yourself in Graham's place, 
and suppose that you were beginning to fall in love with a 
girl whom for many good reasons you ought not to marry; 
suppose that in the same hour in which you were angrily con- 
scious of jealousy on account of a man whom it wounds your 
self-esteem to consider a rival, the girl tells you that her 
dearest friend is a woman who is famed for her hostility to 
the institution of marriage! 



CHAPTER TV. 

ON the same day in which Graham dined with the Sava- 
rins, M. Louvier assembled round his table the 6lite of the 
young Parisians who constituted the oligarchy of fashion, to 
meet whom he had invited his new friend the Marquis de 
Rochebriant. Most of them belonged to the Legitimist party, 
the noblesse of the faubourg; those who did not, belonged to 
no political party at all, indifferent to the cares of mortal 
States as the gods of Epicurus. Foremost among this Jeu- 
nesse doree were Alain's kinsmen, Raoul and Enguerrand de 
Vandemar. To these Louvier introduced him with a burly 
parental bonhomie, as if he were the head of the family. " I 
need not bid you, young folks, to make friends with each 
other. A Vandemar and a Rochebriant are not made friends, 
they are born friends." So saying he turned to his other 
guests. 

Almost in an instant Alain felt his constraint melt away in 
the cordial warmth with which his cousins greeted him. 

These young men had a striking family likeness to .each 
other, and yet in feature, colouring, and expression, in all 
save that strange family likeness, they were contrasts. 

Raoul was tall, and, though inclined to be slender, with 
sufficient breadth of shoulder to indicate no inconsiderable 
strength of frame. His hair worn short and his silky beard 



THE PARISIANS. 14? 

worn long were dark ; so were his eyes, shaded by curved droop- 
ing lashes ; his complexion was pale, but clear and healthful. 
In repose the expression of his face was that of a somewhat 
melancholy indolence, but in speaking it became singularly 
sweet, with a smile of the exquisite urbanity which no arti- 
ficial politeness can bestow ; it must emanate from that native 
high breeding which has its source in goodness of heart. 

Enguerrand was fair, with curly locks of a golden chest- 
nut. He wore no beard, only a small mustache rather 
darker than his hair. His complexion might in itself be 
called effeminate, its bloom was so fresh and delicate; but 
there was so much of boldness and energy in the play of his 
countenance, the hardy outline of the lips, and the open 
breadth of the forehead, that " effeminate " was an epithet no 
one ever assigned to his aspect. He was somewhat under 
the middle height, but beautifully proportioned, carried him- 
self well, and somehow or other did not look short even by 
the side of tall men. Altogether he seemed formed to be a 
mother's darling, and spoiled by women, yet to hold his own 
among men with' a strength of will more evident in his look 
and his bearing than it was in those of his graver and statelier 
brother. 

Both were considered by their young co-equals models in 
dress, but in Raoul there was no sign that care or thought 
upon dress had been bestowed; the simplicity of his costume 
was absolute and severe. On his plain shirt-front there 
gleamed not a stud, on his fingers there sparkled not a ring. 
Enguerrand, on the contrary, was not without pretension in 
his attire; the broderie in his shirt-front seemed woven by 
the Queen of the Fairies. His rings of turquoise and opal, his 
studs and wrist-buttons of pearl and brilliants, must have cost 
double the rental of Rochebriant, but probably they cost him 
nothing. He was one of those happy Lotharios to whom 
Calistas make constant presents. All about him was so 
bright that the atmosphere around seemed gayer for his 
presence. 

In one respect at least the brothers closely resembled each 
other, in that exquisite graciousness of manner for which 




148 THE PARISIANS. 

the genuine French noble is traditionally renowned; a gra- 
ciousness that did not desert them even when they came 
reluctantly into contact with roturiers or republicans; but 
the graciousness became kgalite y fraternity towards one of 
their caste and kindred. 

" We must do our best to make Paris pleasant to you, " said 
Raoul, still retaining in his grasp the hand he had taken. 

" Vilain cousin," said the livelier Enguerrand, "to have 
been in Paris twenty-four hours, and without letting us 
know. " 

"Has not your father told you that I called upon him? " 

"Our father," answered Raoul, "was not so savage as to 
conceal that fact; but he said you were only here on business 
for a day or two, had declined his invitation, and would not 
give your address. Pauvre pere ! we scolded him well for 
letting you escape from us thus. My mother has not for- 
given him yet; we must present you to her to-morrow. I 
answer for your liking her almost as much as she will like 
you." 

Before Alain could answer dinner was announced. Alain's 
place at dinner was between his cousins. How pleasant they 
made themselves ! It was the first time in which Alain had 
been brought into such familiar conversation with country- 
men of his own rank as well as his own age. His heart 
warmed to them. The general talk of the other guests was 
strange to his ear; it ran much upon horses and races, upon 
the opera and the ballet; it was enlivened with satirical anec- 
dotes of persons whose names were unknown to the Provin- 
cial ; not a word was said that showed the smallest interest 
in politics or the slightest acquaintance with literature. The 
world of these well-born guests seemed one from which all 
that concerned the great mass of mankind was excluded, yet 
the talk was that which could only be found in a very pol- 
ished society. In it there was not much wit, but there was a 
prevalent vein of gayety, and the gayety was never violent, 
the laughter was never loud; the scandals circulated might 
imply cynicism the most absolute, but in language the most 
refined. The Jockey Club of Paris has its perfume. 



THE PARISIANS. 149 

Raoul did not mix in the general conversation; he devoted 
himself pointedly to the amusement of his cousin, explaining 
to him the point of the anecdotes circulated, or hitting off in 
terse sentences the characters of the talkers. 

Enguerrand was evidently of temper more vivacious than 
his brother, and contributed freely to the current play of 
light gossip and mirthful sally. 

Louvier, seated between a duke and a Russian prince, said 
little except to recommend a wine or an entree, but kept his 
eye constantly on the Vandemars and Alain. 

Immediately after coffee the guests departed. Before they 
did so, however, Raoul introduced his cousin to those of the 
party most distinguished by hereditary rank or social posi- 
tion. With these the name of Rochebriant was too histori- 
cally famous not to insure respect of its owner; they wel- 
comed him among them as if he were their brother. 

The French duke claimed him as a connection by an alli- 
ance in the fourteenth century ; the Russian prince had known 
the late Marquis, and trusted that the son would allow him 
to improve into friendship the acquaintance he had formed 
with the father. 

Those ceremonials over, Raoul linked his arm in Alain's and 
said: "I am not going to release you so soon after we have 
caught you. You must come with me to a house in which I 
at least spend an hour or two every evening. I am at home 
there. Bah! I take no refusal. Do not suppose I carry you 
off to Bohemia, a country which, I am sorry to say, Enguer- 
rand now and then visits, but which is to me as unknown as 
the mountains of the moon. The house I speak of is comme 
ilfaut to the utmost. It is that of the Contessa di Rimini, 
a charming Italian by marriage, but by birth and in character 
on ne peut pliis Fran$aise. My mother adores her. " 

That dinner at M. Louvier's had already effected a great 
change in the mood and temper of Alain de Rochebriant; he 
felt, as if by magic, the sense of youth, of rank, of station, 
which had been so suddenly checked and stifled, warmed to 
life within his veins. He should have deemed himself a boor 
had he refused the invitation so frankly tendered. 



150 THE PARISIANS. 

But on reaching the coupi which the brothers kept in com 
mon, and seeing it only held two, he drew back. 

"Nay, enter, mon cher," said Raoul, divining the cause of 
his hesitation j "Enguerrand has gone on to his club." 



CHAPTER V. 

"TELL me," said Raoul, when they were in the carriage, 
"how you came to know M. Louvier." 

"He is my chief mortgagee." 

"H'm! that explains it. But you might be in worse hands; 
the man has a character for liberality." 

"Did your father mention to you my circumstances, and 
the reason that brings me to Paris? " 

" Since you put the question point-blank, my dear cousin, 
he did." 

"He told you how poor I am, and how keen must be my 
lifelong struggle to keep Rochebriant as the home of my 
race? " 

" He told us all that could make us still more respect the 
Marquis de Rochebriant, and still more eagerly long to know 
our cousin and the head of our house," answered Raoul, with 
a certain nobleness of tone and manner. 

Alain pressed his kinsman's hand with grateful emotion. 

"Yet," he said falteringly, "your father agreed with me 
that my circumstances would not allow me to " 

"Bah!" interrupted Raoul, with a gentle laugh; "my 
father is a very clever man, doubtless, but he knows only the 
world of his own day, nothing of the world of ours. I and 
Enguerrand will call on you to-morrow, to take you to my 
mother, and before doing so, to consult as to affairs in gen- 
eral. OL, this last matter Enguerrand is an oracle. Here we 
are at the Contessa's." 



THE PARISIANS. 151 




CHAPTER VI. 

THE Contessa di Rimini received her visitors in a bou- 
doir furnished with much apparent simplicity, but a simplic- 
ity by no means inexpensive. The draperies were but of 
chintz, and the walls covered with the same material, a 
lively pattern, in which the prevalents were rose-colour and 
white ; but the ornaments on the mantelpiece, the china stored 
in the cabinets or arranged on the shelves, the small knick- 
knacks scattered on the tables, were costly rarities of art. 

The Contessa herself was a woman who had somewhat 
passed her thirtieth year, not strikingly handsome, but ex- 
quisitely pretty. "There is," said a great French writer, 
"only one way in which a woman can be handsome, but a 
hundred thousand ways in which she can be pretty; " and it 
would be impossible to reckon up the number of ways in 
which Adeline di Rimini carried off the prize in prettiness. 

Yet it would be unjust to the personal attractions of the Con- 
tessa to class them all under the word "prettiness." When 
regarded more attentively, there was an expression in her 
countenance that might almost be called divine, it spoke so 
unmistakably of a sweet nature and an untroubled soul. An 
English poet once described her by repeating the old lines, 

" Her face is like the milky way i' the sky, 
A meeting of gentle lights without a name." 

She was not alone ; an elderly lady sat on an armchair by 
the fire, engaged in knitting; and a man, also elderly, and 
whose dress proclaimed him an ecclesiastic, sat at the op- 
posite corner, with a large Angora cat on his lap. 

"I present to you, Madame," said Raoul, "my new-found 
cousin, the seventeenth Marquis de Rochebriant, whom I am 
proud to consider on the male side the head of our house, 
representing its eldest branch. Welcome him for my sake, 
in future he will be welcome for his own," 



152 THE PARISIANS. 

The Contessa replied very graciously to this introduction, 
and made room for Alain on the divan from which she had 
risen. 

The old lady looked up from her knitting; the ecclesiastic 
removed the cat from his lap. Said the old lady, "I an- 
nounce myself to M. le Marquis. I knew his mother well 
enough to be invited to his christening; otherwise I have no 
pretension to the acquaintance of a cavalier si beau, being 
old, rather deaf, very stupid, exceedingly poor " 

"And," interrupted Raoul, "the woman in all Paris the 
most adored for bont&, and consulted for savoir vivre by the 
young cavaliers whom she deigns to receive. Alain, I pre- 
sent you to Madame de Maury, the widow of a distinguished 
author and academician, and the daughter of the brave Henri 
de Gerval, who fought for the good cause in La Vendee. I 
present you also to the Abb6 Vertpr6, who has passed his 
life in the vain endeavour to make other men as good as 
himself." 

"Base flatterer! " said the Abb, pinching Raoul's ear with 
one hand, while he extended the other to Alain. "Do not 
let your cousin frighten you from knowing me, Monsieur le 
Marquis ; when he was my pupil, he so convinced me of the 
incorrigibility of perverse human nature, that I now chiefly 
address myself to the moral improvement of the brute crea- 
tion. Ask the Contessa if I have not achieved a beau succes 
with her Angora cat. Three months ago that creature had 
the two worst propensities of man, he was at once savage 
and mean; he bit, he stole. Does he ever bite now? No. 
Does he ever steal? No. Why? I have awakened in that 
cat the dormant conscience, and that done, the conscience 
regulates his actions ; once made aware of the difference be- 
tween wrong and right, the cat maintains it unswervingly, as 
if it were a law of nature. But if, with prodigious labour, 
one does awaken conscience in a human sinner, it has no 
steady effect on his conduct, he continues to sin all the 
same. Mankind at Paris, Monsieur le Marquis, is divided 
between two classes, one bites and the other steals. Shun 
both; devote yourself to cats," 



THE PARISIANS. 153 

The Abbe* delivered this oration with a gravity of mien and 
tone which made it difficult to guess whether he spoke in 
sport or in earnest, in simple playfulness or with latent 
sarcasm. 

But on the brow and in the eye of the priest there was a 
general expression of quiet benevolence, which made Alain 
incline to the belief that he was only speaking as a pleasant 
humourist; and the Marquis replied gayly, 

"Monsieur PAbb6, admitting the superior virtue of cats 
when taught by so intelligent a preceptor, still the business of 
human life is not transacted by cats; and since men must 
deal with men, permit me, as a preliminary caution, to in- 
quire in which class I must rank yourself. Do you bite or 
do you steal? " 

This sally, which showed that the Marquis was already 
shaking off his provincial reserve, met with great success. 

Raoul and the Contessa laughed merrily ; Madame de Maury 
clapped her hands, and cried " Bien ! " 

The Abbe" replied, with unmoved gravity, " Both. I am a 
priest; it is my duty to bite the bad arid steal from the good, 
as you will see, Monsieur le Marquis, if you will glance at 
this paper." 

Here he handed to Alain a memorial on behalf of an af- 
flicted family who had been burnt out of their home, and re- 
duced from comparative ease to absolute want. There was a 
list appended of some twenty subscribers, the last being the 
Contessa, fifty francs, and Madame de Maury, five. 

"Allow me, Marquis," said the Abbe", "to steal from you. 
Bless you twofold, mon fits! " (taking the napoleon Alain ex- 
tended to him) first for your charity ; secondly, for the effect 
of its example upon the heart of your cousin. Raoul de 
Vandemar, stand and deliver. Bah! what! only ten francs." 

Raoul made a sign to the Abbe", unperceived by the rest, 
as he answered, "Abb6, I should excel your expectations of 
my career if I always continue worth half as much as my 
cousin." 

Alain felt to the bottom of his heart the delicate tact of his 
richer kinsman in giving less than himself, and the Abbe! 



154 THE PARISIANS. 

replied, "Niggard, you are pardoned. Humility is a more 
difficult virtue to produce than charity, and in your case an 
instance of it is so rare that it merits encouragement." 

The " tea equipage " was now served in what at Paris is 
called the English fashion; the Contessa presided over it, the 
guests gathered round the table, and the evening passed away 
in the innocent gayety of a domestic circle. The talk, if not 
especially intellectual, was at least not fashionable. Books 
were not discussed, neither were scandals; yet somehow or 
other it was cheery and animated, like that of a happy family 
in a country-house. Alain thought still the better of Raoul 
that, Parisian though he was, he could appreciate the charm 
of an evening so innocently spent. 

On taking leave, the Contessa gave Alain a general invita- 
tion to drop in whenever he was not better engaged. 

"I except only the opera nights," said she. "My husband 
has gone to Milan on his affairs, and during his absence I do 
not go to parties; the opera I cannot resist." 

Raoul set Alain down at his lodgings. "Au revoir; to- 
morrow at one o'clock expect Enguerrand and myself." 



CHAPTER VH. 

RAOUL and Enguerrand called on Alain at the hour fixed. 

"In the first place," said Raoul, "I must beg you to accept 
my mother's regrets that she cannot receive you to-day. She 
and the Contessa belong to a society of ladies formed for 
visiting the poor, and this is their day ; but to-morrow you 
must dine with us en famille. Now to business. Allow me 
to light my cigar while you confide the whole state of af- 
fairs to Enguerrand. Whatever he counsels, I am sure to 
approve." 

Alain, as briefly as he could, stated his circumstances, his 
mortgages, and the hopes which his avout had encouraged 



THE PARISIANS. 155 

him to place in the friendly disposition of M. Louvier. 
When he had concluded, Enguerrand mused for a few mo- 
ments before replying. At last he said, "Will you trust me 
to call on Louvier on your behalf? I shall but inquire if he 
is inclined to take on himself the other mortgages ; and if so, 
on what terms. Our relationship gives me the excuse for my 
interference ; and to say truth, I have had much familiar in- 
tercourse with the man. I too am a speculator, and have 
often profited by Louvier's advice. You may ask what can 
be his object in serving me; he can gain nothing by it. To 
this I answer, the key to his good offices is in his character. 
Audacious though he be as a speculator, he is wonderfully 
prudent as a politician. This belle France of ours is like a 
stage tumbler; one can never be sure whether it will stand 
on its head or its feet. Louvier very wisely wishes to feel 
himself safe whatever party comes uppermost. He has no 
faith in the duration of the Empire; and as, at all events, 
the Empire will not confiscate his millions, he takes no 
trouble in conciliating Imperialists. But on the principle 
which induces certain savages to worship the devil and ne- 
glect the bon Dieu, because the devil is spiteful and the bon 
Dieu is too beneficent to injure them, Louvier, at heart de- 
testing as well as dreading a republic, lays himself out to 
secure friends with the Republicans of all classes, and pre- 
tends to espouse their cause ; next to them, he is very con- 
ciliatory to the Orleanists; lastly, though he thinks the Le- 
gitimists have no chance, he desires to keep well with the 
nobles of that party, because they exercise a considerable in- 
fluence over that sphere of opinion which belongs to fashion, 
for fashion is never powerless in Paris. Kaoul and my- 
self are no mean authorities in salons and clubs, and a good 
word from us is worth having. 

"Besides, Louvier himself in his youth set up for a dandy; 
and that deposed ruler of dandies, our unfortunate kinsman, 
Victor de Maul^on, shed some of his own radiance on the 
money-lender's son. But when Victor's star was eclipsed, 
Louvier ceased to gleam. The dandies cut him. In his 
heart he exults that the dandies now throng to his soirees. 



156 THE PARISIANS. 

Bref, the millionnaire is especially civil to me, the more 
so as I know intimately two or three eminent journalists; 
and Louvier takes pains to plant garrisons in the press. I 
trust I have explained the grounds on which I may be a bet- 
ter diplomatist to employ than your avoud; and with your 
leave I will go to Louvier at once." 

"Let him go," said Raoul. "Enguerrand never fails in 
anything he undertakes; especially," he added, with a smile 
half sad, half tender, "when one wishes to replenish one's 
purse." 

"I too gratefully grant such an ambassador all powers to 
treat," said Alain. "I am only ashamed to consign to him a 
post so much beneath his genius," and "his birth" he was 
about to add, but wisely checked himself. Enguerrand said, 
shrugging his shoulders, "You can't do me a greater kind- 
ness than by setting my wits at work. I fall a martyr to 
ennui when I am not in action," he said, and was gone. 

"It makes me very melancholy at times," said Raoul, fling- 
ing away the end of his cigar, " to think that a man so clever 
and so energetic as Enguerrand should be as much excluded 
from the service of his country as if he were an Iroquois In- 
dian. He would have made a great diplomatist." 

"Alas!" replied Alain, with a sigh, "I begin to doubt 
whether we Legitimists are justified in maintaining a useless 
loyalty to a sovereign who renders us morally exiles in the 
land of our birth." 

"I have no doubt on the subject," said Kaoul. "We are 
not justified on the score of policy, but we have no option at 
present on the score of honour. We should gain so much for 
ourselves if we adopted the State livery and took the State 
wages that no man would esteem us as patriots ; we should 
only be despised as apostates. So long as Henry V. lives, 
and does not resign his claim, we cannot be active citizens; 
we must be mournful lookers-on. But what matters it? We 
nobles of the old race are becoming rapidly extinct. Under 
any form of government likely to be established in France 
we are equally doomed. The French people, aiming at an 
impossible equality, will never again tolerate a race of 



THE PARISIANS. 157 

gentilshommes. They cannot prevent, without destroying 
commerce and capital altogether, a quick succession of men of 
the day, who form nominal aristocracies much more opposed 
to equality than any hereditary class of nobles ; but they re- 
fuse these fleeting substitutes of born patricians all perma- 
nent stake in the country, since whatever estate they buy 
must be subdivided at their death. My poor Alain, you are 
making it the one ambition of your life to preserve to your 
posterity the home and lands of your forefathers. How is 
that possible, even supposing you could redeem the mortga- 
ges? You marry some day; you have children, and Roche- 
briant must then be sold to pay for their separate portions. 
How this condition of things, while rendering us so ineffec- 
tive to perform the normal functions of a noblesse in public 
life, affects us in private life, may be easily conceived. 

" Condemned to a career of pleasure and frivolity, we can 
scarcely escape from the contagion of extravagant luxury 
which forms the vice of the time. With grand names to 
keep up, and small fortunes whereon to keep them, we 
readily incur embarrassment and debt. Then neediness con- 
quers pride. We cannot be great merchants, but we can be 
small gamblers on the Bourse, or, thanks to the Credit Mo- 
bilier, imitate a cabinet minister, and keep a shop under an- 
other name. Perhaps you have heard that Enguerrand and 
I keep a shop. Pray, buy your gloves there. Strange fate 
for men whose ancestors fought in the first Crusade mais 
que voulez-vous ? " 

"I was told of the shop," said Alain; "but the moment I 
knew you I disbelieved the story." 

" Quite true. Shall T confide to you why we resorted to that 
means of finding ourselves in pocket-money? My father gives 
us rooms in his hotel; the use of his table, which we do not 
much profit by; and an allowance, on which we could not live 
as young men of our class live at Paris. Enguerrand had his 
means of spending pocket-money, I mine ; but it came to the 
same thing, the pockets were emptied. We incurred debts. 
Two years ago my father straitened himself to pay them, say- 
ing, ' The next time you come to me with debts, however 



158 THE PARISIANS. 

small, you must pay them yourselves, or you must marry, 
and leave it to me to find you wives.' This threat appalled 
us both. A month afterwards, Enguerrand made a lucky hit 
at the Bourse, and proposed to invest the proceeds in a shop. 
I resisted as long as I could ; but Enguerrand triumphed over 
me, as he always does. He found an excellent deputy in a 
bonne who had nursed us in childhood, and married a jour- 
neyman perfumer who understands the business. It answers 
well; we are not in debt, and we have preserved our 
freedom." 

After these confessions Raoul went away, and Alain fell 
into a mournful revery, from which he was roused by a loud 
ring at his bell. He opened the door, and beheld M. Louvier. 
The burly financier was much out of breath after making so 
steep an ascent. It was in gasps that he muttered, "Bon 
your; excuse me if I derange you." Then entering and seat- 
ing himself on a chair, he took some minutes to recover 
speech, rolling his eyes staringly round the meagre, unluxu- 
rious room, and then concentrating their gaze upon its 
occupier. 

" Peste, my dear Marquis ! " he said at last, " I hope the 
next time I visit you the ascent may be less arduous. One 
would think you were in training to ascend the Himalaya." 

The haughty noble writhed under this jest, and the spirit 
inborn in his order spoke in his answer. 

"I am accustomed to dwell on heights, Monsieur Louvier; 
the castle of Rochebriant is not on a level with the town." 

An angry gleam shot out from the eyes of the millionnaire, 
but there was no other sign of displeasure in his answer. 

"Bien dit, mon cher; how you remind me of your father! 
Now, give me leave to speak on affairs. I have seen your 
cousin Enguerrand de Vandemar. Homme de moyens, though 
joli gar$on. He proposed that you should call on me. I said 
' no ' to the cher petit Enguerrand, a visit from me was due 
to you. To cut matters short, M. Gandrin has allowed me to 
look into your papers. I was disposed to serve you from the 
first; I am still more disposed to serve you now. I under- 
take to pay off all your other mortgages, and become sole 



THE PARISIANS. 159 

mortgagee, and on terms that I have jotted down on this 
paper, and which I hope will content you." 

He placed a paper in Alain's hand, and took out a box, 
from which he extracted a jujube, placed it in his mouth, 
folded his hands, and reclined back in his chair, with his 
eyes half closed, as if exhausted alike by his ascent and his 
generosity. 

In effect, the terms were unexpectedly liberal. The re- 
duced interest on the mortgages would leave the Marquis an 
income of 1,000 a year instead of 400. Louvier proposed 
to take on himself the legal cost of transfer, and to pay to 
the Marquis 25,000 francs, on the completion of the deed, as 
a bonus. The mortgage did not exempt the building-land, as 
Hubert desired. In all else it was singularly advantageous, 
and Alain could but feel a thrill of grateful delight at an 
offer by which his stinted income was raised to comparative 
affluence. 

"Well, Marquis," said Louvier, "what does the castle say 
to the town? " 

"Monsieur Louvier," answered Alain, extending his hand 
with cordial eagerness, " accept my sincere apologies for the 
indiscretion of my metaphor. Poverty is proverbially sensi- 
tive to jests on it. I owe it to you if I cannot hereafter make 
that excuse for any words of mine that may displease you. 
The terms you propose are most liberal, and I close with 
them at once." 

"Bon," said Louvier, shaking vehemently the hand offered 
to him; "I will take the paper to Gandrin, and instruct him 
accordingly. And now, may I attach a condition to the 
agreement which is not put down on paper? It may have 
surprised you perhaps that I should propose a gratuity of 
25,000 francs on completion of the contract. It is a droll 
thing to do, and not in the ordinary way of business, there- 
fore I must explain. Marquis, pardon the liberty I take, but 
you have inspired me with an interest in your future. With 
your birth, connections, and figure you should push your way 
in the world far and fast. But you can't do so in a province. 
You must find your opening at Paris. I wish you to spend a 



160 THE PARISIANS. 

year in the capital, and live, not extravagantly, like a 
nouveau riche, but in a way not unsuited to your rank, and 
permitting you all the social advantages that belong to it. 
These 25,000 francs, in addition to your improved income, 
will enable you to gratify my wish in this respect. Spend 
the money in Paris; you will want every sou of it in the 
course of the year. It will be money well spent. Take my 
advice, cher Marquis. Au plaisir." 

The financier bowed himself out. The young Marquis for- 
got all the mournful reflections with which Raoul's conversa- 
tion had inspired him. He gave a new touch to his toilette, 
and sallied forth with the air of a man on whose morning of 
life a sun heretofore clouded has burst forth and bathed the 
landscape in its light. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

SINCE the evening spent at the Savarins', Graham had seen 
no more of Isaura. He had avoided all chance of seeing her ; 
in fact, the jealousy with which he had viewed her manner 
towards Rameau, and the angry amaze with which he had 
heard her proclaim her friendship for Madame de Grant- 
mesnil, served to strengthen the grave and secret reasons 
which made him desire to keep his heart yet free and his 
hand yet unpledged. But alas! the heart was enslaved al- 
ready. It was under the most fatal of all spells, first love 
conceived at first sight. He was wretched; and in his 
wretchedness his resolves became involuntarily weakened. 
He found himself making excuses for the beloved. What 
cause had he, after all, for that jealousy of the young poet 
which had so offended him ; and if in her youth and inexpe- 
rience Isaura had made her dearest friend of a great writer 
by whose genius she might be dazzled, and of whose opinions 
she might scarcely be aware, was it a crime that necessitated 
her eternal banishment from the reverence which belongs to 






THE PARISIANS. 161 

all manly love? Certainly he found no satisfactory answers 
to such self -questionings. And then those grave reasons 
known only to himself, and never to be confided to another 
why he should yet reserve his hand unpledged were not so 
imperative as to admit of no compromise. They might entail 
a sacrifice, and not a small one to a man of Graham's views 
and ambition. But what is love if it can think any sacrifice, 
short of duty and honour, too great to offer up unknown, 
uncomprehended, to the one beloved? Still, while thus 
softened in his feelings towards Isaura, he became, perhaps 
in consequence of such softening, more and more restlessly 
impatient to fulfil the object for which he had come to Paris, 
the great step towards which was the discovery of the un- 
discoverable Louise Duval. 

He had written more than once to M. Renard since the in- 
terview with that functionary already recorded, demanding 
whether Renard had not made some progress in the research 
on which he was employed, and had received short unsatis- 
factory replies preaching patience and implying hope. 

The plain truth, however, was that M. Renard had taken 
no further pains in the matter. He considered it utter waste 
of time and thought to attempt a discovery to which the 
traces were so faint and so obsolete. If the discovery were 
effected, it must be by one of those chances which occur with- 
out labour or forethought of our own. He trusted only to 
such a chance in continuing the charge he had undertaken. 
But during the last day or two Graham had become yet more 
impatient than before, and peremptorily requested another 
visit from this dilatory confidant. 

In that visit, finding himself pressed hard, and though 
naturally willing, if possible, to retain a client unusually 
generous, yet being on the whole an honest member of his 
profession, and feeling it to be somewhat unfair to accept 
large remuneration for doing nothing, M. Renard said frankly, 
" Monsieur, this affair is beyond me ; the keenest agent of our 
police could make nothing of it. Unless you can tell me more 
than you have done, I am utterly without a clew. I resign, 

YOfa 1. U 



162 THE PARISIANS. 

therefore, the task with which you honoured me, willing to 
resume it again if you can give me information that could 
render me of use." 

"What sort of information?" 

"At least the names of some of the lady's relations who 
may yet be living." 

"But it strikes me that, if I could get at that piece of 
knowledge, I should not require the services of the police. 
The relations would tell me what had become of Louise 
Duval quite as readily as they would tell a police agent." 

"Quite true, Monsieur. It would really be picking your 
pockets if I did not at once retire from your service. Nay, 
Monsieur, pardon me, no further payments; I have already 
accepted too much. Your most obedient servant." 

Graham, left alone, fell into a very gloomy revery. He 
could not but be sensible of the difficulties in the way of the 
object which had brought him to Paris, with somewhat san- 
guine expectations of success founded on a belief in the omni- 
science of the Parisian police, which is only to be justified 
when they have to deal with a murderess or a political incen- 
diary. But the name of Louise Duval is about as common in 
France as that of Mary Smith in England; and the English 
reader may judge what would be the likely result of inquiring 
through the ablest of our detectives after some Mary Smith 
of whom you could give little more information than that she 
was the daughter of a drawing-master who had died twenty 
years ago, that it was about fifteen years since anything had 
been heard of her, that you could not say if through marriage 
or for other causes she had changed her name or not, and 
you had reasons for declining resort to public advertisements. 
In the course of inquiry so instituted, the probability would 
be that you might hear of a great many Mary Smiths, in the 
pursuit of whom your employe would lose all sight and scent 
of the one Mary Smith for whom the chase was instituted. 

In the midst of Graham's despairing reflections his laquais 
announced M. Frederic Lemercier. 

" Cher Grarm-Varn. A thousand pardons if I disturb you 



THE PARISIANS. 163 

at this late hour of the evening; but you remember the re- 
quest you made me when you first arrived in Paris this 
season? " 

"Of course I do, in case you should ever chance in your 
wide round of acquaintance to fall in with a Madame or Ma- 
demoiselle Duval of about the age of forty, or a year or so less, 
to let me know ; and you did fall in with two ladies of that 
name, but they were not the right one, not the person whom 
my friend begged me to discover; both much too young." 

"Eh bien, mon cher. If you will come with me to the bal 
champetre in the Champs Elys^es to-night, I can show you a 
third Madame Duval, her Christian name is Louise, too, 
of the age you mention, though she does her best to look 
younger, and is still very handsome. You said your Duval 
was handsome. It was only last evening that I met this lady 
at a soiree given by Mademoiselle Julie Caumartin, coryphee 
distinguee, in love with young Rameau." 

" In love with young Eameau? I am very glad to hear it. 
He returns the love? " 

" I suppose so. He seems very proud of it. But a propos 
of Madame Duval, she has been long absent .from Paris, 
just returned, and looking out for conquests. She says she 
has a great penchant for the English ; promises me to be at 
this ball. Come." 

"Hearty thanks, my dear Lemercier. I am at your 
service." 



CHAPTER IX. 

THE bal champetre was gay and brilliant, as such festal 
scenes are at Paris. A lovely night in the midst of May, 
lumps below and stars above; the society mixed, of course. 
Evidently, when Graham has singled out Frederic Lemercier 
from all his acquaintances at Paris to conjoin with the official 
aid of M. Renard in search of the mysterious lady, he had 



164 THE PARISIANS. 

conjectured the probability that she might be found in the 
Bohemian world so familiar to Frederic ; if not as an inhabi- 
tant, at least as an explorer. Bohemia was largely represented 
at the bal champetre, but not without a fair sprinkling of 
what we call the " respectable classes, " especially English and 
Americans, who brought their wives there to take care of 
them. Frenchmen, not needing such care, prudently left 
their wives at home. Among the Frenchmen of station were 
the Comte de Passy and the Vicomte de Bre'ze'. 

On first entering the gardens, Graham's eye was attracted 
and dazzled by a brilliant form. It was standing under a 
festoon of flowers extended from tree to tree, and a gas jet 
opposite shone full upon the face, the face of a girl in all 
the freshness of youth. If the freshness owed anything to 
art, the art was so well disguised that it seemed nature. The 
beauty of the countenance was Hebe-like, joyous, and radiant; 
and yet one could not look at the girl without a sentiment of 
deep mournfulness. She was surrounded by a group of young 
men, and the ring of her laugh jarred upon Graham's ear. 
He pressed Frederic's arm, and directing his attention to the 
girl, asked who she was. 

"Who? Don't you know? That is Julie Caumartin. A 
little while ago her equipage was the most admired in the 
Bois, and great ladies condescended to copy her dress or her 
coiffure; but she has lost her splendour, and dismissed the 
rich admirer who supplied the fuel for its blaze, since she 
fell in love with Gustave Rameau. Doubtless she is expect- 
ing him to-night. You ought to know her; shall I present 
you? " 

"No," answered Graham, with a compassionate expression 
in his manly face. "So young; seemingly so gay. How I 
pity her! " 

"What! for throwing herself away on Rameau? True. 
There is a great deal of good in that girl's nature, if she had 
been properly trained. Rameau wrote a pretty poem on her 
which turned her head and won her heart, in which she is 
styled the ' Ondine of Paris, ' a nymph-like type of Paris 
itself." 



THE PARISIANS. 165 

"Vanishing type, like her namesake; born of the spray, 
and vanishing soon into the deep, " said Graham. " Pray go 
and look for the Duval; you will find me seated yonder." 

Graham passed into a retired alley, and threw himself 
on a solitary bench, while Lemercier went in search of 
Madame Duval. In a few minutes the Frenchman reap- 
peared. By his side was a lady well dressed, and as she 
passed under the lamps Graham perceived that, though of 
a certain age, she was undeniably handsome. His heart 
beat more quickly. Surely this was the Louise Duval he 
sought. 

He rose from his seat, and was presented in due form to 
the lady, with whom Frederic then discreetly left him. 

"M. Lemercier tells me that you think that we were once 
acquainted with each other." 

"Nay, Madame; I should not fail to recognize you were 
that the case. A friend of mine had the honour of knowing 
a lady of your name; and should I be fortunate enough to 
meet that lady, I am charged with a commission that may not 
be unwelcome to her. M. Lemercier tells me your nom de 
bapteme is Louise." 

"Louise Corinne, Monsieur." 

"And I presume that Duval is the name you take from 
your parents? " 

"No; my father's name was Bernard. I married, when I 
was a mere child, M. Duval, in the wine trade at Bordeaux." 

" Ah, indeed ' " said Graham, much disappointed, but 
looking at her with a keen, searcning eye, which she met 
with a decided frankness. Evidently, in his judgment, she 
was speaking the truth. 

"You know English, I think, Madame," he resumed, ad- 
dressing her in that language. 

" A leetle ; speak un pen. " 

"Only a little?" 

Madame Duval looked puzzled, and replied in French, 
with a laugh, " Is it that you were told that I spoke English 
by your countryman, Milord Sare Boulby? Petit sctltrat, I 
hope he is well. He sends you a commission for me, so he 
ought; he behaved to me like a monster." 



166 THE PARISIANS. 

"Alas! I know nothing of Milord Sir Boulby. Were you 
never in England yourself? " 

"Never," with a coquettish side-glance; "I should like so 
much to go. I have a foible for the English in spite of that 
vilain petit Boulby. Who is it gave you the commission for 
me? Ha! I guess, le Oapitaine Nelton." 

"No. What year, Madame, if not impertinent, were you 
at Aix-la-Chapelle?" 

" You mean Baden? I was there seven years ago, when I 
met le Capitaine Nelton, bel homme aux cheveux rouges." 

" But you have been at Aix? " 

"Never." 

"I have, then, been mistaken, Madame, and have only to 
offer my most humble apologies." 

" But perhaps you will favour me with a visit, and we may 
on further conversation find that you are not mistaken. I 
can't stay now, for I am engaged to dance with the Belgian 
of whom, no doubt, M. Lemercier has told you." 

"No, Madame, he has not." 

" Well, then, he will tell you. The Belgian is very jealous ; 
but I am always at home between three and four; this is my 
card." 

Graham eagerly took the card, and exclaimed, " Is this your 
your own handwriting, Madame? " 

"Yes, indeed." 

" Tres belle ecriture, " said Graham, and receded with a 
ceremonious bow. "Anything so unlike her handwriting! 
Another disappointment," muttered the Englishman as the 
lady went back to the ball. 

A few minutes later Graham joined Lemercier, who was 
talking with De Passy and De Br6ze\ 

"Well," said Lemercier, when his eye rested on Graham, 
"I hit the right nail on the head this time, eh? " 

Graham shook his head. 

"What! is she not the right Louise Duval? " 

"Certainly not." 

The Count de Passy overheard the name, and turned. 
"Louise Duval," he said; "does Monsieur Vane know a 
.Louise Duval? " 



THE PARISIANS. 167 

"No; but a friend asked me to inquire after a lady of that 
name whom he had met many years ago at Paris." The 
Count mused a moment, and said, " Is it possible that your 
friend knew the family De Maule"on?" 

" I really can't say. What then? " 

"The old Vicomte de Maul6on was one of my most inti- 
mate associates. In fact, our houses are connected. And he 
was extremely grieved, poor man, when his daughter Louise 
married her drawing-master, Auguste Duval." 

"Her drawing-master, Auguste Duval? Pray say on. I 
think the Louise Duval my friend knew must have been her 
daughter. She was the only child of a drawing-master or 
artist named Auguste Duval, and probably enough her Chris- 
tian name would have been derived from her mother. A 
Mademoiselle de Maule"on, then, married M. Auguste Duval?" 

"Yes; the old Vicomte had espoused en premieres noces 
Mademoiselle Camille de Chavigny, a lady of birth equal to 
his own; had by her one daughter, Louise. I recollect her 
well, a plain girl, with a high nose and a sour expression. 
She was just of age when the first Vicomtesse died, and by 
the marriage settlement she succeeded at once to her mother's 
fortune, which was not large. The Vicomte was, however, so 
poor that the loss of that income was no trifle to him. Though 
much past fifty, he was still very handsome. Men of that 
generation did not age soon, Monsieur," said the Count, ex- 
panding his fine chest and laughing exultingly. 

"He married, en secondes noces, a lady of still higher birth 
than the first, and with a much larger dot. Louise was indig- 
nant at this, hated her stepmother; and when a son was born 
by the second marriage she left the paternal roof, went to re- 
side with an old female relative near the Luxembourg, and 
there married this drawing-master. Her father and the 
family did all they could to prevent it; but in these demo- 
cratic days a woman who has attained h'er majority can, if 
she persist in her determination, marry to please herself and 
disgrace her ancestors. After that mesalliance her father 
never would see her again. I tried in vain to soften him. 
All his parental affections settled on his handsome Victor 



168 THE PARISIANS. 

Ah ! you are too young to have known Victor de Mauldon 
during his short reign at Paris, as roi des viveurs." 

" Yes, he was before my time ; but I have heard of him as 
a young man of great fashion; said to be very clever, a duel- 
list, and a sort of Don Juan." 

"Exactly." 

" And the'n I remember vaguely to have heard that he com- 
mitted, or was said to have committed, some villanous action 
connected with a great lady's jewels, and to have left Paris 
in consequence." 

" Ah, yes ; a sad scrape. At that time there was a political 
crisis; we were under a Republic; anything against a noble 
was believed. But I am sure Victor de Maul&m was not the 
man to commit a larceny. However, it is quite true that he 
left Paris, and I don't know what has become of him since." 
Here he touched De Br6z6, who, though still near, had not 
been listening to this conversation, but interchanging jest 
aiid laughter with Lemercier on the motley scene of the 
dance. 

" De Brdz6, have you ever heard what became of poor dear 
Victor de Maul6on? you knew him." 

"Knew him? I should think so. Who could be in the 
great world and not know le beau Victor? No; after he van- 
ished I never heard more of him; doubtless long since dead. 
A good-hearted fellow in spite of all his sins." 

"My dear Monsieur de Br6z6, did you know his half- 
sister?" asked Graham, "a Madame Duval?" 

" No. I never heard he had a half-sister. Halt there ; I 
recollect that I met Victor once, in the garden at Versailles, 
walking arm-in-arm with the most beautiful girl I ever saw; 
and when I complimented him afterwards at the Jockey Club 
on his new conquest, he replied very gravely that the young 
lady was his niece. ' Niece! ' said I; ' why, there can't be 
more than five or six years between you.' ' About that, I 
suppose,' said he; 'my half-sister, her mother, was more 
than twenty years older than I at the time of my birth.' I 
doubted the truth of his story at the time; but since you 
say he really had a sister, my doubt wronged him." 



THE PARISIANS. 169 

"Have you never seen that same young lady since? " 

"Never." 

"How many years ago was this? " 

" Let me see, about twenty or twenty -one years ago. How 
time flies ! " 

Graham still continued to question, but could learn no fur- 
ther particulars. He turned to quit the gardens just as the 
band was striking up for a fresh dance, a wild German waltz 
air; and mingled with that German music his ear caught the 
sprightly sounds of the French laugh, one laugh distinguished 
from the rest by a more genuine ring of light-hearted joy, 
the laugh that he had heard on entering the gardens, and the 
sound of which had then saddened him. Looking towards the 
quarter from which it came, he again saw the "Ondine of 
Paris." She was not now the centre of a group. She had 
just found Gustave Rameau, and was clinging to his arm with 
a look of happiness in her face, frank and innocent as a child's; 
and so they passed amid the dancers down a solitary lamplit 
alley, till lost to the Englishman's lingering gaze. 



CHAPTER X, 

THE next morning Graham sent again for M. Renard. 

"Well," he cried, when that dignitary appeared and took a 
seat beside him, "chance has favoured me." 

" I always counted on chance, Monsieur. Chance has more 
wit in its little finger than the Paris police in its whole 
body." 

" I have ascertained the relations, on the mother's side, of 
Louise Duval, and the only question is how to get at them." 

Here Graham related what he had heard, and ended by 
saying, "This Victor de Maule"on is therefore my Louise 
Duval's uncle. He was, no doubt, taking charge of her in 
the year that the persons interested in her discovery lost sight 



170 THE PARISIANS. 

of her in Paris ; and surely he must know what became of her 
afterwards." 

"Very probably; and chance may befriend us yet in the 
discovery of Victor de Maule"on. You seem not to know the 
particulars of that story about the jewels which brought 
him into some connection with the police, and resulted in 
his disappearance from Paris." 

"No; tell me the particulars." 

"Victor de Maul6on was heir to some 60,000 or 70,000 
francs a year, chiefly on the mother's side; for his father, 
though the representative of one of the most ancient houses 
in Normandy, was very poor, having little of his own except 
the emoluments of an appointment in the Court of Louis 
Philippe. 

" But before, by the death of his parents, Victor came into 
that inheritance, he very largely forestalled it. His tastes 
were magnificent. He took to ' sport,' kept a famous stud, 
was a great favourite with the English, and spoke their lan- 
guage fluently. Indeed he was considered very accomplished, 
and of considerable intellectual powers. It was generally 
said that some day or other, when he had sown his wild oats, 
he would, if he took to politics, be an eminent man. Alto- 
gether he was a very strong creature. That was a very 
strong age under Louis Philippe. The viveurs of Paris were 
fine types for the heroes of Dumas and Sue, full of animal 
life and spirits. Victor de Maule"on was a romance of Dumas, 
incarnated." 

"Monsieur Renard, forgive me that I did not before do 
justice to your taste in polite literature." 

" Monsieur, a man in my profession does not attain even to 
my humble eminence if he be not something else than a pro- 
fessional. He must study mankind wherever they are de- 
scribed, even in les romans. To return to Victor de Maule'on. 
Though he was a ' sportman, ' a gambler, a Don Juan, a duel- 
list, nothing was ever said against his honour. On the con- 
trary, on matters of honour he was a received oracle; and 
even though he had fought several duels (that was the age of 
duels), and was reported without a superior, almost without 



THE PARISIANS. 171 

an equal, in either weapon, the sword or the pistol, he is 
said never to have wantonly provoked an encounter, and to 
have so used his skill that he contrived never to slay, nor 
even gravely to wound, an antagonist. 

I remember one instance of his generosity in this respect, 
for it was much talked of at the time. One of your country- 
men, who had never handled a fencing-foil nor fired a pistol, 
took offence at something M. de Maul^on had said in dispar- 
agement of the Duke of Wellington, and called him out. 
Victor de Maul6on accepted the challenge, discharged his 
pistol, not in the air that might have been an affront 
but so as to be wide of the mark, walked up to the lines to 
be shot at, and when missed, said, ' Excuse the susceptibility 
of a Frenchman loath to believe that his countryman can be 
beaten save by accident, and accept every apology one gentle- 
man can make to another for having forgotten the respect due 
to one of the most renowned of your national heroes.' The 
Englishman's name was Vane. Could it have been your 
father?" 

"Very probably; just like my father to call out any man 
who insulted the honour of his country, as represented by its 
men. I hope the two combatants became friends?" 

"That I never heard; the duel was over; there my story 
ends." 

"Pray go on." 

" One day it was in the midst of political events which 
would have silenced most subjects of private gossip the 
beau monde was startled by the news that the Vicomte (he 
was then, by his father's death, Vicomte) de Maule"on had 
been given into the custody of the police on the charge of 

stealing the jewels of the Uuchesse de (the wife of a 

distinguished foreigner). It seems that some days before 
this event, the Due, wishing to make Madame his spouse an 
agreeable surprise, had resolved to have a diamond necklace 
belonging to her, and which was of setting so old-fashioned 
that she had not lately worn it, reset for her birthday. He 
therefore secretly possessed himself of the key to an iron safe 
in a cabinet adjoining her dressing-room (in which safe her 



172 THE PARISIANS. 

more valuable jewels were kept), and took from it the neck- 
lace. Imagine his dismay when the jeweller in the Rue 
Vivienne to whom he carried it recognized the pretended 
diamonds as imitation paste which he himself had some days 
previously inserted into an empty setting brought to him by 
a Monsieur with whose name he was unacquainted. The Duch- 
esse was at that time in delicate health; and as the Due's 
suspicions naturally fell on the servants, especially on the 
femme de chambre, who was in great favour with his wife, he 
did not like to alarm Madame, nor through her to put the ser- 
vants on their guard. He resolved, therefore, to place the 

matter in the hands of the famous , who was then the 

pride and ornament of the Parisian police. And the very 
night afterwards the Vicomte de Mauhkm was caught and 
apprehended in the cabinet where the jewels were kept, and 
to which he had got access by a false key, or at least a du- 
plicate key, found in his possession. I should observe that 
M. de Maule"on occupied the entresol in the same hotel in 
which the upper rooms were devoted to the Due and Duch- 
esse and their suite. As soon as this charge against the 
Vicomte was made known (and it was known the next morn- 
ing), the extent of his debts and the utterness of his ruin 
(before scarcely conjectured or wholly unheeded) became 
public through the medium of the journals, and furnished an 
obvious motive for the crime of which he was accused. We 
Parisians, Monsieur, are subject to the most startling re- 
actions of feeling. The men we adore one day we execrate 
the next. The Vicomte passed at once from the popular ad- 
miration one bestows on a hero to the popular contempt with 
which one regards a petty larcener. Society wondered how 
it had ever condescended to receive into its bosom the gambler, 
the duellist, the Don Juan. However, one compensation in 
the way of amusement he might still afford to society for the 
grave injuries he had done it. Society would attend his trial, 
witness his demeanour at the bar, and watch the expression 
of his face when he was sentenced to the galleys. But, Mon- 
sieur, this wretch completed the measure of his iniquities. 
He was not tried at all. The Due and Duchesse quitted Paris 






THE PARISIANS. 173 

for Spain, and the Due instructed his lawyer to withdraw his 
charge, stating his conviction of the Vicomte's complete in- 
nocence of any other offence than that which he himself had 
confessed." 

"What did the Vicomte confess? You omitted to state 
that." 

" The Vicomte, when apprehended, confessed that, smitten 
by an insane paseion for the Duchesse, which she had, on his 
presuming to declare it, met with indignant scorn, he had 
taken advantage of his lodgment in the same house to ad- 
mit himself into the cabinet adjoining her dressing-room by 
means of a key which he had procured, made from an impres- 
sion of the key-hole taken in wax. 

"No evidence in support of any other charge against the 
Vicomte was forthcoming, nothing, in short, beyond the 
infraction du domicile caused by the madness of youthful 
love, and for which there was no prosecution. The law, 
therefore, could have little to say against him. But society 
was more rigid; and exceedingly angry to find that a man 
who had been so conspicuous for luxury should prove to be a 
pauper, insisted on believing that M. de Maule"on was guilty 
of the meaner, though not perhaps, in the eyes 'of husbands 
and fathers, the more heinous, of the two offences. I pre- 
sume that the Vicomte felt that he had got into a dilemma 
from which no pistol-shot or sword-thrust could free him, for 
he left Paris abruptly, and has not since reappeared. The 
sale of his stud and effects sufficed, I believe, to pay his 
debts, for I will do him the justice to say that they were 
paid." 

"But though the Vicomte de Maule"on has disappeared, 
he must have left relations at Paris, who would perhaps 
know what has become of him and of his niece." 

"I doubt it. He had no very near relations. The nearest 
was an old ctlibataire of the same name, from whom he 
had some expectations, but who died shortly after this es- 
clandre, and did not name the Vicomte in his will. M. 
Victor had numerous connections among the highest families, 



174 THE PARISIANS. 

the Eochebriants, Chavignys, Vandemars, Passys, Beauvil- 
liers; but they are not likely to have retained any connec- 
tion with a ruined vaurien, and still less with a niece of his 
who was the child of a drawing-master. But now you have 
given me a clew, I will try to follow it up. We must find the 
Vicomte, and I am not without hope of doing so. Pardon me 
if I decline to say more at present. I would not raise false 
expectations ; but in a week or two I will have the honour to 
call again upon Monsieur." 

" Wait one instant. You have really a hope of discovering 
M. deMauleon?" 

"Yes. I cannot say more at present." 

M. Renard departed. Still that hope, however faint it 
might prove, served to reanimate Graham; and with that 
hope his heart, as if a load had been lifted from its main- 
spring, returned instinctively to the thoiight of Isaura. 
Whatever seemed to promise an early discharge of the com- 
mission connected with the discovery of Louise Duval seemed 
to bring Isaura nearer to him, or at least to excuse his yearn- 
ing desire to see mare of her, to understand her better. 
Faded into thin air was the vague jealousy of Gustave 
Bameau which he had so unreasonably conceived; he felt 
as if it were impossible that the man whom the " Ondine of 
Paris" claimed as her lover could dare to woo or hope to win 
an Isaura. He even forgot the friendship with the eloquent 
denouncer of the marriage-bond, which a little while ago had 
seemed to him an unpardonable offence. He remembered 
only the lovely face, so innocent, yet so intelligent; only the 
sweet voice, which had for the first time breathed music into 
his own soul; only the gentle hand, whose touch had for the 
first time sent through his veins the thrill which distinguishes 
from all her sex the woman whom we love. He went forth 
elated and joyous, and took his way to Isaura's villa. As 
he went, the leaves on the trees under which he passed 
seemed stirred by the soft May breeze in sympathy with 
his own delight. Perhaps it was rather the reverse: his 
own silent delight sympathized with all delight in awaken- 



THE PARISIANS. 



175 



ing Nature. The lover seeking reconciliation with the loved 
one from whom some trifle has unreasonably estranged him, 
in a cloudless day of May, if he be not happy enough to 
feel a brotherhood in all things happy, a leaf in bloom, a 
bird in song, then indeed he may call himself lover, but 
he does not know what is 



BOOK 1^. 

CHAPTER I. 
FROM ISAURA CICOGNA TO MADAME DE GRANTMESNIL. 

IT is many days since I wrote to you, and but for your 
delightful note just received, reproaching me for silence, I 
should still be under the spell of that awe which certain 
words of M. Savarin were well fitted to produce. Chancing 
to ask him if he had written to you lately, he said, with that 
laugh of his, good-humouredly ironical, "No, Mademoiselle, 
I am not one of the Facheux whom Moliere has immortalized. 
If the meeting of lovers should be sacred from the intrusion 
of a third person, however amiable, more sacred still should 
be the parting between an author and his work. Madame de 
Grantmesnil is in that moment so solemn to a genius earnest 
as hers, she is bidding farewell to a companion with whom, 
once dismissed into the world, she can never converse famil- 
iarly again ; it ceases to be her companion when it becomes 
ours. Do not let us disturb the last hours they will pass 
together." 

These words struck me much. I suppose there is truth in 
them. I can comprehend that a work which has long been all 
in all to its author, concentrating his thoughts, gathering round 
it the hopes and fears of his inmost heart, dies, as it were, to 
him when he has completed its life for others, and launched 
it into a world estranged from the solitude in which it was 
born and formed. I can almost conceive that, to a writer 
like you r the very fame which attends the work thus sent 



THE PARISIANS. 177 

forth chills your own love for it. The characters you created 
in a fairyland, known but to yourself, must lose something of 
their mysterious charm when you hear them discussed and 
cavilled at, blamed or praised, as if they were really the crea- 
tures of streets and salons. 

I wonder if hostile criticism pains or enrages you as it 
seems to do such other authors as I have known. M. Savarin, 
for instance, sets down in his tablets as an enemy to whom 
vengeance is due the smallest scribbler who wounds his self- 
love, and says frankly, "To me praise is food, dispraise is 
poison. Him who feeds me I pay; him who poisons me I 
break on the wheel." M. Savarin is, indeed, a skilful and 
energetic administrator to his own reputation. He deals with 
it as if it were a kingdom, establishes fortifications for its 
defence, enlists soldiers to fight for it. He is the soul and 
centre of a confederation in which each is bound to defend 
the territory of the others, and all those territories united 
constitute the imperial realm of M. Savarin. Don't think me 
an ungracious satirist in what I am thus saying of our bril- 
liant friend. It is not I who here speak; it is himself. He 
avows his policy with the naivet& which makes the charm of 
his style as writer. "It is the greatest mistake," he said to 
me yesterday, "to talk of the Kepublic of Letters. Every 
author who wins a name is a sovereign in his own domain, 
be it large or small. Woe to any republican who wants to de- 
throne me ! " Somehow or other, when M. Savarin thus talks 
I feel as if he were betraying the cause of genius. I cannot 
bring myself to regard literature as a craft, to me it is a 
sacred mission; and in hearing this " sovereign " boast of the 
tricks by which he maintains his state, I seem to listen to a 
priest who treats as imposture the religion he professes to 
teach. M. Savarin's favourite ileve now is a young contribu- 
tor to his journal, named Gustave Rameau. M. Savarin said 
the other day in my hearing, "I and my set were Young 
France; Gustave Rameau and his set are New Paris." 

"And what is the distinction between the one and the 
other? " asked my American friend, Mrs. Morley. 

" The set of ' Young France, ' " answered M. Savarin, " had 

VOL. I. 12 



178 THE PARISIANS. 

in it the hearty consciousness of youth ; it was bold and vehe- 
ment, with abundant vitality and animal spirits; whatever 
may be said against it in other respects, the power of thews 
and sinews must be conceded to its chief representatives. 
But the set of ' New Paris ' has very bad health, and very in- 
different spirits. Still, in its way, it is very clever; it can 
sting and bite as keenly as if it were big and strong. Rameau 
is the most promising member of the set. He will be popu- 
lar in his time, because he represents a good deal of the mind 
of his time, namely, the mind and the time of ' New 
Paris.'" 

Do you know anything of this young Rameau 's writings? 
You do not know himself, for he told me so, expressing a de- 
sire, that was evidently very sincere, to find some occasion on 
which to render you his homage. He said this the first time 
I met him at M. Savarin's, and before he knew how dear to 
me are yourself and your fame. He came and sat by me 
after dinner, and won my interest at once by asking me if I 
had heard that you were busied on a new work; and then, 
without waiting for my answer, he launched forth into praises 
of you, which made a notable contrast to the scorn with which 
he spoke of all your contemporaries, except indeed M. Sava- 
rin, who, however, might not have been pleased to hear his 
favourite pupil style him "a great writer in small things." I 
spare you his epigrams on Dumas and Victor Hugo and my 
beloved Lamartine. Though his talk was showy, and dazzled 
me at first, I soon got rather tired of it, even the first time we 
met. Since then I have seen him very often, not only at M. 
Savarin's, but he calls here at least every other day, and we 
have become quite good friends. He gains on acquaintance so 
far that one cannot help feeling how much he is to be pitied. 
He is so envious! a.nd the envious must be so unhappy. 
And then he is at once so near and so far from all the things 
that he envies. He longs for riches and luxury, and can only 
as yet earn a bare competence by his labours. Therefore he 
hates the rich and luxurious. His literary successes, instead 
of pleasing him, render him miserable by their contrast with 
the fame of the authors whom he envies and assails. He has 



CUiL 

has 



THE PARISIANS. 179 

a beautiful head, of which he is conscious, but it is joined 
to a body without strength or grace. He is conscious of this 
too, but it is cruel to go on with this sketch. You can 
see at once the kind of person who, whether he inspire affec- 
tion or dislike, cannot fail to create an interest, painful but 
compassionate. 

You will be pleased to hear that Dr. C. considers my 
health so improved that I may next year enter fairly on the 
profession for which I was intended and trained. Yet I still 
feel hesitating and doubtful. To give myself wholly up to 
the art in which I am told I could excel must alienate me 
entirely from the ambition that yearns for fields in which, 
alas! it may perhaps never appropriate to itself a rood for 
culture, only wander, lost in a vague fairyland, to which it 
not the fairy's birthright. thou great Enchantress, to 
whom are equally subject the streets of Paris and the realm 
of Faerie, thou who hast sounded to the deeps that circumflu- 
11 1 ocean called "practical human life," and hast taught the 
acutest of its navigators to consider how far its courses are 
guided by orbs in heaven, canst thou solve this riddle 
which, if it perplexes me, must perplex so many? What is 
the real distinction between the rare genius and the com- 
onalty of human souls that feel to the quick all the grand- 
st and divinest things which the rare genius places before 
ihem, sighing within themselves, "This rare genius does but 
express that which was previously familiar to us, so far as 
thought and sentiment extend " ? Nay, the genius itself, 
however eloquent, never does, never can, express the whole 
of the thought or the sentiment it interprets; on the contrary, 
the greater the genius is, the more it leaves a something of 
incomplete satisfaction on our minds, it promises so much 
ore than it performs; it implies so much more than it an- 
nounces. I am impressed with the truth of what I thus say 
in proportion as I re-peruse and re-study the greatest writers 
that have come within my narrow range of reading; and by 
the greatest writers I mean those who are not exclusively 
reasoners (of such I cannot judge), nor mere poets (of whom, 

Io far as concerns the union of words with music, I ought to 




mi 

::: 



180 THE PARISIANS. 

be able to judge), but the few who unite reason and poetry, 
and appeal at once to the common-sense of the multitude and 
the imagination of the few. The highest type of this union 
to me is Shakspeare; and I can comprehend the justice of no 
criticism on him which does not allow this sense of incom- 
plete satisfaction augmenting in proportion as the poet soars 
to his highest. I ask again, In what consists this distinction 
between the rare genius and the commonalty of minds that 
exclaim, " He expresses what we feel, but never the whole of 
what we feel"? Is it the mere power over language, a larger 
knowledge of dictionaries, a finer ear for period and cadence, 
a more artistic craft in casing our thoughts and sentiments in 
well-selected words? Is it true what Buffon says, "that the 
style is the man"? Is it true what I am told Goethe said, 
"Poetry is form "? I cannot believe this; and if you tell me 
it is true, then I no longer pine to be a writer. But if it be 
not true, explain to me how it is that the greatest genius is 
popular in proportion as it makes itself akin to us by uttering 
in better words than we employ that which was already within 
us, brings to light what in our souls was latent, and does but 
correct, beautify, and publish the correspondence which an 
ordinary reader carries on privately every day between him- 
self and his mind or his heart. If this superiority in the 
genius be but style and form, I abandon my dream of being 
something else than a singer of words by another to the music 
of another. But then, what then? My knowledge of books 
and art is wonderfully small. What little I do know I gather 
from very few books and from what I hear said by the few 
worth listening to whom I happen to meet; and out of these, 
in solitude and re very, not by conscious effort, I arrive at 
some results which appear to my inexperience original. Per- 
haps, indeed, they have the same kind of originality as the 
musical compositions of amateurs who effect a cantata or a 
quartette made up of borrowed details from great masters, 
and constituting a whole so original that no real master would 
deign to own it. Oh, if I could get you to understand how 
unsettled, how struggling my whole nature at this moment is! 
I wonder what is the sensation of the chrysalis which has 



r 

bv 



s 

m 



THE PARISIANS. 181 

been a silkworm, when it first feels the new wings stirring 
within its shell, wings, alas! they are but those of the hum- 
blest and shortest-lived sort of moth, scarcely born into day- 
light before it dies. Could it reason, it might regret its 
earlier life, and say, "Better be the silkworm than the 
moth." 



FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME. 

Have you known well any English people in the course of 
your life? I say well, for you must have had acquaintance 
with many. But it seems to me so difficult to know an Eng- 
lishman well. Even I, who so loved and revered Mr. Selby, 

I, whose childhood was admitted into his companionship 
y that love which places ignorance and knowledge, infancy 
and age, upon ground so equal that heart touches heart, 
not say that I understand the English character to any- 
hing like the extent to which I fancy 1 understand the Italian 
and the French. Between us of the Continent and them of 
the island the British Channel always flows. There is an 
Englishman here to whom I have been introduced, whom I 
have met, though but seldom, in that society which bounds 
the Paris world to me. Pray, pray tell me, did you ever know, 
ever meet him? His name is Graham Vane. He is the only 
.on, I am told, of a man who was a cel6brlte in England as an 
orator and statesman, and on both sides he belongs to the 
haute aristocratic. He himself has that indescribable air and 

ien to which we apply the epithet ' distinguished.' In the 
most crowded salon the eye would fix on him, and involun- 
tarily follow his movements. Yet his manners are frank and 
simple, wholly without the stiffness or reserve which are said 
to characterize the English. There is an inborn dignity in 
his bearing which consists in the absence of all dignity as- 
sumed. But what strikes me most in this Englishman is an 
expression of countenance which the English depict by the 
word ' open,' that expression which inspires you with a be- 
lief in the existence of sincerity. Mrs. Morley said of him, 
in that poetic extravagance of phrase by which the Americana 



182 THE PARISIANS. 

startle the English, " That man's forehead would light up the 
Mammoth Cave." Do you not know, Eulalie, what it is to us 
cultivators of art art being the expression of truth through 
fiction to come into the atmosphere of one of those souls in 
which Truth stands out bold and beautiful in itself, and needs 
no idealization through fiction? Oh, how near we should be 
to heaven could we live daily, hourly, in the presence of one 
the honesty of whose word we could never doubt, the author- 
ity of whose word we could never disobey! Mr. Vane pro- 
fesses not to understand music, not even to care for it, except 
rarely, and yet he spoke of its influence over others with an 
enthusiasm that half charmed me once more back to my des- 
tined calling; nay, might have charmed me wholly, but that 
he seemed to think that I that any public singer must 
be a creature apart from the world, the world in which such 
men live. Perhaps that is true. 



CHAPTER II. 

IT was one of those lovely noons towards the end of May in 
which a rural suburb has the mellow charm of summer to him 
who escapes awhile from the streets of a crowded capital. 
The Londoner knows its charm when he feels his tread on 
the softening swards of the Vale of Health, or, pausing at 
Richmond under the budding willow, gazes on the river glit- 
tering in the warmer sunlight, and hears from the villa-gar- 
dens behind him the brief trill of the blackbird. But the 
suburbs round Paris are, I think, a yet more pleasing relief 
from the metropolis; they are more easily reached, and I 
know not why, but they seem more rural, perhaps because 
the contrast of their repose with the stir left behind, of their 
redundance of leaf and blossom compared with the prim efflo- 
rescence of trees in the Boulevards and Tuileries, is more 
striking. However that may be, when Graham reached the 
pretty suburb in which Isaura dwelt, it seemed to him as if 



I 
I 

r 

: 



THE PARISIANS. 183 

all the wheels of the loud busy life were suddenly smitten 
still. The hour was yet early; he felt sure that he should 
find Isaura at home. The garden-gate stood unfastened and 
ajar; he pushed it aside and entered. I think I have before 
said that the garden of the villa was shut out from the road 
and the gaze of neighbours by a wall and thick belts of ever- 
greens; it stretched behind the house somewhat far for the 
garden of a suburban villa. He paused when he had passed 
the gateway, for he heard in the distance the voice of one 
singing, singing low, singing plaintively. He knew it was 
the voice of Isaura; he passed on, leaving the house behind 
him, and tracking the voice till he reached the singer. 

Isaura was seated within an arbour towards the farther 
end of the garden, an arbour which, a little later in the 
year, must indeed be delicate and dainty with lush exuber- 
ance of jessamine and woodbine; now into its iron trellis- 
work leaflets and flowers were insinuating their gentle way. 
Just at the entrance one white rose a winter rose that had 
mysteriously survived its relations opened its pale hues 
frankly to the noonday sun. Graham approached slowly, 
noiselessly, and the last note of the song had ceased when 
e stood at the entrance of the arbour. Isaura did not per- 
ceive him at first, for her face was bent downward musingly, 
as was often her wont after singing, especially when alone ; 
but she felt that the place was darkened, that something stood 
between her and the sunshine. She raised her face, and a 
quick flush mantled over it as she uttered his name, not loudly, 
not as in surprise, but inwardly and whisperingly, as in a sort 
of fear. 

"Pardon me, Mademoiselle," said Graham, entering; "but 
I heard your voice as I came into the garden, and it drew me 
onward involuntarily. What a lovely air! and what simple 
ess in such of the words as reached me! I am so igno- 
rant of music that you must not laugh at me if I ask whose is 
the music and whose are the words? Probably both are so 

ell known as to convict me of a barbarous ignorance." 

"Oh, no," said Isaura, with a still heightened colour, and 
in accents embarrassed and hesitating. " Both the words and 




184 THE PARISIANS. 

music are by an unknown and very humble composer, yet not, 
indeed, quite original, they have not even that merit; at 
least they were suggested by a popular song in the Neapoli- 
tan dialect which is said to be very old." 

" I don't know if I caught the true meaning of the words, 
for they seemed to me to convey a more subtle and refined 
sentiment than is common in the popular songs of southern 
Italy." 

"The sentiment in the original is changed in the para- 
phrase, and not, I fear, improved by the change." 

" Will you explain to me the sentiment in both, and let me 
judge which I prefer? " 

"In the Neapolitan song a young fisherman, who has 
moored his boat under a rock on the shore, sees a beautiful 
face below the surface of the waters; he imagines it to be 
that of a Nereid, and casts in his net to catch this supposed 
nymph of the ocean. He only disturbs the water, loses the 
image, and brings up a few common fishes. He returns home 
disappointed, and very much enamoured of the supposed 
Nereid. The next day he goes again to the same place, and 
discovers that the face which had so charmed him was that 
of a mortal girl reflected on the waters from the rock behind 
him, on which she had been seated, and on which she had 
her home. The original air is arch and lively ; just listen to 
it." And Isaura warbled one of those artless and somewhat 
meagre tunes to which light-stringed instruments are the 
fitting accompaniment. 

"That," said Graham, "is a different music indeed from 
the other, which is deep and plaintive, and goes to the 
heart." 

"But do you not see how the words have been altered? In 
the song you first heard me singing, the fisherman goes again 
to the spot, again and again sees the face in the water, again 
and again seeks to capture the Nereid, and never knows to 
the last that the face was that of the mortal on the rock close 
behind him, and which he passed by without notice every 
day. Deluded by an ideal image, the real one escapes from 
his eye," 



hj 



THE PARISIANS. 185 

" Is the verse that is recast meant to symbolize a moral in 
love? " 

"In love? nay, I know not; but in life, yes, at least the 
life of the artist." 

" The paraphrase of the original is yours, Signorina, words 
and music both. Am I not right? Your silence answers 'Yes.' 
Will you pardon me if I say that, though there can be no 
doubt of the new beauty you have given to the old song, 
I think that the moral of the old was the sounder one, the 
truer to human life. We do not go on to the last duped 
by an allusion. If enamoured by the shadow on the 
waters, still we do look around us and discover the image it 
reflects." 

Isaura shook her head gently, but made no answer. On the 
ble before her there were a few myrtle-sprigs and one or 

o buds from the last winter rose, which she had been ar- 

nging into a simple nosegay; she took up these, and ab- 
tractedly began to pluck and scatter the rose-leaves. 

"Despise the coming May flowers if you will, they will 
soon be so plentiful," said Graham; "but do not cast away 
the few blossoms which winter has so kindly spared, and 
hich even summer will not give again;" and placing his 
and on the winter buds, it touched hers, lightly, indeed, 
but she felt the touch, shrank from it, coloured, and rose 
from her seat. 

" The sun has left this side of the garden, the east wind is 
rising, and you must find it chilly here," she said, in an 
altered tone; "will you not come into the house?" 

"It is not the air that I feel chilly," said Graham, with a 
half-smile ; " I almost fear that my prosaic admonitions have 
displeased you." 

"They were not prosaic; and they were kind and very 
wise," she added, with her exquisite laugh, laugh so won- 
derfully sweet and musical. She now had gained the en- 
trance of the arbour; Graham joined her, and they walked 
towards the house. He asked her if she had seen much of 
the Savarins since they had met. 

"Once or twice we have been there of an evening." 




186 THE PARISIANS. 

" And encountered, no doubt, the illustrious young minstrel 
who despises Tasso and Corneille? " 

"M. Rameau? Oh, yes; he is constantly at the Savarins. 
Do not be severe on him. He is unhappy, he is struggling, 
he is soured. An artist has thorns in his path which lookers- 
on do not heed." 

" All people have thorns in their path, and I have no great 
respect for those who want lookers-on to heed them whenever 
they are scratched. But M. Rameau seems to me one- of those 
writers very common nowadays, in France and even in Eng- 
land ; writers who have never read anything worth studying, 
and are, of course, presumptuous in proportion to their igno- 
rance. I should not have thought an artist like yourself 
could have recognized an artist in a M. Rameau who despises 
Tasso without knowing Italian." 

Graham spoke bitterly ; he was once more jealous. 

" Are you not an artist yourself? Are you not a writer? 
M. Savarin told me you were a distinguished man of letters." 

"M. Savarin flatters me too much. I am not an artist, 
and I have a great dislike to that word as it is now hackneyed 
and vulgarized in England and in France. A cook calls him- 
self an artist ; a tailor does the same ; a man writes a gaudy 
melodrame, a spasmodic song, a sensational novel, and 
straightway he calls himself an artist, and indulges in a 
pedantic jargon about ' essence ' and ' form, ' assuring us that 
a poet we can understand wants essence, and a poet we can 
scan wants form. Thank heaven, I am not vain enough to 
call myself artist. I have written some very dry lucubrations 
in periodicals, chiefly political, or critical upon other subjects 
than art. But why, a propos of M. Rameau, did you ask me 
that question respecting myself? " 

"Because much in your conversation," answered Isaura, in 
rather a mournful tone, "made me suppose you had more 
sympathies with art and its cultivators than you cared to 
avow; and if you had such sympathies, you would compre- 
hend what a relief it is to a poor aspirant to art like myself 
to come into communication with those who devote them- 
selves to any art distinct from the common pursuits of the 



THE PARISIANS. 187 

vorld, what a relief it is to escape from the ordinary talk of 
society. There is a sort of instinctive freemasonry among 
us, including masters and disciples; and one art has a fel- 
lowship with other arts. Mine is but song and music, yet I 
feel attracted towards a sculptor, a painter, a romance-writer, 
a poet, as much as towards a singer, a musician. Do you un- 
derstand why I cannot contemn M. Rameau as you do? I 
differ from his tastes in literature; I do not much admire 
such of his writings as I have read; I grant that he over- 
estimates his own genius, whatever that be, yet I like to 
converse with him. He is a struggler upwards, though with 
weak wings, or with erring footsteps, like myself." 

"Mademoiselle," said Graham, earnestly, "I cannot say 
how I thank you for this candour. Do not condemn me for 

I abusing it, if " he paused. 
"If what?" 
" If I, so much older than yourself, I do not say only in 
years, but in the experience of life, I whose lot is cast among 
those busy and ' positive ' pursuits, which necessarily quicken 
that unromantic faculty called common-sense, if, I say, the 
deep interest with which you must inspire all whom you ad- 
mit into an acquaintance even as unfamiliar as that now 
between us makes me utter one caution, such as might be 
uttered by a friend or brother. Beware of those artistic 
sympathies which you so touchingly confess ; beware how, in 
the great events of life, you allow fancy to misguide your 
reason. In choosing friends on whom to rely, separate the 
artist from the human being. Judge of the human being for 
what it is in itself. Do not worship the face on the waters, 
blind to the image on the rock. In one word, never see in an 
artist like a M. Rameau the human being to whom you could 
intrust the destinies of your life. Pardon me, pardon me; 
we may meet little hereafter, but you are a creature so utterly 
new to me, so wholly unlike any woman I have ever before 
encountered and admired, and to me seem endowed with such 
wealth of mind and soul, exposed to such hazard, that 
that " again he paused, and his voice trembled as he con- 
cluded " that it would be a deep sorrow to me if, perhaps 






188 THE PARISIANS. 

years hence, I should have to say, ' Alas! by what mistake 
has that wealth been wasted!' 

While they had thus conversed, mechanically they had 
turned away from the house, and were again standing before 
the arbour. 

Graham, absorbed in the passion of his adjuration, had not 
till now looked into the face of the companion by his side. 
Now, when he had concluded, and heard no reply, he bent 
down and saw that Isaura was weeping silently. 

His heart smote him. 

"Forgive me," he exclaimed, drawing her hand into his; 
" I have had no right to talk thus ; but it was not from want 
of respect; it was it was " 

The hand which was yielded to his pressed it gently, tim- 
idly, chastely. 

" Forgive ! " murmured Isaura ; " do you think that I, an 
orphan, have never longed for a friend who would speak to 
me thus? " And so saying, she lifted her eyes, streaming 
still, to his bended countenance, eyes, despite their tears, 
so clear in their innocent limpid beauty, so ingenuous, so 
frank, so virgin-like, so unlike the eyes of ' any other woman 
ne had encountered and admired.' 

"Alas!" he said, in quick and hurried accents, "you may 
remember, when we have before conversed, how I, though so 
uncultured in your art, still recognized its beautiful influence 
upon human breasts; how I sought to combat your own de- 
preciation of its rank among the elevating agencies of hu- 
manity; how, too, I said that no man could venture to ask 
you to renounce the boards, the lamps, resign the fame of 
actress, of singer. Well, now that you accord to me the title 
of friend, now that you so touchingly remind me that you are 
an orphan, thinking of all the perils the young and the beau- 
tiful of your sex must encounter when they abandon private 
life for public, I think that a true friend might put the ques- 
tion, ' Can you resign the fame of actress, of singer? ' " 

"I will answer you frankly. The profession which once 
seemed to me so alluring began to lose its charms in my eyes 
some months ago. It was your words, very eloquently ex- 



I 



THE PARISIANS. 189 

pressed, on the ennobling effects of music and song upon a 
popular audience, that counteracted the growing distaste to 
rendering up my whole life to the vocation of the stage; but 
now I think I should feel grateful to the friend whose advice 
interpreted the voice of my own heart, and bade me relin- 
quish the career of actress." 

Graham's face grew radiant. But whatever might have 
been his reply was arrested; voices and footsteps were heard 
behind. He turned round and saw the Venosta, the Savarins, 
and Gustave Rameau. 

Isaura heard and saw also, started in a sort of alarmed con- 
fusion, and then instinctively retreated towards the arbour. 

Graham hurried on to meet the Signora and the visitors, 
giving time to Isaura to compose herself by arresting them in 
the pathway with conventional salutations. 

A few minutes later Isaura joined them, and there was talk 
to which Graham scarcely listened, though he shared in it 
by abstracted monosyllables. He declined going into the 
house, and took leave at the gate. In parting, his eyes fixed 
themselves on Isaura. Gustave Rameau was by her side. 
That nosegay which had been left in the arbour was in her 
hand; and though she was bending over it, she did not now 
pluck and scatter the rose-leaves. Graham at that moment 
felt no jealousy of the fair-faced young poet beside her. 

As he walked slowly back, he muttered to himself, "But 
am 1 yet in the position to hold myself wholly free? Am I, 
am I? Were the sole choice before me that between her and 
ambition and wealth, how soon it would be made! Ambition 
has no prize equal to the heart of such a woman : wealth no 
sources of joy equal to the treasures of her love." 



190 THE PARISIANS. 



CHAPTER III. 

FROM ISAURA CICOGNA TO MADAME DE GRANTMESNIL. 

THE day after I posted my last, Mr. Vane called on us. I 
was in our little garden at the time. Our conversation was 
brief, and soon interrupted by visitors, the Savarins and 
M. Rameau. I long for your answer. I wonder how he im- 
pressed you, if you have met him; how he would impress, if 
you met him now. To me he is so different from all others ; 
and I scarcely know why his words ring in my ears, and his 
image rests in my thoughts. It is strange altogether; for 
though he is young, he speaks to me as if he were so much 
older than I, so kindly, so tenderly, yet as if I were a child, 
and much as the dear Maestro might do, if he thought I 
needed caution or counsel. Do not fancy, Eulalie, that there 
is any danger of my deceiving myself as to the nature of such 
interest as he may take in me. Oh, no ! There is a gulf be- 
tween us there which he does not lose sight of, and which we 
could not pass. How, indeed, I could interest him at all, I 
cannot guess. A rich, high-born Englishman, intent on polit- 
ical life; practical, prosaic no, not prosaic; but still with 
the kind of sense which does not admit into its range of vision 
that world of dreams which is familiar as their daily home to 
Romance and to Art. It has always seemed to me that for 
love, love such as I conceive it, there must be a deep and con- 
stant sympathy between two persons, not, indeed, in the 
usual and ordinary trifles of taste and sentiment, but in those 
essentials which form the root of character, and branch out 
in all the leaves and blooms that expand to the sunshine and 
shrink from the cold, that the worldling should wed the 
worldling, the artist the artist. Can the realist and the 
idealist blend together, and hold together till death and be- 
yond death? If not, ea,n there be true love between them? 



THE PARISIANS. 191 

By true love, I mean the love which interpenetrates the 
soul, and once given can never die. Oh, Eulalie, answer me, 



answer : 



P. S. I have now fnlly made up my mind to renounce all 
thought of the stage. 



FROM MADAME DE GBANTMESNIL TO ISAURA CICOGNA. 

MY DEAR CHILD, how your mind has grown since you 
left me, the sanguine and aspiring votary of an art which, of 
all arts, brings the most immediate reward to a successful 
cultivator, and is in itself so divine in its immediate effects 
upon human souls ! Who shall say what may be the after- 
results of those effects which the waiters on posterity pre- 
sume to despise because they are immediate? A dull man, to 
whose mind a ray of that vague starlight undetected in the 
atmosphere of workday life has never yet travelled; to whom 
the philosopher, the preacher, the poet appeal in vain, nay, 
to whom the conceptions of the grandest master of instru- 
mental music are incomprehensible; to whom Beethoven un- 
locks no portal in heaven; to whom Rossini has no mysteries 
on earth unsolved by the critics of the pit, suddenly hears 
the human voice of the human singer, and at the sound of 
that voice the walls which enclosed him fall. The something 
far from and beyond the routine of his commonplace existence 
becomes known to him. He of himself, poor man, can make 
nothing of it. He cannot put it down on paper, and say the 
next morning, " I am an inch nearer to heaven than I was last 
night;" but the feeling that he is an inch nearer to heaven 
abides with him. Unconsciously he is gentler, he is less 
earthly, and, in being nearer to heaven, he is stronger for 
earth. You singers do not seem to me to understand that 
you have to use your own word, so much in vogue that it 
has become abused and trite a mission ! When you talk of 
missions, from whom comes the mission? Not from men. 
If there be a mission from man to men, it must be appointed 
from on high. 




192 THE PARISIANS. 

Think of all this; and in being faithful to your art, be true 
to yourself. If you feel divided between that art and the art 
of the writer, and acknowledge the first to be too exacting 
to admit a rival, keep to that in which you are sure to excel. 
Alas, my fair child! do not imagine that we writers feel a 
happiness in our pursuits and aims more complete than that 
which you can command. If we care for fame (and, to be 
frank, we all do), that fame does not come up before us face 
to face, a real, visible, palpable form, as it does to the 
singer, to the actress. I grant that it may be more enduring, 
but an endurance on the length of which we dare not reckon. 
A writer cannot be sure of immortality till his language itself 
be dead ; and then he has but a share in an uncertain lottery. 
Nothing but fragments remains of the Phrynichus who ri- 
valled ^Eschylus ; of the Agathon who perhaps excelled Eu- 
ripides; of the Alcaeus, in whom Horace acknowledged a 
master and a model ; their renown is not in their works, it 
is but in their names. And, after all, the names of singers 
and actors last perhaps as long. Greece retains the name of 
Polus, Rome of Roscius, England of Garrick, France of 
Talma, Italy of Pasta, more lastingly than posterity is likely 
to retain mine. You address to me a question, which I have 
often put to myself, "What is the distinction between the 
writer and the reader, when the reader says, ' These are my 
thoughts, these are my feelings ; the writer has stolen them, 
and clothed them in his own words ' ? " And the more the 
reader says this, . the more wide is the audience, the more 
genuine the renown, and, paradox though it seems, the more 
consummate the originality, of the writer. But no, it is not 
the mere gift of expression, it is not the mere craft of the 
pen, it is not the mere taste in arrangement of word and 
cadence, which thus enables the one to interpret the mind, 
the heart, the soul of the many. It is a power breathed into 
him as he lay in his cradle, and a power that gathered around 
itself, as he grew up, all the influences he acquired, whether 
from observation of external nature, or from study of men 
and books, or from that experience of daily life which varies 
with every human being. No education could make two in- 



THE PARISIANS. 193 

tellects exactly alike, as no culture can make two leaves 
exactly alike. How truly you describe the sense of dissatis- 
faction which every writer of superior genius communicates 
to his admirers ! how truly do you feel that the greater is the 
dissatisfaction in proportion to the writer's genius, and the 
admirer's conception of it! But that is the mystery which 
makes let me borrow a German phrase the cloud-land be- 
tween the finite and the infinite. The greatest philosopher, 
intent on the secrets of Nature, feels that dissatisfaction in 
Nature herself. The finite cannot reduce into logic and 
criticism the infinite. 

Let us dismiss these matters, which perplex the reason, 
and approach that which touches the heart, which in your 
case, my child, touches the heart of woman. You speak of 
love, and deem that the love which lasts the household, 
the conjugal love should be based upon such sympathies 
of pursuit that the artist should wed the artist. 

This is one of the questions you do well to address to me; 
for whether from my own experience, or from that which I 
have gained from observation extended over a wide range of 
life, and quickened and intensified by the class of writing 
that I cultivate, and which necessitates a calm study of the 
passions, I am an authority on such subjects, better than most 
women can be. And alas, my child, I come to this result: 
there is no prescribing to men or to women whom to select, 
whom to refuse. I cannot refute the axiom of the ancient 
poet, "In love there is no wherefore." But there is a time 
it is often but a moment of time in which love is not yet 
a master, in which we can say, "I will love, I will not love." 

Now, if I could find you in such a moment, I would say to 
you, "Artist, do not love, do not marry, an artist." Two 
artistic natures rarely combine. The artistic nature is won- 
derfully exacting. I fear it is supremely egotistical, so 
jealously sensitive that it writhes at the touch of a rival. 
Racine was the happiest of husbands; his wife adored his 
genius, but could not understand his plays. Would Racine 
have bpen happy if he had married a Corneille in petticoats? 
I who speak have loved an artist, certainly equal to myself. 
VQ&. i. 18 



194 THE PARISIANS. 

I am sure that he loved me. That sympathy in pursuits of 
which you speak drew us together, and became very soon 
the cause of antipathy. To both of us the endeavour to coal- 
esce was misery. 

I don't know your M. Eameau. Savarin has sent me some 
of his writings ; from these I judge that his only chance of 
happiness would be to marry a commonplace woman, with 
separation de biens. He is, believe me, but one of the many 
with whom New Paris abounds, who because they have the 
infirmities of genius imagine they have its strength. 

I come next to the Englishman. I see how serious is your 
questioning about him. You not only regard him as a being 
distinct from the crowd of a salon; he stands equally apart 
in the chamber of your thoughts, you do not mention him 
in the same letter as that which treats of Eameau and Sava- 
rin. He has become already an image not to be lightly mixed 
up with others. You would rather not have mentioned him 
at all to me, but you could not resist it. The interest you 
feel in him so perplexed you, that in a kind of feverish im- 
patience you cry out to me, "Can you solve the riddle? Did 
you ever know well Englishmen? Can an Englishman be 
understood out of his island? " etc. Yes, I have known well 
many Englishmen ; in affairs of the heart they are much like 
all other men. No; I do not know this Englishman in par- 
ticular, nor any one of his name. 

Well, my child, let us frankly grant that this foreigner has 
gained some hold on your thoughts, on your fancy, perhaps 
also on your heart. Do not fear that he will love you less 
enduringly, or that you will become alienated fa-om him, be- 
cause he is not an artist. If he be a strong nature, and with 
some great purpose in life, your ambition will fuse itself in 
his ; and knowing you as I do, I believe you would make an 
excellent wife to an Englishman whom you honoured as well 
as loved; and sorry though I should be that you relinquished 
the singer's fame, I should be consoled in thinking you safe 
in the woman's best sphere, a contented home, safe from 
calumny, safe from gossip. I never had that home; and 
there has been no part in my author's life in which I would 



THE PARISIANS. 195 

not hare given all the celebrity it won for the obscure com- 
monplace of such woman-lot. Could I move human beings 
as pawns on a chessboard, I should indeed say that the most 
suitable and congenial mate for you, for a woman of senti- 
ment and genius, would be a well-born and well-educated 
German ; for such a German unites, with domestic habits and 
a strong sense of family ties, a romance of sentiment, a love 
of art, a predisposition towards the poetic side of life, which 
is very rare among Englishmen of the same class. But as 
the German is not forthcoming, I give my vote for the Eng- 
lishman, provided only you love him. Ah, child, be sure of 
that. Do not mistake fancy for love. All women do not re- 
quire love in marriage, but without it that which is best and 
highest in you would wither and die. Write to me often and 
tell me all. M. Savarin is right. My book is no longer my 
companion. It is gone from me, and I am once more alone 
in the world. 

Yours affectionately. 

P. S. Is not your postscript a woman's? Does it not 
require a woman's postscript in reply? You say in yours 
that you have fully made up your mind to renounce all 
thoughts of the stage. I ask in mine, " What has the Eng- 
lishman to do with that determination?" 



CHAPTER IV. 

SOME weeks have passed since Graham's talk with Isaura 
in the garden; he has not visited the villa since. His cousins 
the D'Altons have passed through Paris on their way to Italy, 
meaning to stay a few days ; they stayed nearly a month, and 
monopolized much of Graham's companionship. Both these 
were reasons why, in the habitual society of the Duke, Gra- 
ham's persuasion that he was not yet free to court the hand 
of Isaura became strengthened, and with that persuasion ne' 



196 THE PARISIANS. 

cessarily came a question equally addressed to his conscience, 
" If not yet free to court her hand, am I free to expose my- 
self to the temptation of seeking to win her affection? " But 
when his cousin was gone, his heart began to assert its own 
rights, to argue its own case, and suggest modes of reconcil- 
ing its dictates to the obligations which seemed to oppose 
them. In this hesitating state of mind he received the fol- 
lowing note : 

VILLA , LAC D'ENGHIEN. 

MY DEAR MR. VANE, We have retreated from Paris to the 
banks of this beautiful little lake. Come and help to save Frank and my- 
self from quarrelling with each other, which, until the Rights of Women 
are firmly established, married folks always will do when left to them- 
selves, especially if they are still lovers, as Frank and I are. Love is a 
terribly quarrelsome thing. Make us a present of a few days out of your 
wealth of time. We will visit Montmorency and the haunts of Rousseau, 
sail on the lake at moonlight, dine at gypsy restaurants under trees not 
yet embrowned by summer heats, discuss literature and politics, " Shak- 
speare and the musical glasses," and be as sociable and pleasant as 
Boccaccio's tale-tellers, at Fiesole. We shall be but a small party, only 
the Savarins, that unconscious sage and humourist Signora Venosta, 
and that dimple-cheeked Isaura, who embodies the song of nightingales 
and the smile of summer. Refuse, and Frank shall not have an easy 
moment till he sends in his claims for thirty millions against the 
Alabama. 

Yours, as you behave, 

LIZZIE MORLEY. 

Graham did not refuse. He went to Enghien for four days 
and a quarter. He was under the same roof as Isaura. Oh, 
those happy days ! so happy that they defy description. But 
though to Graham the happiest days he had ever known, they 
were happier still to Isaura. There were drawbacks to his 
happiness, none to hers, drawbacks partly from reasons the 
weight of which the reader will estimate later; partly from 
reasons the reader may at once comprehend and assess. In 
the sunshine of her joy, all the vivid colourings of Isaura' s 
artistic temperament came forth, so that what I may call the 
homely, domestic woman-side of her nature faded into shadow. 
If, my dear reader, whether you be man or woman, you have 



THE PARISIANS. 197 

come into familiar contact with some creature of a genius to 
which, even assuming that you yourself have a genius in its 
own way, you have no special affinities, have you not felt 
shy with that creature? Have you not, perhaps, felt how in- 
tensely you could love that creature, and doubted if that crea- 
ture could possibly love you? Now I think that shyness and 
that disbelief are common with either man or woman, if, 
however conscious of superiority in the prose of life, he or 
she recognizes inferiority in the poetry of it. And yet this 
self-abasement is exceedingly mistaken. The poetical kind 
of genius is so grandly indulgent, so inherently deferential, 
bows with such unaffected modesty to the superiority in which 
it fears it may fail (yet seldom does fail), the superiority of 
common-sense. And when we come to women, what marvel- 
lous truth is conveyed by the woman who has had no superior 
in intellectual gifts among her own sex! Corinne, crowned 
at the Capitol, selects out of the whole world as the hero of 
her love no rival poet and enthusiast, but a cold-blooded, 
sensible Englishman. 

Graham Vane, in his strong masculine form of intellect 
Graham Vane, from whom I hope much, if he live to fulfil his 
rightful career had, not unreasonably, the desire to dominate 
ttie life of the woman whom he selected as the partner of his 
own ; but the life of Isaura seemed to escape him. If at mo- 
ments, listening to her, he would say to himself, " What a 
companion! life could never be dull with her," at other 
moments he would say, "True, never dull, but would it be 
always safe? " And then comes in that mysterious power of 
love which crushes all beneath its feet, and makes us end 
self -commune by that abject submission of reason, which only 
murmurs, "Better be unhappy with the one you love than 
happy with one whom you do not." All such self -communes 
were unknown to Isaura. She lived in the bliss of the hour. 
If Graham could have read her heart, he would have dis- 
missed all doubt whether he could dominate her life. Could 
a Fate or an Angel have said to her, "Choose, on one side I 
promise you the glories of a Catalani, a Pasta, a Sappho, a 
De Stael, a Georges Sand, all combined into one immortal 




198 



THE PARISIANS. 



name ; or, on the other side, the whole heart of the man who 
would estrange himself from you if you had such combina- 
tion of glories," her answer would have brought Graham 
Vane to her feet. All scruples, all doubts, would have van- 
ished ; he would have exclaimed, with the generosity inherent 
in the higher order of man, "Be glorious, if your nature wills 
it so. Glory enough to me that you would have resigned 
glory itself to become mine." But how is it that men worth 
a woman's loving become so diffident when they love in- 
tensely? Even in ordinary cases of love there is so ineffable 
a delicacy in virgin woman, that a man, be he how refined 
soever, feels himself rough and rude and coarse in compari- 
son; and while that sort of delicacy was pre-eminent in this 
Italian orphan, there came, to increase the humility of the 
man so proud and so confident in himself when he had only 
men to deal with, the consciousness that his intellectual na- 
ture was hard and positive beside the angel-like purity and 
the fairy-like play of hers. 

There was a strong wish on the part of Mrs. Morley to 
bring about the union of these two. She had a great regard 
and a great admiration for both. To her mind, unconscious 
of all Graham's doubts and prejudices, they were exactly 
suited to each other. A man of intellect so cultivated as 
Graham's, if married to a commonplace English "Miss," 
would surely feel as if life had no sunshine and no flowers. 
The love of an Isaura would steep it in sunshine, pave it 
with flowers. Mrs. Morley admitted all American Repub- 
licans of gentle birth do admit the instincts which lead 
"like " to match with "like," an equality of blood and race. 
With all her assertion of the Rights of Woman, I do not 
think that Mrs. Morley would ever have conceived the pos- 
sibility of consenting that the richest and prettiest and 
cleverest girl in the States could become the wife of a son of 
hers if the girl had the taint of negro blood, even though 
shown nowhere save the slight distinguishing hue of her 
finger-nails. So had Isaura's merits been threefold what 
they were and she had been the wealthy heiress of a retail 
grocer, this fair Republican would have opposed (more 



THE PARISIANS. 199 

strongly than many an English duchess, or at least a Scotch 
duke, would do, the wish of a son), the thought of an alli- 
ance between Graham Vane and the grocer's daughter! But 
Isaura was a Cicogna, an offspring of a very ancient and very 
noble house. Disparities of fortune, or mere worldly posi- 
tion, Mrs. Morley supremely despised. Here were the great 
parities of alliance, parities in years and good looks and 
mental culture. So, in short, she in the invitation given to 
them had planned for the union between Isaura and Graham. 
To this plan she had an antagonist, whom she did not even 
guess, in Madame Savarin. That lady, as much attached to 
Isaura as was Mrs. Morley herself, and still more desirous 
of seeing a girl, brilliant and parentless, transferred from 
the companionship of Signora Venosta to the protection of a 
husband, entertained no belief in the serious attentions of 
Graham Vane. Perhaps she exaggerated his worldly advan- 
tages, perhaps she undervalued the warmth of his affections ; 
but it was not within the range of her experience, confined 
much to Parisian life, nor in harmony with her notions of 
the frigidity and morgue of the English national character, 
that a rich and high-born young man, to whom a great career 
in practical public life was predicted, should form a matri- 
monial alliance with a foreign orphan girl, who, if of gentle 
birth, had no useful connections, would bring no correspond- 
ent dot, and had been reared and intended for the profession 
of the stage. She much more feared that the result of any at- 
tentions on the part of such a man would be rather calculated 
to compromise the orphan's name, or at least to mislead her 
expectations, than to secure her the shelter of a wedded home. 
Moreover, she had cherished plans of her own for Isaura's 
future. Madame Savarin had conceived for Gustave Kameau 
a friendly regard, stronger than that which Mrs. Morley en- 
tertained for Graham Vane, for it was more motherly. Gus- 
tave had been familiarized to her sight and her thoughts since 
he had first been launched into the literary world under her 
husband's auspices; he had confided to her his mortification in 
his failures, his joy in his successes. His beautiful counte 
nance, his delicate health, his very infirmities and defects 



200 THE PARISIANS. 

had endeared him to her womanly heart. Isaura was the 
wife of all others who, in Madame Savarin's opinion, was 
made for Eameau. Her fortune, so trivial beside the wealth 
of the Englishman, would be a competence to Rameau; then 
that competence might swell into vast riches if Isaura suc- 
ceeded on the stage. She found with extreme displeasure 
that Isaura's mind had become estranged from the profession 
to which she had been destined, and divined that a deference 
to the Englishman's prejudices had something to do with that 
estrangement. It was not to be expected that a French- 
woman, wife to a sprightly man of letters, who had intimate 
friends and allies in every department of the artistic world, 
should cherish any prejudice whatever against the exercise 
of an art in which success achieved riches and renown ; but 
she was prejudiced, as most Frenchwomen are, against allow- 
ing to unmarried girls the same freedom and independence of 
action that are the rights of women French women when 
married; and she would have disapproved the entrance of 
Isaura on her professional career until she could enter it as 
a wife, the wife of an artist, the wife of Gustave Rameau. 

Unaware of the rivalry between these friendly diplomatists 
and schemers, Graham and Isaura glided hourly more and 
more down the current, which as yet ran smooth. No words 
by which love is spoken were exchanged between them; in 
fact, though constantly together, they were very rarely, and 
then but for moments, alone with each other. Mrs. Morley 
artfully schemed more than once to give them such opportu- 
nities for that mutual explanation of heart which, she saw, 
had not yet taken place; with art more practised and more 
watchful, Madame Savarin contrived to baffle her hostess's 
intention. But, indeed, neither Graham nor Isaura sought 
to make opportunities for themselves. He ? as we know, did 
not deem himself wholly justified in uttering the words of 
love by which a man of honour binds himself for life; and 
she ! what girl pure-hearted and loving truly does not 
shrink from seeking the opportunities which it is for the man 
to court? Yet Isaura needed no words to tell her that she 
was loved, no, nor even a pressure of the hand, a glance of 












THE PARISIANS. 201 

the eye; she felt it instinctively, mysteriously, by the glow 
of her own being in the presence of her lover. She knew 
that she herself could not so love unless she were beloved. 

Here woman's wit is keener and truthfuller than man's. 
Graham, as I have said, did not feel confident that he had 
reached the heart of Isaura. He was conscious that he had 
engaged her interest, that he had attracted her fancy; but 
often, when charmed by the joyous play of her imagination, 
he would sigh to himself, " To natures so gifted what single 
mortal can be the all in all." 

They spent the summer mornings in excursions round the 
beautiful neighbourhood, dined early, and sailed on the calm 
lake at moonlight. Their talk was such as might be ex- 
pected from lovers of books in summer holidays. Savarin 
was a critic by profession; Graham Vane, if not that, at 
least owed such literary reputation as he' had yet gained to 
essays in which the rare critical faculty was conspicuously 
developed. 

It was pleasant to hear the clash of these two minds en- 
countering each other; they differed perhaps less in opinions 
than in the mode by which opinions are discussed. The 
Englishman's range of reading was wider than the French- 
man's, and his scholarship more accurate; but the French- 
man had a compact neatness of expression, a light and nimble 
grace, whether in the advancing or the retreat of his argu- 
ment, which covered deficiencies, and often made them appear 
like merits. Graham was compelled, indeed, to relinquish 
many of the forces of superior knowledge or graver eloquence, 
which with less lively antagonists he could have brought into 
the field, for the witty sarcasm of Savarin would have turned 
them aside as pedantry or declamation. But though Graham 
was neither dry nor diffuse, and the happiness at his heart 
brought out the gayety of humour which had been his early 
characteristic, and yet rendered his familiar intercourse ge- 
nial and playful, still there was this distinction between his 
humour and Savarin's wit, that in the first there was al- 
ways something earnest, in the last always something mock- 
ing. And in criticism Graham seemed ever anxious to bring 



202 THE PARISIANS. 

out a latent beauty, even in writers comparatively neglected ; 
Savarin was acutest when dragging forth a blemish never be- 
fore discovered in writers universally read. 

Graham did not perhaps notice the profound attention with 
which Isaura listened to him in these intellectual skirmishes 
with the more glittering Parisian. There was this distinc- 
tion she made between him and Savarin, when the last 
spoke she often chimed in with some happy sentiment of her 
own; but she never interrupted Graham, never intimated a 
dissent from his theories of art, or the deductions he drew 
from them; and she would remain silent and thoughtful for 
some minutes when his voice ceased. There was passing 
from his mind into hers an ambition which she imagined, 
poor girl, that he would be pleased to think he had inspired, 
and which might become a new bond of sympathy between 
them. But as yet the ambition was vague and timid, an 
idea or a dream to be fulfilled in some indefinite future. 

The last night of this short-lived holiday-time, the party, 
after staying out on the lake to a later hour than usual, stood 
lingering still on the lawn of the villa; and their host, who 
was rather addicted to superficial studies of the positive 
sciences, including, of course, the most popular of all, as- 
tronomy, kept his guests politely listening to speculative 
conjectures on the probable size of the inhabitants of Sirius, 
that very distant and very gigantic inhabitant of heaven who 
has led philosophers into mortifying reflections upon the utter 
insignificance of our own poor little planet, capable of pro- 
ducing nothing greater than Shakspeares and Newtons, Aris- 
totles and Caesars, mannikins, no doubt, beside intellects 
proportioned to the size of the world in which they flourish. 

As it chanced, Isaura and Graham were then standing close 
to each other and a little apart from the rest. " It is very 
strange," said Graham, laughing low, "how little I care about 
Sirius. He is the sun of some other system, and is perhaps 
not habitable at all, except by Salamanders. He cannot be 
one of the stars with which I have established familiar ac- 
quaintance, associated with fancies and dreams and hopes, as 
most of us do, for instance, with Hesperus, the moon's har 






THE PARISIANS. 203 

binger and comrade. But amid all those stars there is one 
not Hesperus which has always had from my childhood a 
mysterious fascination for me. Knowing as little of astrol- 
ogy as I do of astronomy, when I gaze upon that star I be- 
come credulously superstitious, and fancy it has an influence 
on my life. Have you, too, any favourite star? " 

"Yes," said Isaura; "and I distinguish it now, but I do 
not even know its name, and never would ask it." 

" So like me. I would not vulgarize my unknown source of 
beautiful illusions by giving it the name it takes in technical 
catalogues. For fear of learning that name I never have 
pointed it out to any one before. I too at this moment dis- 
tinguish it apart from all its brotherhood. Tell me which 
is yours." 

Isaura pointed and explained. The Englishman was star- 
tled. By what strange coincidence could they both have sin- 
gled out from all the host of heaven the same favourite star? 

" Cher Vane," cried Savarin, "Colonel Morley declares that 
what America is to the terrestrial system Sirius is to the heav- 
enly. America is to extinguish Europe, and then Sirius is to 
extinguish the world." 

"Not for some millions of years; time to look about us," 
said the Colonel, gravely. " But I certainly differ from those 
who maintain that Sirius recedes from us. I say that he ap- 
proaches. The principles of a body so enlightened must be 
those of progress." Then addressing Graham in English, he 
added, " there will be a mulling in this fogified planet some 
day, I predicate. Sirius is a keener!" 

" I have not imagination lively enough to interest myself in 
the destinies of Sirius in connection with our planet at a date 
so remote," said Graham, smiling. Then he added in a whis- 
per to Isaura, "My imagination does not carry me further 
than to wonder whether this day twelvemonth the 8th of 
July we two shall both be singling out that same star, and 
gazing on it as now, side by side." 

Tliis was the sole utterance of that sentiment in which the 
romance of love is so rich that the Englishman addressed to 
Isaura during those memorable summer days at Enghien. 



204 THE PARISIANS. 



CHAPTEE V. 

THE next morning the party broke up. Letters had been 
delivered both to Savarin and to Graham, which, even had 
the day for departure not been fixed, would have summoned 
them away. On reading his letter, Savarin's brow became 
clouded. He made a sign to his wife after breakfast, and 
wandered away with her down an alley in the little garden. 
His trouble was of that nature which a wife either soothes 
or aggravates, according sometimes to her habitual frame of 
mind, sometimes to the mood of temper in which she may 
chance to be, a household trouble, a pecuniary trouble. 

Savarin was by no means an extravagant man. His mode 
of living, though elegant and hospitable, was modest com- 
pared to that of many French authors inferior to himself in 
the fame which at Paris brings a very good return in francs; 
but his station itself as the head of a powerful literary clique 
necessitated many expenses which were too congenial to his 
extreme good-nature to be regulated by strict prudence. His 
hand was always open to distressed writers and struggling ar- 
tists, and his sole income was derived from his pen and a 
journal in which he was chief editor and formerly sole pro- 
prietor. But that journal had of late not prospered. He had 
sold or pledged a considerable share in the proprietorship. 
He had been compelled also to borrow a sum large for him, 
and the debt obtained from a retired bourgeois who lent out 
his moneys "byway," he said, "of maintaining an excitement 
and interest in life," would in a few days become due. The 
letter was not from that creditor; but it was from his pub- 
lisher, containing a very disagreeable statement of accounts, 
pressing for settlement, and declining an offer of Savarin for 
a new book (not yet begun) except upon terms that the author 
valued himself too highly to accept. Altogether, the situa- 
tion was unpleasant. There were many times in which Ma 



in: 
da 




LIJ 

5 



THE PARISIANS. 205 

dame Savarin presumed to scold her distinguished husband 
for his want of prudence and thrift. But those were never 
the times when scolding could be of no use. It could clearly 
be of no use now. Now was the moment to cheer and encour- 
age him; to reassure him as to his own undiminished powers 
and popularity, for he talked dejectedly of himself as obsolete 
and passing out of fashion; to convince him also of the im- 
possibility that the ungrateful publisher whom Savarin's 
more brilliant successes had enriched could encounter the 
odium of hostile proceedings; and to remind him of all the 
authors, all the artists, whom he in their earlier difficulties 
had so liberally assisted, and from whom a sum sufficing to 
pay off the bourgeois creditor when the day arrived could now 
be honourably asked and would be readily contributed. In 
this last suggestion the homely prudent good-sense of Ma- 
ine Savarin failed her. She did not comprehend that deli- 
cate pride of honour which, with all his Parisian frivolities 
and cynicism, dignified the Parisian man of genius. Savarin 
uld not, to save his neck from a rope, have sent round the 
ggiag-hat to friends whom he had obliged. Madame Savarin 
as one of those women with large-lobed ears, who can be 
wonderfully affectionate, wonderfully sensible, admirable 
ives and mothers, and yet are deficient in artistic sympa- 
thies with artistic natures. Still, a really good honest wife 
such an incalculable blessing to her lord, that, at the end 
f the talk in the solitary allee, this man of exquisite finesse, 
of the undefinably high-bred temperament, and, alas! the 
painful morbid susceptibility, which belongs to the genuine 
artistic character, emerged into the open sunlit lawn with his 
crest uplifted, his lip curved upward in its joyous mockery, 
and perfectly persuaded that somehow or other he should put 
own the offensive publisher, and pay off the unoffending 
ditor when the day for payment came. Still he had judg- 
ment enough to know that to do this he must get back to 
Paris, and could not dawdle away precious hours in discuss- 
ing the principles of poetry with Graham Vane. 

There was only one thing, apart from "the begging-hat," 
in which Savarin dissented from his wife. She suggested his 





206 THE PARISIANS. 

starting a new journal in conjunction with Gustave Bameau, 
upon whose genius and the expectations to be formed from it 
(here she was tacitly thinking of Isaura wedded to Rameau> 
and more than a Malibran on the stage) she insisted vehe- 
mently. Savarin did not thus estimate Gustave Rameau, 
thought him a clever, promising young writer in a very bad 
school of writing, who might do well some day or other. But 
that a Rameau could help a Savarin to make a fortune ! No ; 
at that idea he opened his eyes, patted his wife's shoulder, 
and called her "enfant." 

Graham's letter was from M. Renard, and ran thus: 

MONSIEUR, I had the honour to call at your apartment this morn- 
ing, and I write this line to the address given to me by your concierge to 
say that I have been fortunate enough to ascertain that the relation of 
the missing lady is now at Paris. I shall hold myself in readiness to 
attend your summons. Deign to accept, Monsieur, the assurance of my 
profound consideration. J. RENARD. 

This communication sufficed to put Graham into very high 
spirits. Anything that promised success to his research 
seemed to deliver his thoughts from a burden and his will 
from a fetter. Perhaps in a few days he might frankly and 
honourably say to Isaura words which would justify his re- 
taining longer, and pressing more ardently, the delicate hand 
which trembled in his as they took leave. 

On arriving at Paris, Graham despatched a note to M. 
Renard requesting to see him, and received a brief line in 
reply that M. Renard feared he should be detained on other 
and important business till the evening, but hoped to call at 
eight o'clock. A few minutes before that hour he entered 
Graham's apartment. 

" You have discovered the uncle of Louise Duval ! " ex- 
claimed Graham; "of course you mean M. de Maulon, and 
he is at Paris ? " 

"True so far, Monsieur; but do not be too sanguine as to 
the results of the information I can give you. Permit me, as 
briefly as possible, to state the circumstances. When you ac- 
quainted me with the fact that M. de Mauleon was the uncle 




THE PARISIANS. 207 

of Louise Duval, I told you that I was not without hopes of 
finding him out, though so long absent from Paris. I will 
now explain why. Some 'months ago, one of my colleagues 
engaged in the political department (which I am not) was 
sent to Lyons, in consequence of some suspicions conceived 
by the loyal authorities there of a plot against the emperor's 
life. The suspicions were groundless, the plot a mare's nest. 
But my colleague's attention was especially drawn towards a 
man not mixed up with the circumstances from which a plot 
had been inferred, but deemed in some way or other a danger- 
ous enemy to the Government. Ostensibly, he exercised a 
modest and small calling as a sort of courtier or agent de 
change; but it was noticed that certain persons familiarly 
frequenting his apartment, or to whose houses he used to go 
at night, were disaffected to the Government, not by any 
means of the lowest rank, some of them rich malcontents 
who had been devoted Orleanists; others, disappointed aspi- 
rants to office or the 'cross; ' one or two well-born and opu- 
lent fanatics dreaming of another Kepublic. Certain very 
able articles in the journals of the excitable Midi, though 
bearing another signature, were composed or dictated by this 
man, articles evading the censure and penalties of the law, 
but very mischievous in their tone. All who had come into 
familiar communication with this person were impressed with 
a sense of his powers ; and also with a vague belief that he 
belonged to a higher class in breeding and education than 
that of a petty agent de change. My colleague set himself to 
watch the man, and took occasions of business at his little 
office to enter into talk with him. Not by personal appear- 
ance, but by voice, he came to a conclusion that the man was 
not wholly a stranger to him, a peculiar voice with a slight 
Norman breadth of pronunciation, though a Parisian accent; 
a voice very low, yet very distinct ; very masculine, yet very 
gentle. My colleague was puzzled till late one evening he 
observed the man coming out of the house of one of these rich 
malcontents, the rich malcontent- himself accompanying him. 
My colleague, availing himself of the dimness of light, as the 
two passed iuto a lane which led to the agent's apartment, 



208 THE PARISIANS. 

contrived to keep close behind and listen to their conversa- 
tion; but of this he heard nothing, only, when at the end 
of the lane, the rich man turned abruptly, shook his compan- 
ion warmly by the hand, and parted from him, saying, 'Never 
fear; all shall go right with you, my dear Victor.' At the 
sound of that name 'Victor,' my colleague's memories, before 
so confused, became instantaneously clear. Previous to en- 
tering our service, he had been in the horse business, a vo- 
tary of the turf; as such he had often seen the brilliant 
'sportman,' Victor de Maule"on; sometimes talked to him. 
Yes, that was the voice, the slight Norman intonation 
(Victor de Mauleon's father had it strongly, and Victor had 
passed some of his early childhood in Normandy), the subdued 
modulation of speech which had made so polite the offence to 
men, or so winning the courtship to women, that was Victor 
de Mauleon. But why there in that disguise? What was 
his real business and object? My confrere had no time al- 
lowed to him to prosecute such inquiries. Whether Victor 
or the rich malcontent had observed him at their heels, and 
feared he might have overheard their words, I know not; but 
the next day appeared in one of the popular journals circulat- 
ing among the ouvriers a paragraph stating that a Paris spy 
had been seen at Lyons, warning all honest men against his 
machinations, and containing a tolerably accurate description 
of his person. And that very day, on venturing forth, my 
estimable colleague suddenly found himself hustled by a fero- 
cious throng, from whose hands he was with great difficulty 
rescued by the municipal guard. He left Lyons that night; 
and for recompense of his services received a sharp reprimand 
from his chief. He had committed the worst offence in our 
profession, trop de zele. Having only heard the outlines of 
this story from another, I repaired to my confrere after my 
last interview with Monsieur, and learned what I now tell 
you from his own lips. As he was not in my branch of the 
service, I could not order him to return to Lyons; and I 
doubt whether his chief would have allowed it. But I went 
to Lyons myself, and there ascertained that our supposed 
Vicomte had left that town for Paris some months ago, not 



I 
I 




THE PARISIANS. 209 

long after the adventure of my colleague. The man bore a 
very good character generally, was said to be very honest 
and inoffensive ; and the notice taken of him by persons of 
higher rank was attributed generally to a respect for his tal- 
ents, and not on account of any sympathy in political opin- 
ions. I found that the confrere mentioned, and who alone 
could identify M. de Mauleon in the disguise which the Vi- 
comte had assumed, was absent on one of those missions 
abroad in which he is chiefly employed. I had to wait for 
his return, and it was only the day before yesterday that I 
obtained the following particulars. M. de Mauleon bears the 
same name as he did at Lyons, that name is Jean Lebeau; 
he exercises the ostensible profession of a 'letter- writer,' and 
a sort of adviser on business among the workmen and petty 
bourgeoisie, and he nightly frequents the Cafe Jean Jacques, 
Rue , Faubourg Montmartre. It is not yet quite half- 
past eight, and, no doubt, you could see him at the cafe this 
very night, if you thought proper to go." 

"Excellent! I will go! Describe him !" 

"Alas! that is exactly what I cannot do at present; for 
after hearing what I now tell you, I put the same request you 
do to my colleague, when, before he could answer me, he was 
summoned to the bureau of his chief, promising to return and 
give me the requisite description. He did not return; and I 
find that he was compelled, on quitting his chief, to seize the 
first train starting for Lille upon an important political inves- 
tigation which brooked no delay. He will be back in a few 
days, and then Monsieur shall have the description." 

"Nay; I think I will seize time by the forelock, and try 
my chance to-night. If the man be really a conspirator, and 
it looks likely enough, who knows but what he may see quick 
reason to take alarm and vanish from Paris at any hour? 

Cafe Jean Jacques, Rue ; I will go. Stay; you have seen 

Victor de Mauleon in his youth : what was he like then? " 

"Tall, slender, but broad-shouldered, very erect, carrying 
his head high, a profusion of dark curls, a small black mus- 
tache, fair clear complexion, light-coloured eyes with dark 
lashes, fort bvl homme. But he will not look like that now." 
VOL. i. 14 



210 THE PARISIANS. 

"His present age?" 

"Forty-seven or forty-eight. But before you go, I must 
beg you to consider well what you are about. It is evident 
that M. de Mauleon has some strong reason, whatever it be, 
for merging his identity in that of Jean Lebeau. I presume, 
therefore, that you could scarcely go up to M. Lebeau, when 
you have discovered him, and say, 'Pray, Monsieur le Vi- 
comte, can you give me some tidings of your niece, Louise 
Duval?' If you thus accosted him, you might possibly bring 
some danger on yourself, but you would certainly gain no 
information from him." 

"True." 

"On the other hand, if you make his acquainance as M. 
Lebeau, how can you assume him to know anything about 
Louise Duval?" 

"Parbleu! Monsieur Renard, you try to toss me aside 
on both horns of the dilemma; but it seems to me that, if 
I once make his acquaintance as M. Lebeau, I might gradually 
and cautiously feel my way as to the best mode of putting the 
question to which I seek reply. I suppose, too, that the man 
must be in very poor circumstances to adopt so humble a calling, 
and that a small sum of money may smooth all difficulties." 

"I am not so sure of that," said M. Renard, thoughtfully; 
"but grant that money may do so, and grant also that the 
Vicomte, being a needy man, has become a very unscrupulous 
one, is there anything in your motives for discovering Louise 
Duval which might occasion you trouble and annoyance, if it 
were divined by a needy and unscrupulous man; anything 
which might give him a power of threat or exaction? Mind, 
I am not asking you to tell me any secret you have reasons 
for concealing, but I suggest that it might be prudent if you 
did riot let M. Lebeau know your real name and rank; if, in 
short, you could follow his example, and adopt a disguise. 
But no; when I think of it, you would doubtless be so un- 
practised in the art of disguise that he would detect you at 
once to be other than you seem; and if suspecting you of spy- 
ing into his secrets, and if those secrets be really of a 
political nature, your very life might not be safe." 



: 

ii 



THE PARISIANS. 211 

"Thank you for your hint; the disguise is an excellent 
idea, and combines amusement with precaution. That this 
Victor de Mauleon must be a very unprincipled and danger- 
ous man is, I think, abundantly clear. Granting that he was 
innocent of all design of robbery in the affair of the jewels, 
still, the offence which he did own that of admitting him- 
self at night by a false key into the rooms of a wife, whom 
he sought to surprise or terrify into dishonour was a vil- 
lanous action; and his present course of life is sufficiently 
mysterious to warrant the most unfavourable supposition. 
Besides, there is another motive for concealing my name from 
him : you say that he once had a duel with a Vane, who was 
very probably my father, and I have no wish to expose my- 
self to the chance of his turning up in London some day, and 
seeking to renew there the acquaintance that I had courted at 
Paris. As for my skill in playing any part I may assume, 
do not fear; I am no novice in that. In my younger days I 
was thought clever in private theatricals, especially in the 
transformations of appearance which belong to light comedy 
and farce. Wait a few minutes, and you shall see." 

Graham then retreated into his bedroom, and in a few 
minutes reappeared so changed, that Renard at first glance 
took him for a stranger. He had doffed his dress which 
habitually, when in Capitals, was characterized by the quiet, 
indefinable elegance that to a man of the great world, high- 
bred and young, seems "to the manner born" for one of 
those coarse suits which Englishmen are wont to wear in 
their travels, and by which they are represented in French 
or German caricatures, loose jacket of tweed with redundant 
pockets, waistcoat to match, short dust-coloured trousers. 
He had combed his hair straight over his forehead, which, as 
I have said somewhere before, appeared in itself to alter the 
character of his countenance, and, without any resort to 
paints or cosmetics, had somehow or other given to the ex- 
pression of his face an impudent, low-bred expression, with a 
lass screwed on to his right eye, such a look as a cockney 
journeyman, wishing to pass for a " swell " about town, may 
cast on a servant-maid in the pit of a suburban theatre. 




212 THE PARISIANS. 

"Will it do, old fellow?" he exclaimed, in a rollicking, 
swaggering tone of voice, speaking French with a villanous 
British accent. 

"Perfectly," said Renard, laughing. "I offer my compli- 
ments, and if ever you are ruined, Monsieur, I will promise 
you a place in our police. Only one caution, take care not 
to overdo your part. " 

"Eight. A quarter to ninej I 'm off." 



CHAPTER VI. 

THERE is generally a brisk exhilaration of spirits in the re- 
turn to any special amusement or light accomplishment as- 
sociated with the pleasant memories of earlier youth; and 
remarkably so, I believe, when the amusement or accomplish- 
ment has been that of the amateur stage-player. Certainly I 
have known persons of very grave pursuits, of very dignified 
character and position, who seem to regain the vivacity of 
boyhood when disguising look and voice for a part in some 
drawing-room comedy or charade. I might name statesmen of 
solemn repute rejoicing to raise and to join in a laugh at their 
expense in such travesty of their habitual selves. 

The reader must not therefore be surprised, nor, I trust, 
deem it inconsistent with the more serious attributes of Gra- 
ham's character, if the Englishman felt the sort of joyful ex- 
citement I describe, as, in his way to the Cafe Jean Jacques, 
he meditated the role he had undertaken; and the joyousness 
was heightened beyond the mere holiday sense of humouristic 
pleasantry by the sanguine hope that much to effect his lasting 
happiness might result from the success of the object for 
which his disguise was assumed. 

It was just twenty minutes past nine when he arrived at 
the Cafe Jean Jacques. He dismissed the fiacre and entered. 





THE PARISIANS. 213 

The apartment devoted to customers comprised two large 
rooms. The first was the cafe properly speaking; the second, 
opening on it, was the billiard-room. Conjecturing that he 
should probably find the person of whom he was in quest em- 
ployed at the billiard-table, Graham passed thither at once. 
A tall man, who might be seven-and-forty, with a long black 
beard, slightly grizzled, was at play with a young man of 
perhaps twenty-eight, who gave him odds, as better players 
of twenty-eight ought to give odds to a player, though orig- 
inally of equal force, whose eye is not so quick, whose hand 
is not so steady, as they were twenty years ago. Said Graham 
to himself, "The bearded man is my Vicomte." He called 
for a cup of coffee, and seated himself on a bench at the end 
of the room. 

The bearded man was far behind in the game. It was his 
turn to play ; the balls were placed in the most awkward po- 
ition for him. Graham himself was a fair billiard-player, 
>th in the English and the French game. He said to him- 
If, "No man who can make a cannon there should accept 
.ds." The bearded man made a cannon; the bearded man 
>ntinued to make cannons ; the bearded man did not stop till 
e had won the game. The gallery of spectators was enthu- 
iastic. Taking care to speak in very bad, very English- 
rench, Graham expressed to one of the enthusiasts seated 
beside him his admiration of the bearded man's playing, and 
ventured to ask if the bearded man were a professional or an 
ateur player. 

"Monsieur," replied the enthusiast, taking a short cutty - 
ipe from his mouth, " it is an amateur, who has been a great 
layer in his day, and is so proud that he always takes less 
ds than he ought of a younger man. It is not once in a 
month that he comes out as he has done to-night; but to-night 
he has steadied his hand. He has had six petits verres." 
"Ah, indeed! Do you know his name?" 
"I should think so: he buried my father, my two aunts, 
nd my wife." 

"Buried?" said Graham, more and more British in his ac- 
ent; " I don't understand." 



214 THE PARISIANS. 

"Monsieur, you are English." 

"I confess it." 

"And a stranger to the Faubourg Montmartre." 

"True." 

"Or you would have heard of M. Giraud, the liveliest 
member of the State Company for conducting funerals. They 
are going to play La Poule." 

Much disconcerted, Graham retreated into the cafe, and 
seated himself haphazard at one of the small tables. Glanc- 
ing round the room, he saw no one in whom he could con- 
jecture the once brilliant Vicomte. 

The company appeared to him sufficiently decent, and 
especially what may be called local. There were some blouses 
drinking wine, no doubt of the cheapest and thinnest; some 
in rough, coarse dresses, drinking beer. These were evi- 
dently English, Belgian, or German artisans. At one table, 
four young men, who looked like small journeymen, were play- 
ing cards. At three other tables, men older, better dressed, 
probably shop-keepers, were playing dominos. Graham scru- 
tinized these last, but among them all could detect no one 
corresponding to his ideal of the Vicomte de Mauleon. 
"Probably," thought he, "I am too late, or perhaps he will 
not be here this evening. At all events, I will wait a quarter 
of an hour." Then, the gar $ on approaching his table, he 
deemed it necessary to call for something, and, still in strong 
English accent, asked for lemonade and an evening journal. 
The garfon nodded and went his way. A monsieur at the 
round table next his own politely handed to him the "Galig- 
nani," saying in very good English, though unmistakably the 
good English of a Frenchman, "The English journal, at your 
lervice." 

Graham bowed his head, accepted the "Galignani," and in- 
spected his courteous neighbour. A more respectable-looking 
man no Englishman could see in an English country town. 
He wore an unpretending flaxen wig, with limp whiskers 
that met at the chin, and might originally have been the 
same colour as the wig, but were now of a pale gray, no 
beard, no mustache. He was dressed with the scrupulous 



THE PARISIANS. 215 

cleanliness of a sober citizen, a high white neckcloth, with a 
large old-fashioned pin, containing a little knot of hair covered 
with glass or crystal, and bordered with a black framework, 
in which were inscribed letters, evidently a mourning pin, 
hallowed to the memory of lost spouse or child, a man who, 
in England, might be the mayor of a cathedral town, at least 
the town-clerk. He seemed suffering from some infirmity of 
vision, for he wore green spectacles. The expression of his 
face was very inild and gentle ; apparently he was about sixty 
years old, somewhat more. 

Graham took kindly to his neighbour, insomuch that, in 
return for the "Galignani," he offered him a cigar, lighting 
one himself. 

His neighbour refused politely. 

" Merci ! I never smoke, never ; mon m6decin forbids it. If 
I could be tempted, it would be by an English cigar. Ah, 
how you English beat us in all things, your ships, your 
iron, your tabac, which you do not grow!" 

This speech rendered literally as we now render it may 
give the idea of a somewhat vulgar speaker. But there was 
something in the man's manner, in his smile, in his courtesy, 
which did not strike Graham as vulgar; on the contrary, he 
thought within himself, " How instinctive to all Frenchmen 
good breeding is! " 

Before, however, Graham had time to explain to his amia- 
ble neighbour the politico-economical principle according to 
which England, growing no tobacco, had tobacco much better 
than France, which did grow it, a rosy middle-aged monsieur 
made his appearance, saying hurriedly to Graham's neigh- 
bour, " I 'm afraid I 'm late, but there is still a good half-hour 
before us if you will give me my revenge." 

''Willingly, Monsieur Georges. Garfon, the dominos." 

"Have you been playing at billiards?" asked M. Georges. 

"Yes, two games." 

"With success?" 

" I won the first, and lost the second through the defect of 
my eyesight; the game depended on a stroke which would 
have been easy to an infan^, I missed it," 



216 THE PARISIANS. 

Here the dominos arrived, and M. Georges began shuffling 
them; the other turned to Graham and asked politely if he 
understood the game. 

"A little, but not enough to comprehend why it is said to 
require so much skill." 

" It is chiefly an affair of memory with me ; but M. Georges, 
my opponent, has the talent of combination, which I have 
not." 

"Nevertheless," replied M. Georges, gruffly, "you are not 
easily beaten; it is for you to play first, Monsieur Lebeau." 

Graham almost started. Was it possible! This mild, 
limp-whiskered, flaxen-wigged man Victor de Mauleon, the 
Don Juan of his time ; the last person in the room he should 
have guessed. Yet, now examining his neighbour with more 
attentive eye, he wondered at his stupidity in not having rec- 
ognized at once the ci-devant gentilhomme and beau garyon. 
It happens frequently that our imagination plays us this 
trick; we form to ourselves an idea of some one eminent for 
good or for evil, a poet, a statesman, a general, a murderer, 
a swindler, a thief. The man is before us, and our ideas 
have gone into so different a groove that he does not excite a 
suspicion; we are told who he is, and immediately detect 
a thousand things that ought to have proved his identity. 

Looking thus again with rectified vision at the false Lebeau, 
Graham observed an elegance and delicacy of feature which 
might, in youth, have made the countenance very handsome, 
and rendered it still good-looking, nay, prepossessing. He 
now noticed, too, the slight Norman accent, its native harsh- 
ness of breadth subdued into the modulated tones which be- 
spoke the habits of polished society. Above all, as M. 
Lebeau moved his dominos with one hand, not shielding his 
pieces with the other (as M. Georges warily did), but allow- 
ing it to rest carelessly on the table, he detected the hands of 
the French aristocrat, hands that had never done work; 
never (like those of the English noble of equal birth) been 
embrowned or freckled, or roughened or enlarged by early 
practice in athletic sports ; but hands seldom seen save in the 
higher circles of Parisian life, partly perhaps of hereditary 



THE PARISIANS. 21 T 

formation, partly owing their texture to great care begun in 
early youth, and continued mechanically in after life, with 
long taper fingers and polished nails; white and delicate as 
those of a woman, but not slight, not feeble; nervous and. 
sinewy as those of a practised swordsman. 

Graham watched the play, and Lebeau good-naturedly ex- 
plained to him its complications as it proceeded; though the 
explanation, diligently attended to by M. Georges, lost 
Lebeau the game. 

The dominos were again shuffled, and during that operation 
M. Georges said, "By the way, Monsieur Lebeau, you prom- 
ised to find me a locataire for my second floor; have you 
succeeded?" 

"Not yet. Perhaps you had better advertise in "Les 
Petites Affiches." You ask too much for the habitues of this 
neighbourhood, .one hundred francs a month." 

" But the lodging is furnished, and well too, and has four 
rooms. One hundred francs are not much." 

A thought flashed upon Graham. "Pardon, Monsieur," he 
said, "have you an appartement de garyon to let furnished?" 

"Yes, Monsieur, a charming one. Are you in search of 
an apartment?" 

" I have some idea of taking one, but only by the month. 
I am but j\ist arrived at Paris, and I have business which 
may keep me here a few weeks. I do but require a bedroom 
and a small cabinet, and the rent must be modest. I am not 
a milord." 

"I am sure we could arrange, Monsieur," said M. Georges, 
" though I could not well divide my logement. But one hun- 
dred francs a month is not much ! " 

"I fear it is more than I can afford; however, if you will 
give me your address, I will call and see the rooms, say the 
day after to-morrow. Between this and then, I expect let- 
ters which may more clearly decide my movements." 

"If the apartments suit you," said M. Lebeau, "you will 
at least be in the house of a very honest man, which is more 
than can be said of every one who lets furnished apartments. 
The house, too, has a concierge^ with a handy wife who will 






218 THE PARISIANS. 

arrange your rooms and provide you with coffee or tea, 
which you English prefer if you breakfast at home." 

Here M. Georges handed a card to Graham, and asked what 
hour he would call. 

"About twelve, if that hour is convenient," said Graham, 
rising. " I presume there is a restaurant in the neighbour- 
hood where I could dine reasonably." 

"Je crois bien, half-a-dozen. I can recommend to you one 
where you can dine en prince for thirty sous. And if you are 
at Paris on business, and want any letters written in private, 
I can also recommend to you my friend here, M. Lebeau. 
Ay, and on affairs his advice is as good as a lawyer's, and his 
fee a bagatelle." 

"Don't believe all that Monsieur Georges so flatteringly 
says of me," put in M. Lebeau, with a modest half -smile, and 
in English. "I should tell you that I, like yourself, am re- 
cently arrived at Paris, having bought the business and good- 
will of my predecessor in the apartment I occupy; and it is 
only to the respect due to his antecedents, and on the score of 
a few letters of recommendation which I bring from Lyons, 
that I can attribute the confidence shown to me, a stranger in 
this neighbourhood. Still I have some knowledge of the 
world, and I am always glad if I can be of service to the 
English. I love the English " he said this with a sort of 
melancholy earnestness which seemed sincere; and then 
added in a more careless tone, "I have met with much 
kindness from them in the course of a chequered life." 

"You seem a very good fellow, in fact, a regular trump, 
Monsieur Lebeau," replied Graham, in the same language. 
"Give me your address. To say truth, I am a very poor 
French scholar, as you must have seen, and am awfully 
botherheaded how to manage some correspondence on matters 
with which I am entrusted by my employer, so that it is a 
lucky chance which has brought me acquainted with you." 

M. Lebeau inclined his head gracefully, and drew from a 
very neat morocco case a card, which Graham took and pock- 
eted. Then he paid for his coffee and lemonade, and returned 
home well satisfied with the evening's adventure, 



THE PARISIANS. 219 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE next morning Graham sent for M. Renard, and con- 
sulted with that experienced functionary as to the details of 
the plan of action which he had revolved during the hours of 
a sleepless night. 

"In conformity with your advice," said he, "not to expose 
myself to the chance of future annoyance, by confiding to a 
man so dangerous as the false Lebeau my name and address, 
I propose to take the lodging offered to me, as Mr. Lamb, an 
attorney's clerk, commissioned to get in certain debts, and 
transact other matters of business, on behalf of his employ- 
er's clients. I suppose there will be no difficulty with the 
police in this change of name, now that passports for the 
English are not necessary?" 

"Certainly not. You will have no trouble in that respect." 

"I shall thus be enabled very naturally to improve ac- 
quaintance with the professional letter-writer, and find an 
easy opportunity to introduce the name of Louise Duval. My 
chief difficulty, I fear, not being a practical actor, will be to 
keep up consistently the queer sort of language I have adopted, 
both in French and in English. I have too sharp a critic in 
a man so consummate himself in stage trick and disguise as 
M. Lebeau not to feel the necessity of getting through my 
role as quickly as I can. Meanwhile, can you recommend me 
to some magasin where I can obtain a suitable change of cos- 
tume? I can't always wear a travelling suit, and I must buy 
linen of coarser texture than mine, and with the initials of 
my new name inscribed on it." 

" Quite right to study such details ; I will introduce you to 
a magasin near the Temple, where you will find all you 
want." 

"Next, have you any friends or relations in the provinces 
unknown to M. Lebeau, to whom I might be supposed to 



220 THE PARISIANS. 

write about debts or business matters, and from whom I 
might have replies?" 

" I will think over it, and manage that for you very easily. 
Your letters shall find their way to me, and I will dictate the 
answers." 

After some further conversation on that business, M. Renard 
made an appointment to meet Graham at a cafe near the 
Temple later in the afternoon, and took his departure. 

Graham then informed his laquais de place that, though he 
kept on his lodgings, he was going into the country for a few 
days, and should not want the man's services till he returned. 
He therefore dismissed and paid him off at once, so that the 
laquais might not observe, when he quitted his rooms the 
next day, that he took with him no change of clothes, etc. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

GRAHAM VANE has been for some days in the apartment 
rented of M. Georges. He takes it in the name of Mr. 
Lamb, a name wisely chosen, less common than Thompson 
and Smith, less likely to be supposed an assumed name, yet 
common enough not to be able easily to trace it to any special 
family. He appears, as he had proposed, in the character 
of an agent employed by a solicitor in London to execute sun- 
dry commissions and to collect certain outstanding debts. 
There is no need to mention the name of the solicitor; if 
there were, he could give the name of his own solicitor, to 
whose discretion he could trust implicitly. He dresses and 
acts up to his assumed character with the skill of a man 
who, like the illustrious Charles Fox, has, though in private 
representations, practised the stage-play in which Demos- 
thenes said the triple art of oratory consisted; who has seen 
a great deal of the world, and has that adaptability of intel- 
lect which knowledge of the world lends to one who is so 




THE PARISIANS. 221 

thoroughly in earnest as to his end that he agrees to be 
sportive as to his means. 

The kind of language he employs when speaking English to 
Lebeau is that suited to the role of a dapper young underling 
of vulgar mind habituated to vulgar companionships. I feel 
it due, if not to Graham himself, at least to the memory of 
the dignified orator whose name he inherits, so to modify and 
soften the hardy style of that peculiar diction in which he 
disguises his birth and disgraces his culture, that it is only 
here and there that I can venture to indicate the general tone 
of it; but in order to supply my deficiencies therein, the 
reader has only to call to mind the forms of phraseology 
which polite novelists in vogue, especially young-lady novel- 
ists, ascribe to well-born gentlemen, and more emphatically 
to those in the higher ranks of the Peerage. No doubt 
Graham, in his capacity of critic, had been compelled to 
read, in order to review, those contributions to refined liter- 
ature, and had familiarized himself to a vein of conversation 
abounding with "swell" and "stunner" and "awfully jolly," 
in its libel on manners and outrage on taste. 

He has attended nightly the Cafe Jean Jacques; he has 
improved acquaintance with M. Georges and M.- Lebeau; he 
has played at billiards, he has played at dominos, with the 
latter. He has been much surprised at the unimpeachable 
honesty which M. Lebeau has exhibited in both these games. 
In billiards, indeed, a man cannot cheat except by disguising 
his strength; it is much the same in dominos, it is skill 
combined with luck, as in whist; but in whist there are 
modes of cheating which dominos do not allow, you can't 
mark a domino as you can a card. It was perfectly clear to 
Graham that M. Lebeau did not gain a livelihood by billiards 
or dominos at the Cafe* Jean Jacques. In the former he was 
not only a fair but a generous player. He played exceed- 
ingly well, despite his spectacles; but he gave, with some- 
thing of a Frenchman's lofty fanfaronnade, larger odds to his 
adversary than his play justified. In dominos, where such 
odds could not well be given, he insisted on playing such 
small stakes as two or three francs might cover. In short, 



222 THE PARISIANS. 

M. Lebeau puzzled Graham. All about M. Lebeau, his man- 
ner, his talk, was irreproachable, and baffled suspicion; ex- 
cept in this, Graham gradually discovered that the cafe had 
a quasi-politica.1 character. Listening to talkers round him, 
he overheard much that might well have shocked the notions 
of a moderate Liberal ; much that held in disdain the objects 
to which, in 1869, an English Radical directed his aspira- 
tions. Vote by ballot, universal suffrage, etc., such objects 
the French had already attained. By the talkers at the Caf4 
Jean Jacques they were deemed to be the tricky contrivances 
of tyranny. In fact, the talk was more scornful of what Eng- 
lishmen understand by radicalism or democracy than Graham 
ever heard from the lips of an ultra-Tory. It assumed a 
strain of philosophy far above the vulgar squabbles of ordi- 
nary party politicians, a philosophy which took for its 
fundamental principles the destruction of religion and of pri- 
vate property. These two objects seemed dependent the one 
on the other. The philosophers of the Jean Jacques held 
with that expounder of Internationalism, Eugene Dupont, 
"Nous ne voulons plus de religion, car les religions e"touffent 
1'intelligence." 1 Now and then, indeed, a dissentient voice 
was raised as to the existence of a Supreme Being, but, with 
one exception, it soon sank into silence. No voice was raised 
in defence of private property. These sages appeared for the 
most part to belong to the class of ouvriers or artisans. Some 
of them were foreigners, Belgian, German, English; all 
seemed well off for their calling. Indeed they must have 
had comparatively high wages, to judge by their dress and 
the money they spent on regaling themselves. The language 
of several was well chosen, at times eloquent. Some brought 
with them women who seemed respectable, and who often 
joined in the conversation, especially when it turned upon 
the law of marriage as a main obstacle to all personal liberty 
and social improvement. If this was a subject on which the 
women did not all agree, still they discussed it, without prej- 
udice and with admirable sang froid. Yet many of them 

1 Discours par Eugene Dupont a la Cloture du Congres de Bruxelles, 
Sept. 3, 1868. 



THE PARISIANS. 223 

looked like wives and mothers. Now and then a young jour- 
neyman brought with him a young lady of more doubtful 
aspect, but such a couple kept aloof from the others. Now 
and then, too, a man evidently of higher station than that of 
ouvrier, and who was received by the philosophers with cour- 
tesy and respect, joined one of the tables and ordered a bowl 
of punch for general participation. In such occasional vis- 
itors, Graham, still listening, detected a writer of the press ; 
now and then, a small artist or actor or medical student. 
Among the habitues there was one man, an ouvrier, in whom 
Graham could not help feeling an interest. He was called 
Monnier, sometimes more familiarly Armand, his baptismal 
appellation. This man had a bold and honest expression of 
countenance. He talked like one who, if he had not read 
much, had thought much on the subjects he loved to discuss. 
He argued against the capital of employers quite as ably as 
Mr. Mill has argued against the rights of property in land. 
He was still more eloquent against the laws of marriage and 
heritage. But his was the one voice not to be silenced in fa- 
vour of a Supreme Being. He had at least the courage of his 
opinions, and was always thoroughly in earnest. M. Lebeau 
seemed to know this man, and honoured him with a nod and 
a smile, when passing by him to the table he generally occu- 
pied. This familiarity with a man of that class, and of opin- 
ions so extreme, excited Graham's curiosity. One evening he 
said to Lebeau, "A queer fellow that you hare just nodded 
to." 

"How so?" 

"Well, he has queer notions." 

"Notions shared, I believe, by many of your countrymen? " 

"I should think not many. Those poor simpletons yon- 
der may have caught them from their French fellow-work- 
men, but I don't think that even the gobemouches in our 
National Reform Society open their mouths to swallow such 
wasps." 

"Yet I believe the association to which most of those 
ourriers belong had its origin in England." 

"Indeed! what association?" 



224 THE PARISIANS. 

"The International." 

"Ah, I have heard of that." 

Lebeau turned his green spectacles full on Graham's face 
as he said slowly, "And what do you think of it?" 

Graham prudently checked the disparaging reply that" first 
occurred to him, and said, " I know so little about it that I 
would rather ask you." 

" I think it might become formidable if it found able lead- 
ers who knew how to use it. Pardon me, how came you to 
know of this cafe ? Were you recommended to it? " 

"No; I happened to be in this neighbourhood on business, 
and walked in, as I might into any other cafe." 

" You don't interest yourself in the great social questions 
which are agitated below the surface of this best of all pos- 
sible worlds?" 

"I can't say that I trouble my head much about them." 

"A game at dominos before M. Georges arrives?" 

"Willingly. Is M. Georges one of those agitators below 
the surface?" 

"No, indeed. It is for you to play." 

Here M. Georges arrived, and no further conversation on 
political or social questions ensued. 

Graham had already called more than once at M. Lebeau's 
office, and asked him to put into good French various letters 
on matters of business, the subjects of which had been fur- 
nished by M. Renard. The office was rather imposing and 
stately, considering the modest nature of M. Lebeau's ostensi- 
ble profession. It occupied the entire ground-floor of a cor- 
ner house, with a front-door at one angle and a back-door at 
the other. The anteroom to his cabinet, and in which 
Graham had generally to wait some minutes before he was 
introduced, was generally well filled, and not only by persons 
who, by their dress and outward appearance, might be fairly 
supposed sufficiently illiterate to require his aid as polite 
letter-writers, not only by servant-maids and grisettes, by 
sailors, zouaves, and journeymen workmen, but not unfre- 
quently by clients evidently belonging to a higher, or at least 
a richer, class of society, men with clothes made by a fash- 



THE PARISIANS. 225 

ionable tailor; men, again, who, less fashionably attired, 
looked like opulent tradesmen and fathers of well-to-do fam- 
ilies, the first generally young, the last generally middle- 
aged. All these denizens of a higher world were introduced 
by a saturnine clerk into M. Lebeau's reception-room, very 
quickly and in precedence of the ouvriers and grisettes. 

"What can this mean?" thought Graham; "is it really 
that this humble business avowed is the cloak to some politi- 
cal conspiracy concealed, the International Association?" 
And so pondering, the clerk one day singled him from the 
crowd and admitted him into M. Lebeau's cabinet. Graham 
thought the time had now arrived when he might safely ap- 
proach the subject that had brought him to the Faubourg 
Montmartre. 

"You are very good," said Graham, speaking in the Eng- 
lish of a young earl in our elegant novels, "you are very 
good to let me in while you have so many swells and nobs 
waiting for you in the other room. But, I say, old fellow, 
you have not the cheek to tell me that they want you to 
correct their cocker or spoon for them by proxy?" 

"Pardon me," answered M. Lebeau in French, "if I prefer 
my own language in replying to you. I speak the English I 
learned many years ago, and your language in the beau monde, 
to which you evidently belong, is strange to me. You are 
quite right, however, in your surmise that I have other cli- 
ents than those who, like yourself, think I could correct their 
verbs or their spelling. I have seen a great deal of the world, 
I know something of it, and something of the law ; so that 
many persons come to me for advice and for legal information 
on terms more moderate than those of an avoui. But my 
ante-chamber is full, I am pressed for time; excuse me if 
I ask you to say at once in what I can be agreeable to you 
to-day." 

"Ah!" said Graham, assuming a very earnest look, "you 
do know the world, that is clear; and you do know the law 
of France, eh?" 

"Yes, a little." 

" What I wanted to say at present may have something to 
VOL. i 15 



226 THE PARISIANS. 

do with French law, and I meant to ask you either to recom- 
mend to me a sharp lawyer, or to tell me how I can best get 
at your famous police here." 

"Police?" 

" I think I may require the service of one of those officers 
whom we in England call detectives; but if you are busy 
now, I can call to-morrow." 

"I spare you two minutes. Say at once, dear Monsieur, 
what you want with law or police." 

" I am instructed to find out the address of a certain Louise 
Duval, daughter of a drawing-master named Adolphe Duval, 
living in the Rue in the year 1848." 

Graham, while he thus said, naturally looked Lebeau in 
the face, not pryingly, not significantly, but as a man gen- 
erally does look in the face the other man whom he accosts 
seriously. The change in the face he regarded was slight, 
but it was unmistakable. It was the sudden meeting of the 
eyebrows, accompanied with the sudden jerk of the shoulder 
and bend of the neck, which betoken a man taken by sur- 
prise, and who pauses to reflect before he replies. His pause 
was but momentary, 

"For what object is this address required?" 

" That I don't know ; but evidently for some advantage to 
Madame or Mademoiselle Duval, if still alive, because my 
employer authorizes me to spend no less than 100 in ascer- 
taining where she is, if alive, or where she was buried, if 
dead ; and if other means fail, I am instructed to advertise to 
the effect that if Louise Duval, or, in case of her death, any 
children of hers living in the year 1849, will communicate 
with some person whom I may appoint at Paris, such intelli- 
gence, authenticated, may prove to the advantage of the party 
advertised for. I am, however, told not to resort to this 
means without consulting either with a legal adviser or the 
police." 

"Hem! have you inquired at the house where this lady 
was, you say, living in 1848?" 

"Of course I have done that; but very clumsily, I dare say, 
through a friend, and learned nothing. But I must not keep 



THE PARISIANS. 227 

you now. I think I shall apply at once to the police. What 
should I say when I get to the bureau ? " 

"Stop, Monsieur, stop. I do not advise you to apply to 
the police. It would be waste of time and money. Allow 
me to think over the matter. I shall see you this evening at 
the Cafe Jean Jacques at eight o'clock. Till then do nothing." 

" All right ; I obey you. The whole thing is out of my way 
of business awfully. Bonjour" 



CHAPTER IX. 

PUNCTUALLY at eight o'clock Graham Vane had taken hib 
seat at a corner table at the remote end of the Cafe Jean 
Jacques, called for his cup of coffee and his evening journal, 
and awaited the arrival of M. Lebeau. His patience was not 
tasked long. In a few minutes the Frenchman entered, 
paused at the comptoir, as was his habit, to address a polite 
salutation to the well-dressed lady who there presided, nodded 
as usual to Armand Monnier, then glanced round, recognized 
Graham with a smile, and approached his table with the 
quiet grace of movement by which he was distinguished. 

Seating himself opposite to Graham, and speaking in a 
voice too low to be heard by others, and in French, he then 
said, 

"In thinking over your communication this morning, it 
strikes me as probable, perhaps as ceitain, that this Louise 
Duval or her children, if she have any, must be entitled to 
some moneys bequeathed to her by a relation or friend in 
England. What say you to that assumption, Monsieur 
Lamb?" 

" You are a sharp fellow, " answered Graham. " Just what 
I say to myself. Why else should I be instructed to go to 
such expense in finding her out? Most likely, if one can't 
trace her, or her children born before the date named, any 



228 THE PARISIANS. 

such moneys will go to some one else ; and that some one else, 
whoever he be, has commissioned my employer to find out. 
But I don't imagine any sum due to her or her heirs can be 
much, or that the matter is very important; for, if so, the 
thing would not be carelessly left in the hands of one of the 
small fry like myself, and clapped in along with a lot of 
other business as an off-hand job." 

"Will you tell me who employed you?" 

"No, I don't feel authorized to do that at present; and I 
don't see the necessity of it. It seems to me, on considera- 
tion, a matter for the police to ferret out ; only, as I asked 
before, how should I get at the police?" 

" That is not difficult. It is just possible that I might help 
you better than any lawyer or any detective." 

"Why, did you ever know this Louise Duval?" 

"Excuse me, Monsieur Lamb; you refuse me your full 
confidence; allow me to imitate your reserve." 

" Oho ! " said Graham ; " shut up as close as you like ; it is 
nothing to me. Only observe, there is this difference be- 
tween us, that I am employed by another. He does not au- 
thorize me to name him, and if I did commit that indiscretion, 
I might lose my bread and cheese. Whereas you have no- 
body's secret to guard but your own, in saying whether or 
not you ever knew a Madame or Mademoiselle Duval ; and if 
you have some reason for not getting me the information I 
am instructed to obtain, that is also a reason for not troubling 
you further. And after all, old boy " (with a familiar slap 
on Lebeau's stately shoulder), "after all, it is I who would 
employ you; you don't employ me. And if you find out the 
lady, it is you who would get the 100, not I." 

M. Lebeau mechanically brushed, with a light movement 
of hand, the shoulder which the Englishman had so pleasantly 
touched, drew himself and chair some inches back, and said 
slowly, 

"Monsieur Lamb, let us talk as gentleman to gentleman. 
Put aside the question of money altogether; I must first 
know why your employer wants to hunt out this poor Louise 
Duval. It may be to 'ler injury, and I would do her none if 




THE PARISIANS. 229 

you offered thousands where you offer pounds. I forestall 
the condition of mutual confidence ; I own that I have known 
her, it is many years ago; and, Monsieur Lamb, though a 
Frenchman very often injures a woman from love, he is in a 
worse plight for bread and cheese than I am if he injures her 
for money." 

" Is he thinking of the duchess's jewels? " thought Graham. 

"Bravo, mon vieux," he said aloud; "but as I don't know 
what my employer's motive in his commission is, perhaps 
you can enlighten me. How could his inquiry injure Louise 
Duval?" 

" I cannot say ; but you English have the power to divorce 
your wives. Louise Duval may have married an Englishman, 
separated from him, and he wants to know where he can find, 
in order to criminate and divorce her, or it may be to insist 
on her return to him." 

"Bosh! that is not likely." 

" Perhaps, then, some English friend she may have known 
has left her a bequest, which would of course lapse to some 
one else if she be not living." 

"By gad! " cried Graham, "I think you hit the right nail 
on the head : c'est cela. But what then? " 

" Well, if I thought any substantial benefit to Louise Duval 
might result from the success of your inquiry, I would really 
see if it were in my power to help you. But I must have 
time to consider." 

"How long?" 

"I can't exactly say; perhaps three or four days." 

" Bon ! I will wait. Here comes M. Georges. I leave you 
to dominos and him. Good-night." 

Late that night M. Lebeau was seated alone in a chamber 
connected with the cabinet in which he received visitors. A 
ledger was open before him, which he scanned with careful 
eyes, no longer screened by spectacles. The survey seemed 
to satisfy him. He murmured, " It suffices, the time has 
come," closed the book, returned it to his bureau, which he 
locked up, and then wrote in cipher the letter here reduced 
into English: 



230 THE PARISIANS. 

" DEAR AND NOBLE FRIEND, Events march ; the Empire is every- 
where undermined. Our treasury has thriven in my hands ; the sums 
subscribed and received by me through you have become more than 
quadrupled by advantageous speculations, in which M. Georges has been 
a most trustworthy agent. A portion of them I have continued to em- 
ploy in the mode suggested, namely, in bringing together men dis- 
creetly chosen as being in their various ways representatives and ring- 
leaders of the motley varieties that, when united at the right moment, 
form a Parisian mob. But from that right moment we are as yet dis- 
tant. Before we can call passion into action, we must prepare opinion 
for change. I propose now to devote no inconsiderable portion of our 
fund towards the inauguration of a journal which shall gradually give 
voice to our designs. Trust me to insure its success, and obtain the aid 
of writers who will have no notion of the uses to which they ultimately 
contribute. Now that the time has come to establish for ourselves an 
organ in the press, addressing higher orders of intelligence than those 
which are needed to destroy and incapable of reconstructing, the time 
has also arrived for the reappearance in his proper name and rank of 
the man in whom you take so gracious an interest. In vain you have 
pressed him to do so before ; till now he had not amassed together, by 
the slow process of petty gains and constant savings, with such additions 
as prudent speculations on his own account might contribute, the modest 
means necessary to his resumed position ; and as he always contended 
against your generous offers, no consideration should ever tempt him 
either to appropriate to his personal use a single sou intrusted to him for 
a public purpose, or to accept from friendship the pecuniary aid which 
would abase him into the hireling of a cause. No 1 Victor de Mauleon 
despises too much the tools that he employs to allow any man hereafter 
to say, ' Thou also wert a tool, and hast been paid for thy uses.' 

" But to restore the victim of calumny to his rightful place in this 
gaudy world, stripped of youth and reduced in fortune, is a task that 
may well seem impossible. To-morrow he takes the first step towards 
the achievement of the impossible. Experience is no bad substitute for 
youth, and ambition is made stronger by the goad of poverty. 

" Thou shalt'hear of his news soon." 



BOOK V. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE next day at noon M. Louvier was closeted in his study 
with M. Gandrin. 

" Yes, " cried Louvier, " I have behaved very handsomely 
to the beau Marquis. No one can say to the contrary." 

"True," answered Gandrin. "Besides the easy terms for 
tiie transfer of the mortgages, that free bonus of one thousand 
louis is a generous and noble act of munificence." 

" Is it not ! and my youngster has already begun to do with 
it as I meant and expected. He has taken a fine apartment ; 
he has bought a coup& and horses; he has placed himself in the 
hands of the Chevalier de Finisterre ; he is entered at the Jockey 
Club. Parbleu, the one thousand louis will be soon gone." 

"And then?" 

" And then ! why, he will have tasted the sweets of Paris- 
ian life; he will think with disgust of the vieux manoir. He 
can borrow no more. I must remain sole mortgagee, and I 
shall behave as handsomely in buying his estates as I have 
behaved in increasing his income." 

Here a clerk entered and said that a monsieur wished to 
see M. Louvier for a few minutes in private, on urgent 
business. 

"Tell him to send in his card." 

" He has declined to do so, but states that he has already 
the honour of your acquaintance " 

" A writer in the press, perhaps ; or is he an artist? " 

" I have not seen him before, Monsieur, but he has the air 
tres comme il faut." 



232 THE PARISIANS. 

"Well, you may admit him. I will not detain you 
longer, my dear Gandrin. My homages to Madame. Bon- 
jour. " 

Louvier bowed out M. Gandrin, and then rubbed his hands 
complacently. He was in high spirits. "Aha, my dear Mar- 
quis, thou art in my trap now. Would it were thy father in- 
stead," he muttered chucklingly, and then took his stand on 
the hearth, with his back to the tireless grate. There entered 
a gentleman exceedingly well dressed, dressed according to 
the fashion, but still as became one of ripe middle age, not 
desiring to pass for younger than he was. 

He was tall, with a kind of lofty ease in his air and his 
movements ; not slight of frame, but spare enough to disguise 
the strength and endurance which belong to sinews and thews 
of steel, freed from all superfluous flesh, broad across the 
shoulders, thin in the flanks. His dark hair had in youth 
been luxuriant in thickness and curl; it was now clipped 
short, and had become bare at the temples, but it still re- 
tained the lustre of its colour and the crispness of its ringlets. 
He wore neither beard nor mustache, and the darkness of his 
hair was contrasted by a clear fairness of complexion, health- 
ful, though somewhat pale, and eyes of that rare gray tint 
which has in it no shade of blue, peculiar eyes, which give 
a very distinct character to the face. The man must have 
been singularly handsome in youth; he was handsome still, 
though probably in his forty-seventh or forty-eighth year, 
doubtless a very different kind of comeliness. The form of 
the features and the contour of the face were those that suit 
the rounded beauty of the Greek outline, and such beauty 
would naturally have been the attribute of the countenance in 
earlier days; but the cheeks were now thin, and with lines of 
care and sorrow between nostril and lip, so that the shape of 
the face seemed lengthened, and the features had become 
more salient. 

Louvier gazed at his visitor with a vague idea that he had 
seen him before, and could not remember where or when; 
but at all events he recognized at the first glance a man of 
rank and of the great world. 



THE PARISIANS. 233 

"Pray be seated, Monsieur," he said, resuming his own 
easy -chair. 

The visitor obeyed the invitation with a very graceful bend 
of his head, drew his chair near to the financier's, stretched 
his limbs with the ease of a man making himself at home, 
and fixing his calm bright eyes quietly on Louvier, said, with 
a bland smile, 

"My dear old friend, do you not remember me? You are 
less altered than I am." 

Louvier stared hard and long; his lip fell, his cheek paled, 
and at last he faltered out, "del! is it possible! Victor, 
the Vicomte de Mauleon? " 

"At your service, my dear Louvier." 

There was a pause; the financier was evidently confused 
and embarrassed, and not less evidently the visit of the " dear 
old friend" was unwelcome. 

"Vicomte," he said at last, "this is indeed a surprise; I 
thought you had long since quitted Paris for good." 

"'L'homme propose, ' etc. I have returned, and mean to 
enjoy the rest of my days in the metropolis of the Graces and 
the Pleasures. What though we are not so young as we were, 
Louvier, we have more vigour in us than the new genera- 
tion ; and though it may no longer befit us to renew the gay 
carousals of old, life has still excitements as vivid for the 
social temperament and ambitious mind. Yes, the roi des 
viveurs returns to Paris for a more solid throne than he filled 
before." 

"Are you serious?" 

"As serious as the French gayety will permit one to be." 

"Alas, Monsieur le Vicomte! can you flatter yourself that 
you will regain the society you have quitted, and the name 
you have " 

Louvier stopped short; something in the Vicomte's eye 
daunted him. 

"The name I have laid aside for convenience of travel. 
Princes travel incognito, and so may a simple gentilhomme. 
'Regain my place in society,' say you? Yes; it is not that 
which troubles me," 




234 THE PARISIANS. 

"What does?" 

" The consideration whether on a very modest income I can 
be sufficiently esteemed for myself to render that society 
more pleasant than ever. Ah, mon cherf why recoil? why 
so frightened? Do you think I am going to ask you for 
money? Have I ever done so since we parted; and did I 
ever do so before without repaying you? Bah! you roturiers 
are worse than the Bourbons. You never learn or unlearn. 
'Fors non mutat genus.'" 

The magnificent millionnaire, accustomed to the homage of 
grandees from the Faubourg and lions from the Chaussee 
d'Antin, rose to his feet in superb wrath, less at the taunting 
words than at the haughtiness of mien with which they were 
uttered. 

" Monsieur, I cannot permit you to address me in that tone. 
Do you mean to insult me?" 

" Certainly not. Tranquillize your nerves, reseat yourself, 
and listen, reseat yourself, I say." 

Louvier dropped into his chair. 

"No," resumed the Vicomte, politely, "I do not come here 
to insult you, neither do I come to ask money; I assume 
that I am in my rights when I ask Monsieur Louvier what 
has become of Louise Duval?" 

"Louise Duval! I know nothing about her." 

"Possibly not now; but you did know her well enough, 
when we two parted, to be a candidate for her hand. You 
did know her enough to solicit, my good offices in promotion 
of your suit; and you did, at my advice, quit Paris to seek 
her at Aix-la-Chapelle." 

"What! have you, Monsieur de Mauleon, not heard news 
of her since that day?" 

" I decline to accept your question as an answer to mine. 
You went to Aix-la-Chapelle ; you saw Louise Duval ; at my 
urgent request she condescended to accept your hand." 

"No, Monsieur de Mauleon, she did not accept my hand. 
I did not even see her. The day before I arrived at Aix-la- 
Chapelle she had left it, not alone, left it with her 
iover." 







THE PARISIANS. 235 

"Her lover! You do not mean the miserable Englishman 
who " 

" No Englishman, " interrupted Louvier, fiercely. " Enough 
that the step she took placed an eternal barrier between her 
and myself. I have never even sought to hear of her since 
that day. Vicomte, that woman was the one love of my life. 
I loved her, as you must have known, to folly, to madness. 
And how was my love requited? Ah! you open a very deep 
wound, Monsieur le Vicomte." 

"Pardon me, Louvier; I did not give you credit for feel- 
ings so keen and so genuine, nor did I think myself thus 
easily affected by matters belonging to a past life so remote 
from the present. For whom did Louise forsake you? " 

"It matters not; he is dead." 

"I regret to hear that; I might have avenged you." 

"I need no one to avenge my wrong. Let this pass." 

"Not yet. Louise, you say, fled with a seducer? So proud 

she was, I can scarcely believe it." 

"Oh, it was not with a roturier she fled; her pride would 

t have allowed that." 

" He must have deceived her somehow. Did she continue 
live with him?" 

"That question, at least, I can answer; for though I lost 
trace of her life, his life was pretty well known to me till 
ts end; and a very few months after she fled he was en- 
ihained to another. Let us talk of her no more." 

"Ay, ay," muttered De Mauleon, "some disgraces are not 
to be redeemed, and therefore not to be discussed. To me, 
though a relation, Louise Duval was but little known, and 
after what you tell me, I cannot dispute your right to say, 
'Talk of her no more.' You loved her, and she wronged you. 
My poor Louvier, pardon me if I made an old wound bleed 
afresh." 

These words were said with a certain pathetic tenderness ; 

ey softened Louvier towards the speaker. 

After a short pause the Vicomte swept his hand over his 
brow, as if to dismiss from his mind a painful and obtrusive 
thought; then with a changed expression of countenance, 




236 THE PARISIANS. 

an expression frank and winning, with voice and with man- 
ner in which no vestige remained of the irony or the haughti- 
ness with which he had resented the frigidity of his reception, 
he drew his chair still nearer to Louvier's, and resumed: 
"Our situations, Paul Louvier, are much changed since we 
two became friends. I then could say, 'Open sesame' to 
whatever recesses, forbidden to vulgar footsteps, the adven- 
turer whom I took by the hand might wish to explore. In 
those days my heart was warm; I liked you, Louvier, hon- 
estly liked you. I think our personal acquaintance com- 
menced in some gay gathering of young viveurs, whose 
behaviour to you offended my sense of good breeding? " 

Louvier coloured and muttered inaudibly. 

DeMaule'on continued: "I felt it due to you to rebuke their 
incivilities, the more so as you evinced on that occasion your 
own superiority in sense and temper, permit me to add, with 
no lack of becoming spirit." 

Louvier bowed his head, evidently gratified. 

" From that day we became familiar. If any obligation to 
me were incurred, you would not have been slow to return it. 
On more than one occasion when I was rapidly wasting money 
and money was plentiful with you you generously offered 
me your purse. On more than one occasion I accepted the 
offer ; and you would never have asked repayment if I had not 
insisted on repaying. I was no less grateful for your aid." 

Louvier made a movement as if to extend his hand, but he 
checked the impulse. 

" There was another attraction which drew me towards you. 
I recognized in your character a certain power in sympathy 
with that power which I imagined lay dormant in myself, 
and not to be found among the freluquets and lions who were 
my more habitual associates. Do you not remember some 
hours of serious talk we have had together when we lounged 
in the Tuileries, or sipped our coffee in the garden of the 
Palais Royal? hours when we forgot that those were the 
haunts of idlers, and thought of the stormy actions affecting 
the history of the world of which they had been the scene; 
hours when I confided to you, as I confided to no other man, 



THE PARISIANS. 237 

the ambitious hopes for the future which my follies in the 
present, alas! were hourly tending to frustrate." 

" Ay, I remember the starlit night ; it was not in the gar- 
dens of the Tuileries nor in the Palais Koyal, it was on 
the Pont de la Concorde, on which we had paused, noting the 
starlight on the waters, that you said, pointing towards the 
walls of the Corps Ltyislatif, 'Paul, when I once get into 
the Chamber, how long will it take me to become First 
Minister of France ? ' " 

"Did I say so? possibly; but I was too young then for 
admission to the Chamber, and I fancied I had so many years 
yet to spare in idle loiterings at the Fountain of Youth. Pass 
over these circumstances. You became in love with Louise. 
I told you her troubled history; it did not diminish your 

I love; and then I frankly favoured your suit. You set out 
for Aix-la-Chapelle a day or two afterwards; then fell the 
thunderbolt which shattered my existence, and we have never 
met again till this hour. You did not receive me kindly, 
Paul Louvier." 

"But," said Louvier, falteringly, "but since you refer to 
that thunderbolt, you cannot but be aware that that " 

" I was subjected to a calumny which I expect those who 
have known me as well as you did to assist me now to refute." 

"If it be really a calumny." 

"Heavens, man! could you ever doubt that?" cried De 
Mauleon, with heat; "ever doubt that I would rather have 
blown out my brains than allowed them even to conceive the 
idea of a crime so base?" 

" Pardon me, " answered Louvier, meekly, " but I did not 
return to Paris for months after you had disappeared. My 
mind was unsettled by the news that awaited me at Aix; I 
sought to distract it by travel, visited Holland and Eng- 
land ; and when I did return to Paris, all that I heard of your 
story was the darker side of it. I willingly listen to your 
own account. You never took, or at least never accepted, 

the Duchesse de 's jewels; and your friend M. de N. 

never sold them to one jeweller and obtained their substi- 
tutes in paste from another? " 




238 THE PARISIANS. 

The Vicomte made a perceptible effort to repress an im- 
pulse of rage ; then reseating himself in his chair, and with 
that slight shrug of the shoulder by which a Frenchman im- 
plies to himself that rage would be out of place, replied 
calmly, "M. de N. did as you say, but of course not em- 
ployed by me, nor with my knowledge. Listen ; the truth is 
this, the time has come to tell it. Before you left Paris 
for Aix I found myself on the brink of ruin. I had glided 
towards it with my characteristic recklessness, with that 
scorn of money for itself, that sanguine confidence in the fa- 
vour of fortune, which are vices common to every roi des 
viveurs. Poor mock Alexanders that we spendthrifts are in 
youth! we divide all we have among others, and when asked 
by some prudent friend, 'What have you left for your own 
share?' answer, 'Hope.' I knew, of course, that my patri- 
mony was rapidly vanishing ; but then my horses were match- 
less. I had enough to last me for years on their chance of 
winning of course they would win. But you may recollect 
when we parted that I was troubled, creditors' bills be- 
fore me usurers' bills too, and you, my dear Louvier, 
pressed on me your purse, were angry when I refused it. 
How could I accept? All my chance of repayment was in 
the speed of a horse. I believed in that chance for myself; 
but for a trustful friend, no. Ask your own heart now, 
nay, I will not say heart, ask your own common-sense, 
whether a man who then put aside your purse spendthrift, 
vaurien, though he might be was likely to steal or accept a 
woman's jewels. Va, mon pauvre Louvier, again I say, 'Fors 
non mutat genus.' ' 

Despite the repetition of the displeasing patrician motto, 
such reminiscences of his visitor's motley character irreg- 
ular, turbulent, the reverse of severe, but, in its own loose 
way, grandly generous and grandly brave struck both on 
the common-sense and the heart of the listener; and the 
Frenchman recognized the Frenchman. Louvier doubted De 
Maule"on's word no more, bowed his head, and said, "Victor 
de Maul6on, I have wronged you; go on." 

" On the day after you left for Aix C0;ine that horse-race on 







I 



THE PARISIANS. 239 

which my all depended : it was lost. The loss absorbed the 
whole of my remaining fortune ; it absorbed about twenty 
thousand francs in excess, a debt of honour to De N., whom 
you called my friend. Friend he was not; imitator, follower, 
flatterer, yes. Still I deemed him enough my friend to say to 
him, ' Give me a little time to pay the money; I must sell my 
stud, or write to my only living relation from whom I have 
expectations.' You remember that relation, Jacques de 
Maul^on, old and unmarried. By De N.'s advice I did write 
to my kinsman. No answer came; but what did come were 
fresh bills from creditors. I then calmly calculated my as- 
sets. The sale of my stud and effects might suffice to pay 
every sou that I owed, including my debt to De N. ; but that 

as not quite certain. At all events, when the debts were paid 

should be beggared. Well, you know, Louvier, what we 
Frenchmen are : how Nature has denied to us the quality of 
patience ; how involuntarily suicide presents itself to us when 
hope is lost; and suicide seemed to me here due to honour, 
namely, to the certain discharge of my liabilities, for the 
itud and effects of Victor de Maul^on, roi des viveurs, would 
command much higher prices if he died like Cato- than if he 
ran away from his fate like Pompey. Doubtless De N. 
guessed my intention from my words or my manner ; but on the 
very day in which I had made all preparations for quitting 
,he world from which sunshine had vanished, I received in a 
blank envelope bank-notes amounting to seventy thousand 
francs, and the post-mark on the envelope was that of the 
town of Fontainebleau, near to which lived my rich kinsman 
Jacques. I took it for granted that the sum came from him. 
Displeased as he might have been with my wild career, still I 

as his natural heir. The sum sufficed to pay my debt to De 
to all creditors, and leave a surplus. My sanguine spir- 
its returned. I would sell my stud; I would retrench, re- 
form, go to my kinsman as the penitent son. The fatted calf 
would be killed, and I should wear purple yet. You under- 
stand that, Louvier? " 

"Yes, yes; so like you. Go on." 

"Now, then, came the thunderbolt! Ah! in those sunny 



240 THE 

days you used to envy me for being so spoilt by women. The 
Duchesse de had conceived for me one of those roman- 
tic fancies which women without children and with ample 
leisure for the waste of affection do sometimes conceive for 
very ordinary men younger than themselves, but in whom 
they imagine they discover sinners to reform or heroes to ex- 
alt. I had been honoured by some notes from the Duchesse 
in which this sort of romance was owned. I had not replied 
to them encouragingly. In truth, my heart was then de- 
voted to another, the English girl whom I had wooed as my 
wife; who, despite her parents' retraction of their consent 
to our union when they learned how dilapidated were my 
fortunes, pledged herself to remain faithful to me, and wait 
for better days." Again De Mauleon paused in suppressed 
emotion, and then went on hurriedly : " No, the Duchesse did 
not inspire me with guilty passion, but she did inspire me 
with an affectionate respect. I felt that she was by nature 
meant to be a great and noble creature, and was, neverthe- 
less, at that moment wholly misled from her right place 
amongst women by an illusion of mere imagination about a 
man who happened then to be very much talked about, and 
perhaps resembled some Lothario in the novels which she 
was always reading. We lodged, as you may remember, in 
the same house.." 

"Yes, I remember. I remember how you once took me to 
a great ball given by the Duchesse ; how handsome I thought 
her, though no longer young ; and you say right how I did 
envy you, that night! " 

"From that night, however, the Due, not unnaturally, be- 
came jealous. He reproved the Duchesse for her too amiable 
manner towards a mauvais snjet like myself, and forbade her 
in future to receive my visits. It was then that these notes 
became frequent and clandestine, brought to me by her maid, 
who took back my somewhat chilling replies. 

" But to proceed. In the flush of my high spirits, and in 
the insolence of magnificent ease with which I paid De N". 
the trifle I owed him, something he said made my heart stand 
Still. I told him that the money received had come from 




THE PARISIANS. 241 

Jacques de Maul^on, and that I was going down to his house 
that day to thank him. He replied, 'Don't go; it did not 
come from him.' 'It must; see the post-mark of the envel- 
ope, Fontainebleau. ' 'I posted it at Fontainebleau. ' 'You 
sent me the money, you! ' 'Nay, that is beyond my means. 
Where it came from,' said this miserable, 'much more may 
yet come;' and then he narrated, with that cynicism so in 
vogue at Paris, how he had told the Duchesse (who knew 
him as my intimate associate) of my stress of circumstance, 
of his fear that I meditated something desperate; how she 
gave him the jewels to sell and to substitute; how, in order 
to baffle my suspicion and frustrate my scruples, he had gone 
to Fontainebleau and there posted the envelope containing 
the bank-notes, out of which he secured for himself the pay- 
enb he deemed otherwise imperilled. De N. having made 
is confession, hurried down the stairs swiftly enough to 
ave himself a descent by the window. Do you believe me 
till?" 

"Yes; you were always so hot-blooded, and De N. so con- 
iderate of self, I believe you implicitly." 

"Of course I did what any man would do; I wrote a hasty 
etter to the Duchesse, stating all my gratitude for- an act of 
ure friendship so noble; urging also the reasons that ren- 
red it impossible for a man of honour to profit by such an 
t. Unhappily, what had been sent was paid away ere I 
new the facts ; but T could not bear the thought of life till 
y debt to her was acquitted ; in short, Louvier, conceive for 
ourself the sort of letter which I which any honest man 
would write, under circumstances so cruel." 
"H'm!" grunted Louvier. 

"Something, however, in my letter, conjoined with what 
N. had told her as to my state of mind, alarmed this poor 
onian, who had deigned to take in me an interest so little 
eserved. Her reply, very agitated and incoherent, was 
Brought to me by her maid, who had taken my letter, and by 
whom, as I before said, our correspondence had been of late 
carried on. In her reply she implored me to decide, to reflect 
nothing till I had seen her; stated how the rest of her 
VOL. i. 16 




242 THE PARISIANS. 

day was pre-engaged; and since to visit her openly had been 
made impossible by the Due's interdict, enclosed the key to 
the private entrance to her rooms, by which I could gain an 
interview with her at ten o'clock that night, an hour at 
which the Due had informed her he should be out till late at 
his club. Now, however great the indiscretion which the 
Duchesse here committed, it is due to her memory to say 
that I am convinced that her dominant idea was that I med- 
itated self-destruction; that no time was to be lost to save me 
from it; and for the rest she trusted to the influence which a 
woman's tears and adjurations and reasonings have over even 
the strongest and hardest men. It is only one of those cox- 
combs in whom the world of fashion abounds who could have 
admitted a thought that would have done wrong to the impul- 
sive, generous, imprudent eagerness of a woman to be in time 
to save from death by his own hand a fellow-being for whom 
she had conceived an interest. I so construed her note. At 
the hour she named I admitted myself into the rooms by 
the key she sent. You know the rest : I was discovered by the 
Due and by the agents of police in the cabinet in which the 
Duchesse's jewels were kept. The key that admitted me 
into the cabinet was found in my possession." 

De Mauleon's voice here faltered, and he covered his face 
with a convulsive hand. Almost in the same breath he re- 
covered from visible sign of emotion, and went on with a 
half laugh. 

"Ah! you envied me, did you, for being spoiled by the 
women? Enviable position indeed was mine that night! The 
Due obeyed the first impulse of his wrath. He imagined that 
I had dishonoured him; he would dishonour me in return. 
Easier to his pride, too, a charge against the robber of jewels 
than against a favoured lover of his wife. But when I, obey- 
ing the first necessary obligation of honour, invented on the 
spur of the moment the story by which the Duchesse's repu- 
tation was cleared from suspicion, accused myself of a frantic 
passion and the trickery of a fabricated key, the Due's true 
nature of gentilhomme came back. He retracted the charge 
which he could scarcely even at the first blush have felt to be 






THE PARISIANS. 243 

well-founded; and as the sole charge left was simply that 
which men comme il faut do not refer to criminal courts 
and police investigations, I was left to make my bow unmo- 
lested and retreat to my own rooms, awaiting there such 
communciations as the Due might deem it right to convey to 
me on the morrow. 

"But on the morrow the Due, with, his wife- and personal 
suite, quitted Paris en route for Spain; the bulk of his reti- 
nue, including the offending abigail, was discharged; and, 
whether through these servants or through the police, the 
story before evening was in the mouth of every gossip in club 
or cafe, exaggerated, distorted, to my ignominy and shame. 
My detection in the cabinet, the sale of the jewels, the sub- 
stitution of paste by De N., who was known to be my servile 
imitator and reputed to be my abject tool, all my losses on 
the turf, my debts, all these scattered fibres of flax were 

nsted together in a rope that would have hanged a dog with 

much better name than mine. If some disbelieved that I 
ild be a thief, few of those who should have known me 

jst held me guiltless of a baseness almost equal to that of 

left, the exaction of profit from the love of a foolish 

)man." 

"But you could have told your own tale, shown the letters 

DU had received from the Duchesse, and cleared away every 

lin on your honour." 

"How? shown her letters, ruined her character, even 

ited that she had caused her jewels to be sold for the uses 
of a young roue! Ah, no, Louvier! I would rather have 

ane to the galleys." 
"H'm! " grunted Louvier again. 
"The Due generously gave me better means of righting 

lyself. Three days after he quitted Paris I received a letter 
im him, very politely written, expressing his great regret 

lat any words implying the suspicion too monstrous and ab- 

ird to need refutation should have escaped him in the sur- 
prise of the moment; but stating that since the offence I had 
owned was one that he could not overlook, he was under the 
necessity of asking the only reparation I could make. That 




244 THE PARISIANS. 

if it 'deranged ' me to quit Paris, he would return to it for 
the purpose required; but that if I would give him the addi- 
tional satisfaction of suiting his convenience, he should pre- 
fer to await my arrival at Bayonne, where he was detained 
by the indisposition of the Duchesse." 

"You have still that letter?" asked Louvier, quickly. 

"Yes; with other more important documents constituting 
what I may call my pieces justificatives. 

" I need not say that I replied stating the time at which I 
should arrive at Bayonne, and the hotel at which I should 
await the Due's command. Accordingly I set out that same 
day, gained the hotel named, despatched to the Due the an- 
nouncement of my arrival, and was considering how I should 
obtain a second in some officer quartered in the town for 
my soreness and resentment at the marked coldness of my 
former acquaintances at Paris had forbidden me to seek a 
second among any of that faithless number when the Due 
himself entered my room. Judge of my amaze at seeing him 
in person; judge how much greater the amaze became when 
he advanced with a grave but cordial smile, offering me his 
hand! 

" 'Monsieur de Mauleon, ' said he, 'since I wrote to you, 
facts have become known to me which would induce me rather 
to ask your friendship than call on you to defend your life. 
Madame la Duchesse has been seriously ill since we left 
Paris, and 1 refrained from all explanations likely to add to 
the hysterical excitement under which she was suffering. It 
is only this day that her mind became collected, and she her- 
self then gave me her entire confidence. Monsieur, she in- 
sisted on my reading the letters that you addressed to her. 
Those letters, Monsieur, suffice to prove your innocence of 
any design against my peace. The Duchesse has so candidly 
avowed her own indiscretion, has so clearly established the 
distinction between indiscretion and guilt, that I have granted 
her my pardon with a lightened heart and a firm belief that 
we shall be -happier together than we have been yet. ' 

"The Due continued his journey the next day, but he sub- 
sequently honoured me with two or three letters written as 



THE PARISIANS. 245 

friend to friend, and in which you will find repeated the sub- 
stance of what I have stated him to say by word of mouth." 

"But why not then have returned to Paris? Such letters, 
at least, you might have shown, and in braving your calum- 
niators you would have soon lived them down." 

" You forget that I was a ruined man. When, by the sale 
of my horses, etc., my debts, including what was owed to the 
Duchesse, and which I remitted to the Due, were discharged, 
the balance left to me would not have maintained me a week 
at Paris. Besides, I felt so sore, so indignant. Paris and 
the Parisians had become to me so hateful. And to crown 
all, that girl, that English girl whom I had so loved, on 
whose fidelity I had so counted well, I received a letter 
from her, gently but coldly bidding me farewell forever. I 
do not think she believed me guilty of theft; but doubtless 
the offence I had confessed, in order to save the honour of the 
Duchesse, could but seem to her all sufficient! Broken in 
ririt, bleeding at heart to the very core, still self-destruc- 
ion was no longer to be thought of. I would not die till I 
3uld once more lift up my head as Victor de Mauleon." 
" What then became of you, my poor Victor? " 
"Ah! that is a tale too long for recital. I have played so 
many parts that I am puzzled to recognize my own identity 
rith the Victor de Mauleon whose name I abandoned. I 
ive been a soldier in Algeria, and won my cross on the field 
of battle, that cross and my colonel's letter are among my 
pieces justificatives; I have been a gold-digger in California, 
a speculator in New York, of late in callings obscure and 
humble. But in all my adventures, under whatever name, I 
have earned testimonials of probity, could manifestations of 
so vulgar a virtue be held of account by the enlightened peo- 
ple of Paris. I come now to a close. The Vicomte de 
Mauleon is about to re-appear in Paris, and the first to whom 
he announces that sublime avatar is Paul Louvier. When 
settled in some modest apartment, I shall place in your hands 
my pieces justificatives. I shall ask you to summon my sur- 
viving relations or connections, among which are the Counts 
de Vandemar, Beauvilliers, De Passy, and the Marquis de 



246 THE PARISIANS. 

Rochebriant, with any friends of your own who sway the 
opinions of the Great World. You will place my justification 
before them, expressing your own opinion that it suffices ; in 
a word, you will give me the sanction of your countenance. 
For the rest, I trust to myself to propitiate the kindly and 
to silence the calumnious. I have spoken; what say you?" 

"You overrate iny power in society. Why not appeal 
yourself to your high-born relations?" 

"No, Louvier; I have too well considered the case to alter 
my decision. It is through you, and you alone, that I shall 
approach my relations. My vindicator must be a man of 
whom the vulgar cannot say, 'Oh, he is a relation, a fellow- 
noble; those aristocrats whitewash each other.' It must be 
an authority with the public at large, a bourgeois, a million- 
naire, a roi de la Bourse. I choose you, and that ends the 
discussion." 

Louvier could not help laughing good-humouredly at the 
sang froid of the Vicomte. He was once more under the 
domination of a man who had for a time dominated all with 
whom he lived. 

De Mauleon continued: "Your task will be easy enough. 
Society changes rapidly at Paris. Few persons now exist 
who have more than a vague recollection of the circumstances 
which can be so easily explained to my complete vindication 
when the vindication comes from a man of your solid respec- 
tability and social influence. Besides, I have political objects 
in view. You are a Liberal ; the Vandemars and Rochebrianta 
are Legitimists. I prefer a godfather on the Liberal side. 
Pardieu, mon ami, why such coquettish hesitation? Said 
and done. Your hand on it." 

"There is my hand then. I will do all I can to help you." 

" I know you will, old friend ; and you do both kindly and 
wisely." Here De Mauleon cordially pressed the hand he 
held, and departed. 

On gaining the street, the Vicomte glided into a neighbour- 
ing courtyard, in which he had left his fiacre, and bade the 
coachman drive towards the Boulevard Sebastopol. On the 
way, he took from a small bag that he had left in the car- 






THE PARISIANS. 247 

riage the flaxen wig and pale whiskers which distinguished 
M. Lebeau, and mantled his elegant habiliments in an im- 
mense cloak, which he had also left in the fiacre. Arrived at 
the Boulevard Sebastopol, he drew up the collar of the cloak 
so as to conceal much of his face, stopped the driver, paid 
him quickly, and, bag in hand, hurried on to another stand 
of jiacres at a little distance, entered one, drove to the Fau- 
bourg Montmartre, dismissed the vehicle at the mouth of a 
street not far from M. Lebeau's office, and gained on foot the 
private side-door of the house, let himself in with his latch- 
key, entered the private room on the inner side of his office, 
locked the door, and proceeded leisurely to exchange the bril- 
liant appearance which the Vicomte de Maul^on had borne 
on his visit to the millionnaire for the sober raiment and 

rgeois air of M. Lebeau, the letter-writer. 
Then after locking up his former costume in a drawer of 
his secretaire, he sat himself down and wrote the following 

es: 




EAR MONSIEUR GEORGES, I advise you strongly, from informa- 
n that has just reached me, to lose no time in pressing M. Savarin to 
repay the sum I recommended you to lend him, and for which you hold 
is liill due this day. The scandal of legal measures against a writer so 
languished should be avoided if possible. He will avoid it and get the 
oncy somehow ; but he must be urgently pressed. If you neglect this 
warning, my responsibility is past. Agreez mes eentimens les plus 
ceres. 

J. L. 




CHAPTER II. 

THE Marquis de Rochebriant is no longer domiciled in an 
tic in the gloomy Faubourg. See him now in a charming 
de, (jargon au premier in the Rue du Helder, close 
by the promenades and haunts of the mode. It had been fur- 
nished and inhabited by a brilliant young provincial from Bor- 
leaux, who, coming into an inheritance of one hundred thou - 



248 THE PARISIANS. 

sand francs, had rushed up to Paris to enjoy himself, and make 
his million at the Bourse. He had enjoyed himself thoroughly, 
he had been a darling of the demi monde ; he had been a 
successful and an inconstant gallant. Zelie had listened to his 
vows of eternal love, and his offers of unlimited cachemires ; 
Desired, succeeding Zelie, had assigned to him her whole 
heart or all that was left of it in gratitude for the ardour 
of his passion, and the diamonds and coupe which accompa- 
nied and attested the ardour; the superb Hortense, supplanting 
Desire'e, received his visits in the charming apartment he fur- 
nished for her, and entertained him and his friends at the most 
delicate little suppers, for the moderate sum of four thousand 
francs a month. Yes, he had enjoyed himself thoroughly, but 
he had not made a million at the Bourse. Before the year was 
out, the one hundred thousand francs were gone. Compelled 
to return to his province, and by his hard-hearted relations 
ordained, on penalty of starvation, to marry the daughter of an 
avoue, for the sake of her dot and a share in the hated drudg- 
ery of the avoue's business, his apartment was to be had for 
a tenth part of the original cost of its furniture. A certain 
Chevalier de Finisterre, to whom Louvier had introduced the 
Marquis as a useful fellow who knew Paris, and would save 
him from being cheated, had secured this bijou of an apartment 
for Alain, and concluded the bargain for the bagatelle of 500. 
The Chevalier took the same advantageous occasion to pur- 
chase the English well-bred hack and the neat coupt and horses 
which the Bordelais was also necessitated to dispose of. These 
purchases made, the Marquis had some five thousand francs 
(200) left out of Louvier's premium of 1,000. The Marquis, 
however, did not seem alarmed or dejected by the sudden dim- 
inution of capital so expeditiously effected. The easy life thus 
commenced seemed to him too natural to be fraught with dan- 
ger; and easy though it was, it was a very simple and modest 
sort of life compared with that of many other men of his age 
to whom Enguerrand had introduced him, though most of 
them had an income less than his, and few, indeed, of them 
were his equals in dignity of birth. Could a Marquis de 
liochebriant, if he lived at Paris at all, give less than three 




THE PARISIANS. 249 

thousand francs a year for his apartment, or mount a more 
humble establishment than that confined to a valet and a tiger, 
two horses for his coupt and one for the saddle? "Impos- 
sible," said the Chevalier de Finisterre, decidedly; and the 
Marquis bowed to so high an authority. He thought within 
himself, " If I find in a few months that I am exceeding my 
means, I can but dispose of my rooms and my horses, and 
return to Eochebriant a richer man by far than I left it." 

To say truth, the brilliant seductions of Paris had already 
produced their effect, not only on the habits, but on the char- 
acter and cast of thought, which the young noble had brought 
with him from the feudal and melancholy Bretagne. 

Warmed by the kindness with which, once introduced by 
his popular kinsmen, he was everywhere received, the reserve 
or shyness which is the compromise between the haughtiness 
of self-esteem and the painful doubt of appreciation by others 

,pidly melted away. He caught insensibly the polished 

lie, at once so light and so cordial, of his new-made friends. 

ith all the efforts of the democrats to establish equality and 
.ternity, it is among the aristocrats that equality and fra- 

rnity are most to be found. All gentilshommes in the best 
society are equals ; and whether they embrace or fight each 
other, they embrace or fight as brothers of the same family. 
But with the tone of manners Alain de Rochebriant imbibed 
still more insensibly the lore of that philosophy which young 
idlers in pursuit of pleasure teach to each other. Probably in 
all civilized and luxurious capitals that philosophy is very 
much the same among the same class of idlers at the same age ; 
probably it flourishes in Pekin not less than at Paris. If Paris 
has the credit, or discredit, of it more than any other capital, 
it is because in Paris more than in any other capital it charms 
the eye by grace and amuses the ear by wit. A philosophy 
which takes the things of this life very easily; which has a 
smile and a shrug of the shoulders for any pretender to the 
Heroic; which subdivides the wealth of passion into the 
pocket-money of caprices, is always in or out of love ankle- 
deep, never venturing a plunge; which, light of heart as of 
tongue, turns "the solemn plausibilities" of earth into sub- 




250 THE PARISIANS. 

jects for epigrams and bons mots, jests at loyalty to kings 
and turns up its nose at enthusiasm for commonwealths, ab 
jures all grave studies and shuns all profound emotions. We 
have crowds of such philosophers in London; but there they 
are less noticed, because the agreeable attributes of the sect 
are there dimmed and obfuscated. It is not a philosophy that 
flowers richly in the reek of fogs and in the teeth of east winds; 
it wants for full development the light atmosphere of Paris. 
Now this philosophy began rapidly to exercise its charms upon 
Alain de Rochebriant. Even in the society of professed Legit- 
imists, he felt that faith had deserted the Legitimist creed or 
taken refuge only as a companion of religion in the hearts of 
high-born women and a small minority of priests. His chiv- 
alrous loyalty still struggled to keep its ground, but its roots 
were very much loosened. He saw for his natural intellect 
was keen that the cause of the Bourbon was hopeless, at 
least for the present, because it had ceased, at least for the 
present, to be a cause. His political creed thus shaken, with 
it was shaken also that adherence to the past which had stifled 
his ambition of a future. That ambition began to breathe 
and to stir, though he owned it not to others, though, as yet, 
he scarce distinguished its whispers, much less directed its 
movements towards any definite object. Meanwhile, all that 
he knew of his ambition was the new-born desire for social 
success. 

We see him, then, under the quick operation of this change 
in sentiments and habits, reclined on the fauteuil before his 
fireside, and listening to his college friend, of whom we have 
so long lost sight, Frederic Lemercier. Frederic had break- 
fasted with Alain, a breakfast such as might have con- 
tented the author of the "Almanach des Gourmands," and 
provided from the Cafe Anglais. Frederic has just thrown 
aside his regalia. 

" Pardieu! my dear Alain. If Louvier has no sinister ob- 
ject in the generosity of his dealings with you, he will have 
raised himself prodigiously in my estimation. I shall for- 
sake, in his favour, my allegiance to Duplessis, though that 
clever fellow has just made a wondrous coup in the Egyptians, 



' let 



B 



THE PARISIANS. 251 

and I gain forty thousand francs by having followed his ad- 
vice. But if Duplessis has a head as long as Louvier's, he 
certainly has not an equal greatness of soul. Still, my dear 
friend, will you pardon me if I speak frankly, and in the way 
of a warning homily?" 

"Speak; you cannot oblige me more." 

" Well, then, I know that you can no more live at Paris in 
the way you are doing, or mean to do, without some fresh ad- 
dition to your income, than a lion could live in the Jardin 
des Plantes upon an allowance of two mice a week." 

" I don't see that. Deducting what I pay to my aunt, 
and I cannot get her to take more than six thousand francs a 
year, I have seven hundred napoleons left, net and clear. 
My rooms and stables are equipped, and I have twenty-five 
hundred francs in hand. On seven hundred napoleons a year, 
I calculate that I can very easily live as I do; and if I fail 

well, I must return to Rochebriant. Seven hundred napo- 
.eons a year will be a magnificent rental there." 

Frederic shook his head. " You do not know how one ex- 
pense leads to another. Above all, you do not calculate the 
chief part of one's expenditure, the unforeseen. You will 
play at the Jockey Club, and lose half your income in a 
night." 

"I shall never touch a card." 

" So you say now, innocent as a lamb of the force of exam- 
ple. At all events, beau seigneur, I presume you are not go- 
ing to resuscitate the part of the Ermite de la Chausse'e 
'Antin; and the fair Parisiennes are demons of extrava- 
gance." 

"Demons whom I shall not court." 

"Did I say you would? They will court you. Before an- 
other month has flown you will be inundated with billets- 
doux." 

" It is not a shower that will devastate my humble harvest, 
ut, man cher, we are falling upon very gloomy topics. 
Laissez-moi tranquille in my illusions, if illusions they be. 
Ah, you cannot conceive what a new life opens to the man 
who, like myself, has passed the dawn of his youth in priva- 




252 THE PARISIANS. 

tion and fear, when he suddenly acquires competence and 
hope. If it lasts only a year, it will be something to say 
'Vixi.'" 

"Alain," said Frederic, very earnestly, "believe me, I 
should not have assumed the ungracious and inappropriate 
task of Mentor, if it were only a year's experience at stake, 
or if you were in the position of men like myself, free from 
the encumbrance of a great name and heavily mortgaged 
lands. Should you fail to pay regularly the interest due to 
Louvier, he has the power to put up at public auction, and 
there to buy in for himself, your chateau and domain." 

" I am aware that in strict law he would have such power, 
though I doubt if he would use it. Louvier is certainly a 
much better and more generous fellow than I could have ex- 
pected; and if I believe De Finisterre, he has taken a sincere 
liking to me on account of affection to my poor father. But 
why should not the interest be paid regularly? The revenues 
from Rochebriant are not likely to decrease, and the charge 
on them is lightened by the contract with Louvier. And I 
will confide to you a hope I entertain of a very large addition 
to my rental." 

"How?" 

" A chief part of my rental is derived from forests, and De 
Finisterre has heard of a capitalist who is disposed to make a 
contract for their sale at the fall this year, and may probably 
extend it to future years, at a price far exceeding that which 
I have hitherto obtained." 

" Pray be cautious. De Finisterre is not a man I should 
implicitly trust in such matters." 

"Why? Do you know anything against him? He is in the 
best society, perfect gentilhomme, and, as his name may 
tell you, a fellow-Breton. You yourself allow, and so does 
Enguerrand, that the purchases he made for me in this 
apartment, my horses, etc. are singularly advantageous." 

" Quite true ; the Chevalier is reputed sharp and clever, is 
said to be very amusing, and a first-rate piquet-player. I 
don't know him personally, I am not in his set. I have no 
valid reason to disparage his character, nor do I conjecture 



THE PARISIANS. 253 

any motive he could have to injure or mislead you. Still, 
I say, be cautious how far you trust to his advice or re- 
commendation." 

"Again I ask why?" 

" He is unlucky to his friends. He attaches himself much 
to men younger than himself; and somehow or other I have 
observed that most of them have come to grief. Besides, 
a person in whose sagacity I have great confidence warned 
me against making the Chevalier's acquaintance, and said 
to me, in his blunt way, 'De Finisterre came to Paris with 
nothing; he has succeeded to nothing; he belongs to no 
ostensible profession by which anything can be made. But 
evidently now he has picked up a good deal ; and in propor- 
tion as any young associate of his becomes poorer, De Finis- 
terre seems mysteriously to become richer. Shun that sort 
of acquaintance. ' ' 

"Who is your sagacious adviser?" 

"Duplessis." 

" Ah, I thought so. That bird of prey fancies every other 
bird looking out for pigeons. I fancy that Duplessis is, like 
all those money-getters, a seeker after fashion, and De 
Finisterre has not returned his bow." 

" My dear Alain, I am to blame ; nothing is so irritating as 
a dispute about the worth of the men we like. I began it, 
now let it be dropped; only make me one promise, that if 
you should be in arrear, or if need presses, you will come at 
mce to me. It was very well to be absurdly proud in an 
ittic, but that pride will be out of place in your appartement 
n premier," 

"You are the best fellow in the world, Frederic, and I 
make you the promise you ask," said Alain, cheerfully, but 
yet with a secret emotion of tenderness and gratitude. "And 
now, mon cher, what day will you dine with me to meet Raoul 
and Enguerrand, and some others whom you would like to 
know? " 

"Thanks, and hearty ones, but we move now in different 
spheres, and I shall not trespass on yours. Je suis trop 
bourgeois to incur the ridicule of le bourgeois gentilhomme." 





254 



THE PARISIANS. 



"Frederic, how dare you speak thus? My dear fellow, my 
friends shall honour you as I do." 

"But that will be on your account, not mine. No; hon- 
estly that kind of society neither tempts nor suits me. I am 
a sort of king in my own walk; and I prefer my Bohemian 
royalty to vassalage in higher regions. Say no more of it. 
It will flatter my vanity enough if you will now and then de- 
scend to my coteries, and allow me to parade a Roehebriant 
as my familiar crony, slap him on the shoulder, and call him 
Alain." 

"Fie! you who stopped me and the English aristocrat in 
the Champs Ely sees, to humble us with your boast of having 
fascinated une grande dame, I think you said a duchesse." 

"Oh," said Lemercier, conceitedly, and passing his hand 
through his scented locks, "women are different; love levels 
all ranks. I don't blame Ruy Bias for accepting the love of 
a queen, but I do blame him for passing himself off as a 
noble, a plagiarism, by the by, from an English play. I do 
not love the English enough to copy them. A propos, what 
has become of ce beau Grarm Yarn? I have not seen him of 
late." 

"Neither have I." 

"Nor the belle Italienne?" 

"Nor her," said Alain, slightly blushing. 

At this moment Enguerrand lounged into the room. Alain 
stopped Lemercier to introduce him to his kinsman. 
"Enguerrand, I present to you M. Lemercier, my earliest 
and one of my dearest friends." 

The young noble held out his hand with the bright and joy- 
ous grace which accompanied all his movements, and ex- 
pressed in cordial words his delight to make M. Lemercier 's 
acquaintance. Bold and assured as Frederic was in his own 
circles, he was more discomposed than set at ease by the gra- 
cious accost of a lion, whom he felt at once to be of a breed 
superior to his own. He muttered some confused phrases, in 
which ravi and t /?a^e were alone audible, and evanished. 

" I know M. Lemercier by sight very well," said Enguerrand, 
seating himself. "One sees him very often in the Bois; and 



THE PARISIANS. 255 

I have met him in the Coulisses and the Bal Mabille. I 
think, too, that he plays at the Bourse, and is U6 with M. 
Duplessis, who bids fair to rival Louvier one of these days. 
Is Duplessis also one of your dearest friends?" 

"No, indeed. I once met him, and was not prepossessed in 
his favour." 

"Nevertheless, he is a man much to be admired and 
respected." 

"Why so?" 

"Because he understands so well the art of making what 
we all covet, money. I will introduce you to him." 

"I have been already introduced." 

"Then I will re-introduce you. He is much courted in a 
society which I have recently been permitted by my father to 
frequent, the society of the Imperial Court." 

" You frequent that society, and the Count permits it? " 

"Yes; better the Imperialists than the Republicans; and 
my father begins to own that truth, though he is too old or 
too indolent to act on it." 

"And Raoul?" 

"Oh, Raoul, the melancholy and philosophical Raoul, has 
no ambition of any kind, so long as thanks somewhat to me 
his purse is always replenished for the wants of his stately 
existence, among the foremost of which wants are the means 
to supply the wants of others. That is the true reason why 
he consents to our glove-shop. Raoul belongs, with some 
other young men of the Faubourg, to a society enrolled under 
the name of Saint Francois de Sales, for the relief of the 
poor. He visits their houses, and is at home by their sick- 
l-eds as at their stinted boards. Nor does he confine his visi- 
tations to the limits of our Faubourg ; he extends his travels 
T-> .Montniartre and Belleville. As to our upper world, he 
does not concern himself much with its changes. He says 
that we have destroyed too much ever to rebuild solidly; and 
that whatever we do build could be upset any day by a Paris 
mob, which he declares to be the only institution we have 
left. A wonderful fellow is Raoul, full of mind, though he 
does little with it; full of heart, which he devotes to suffering 



256 THE PARISIANS. 

humanity, and to a poetic, knightly reverence (not to be con- 
founded with earthly love, and not to be degraded into that 
sickly sentiment called Platonic affection) for the Comtesse 
di Klmini, who is six years older than himself, and who is 
very faithfully attached to her husband, Raoul's intimate 
friend, whose honour he would guard as his own. It is an 
episode in the drama of Parisian life, and one not so uncom- 
mon as the malignant may suppose. Di Rimini knows and 
approves of his veneration; my mother, the best of women, 
sanctions it, and deems truly that it preserves Raoul safe 
from all the temptations to which ignobler youth is exposed. 
I mention this lest you should imagine there was anything 
in Raoul 's worship of his star less pure than it is. For the 
rest, Raoul, to the grief and amazement of that disciple of 
Voltaire, my respected father, is one of the very few men I 
know in our circles who is sincerely religious, an orthodox 
Catholic, and the only man I know who practises the reli- 
gion he professes; charitable, chaste, benevolent; and no bigot, 
no intolerant ascetic. His only weakness is his entire sub- 
mission to the worldly common-sense of his good-for-nothing, 
covetous, ambitious brother Enguerrand. I cannot say how I 
love him for that. If he had not such a weakness, his excel- 
lence would gall me, and I believe I should hate him." 

Alain bowed his head at this eulogium. Such had been the 
character that a few months ago he would have sought as 
example and model. He seemed to gaze upon a flattered 
portrait of himself as he had been. 

"But," said Enguerrand, "I have not come here to indulge 
in the overflow of brotherly affection. I come to take you to 
your relation, the Duchesse of Tarascon. I have pledged my- 
self to her to bring you, and she is at home on purpose to 
receive you." 

" In that case I cannot be such a churl as to refuse. And, 
indeed, I no longer feel quite the same prejudices against her 
and the Imperialists as I brought from Bretagne. Shall I 
order my carriage?" 

" No ; mine is at the door. Yours can meet you where you 
will, later. 



THE PARISIANS. 257 





CHAPTER III. 

THE Duchesse de Tarascon occupied a vast apartment in 
the Rue Royale, close to the Tuileries. She held a high post 
among the ladies who graced the brilliant court of the Em- 
press. She had survived her second husband the duke, who 
left no issue, and the title died with him. 

Alain and Enguerrand were ushered up the grand staircase, 
lined with tiers of costly exotics as if for a fete; but in that 
nd in all kinds of female luxury, the Duchesse lived in a state 
f fete perpetuelle. The doors on the landing-place were 

reened by heavy portieres of Genoa velvet, richly embroid- 
ered in gold with the ducal crown and cipher. The two 
salons through which the visitors passed to the private cab- 

et or boudoir were decorated with Gobelin tapestries, fresh, 

ith a mixture of roseate hues, and depicting incidents in 

.e career of the first emperor; while the effigies of the late 
.uke's father the gallant founder of a short-lived race 
figured modestly in the background. On a table of Russian 
malachite within the recess of the central window lay, pre- 

rved in glass cases, the baton and the sword, the epau- 
ettes and the decorations of the brave Marshal. On the 

nsoles and the mantelpieces stood clocks and vases of Sevres 
that could scarcely be eclipsed by those in the Imperial pal- 
aces. Entering the cabinet, they found the Duchesse seated at 

er writing-table, with a small Skye terrier, hideous in the 
of the purest Dreed, nestled at her feet. This room 
was an exquisite combination of costliness and comfort, 

uxury at home. The hangings were of geranium-coloured 
silk, with double curtains of white satin; near to the writing- 
table a conservatory, with a white marble fountain at play in 

.e centre, and a trellised aviary at the back. The walls 
were covered with small pictures, chiefly portraits and 
miniatures of the members of the imperial family, of tha 

i 



E 
a 



258 THE PARISIANS. 

late Due, of his father the Marshal and Madame la Mar4- 
chale, of the present Duchesse herself, and of some of the 
principal ladies of the court. 

The Duchesse was still in the prime of life. She had passed 
her fortieth year, but was so well " conserved " that you might 
have guessed her to be ten years younger. She was tall ; not 
large, but with rounded figure inclined to en bon point ; with 
dark hair and eyes, but fair complexion, injured in effect 
rather than improved by pearl-powder, and that atrocious 
barbarism of a dark stain on the eyelids which has of late 
years been a baneful fashion; dressed, I am a man, and 
cannot describe her dress; all I know is that she had the ac- 
knowledged fame of the best-dressed subject of France. As 
she rose from her seat there was in her look and air the un- 
mistakable evidence of grande dame, a family likeness in 
feature to Alain himself, a stronger likeness to the picture of 
her first cousin (his mother) which was preserved at Roche- 
briant. Her descent was indeed from ancient and noble 
houses. But to the distinction of race she added that of 
fashion, crowning both with a tranquil consciousness of lofty 
position and unblemished reputation. 

" Unnatural cousin ! " she said to Alain, offering her hand to 
him, with a gracious smile, "all this age in Paris, and I see 
you for the first time. But there is joy on earth as in heaven 
over sinners who truly repent. You repent truly n'est ce 
pas ? " 

It is impossible to describe the caressing charm which the 
Duchesse threw into her words, voice, and look. Alain was 
fascinated and subdued. 

" Ah, Madame la Duchesse, " said he, bowing over the fair 
hand he lightly held, "it was not sin, unless modesty be a 
sin, which made a rustic hesitate long before he dared to offer 
his homage to the queen of the graces." 

"Not badly said for a rustic," cried Enguerrand; "eh, 
Madame?" 

"My cousin, you are pardoned," said the Duchesse. "Com- 
pliment is the perfume of gentilhommerie; and if you brought 
enough of that perfume from the flowers of Kochebriant to 



THE PARISIANS. 259 

distribute among the ladies at court, you will be terribly the 
mode there. Seducer! " here she gave the Marquis a play- 
ful tap on the cheek, not in a coquettish but in a mother-like 
familiarity, and looking at him attentively, said: "Why, 
you are even handsomer than your father. I shall be proud 
to present to their Imperial Majesties so becoming a cousin. 
But seat yourselves here, Messieurs, close to my arm-chair, 
causons. " 

The Duchesse then took up the ball of the conversation. She 
talked without any apparent artifice, but with admirable tact; 
put just the questions about Rochebriant most calculated to 
please Alain, shunning all that might have pained him; ask- 
ing him for descriptions of the surrounding scenery, the 
Breton legends; hoping that the old castle would never be 
spoiled by modernizing restorations; inquiring tenderly after 
his aunt, whom she had in her childhood once seen, and still 
remembered with her sweet, grave face; paused little for re- 
plies; then turned to Enguerrand with sprightly small-talk 
on the topics of the day, and every now and then bringing 
Alain into the pale of the talk, leading on insensibly until 
she got Enguerrand himself to introduce the subject of the 
emperor, and the political troubles which were darkening a 
reign heretofore so prosperous and splendid. 

Her countenance then changed; it became serious, and even 
grave in its expression. 

"It is true," she said, "that the times grow menacing, 
menacing not only to the throne, but to order and property 
and France. One by one they are removing all the break- 
waters which the empire had constructed between the execu- 
tive and the most fickle and impulsive population that ever 
shouted 'long live' one day to the man whom they would 
send to the guillotine the next. They are denouncing what 
they call personal government. Grant that it has its evils ; 
but what would they substitute, a constitutional monarchy 
like the English? That is impossible with universal suffrage 
and without an hereditary chamber. The nearest approach 
to it was the monarchy of Louis Philippe, we know how 
sick they became of that. A republic? mon Dic.ii / com 

s 






260 THE PARISIANS. 

posed of Republicans terrified out of their wits at each other. 
The moderate men, mimics of the Girondins, with the Reds 
and the Socialists and the Communists, ready to tear them 
to pieces. And then What then? the commercialists, the 
agriculturists, the middle class combining to elect some dic- 
tator who will cannonade the mob and become a mimic 
Napoleon, grafted on a mimic Necker or a mimic Danton. 
Oh, Messieurs, I am French to the core. You inheritors of 
such names must be as French as I am ; and yet you men in- 
sist on remaining more useless to France in the midst of her 
need than I am, I, a woman who can but talk and weep." 

The Duchesse spoke with a warmth of emotion which 
startled and profoundly affected Alain. He remained silent, 
leaving it to Enguerrand to answer. 

"Dear Madame," said the latter, "I do not see how either 
myself or our kinsman can merit your reproach. We are 
not legislators. I doubt if there is a single department in 
France that would elect us, if we offered ourselves. It is not 
our fault if the various floods of revolution leave men of our 
birth and opinions stranded wrecks of a perished world. The 
emperor chooses his own advisers, and if they are bad ones, 
his Majesty certainly will not ask Alain and me to replace 
them." 

" You do not answer you evade me, " said the Duchesse ; 
with a mournful smile. " You are too skilled a man of the 
world, Monsieur Enguerrand, not to know that it is not only 
legislators and ministers that are necessary to the support of 
a throne, and the safeguard of a nation. Do you not see how 
great a help it is to both throne and nation when that section 
of public opinion which is represented by names illustrious 
in history, identified with records of chivalrous deeds and 
loyal devotion, rallies round the order established? Let 
that section of public opinion stand aloof, soured and discon- 
tented, excluded from active life, lending no counter-balance 
to the perilous oscillations of democratic passion, and tell me 
if it is not an enemy to itself as well as a traitor to the prin- 
ciples it embodies?" 

"The principles it embodies, Madame," said Alain, "are 



THE PARISIANS. 261 

those of fidelity to a race of kings unjustly set aside, less for 
the vices than the virtues of ancestors. Louis XV. was the 
worst of the Bourbons, he was the bien aime : he escapes. 
Louis XVI. was in moral attributes the best of the Bourbons, 
he dies the death of a felon. Louis XVIII., against whom 
much may be said, restored to the throne by foreign bayonets, 
reigning as a disciple of Voltaire might reign, secretly scoff- 
ing alike at the royalty and the religion which were crowned 
in his person, dies peacefully in his bed. Charles X., re- 
deeming the errors of his youth by a reign untarnished by a 
vice, by a religion earnest and sincere, is sent into exile for 
defending established order from the very inroads which you 
lament. He leaves an heir against whom calumny cannot in- 
vent a tale, and that heir remains an outlaw simply because 
he descends from Henry IV., and has a right to reign. Ma- 
dame, you appeal to us as among the representatives of the 
chivalrous deeds and loyal devotion which characterized the 
old nobility of France. Should we deserve that character if 

we forsook the unfortunate, and gained wealth and honour 
in forsaking? " 
" Your words endear you to me. I am proud to call you 
cousin," said the Duchesse. "But do you, or does 'any man in 
his senses believe that if you upset the Empire you could get 
back the Bourbons ; that you would not be in imminent dan- 
ger of a Government infinitely more opposed to the theories 
on which rests the creed of Legitimists than that of Louis 
Napoleon? After all, what is there in the loyalty of you 
Bourbonites that has in it the solid worth of an argument 
which can appeal to the comprehension of mankind, except it 
be the principle of a hereditary monarchy? Nobody nowadays 
can maintain the right divine of a single regal family to im- 
pose itself upon a nation. That dogma has ceased to be a liv- 
Iing principle; it is only a dead reminiscence. But the 
institution of monarchy is a principle strong and vital, and 
appealing to the practical interests of vast sections of society. 
Would you sacrifice the principle which concerns the welfare 
of millions, because you cannot embody it in the person of an 
individual utterly insignificant in himself? In a word, if you 



262 THE PARISIANS. 

prefer monarchy to the hazard of republicanism for such a 
country as France, accept the monarchy you find, since it is 
quite clear you cannot rebuild the monarchy you would pre- 
fer. Does it not embrace all the great objects for which you 
call yourself Legitimist? Under it religion is honoured, a 
national Church secured, in reality if not in name; under it 
you have united the votes of millions to the establishment of 
the throne ; under it all the material interests of the country, 
commercial, agricultural, have advanced with an unequalled 
rapidity of progress ; under it Paris has become the wonder of 
the world for riches, for splendour, for grace and beauty; 
under it the old traditional enemies of France have been 
humbled and rendered impotent. The policy of Richelieu 
has been achieved in the abasement of Austria; the policy of 
Napoleon I. has been consummated in the salvation of Europe 
from the semi-barbarous ambition of Russia. England no 
longer casts her trident in the opposition scale of the balance 
of European power. Satisfied with the honour of our alli- 
ance, she has lost every other ally ; and her forces neglected, 
her spirit enervated, her statesmen dreaming believers in the 
safety of their island, provided they withdraw from the 
affairs of Europe, may sometimes scold us, but will certainly 
not dare to fight. With France she is but an inferior satel- 
lite; without France she is nothing. Add to all this a 
court more brilliant than that of Louis XIV., a sovereign not 
indeed without faults and errors, but singularly mild in his 
nature, warm-hearted to friends, forgiving to foes, whom per- 
sonally no one could familiarly know and not be charmed 
with a bonte of character, lovable as that of Henri IV., and 
tell me what more than all this could you expect from the 
reign of a Bourbon? " 

" With such results, " said Alain, " from the monarchy you 
so eloquently praise, I fail to discover what the emperor's 
throne could possibly gain by a few powerless converts from 
an unpopular, and you say, no doubt truly, from a hopeless 
cause." 

" I say monarchy gains much by the loyal adhesion of any 
man of courage, ability, and honour. Every new monarchy 



I 



THE PARISIANS. 263 

gains much by conversions from the ranks by which the older 
monarchies were strengthened and adorned. But I do not 
here invoke your aid merely to this monarchy, my cousin; I 
demand your devotion to the interests of France ; I demand 
that you should not rest an outlaw from her service. Ah, 
you think that France is in no danger, that you may desert 
or oppose the Empire as you list, and that society will remain 
safe! You are mistaken. Ask Enguerrand." 

"Madame," said Enguerrand, "you overrate my political 
knowledge in that appeal; but, honestly speaking, I sub- 
scribe to your reasonings. I agree with you that the empire 
sorely needs the support of men of honour; it has one cause 
of rot which now undermines it, dishonest jobbery in its 
administrative departments; even in that of the army, which 
apparently is so heeded and cared for. I agree with you that 
France is in danger, and may need the swords of all her better 
sons, whether against the foreigner or against her worst ene- 
mies, the mobs of her great towns. I myself received a 
military education, and but for my reluctance to separate my- 
self from my father and Raoul, I should be a candidate for 
employments more congenial to me than those of the Bourse 
and my trade in the glove-shop. But Alain is happily free 
from all family ties, and Alain knows that my advice to him 
is not hostile to your exhortations." 

" I am glad to think he is under so salutary an influence, " 
said the Duchesse; and seeing that Alain remained silent and 
thoughtful, she wisely changed the subject, and shortly after- 
wards the two friends took leave. 




CHAPTER IV. 

THREE days elapsed before Graham again saw M. Lebeau. 
The letter-writer did not show himself at the cafe, and was 
not to be found at his office, the ordinary business of which 
was transacted by his clerk, saying that his master was much 
engaged on important matters that took him from home. 



264 THE PARISIANS. 

Graham naturally thought that these matters concerned the 
discovery of Louise Duval, and was reconciled to suspense. 
At the cafe, awaiting Lebeau, he had slid into some acquaint- 
ance with the ouvrier Armand Monnier, whose face and talk 
had before excited his interest. Indeed, the acquaintance 
had been commenced by the ouvrier, who seated himself at a 
table near to Graham's, and, after looking at him earnestly 
for some minutes, said, " You are waiting for your antagonist 
at dominos, M. Lebeau, a very remarkable man." 

" So he seems. I know, however, but little of him. You, 
perhaps, have known him longer? " 

" Several months. Many of your countrymen frequent this 
cafe, but you do not seem to care to associate with the 
blouses." 

"It is not that; but we islanders are shy, and don't make 
acquaintance with each other readily. By the way, since you 
so courteously accost me, I may take the liberty of saying 
.that I overheard you defend the other night, against one of 
my countrymen, who seemed to me to talk great nonsense, 
the existence of le bon Dieu. You had much the best of it. 
I rather gathered from your argument that you went some- 
what further, and were not too enlightened to admit of 
Christianity." 

Armand Monnier looked pleased. He liked praise; and he 
liked to hear himself talk, and he plunged at once into a very 
complicated sort of Christianity, partly Arian, partly Saint 
Simonian, with a little of Rousseau and a great deal of 
Armand Monnier. Into this we need not follow him; but, in 
sum, it was a sort of Christianity, the main heads of which 
consisted in the removal of your neighbour's landmarks, in 
the right of the poor to appropriate the property of the rich, 
in the right of love to dispense with marriage, and the duty 
of the State to provide for any children that might result 
from such union, the parents being incapacitated to do so, 
as whatever they might leave was due to the treasury in com- 
mon. Graham listened to these doctrines with melancholy 
not unmixed with contempt. "Are these opinions of yours," 
he asked, "derived from reading or your own reflection?" 



THE PARISIANS. 265 

" Well, from both, but from circumstances in life that in- 
duced me to read and reflect. I am one of the many victims 
of the tyrannical law of marriage. When very young I mar- 
ried a woman who made me miserable, and then forsook me. 
Morally, she has ceased to be my wife; legally, she is. I 
then met with another woman who suits me, who loves me. 
She lives with me; I cannot marry her; she has to submit to 
humiliations, to be called contemptuously an ouvrier's mis- 
tress. Then, though before I was only a Republican, I felt 
there was something wrong in society which needed a greater 
change than that of a merely political government ; and then, 
too, when I was all troubled and sore, I chanced to read one 
of Madame de Grantinesnil's books. A glorious genius that 
woman's ! " 

" She has genius, certainly, " said Graham, with a keen pang 
at his heart, Madame de Grantmesnil, the dearest friend of 
Isaura! "But," he added, "though I believe that eloquent 
mthor has indirectly assailed certain social institutions, in- 
cluding that of marriage, I am perfectly persuaded that she 
lever designed to effect such complete overthrow of the sys- 
3m which all civilized communities have hitherto held in 
jverence as your doctrines would attempt; and-, after all, 
but expresses her ideas through the medium of fabulous 
icidents and characters. And men of your sense should not 
for a creed in the fictions of poets and romance-writers." 
"Ah," said Monnier, "I dare say neither Madame de 
rrantmesnil nor even Rousseau ever even guessed the ideas 
icy awoke in their readers ; but one idea leads on to another, 
id genuine poetry and romance touch the heart so much 
lore than dry treatises. In a word, Madame de Grantmesnil's 
5ook set me thinking ; and then I read other books, and talked 
with clever men, and educated myself. And so I became the 
man I am." Here, with a self-satisfied air, Monnier bowed 
to the Englishman, and joined a group at the other end of 
the room. 

The next evening, just before dusk, Graham Vane was seated 
musingly in his own apartment in the Faubourg Montmartre, 
when there came a slight knock at his door. He was so 



266 THE PARISIANS. 

wrapped in thought that he did not hear the sound, though 
twice repeated. The door opened gently, and M. Lebeau 
appeared on the threshold. The room was lighted only by 
the gas-lamp from the street without. 

Lebeau advanced through the gloom, and quietly seated 
himself in the corner of the fireplace opposite to Graham be- 
fore he spoke. "A thousand pardons for disturbing your 
slumbers, Monsieur Lamb." 

Startled then by the voice so near him, Graham raised his 
head, looked round, and beheld very indistinctly the person 
seated so near him. 

"Monsieur Lebeau?" 

"At your service. I promise to give an answer to your 
question; accept my apologies that it has been deferred so 
long. I shall not this evening go to our cafe. I took the 
liberty of calling " 

"Monsieur Lebeau, you are a brick." 

"A what, Monsieur! a brique?" 

"I forgot; you are not up to our fashionable London idioms. 
A brick means a jolly fellow, and it is very kind in you to 
call. What is your decision?" 

"Monsieur, I can give you some information, but it is so 
slight that I offer it gratis, and forego all thought of under- 
taking further inquiries. They could only be prosecuted in 
another country, and it would not be worth my while to leave 
Paris on the chance of gaining so trifling a reward as you 
propose. Judge for yourself. In the year 1849, and in the 
month of July, Louise Duval left Paris for Aix-la-Chapelle. 
There she remained some weeks, and then left it. I can 
learn no further traces of her movements." 

" Aix-la-Chapelle ! What could she do there? " 

"It is a Spa in great request; crowded during the summer 
season with visitors from all countries. She might have gone 
there for health or for pleasure." 

" Do you think that one could learn more at the Spa itself 
if one went there?" 

"Possibly. But it is so long, twenty years ago." 

"She might have revisited the place." 




: 



THE PARISIANS. 267 

"Certainly; but I know no more." 

"Was she there under the same name, Duval?" 

"I am sure of that." 

"Do you think she left it alone or with others? You tell 
me she was awfully belle ; she might have attracted admirers." 

"If," answered Lebeau, reluctantly, "I could believe the 
report of my informant, Louise Duval left Aix not alone, but 
with some gallant; not an Englishman. They are said to 
have parted soon, and the man is now dead. But, speaking 
frankly, I do not think Mademoiselle Duval would have thus 
com promised her honour and sacrificed her future. I believe 
she would have scorned all proposals that were not those of 
marriage. But all I can say for certainty is that nothing is 
known to me of her fate since she quitted Aix-la-Chapelle." 

" In 1849? She had then a child living." 

"A child? I never heard that she had any child; and I do 
not believe she could have had any child in 1849." 

Graham mused. Somewhat less than five years after 1849 
Louise Duval had been seen at Aix-la-Chapelle. Possibly 

e found some attraction at that place, and might yet be 
iscovered there. "Monsieur Lebeau," said Graham, "you 
know this lady by sight; you would recognize her in spite of 
the lapse of years. Will you go to Aix and find out there 
what you can? Of course, expenses will be paid, and the 

ward will be given if you succeed." 

" I cannot oblige you. My interest in this poor lady is not 

ry strong, though 1 should be willing to serve her, and glad 

know that she were alive. I have now business on hand 

Inch interests me much more, and which will take me from 

ris, but not in the direction of Aix." 

"If I wrote to my employer, and got him to raise the re- 

;ird to some higher amount, that might make it worth your 
while?" 

"I should still answer that my affairs will not permit such 

journey. But if there be any chance of tracing Louise 
val at Aix, and there may be, you would succeed quite 
well as I should. You must judge for yourself if it be 

orth your trouble to attempt such a task; and if you do at- 



268 THE PARISIANS. 

tempt it, and do succeed, pray let me know. A line to my 
office will reach me for some little time, even if I am absent 
from Paris. Adieu, Monsieur Lamb." 

Here M. Lebeau rose and departed. 

Graham relapsed into thought ; but a train of thought much 
more active, much more concentred than before. "No," thus 
ran his meditations, "no, it would not be safe to employ 
that man further. The reasons that forbid me to offer any 
very high reward for the discovery of this woman operate 
still more strongly against tendering to her own relation a 
sum that might indeed secure his aid, but would unquestion- 
ably arouse his suspicions, and perhaps drag into light all 
that must be concealed. Oh, this cruel mission! I am, in- 
deed, an impostor to myself till it be fulfilled. I will go to 
Aix, and take Renard with me. I am impatient till I set out, 
but I cannot quit Paris without once more seeing Isaura. 
She consents to relinquish the stage ; surely I could wean her 
too from intimate friendship with a woman whose genius has 
so fatal an effect upon enthusiastic minds. And then and 
then? " 

He fell into a delightful revery ; and contemplating Isaura 
as his future wife, he surrounded her sweet image with all 
those attributes of dignity and respect with which an English- 
man is accustomed to invest the destined bearer of his name, 
the gentle sovereign of his household, the sacred mother of 
his children. In this picture the more brilliant qualities of 
Isaura found, perhaps, but faint presentation. Her glow of 
sentiment, her play of fancy, her artistic yearnings for truths 
remote, for the invisible fairyland of beautiful romance, re- 
ceded into the background of the picture. It was all these, 
no doubt, that had so strengthened and enriched the love at 
first sight, which had shaken the equilibrium of his positive 
existence ; and yet he now viewed all these as subordinate to 
the one image of mild decorous matronage into which wedlock 
was to transform the child of genius, longing for angel wings 
a.nd unlimited space. 



THE PARISIANS. 269 



CHAPTER V. 

ON quitting the sorry apartment of the false M. Lamb, 
Lebeau walked on with slow steps and bended head, like a 
man absorbed in thought. He threaded a labyrinth of ob- 
scure streets, no longer in the Faubourg Montmartre, and 
dived at last into one of the few courts which preserve the 
cachet of the moyen age untouched by the ruthless spirit of 
improvement which during the second empire has so altered 
the face of Paris. At the bottom of the court stood a large 
house, much dilapidated, but bearing the trace of former 
grandeur in pilasters and fretwork in the style of the Renais- 
sance, and a defaced coat of arms, surmounted with a ducal 
coronet, over the doorway. The house had the aspect of de- 
sertion : many of the windows were broken ; others were jeal- 
ously closed with mouldering shutters. The door stood ajar; 
Lebeau pushed it open, and the action set in movement a bell 
within a porter's lodge. The house, then, was not uninhab- 
ited; it retained the dignity of a concierge. A man with a 
large grizzled beard cut square, and holding a journal in his 
hand, emerged from the lodge, and moved his cap with a 
certain bluff and surly reverence on recognizing Lebeau. 

"What! so early, citizen? " 

"Is it too early?" said Lebeau, glancing at his watch. 
" So it is ; I was not aware of the time. But I am tired with 
waiting; let me into the salon. I will wait for the rest; 1 
shall not be sorry for a little repose." 

"Bon," said the porter, sententiously , "while man reposes 
men advance." 

"A profound truth, citizen Le Roux; though if they ad- 
vance on a reposing foe, they have blundering leaders unless 
they march through unguarded by-paths and with noiseless 
tread." 




270 THE PARISIANS. 

Following the porter up a dingy broad staircase, Lebeau 
was admitted into a large room, void of all other furniture 
than a table, two benches at its sides, and a fauteuil at its 
head. On the mantelpiece there was a huge clock, and some 
iron sconces were fixed on the panelled walls. 

Lebeau flung himself, with a wearied air, into ihe fauteuil. 
The porter looked at him with a kindly expression. He had 
a liking to Lebeau, whom he had served in his proper profes- 
sion of messenger or commissionnaire before being placed by 
that courteous employer in the easy post he now held. 
Lebeau, indeed, had the art, when he pleased, of charming 
inferiors; his knowledge of mankind allowed him to distin- 
guish peculiarities in each individual, and flatter the amour 
propre by deference to such eccentricities. Marc le Roux, the 
roughest of "red caps," had a wife of whom he was very 
proud. He would have called the empress Citoyenne Eugenie, 
but he always spoke of his wife as Madame. Lebeau won his 
heart by always asking after Madame. 

"You look tired, citizen," said the porter; "let me bring 
you a glass of wine." 

" Thank you, mon ami, no. Perhaps later, if I have time, 
after we break up, to pay my respects to Madame." 

The porter smiled, bowed, and retired muttering, "Nom 
d'un petit bonhomme; il n'y a rien de tel que les belles 
manieres." 

Left alone, Lebeau leaned his elbow on the table, resting 
his chin on his hand, and gazing into the dim space, for it 
was now, indeed, night, and little light came through the 
grimy panes of the one window left unclosed by shutters. He 
was musing deeply. This man was, in much, an enigma to 
himself. Was he seeking to unriddle it? A strange com- 
pound of contradictory elements. In his stormy youth there 
had been lightning-like flashes of good instincts, of irregular 
hoDour, of inconsistent generosity, a puissant wild nature, 
with strong passions of love and of hate, without fear, but 
not without shame. In other forms of society that love of 
applause which had made him seek and exult in the notoriety 
which he mistook for fame might have settled down into 



THE PARISIANS. 271 

Some solid and useful ambition. He might have become great 
in the world's eye, for at the service of his desires there were 
no ordinary talents. Though too true a Parisian to be a 
severe student, still, on the whole, he had acquired much gen- 
eral information, partly from books, partly from varied com- 
merce with mankind. He had the gift, both by tongue and 
by pen, of expressing himself with force and warmth; time 
and necessity had improved that gift. Coveting, during his 
brief career of fashion, the distinctions which necessitate 
lavish expenditure, he had been the most reckless of spend- 
thrifts; but the neediness which follows waste had never de- 
stroyed his original sense of personal honour. Certainly 
Victor de Maule*on was not, at the date of his fall, a man to 
whom the thought of accepting, much less of stealing, the 
jewels of a woman who loved him could have occurred as a 
possible question of casuistry between honour and temptation. 
Nor could that sort of question have, throughout the sternest 
ials or the humblest callings to which his after-life had 
ien subjected, forced admission into his brain. He was one 
f those men, perhaps the most terrible though unconscious 
iminals, who are the offsprings produced by intellectual 
wer and egotistical ambition. If you had offered to Victor 
de Maul^on the crown of the Caesars, on condition of his doing 
one of those base things which "a gentleman" cannot do, 
pick a pocket, cheat at cards, Victor de Maule"on would have 
refused the crown. He would not have refused on account of 
any laws of morality affecting the foundations of the social 
system, but from the pride of his own personality. " I, Victor 
de Maul&m ! I pick a pocket ! I cheat at cards ! I ! " But 
when something incalculably worse for the interests of society 
than picking a pocket or cheating at cards was concerned; 
when for the sake either of private ambition or political ex- 
periment hitherto untested, and therefore very doubtful, the 
peace and order and happiness of millions might be exposed 
to the release of the most savage passions, rushing on revolu- 
tionary madness or civil massacre, then this French dare-devil 
would have been just as unscrupulous as any English philoso- 
>her whom a metropolitan borough might elect as its repre 





272 THE PARISIANS. 

sentative. The system of the empire was in the way oi 
Victor de Mauleon, in the way of his private ambition, in 
the way of his political dogmas ; and therefore it must be de- 
stroyed, no matter what nor whom it crushed beneath its 
ruins. He was one of those plotters of revolutions not un- 
common in democracies, ancient and modern, who invoke 
popular agencies with the less scruple because they have a su- 
preme contempt for the populace. A man with mental pow- 
ers equal to De Mauleon's, and who sincerely loves the people 
and respects the grandeur of aspiration with which, in the 
great upheaving of their masses, they so often contrast the 
irrational credulities of their ignorance and the blind fury of 
their wrath, is always exceedingly loath to pass the terrible 
gulf that divides reform from revolution. He knows how 
rarely it happens that genuine liberty is not disarmed in the 
passage, and what sufferings must be undergone by those who 
live by their labour during the dismal intervals between the 
sudden destruction of one form of society and the gradual 
settlement of another. Such a man, however, has no type in 
a Victor de Mauleon. The circumstances of his life had 
placed this strong nature at war with society, and corrupted 
mto misanthropy affections that had once been ardent. That 
misanthropy made his ambition more intense, because it 
increased his scorn for the human instruments it employed. 

Victor de Mauleon knew that however innocent of the charges 
that had so long darkened his name, and however thanks to 
his rank, his manners, his savoir vivre, the aid of Louvier's 
countenance and the support of his own high-born connections 
he might restore himself to his rightful grade in private life, 
the higher prizes in public life would scarcely be within reach, 
to a man of his antecedents and stinted means, in the existent 
form and conditions of established political order. Perforce, 
the aristocrat must make himself democrat if he would become 
a political chief. Could he assist in turning upside down the 
actual state of things, he trusted to his individual force of 
character to find himself among the uppermost in the general 
bouleversement. And in the first stage of popular revolution 
the mob has no greater darling than the noble who deserts his 



THE PARISIANS. 273 

order, though in the second stage it may guillotine him at the 
denunciation of his cobbler. A mind so sanguine and so au- 
dacious as that of Victor de Mauleon never thinks of the 
second step if it sees a way to the first. 



' 

t 








CHAPTER VT. 

THE room was in complete darkness, save where a ray fron> 
a gas-lamp at the mouth of the court came aslant through tb<? 
window, when citizen Le Roux re-entered, closed the window s 
lighted two of the sconces, and drew forth from a drawer iiv 
the table implements of writing, which he placed thereoc 
noiselessly, as if he feared to disturb M. Lebeau, whose 
head, buried in his hands, rested on the table. He seemed 
,n a profound sleep. At last the porter gently touched the 
arm of the slumberer, and whispered in his ear, " It is on the 
stroke of ten, citizen; they will be here in a minute or so." 
Lebeau lifted his head drowsily. 

"Eh, "said he "what?" 

"You have been asleep." 

"I suppose so, for I have been dreaming. Ha! I hear 
the door-bell. I am wide awake now." 

The porter left him, and in a few minutes conducted into 
the salon two men wrapped in cloaks, despite the warmth of 
the summer night. Lebeau shook hands with them silently, 
nd not less silently they laid aside their cloaks and seated 
themselves. Both these men appeared to belong to the upper 
section of the middle class. One, strongly built, with a keen 
expression of countenance, was a surgeon considered able in 
his profession, but with limited practice, owing to a current 
suspicion against his honour in connection with a forged will. 

iThe other, tall, meagre, with long grizzled hair and a wild 
unsettled look about the eyes, was a man of science; had 
written works well esteemed upon mathematics and electri- 
VOL. i. 18 




274 THE PARISIANS. 

city, also against the existence of any other creative power 
than that which he called "nebulosity," and denned to be the 
combination of heat and moisture. The surgeon was about 
the age of forty, the atheist a few years older. In another 
minute or so, a knock was heard against the wall. One of 
the men rose and touched a spring in the panel, which then 
flew back, and showed an opening upon a narrow stair, by 
which, one after the other, entered three other members of 
the society. Evidently there was more than one mode of 
ingress and exit. 

The three new-comers were not Frenchmen, one might 
see that at a glance; probably they had reasons for greater 
precaution than those who entered by the front door. One, a 
tall, powerfully-built man, with fair hair and beard, dressed 
with a certain pretension to elegance, faded threadbare ele- 
gance, exhibiting no appearance of linen, was a Pole. One, 
a slight bald man, very dark and sallow, was an Italian. The 
third, who seemed like an ouvrier in his holiday clothes, was 
a Belgian. 

Lebeau greeted them all with an equal courtesy, and each 
with an equal silence took his seat at the table. 

Lebeau glanced at the clock. "Confreres," he said, "our 
number as fixed for this seance still needs two to be complete, 
and doubtless they will arrive in a few minutes. Till they 
come, we can but talk upon trifles. Permit me to offer you 
my cigar-case." And so saying, he who professed to be no 
smoker handed his next neighbour, who was the Pole, a large 
cigar-case amply furnished; and the Pole, helping himself to 
two cigars, handed the case to the man next him, two only 
declining the luxury, the Italian and the Belgian. But the 
Pole was the only man who took two cigars. 

Steps were now heard on the stairs, the door opened, and 
citizen Le Roux ushered in, one after the other, two men, this 
time unmistakably French, to an experienced eye unmis- 
takably Parisians: the one, a young beardless man, who 
seemed almost boyish, with a beautiful face, and a stinted, 
meagre frame; the other, a stalwart man of about eight-and- 
twenty, dressed partly as an ouvrier, not in his Sunday 




KVIDENTI.V THKIlli WAS MOKE THAN ONK .MUHK i.F INCIIKSS. " 



THE PARISIANS. 275 

clothes, rather affecting the blouse, not that he wore that 
antique garment, but that he was in rough costume unbrushed 
and stained, with thick shoes and coarse stockings, and a 
workman's cap. But of all who gathered round the table 
at which M. Lebeau presided, he had the most distinguished 
exterior, a virile honest exterior, a massive open forehead, 
intelligent eyes, a handsome clear-cut incisive profile, and 
solid jaw. The expression of the face was stern, but not 
mean, an expression which might have become an ancient 
baron as well as a modern workman; in it plenty of haughti- 
ness and of will, and still more of self-esteem. 

"Confreres," said Lebeau, rising, and every eye turned to 
him, "our number for the present seance is complete. To 
business. Since we last met, our cause has advanced with 
rapid and not with noiseless stride. I need not tell you that 
Louis Bonaparte has virtually abnegated Les idees Napo- 
leontennes, a fatal mistake for him, a glorious advance for 
us. The liberty of the press must very shortly be achieved, 
and with it personal government must end. When the auto- 
crat once is compelled to go by the advice of his ministers, 
look for sudden changes. His ministers will be but weather- 
cocks, turned hither and thither according as the wind chops 
at Paris; and Paris is the temple of the winds. The new 
revolution is almost at hand. [Murmurs of applause.] It 
would move the laughter of the Tuileries and its ministers, 
of the Bourse and of its gamblers, of every dainty salon of this 
silken city of would-be philosophers and wits, if they were 
told that here within this mouldering baraque, eight men, so 
little blessed by fortune, so little known to fame as ourselves, 
met to concert the fall of an empire. The Government would 
not deem us important enough to notice our existence." 

"I know not that," interrupted the Pole. 

"Ah, pardon," resumed the orator; "I should have confined 
my remark to the five of us who are French. I did injustice 
to the illustrious antecedents of our foreign allies. 1 know 
that you, Thaddeus Loubisky, that you, Leonardo Raselli, 
have been too eminent for hands hostile to tyrants not to be 
marked with a black cross in the books of the police; I know 



276 THE PARISIANS. 

that you, Jan Vanderstegen, if hitherto unscarred by those 
wounds in defence of freedom which despots and cowards 
would fain miscall the brands of the felon, still owe it to your 
special fraternity to keep your movements rigidly concealed. 
The tyrant would suppress the International Society, and 
forbids it the liberty of congress. To you three is granted 
the secret entrance to our council -hall. But we Frenchmen 
are as yet safe in our supposed insignificance. Confreres, 
permit me to impress on you the causes why, insignificant 
as we seem, we are really formidable. In the first place, we 
are few: the great mistake in most secret associations has 
been to admit many councillors; and disunion enters where- 
ever many tongues can wrangle. In the next place, though 
so few in council, we are legion when the time comes for ac- 
tion, because we are representative men, each of his own sec- 
tion, and each section is capable of an indefinite expansion. 

"You, valiant Pole, you, politic Italian, enjoy the confi- 
dence of thousands now latent in unwatched homes and harm- 
less callings, but who, when you lift a finger, will, like the 
buried dragon's teeth, spring up into armed men. You, Jan 
Vanderstegen, the trusted delegate from Verviers, that swarm- 
ing camp of wronged labour in its revolt from the iniquities 
of capital, you, when the hour arrives, can touch the wire 
that flashes the telegram 'Arise ' through all the lands in 
which workmen combine against their oppressors. 

" Of us five Frenchmen, let me speak more modestly. You, 
sage and scholar, Felix Ruvigny, honoured alike for the pro- 
fundity of your science and the probity of your manners, in- 
duced to join us by your abhorrence of priestcraft and 
superstition, you made a wide connection among all the en- 
lightened reasoners who would emancipate the mind of man 
from the trammels of Church-born fable, and when the hour 
arrives in which it is safe to say, 'Delenda est Roma,' you 
know where to find the pens that are more victorious than 
swords against a Church and a Creed. You " (turning to the 
surgeon) "you, Gaspard le Noy, whom a vile calumny has 
robbed of the throne in your profession so justly due to your 
skill, you, nobly scorning the rich and great, have devoted 



THE PARISIANS. 



277 



yourself to tend and heal the humble and the penniless, so 
that you have won the popular title of the 'Me"decin des 
Pauvres, ' when the time comes wherein soldiers shall fly be- 
fore the sansculottes, and the mob shall begin the work which 
they who move mobs will complete, the clients of Gaspard le 
Noy will be the avengers of his wrongs. 

"You, Armand Monnier, simple ouvrier, but of illustrious 
parentage, for your grandsire was the beloved friend of the 
virtuous Robespierre, your father perished a hero and a mar- 
tyr in the massacre of the coup d'6tat ; you, cultured in the 
eloquence of Robespierre himself, and in the persuasive phi- 
losophy of Robespierre's teacher, Rousseau; you, the idolized 
orator of the Red Republicans, you will be indeed a chief 
of dauntless bands when the trumpet sounds for battle. 
Young publicist and poet, Gustave Rameau, I care not 
which you are at present, I know what you will be soon, 
you need nothing for the development of your powers over 
the many but an organ for their manifestation. Of that 
anon. I now descend into the bathos of egotism. I am 
compelled lastly to speak of myself. It was at Marseilles 
and Lyons, as you already know, that I first conceived the 
plan of this representative association. For years before I 
had been in familiar intercourse with the friends of freedom, 
that is, with the foes of the Empire. They are not all 
poor; some few are rich and generous. I do not say these 
rich and few concur in the ultimate objects of the poor and 
many; but they concur in the first object, the demolition of 
that which exists, the Empire. In the course of my special 
calling of negotiator or agent in the towns of the Midi, I 
formed friendships with some of these prosperous malcon- 
tents; and out of these friendships I conceived the idea which 
is embodied in this council. 

" According to that conception, while the council may com- 
municate as it will with all societies, secret or open, having 
revolution for their object, the council refuses to merge itself 
in any other confederation; it stands aloof and independent; 
it declines to admit into its code any special articles of faith 
in a future beyond the bounds to which it limits its design 




278 THE PARISIANS. 

and its force. That design unites us ; to go beyond would di- 
vide. We all agree to destroy the Napoleonic dynasty; none 
of us might agree as to what we should place in its stead. 
All of us here present might say, 'A republic.' Ay, but of 
what kind? Vanderstegen would have it socialistic ; Monnier 
goes further, and would have it communistic, on the princi- 
ples of Fourier; Le Noy adheres to the policy of Danton, 
and would commence the republic by a reign of terror; our 
Italian ally abhors the notion of general massacre, and advo- 
cates individual assassination. Ruvigny would annihilate 
the worship of a Deity; Monnier holds with Voltaire and 
Robespierre, that, 'if there were no Deity, it would be neces- 
sary to man to create one.' Bref, we could not agree upon 
any plan for the new edifice, and therefore we refuse to dis- 
cuss one till the ploughshare has gone over the ruins of the 
old. But I have another and more practical reason for keep- 
ing our council distinct from all societies with professed ob- 
jects beyond that of demolition. We need a certain command 
of money. It is I who bring to you that, and how? Not 
from my own resources, they but suffice to support myself; 
not by contributions from ouvriers, who, as you well know, 
will subscribe only for their own ends in the victory of work- 
men over masters. I bring money to you from the coffers of 
the rich malcontents. Their politics are not those of most 
present; their politics are what they term moderate. Some 
are indeed for a republic, but for a republic strong in defence 
of order, in support of property ; others and they are more 
numerous and the more rich for a constitutional monarchy, 
and, if possible, for the abridgment of universal suffrage, 
which in their eyes tends only to anarchy in the towns and 
arbitrary rule under priestly influence in the rural districts. 
They would not subscribe a sou if they thought it went to 
further the designs whether of Ruvigny the atheist, or of 
Monnier, who would enlist the Deity of Rousseau on the side 
of the drapeau rouge ; not a sou if they knew I had the hon- 
our to boast such confreres as I see around me. They sub- 
scribe, as we concert, for the fall of Bonaparte. The policy 
I adopt I borrow from the policy of the English Liberals. Iu 



THE PARISIANS. 279 

England, potent millionnaires, high-born dukes, devoted 
Churchmen, belonging to the Liberal party, accept the ser- 
vices of men who look forward to measures which would ruin 
capital, eradicate aristocracy, and destroy the Church, pro- 
vided these men combine with them in some immediate step 
onward against the Tories. They have a proverb which I thus 
adapt to French localities: if a train passes Fontainebleau 
on its way to Marseilles, why should I not take it to Fontaine- 
bleau because other passengers are going on to Marseilles? 

" Confreres, it seems to me the moment has come when we 
may venture some of the fund placed at my disposal to other 
purposes than those to which it has been hitherto devoted. I 
propose, therefore, to set up a journal under the auspices of 
Gustave Rameau as editor-in-chief, a journal which, if he 
listen to my advice, will create no small sensation. It will 
begin with a tone of impartiality; it will refrain from all 
violence of invective; it will have wit, it will have sentiment, 
and eloquence ; it will win its way into the salons and caf&s 
of educated men; and then, and then, when it does change 
from polished satire into fierce denunciation and sides with 
the blouses, its effect will be startling and terrific. Of this I 
will say more to citizen Rameau in private. To you I need 
not enlarge upon the fact that, at Paris, a combination of 
men, though immeasurably superior to us in status or influ- 
ence, without a journal at command is nowhere; with such a 
journal, written not to alarm but to seduce fluctuating opin- 
ions, a combination of men immeasurably inferior to us may 
be anywhere. 

" Confreres, this affair settled, I proceed to distribute 
amongst you sums of which each who receives will render me 
an account, except our valued confrere the Pole. All that w< 
can subscribe to the cause of humanity a representative o 
Poland requires for himself." (A suppressed laugh amon^ 
all but the Pole, who looked round with a grave, imposing 
nir, as much as to say, " What is there to laugh at? a simple 
truth.") 

M. Lebeau then presented to each of his confreres a sealed 
Envelope, containing no doubt a bank-note, and perhaps also 



280 THE PARISIANS. 

private instructions as to its disposal. It was one of his 
rules to make the amount of any sum granted to an individ- 
ual member of the society from the fund at his disposal a 
confidential secret between himself and the recipient. Thus 
jealousy was avoided if the sums were unequal ; and unequal 
they generally were. In the present instance the two largest 
sums were given to the " Medecin des Pauvres " and to the 
delegate from Verviers. Both were no doubt to be distrib- 
uted among "the poor," at the discretion of the trustee 
appointed. 

Whatever rules with regard to the distribution of money 
M. Lebeau laid down were acquiesced in without demur, for 
the money was found exclusively by himself, and furnished 
without the pale of the Secret Council, of which he had made 
himself founder and dictator. Some other business was then 
discussed, sealed reports from each member were handed to 
the president, who placed them unopened in his pocket, and 
resumed, 

" Confreres, our stance is now concluded. The period for 
our next meeting must remain indefinite, for I myself shall 
leave Paris as soon as I have set on foot the journal, on the 
details of which I will confer with citizen Kameau. I am 
not satisfied with the progress made by the two travelling 
missionaries who complete our Council of Ten; and though I 
do not question their zeal, I think my experience may guide 
it if I take a journey to the towns of Bordeaux and Marseilles, 
where they now are. But should circumstances demanding 
concert or action arise, you may be sure that I will either 
summon a meeting or transmit instructions to such of our 
members as may be most usefully employed. For the pres- 
ent, confreres, you are relieved. Kemain only you, dear 
young author." 



THE PARISIANS. 281 



CHAPTER TO. 

LEFT alone with Gustave Ratneau, the President of the Se- 
cret Council remained silently musing for some moments ; but 
his countenance was no longer moody and overcast, his nos- 
trils were dilated, as in triumph; there was a half -smile of 
pride on his lips. Rameau watched him curiously and admir- 
ingly. The young man had the impressionable, excitable 
temperament common to Parisian genius, especially when 
it nourishes itself on absinthe. He enjoyed the romance of 
belonging to a secret society; he was acute enough to recog- 
nize the sagacity by which this small conclave was kept out 
of those crazed combinations for impracticable theories more 
likely to lead adventurers to the Tarpeian Rock than to the 
Capitol, while yet those crazed combinations might, in some 
critical moment, become strong instruments in the hands of 
practical ambition. Lebeau fascinated him, and took colossal 
proportions in his intoxicated vision, vision indeed intoxi- 
cated at this moment, for before it floated the realized image 
of his aspirations, a journal of which he was to be the edi- 
tor-in-chief; in which his poetry, his prose, should occupy 
space as large as he pleased ; through which his name, hitherto 
scarce known beyond a literary clique, would resound in salon 
and club and cafe, and become a familiar music on the lips of 
fashion. And he owed this to the man seated there, a 
prodigious man. 

" Cher poete," said Lebeau, breaking silence, "it gives me 
no mean pleasure to think I am opening a career to one whose 
talents fit him for those goals on which they who reach write 
names that posterity shall read. Struck with certain article* 
of yours in the journal made celebrated by the wit and gayety 
of Savarin, I took pains privately to inquire into your birth, 
your history, connections, antecedents. All confirmed my 
first impression, that you were exactly the writer 1 wish to 



282 THE PARISIANS. 

secure to our cause. I therefore sought you in your rooms, 
unintroduced and a stranger, in order to express my admira- 
tion of your compositions. Bref, we soon became friends; 
and after comparing minds, I admitted you, at your request, 
into this Secret Council. Now, in proposing to you the con- 
duct of the journal I would establish, for which I am prepared 
to find all necessary funds, I am compelled to make impera- 
tive conditions. Nominally you will be editor-in-chief: that 
station, if the journal succeeds, will secure you position and 
fortune ; if it fail, you fail with it. But we will not speak of 
failure; I must have it succeed. Our interest, then, is the 
same. Before that interest all puerile vanities fade away. 
Nominally, I say, you are editor-in-chief; but all the real 
work of editing will, at first, be done by others." 

"Ah!" exclaimed Rameau, aghast and stunned. Lebeau 
resumed, 

"To establish the journal I propose needs more than the 
genius of youth ; it needs the tact and experience of mature 
years." 

Rameau sank back on his chair with a sullen sneer on his 
pale lips. Decidedly Lebeau was not so great a man as he 
had thought. 

"A certain portion of the journal," continued Lebeau, "will 
be exclusively appropriated to your pen." 

Rameau's lip lost the sneer. 

" But your pen must be therein restricted to compositions 
of pure fancy, disporting in a world that does not exist ; or, 
if on graver themes connected with the beings of the world 
that does exist, the subjects will be dictated to you and re- 
vised. Yet even in the higher departments of a journal in- 
tended to make way at its first start, we need the aid, not 
indeed of men who write better than you, but of men whose 
fame is established, whose writings, good or bad, the public 
run to read, and will find good even if they are bad. You 
must consign one column to the playful comments and witti- 
cisms of Savarin." 

"Savarin? But he has a journal of his own. He will not, 
as an author, condescend to write in one just set up by mej 



THE PARISIANS. 283 

and as a politician, he as certainly will not aid in an ultra- 
democratic revolution. If he care for politics at all, he is a 
constitutionalist, an Orleanist." 

" Enfant ! as an author Savarin will condescend to contrib- 
ute to your journal, first, because it in no way attempts to 
interfere with his own; secondly, I can tell you a secret, 
Savarin 's journal no longer suffices for his existence. He 
has sold more than two-thirds of its property; he is in debt, 
and his creditor is urgent; and to-morrow you will offer 
Savarin thirty thousand francs for one column from his pen, 
and signed by his name, for two months from the day the 
journal starts. He will accept, partly because the sum will 
clear off the debt that hampers him, partly because he will 
take care that the amount becomes known ; and that will help 
him to command higher terms for the sale of the remaining 
shares in the journal he now edits, for the new book which 
you told me he intended to write, and for the new journal 
which he will be sure to set up as soon as he has disposed of 
the old one. You say that, as a politician, Savarin, an Or- 
leanist, will not aid in an ultra-democratic revolution. Who 
asks him to do so? Did I not imply at the meeting that we 
commence our journal with politics the mildest? Though rev- 
olutions are not made with rose-water, it is rose-water that 
nourishes their roots. The polite cynicism of authors, read by 
those who float on the surface of society ; prepares the way for 
the social ferment in its deeps. Had there been no Voltaire, 
there would have been no Camille Desmoulins ; had there been 
no Diderot, there would have been no Marat. We start as 
polite cynics. Of all cynics Savarin is the politest. But when 
I bid high for him, it is his clique that I bid for. Without 
his clique he is but a wit; with his clique, a power. Partly 
out of that clique, partly out of a circle beyond it, which 
Savarin can more or less influence, I select ten. Here is the 
list of them ; study it. Entre nous, I esteem their writings 
as little as I do artificial flies; but they are the artificial flies 
at which, in this particular season of the year, the public rise. 
You must procure at least five of the ten; and I leave you 
carte blanche as to the terms. Savarin gained, the best of 



284 THE PARISIANS. 

them will be proud of being his associates. Observe, none of 
these messieurs of brilliant imagination are to write political 
articles; those will be furnished to you anonymously, and 
inserted without erasure or omission. When you have se- 
cured Savarin, and five at least of the collaborateurs in the list, 
write to me at my office. I give you four days to do this; 
and the day the journal starts you enter into the income of 
fifteen thousand francs a year, with a rise in salary propor- 
tioned to profits. Are you contented with the terms? " 

"Of course I am; but supposing I do not gain the aid of 
Savarin, or five at least of the list you give, which I see at a 
glance contains names the most a la mode in this kind of 
writing, more than one of them of high social rank, whom it 
is difficult for me even to approach, if, I say, I fail? " 

"What! with a carte blanche of terms? fie! Are you a 
Parisian? Well, to answer you frankly, if you fail in so 
easy a task, you are not the man to edit our journal, and I 
shall find another. Allez, courage! Take my advice; see 
Savarin the first thing to-morrow morning. Of course, my 
name and calling you will keep a profound secret from him, 
as from all. Say as mysteriously as you can that parties you 
are forbidden to name instruct you to treat with M. Savarin, 
and offer him the terms I have specified, the thirty thousand 
francs paid to him in advance the moment he signs the simple 
memorandum of agreement. The more mysterious you are, 
the more you will impose, that is, wherever you offer money 
and don't ask for it." 

Here Lebeau took up his hat, and, with a courteous nod of 
adieu, lightly descended the gloomy stairs. 



THE PARISIANS. 285 



CHAPTER VIII. 

AT night, after this final interview with Lebeau, Graham 
took leave for good of his lodgings in Montmartre, and re- 
turned to his apartment in the Rue d'Anjou. He spent sev- 
eral hours of the next morning in answering numerous letters 
accumulated during his absence. Late in the afternoon he 
had an interview with M. Renard, who, as at that season of 
the year he was not overbusied with other affairs, engaged to 
obtain leave to place his services at Graham's command dur- 
ing the time requisite for inquiries at Aix, and to be in readi- 
ness to start the next day. Graham then went forth to pay 
one or two farewell visits; and these over, bent his way 
through the Champs Elysees towards Isaura's villa, when he 
suddenly encountered Rochebriant on horseback. The Mar- 
quis courteously dismounted, committing his horse to the 
care of the groom, and linking his arm in Graham's, expressed 
his pleasure at seeing him again; then, with some visible 
hesitation and embarrassment, he turned the conversation 
towards the political aspects of France. 

"There was," he said, "much in certain words of yours, 
when we last walked together in this very path, that sank 
deeply into my mind at the flme, and over which I have of 
late still more earnestly reflected. You spoke of the duties a 
Frenchman owed to France, and the 'impolicy' of remaining 
aloof from all public employment on the part of those attached 
to the Legitimist cause." 

"True; it cannot be the policy of any party to forget that 
between the irrevocable past and the uncertain future there 
intervenes the action of the present time." 

" Should you, as an impartial bystander, consider it dishon- 
ourable in me if I entered the military service under the 
ruling sovereign? " 

"Certainly uot, if your country needed you." 



286 THE PARISIANS. 

" And it may, may it not? I hear vague rumours of com- 
ing war in almost every salon I frequent. There has been 
gunpowder in the atmosphere we breathe ever since the battle 
of Sadowa. What think you of German arrogance and ambi- 
tion? Will they suffer the swords of France to rust in their 
scabbards?" 

"My dear Marquis, I should incline to put the question 
otherwise. Will the jealous amour propre of France permit 
the swords of Germany to remain sheathed? But in either 
case, no politician can see without grave apprehension two 
nations so warlike, close to each other, divided by a border- 
land that one covets and the other will not yield, each armed 
to the teeth, the one resolved to brook no rival, the other 
equally determined to resist all aggression. And therefore, 
as you say, war is in the atmosphere; and we may also hear, 
in the clouds that give no sign of dispersion, the growl of the 
gathering thunder. War may come any day; and if France 
be not at once the victor " 

" France not at once the victor? " interrupted Alain, pas- 
sionately; "and against a Prussian! Permit me to say no 
Frenchman can believe that." 

"Let no man despise a foe," said Graham, smiling half 
sadly. "However, I must not incur the danger of wounding 
your national susceptibilities. To return to the point you 
raise. If France needed the aid of her best and bravest, a 
true descendant of Henri Quatre ought to blush for his an- 
cient noblesse were a Rochebriant to say, 'But I don't like the 
colour of the flag. ' ' 

"Thank you," said Alain, simply; "that is enough." 
There was a pause, the young men walking on slowly, arm in 
arm. And then there flashed across Graham's mind the rec- 
ollection of talk on another subject in that very path. Here 
he had spoken to Alain in deprecation of any possible alli- 
ance with Isaura Cicogna, the destined actress and public 
singer. His cheek flushed; his heart smote him. What! 
had he spoken slightingly of her of her ? What if she be- 
came his own wife? What! had he himself failed in the re- 
spect which he would demand as her right from the loftiest 



THE PARISIANS. 287 

of his high-born kindred? What, too, would this man, of 
fairer youth than himself, think of that disparaging counsel, 
when he heard that the monitor had won the prize from which 
he had warned another? Would it not seem that he had but 
spoken in the mean cunning dictated by the fear of a worthier 
rival? Stung by these thoughts, he arrested his steps, and, 
looking the Marquis full in the face, said, "You remind me 
of one subject in our talk many weeks since ; it is my duty to 
remind you of another. At that time you, and, speaking 
frankly, I myself, acknowledged the charm in the face of a 
young Italian lady. I told you then that, on learning she 
was intended for the stage, the charm for me had vanished. 
I said bluntly that it should vanish perhaps still more utterly 
for a noble of your illustrious name; you remember?" 

"Yes," answered Alain, hesitatingly, and with a look of 
surprise. 

"I wish now to retract all I said thereon. Mademoiselle 
Cicogna is not bent on the profession for which she was edu- 
cated. She would willingly renounce all idea of entering it. 
The only counterweight which, viewed whether by my reason 
or my prejudices, could be placed in the opposite scale to that 
of the excellences which might make any man proud to win 
her, is withdrawn. I have become acquainted with her since 
the date of our conversation. Hers is a mind which harmon- 
izes with the loveliness of her face. In one word, Marquis, 
I should deem myself honoured, as well as blest, by such a 
bride. It was due to her that I should say this ; it was due 
also to you, in case you should retain the impression I sought 
in ignorance to efface. And I am bound, as a gentleman, to 
obey this twofold duty, even though in so doing I bring upon 
myself the affliction of a candidate for the hand to which I 
would fain myself aspire, a candidate with pretensions in 
every way far superior to my own." 

An older or a more cynical man than Alain de Rochebriant % 
might well have found something suspicious in a confession 
thus singularly volunteered; but the Marquis was himself so 
loyal that he had no doubt of the loyalty of Graham. 

" I reply to you, " he said, " with a frankness which finds 



288 THE PARISIANS. 

an example in your own. The first fair face which attracted 
my fancy since my arrival at Paris was that of the Italian 
demoiselle of whom you speak in terms of such respect. I do 
think if I had then been thrown into her society, and found 
her to be such as you no doubt truthfully describe, that fancy 
might have become a very grave emotion. I was then so 
poor, so friendless, so despondent! Your words of warning 
impressed me at the time, but less durably than you might 
suppose; for that very night as I sat in my solitary attic I 
said to myself, 'Why should I shrink, with an obsolete old- 
world prejudice, from what my forefathers would have termed 
a mesalliance? What is the value of my birthright now? 
None, worse than none. It excludes me from all careers; 
my name is but a load that weighs me down. Why should I 
make that name a curse as well as a burden? Nothing is left 
to me but that which is permitted to all men, wedded and 
holy love. Could I win to my heart the smile of a woman 
who brings me that dower, the home of my fathers would lose 
its gloom.' And therefore, if at that time I had become 
familiarly acquainted with her who had thus attracted my 
eye and engaged my thoughts, she might have become my 
destiny ; but now ! " 

"But now?" 

"Things have changed. I am no longer poor, friendless, 
solitary. I have entered the wor.ld of my equals as a Roche- 
briant; I have made myself responsible for the dignity of my 
name. I could not give that name to one, however peerless 
in herself, of whom the world would say, ' But for her mar- 
riage she would have been a singer on the stage ! ' I will 
own more : the fancy I conceived for the first fair face, other 
fair faces have dispelled. At this moment, however, I have 
no thought of marriage; and having known the anguish of 
struggle, the privations of poverty, I would ask no woman to 
share the hazard of my return to them. You might present 
me, then, safely to this beautiful Italian, certain, indeed, 
that I should be her admirer; equally certain that I could 
not become your rival." 

There was something in this speech that jarred upon 



THE PARISIANS. 289 

Graham's sensitive pride; but on the whole, he felt relieved, 
both in honour and in heart. After a few more words, the 
two young men shook hands and parted. Alain remounted 
his horse. The day was now declining. Graham hailed a 
vacant fiacre, and directed the driver to Isaura's villa. 



CHAPTER IX. 

IS AURA. 

THE sun was sinking slowly as Isaura sat at her window, 
gazing dreamily on the rose-hued clouds that made the west- 
ern borderland between earth and heaven. On the table be- 
fore her lay a few sheets of manuscript hastily written, not 
yet reperused. That restless mind of hers had left its trace 
on the manuscript. 

It is characteristic perhaps of the different genius of the 
sexes, that woman takes to written composition more impul- 
sively, more intuitively, than man, letter-writing, to him a 
task-work, is to her a recreation. Between the age of sixteen 
and the date of marriage, six well-educated clever girls out of 
ten keep a journal ; not one well-educated man in ten thou- 
sand does. So, without serious and settled intention of be- 
coming an author, how naturally a girl of ardent feeling and 
vivid fancy seeks in poetry or romance a confessional, an 
outpouring of thought and sentiment, which are mysteries to 
herself till she has given them words, and which, frankly 
revealed on the page, she would not, perhaps could not, utter 
orally to a living ear. 

During the last few days, the desire to create in the realm 
of fable beings constructed by her own breath, spiritualized 
by her own soul, had grown irresistibly upon this fair child 
of song. In fact, when Graham's words had decided the re- 
nunciation of her destined career, her instinctive yearnings 
VOL i. 19 



290 THE PARISIANS. 

for the utterance of those sentiments or thoughts which can 
only find expression in some form of art, denied the one vent, 
irresistibly impelled her to the other. And in this impulse 
she was confirmed by the thought that here at least there was 
nothing which her English friend could disapprove, none of 
the perils that beset the actress. Here it seemed as if, could 
she but succeed, her fame would be grateful to the pride of 
all who loved her. Here was a career ennobled by many a 
woman, and side by side in rivalry with renowned men. To 
her it seemed that, could she in this achieve an honoured 
name, that name took its place at once amid the higher ranks 
of the social world, and in itself brought a priceless dowry 
ind a starry crown. It was, however, not till after the visit 
to Enghien that this ambition took practical life and form. 

One evening after her return to Paris, by an effort so invol- 
untary that it seemed to her no effort, she had commenced a 
tale, without plan, without method, without knowing in 
one page what would fill the next. Her slight fingers hurried 
on as if, like the pretended spirit manifestations, impelled by 
an invisible agency without the pale of the world. She was 
intoxicated by the mere joy of inventing ideal images. In 
her own special art an elaborate artist, here she had no 
thought of art; if art was in her work, it sprang uncon- 
sciously from the harmony between herself and her subject, 
as it is, perhaps, with the early soarings of the genuine 
lyric poets, in contrast to the dramatic. For the true lyric 
poet is intensely personal, intensely subjective. It is him- 
self that he expresses, that he represents; and he almost 
ceases to be lyrical when he seeks to go out of his own exist- 
ence into that of others with whom he has no sympathy, no 
I'tipport. This tale was vivid with genius as yet untutored, 
genius in its morning freshness, full of beauties, full of 
faults. Isaura distinguished not the faults from the beauties. 
She felt only a vague persuasion that there was a something 
higher and brighter a something more true to her own idio- 
syncrasy than could be achieved by the art that " sings other 
people's words to other people's music." From the work thus 
commenced she had now mused; and it seemed to her fancies 



THE PARISIANS. 



291 




that between her inner self and the scene without, whether in 
the skies and air and sunset, or in the abodes of men stretch- 
ing far and near till lost amid the roofs and domes of the 
great city, she had fixed and riveted the Hnk of a sympathy 
hitherto fluctuating, unsubstantial, evanescent, undefined. 
Absorbed in her revery, she did not notice the deepening 
of the short twilight, till the servant entering drew the cur- 
tains between her and the world without, and placed the lamp 
on the table beside her. Then she turned away with a rest- 
less sigh; her eyes fell on the manuscript, but the charm of it 
was gone. A sentiment of distrust in its worth had crept 
into her thoughts, unconsciously to herself, and the page open 
before her at an uncompleted sentence seemed unwelcome and 
wearisome as a copy-book is to a child condemned to relin- 
quish a fairy tale half told, and apply himself to a task half 
done. She fell again into a revery, when, starting as from 
a dream, she heard herself addressed by name, and turning 
round saw Savarin and Gustave Rameau in the room. 

"We are come, Signorina," said Savarin, "to announce to 
you a piece of news, and to hazard a petition. The news is 
this : my young friend here has found a Maecenas who has the 
good taste so to admire his lucubrations under the nom de 
plume of Alphonse de Valcour as to volunteer the expenses 
for starting a new journal, of which Gustave Rameau is to be 
editor-in-chief; and I have promised to assist him as contrib- 
utor for the first two months. I have given him notes of in- 
troduction to certain other feuilletonistes and critics whom he 
has on his list. But all put together would not serve to float 
the journal like a short roman from Madame de Grantmesnil. 
Knowing your intimacy with that eminent artist, I venture 
to back Rameau's supplication that you would exert your 
influence on his behalf. As to the honoraires, she has but to 
name them." 

" Carte blanche," cried Rameau, eagerly. 

"You know Eulalie too well, Monsieur Savarin," answered 
Isaura, with a smile half reproachful, "to suppose that she is a 
mercenary in letters, and sells her services to the best bidder." 

"Bah, belle enfant!" said Savarin, with his gay light 



292 THE PARISIANS. 

laugh. "Business is business, and books as well as razors are 
made to sell. But, of course, a proper prospectus of the 
journal must accompany your request to write in it. Mean- 
while Kameau will explain to you, as he has done to me, that 
the journal in question is designed for circulation among 
readers of haute classe ; it is to be pleasant and airy, full of 
bons mots and anecdote ; witty, but not ill-natured. Politics 
to be Liberal, of course, but of elegant admixture, cham- 
pagne and seltzer-water. In fact, however, I suspect that 
the politics will be a very inconsiderable feature in this organ 
of fine arts and manners ; some amateur scribbler in the beau 
monde will supply them. For the rest, if my introductory 
letters are successful, Madame de Grantmesnil will not be in 
bad company." 

"You will write to Madame de Grantmesnil?" asked 
Kameau, pleadingly. 

" Certainly I will, as soon " 

" As soon as you have the prospectus, and the names of the 
collator uteurs," interrupted Kameau. "I hope to send you 
these in a very few days." 

While Rameau was thus speaking, Savarin had seated him- 
self by the table, and his eye mechanically resting on the 
open manuscript lighted by chance upon a sentence an 
aphorism embodying a very delicate sentiment in very fe- 
licitous diction, one of those choice condensations of thought, 
suggesting so much more than is said, which are never found 
in mediocre writers, and, rare even in the best, come upon us 
like truths seized by surprise. 

"Parbleuf" exclaimed Savarin, in the impulse of genuine 
admiration, "but this is beautiful; what is more, it is orig- 
inal, " and he read the words aloud. Blushing with shame 
and resentment, Isaura turned and hastily placed her hand 
on the manuscript. 

"Pardon," said Savarin, humbly; "I confess my sin, but it 
was so unpremeditated that it does not merit a severe penance. 
Do not look at me so reproachfully. We all know that young 
ladies keep commonplace books in which they enter passages 
that strike them in the works they read; and you have but 



THE PARISIANS. 



293 



shown an exquisite taste in selecting this gem. Do tell me 
where you found it. Is it somewhere in Lamartine?" 

"No," answered Isaura, half inaudibly, and with an effort 
to withdraw the paper. Savarin gently detained her hand, 
and looking earnestly into her tell-tale face, divined her 
secret. 

"It is your own, Signorina! Accept the congratulations of 
a very practised and somewhat fastidious critic. If the rest 
of what you write resembles this sentence, contribute to 
Eameau's journal, and I answer for its success." 

Rameau approached, half incredulous, half envious. 

"My dear child," resumed Savarin, drawing away the man- 
uscript from Isaura's coy, reluctant clasp, "do permit me to 
cast a glance over these papers. For what I yet know, there 
may be here more promise of fame than even you could gain 
as a singer." 

The electric chord in Isaura's heart was touched. Who 
cannot conceive what the young writer feels, especially the 
young woman-writer, when hearing the first cheery note of 
praise from the lips of a writer of established fame? 

"Nay, this cannot be worth your reading," said. Isaura, fal- 
teringly ; " I have never written anything of the kind before, 
and this is a riddle to me. I know not," she added, with a 
sweet low laugh, "why I began, nor how I should end it." 

"So much the better," said Savarin; and he took the manu- 
script, withdrew to a recess by the farther window, and seated 
himself there, reading silently and quickly, but now and then 
with a brief pause of reflection. 

Kaineau placed himself beside Isaura on the divan, and be- 
gan talking with her earnestly, earnestly, for it was about 
himself and his aspiring hopes. Isaura, on the other hand, 
more woman-like than author-like, ashamed even to seem ab- 
sorbed in herself and her hopes, and with her back turned, in 
the instinct of that shame, against the reader of her manu- 
script, Isaura listened and sought to interest herself solely 
in the young fellow-author. Seeking to do so she succeeded 
genuinely, for ready sympathy was a prevalent characteristic 
of her nature. 






294 THE PARISIANS. 

"Oh," said Rameau, "I am at the turning-point of my life. 
Ever since boyhood I have been haunted with the words of 
Andre Chenier on the morning he was led to the scaffold : 
'And yet there was something here/ striking his forehead. 
Yes, I, poor, low-born, launching myself headlong in th > 
chase of a name; I, underrated, uuconiprehended, indebted 
even for a hearing to the patronage of an amiable trifler like 
Savarin, ranked by petty rivals in a grade below themselves, 
I now see before me, suddenly, abruptly presented, the 
expanding gates into fame and fortune. Assist me, you! " 

"But how?" said Isaura, already forgetting her manu- 
script; and certainly Rameau did not refer to that. 

" How ! " echoed Rameau ; " how ! But do you not see 
or at least, do you not conjecture this journal of which 
Savarin speaks contains my present and my future? Present 
independence, opening to fortune and renown. Ay, and 
who shall say? renown beyond that of the mere writer. Be- 
hind the gaudy scaffolding of this rickety Empire, a new so- 
cial edifice unperceived arises ; and in that edifice the halls of 
State shall be given to the men who help obscurely to build 
it, to men like me." Here, drawing her hand into his own, 
fixing on her the most imploring gaze of his dark persuasive 
eyes, and utterly unconscious of bathos in his adjuration, he 
added: " Plead for me with your whole mind and heart; use 
your uttermost influence with the illustrious writer whose 
peri can assure the fates of my journal." 

Here the door suddenly opened, and following the servant, 
who announced unintelligibly his name, there entered Graham 
Vane. 



CHAPTER X. 

THE Englishman halted at the threshold. His eye, passing 
rapidly over the figure of Savarin reading in the window- 
niche, rested upon Rameau and Isaura seated on the same 
divan, he with her hand clasped in both his own, and bend- 



THE PARISIANS. 



295 



ing his face towards hers so closely that a loose tress of her 
hair seemed to touch his forehead. 

The Englishman halted, and no revolution which changes 
the habitudes and forms of States was ever so sudden as that 
which passed without a word in the depths of his unconject- 
ured heart. The heart has no history which philosophers 
can recognize. An ordinary political observer, contemplat- 
ing the condition of a nation, may very safely tell us what 
effects must follow the causes patent to his eyes; but the wis- 
est and most far-seeing sage, looking at a man at one o'clock, 
cannot tell us what revulsions of his whole being may be 
made ere the clock strike two. 

As Isaura rose to greet her visitor, Savarin came from the 
window-niche, the manuscript in his hand. 

"Son of perfidious Albion," said Savarin, gayly, "we 
feared you had deserted the French alliance. Welcome back 
to Paris, and the entente cordiale." 

"Would I could stay to enjoy such welcome! but I must 
again quit Paris." 

"Soon to return, n'est ce pas? Paris is an irresistible 
magnet to les beaux esprits. A propos of beaux esprits, be 
sure to leave orders with your bookseller, if you have one, to 
enter your name as subscriber to a new journal." 

"Certainly, if Monsieur Savarin recommends it." 

"He recommends it as a matter of course; he writes in it," 
said Rameau. 

"A sufficient guarantee for its excellence. What is the 
ime of the journal?" 

"Not yet thought of," answered Savarin. "Babes must be 
>rn before they are christened; but it will be instruction 
enough to your bookseller to order the new journal to be edited 
by Gustave Rameau." 

Bowing ceremoniously to the editor in prospect, Graham 
said, half ironically, "May I hope that in the department of 
criticism you will not be too hard upon poor Tasso? " 

".Never fear; the Signorina, who adores Tasso, will take 
him under her special protection," said Savarin, interrupting 
Rameau's sullen and embarrassed reply. 



296 THE PARISIANS. 

Graham's brow slightly contracted. "Mademoiselle," he 
said, " is then to be united in the conduct of this journal with 
M. Gustave Rameau?" 

" No, indeed ! " exclaimed Isaura, somewhat frightened at 
the idea. 

"But I hope," said Savarin, "that the Signorina may be- 
come a contributor too important for an editor to offend by 
insulting her favourites, Tasso included. Rameau and I 
came hither to entreat her influence with her intimate and 
illustrious friend, Madame de Grantmesnil, to insure the suc- 
cess of our undertaking by sanctioning the announcement of 
her name as a contributor." 

" Upon social questions, such as the laws of marriage?" 
said Graham, with a sarcastic smile, which concealed the 
quiver of his lip and the pain in his voice. 

"Nay," answered Savarin, "our journal will be too spor- 
tive, I hope, for matters so profound. We would rather have 
Madame de Grantmesnil's aid in some short roman, which 
will charm the fancy of all and offend the opinions of none. 
But since I came into the room, I care less for the Signorina's 
influence with the great authoress," and he glanced signifi- 
cantly at the manuscript. 

"How so?" asked Graham, his eye following the glance. 

" If the writer of this manuscript will conclude what she 
has begun, we shall be independent of Madame de Grant- 
mesnil." 

" Fie ! " cried Isaura, impulsively, her face and neck bathed 
in blushes, "fie! such words are a mockery." 

Graham gazed at her intently, and then turned his eyes on 
Savarin. He guessed aright the truth. " Mademoiselle then 
is an author? In the style of her friend Madame de 
Grantmesnil?" 

"Bah! " said Savarin, "I should indeed be guilty of mock- 
ery if I paid the Signorina so false a compliment as to say 
that in a first effort she attained to the style of one of the 
most finished sovereigns of language that has ever swayed the 
literature of France. When I say, 'Give us this tale com- 
pleted, and I shall be consoled if the journal does not gain 



THE PARISIANS. 297 

the aid of Madame de Grantmesnil, ' I mean that in these 
pages there is that nameless charm of freshness and novelty 
which compensates for many faults never committed by a 
practised pen like Madame de Grantmesnil's. My dear young 
lady, go on with this story, finish it; when finished, do not 
disdain any suggestions I may offer in the way of correction, 
and I will venture to predict to you so brilliant a career as 
author, that you will not regret should you resign for that 
career the bravoes you could command as actress and singer." 

The Englishman pressed his hand convulsively to his heart, 
as if smitten by a sudden spasm. But as his eyes rested on 
Isaura's face, which had become radiant with the enthusiastic 
delight of genius when the path it would select opens before 
it as if by a flash from heaven, whatever of jealous irritation, 
whatever of selfish pain he might before have felt, was gone, 
merged in a sentiment of unutterable sadness and compassion. 
Practical man as he was, he knew so well all the dangers, all 
the snares, all the sorrows, all the scandals menacing name 
and fame, that in the world of Paris must beset the fatherless 
girl who, not less in authorship than on the stage, leaves the 
safeguard of private life forever behind her, who becomes a 
prey to the tongues of the public. At Paris, how slender is 
the line that divides the authoress from the Bohtmienne ! He 
sank into his chair silently, and passed his hand over his 
eyes, as if to shut out a vision of the future. 

Isaura in her excitement did not notice the effect on her 
English visitor. She could not have divined such an effect 
as possible. On the contrary, even subordinate to her joy at 
the thought that she had not mistaken the instincts which 
led her to a nobler vocation than that of the singer, that the 
cage-bar was opened, and space bathed in sunshine was invit- 
ing the new-felt wings, subordinate even to that joy was a 
joy more wholly, more simply woman's. "If," thought she, 
in this joy, "if this be true, my proud ambition is realized; 
all disparities of worth and fortune are annulled between me 
and him to whom I would bring no shame of mesalliance ! " 
Poor dreamer, poor child! 

"You will let me see what you have written," said Rameau, 






298 THE PARISIANS. 

somewhat imperiously, in the sharp voice habitual to him, and 
which pierced Graham's ear like a splinter of glass. 

"No, not now; when finished." 

" You will finish it?" 

"Oh, yes; how can I help it after such encouragement?" 
She held out her hand to Savarin, who kissed it gallantly; 
then her eyes intuitively sought Graham's. By that time he 
had recovered his self-possession. He met her look tranquilly, 
and with a smile; but the smile chilled her, she knew not 
why. 

The conversation then passed upon books and authors of 
the day, and was chiefly supported by the satirical pleasan- 
tries of Savarin, who was in high good-spirits. 

Graham, who, as we know, had come with the hope of see- 
ing Isaura alone, and with the intention of uttering words 
which, however guarded, might yet in absence serve as links 
of union, now no longer coveted that interview, no longer 
meditated those words. He soon rose to depart. 

"Will you dine with me to-morrow?" asked Savarin. 
"Perhaps I may induce the Signorina and Rameau to offer 
you the temptation of meeting them." 

"By to-morrow 1 shall be leagues away." 

Isaura's heart sank. This time the manuscript was fairly 
forgotten. 

" You never said you were going so soon," cried Savarin. 
"When do you come back, vile deserter?" 

" I cannot even guess. Mons-ieur Rameau, count me among 
your subscribers. Mademoiselle, my best regards to Signora 
Venosta. When I see you again, no doubt you will have 
become famous." 

Isaura here could not control herself. She rose impul- 
sively, and approached him, holding out her hand, and 
attempting a smile. 

"But not famous in the way that you warned me from," she 
said in whispered tones. "You are friends with me still?" 
It was like the piteous wail of a child seeking to make it up 
with one who wants to quarrel, the child knows not why. 

Graham was moved, but what could he say? Could he 



THE PARISIANS. 



299 



have the right to warn her from this profession also; forbid 
all desires, all roads of fame to this brilliant aspirant? Even 
a declared and accepted lover might well have deemed thai 
that would be to ask too much. He replied, " Yes, always a 
friend, if you could ever need one." Her hand slid from his, 
and she turned away wounded to the quick. 

"Have you your coupi at the door?" asked Savarin. 

"Simply a, fiacre." 

"And are going back at once to Paris?" 

"Yes." 

" Will you kindly drop me in the Rue de Bivoli? n 

"Charmed to be of use." 



CHAPTER XI. 

As the fiacre bore to Paris Savarin and Graham, the former 
said, " I cannot conceive what rich simpleton could entertain 
so high an opinion of Gustave Raineau as to select a man so 
young, and of reputation though promising so undecided, for 
an enterprise which requires such a degree of tact and judg- 
ment as the conduct of a new journal, and a journal, too, 
which is to address itself to the beau monde. However, it is 
not for me to criticise a selection which brings a god-send to 
myself." 

"To yourself? You jest; you have a journal of your own. 
It can only be through an excess of good-nature that you lend 
your name and pen to the service of M. Gustave Rameau." 

" My good-nature does not go to that extent. It is Rameau 
who confers a service upon me. Peste ! mon cher, we French 
authors have not the rents of you rich English milords. And 
though I am the most economical of our tribe, yet that jour- 
nal of mine has failed me of late; and this morning I did not 
exactly see how I was to repay a sum I had been obliged to 
borrow of a money-lender, for I am too proud to borrow of 
friends, and too sagacious to borrow of publishers, when in 
\vulks ce cher petit Gustave with an offer for a few trifles to 



THE PARISIANS. 

wards starting this new-born journal, which makes a new man 
of me. Now I am in the undertaking, my amour propre and 
my reputation are concerned in its success ; and I shall take 
care that collaborateurs of whose company I am not ashamed 
are in the same boat. But that charming girl, Isaura! 
What an enigma the gift of the pen is! No one can ever 
guess who has it until tried." 

"The young lady's manuscript, then, really merits the 
praise you bestowed on it?" 

"Much more praise, though a great deal of blame, which I 
did not bestow, for in a first work faults insure success as 
much as beauties. Anything better than tame correctness. 
Yes, her first work, to judge by what is written, must make 
a hit, a great hit. And that will decide her career. A 
singer, an actress, may retire, often does when she marries 
an author; but once an author always an author." 

"Ah! is it so? If you had a beloved daughter, Savarin, 
would you encourage her to be an author?" 

" Frankly, no : principally because in that case the chances 
are that she would marry an author; and French authors, at 
least in the imaginative school, make very uncomfortable 
husbands." 

"Ah! you think the Signorina will marry one of those 
uncomfortable husbands, M. Rameau, perhaps?" 

"Rameau! Hein! nothing more likely. That beautiful 
face of his has its fascination. And to tell you the truth, my 
wife, who is a striking illustration of the truth that what 
woman wills heaven wills, is bent upon that improvement in 
Gustave's moral life which she thinks a union with Made- 
moiselle Cicogna would achieve. At all events, the fair Ita- 
lian would have in Rameau a husband who would not suffer 
her to bury her talents under a bushel. If she succeeds as a 
writer (by succeeding I mean making money), he will see 
that her ink-bottle is never empty; and if she don't succeed 
as a writer, he will take care that the world shall gain an 
actress or a singer. For Gustave Rameau has a great taste 
for luxury and show; and whatever his wife can make, I will 
venture to say that he will manage to spend." 



THE PARISIANS. 301 

" I thought you had an esteem and regard for Mademoiselle 
Cicogna. It is Madame your wife, I suppose, who has a 
grudge against her?" 

" On the contrary, my wife idolizes her." 

"Savages sacrifice to their idols the things they deem of 
value; civilized Parisians sacrifice their idols themselves, 
and to a thing that is worthless." 

"Rameau is not worthless; he has beauty and youth and 
talent. My wife thinks more highly of him than I do ; but 
I must respect a man who has found admirers so sincere as 
to set him up in a journal, and give him carte blanche for 
terms to contributors. I know of no man in Paris more val- 
uable to me. His worth to me this morning is thirty thou- 
sand francs. I own I do not think him likely to be a very 
safe husband; but then French female authors and artists 
seldom take any husbands except upon short leases. There 
are no vulgar connubial prejudices in the pure atmosphere of 
art. Women of genius, like Madame de Grantmesnil, and 
perhaps like our charming young friend, resemble canary- 
birds, to sing their best you must separate them from their 
mates." 

The Englishman suppressed a groan, and turned the 
conversation. 

When he had set down his lively companion, Vane dismissed 
his fiacre, and walked to his lodgings musingly. 

"No," he said inly; "I must wrench myself from the very 
memory of that haunting face, the friend and pupil of Ma- 
dame de Grantmesnil, the associate of Gustave Rameau, the 
rival of Julie Caumartin, the aspirant to that pure atmos- 
phere of art in which there are no vulgar connubial prejudices! 
Could I whether I be rich or poor see in her the ideal of 
an English wife? As it is as it is with this mystery 
which oppresses me, which, till solved, leaves my own career 
insoluble, as it is, how fortunate that I did not find her 
alone ; did not utter the words that would fain have leaped 
from my heart; did not say, 'I may not be the rich man I 
seem, but in that case I shall be yet more ambitious, because 
struggle and labour are the sinews of ambition! Should I 



302 THE PARISIANS. 

be rich, will you adorn my station? Should I be poor, will 
you enrich poverty with your smile? And can you, in either 
case, forego really, painlessly forego, as you led me to hope 
the pride in your own art? ' My ambition were killed did 
I marry an actress, a singer. Better that than the hungerer 
after excitements which are never allayed, the straggler in a 
career which admits of no retirement, the woman to whom 
marriage is no goal, who remains to the last the property of 
the public, and glories to dwell in a house of glass into which 
every bystander has a right to peer. Is this the ideal of an 
Englishman's wife and home? No, no! woe is me, no! " 



BOOK VI. 



CHAPTER I. 

A FEW weeks after the date of the preceding chapter, a 
gay party of men were assembled at supper in one of the pri- 
vate salons of the Maison Doree. The supper was given by 
Frederic Lemercier, and the guests were, though in various 
ways, more or less distinguished. Rank and fashion were 
not unworthily represented by Alain de Rochebriant and 
Enguerrand de Vandemar, by whose supremacy as " lion " 
Frederic still felt rather humbled, though Alain had con- 
trived to bring them familiarly together. Art, Literature, 
and the Bourse had also their representatives in Henri 
Bernard, a rising young portrait-painter, whom the Emperor 
honoured with his patronage, the Vicomte de Bre"ze, and M. 
Savarin. Science was not altogether forgotten, but contri- 
buted its agreeable delegate in the person of the eminent phy- 
sician to whom we have been before introduced, Dr. Bacourt. 
Doctors in Paris are not so serious as they mostly are in Lon- 
don; and Bacourt, a pleasant philosopher of the school of 
Aristippus, was no unfrequent nor ungenial guest at any ban- 
quet in which the Graces relaxed their zones. Martial glory 
was also represented at that social gathering by a warrior, 
bronzed and decorated, lately arrived from Algiers, on which 
arid soil he had achieved many laurels and the rank of Col- 
onel. Finance contributed Dnplessis. Well it might; for 
Duplessis had just assisted the host to a splendid coup at the 
Bourse, 



304 THE PARISIANS. 

"Ah, cher Monsieur Savarin," says Enguerrand de Vande- 
mar, whose patrician blood is so pure from revolutionary taint 
that he is always instinctively polite, "what a masterpiece 
in its way is that little paper of yours in the ' Sens Commun, ' 
upon the connection between the national character and the 
national diet ! so genuinely witty ! for wit is but truth made 
amusing." 

"You flatter me," replied Savarin, modestly; "but I own I 
do think there is a smattering of philosophy in that trifle. 
Perhaps, however, the character of a people depends more on 
its drinks than its food. The wines of Italy, heady, irritable, 
ruinous to the digestion, contribute to the character which 
belongs to active brains and disordered livers. The Italians 
conceive great plans, but they cannot digest them. The Eng- 
lish common-people drink beer, and the beerish character is 
stolid, rude, but stubborn and enduring. The English mid- 
dle-class imbibe port and sherry; and with these strong po- 
tations their ideas become obfuscated. Their character has 
no liveliness; amusement is not one of their wants; they sit 
at home after dinner and doze away the fumes of their bev- 
erage in the dulness of domesticity. If the English aristoc- 
racy are more vivacious and cosmopolitan, it is thanks to the 
wines of France, which it is the mode with them to prefer; 
but still, like all plagiarists, they are imitators, not in- 
ventors; they borrow our wines and copy our manners. The 
Germans " 

" Insolent barbarians ! " growled the French Colonel, twirl- 
ing his mustache ; " if the Emperor were not in his dotage, 
their Sadowa would ere this have cost them their Khine." 

"The Germans," resumed Savarin, unheeding the interrup- 
tion, "drink acrid wines, varied with beer, to which last 
their commonalty owes a quasi resemblance in stupidity and 
endurance to the English masses. Acrid wines rot the teeth t 
Germans are afflicted with toothache from infancy. All peo- 
ple subject to toothache are sentimental. Goethe was a mar- 
tyr to toothache. " Werther " was written in one of those 
paroxysms which predispose genius to suicide. But the 
German character is not all toothache; beer and tobacco step 



I 



THE PARISIANS. 305 

in to the relief of Rhenish acridities, blend philosophy with 
sentiment, and give that patience in detail which distin- 
guishes their professors and their generals. Besides, the 
German wines in themselves have other qualities than that 
of acridity. Taken with sourkrout and stewed prunes, they 
produce fumes of self-conceit. A German has little of French 
vanity; he has German self-esteem. He extends the esteem 
of self to those around him; his home, his village, his city, 
his country, all belong to him. It is a duty he owes to 
himself to defend them. Give him his pipe and his sabre, 
and, Monsieur le Colonel, believe me, you will never take the 
Rhine from him." 

"P-r-r," cried the Colonel; "but we have had the Rhine." 

" We did not keep it. And I should not say I had a franc- 
piece if I borrowed it from your purse and had to give it back 
the next day." 

Here there arose a very general hubbub of voices, all raised 
against M. Savarin. Enguerrand, like a man of good ton, 
hastened to change the conversation. 

" Let us leave these poor wretches to their sour wines and 
toothaches. We drinkers of the champagne, all our own, 
have only pity for the rest of the human race. This new 
journal ' Le Sens Commun ' has a strange title, Monsieur 
Savarin." 

"Yes; 'Le Sens Commun' is not common in Paris, where 
we all have too much genius for a thing so vulgar." 

"Pray," said the young painter, "tell me what you mean 
by the title 'Le Sens Commun.' It is mysterious." 

"True," said Savarin; "it may mean the Sensus communis 
of the Latins, or the Good Sense of the English. The Latin 
phrase signifies the sense of the common interest; the Eng- 
lish phrase, the sense which persons of understanding have 
in common. I suppose the inventor of our title meant the 
latter signification." 

"And who was the inventor?" asked Bacourt. 

"That is a secret which I do not know myself," answered 
Savarin. 

" I guess, " said Enguerrand, " that it must be the same per- 
ron, i. 20 



306 THE PARISIANS. 

son who writes the political leaders. They are most remark- 
able; for they are so unlike the articles in other journals, 
whether those journals be the best or the worst. For my own 
part, I trouble my head very little about politics, and shrug 
my shoulders at essays which reduce the government of flesh 
and blood into mathematical problems. But these articles, 
seem to be written by a man of the world, and as a man of 
the world myself, I read them." 

"But," said the Vicomte de Brez6, who piqued himself on 
the polish of his style, " they are certainly not the composi- 
tion of any eminent writer. No eloquence, no sentiment; 
though I ought not to speak disparagingly of a fellow- 
contributor." 

"All that may be very true," said Savarin; "but M. 
Enguerrand is right. The papers are evidently the work of 
a man of the world, and it is for that reason that they have 
startled the public, and established the success of 'Le Sens 
Commun.' But wait a week or two longer, Messieurs, and 
then tell me what you think of a new roman by a new writer, 
which we shall announce in our impression to-morrow. I 
shall be disappointed, indeed, if that does not charm you. No 
lack of eloquence and sentiment there." 

"I am rather tired of eloquence and sentiment," said 
Enguerrand. " Your editor, Gustave Rameau, sickens me of 
them with his 'Starlit Meditations in the Streets of Paris,' 
morbid imitations of Heine's enigmatical 'Evening Songs.' 
Your journal would be perfect if you could suppress the 
editor." 

"Suppress Gustave Rameau!" cried Bernard, the painter; 
"I adore his poems, full of heart for poor suffering humanity." 

"Suffering humanity so far as it is packed up in himself," 
said the physician, dryly, "and a great deal of the suffering 
is bile. But a propos of your new journal, Savarin, there is 
a paragraph in it to-day which excites my curiosity. It says 
that the Vicomte de Maul^on has arrived in Paris, after many 
years of foreign travel ; and then, referring modestly enough 
to the reputation for talent which he had acquired in early 
youth, proceeds to indulge in a prophecy of the future politi- 



THE PARISIANS. 307 

cal career of a man who, if he have a grain of sens commun, 
must think that the less said about him the better. I remem- 
ber him well; a terrible mauvais sujet, but superbly handsome. 
There was a shocking story about the jewels of a foreign 
duchess, which obliged him to leave Paris." 

"But," said Savarin, "the paragraph you refer to hints 
that that story is a groundless calumny, and that the true 
reason for De Maule"on's voluntary self-exile was a very com- 
mon one among young Parisians, he had lavished away his 
fortune. He returns, when, either by heritage or his own 
exertions, he has secured elsewhere a competence." 

"Nevertheless I cannot think that society will receive 
him," said Bacourt. "When he left Paris, there was one 
joyous sigh of relief among all men who wished to avoid 
duels, and keep their wives out of temptation. Society may 
welcome back a lost sheep, but not a re invigorated wolf." 

"I beg your pardon, mon cher," said Enguerrand; "society 
has already opened its fold to this poor ill-treated wolf. Two 
days ago Louvier summoned to his house the surviving rela- 
tions or connections of De Mauleon among whom are the 
Marquis de Rochebriant, the Counts de Passy, De Beauvilliers, 
De Chavigny, my father, and of course his two sons and 
submitted to us the proofs which completely clear the Vi- 
comte de Maule'on of even a suspicion of fraud or dishonour 
in the affair of the jewels. The proofs include the written 
attestation of the Duke himself, and letters from that noble- 
man after De Maule'on 's disappearance from Paris, expres- 
sive of great esteem, and indeed, of great admiration, for 
the Vicomte's sense of honour and generosity of character. 
The result of this family council was that we all went in 
a body to call on De Mauleon ; and he dined with my father 
that same day. You know enough of the Comte de Vande- 
mar, and, I may add, of my mother, to be sure that they 
are both, in their several ways, too regardful of social con- 
ventions to lend their countenance even to a relation with- 
out well weighing the pros and cons. And as for Raoul, 
Bayard himself could not be a greater stickler on the point 
of honour." 



308 THE PARISIANS. 

This declaration was followed by a silence that had the 
character of stupor. 

At last Duplessis said, " But what has Louvier to do in this 
galere ? Louvier is no relation of that well-born vaurien ; 
why should he summon your family council?" 

" Louvier excused his interference on the ground of early 
and intimate friendship with De Mauleon, who, he said, 
came to consult him on arriving at Paris, and who felt 
too proud or too timid to address relations with whom 
he had long dropped all intercourse. An intermediary 
was required, and Louvier volunteered to take that part 
on himself ; nothing more natural nor more simple. By the 
way, Alain, you dine with Louvier to-morrow, do you not? 
a dinner in honour of our rehabilitated kinsman. I and 
Raoul go." 

" Yes, I shall be charmed to meet again a man who, what- 
ever might be his errors in youth, on which," added Alain, 
slightly colouring, "it certainly does not become me to be 
severe, must have suffered the most poignant anguish a man 
of honour can undergo, namely, honour suspected; and who 
now, whether by years or sorrow, is so changed that I cannot 
recognize a likeness to the character I have just heard given 
to him as mauvais sujet and vaurien." 

" Bravo ! " cried Enguerrand ; " all honour to courage ! 
and at Paris it requires great courage to defend the absent." 

"Nay," answered Alain, in a low voice. "The gentil- 
homme who will not defend another gentilhomme traduced, 
would, as a soldier, betray a citadel and desert a flag." 

"You say M. de Mauleon is changed," said De Brez; 
"yes, he must be growing old. No trace left of his good 
looks?" 

"Pardon me," said Enguerrand; "he is bien conserv6, and 
has still a very handsome head and an imposing presence. 
But one cannot help doubting whether he deserved the for- 
midable reputation he acquired in youth; his manner is so 
singularly mild and gentle, his conversation so winningly 
modest, so void of pretence, and his mode of life is as sim 
pie as that of a Spanish Jiidalgo." 



THE PARISIANS. 309 

"He does not, then, affect the role of Monte Cristo," said 
Duplessis, "and buy himself into notice like that hero of 
romance?" 

" Certainly not : he says very frankly that he has but a very 
small income, but more than enough for his wants, richer 
than in his youth, for he has learned content. We may 
dismiss the hint in 'Le Sens Commun' about his future 
political career, at least he evinces no such ambition." 

"How could he as a Legitimist?" said Alain, bitterly. 
"What department would elect him?" 

"But is he a Legitimist?" asked De Br6z6. 

"I take it for granted that he 'must be that," answered 
Alain, haughtily, "for he is a De Mauleon." 

" His father was as good a De Mauleon as himself, I pre- 
sume, " rejoined De Br6z6, dryly ; " and he enjoyed a place at 
the Court of Louis Philippe, which a Legitimist could scarcely 
accept. Victor did not, I fancy, trouble his head about pol- 
itics at all, at the time I remember him; but to judge by his 
chief associates, and the notice he received from the Princes 
of the House of Orleans, I should guess that he had no 
predilections in favour of Henri V." 

"I should regret to think so," said Alain, yet more haugh- 
tily, "since the De Mauleons acknowledge the head of their 
house in the representative of the Rochebriants." 

"At all events," said Duplessis, "M. de Mauleon appears 
to be a philosopher of rare stamp. A Parisian who has 
known riches and is contented to be poor is a phenomenon I 
should like to study." 

"You have that chance to-morrow evening, Monsieur 
Duplessis," said Enguerrand. 

"What! at M. Louvier's dinner? Nay, I have no other 
acquaintance with M. Louvier than that of the Bourse) and 
the acquaintance is not cordial." 

"I did not mean at M. Louvier's dinner, but at the Du- 
chesse de Tarascon's ball. You, as one of her special 
favourites, will doubtless honour her reunion." 

"Yes; I have promised my daughter to go to the ball. But 
the Duchesse is Imperialist. M. de Maule'on aeems to be 






310 THE PARISIANS. 

either a Legitimist, according to Monsieur le Marquis, or an 
Orleanist, according to our friend De Br6ze\" 

"What of that? Can there be a more loyal Bourbonite 
than De Eochebriant? and he goes to the ball. It is given 
out of the season, in celebration of a family marriage. And 
the Duchesse de Tarascon is connected with Alain, and 
therefore with De Mauleon, though but distantly." 

"Ah! excuse my ignorance of genealogy." 

" As if the genealogy of noble names were not the history 
of France," muttered Alain, indignantly. 



CHAPTER II. 

YES, the "Sens Commun" was a success: it had made a 
sensation at, starting; the sensation was on the increase. It 
is difficult for an Englishman to comprehend the full influence 
of a successful journal at Paris ; the station political, liter- 
ary, social which it confers on the contributors who effect 
the success. M. Lebeau had shown much more sagacity in 
selecting Gustave Rameau for the nominal editor than Savarin 
supposed or my reader might detect. In the first place, 
Gustave himself, with all his defects of information and solid- 
ity of intellect, was not without real genius, and a sort of 
genius that when kept in restraint, and its field confined to 
sentiment or sarcasm, was in unison with the temper of the 
day ; in the second place, it was only through Gustave that 
Lebeau could have got at Savarin, and the names which that 
brilliant writer had secured at the outset would have sufficed 
to draw attention to the earliest numbers of the " Sens Com- 
mun," despite a title which did not seem alluring. But these 
names alone could not have sufficed to circulate the new jour- 
nal to the extent it had already reached. This was due to 
the curiosity excited by leading articles of a style new to the 
Parisian public, and of which the authorship defied conject- 



THE PARISIANS. 311 

ure. They were signed Pierre Firmin, supposed to be a 
noun de plume, as, that name was utterly unknown in the 
world of letters. They affected the tone of an impartial ob- 
server; they neither espoused nor attacked any particular 
party; they laid down no abstract doctrines of government. 
But somehow or other, in language terse yet familiar, some- 
times careless yet never vulgar, they expressed a prevailing 
sentiment of uneasy discontent, a foreboding of some destined 
change in things established, without defining the nature of 
such change, without saying whether it would be for good or 
for evil. In his criticisms upon individuals, the writer was 
guarded and moderate the keenest-eyed censor of the press 
could not have found a pretext for interference with expres- 
sion of opinions so polite. Of the Emperor these articles 
spoke little, but that little was not disrespectful; yet, day 
after day, the articles contributed to sap the Empire. All 
malcontents of every shade comprehended, as by a secret of 
freemasonry, that in this journal they had an ally. Against 
religion not a word was uttered, yet the enemies of religion 
bought that journal; still, the friends of religion bought it 
too, for those articles treated with irony the philosophers on 
paper who thought that their contradictory crotchets could 
fuse themselves into any single Utopia, or that any social 
edifice, hurriedly run up by the crazy few, could become a 
permanent habitation for the turbulent many, without the 
damps of a creed. 

The tone of these articles always corresponded with the 
title of the journal, " Common- sense." It was to common- 
sense that it appealed, appealed in the utterance of a man 
who disdained the subtle theories, the vehement declamation, 
the credulous beliefs, or the inflated bombast, which consti- 
tute so large a portion of the Parisian press. The articles 
rather resembled certain organs of the English press, which 
profess to be blinded by no enthusiasm for anybody or any- 
thing, which find their sale in that sympathy with ill-nature 
to which Huet ascribes the popularity of Tacitus, and, always 
quietly undermining institutions with a covert sneer, never 
pretend to a spirit of imagination so at variance with common- 



312 THE PARISIANS. 

sense as a conjecture how the institutions should be rebuilt 
or replaced. 

Well, somehow or other the journal, as I was saying, hit 
the taste of the Parisian public. It intimated, with the easy 
grace of an unpremeditated agreeable talker, that French so- 
ciety in all its classes was rotten; and each class was willing 
to believe that all the others were rotten, and agreed that 
unless the others were reformed, there was something very 
unsound in itself. 

The ball at the Duchesse de Tarascon's was a brilliant 
event. The summer was far advanced; many of the Parisian 
holiday-makers had returned to the capital, but the season 
had not commenced, and a ball at that time of year was a very 
unwonted event. But there was a special occasion for this 
fete, a marriage between a niece of the Duchesse and the 
son of a great official in high favour at the Imperial Court. 

The dinner at Louvier's broke up early, and the music for 
the second waltz was sounding when Enguerrand, Alain, and 
the Vicomte de Mauleon ascended the stairs. Raoul did not 
accompany them ; he went very rarely to any balls, never to 
one given by an Imperialist, however nearly related to him 
the Imperialist might be. But in the sweet indulgence of his 
good-nature, he had no blame for those who did go, not for 
Enguerrand, still less, of course, for Alain. 

Something too might well here be said as to his feeling to- 
wards Victor de Maule"on. He had joined in the family ac- 
quittal of that kinsman as to the grave charge of the jewels ; 
the proofs of innocence thereon seemed to him unequivocal 
and decisive, therefore he had called on the Vicomte and 
acquiesced in all formal civilities shown to him. But such 
acts of justice to a fellow-yentilhomme and a kinsman duly 
performed, he desired to see as little as possible of the Vi- 
comte de Mauleon. He reasoned thus: "Of every charge 
which society made against this man he is guiltless; but of 
all the claims to admiration which society accorded to him 
before it erroneously condemned, there are none which make 
ine covet his friendship, or suffice to dispel doubts as to what 
he may be when society once more receives him. And the 



THE PARISIANS. 8 13 

man is so captivating that I should dread his influence over 
myself did I see much of him." 

Raoul kept his reasonings to himself, for he had that sort 
of charity which indisposes an amiable man to be severe on 
bygone offences. In the eyes of Enguerrand and Alain, and 
such young votaries of the mode as they could influence, 
Victor de Maule'on assumed almost heroic proportions. In 
the affair which had inflicted on him a calumny so odious, it 
was clear that he had acted with chivalrous delicacy of 
honour. And the turbulence and recklessness of his earlier 
years, redeemed as they were, in the traditions of his con- 
temporaries, by courage and generosity, were not offences to 
which young Frenchmen are inclined to be harsh. All ques- 
tion as to the mode in which his life might have been passed 
during his long absence from the capital was merged in the 
respect due to the only facts known, and these were clearly 
proved in his pieces justifi catives: First, that he had served 
under another name in the ranks of the army in Algiers ; had 
distinguished himself there for signal valour, and received, 
with promotion, the decoration of the cross. His real name 
was known only to his colonel, and on quitting the service, 
the colonel placed in his hands a letter of warm eulogy on his 
conduct, and identifying him as Victor de Maule'on. Sec- 
ondly, that in California he had saved a wealthy family from 
midnight murder, fighting single-handed against and over- 
mastering three ruffians, and declining all other reward from 
those he had preserved than a written attestation of their 
gratitude. In all countries, valour ranks high in the list of 
virtues ; in no country does it so absolve from vices as it does 
in France. 

But as yet Victor de Maule*on's vindication was only known 
by a few, and those belonging to the gayer circles of life. 
How he might be judged by the sober middle class, which 
constitutes the most important section of public opinion to a 
candidate for political trusts and distinctions, was another 
question. 

The Duchesse stood at the door to receive her visitors. 
Duplessis was seated near the entrance, by the side of a dig- 



314 THE PARISIANS. 

tinguished member of the Imperial Government, with whom 
he was carrying on a whispered conversation. The eye of 
the financier, however, turned towards the doorway as Alain 
and Enguerrand entered, and passing over their familiar 
faces, fixed itself attentively on that of a much older man 
whom Enguerrand was presenting to the Duchesse, and in 
whom Duplessis rightly divined the Vicomte de Mauleon. 
Certainly if no one could have recognized M. Lebeau in the 
stately personage who had visited Louvier, still less could one 
who had heard of the wild feats of the roi des viveurs in his 
youth reconcile belief in such tales with the quiet modesty of 
mien which distinguished the cavalier now replying, with 
bended head and subdued accents, to the courteous welcome 
of the brilliant hostess. But for such difference in attributes 
between the past and the present De Mauleon, Duplessis had 
been prepared by the conversation at the Maison Doree. 
And now, as the Vicomte, yielding his place by the Duchesse 
to some new-comer, glided on, and, leaning against a column, 
contemplated the gay scene before him with that expression 
of countenance, half sarcastic, half mournful, with which men 
regard, after long estrangement, the scenes of departed joys, 
Duplessis felt that no change in that man had impaired the 
force of character which had made him the hero of reckless 
coevals. Though wearing no beard, not even a mustache, 
there was something emphatically masculine in the contour 
of the close-shaven cheek and resolute jaw; in a forehead 
broad at the temples, and protuberant in those organs over 
the eyebrows which are said to be significant of quick percep- 
tion and ready action; in the lips, when in repose compressed, 
perhaps somewhat stern in their expression, but pliant and 
mobile when speaking, and wonderfully fascinating when they 
smiled. Altogether, about this Victor de Mauleon there was 
a nameless distinction, apart from that of conventional ele- 
gance. You would have said, "That is a man of some 
marked individuality, an eminence of some kind in himself." 
You would not be surprised to hear that he was a party- 
leader, a skilled diplomatist, a daring soldier, an adventurous 



THE PARISIANS. 315 

traveller; but you would not guess him to be a student, an 
author, an artist. 

While Duplessis thus observed the Vicomte de Mauleon, 
all the while seeming to lend an attentive ear to the whis- 
pered voice of the Minister by his side, Alain passed on into 
the ball-room. He was fresh enough to feel the exhilara- 
tion of the dance. Enguerrand (who had survived that ex- 
citement, and who habitually deserted any assembly at an 
early hour for the cigar and whist of his club) had made his 
way to De Mauleon, and there stationed himself. The lion 
of one generation has always a mixed feeling of curiosity 
and respect for the lion of a generation before him, and the 
young Vandemar had conceived a strong and almost an affec- 
tionate interest in this discrowned king of that realm in fash- 
ion which, once lost, is never to be regained; for it is only 
Youth that can hold its sceptre and command its subjects. 

"In this crowd, Vicomte," said Enguerrand, "there must 
be many old acquaintances of yours?" 

"Perhaps so, but as yet I have only seen new faces." 

As he thus spoke, a middle-aged man, decorated with the 
grand cross of the Legion and half-a-dozen foreign orders, 
lending his arm to a lady of the same age radiant in dia- 
monds, passed by towards the ball-room, and in some sudden 
swerve of his person, occasioned by a pause of his companion to 
adjust her train, he accidentally brushed against De Mauleon, 
whom he had not before noticed. Turning round to apologize 
for his awkwardness, he encountered the full gaze of the 
Vicomte, started, changed countenance, and hurried on his 
companion. 

"Do you not recognize his Excellency?" said Enguerrand, 
smiling. "His cannot be a new face to you." 

"Is it the Baron de Lacy?" asked De Mauleon. 

"The Baron de Lacy, now Comte d'Epinay, ambassador at 
the Court of - , and, if report speak true, likely soon to 
exchange that post for the porte feuille of Minister." 

"He has got on in life since I saw him last, the little Baron. 
He was then my devoted imitator, and I was not proud of the 
imitation." 






316 THE PARISIANS. 

" He has got on by always clinging to the skirts of some 
one stronger than himself, to yours, I dare say, when, being 
a parvenu despite his usurped title of baron, he aspired to the 
entree into clubs and salons. The entree thus obtained, the 
rest followed easily; he became a millionnaire through a 
wife's dot, and an ambassador through the wife's lover, who 
is a power in the State." 

" But he must have substance in himself. Empty bags can- 
not be made to stand upright. Ah ! unless I mistake, I see 
some one I knew better. Yon pale, thin man, also with the 
grand cross surely that is Alfred Hennequin. Is he too a 
decorated Imperialist? I left him a socialistic Republican." 

"But, I presume, even then an eloquent avocat. He got 
into the Chamber, spoke well, defended the coup-d'etat. He 
has just been made Prefet of the great department of the 

, a popular appointment. He bears a high character. 

Pray renew your acquaintance with him; he is coming this 
way." 

"Will so grave a dignitary renew acquaintance with me? I 
doubt it." 

But as De Maule'on said this, he moved from the column, 
and advanced towards the Prefet. Enguerrand followed him, 
and saw the Vicomte extend his hand to his old acquaintance. 

The Prefet stared, and said, with frigid courtesy, " Pardon 
me, some mistake." 

"Allow me, Monsieur Hennequin," said Enguerrand, inter- 
posing, and wishing good-naturedly to save De Maule'on the 
awkwardness of introducing himself, "allow me to re-intro- 
duce you to my kinsman, whom the lapse of years may well 
excuse you for forgetting, the Vicomte de Maule'on." 

Still the Prefet did not accept the hand. He bowed with 
formal ceremony, said, " I was not aware that Monsieur le 
Vicomte had returned to Paris," and moving to the doorway, 
made his salutation to the hostess and disappeared. 

"The insolent!" muttered Enguerrand. 

" Hush ! " said De Mauleon, quietly, " I can fight no more 
duels, especially with a Prefet. But I own I am weak 
enough to feel hurt at such a reception from Hennequin, for 









THE PARISIANS. 317 

he owed me some obligations, small, perhaps, but still they 
were such as might have made me select him, rather than 
Louvier, as the vindicator of my name, had I known him to 
be so high placed. But a man who has raised himself into 
an authority may well be excused for forgetting a friend 
whose character needs defence. I forgive him." 

There was something pathetic in the Vicomte's tone which 
touched Enguerrand's warm if light heart. But De Mauleon 
did not allow him time to answer. He went on quickly 
through an opening in the gay crowd, which immediately 
closed behind him, and Enguerrand saw him no more that 
evening. 

Duplessis ere this had quitted his seat by the Minister, 
drawn thence by a young and very pretty girl resigned to his 
charge by a cavalier with whom she had been dancing. She 
was the only daughter of Duplessis, and he valued her even 
more than the millions he had made at the Bourse. "The 
Princess," she said, "has been swept off in the train of some 
German Royalty; so, petit pere, I must impose myself on 
thee." 

The Princess, a Russian of high rank, was the chaperon 
that evening of Mademoiselle Vale'rie Duplessis. 

"And I suppose I must take thee back into the ball- 
room," said the financier, smiling proudly, "and find thee 
partners." 

"I don't want your aid for that, Monsieur; except this 
quadrille, my list is pretty well filled up." 

" And I hope the partners will be pleasant. Let me know 
who they are," he whispered, as they threaded their way into 
the ball-room. 

The girl glanced at her tablet. 

"Well, the first on the list is milord somebody, with an 
unpronounceable English name." 

"Beau cavalier?" 

"No; ugly, old too; thirty at least." 

Duplessis felt relieved. He did not wish his daughter to 
fall in love with an Englishman. 

" And the next? " 



318 THE PARISIANS. 

" The next? " she said hesitatingly, and he observed that a 
soft blush accompanied the hesitation. 

" Yes, the next. Not English too? " 

"Oh, no; the Marquis de Kochebriant." 

"Ah! who presented him to thee? " 

"Thy friend, petit pere, M. de Breze." 

Duplessis again glanced at his daughter's face; it was bent 
over her bouquet. 

"Is he ugly also?" 

" Ugly ! " exclaimed the girl, indignantly ; " why, he is " 
she checked herself and turned away her head. 

Duplessis became thoughtful. He was glad that he had 
accompanied his child into the ball-room ; he would stay there, 
and keep watch on her and Rochebriant also. 

Up to that moment he had felt a dislike to Rochebriant. 
That young noble's too obvious pride of race had nettled him, 
not the less that the financier himself was vain of his ances- 
try. Perhaps he still disliked Alain, but the dislike was 
now accompanied with a certain, not hostile, interest ; and if 
he became connected with the race, the pride in it might grow 
contagious. 

They had not been long in the ball-room before Alain 
came up to claim his promised partner. In saluting Duplessis, 
his manner was the same as usual, not more cordial, not less 
ceremoniously distant. A man so able as the financier cannot 
be without quick knowledge of the human heart. 

" If disposed to fall in love with Vale'rie," thought Duplessis, 
"he would have taken more pains to please her father. Well, 
thank heaven, there are better matches to be found for 
her than a noble without fortune and a Legitimist without 
career. " 

In fact, Alain felt no more for Vale'rie than for any other 
pretty girl in the room. In talking with the Vicomte de 
Brez6 in the intervals of the dance, he had made some pass- 
ing remark on her beauty. De Breze had said, "Yes, she is 
charming; I will present you," and hastened to do so before 
Rochebriant even learned her name. So introduced, he could 
but invite her to give him her first disengaged dance, and 



THE PARISIANS. 



319 



when that was fixed, he had retired, without entering into 
conversation. 

Now, as they took their places in the quadrille, he felt that 
effort of speech had become a duty, if not a pleasure ; and of 
course, he began with the first commonplace which presented 
itself to his mind. 

"Do you not think it a very pleasant ball, Mademoiselle?" 

"Yes," dropped, in almost inaudible reply, from Valerie's 
rosy lips. 

"And not over-crowded, as most balls are?" 

Valerie's lips again moved, but this time quite inaudibly. 

The obligations of the figure now caused a pause. Alain 
racked his brains and began, 

" They tell me the last season was more than usually gay ; 
of that I cannot judge, for it was well-nigh over when I came 
to Paris for the first time." 

Valerie looked up with a more animated expression than 
her childlike face had yet shown, and said, this time dis- 
tinctly, "This is my first ball, Monsieur le Marquis." 

" One has only to look at Mademoiselle to divine that fact, " 
replied Alain, gallantly. 

Again the conversation was interrupted by the dance; but 
the ice between the two was now broken; and when the qua- 
drille was concluded, and Rochebriant led the fair Valerie 
bark to her father's side, she felt as if she had been listening 
to the music of the spheres, and that the music had now sud- 
denly stopped. Alain, alas for her! was under no such pleas- 
ing illusion. Her talk had seemed to him artless indeed, but 
very insipid, compared with the brilliant conversation of the 
wedded Parisiennes with whom he more habitually danced; 
;md it was with rather a sensation of relief that he made his 
parting bow, and receded into the crowd of bystanders. 

MtMmvhilo De Mauleon had quitted the assemblage, walk- 
ing slowly through the deserted streets towards his apartment. 
The civilities he had met at Louvier's dinner-party, and the 
marked distinction paid to him by kinsmen of rank and posi- 
tion so unequivocal as Alain and Enguerrand, had softened 
his mood and cheered his spirits. He had begun to question 



320 THE PARISIANS. 

himself whether a fair opening to his political ambition was 
really forbidden to him under the existent order of things, 
whether it necessitated the employment of such dangerous 
tools as those to which anger and despair had reconciled his 
intellect. But the pointed way in which he had been shunned 
or slighted by the two men who belonged to political life 
two men who in youth had looked up to himself, and whose 
dazzling career of honours was identified with the Imperial 
system reanimated his fiercer passions and his more peril- 
ous designs. The frigid accost of Hennequin more especially 
galled him; it wounded not only his pride but his heart; it 
had the venom of ingratitude, and it is the peculiar privilege 
of ingratitude to wound hearts that have learned to harden 
themselves to the hate or contempt of men to whom no ser- 
vices have been rendered. In some private affair concerning 
his property, De Maul eon had had occasion to consult 
Hennequin, then a rising young avocat. Out of that consul- 
tation a friendship had sprung up, despite the differing habits 
and social grades of the two men. One day, calling on 
Hennequin, he found him in a state of great nervous excite- 
ment. The avocat had received a public insult in the salon 
of a noble, to whom De Mauleon had introduced him, from a 
man who pretended to the hand of a young lady to whom 
Hennequin was attached, and indeed almost affianced. The 
man was a notorious spadassin, a duellist little less re- 
nowned for skill in all weapons than De Mauleon himself. 
The affair had been such that Hennequin's friends assured 
him he had no choice but to challenge this bravo. Hennequin, 
brave enough at the bar, was no hero before sword-point or 
pistol. He was utterly ignorant of the use of either weapon; 
his death in the encounter with an antagonist so formidable 
seemed to him certain, and life was so precious, an honour- 
able and distinguished career opening before him,- marriage 
with the woman he loved. Still he had the Frenchman's 
point of honour. He had been told that he must fight; well, 
then, he must. He asked De Mauleon to be one of his sec- 
onds, and in asking him, sank in his chair, covered his face 
with his hands, and burst into tears, 



THE PARISIANS. 



821 



" Wait till to-morrow, " said De Maul&m ; " take no step 
till then. Meanwhile, you are in niy hands, and I answer for 
your honour." 

On leaving Hennequin, Victor sought the spadassin at the 
club of which they were both members, and contrived, with- 
out reference to Hennequin, to pick a quarrel with him. A 
challenge ensued; a duel with swords took place the next 
morning. De Mauleon disarmed and wounded his antagonist, 
not gravely, but sufficiently to terminate the encounter. He 
assisted to convey the wounded man to his apartment, and 
planted himself by his bedside, as if he were a friend. 

"Why on earth did you fasten a quarrel on me?" asked the 
spadassin ; " and why, having done so, did you spare my life ; 
for your sword was at my heart when you shifted its point, 
and pierced my shoulder?" 

"I will tell you, and in so doing, beg you to accept my 
friendship hereafter, on one condition. In the course of the 
day, write or dictate a few civil words of apology to M. 
Hennequin. Ma foi ! every one will praise you for a gener- 
osity so becoming in a man who has given such proofs of cour- 
age and skill to an avocat who has never handled a sword nor 
fired a pistol." 

That same day De Mauleon remitted to Hennequin an apol- 
ogy for heated words freely retracted, which satisfied all his 
friends. For the service thus rendered by De Mauleon, 
Hennequin declared himself everlastingly indebted. In fact, 
he entirely owed to that friend his life, his marriage, his 
honour, his career. 

"And now," thought De Maule'on, "now, when he could so 
easily requite me, now he will not even take my hand. Is 
human nature itself at war with me?" 



tot, i.- 



322 THE PARISIAK3. 



CHAPTER in. 

NOTHING could be simpler than the apartment of the Vi- 
comte de Maule"on, in the second story of a quiet old-fashioned 
street. It had been furnished at small cost out of his sav- 
ings. Yet, on the whole, it evinced the good taste of a man 
who had once been among the exquisites of the polite world. 

You felt that you were in the apartment of a gentleman, 
and a gentleman of somewhat severe tastes, and of sober ma- 
tured years. He was sitting the next morning in the room 
which he used as a private study. Along the walls were ar- 
ranged dwarf bookcases, as yet occupied by few books, most 
of them books of reference, others cheap editions of the 
French classics in prose no poets, no romance-writers, 
with a few Latin authors also in prose, Cicero, Sallust, 
Tacitus. He was engaged at his desk writing, a book with 
its leaves open before him, " Paul Louis Courier, " that model 
of political irony and masculine style of composition. There 
was a ring at his door-bell. The Vicomte kept no servant. 
He rose and answered the summons. He recoiled a few paces 
on recognizing his visitor in M. Hennequin. 

The Pr6fet this time did not withdraw his hand; he ex- 
tended it, but it was with a certain awkwardness and timidity. 

" I thought it my duty to call on you, Vicomte, thus early, 
having already seen M. Enguerrand de Vandemar. He has 
shown me the copies of the pieces which were inspected by 
your distinguished kinsmen, and which completely clear you 
of the charge that grant me your pardon when I say 
seemed to me still to remain unanswered when I had the 
honour to meet you last night." 

" It appears to me, Monsieur Hennequin, that you, as an 
avocat so eminent, might have convinced yourself very readily 
of that fact," 



THE PARISIANS. 



323 



"Monsieur le Vicomte, I was in Switzerland with my wife 
at the time of the unfortunate affair in which you were 
involved." 

" But when you returned to Paris, you might perhaps have 
deigned to make inquiries so affecting the honour of one you 
had called a friend, and for whom you had professed " De 
Mauleon paused ; he disdained to add " an eternal gratitude. " 

Hennequin coloured slightly, but replied with self-pos- 
session. 

" I certainly did inquire. I did hear that the charge against 
you with regard to the abstraction of the jewels was with- 
drawn, that you were therefore acquitted by law ; but I heard 
also that society did not acquit you, and that, finding this, 
you had quitted France. Pardon me again, no one would lis- 
ten to me when I attempted to speak on your behalf. But 
now that so many years have elapsed, that the story is imper- 
fectly remembered, that relations so high-placed receive you 
so cordially, now I rejoice to think that you will have no 
difficulty in regaining a social position never really lost, but 
for a time resigned." 

"I am duly sensible of the friendly joy you express. I 
was reading the other day in a lively author some pleasant 
remarks on the effects of m^disance or calumny upon our im- 
pressionable Parisian public. 'If,' says the writer, 'I found 
myself accused of having put the two towers of Notre Dame 
into my waistcoat-pocket I should not dream of defending 
myself; I should take to flight. And,' adds the writer, 'if 
my best friend were under the same accusation, I should be 
so afraid of being considered his accomplice that I should put 
my best friend outside the door.' Perhaps, Monsieur 
Hennequin, I was seized with the "first alarm. Why should 
I blame you if seized with the second? Happily, this good 
city of Paris has its reactions. And you can now offer me 
your hand. Paris has by this time discovered that the two 
towers of Notre Dame are not in my pocket." 

There was a pause. De Mauleon had resettled himself at 
his desk, bending over his papers, and his manner seemed to 
imply that he considered the conversation at an end, 



324 THE PARISIANS. 

But a pang of shame, of remorse, of tender remembrance, 
shot across the heart of the decorous, worldly, self-seeking 
man, who owed all that he now was to the ci-devant vaurien 
before him. Again he stretched forth his hand, and this time 
grasped De Mauleon' s warmly. "Forgive me," he said, feel- 
ingly and hoarsely ; " forgive me, I was to blame. By char- 
acter, and perhaps by the necessities of my career, I am over- 
timid to public opinion, public scandal. Forgive me. Say if 
in anything now I can requite, though but slightly, the ser- 
vice I owe you." 

De Mauleon looked steadily at the Prtfet, and said slowly, 
"Would you serve me in turn? Are you sincere?" 

The Prefet hesitated a moment, then answered firmly, 
"Yes." 

"Well, then, what I ask of you is a frank opinion, not as 
lawyer, not as Prefet, but as a man who knows the present 
state of French society. Give that opinion without respect 
to my feelings one way or other. Let it emanate solely from 
your practised judgment." 

"Be it so," said Hennequin, wondering what was to come. 

De Mauleon resumed, 

" As you may remember, during my former career I had no 
political ambition. I did not meddle with politics. In the 
troubled times that immediately succeeded the fall of Louis 
Philippe I was but an epicurean looker-on. Grant that, so 
far as admission to the salons is concerned, I shall encounter 
no difficulty in regaining position; but as regards the Cham- 
ber, public life, a political career, can I have my fair opening 
under the Empire? You pause. Answer as you have prom- 
ised, frankly." 

" The difficulties in the way of a political career would be 
very great." 

"Insuperable?" 

" I fear so. Of course, in my capacity of Prefet, T have no 
small influence in my department in support of a Government 
candidate. But I do not think that the Imperial Government 
could, at this time especially, in which it must be very cau- 
tious in selecting its candidates, be induced to recommend 






THE PARISIANS. 325 

you. The affair of the jewels would be raked up; your vin- 
dication disputed, denied; the fact that for so many years 
you have acquiesced in that charge without taking steps to 
refute it; your antecedents, even apart from that charge; 
your present want of property (M. Enguerrand tells me your 
income is but moderate) ; the absence of all previous repute 
in public life. No; relinquish the idea of political contest, 
it would expose you to inevitable mortifications, to a fail- 
ure that would even jeopardize the admission to the salons 
which you are now gaining. You could not be a Government 
candidate." 

" Granted. I may have no desire to be one ; but an opposi* 
tion candidate, one of the Liberal party?" 

"As an Imperialist," said Hennequin, smiling gravely, 
"and holding the office I do, it would not become me to en- 
courage a candidate against the Emperor's Government. But 
speaking with the frankness you solicit, I should say that 
your chances there are infinitely worse. The Opposition are 
in a pitiful minority, the most eminent of the Liberals can 
scarcely gain seats for themselves; great local popularity or 
property, high established repute for established patriotism, 
or proved talents of oratory and statesmanship, are essential 
qualifications for a seat in the Opposition; and even these do 
not suffice for a third of the persons who possess them. Be 
again what you were before, the hero of salons remote from 
the turbulent vulgarity of politics." 

"I am answered. Thank you once more. The service I 
rendered you once is requited now." 

"No, indeed, no; but will you dine with me quietly to- 
day, and allow me to present to you my wife and two chil- 
dren, born since we parted? I say to-day, for to-morrow I 
return to my Prefecture." 

"I am infinitely obliged by your invitation, but to-day I 
dine with the Comte de Beauvilliers to meet some of the Corps 
Diplomatique. I must make good my place in the salons, 
since you so clearly show me that I have no chance of one in 
the Legislature unless " 

"Unless what?" 



326 THE PARISIANS. 

"Unless there happen one of those revolutions in which 
the scuni comes uppermost." 

"No fear of that. The subterranean barracks and railway 
have ended forever the rise of the scum, the reign of the 
canaille and its barricades." 

" Adieu, my dear Hennequin. My respectful hommages a 
Madame. " 

After that day the writing of Pierre Firmin in "Le Sens 
Commun," though still keeping within the pale of the law, 
became more decidedly hostile to the Imperial system, still 
without committing their author to any definite programme 
of the sort of government that should succeed it. 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE weeks glided on. Isaura's manuscript had passed into 
print; it came out in the French fashion of feuilletons, a 
small detachment at a time. A previous flourish of trumpets 
by Savarin and the clique at his command insured it atten- 
tion, if not from the general public, at least from critical and 
literary coteries. Before the fourth instalment appeared it 
had outgrown the patronage of the coteries; it seized hold of 
the public. It was not in the last school in fashion; inci- 
dents were not crowded and violent, they were few and 
simple, rather appertaining to an elder school, in which poe- 
try of sentiment and grace of diction prevailed. That very 
resemblance to old favourites gave it the attraction of novelty. 
In a word, it excited a pleased admiration, and great curios- 
ity was felt as to the authorship. When it oozed out that it 
was by the young lady whose future success in the musical 
world had been so sanguinely predicted by all who had heard 
her singj the interest wonderfully increased. Petitions to be 
introduced to her acquaintance were showered upon Savarin. 
Before she scarcely realized her uawniug fame, she was drawn 



THE PARISIANS. 827 

from her quiet home and retired habits; she was fetee and 
courted in the literary circle of which Savarin was a chief. 
That circle touched, on one side, Bohemia; on the other, 
that realm of politer fashion which, in every intellectual 
metropolis, but especially in Paris, seeks to gain borrowed 
light from luminaries in art and letters. But the very admi- 
ration she obtained somewhat depressed, somewhat troubled 
her; after all, it did not differ from that which was at her 
command as a singer. 

On the one hand, she shrank instinctively from the caresses 
of female authors and the familiar greetings of male authors, 
who frankly lived in philosophical disdain of the conventions 
respected by sober, decorous mortals. On the other hand, in 
the civilities of those who, while they courted a rising celeb- 
rit} r , still held their habitual existence apart from the artistic 
world, there was a certain air of condescension, of patronage, 
towards the young stranger with no other protector but Sig- 
nora Venosta, the ci-devant public singer, and who had made 
her debut in a journal edited by M. Gustave Rameau, which, 
however disguised by exaggerated terms of praise, wounded 
her pride of woman in flattering her vanity as author. Among 
this latter set were wealthy, high-born men, who addressed 
her as woman as woman beautiful and young with words 
of gallantry that implied love, but certainly no thought of 
marriage, many of the most ardent were indeed married 
already. But once launched into the thick of Parisian hospi- 
talities, it was difficult to draw back. The Venosta wept at 
the thought of missing some lively soiree, and Savarin laughed 
at her shrinking fastidiousness as that of a child's ignorance 
of the world. But still she had her mornings to herself; and 
in those mornings, devoted to the continuance of her work 
(for the commencement was in print before a third was com- 
pleted), she forgot the commonplace world that received her 
in the evenings. Insensibly to herself the tone of this work 
had changed as it proceeded. It had begun seriously indeed, 
but in the seriousness there was a certain latent joy. It might 
he the joy of having found vent of utterance; it might be 
rather a joy still more latent, inspired by the remembrance of 



328 THE PARISIANS. 

Graham's words and looks, and by the thought that she had 
renounced all idea of the professional career which he had 
evidently disapproved. Life then seemed to her a bright pos- 
session. We have seen that she had begun her roman without 
planning how it should end. She had, however, then meant 
it to end, somehow or other, happily. Now the lustre had 
gone from life ; the tone of the work was saddened ; it fore- 
boded a tragic close. But for the general reader it became, 
with every chapter, still more interesting; the poor child had 
a singularly musical gift of style, a music which lent itself 
naturally to pathos. Every very young writer knows how his 
work, if one of feeling, will colour itself from the views of 
some truth in his innermost self; and in proportion as it 
does so, how his absorption in the work increases, till it be- 
comes part and parcel of his own mind and heart. The pres- 
ence of a hidden sorrow may change the fate of the beings he 
has created, and guide to the grave those whom, in a happier 
vein, he would have united at the altar. It is not till a later 
stage of experience and art that the writer escapes from the 
influence of his individual personality, and lives in existences 
that take no colourings from his own. Genius usually must 
pass through the subjective process before it gains the objec- 
tive. Even a Shakspeare represents himself in the Sonnets 
before no trace of himself is visible in a Falstaff or a Lear. 

No news of the Englishman, not a word. Isaura could not 
but feel that in his words, his looks, that day in her own garden, 
and those yet happier days at Enghien, there had been more 
than friendship; there had been love, love enough to jus- 
tify her own pride in whispering to herself, "And I love 
too." But then that last parting! how changed he was! how 
cold! She conjectured that jealousy of Rameau might, in 
some degree, account for the coldness when he first entered 
the room, but surely not when he left; surely not when she 
had overpassed the reserve of her sex, and implied by signs 
rarely misconstrued by those who love that he had no cause 
for jealousy of another. Yet he had gone, parted with her 
pointedly as a friend, a mere friend. How foolish she had 
been to think this rich ambitious foreigner could ever have 



: 



THE PARISIANS. 329 

meant to be more ! In the occupation of her work she thought 
to banish his image ; but in that work the image was never 
absent ; there were passages in which she pleadingly addressed 
it, and then would cease abruptly, stifled by passionate tears. 
Still she fancied that the work would reunite them ; that in 
its pages he would hear her voice and comprehend her heart. 
And thus all praise of the work became very, very dear to 
her. 

At last, after many weeks, Savarin heard from Graham. 
The letter was dated Aix-la-Chapelle, at which the English - 
man said he might yet be some time detained. In the letter 
Graham spoke chiefly of the new journal : in polite compli- 
ment of Savarin's own effusions; in mixed praise and con 
demnation of the political and social articles signed Pierre 
Firmin, praise of their intellectual power, condemnation of 
their moral cynicism. 

" The writer," he said, " reminds me of a passage in which Montes- 
quieu compares the heathen philosophers to those plants which the 
earth produces in places that have never seen the heavens. The soil of 
his experience does not grow a single belief ; and as no community can 
exist without a belief of some kind, so a politician without belief can but 
help to destroy ; he cannot reconstruct. Such writers corrupt a society ; 
they do not reform a system," 



He closed his letter with a reference to Isaura : 



" Do, in your reply, my dear Savarin, tell me something about your 
friends Signora Venosta and the Signorina, whose work, so far as yet 
published, I have read with admiring astonishment at the power of a 
female writer so young to rival the veteran practitioners of fiction in the 
creation of interest in imaginary characters, and in sentiments which, if 
they appear somewhat over-romantic and exaggerated, still touch very 
fine chords in human nature not awakened in our trite every-day existence. 
I presume that the beauty of the roman has been duly appreciated by a 
public so refined as the Parisian, and that the name of the author is gener- 
ally known. No doubt she is now much the rage of the literary circles, 
and her career as a writer may be considered fixed. Pray present my 
congratulations to the Signorina when you see her." 

Savarin had been in receipt of this letter some days before 
he called on Isaura, and carelessly showed it to her. She 



330 THE PARISIANS. 

took it to the window to read, in order to conceal the trem- 
bling of her hands. In a few minutes she returned it 
silently. 

"Those Englishmen," said Savarin, "have not the heart of 
compliment. I am by no means nattered by what he says of 
my trifles, and I dare say you are still less pleased with this 
chilly praise of your charming tale; but the man means to be 
civil." 

" Certainly, " said Isaura, smiling faintly. 

" Only think of Rameau ! " resumed Savarin. " On the 
strength of his salary in the 'Sens Commun,' and on the 
chateaux en Espagne which he constructs thereon, he has 
already furnished an apartment in the Chaussee d'Antiu, and 
talks of setting up a coup& in order to maintain the dignity 
of letters when he goes to dine with the duchesses who are 
some day or other to invite him. Yet I admire his self- 
confidence, though I laugh at it. A man gets on by a spring 
in his own. mechanism, and he should always keep it wound 
up. Rameau will make a figure. I used to pity him ; I begin 
to respect. Nothing succeeds like success. But I see I am 
spoiling your morning. Au revoir, mon enfant." 

Left alone, Isaura brooded in a sort of mournful wonder- 
ment over the words referring to herself in Graham's letter. 
Read though but once, she knew them by heart. What! did 
he consider those characters she had represented as wholly 
imaginary? In one the most prominent, the most attractive 
could he detect no likeness to himself? What! did he con- 
sider so "over-romantic and exaggerated" sentiments which- 
couched appeals from her heart to his? Alas! in matters of 
sentiment it is the misfortune of us men that even the most 
refined of us often grate upon some sentiment in a woman, 
though she may not be romantic, not romantic at all, as peo- 
ple go, some sentiment which she thought must be so ob- 
vious if we cared a straw about her, and which, though we prize 
her above the Indies, is by our dim, horn-eyed, masculine vis- 
ion undiscernible. It may be something in itself the airiest 
of trifles : the anniversary of a day in which the first kiss was 
interchanged, nay, of a violet gathered, a misunderstanding 



THE PARISIANS. 331 

cleared up; and of that anniversary we remember no more 
than we do of our bells and ooral. But she she remembers 
it; it is no bells and coral to her. Of course, much is to be 
said in excuse of man, brute though he be. Consider the 
multiplicity of his occupations, the practical nature of his 
cares. But granting the validity of all such excuse, there is 
in man an original obtuseness of fibre as regards sentiment in 
comparison with the delicacy of weman's. It comes, per- 
haps, from the same hardness of constitution which forbids 
us the luxury of ready tears. Thus it is very difficult for the 
wisest man to understand thoroughly a woman. Goethe says 
somewhere that the highest genius in man must have much 
of the woman in it. If this be true, the highest genius alone 
in man can comprehend and explain the nature of woman, be- 
cause it is not remote from him, but an integral part of his 
masculine self. I am not sure, however, that it necessitates 
the highest genius, but rather a special idiosyncrasy in genius 
which the highest may or may not have. I think Sophocles 
a higher genius than Euripides; but Euripides has that idio- 
syncrasy, and Sophocles not. I doubt whether women would 
accept Goethe as their interpreter with the same readiness 
with which they would accept Schiller. Shakspeare, no 
doubt, excels all poets in the comprehension of women, in 
his sympathy with them in the woman-part of his nature 
which Goethe ascribes to the highest genius; but, putting 
aside that "monster," I do not remember any English poet 
whom we should consider conspicuously eminent in that lore, 
unless it be the prose poet, nowadays generally underrated 
and little read, who wrote the letters of Clarissa Harlowe. I 
say all this in vindication of Graham Vane, if, though a very 
clever man in his way, and by no means uninstructed in hu- 
man nature, he had utterly failed in comprehending the mys- 
teries which to this poor woman-child seemed to need no key 
for one who really loved her. But we have said somewhere 
lieiore in this book that music speaks in a language which 
cannot explain itself except in music. So speaks, in the hu- 
man heart, much which is akin to music. Fiction (that is, 
poetry, whether in form of rhyme or prose) speaks thus pretty 



332 THE PARISIANS. 

often. A reader must be more commonplace than, I trust, my 
gentle readers are, if he suppose that when Isaura symbolized 
the real hero of her thoughts in the fabled hero of her ro- 
mance, she depicted him as one of whom the world could say, 
"That is Graham Vane." I doubt if even a male poet would 
so vulgarize any woman whom he thoroughly reverenced and 
loved. She is too sacred to him to be thus unveiled to the 
public stare; as the sweetest of all ancient love-poets says 
well 

" Qui sapit in tacito gaudeat ille sinu." 

But a girl, a girl in her first untold timid love, to let the 
world know, " that is the man I love and would die for ! " if 
such a. girl be, she has no touch of the true woman-genius, 
and certainly she and Isaura have nothing in common. Well, 
then, in Isaura's invented hero, though she saw the arche- 
typal form of Graham Vane, saw him as in her young, 
vague, romantic dreams idealized, beautified, transfigured, 
he would have been the vainest of men if he had seen therein 
the reflection of himself. On the contrary he said, in the 
spirit of that jealousy to which he was too prone, "Alas! 
this, then, is some ideal, already seen perhaps, compared to 
which how commonplace am I ! " and thus persuading him- 
self, no wonder that the sentiments surrounding this unrecog- 
nized archetype appeared to him over -romantic. His taste 
acknowledged the beauty of form which clothed them; his 
heart envied the ideal that inspired them. But they seemed 
so remote from him; they put the dreamland of the writer 
farther and farther from his workday real life. 

In this frame of mind, then, he had written to Savarin, and 
the answer he received hardened it still more. Savarin had 
replied, as was his laudable wont in correspondence, the very 
day he received Graham's letter, and therefore before he had 
even seen Isaura. In his reply, he spoke much of the success 
her work had obtained ; of the invitations showered upon her, 
and the sensation she caused in the salons ; of her future 
career, with hope that she might even rival Madame de 
Grantmesnil some day, when her ideas became emboldened 



I 



THE PARISIANS. 333 

by maturer experience, and a closer study of that model of 
eloquent style, saying that the young editor was evidently 
becoming enamoured of his fair contributor; and that Madame 
Savarin had ventured the prediction that the Signorina's 
roman would end in the death of the heroine, and the marriage 
of the writer. 



CHAPTER V. 

AND still the weeks glided on : autumn succeeded to sum- 
mer, the winter to autumn; the season of Paris was at its 
height. The wondrous capital seemed to repay its Imperial 
embellisher by the splendour and the joy of its fetes. But 
the smiles on the face of Paris were hypocritical and hollow. 
The Empire itself had passed out of fashion. Grave men 
and impartial observers felt anxious. Napoleon had re- 
nounced les id6es Napol&oniennes. He was passing into the 
category of constitutional sovereigns, and reigning, not by 
his old undivided prestige, but by the grace of party. The 
press was free to circulate complaints as to the past and de- 
mands as to the future, beneath which the present reeled, 
ominous of earthquake. People asked themselves if it were 
possible that the Empire could co-exist with forms of govern- 
ment not imperial, yet not genuinely constitutional, with a 
majority daily yielding to a minority. The basis of universal 
suffrage was sapped. About this time the articles in the 
" Sens Commun " signed Pierre Firmin were creating not only 
considerable sensation, but marked effect on opinion ; and the 
sale of the journal was immense. 

Necessarily the repute and the position of Gustave Rameau, 
as the avowed editor of this potent journal, rose with its 
success. Nor only his repute and position; bank-notes of 
considerable value were transmitted to him by the publisher, 
with the brief statement that they were sent by the sole pro- 



334 THE PARISIANS. 

prietor of the paper as the editor's fair share of profit. The 
proprietor was never named, but Rameau took it for granted 
that it was M. Lebeau. M. Lebeau he had never seen since 
the day he had brought him the list of contributors, and was 
then referred to the publisher, whom he supposed M. Lebeau 
had secured, and received the first quarter of his salary in 
advance. The salary was a trifle compared to the extra 
profits thus generously volunteered. He called at Lebeau's 
office, and saw only the clerk, who said that his chef was 
abroad. 

Prosperity produced a marked change for the better, if not 
in the substance of Rameau's character, at least in his man- 
ners and social converse. He no longer exhibited that rest- 
less envy of rivals, which is the most repulsive symptom of 
vanity diseased. He pardoned Isaura her success; nay, he 
was even pleased at it. The nature of her work did not clash 
with his own kind of writing. It was so thoroughly woman- 
like that One could not compare it to a man's. Moreover, 
that success had contributed largely to the profits by which 
he had benefited, and to his renown as editor of the journal 
which accorded place to this new-found genius. But there 
was a deeper and more potent cause for sympathy with the 
success of his fair young contributor. He had imperceptibly 
glided into love with her, a love very different from that 
with which poor Julie Caumartin flattered herself she had in- 
spired the young poet. Isaura was one of those women for 
whom, even in natures the least chivalric, love, however ar- 
dent, cannot fail to be accompanied with a certain reverence, 
the reverence with which the ancient knighthood, in its 
love for women, honoured the ideal purity of womanhood it- 
self. Till then Rameau had never revered any one. 

On her side, brought'so frequently into communication with 
the young conductor of the journal- in which she wrote, Isaura 
entertained for him a friendly, almost sister-like affection. 

I do not think that, even if she had never known the Eng- 
lishman, she would have really become in love with Rameau, 
despite the picturesque beauty of his countenance and the 
congeniality of literary pursuits ; but perhaps she might have 



THE PARISIANS. 335 

fancied herself in love with him. And till one, whether 
man or woman, has known real love, fancy is readily mis- 
taken for it. But little as she had seen of Graham, and that 
little not in itself wholly favourable to him, she knew in her 
heart of hearts that his image would never be replaced by one 
equally dear. Perhaps in those qualities that placed him in 
opposition to her she felt his attractions. The poetical in 
woman exaggerates the worth of the practical in man. Still 
for Rameau her exquisitely kind and sympathizing nature 
conceived one of those sentiments which in woman are al- 
most angel-like. We have seen in her letters to Madame de 
Grantmesnil that from the first he inspired her with a com- 
passionate interest; then the compassion was checked by her 
perception of his more unamiable and envious attributes. 
But now those attributes, if still existent, had ceased to be 
apparent to her, and the compassion became unalloyed. In- 
deed, it was thus so far increased that it was impossible for 
any friendly observer to look at the beautiful face of this 
youth, prematurely wasted and worn, without the kindliness of 
pity. His prosperity had brightened and sweetened the ex- 
pression of that face, but it had not effaced the .vestiges of 
decay; rather perhaps deepened them, for the duties of his 
post necessitated a regular labour, to which he had been unac- 
customed, and the regular labour necessitated, or seemed to 
him to necessitate, an increase of fatal stimulants. He im- 
bibed absinthe with everything he drank, and to absinthe he 
united opium. This, of course, Isaura knew not, any more 
than she knew of his liaison with the "Ondine" of his muse; 
she saw only the increasing delicacy of his face and form, 
contrasted by his increased geniality and liveliness of spirits, 
and the contrast saddened her. Intellectually, too, she felt 
for him compassion. She recognized and respected in him 
the yearnings of a genius too weak to perform a tithe of what, 
in the arrogance of youth, it promised to its ambition. She 
saw, too, those struggles between a higher and a lower self, 
to which a weak degree of genius united with a strong degree 
of arrogance is so often subjected. Perhaps she over-esti- 
mated the. degree of genius, and what, if rightly guided, it 



336 



THE PARISIANS. 



could do ; but she did, in the desire of her own heavenlier in- 
stinct, aspire to guide it heavenward. And as if she were 
twenty years older than himself, she obeyed that desire in 
remonstrating and warning and urging, and the young man 
took all these " preachments " with a pleased submissive pa- 
tience. Such, as the new year dawned upon the grave of the 
old one, was the position between these two. And nothing 
more was heard from Graham Vane. 



CHAPTEE VI. 

IT has now become due to Graham Vane, and to his place 
in the estimation of my readers, to explain somewhat more 
distinctly the nature of the quest in prosecution of which he 
had sought the aid of the Parisian police, and under an as- 
sumed name made the acquaintance of M. Lebeau. 

The best way of discharging this duty will perhaps be to 
place before the reader the contents of the letter which passed 
under Graham's eyes on the day in which the heart of the 
writer ceased to beat. 

(Confidential. To be opened immediately after my death, and before the 
perusal of my will. Richard King.) 

To GRAHAM VANE, Esq. 

MY DEAR GRAHAM, By the direction on the envelope of this let- 
ter, " Before the perusal of my will," I have wished to save you from the 
disappointment you would naturally experience if you learned my be- 
quest without being prevised of the conditions which I am about to im- 
pose upon your honour. You will see ere you conclude this letter that 
you are the only man living to whom 1 could intrust the secret it con- 
tains and the task it enjoins. 

You are aware that I was not born to the fortune that passed to me 
by the death of a distant relation, who had, in my earlier youth, children 
of his own. I was an only son, left an orphan at the age of sixteen with 



THE PARISIANS. 337 

a very slender pittance. My guardians designed me for the medical 
profession. I began my studies at Edinburgh, and was sent to Paris to 
complete them. It so chanced that there I lodged in the same house 
with an artist named Auguste Duval, who, failing to gain his livelihood as 
a painter, in what for his style was ambitious is termed the Histori- 
cal School, had accepted the humbler calling of a drawing- master. He 
had practised in that branch of the profession for several years at Tours, 
having a good clientele among English families settled there. This 
clientele, as he frankly confessed, he had lost from some irregularities of 
conduct. He was not a bad man, but of convivial temper, and easily led 
into temptation. He had removed to Paris a few months before I made 
his acquaintance. He obtained a few pupils, and often lost them as 
soon as gained. He was unpunctual and addicted to drink. But he 
had a small pension, accorded to him, he was wont to say mysteriously, 
by some high-born kinsfolk, too proud to own connection with a draw- 
ing-master, and on the condition that he should never name them. He 
never did name them to me, and I do not know to this day whether the 
story of this noble relationship was true or false. A pension, however, 
he did receive quarterly from some person or other, and it was an 
unhappy provision for him. It tended to make him an idler in his 
proper calling ; and whenever he received the payment he spent it in 
debauch, to the neglect, while it lasted, of his pupils. This man had 
residing with him a young daughter, singularly beautiful. You may 
divine the rest. 1 fell in love with her, a love deepened by the com- 
passion with which she inspired me. Her father left her so frequently 
that, living on the same floor, we saw much of each other. Parent and 
child were often in great need, lacking even fuel or food. Of course 
I assisted them to the utmost of my scanty means Much as I was fas- 
cinated by Louise Duval, I was not blind to great defects in her charac- 
ter. She was capricious, vain, aware of her beauty, and sighing for the 
pleasures or the gauds beyond her reach. I knew that she did not love 
me, there was little, indeed, to captivate her fancy in a poor, 
threadbare medical student, and yet I fondly imagined that my own 
persevering devotion would at length win her affections. I spoke to her 
father more than once of my hope some day to make Louise my wife. 
This hope, I must frankly acknowledge, he never encouraged. On the 
contrary, he treated it with scorn, " His child with her beauty would 
look much higher ; " but he continued all the same to accept my assistance, 
and to sanction my visits. At length my slender purse was pretty well 
exhausted, and the luckless drawing-master was so harassed with petty 
debts that further credit became impossible. At this time I happened 
*o hear from a fellow-student that his sister, who was the principal of a 
VOL. 122 



338 



THE PARISIANS. 



lady's school in Cheltenham, had commissioned him to look out for a first- 
rate teacher of drawing with whom her elder pupils could converse in 
French, but who should be sufficiently acquainted with English to make 
his instructions intelligible to the young. The salary was liberal, the 
school large and of high repute, and his appointment to it would open to 
an able teacher no inconsiderable connection among private families. I 
communicated this intelligence to Duval. He caught at it eagerly. He 
had learned at Tours to speak English fluently; and as his professional 
skill was of high order, and he was popular with several eminent artists, 
he obtained certificates as to his talents, which my fellow-student for- 
warded tg England with specimens of Duval's drawings. In a few days 
the offer of an engagement arrived, was accepted, and Duval and his 
daughter set out for Cheltenham. At the eve of their departure, Louise, 
profoundly dejected at the prospect of banishment to a foreign country, 
and placing no trust in her father's reform to steady habits, evinced a 
tenderness for me hitherto new ; she wept bitterly ; she allowed me to 
believe that her tears flowed at the thought of parting with me, and 
even besought me to accompany them to Cheltenham, if only for a few 
days. You may suppose how delightedly I complied with the request. 
Duval had been about a week at the watering-place, and was discharg- 
ing the duties he had undertaken with such unwonted steadiness and 
regularity that I began sorrowfully to feel T had no longer an excuse 
for not returning to my studies at Paris, when the poor teacher was 
seized with a fit of paralysis. He lost the power of movement, and his 
mind was affected. The medical attendant called in said that he might 
linger thus for some time, but that, even if he recovered his intellect, 
which was more than doubtful, he would never be able to resume his pro- 
fession. I could not leave Louise in circumstances so distressing, I 
remained. The little money Duval had brought from Paris was now 
exhausted ; and when the day on which he had been in the habit of 
receiving his quarter's pension came round, Louise was unable even to 
conjecture how it was to be applied for. It seems lie had always gone 
for it in perscn ; but to whom he went was a secret which lie had never 
divulged, and at this critical juncture his mind was too enfeebled even 
to comprehend us when we inquired. I had already drawn from the 
small capital on the interest of which I had maintained myself; I now 
drew out most of the remainder. Kut this was a resource that could not 
last long. Nor could I, without seriously compromising Louise's char- 
acter, be constantly in the house with a girl so young, and whose sole 
legitimate protector was thus afflicted. There seemed but one alterna- 
tive to that of abandoning her altogether, namely, to make her my 
wife, to conclude the studies necessary to obtain my diploma, and pur- 



THE PARISIANS. 339 

chase some partnership in a small country practice with the scanty sur- 
plus that might be left of my capital. I placed this option before Louis* 
timidly, for I could not bear the thought of forcing her inclinations 
She seemed much moved by what she called my generosity : she con- 
sented; we were married. I way, as you may conceive, wholly ignorant 
of French law. We were married according to the English ceremony 
and the Protestant ritual. Shortly after our marriage we all three 
returned to Paris, taking an apartment in a quarter remote from that 
in which we had before lodged, in order to avoid any harassment to 
which such small creditors as Duval had left behind him might subject 
us. I resumed my studies with redoubled energy, and Louise was neces- 
sarily left much alone with her poor father in the daytime. The defects 
in her character became more and more visible. She reproached me 
for the solitude to which I condemned her ; our poverty galled her ; she 
had no kind greeting for me when I returned at evening, wearied out. 
Before marriage she had not loved me ; after marriage, alas ! I fear she 
hated. We had been returned to Paris some months when poor Duval 
died; he had never recovered his faculties, nor had we ever learned 
from whom his pension had been received. Very soon after her father's 
death I observed a singular change in the humour and manner of Louise. 
She was no longer peevish, irascible, reproachful; but taciturn and 
thoughtful. She seemed to me under the influence of some suppressed 
excitement, her cheeks flushed and her eye abstracted. At length, one 
evening when I returned I found her gone. She did not come back that 
night nor the next day. It was impossible for me to conjecture what 
had become of her. She had no friends, so far as I knew ; no one had 
visited at our squalid apartment. The poor house in which we lodged 
had no concierge whom I could question ; but the ground-floor was 
occupied by a small tobacconist's shop, and the woman at the counter 
told nit- that for some days before my wife's disappearance, she had 
observed her pass the shop-window in going out in the afternoon and 
returning towards the evening. Two terrible conjectures beset me: 
either in her walk she had met some admirer, with whom she had fled ; 
or, unable to bear the companionship and poverty of a union which she 
hail begun to loathe, she had gone forth to drown herself in the Seine. 
On the third day from her flight I received the letter 1 enclose. Possi- 
bly the handwriting may serve you as a guide in the mission I intrust to 
you. 

MONSIEUR, You have deceived me vilely, taken advantage of my inex- 
perienced youth and friendless position to decoy me into an illegal marriage. 
My only consolation under my calamity and disgrace is, that I am at least 
free from a detested bond You will not see me again, it is idle to attempt 



340 THE PARISIANS. 

to do so. I have obtained refuge with relations whom I have been fortunate 
enough to discover, and to whom I intrust my fate ; and even if you could 
learn the shelter I have sought, and have the audacity to molest me, you 
would but subject yourself to the chastisement you so richly deserve. 

LOUISE DUVAL. 

At the perusal of this cold-hearted, ungrateful letter, the love I had 
felt for this woman already much shaken by her wayward and per- 
verse temper vanished from my heart, never to return. But as an 
honest man, my conscience was terribly stung. Could it be possible that 
I had unknowingly deceived her, that our marriage was not legal ? 

When I recovered from the stun which was the first effect of her 
letter, I sought the opinion of an avoue in the neighbourhood, named 
Sartiges, and to my dismay, I learned that while I, marrying according 
to the customs of my own country, was legally bound to Louise in 
England, and could not marry another, the marriage was in all ways 
illegal for her, being without the consent of her relations while she 
was under age ; without the ceremonials of the Roman Catholic Church, 
to which, though I never heard any profession of religious belief from 
her or her father, it might fairly be presumed that she belonged ; and, 
above all, without the form of civil contract which is indispensable to 
the legal marriage of a French subject. 

The avoue said that the marriage, therefore, in itself was null, and 
that Louise could, without incurring legal penalties for bigamy, marry 
again in France according to the French laws ; but that under the 
circumstances it was probable that her next of kin would apply on her 
behalf to the proper court for the formal annulment of the marriage, 
which would be the most effectual mode of saving her from any moles- 
tation on my part, and remove all possible questions hereafter as to her 
single state and absolute right to remarry. I had better remain quiet, 
and wait for intimation of further proceedings. I knew not what else 
to do. and necessarily submitted. 

From this wretched listlessness of mind, alternated now by vehement 
resentment against Louise, now by the reproach of my own sense of 
honour in leaving that honour in so questionable a point of view, I was 
aroused by a letter from the distant kinsman by whom hitherto 1 had 
been so neglected. In the previous year he had lost one of his two 
children ; the other was just dead. No nearer relation now surviving 
stood between me and my chance of inheritance from him. He wrote 
word of his domestic affliction with a manly sorrow which touched me, 
said that his health was failing, and begged me, as soon as possible, 
to come and visit him in Scotland. I went, and continued to reside 



THE PARISIANS. 341 

with him till his death, some months afterwards. By his will I suc- 
ceeded to his ample fortune on condition of taking bis name. 

As soon as the affairs connected with this inheritance permitted, I 
returned to Paris, and again saw M. Sartiges. I had never heard from 
Louise, nor from any one connected with her since the letter you 
have read. No steps had been taken to annul the marriage, and suffi- 
cient time had elapsed to render it improbable that such steps would be 
taken now ; but if no such steps were taken, however free from the 
marriage-bond Louise might be, it clearly remained binding on myself. 

At my request, M. Sartiges took the most vigorous measures that 
occurred to him to ascertain where Louise was, and what and who was 
the relation with whom she asserted she had found refuge. The police 
were employed; advertisements were issued, concealing names, but 
sufficiently clear to be intelligible to Louise if they came under her eye, 
and to the effect that if any informality in our marriage existed, she 
was implored for her own sake to remove it by a second ceremonial 
answer to be addressed to the avoue. No answer came ; the police had 
hitherto failed of discovering her, but were sanguine of success, when a 
few weeks after these advertisements a packet reached M. Sartiges, 
enclosing the certificates annexed to this letter, of the death of Louise 
Duval at Munich. The certificates, as you will see, are to appearance 
officially attested and unquestionably genuine. So they were considered 
by M. Sartiges as well as by myself. Here, then, all inquiry ceased ; 
the police were dismissed. I was free. By little and little I overcame 
the painful impressions which my ill-starred union and the announce- 
ment of Louise's early death bequeathed. Rich, and of active mind, I 
learned to dismiss the trials of my youth as a gloomy dream. 1 entered 
into public life ; I made myself a creditable position ; became acquainted 
with your aunt ; we were wedded, and the beauty of her nature em- 
bellished mine. Alas, alas ! two years after our marriage nearly five 
years after I had received the certificates of Louise's death I and 
your aunt made a summer excursion into the country of the Rhine ; on 
our return we rested at Aix-la-Chapelle. One day while there I was 
walking alone in the environs of the town, when, on the road, a little 
girl, seemingly about five years old, in chase of a butterfly, stumbled 
and fell just before my feet; I took her up, and as she was crying more 
from the shock of the fall than any actual hurt, I was still trying my 
best to comfort her, when a lady some paces behind her came up, and 
in taking the child from my arms as I was bending over her, thanked 
me in a voice that made my heart stand still. 1 looked up, and beheld 
Louise. 

It was not till I had convulsively clasped her hand and uttered her 



342 THE PARISIANS. 

name that she recognized me. I was, no doubt, the more altered of the 
two, prosperity and happiness had left little trace of the needy, care- 
worn, threadbare student. But if she were the last to recognize, she 
was the first to recover self-possession. The expression of her face 
became hard and set. I cannot pretend to repeat with any verbal 
accuracy the brief converse that took place between us, as she placed 
the child on the grass bank beside the path, bade her stay there quietly, 
and walked on with me some paces as if she did not wish the child to 
hear what was said. 

The purport of what passed was to this effect : She refused to explain 
the certificates of her death further than that, becoming aware of what 
she called the " persecution " of the advertisements issued and inquiries 
instituted, she had caused those documents to be sent to the address 
given in the advertisement, in order to terminate all further molesta- 
tion. But how they could have been obtained, or by what art so 
ingeniously forged as to deceive the acuteness of a practised lawyer, 1 
know not to this day. She declared, indeed, that she was now happy, 
in easy circumstances, and that if I wished to make some reparation for 
the wrong I had done her, it would be to leave her in peace ; and in 
case which was not likely we ever met again, to regard and treat 
her as a stranger ; that she, on her part, never would molest me, and 
that the certified death of Louise Duval left me as free to marry again 
as she considered herself to be. 

My mind was so confused, so bewildered, while she thus talked, that 
I did not attempt to interrupt her. The blow had so crushed me that 
I scarcely struggled under it ; only, as she turned to leave me, I sud- 
denly recollected that the child, when taken from my arms, had called 
her " Maman," and, judging by the apparent age of the child, it must 
have been born but a few months after Louise had left me, that it 
must be mine. And so, in my dreary woe, I faltered out, " But what 
of your infant ? Surely that has on me a claim that you relinquish for 
yourself. You were not unfaithful to me while you deemed you were 
my wife ? " 

" Heavens 1 can you insult me by such a doubt ? No ! " she cried 
out, impulsively and haughtily. " But as I was not legally your wife, 
the child is not legally yours; it is mine, and only mine. Nevertheless, 
if you wish to claim it '' here she paused as in doubt. I saw at once 
that she was prepared to resign to me the child if I had urged her to 
do so. I must own, with a pang of remorse, that I recoiled from such a 
proposal. What could I do with the child? How explain to my wife 
the cause of my interest in it ? If only a natural child of mine, I 
should have shrunk from owning to Janet a vouthful error. But as it 






THE PARISIANS. 343 

was, the child by a former marriage, the former wife still living I 
my blood ran cold with dread. And if I did take the child, invent 
what story I might as to its parentage, should I not expose myself, 
expose Janet, to terrible constant danger ? The mother's natural affec- 
tion might urge her at any time to seek tidings of the child, and in so 
doing she might easily discover my new name, and, perhaps years 
hence, establish on me her own claim. 

No, I could not risk such perils. I replied sullenly, " You say 
rightly ; the child is yours, only yours." I was about to add an offer 
of pecuniary provision for it, but Louise had already turned scornfully 
towards the bank on which she had left the infant. I saw her snatch 
from the child's hand some wild flowers the poor thing had been 
gathering; and how often have I thought of the rude way in which 
she did it, not as a mother who loves her child. Just then other 
passengers appeared on the road ; two of them I knew, an English 
couple very intimate with Lady Janet and myself. They stopped to 
accost me, while Louise passed by with the infant towards the town. I 
turned in the opposite direction, and strove to collect my thoughts. 
Terrible as was the discovery thus suddenly made, it was evident that 
Louise had as strong an interest as myself to conceal it. There was 
little chance that it would ever be divulged. Her dress and that of the 
child were those of persons in the richer classes of life. After all, 
doubtless, the child needed not pecuniary assistance from me, and was 
surely best off under the mother's care. Thus I sought to comfort and 
to delude myself. 

The next day Janet and I left Aix-la-Chapelle and returned to 
England. But it was impossible for me to banish the dreadful thought 
that Janet was not legally my wife ; that could she even guess the 
secret lodged in my breast she would be lost to me forever, even though 
she died of the separation (you know well how tenderly she loved me). 
My nature underwent a silent revolution. I had previously cherished 
the ambition common to most men in public life, the ambition for 
famo, for place, for power. That ambition left me; I shrank from the 
thought of becoming too well known, lest Louise or her connections, as 
yet ignorant of my new name, might more easily learn what the world 
know: namely, that I had previously borne another name, the name 
of her husband, and finding me wealthy and honoured, might here- 
after be tempted to claim for herself or her daughter the ties she ad- 
jured for both while she deemed me poor and despised. But partly my 
conscience, partly the influence of the angel by my side, compelled me 
to seek whatever means of doing good to others position and circum- 
stances placed at my dispoial. I was alarmed when even such quiet 



344 THE PARISIANS. 

exercise of mind and fortune acquired a sort of celebrity. How pain- 
fully I shrank from it ! The world attributed my dread of publicity to 
unaffected modesty. The world praised me, and I knew myself an 
impostor. But the years stole on. I heard no more of Louise or her 
child, and my fears gradually subsided. Yet 1 was consoled when the 
two children born to me by Janet died in their infancy. Had they 
lived, who can tell whether something might not have transpired to 
prove them illegitimate V 

I must hasten on. At last came the great and crushing calamity of 
my life, I lost the woman who was my all in all. At least she was 
spared the discovery that would have deprived me of the right of tend- 
ing her deathbed, and leaving within her tomb a place vacant for 
myself. 

But after the first agonies that followed her loss, the conscience I 
had so long sought to tranquillize became terribly reproachful. Louise 
had forfeited all right to my consideration, but my guiltless child had 
not done so. Did it live still ? If so, was it not the heir to my fortune.-, 
the only child left to me ? True, I have the absolute right to dis- 
pose of my wealth . it is not in land ; it is not entailed : but was not the 
daughter I had forsaken morally the first claimant ; was no reparation 
due to her ? You remember that my physician ordered me, some little 
time after your aunt's death, to seek a temporary change of scene. I 
obeyed, and went away no one knew whither. Well, I repaired to 
Paris; there I sought M. Sartiges, the avoue. I found he had been 
long dead. 1 discovered his executors, and inquired if any papers or 
correspondence between Richard Macdonald and himself many years 
ago were in existence. All such documents, with others not returned 
to correspondents at his decease, had been burned by his desire. No 
possible clew to the whereabouts of Louise, should any have been 
gained since I last saw her, was left. What then to do I knew not. 1 
did not dare to make inquiries through strangers, which, if discovering 
my child, might also bring to light a marriage that would have dis- 
honoured the memory of my lost saint. I returned to England, feeling 
that my days were numbered. It is to you that I transmit the task of 
those researches which I could not institute. I bequeath to you, with 
the exception of trifling legacies and donations to public charities, the 
whole of my fortune ; but you will understand by this letter that it is to 
be held on a trust which I cannot specify in my will. I could not, 
without dishonouring the venerated name of your aunt, indicate as the 
heiress of my wealth a child by a wife living at the time I married 
Janet. I cannot form any words for such a devise which would not 
grouse gossip and suspicion, and furnish ultimately a clew to the discov 



THE PARISIANS. 845 

ery I would shun. I calculate that, after all deductions, the sum that 
will devolve to you will be about 220,000. That which I mean to 
be absolutely and at once yours is the comparatively trifling legacy of 
20,000. If Louise's child be not living, or if you find full reason to 
suppose that despite appearances the child is not mine, the whole of my 
fortune lapses to you ; but should Louise be surviving and need pecun- 
iary aid, you will contrive that she may have such an annuity as you 
may deem fitting, without learning whence it come. You perceive that 
it is your object, if possible, even more than mine, to preserve free from 
slur the name and memory of her who was to you a second mother. All 
ends we desire would be accomplished could you, on discovering my 
lost child, feel that, without constraining your inclinations, you could 
make her your wife. She would then naturally share with you my for- 
tune, and all claims of justice and duty would be quietly appeased. 
She would now be of age suitable to yours. When I saw her at Aix 
she gave promise of inheriting no small share of her mother's beauty. 
If Louise's assurance of her easy circumstances were true, her daughter 
has possibly been educated and reared with tenderness and care. You 
have already assured me that you have no prior attachment. But if, 
on discovering this child, you find her already married, or one whom you 
could not love nor esteem, I leave it implicitly to your honour and judg- 
ment to determine what share of the 200,000 left in your hands should 
be consigned to her. She may have been corrupted by her mother's 
principles. She may Heaven forbid 1 have fallen into evil courses, 
and wealth would be misspent in her hands. In that case a competence 
sufficing to save her from further degradation, from the temptations of 
poverty, would be all that I desire you to devote from my wealth. On 
the contrary, you may find in her one who, in all respects, ought to be 
my chief inheritor. All this I leave in full confidence to you, as being, 
of all the men I know, the one who unites the highest sense of honour 
with the largest share of practical sense and knowledge of life. The 
main difficulty, whatever this lost girl may derive from my substance, 
will be in devising some means to convey it to her so that neither she 
nor those around her may trace the bequest to me. She can never be 
acknowledged as my child, never ! Your reverence for the beloved 
dead forbids that. This difficulty your clear strong sense must over- 
come ; mine is blinded by the shades of death. You too will deliber- 
ately consider how to institute the inquiries after mother and child so 
as not to betray our secret. This will require great caution. You will 
probably commence at Paris, through the agency of the police, to whom 
you will be very guarded in your communications. It is most unfor- 
tunate that I have no miniature of Louiie, and that any description of 



346 THE PARISIANS. 

her must be so vague that it may not serve to discover her ; but such as 
it is, it may prevent your mistaking for her some other of her name. 
Louise was above the common height, and looked taller than she was, 
with the peculiar combination of very dark hair, very fair complexion, 
and light-gray eyes. She would now be somewhat under the age of 
forty. She was not without accomplishments, derived from the com- 
panionship with her father. She spoke English fluently ; she drew 
with taste, and even with talent. You will see the prudence of confin- 
ing research at first to Louise, rather than to the child who is the 
principal object of it ; for it is not till you can ascertain what has be- 
come of her that you can trust the accuracy of any information respect- 
ing the daughter, whom J assume, perhaps after all erroneously, to be 
mine. Though Louise talked with such levity of holding herself free to 
marry, the birth of her child might be sufficient injury to her reputation 
to become a serious obstacle to such second nuptials, not having taken 
formal steps to annul her marriage with myself. If not thus remarrk'd, 
there would be no reason why she should not resume her maiden name 
of Duval, as she did in the signature of her letter to me : finding that I 
had ceased to molest her by the inquiries, to elude which she had in- 
vented the false statement of her death. It seems probable, therefore, 
that she is residing somewhere in Paris, and in the name of Duval. Of 
course the burden of uncertainty as to your future cannot be left to op- 
press you for an indefinite length of time. If at the end, say, of two 
years, your researches have wholly failed, consider three-fourths of my 
whole fortune to have passed to you, and put by the fourth to accumu- 
late, should the child afterwards be discovered, and satisfy your judg- 
ment as to her claims on me as her father. Should she not, it will be a 
reserve fund for your own children. But oh, if my child could be found 
in time ! and oh, if she be all that could win your heart, and be the 
wife you would select from free choice ! I can say no more. Pity me, 
and judge leniently of Janet's husband. 

R K. 

The key to Graham's conduct is now given, the deep sor- 
row that took him to the tomb of the aunt he so revered, and 
whose honoured memory was subjected to so great a risk ; the 
slightness of change in his expenditure and mode of life, 
after an inheritance supposed to be so ample; the abnegation 
of his political ambition; the subject of his inquiries, and 
the cautious reserve imposed upon them; above all, the posi- 
tion towards Isaura in which he was so cruelly placed. 



THE PARISIANS. 347 

Certainly, his first thought in revolving the conditions of 
his trust had been that of marriage with this lost child of 
Richard King's, should she be discovered single, disengaged, 
and not repulsive to his inclinations. Tacitly he subscribed 
to the reasons for this course alleged by the deceased. It 
was the simplest and readiest plan of uniting justice to the 
rightful inheritor with care for a secret so important to the 
honour of his aunt, of Richard King himself, his benefactor, 
of the illustrious house from which Lady Janet had eprung. 
Perhaps, too, the consideration that by this course a fortune 
so useful to his career was secured was not without influence 
on the mind of a man naturally ambitious. But on that 
consideration he forbade himself to dwell. He put it away 
from him as a sin. Yet, to marriage with any one else, until 
his mission was fulfilled, and the uncertainty as to the extent 
of his fortune was dispelled, there interposed grave practical 
obstacles. How could he honestly present himself to a girl 
and to her parents in the light of a rich man, when in reality 
he might be but a poor man? How could he refer to any 
lawyer the conditions which rendered impossible any settle- 
ment that touched a shilling of the large sum which at any 
day he might have to transfer to another? Still, when once 
fully conspicuous how deep was the love with which Isaura 
had inspired him, the idea of wedlock with the daughter of 
Richard King, if she yet lived and was single, became inad- 
missible. The orphan condition of the young Italian smoothed 
away the obstacles to proposals of marriage which would 
have embarrassed his addresses to girls of his own rank, and 
with parents who would have demanded settlements. And 
if he had found Isaura alone on that day on which he had 
seen her last, he would doubtless have yielded to the voice 
of his heart, avowed his love, wooed her own, and committed 
both to the tie of betrothal. We have seen how rudely such 
yearnings of his heart were repelled on that last interview. 
His English prejudices were so deeply rooted, that, even if 
he had been wholly free from the trust bequeathed to him, he 
would have recoiled from marriage with a girl who, in the ar- 
dour for notoriety, could link herself with such associates as 



348 THE PARISIANS. 

Gustave Rameau, by habits a Bohemian, and by principles a 
Socialist. 

In flying from Paris, he embraced the resolve to banish all 
thought of wedding Isaura, and to devote himself sternly to 
the task which had so sacred a claim upon him. Not that he 
could endure the idea of marrying another, even if the lost 
heiress should be all that his heart could have worshipped, 
had that heart been his own to give; but he was impatient of 
the burden heaped on him, of the fortune which might not 
be his, of the uncertainty which paralyzed all his ambitious 
schemes for the future. 

Yet, strive as he would and no man could strive more 
resolutely he could not succeed in banishing the image of 
Isaura. It was with him always; and with it a sense of irre- 
parable loss, of a terrible void, of a pining anguish. 

And the success of his inquiries at Aix-la-Chapelle, while 
sufficient to detain him in the place, was so slight, and ad- 
vanced by such slow degrees, that it furnished no continued 
occupation to his restless mind. M. Renard was acute and 
painstaking. But it was no easy matter to obtain any trace 
of a Parisian visitor to so popular a Spa so many years ago. 
The name Duval, too, was so common, that at Aix, as we 
have seen at Paris, time was wasted in the chase of a Duval 
who proved not to be the lost Louise. At last M. Renard 
chanced on a house in which, in the year 1849, two ladies 
from Paris had lodged for three weeks. One was named 
Madame Duval, the other Madame Marigny. They were both 
young, both very handsome, and much of the same height and 
colouring. But Madame Marigny was the handsomer of the 
two. Madame Duval frequented the gaming-tables and was 
apparently of very lively temper. Madame Marigny lived 
very quietly, rarely or never stirred out, and seemed in deli- 
cate health. She, however, quitted the apartment somewhat 
abruptly, and, to the best of the lodging-house-keeper's recol- 
lection, took rooms in the country near Aix she could not 
remember where. About two months after the departure of 
Madame Marigny, Madame Duval also left Aix, and in com- 
pany with a French gentleman who had visited her much of 









THE PARISIANS. 349 

late, a handsome man of striking appearance. The lodging- 
house-keeper did not know what or who he was. She remem- 
bered that he used to be announced to Madame Duval by the 
name of M. Achille. Madame Duval had never been seen 
again by the lodging-house-keeper after she had left. But 
Madame Marigny she had once seen, nearly five years after 
she had quitted the lodgings, seen her by chance at the rail- 
way station, recognized her at once, and accosted her, offering 
her the old apartment. Madame Marigny had, however, 
briefly replied that she was only at Aix for a few hours, and 
should quit it the same day. 

The inquiry now turned towards Madame Marigny. The 
date on which the lodging-house-keeper had last seen her 
coincided with the year in which Richard King had met 
Louise. Possibly, therefore, she might have accompanied the 
latter to Aix at that time, and could, if found, give informa- 
tion as to her subsequent history and present whereabouts. 

After a tedious search throughout all the environs of Aix, 
Graham himself came, by the merest accident, upon the ves- 
tiges of Louise's friend. He had been wandering alone in 
the country round Aix, when a violent thunderstorm drove 
him to ask shelter in the house of a small farmer, situated in 
a field, a little ..off the byway which he had taken. While 
waiting for the cessation of the storm, and drying his clothes 
by Jhe fire in a room that adjoined the kitchen, he entered 
into conversation with the farmer's wife, a pleasant, well- 
mannered person, and made some complimentary observation 
on a small sketch of the house in water-colours that hung 
upon the wall. "Ah," said the farmer's wife, "that was 
done by a French lady who lodged here many years ago. 
She drew very prettily, poor thing." 

"A lady who lodged here many years ago, how many?" 
"Well, I guess somewhere about twenty." 
"Ah, indeed! Was it a Madame Marigny?" 
" Bon Dieu ! That was indeed her name. Did you know 
her? I should be so glad to hear she is well and I hope 
happy." 

kl do not know where she is now, and am making inquiries 



350 THE PARISIANS. 

to ascertain. Pray help me. How long did Madame Marigny 
lodge with you? " 

" I think pretty well two months ; yes, two months. She 
left a month after her confinement." 

"She was confined here? " 

"Yes. When she first came, I had no idea that she was 
enceinte. She had a pretty figure, and no one would have 
guessed it, in the way she wore her shawl. Indeed I only 
began to suspect it a few days before it happened ; and that 
was so suddenly, that all was happily over before we could 
send for the accoucheur" 

"And the child lived? a girl or a boy?" 

"A girl, the prettiest baby." 

" Did she take the child with her when she went? " 

"No; it was put out to nurse with a niece of my husband 
who was confined about the same time. Madame paid liber- 
ally in advance, and continued to send money half-yearly, till 
she came herself and took away the little girl." 

"When was that, a little less than five years after she 
had left it? " 

"Why, you know all about it, Monsieur; yes, not quite 
five years after. She did not come to see me, which I thought 
unkind, but she sent me, through my niece-in-law, a real gold 
watch and a shawl. Poor dear lady for lady she was all 
over, with proud ways, and would not bear to be questioned. 
But I am sure she was none of your French light ones, but 
an honest wife like myself, though she never said so." 

" And have you no idea where she was all the five years 
she was away, or where she went after reclaiming her child? " 

"No, indeed, Monsieur." 

" But her remittances for the infant must have been made 
by letters, and the letters would have had post-marks?" 

"Well, I dare say; I am no scholar myself. But suppose 
you see Marie Hubert, that is my niece-in-law, perhaps she 
has kept the envelopes." 

"Where does Madame Hubert live?" 

"It is just a league off by the short path; you can't miss 
the way. Her husband has a bit of land of his own. but he 






THE PARISIANS. 351 

is also a carrier 'Max Hubert, carrier,' written over the 
door, just opposite the first church you get to. The rain has 
ceased, but it may be too far for you to-day." 

" Not a bit of it. Many thanks." 

" But if you find out the dear lady and see her, do tell her 
how pleased I should be to hear good news of her and the 
little one." 

Graham strode on under the clearing skies to the house in- 
dicated. He found Madame Hubert at home, and ready to 
answer all questions; but, alas! she had not the envelopes. 
Madame Marigny, on removing the child, had asked for all 
the envelopes or letters, and carried them away with her. 
Madame Hubert, who was as little of a scholar as her aunt- 
iu-law was, had never paid much attention to the post-marks 
on the envelopes; and the only one that she did remember 
was the first, that contained a bank-note, and that post-mark 
was "Vienna." 

" But did not Madame Marigny's letters ever give you an 
address to which to write with news of her child? " 

"I don't think she cared much for her child, Monsieur. 
She kissed it very coldly when she came to take it away. I 
told the poor infant that that was her own mamma; and 
Madame said, 'Yes, you may call me maman,' in a tone of 
voice well, not at all like that of a mother. She brought 
with her a little bag which contained some fine clothes for 
the child, and was very impatient till the child had got them 
on." 

"Are you quite sure it was the same lady who left the 
child? " 

"Oh, there is no doubt of that. She was certainly frts 
belle, but I did not fancy her as aunt did. She carried her 
head very high, and looked rather scornful. However, I 
must say she behaved very generously." 

"Still you have not answered my question whether her 
letters contained no address." 

"She never wrote more than two letters. One enclosing 
the first remittance was but a few lines, saying that if the 
child was well and thriving, I need not write; but if it died 



352 THE PARISIANS. 



or became dangerously ill, I might at any time write a line to 

Madame M , Paste Restante, Vienna. She was travelling 

about, but the letter would be sure to reach her sooner or 
later. The only other letter I had was to apprise me that 
she was coming to remove the child, and might be expected in 
three days after the receipt of her letter." 

" And all the other communications from her were merely 
remittances in blank envelopes?" 

"Exactly so." 

Graham, finding he could learn no more, took his departure. 
On his way home, meditating the new idea that his adventure 
that day suggested, he resolved to proceed at once, accom- 
panied by M. Renard, to Munich, and there learn what par- 
ticulars could be yet ascertained respecting those certificates 
of the death of Louise Duval, to which (sharing Richard 
King's very natural belief that they had been skilfully forged) 
he had hitherto attached no importance. 



CHAPTER VII. 

No satisfactory result attended the inquiries made at Mu- 
nich save indeed this certainty, the certificates attesting the 
decease of some person calling herself Louise Duval had not 
been forged. They were indubitably genuine. A lady bear- 
ing that name had arrived at one of the principal hotels late 
in the evening, and had there taken handsome rooms. She 
was attended by no servant, but accompanied by a gentleman, 
who, however, left the hotel as soon as he had seen her lodged 
to her satisfaction. The books of the hotel still retained the 
entry of her name, Madame Duval, Franfaise rentiere. On 
comparing the handwriting of this entry with the letter from 
Richard King's first wife, Graham found it to differ; but 
then it was not certain, though probable, that the entry had 
been written by the alleged Madame Duval herself. She was 




THE PARISIANS. 353 

visited the next day by the same gentleman who had accom 
panied her on arriving. He dined and spent the evening with 
her. But no one at the hotel could remember what was the 
gentleman's name, nor even if he were announced by any 
name. He never called again. Two days afterwards, 
Madame Duval was taken ill; a doctor was sent for, and at- 
tended her till her death. This doctor was easily found. He 
remembered the case perfectly, congestion of the lungs, ap- 
parently caused by cold caught on her journey. Fatal symp- 
toms rapidly manifested themselves, and she died on the third 
day from the seizure. She was a young and handsome woman. 
He had asked her during her short illness if he should not 
write to her friends; if there were no one she would wish to 
be sent for. She replied that there was only one friend, to 
whom she had already written, and who would arrive in a 
day or two ; and on inquiring, it appeared that she had writ- 
ten such a letter, and taken it herself to the post on the morn- 
ing of the day she was taken ill. 

She had in "her purse not a large sum, but money enough 
to cover all her expenses, including those of her funeral, 
which, according to the law in force at the place, followed 
very quickly on her decease. The arrival of the friend to 
whom she had written being expected, her effects were, in 
the meanwhile, sealed up. The day after her death a letter 
arrived for her, which was opened. It was evidently written 
by a man, and apparently by a lover. It expressed an impas- 
sioned regret that the writer was unavoidably prevented re- 
turning to Munich so soon as he had hoped, but trusted to see 
his dear bouton de rose in the course of the following week; 
it was only signed Achille, and gave no address. Two or 
three days after, a lady, also young and handsome, arrived 
at the hotel, and inquired for Madame Duval. She was 
greatly shocked at hearing of her decease. When sufficiently 
recovered to bear being questioned as to Madame Duval's re- 
lations and position, she appeared confused; said, after much 
pressing, that she was no relation to the deceased; that she 
believed Madame Duval had no relations with whom she was 
on friendly terms, at least she had never heard her speak of 
TOT. i sa 



354 THE PARISIANS. 

any ; and that her own acquaintance with the deceased, though 
cordial, was very recent. She could or would not give any 
clew to the writer of the letter signed Achille, and she her- 
self quitted Munich that evening, leaving the impression that 
Madame Duval had been one of those ladies who, in adopting 
a course of life at variance with conventional regulations, are 
repudiated by their relations, and probably drop even their 
rightful names. 

Achille never appeared ; but a few days after, a lawyer at 
Munich received a letter from another at Vienna, requesting, 
in compliance with a client's instructions, the formal certifi- 
cates of Louise Duval's death. These were sent as directed, 
and nothing more about the ill-fated woman was heard of. 
After the expiration of the time required by law, the seals 
were removed from the effects, which consisted of two mattes 
and a dressing-case. But they only contained the articles 
appertaining to a lady's wardrobe or toilet, no letters, 
not even another note from Achille, no clew, in short, to 
the family or antecedents of the deceased. What then had 
become of these effects, no one at the hotel could give a clear 
or satisfactory account. It was said by the mistress of the 
hotel, rather sullenly, that they had, she supposed, been sold 
by her predecessor, and by order of the authorities, for the 
benefit of the poor. 

If the lady who had represented herself as Louise Duval's 
acquaintance had given her own name, which doubtless she 
did, no one recollected it. It was not entered in the books 
of the hotel, for she had not lodged there ; nor did it appear 
that she had allowed time for formal examination by the civil 
authorities. In fact, it was clear that poor Louise Duval had 
been considered as an adventuress by the hotel-keeper and 
the medical attendant at Munich ; and her death had excited 
so little interest, that it was strange that even so many par- 
ticulars respecting it could be gleaned. 

After a prolonged but fruitless stay at Munich, Graham 
and M. Renard repaired to Vienna; there, at least, Ma- 
dame Marigny had given an address, and there she might be 
heard of. 




THE PARISIANS. 355 

At Vienna, however, no research availed to discover a trace 
of any such person ; and in despair Graham returned to Eng- 
land in the January of 1870, and left the further prosecution 
of his inquiries to M. Renard, who, though obliged to trans- 
fer himself to Paris for a time, promised that he would leave 
no stone unturned for the discovery of Madame Marigny ; and 
Graham trusted to that assurance when M. Renard, rejecting 
half of the large gratuity offered him, added, "Je suis Fran- 
fais ; this with me has ceased to be an affair of money ; it has 
become an affair that involves my amour prop re." 







CHAPTER VIII. 

IF Graham Vane had been before caressed and courted for 
himself, he was more than ever appreciated by polite society, 
now that he added the positive repute of wealth to that of a 
promising intellect. Fine ladies said that Graham. Vane was 
a match for any girl. Eminent politicians listened to him 
with a more attentive respect, and invited him to selecter din- 
ner-parties. His cousin the Duke urged him to announce his 
candidature for the county, and purchase back, at least, the 
old Stamm-schloss. But Graham obstinately refused to enter- 
tain either proposal, continued to live as .economically as be- 
fore in his old apartments, and bore with an astonishing 
meekness of resignation the unsolicited load of fashion 
heaped upon his shoulders. At heart he was restless and 
unhappy. The mission bequeathed to him by Richard King 
haunted his thoughts like a spectre not to be exorcised. Was 
his whole life to be passed in the weary sustainment of an im- 
posture; which in itself was gall and wormwood to a nature 
constitutionally frank and open? Was he forever to appear a 
rich man and live as a poor one? Was he till his deathbed to 
be deemed a sordid miser whenever he refused a just claim 
on his supposed wealth, and to feel his ambition excluded 



356 THE PARISIANS. 

from the objects it earnestly coveted, and which he was 
forced to appear too much of an Epicurean philosopher to 
prize? 

More torturing than all else to the man's innermost heart 
was the consciousness that he had not conquered, could not 
conquer, the yearning love with which Isaura had inspired 
him, and yet that against such love all his reasonings, all his 
prejudices, more stubbornly than ever were combined. In the 
French newspapers which he had glanced over while engaged 
in his researches in Germany nay, in German critical jour- 
nals themselves he had seen so many notices of the young 
author, highly eulogistic, it is true, but which to his pecu- 
liar notions were more offensive than if they had been suffi- 
ciently condemnatory of her work to discourage her from its 
repetition; notices which seemed to him the supreme imper- 
tinences which no man likes exhibited towards the woman to 
whom he would render the chivalrous homage of respect. 
Evidently this girl had become as much public property as if 
she had gone on the stage. Minute details of her personal 
appearance, of the dimples on her cheek, of the whiteness 
of her arms, of her peculiar way of dressing her hair; anec- 
dotes of her from childhood (of course invented, but how 
could Graham know that?); of the reasons why she had 
adopted the profession of author instead of that of the singer; 
of the sensation she had created in certain salons (to Graham, 
who knew Paris so well, salons in which he would not have 
liked his wife to appear) ; of the compliments paid to her by 
grands seigneurs noted for their liaisons with ballet-dancers, 
or by authors whose genius soared far beyond the ftammantia 
moenia of a world confined by respect for one's neighbours' 
land-marks, all this, which belongs to ground of personal 
gossip untouched by English critics of female writers, 
ground especially favoured by Continental, and, I am grieved 
to say, by American journalists, all this was to the sensitive 
Englishman much what the minute inventory of Egeria's 
charms would have been to Kuma Pompilius. The nymph, 
hallowed to him by secret devotion, was vulgarized by the 
noisy hands of the mob, and by the popular voices, which 



. 



THE PARISIANS. 



357 



said, "We know more about Egeria than you do." And when 
he returned to England, and met with old friends familiar to 
Parisian life, who said, " of course you have read the Ci- 
cogna's roman. What do you think of it? Very fine writing, 
I dare say, but above me. I go in for 'Les Mysteres de Paris' 
or 'Monte Cristo; ' but I even find Georges Sand a bore," 
then as a critic Graham Vane fired up, extolled the roman he 
would have given his ears for Isaura never to have written; 
but retired from the contest muttering inly, " How can I I, 
Graham Vane how can I be such an idiot; how can I in 
every hour of the twenty-four sigh to myself, 'What are other 
women to me? Isaura, Isaura! " 



3ND OF VOL. I. 



THE PARISIANS. 



BOOK VIL 



CHAPTER I. 

IT is the first week in the month of May, 1870. Celebrities 
are of rapid growth in the salons of Paris. Gustave Rameau 
has gained the position for which he sighed. The journal he 
edits has increased its hold on the public, and his share of the 
profits has been liberally augmented by the secret proprietor. 
Rameau is acknowledged as a power in literary circles. And 
as critics belonging to the same clique praise each other in 
Paris, whatever they may do in communities more rigidly vir- 
tuous, his poetry has been declared by authorities in the Press 
to be superior to that of Alfred de Musset in vigour, to that of 
Victor Hugo in refinement, neither of wh^ch assertions 
would much, perhaps, shock a cultivated understanding. 

It is true that it (Gustave's poetry) has not gained a wide 
audience among the public. But with regard to poetry now- 
adays, there are plenty of persons who say as Dr. Johnson 
said of the verse of Spratt, "I would rather praise it than 
read." 

At all events, Rameau was courted in gay and brilliant cir- 
cles, and, following the general example of French litterateurs 
in fashion, lived well up to the income he received, had a de- 
lightful bachelor's apartment, furnished with artistic effect, 
spent largely on the adornment of his person, kept a cowhand 

VOL. II. 1 



2 THE PARISIANS. 

entertained profusely at the Cafe Anglais and the Maison 
Doree. A reputation that inspired a graver and more unquiet 
interest had been created by the Vicomte de Mauleon. Recent 
articles in " Le Sens Commun," written under the name of 
Pierre Firrain, on the discussions on the vexed question of the 
plebiscite, had given umbrage to the Government, and Rameau 
had received an intimation that he, as editor, was responsible 
for the compositions of the contributors to the journal he- 
edited; and that though so long as Pierre Firmin had kept 
his caustic spirit within proper bounds the Government had 
winked at the evasion of the law which required every politi- 
cal article in a journal to be signed by the real name of its au- 
thor, it could do so no longer. Pierre Firmin was apparently 
a nom deplume ; if not, his identity must be proved, or Rameau 
would pay the penalty which his contributor seemed bent on 

incurring. 

Rameau, much alarmed for the journal, that might be i 
pended, and for himself, who might be imprisoned, conveyed 
this information through the publisher to his correspondent, 
Pierre Firmin, and received the next day an article, signed 
Victor de Mauleon, in which the writer proclaimed himself to 
be one and the same with Pierre Firmin, and, taking a yet 
bolder tone than he had before assumed, dared the Government 
to attempt legal measures against him. The Government was 
prudent enough to disregard that haughty bravado; but Victor 
de Mauleon rose at once into political importance. He had 
already, in his real name and his quiet way, established a popu- 
lar and respectable place in Parisian society. But if this rev- 
elation created him enemies whom he had not before provoked, 
he was now sufficiently acquitted, by tacit consent, of the sins 
formerly laid to his charge, to disdain the assaults of party 
wrath. Hfe old reputation for personal courage and skill m 
sword and pistol served, indeed, to protect him from such 
charges as a Parisian journalist does not reply to with his pen. 
If he created some enemies, he created many more friends, or 
at least partisans and admirers. He only needed fine and im- 
prisonment to become a popular hero. 

A few days after he had thus proclaimed himself, Victor de 



THE PARISIANS. 



3 



Mauleon who had before kept aloof from Raineau and from 
salons at which he was likely to meet that distinguished min- 
strelsolicited his personal acquaintance, and asked him to 
breakfast. 

Rameau joyfully went. He had a very natural curiosity to 
see the contributor whose articles had so mainly insured the 
sale of " Le Sens Commun." 

In the dark -haired, keen-eyed, well-dressed, middle-aged man, 
with commanding port and courtly address, he failed to recog- 
nize any resemblance to the flaxen-wigged, long-coated, be- 
spectacled, shambling sexagenarian whom he had known as 
Lebeau. Only now and then a tone of voice struck him as 
familiar, but he could not recollect where he had heard the 
voice it resembled. The thought of Lebeau did not occur to 
him ; if it had occurred, it would only have struck him as a 
chance coincidence. Rameau, like most egotists, was rather a 
dull observer of men. His genius was not objective. 

I trust, Monsieur Rameau," said the Vicomte, as he and 
his guest were seated at the breakfast-table, that you are not 
dissatisfied with the remuneration your eminent services in 
the journal have received." 

" The proprietor, whoever he be, has behaved most liberally," 
answered Rameau. 

"I take that compliment to myself, cher confrere; for 
though the expenses of starting < Le Sens Commun,' and the 
caution money lodged, were found by a friend of mine, that 
was as a loan, which I have long since repaid, and the prop- 
rty in the journal is now exclusively mine. I have to thank 
you not only for your own brilliant contributions, but for 
those of the colleagues you secured. Monsieur Savarin's 
piquant criticisms were most valuable to us at starting ; I re- 
gret to have lost his aid. But as he has set up a new journal 
! his own, even he has not wit enough to spare for another. 
Apropos of our contributors, I shall ask you to present me to 
fair author of 'The Artist's Daughter.' I am of too pro- 
saic a nature to appreciate justly the merits of a roman ; but 
have heard warm praise of this story from the young, 
they are the best judges of that kind of literature, and I 



4 THE PARISIANS. 

can at least understand the worth of a contributor who trebled 
the sale of our journal. It is a misfortune to us, indeed, that 
her work is completed, but I trust that the sum sent to her 
through our publisher suffices to tempt her to favour us with 
another roman in series." 

" Mademoiselle Cicogna," said Rameau, with a somewhat 
sharper intonation of his sharp voice, " has accepted for the 
republication of her roman in a separate form terms which 
attest the worth of her genius, and has had offers from other 
journals for a serial tale of even higher amount than the sum 
so generously sent to her through your publisher." 

"Has she accepted them, Monsieur Rameau? If so, tant 
pis pour vous. Pardon me, I mean that your salary suffers 
in proportion as 'Xie Sens Commun' declines in sale." 

" She has not accepted them. I advised her not to do so 
until she could compare them with those offered by the pro- 
prietor of ' Le Sens Commun.' " 

" And your advice guides her ? Ah, cher confrere, you are 
a happy man ! you have influence over this young aspirant 
to the fame of a De Stael or a Georges Sand." 

"I flatter myself that I have some," answered Rameau, 
smiling loftily as he helped himself to another tumbler of 
Volnay wine, excellent, but rather heady. 

"So much the better. I leave you free to arrange terms 
with Mademoiselle Cicogna, higher than she can obtain 
elsewhere ; and kindly contrive my own personal introduction 
to her. You have breakfasted already ? Permit me to offer 
you a cigar, excuse me if I do not bear you company ; I 
seldom smoke, never of a morning. Now to business, and 
the state of France. Take that easy-chair, seat yourself com- 
fortably. So ! Listen ! If ever Mephistopheles revisit the 
earth, how he will laugh at universal suffrage and vote by bal- 
lot in an old country like France, as things to be admired by 
educated men and adopted by friends of genuine freedom !" 

" I don't understand you," said Rameau. 

" In this respect, at least, let me hope that I can furnish 
you with understanding." 

" The Emperor has resorted to a plebiscite namely, a vote 



THE PARISIANS. 5 

by ballot and universal suffrage as to certain popular changes 
which circumstances compel him to substitute for his former 
personal rule. Is there a single intelligent Liberal who is not 
against that plebiscite ? Is there any such who does not know 
that the appeal of the Emperor to universal suffrage and vote 
by ballot must result in a triumph over all the variations of 
free thought by the unity which belongs to Order, represented 
through an able man at the head of the State ? The multitude 
never comprehend principles, principles are complex ideas, 
they comprehend a single idea ; and the simplest idea is a 
name that rids their action of all responsibility to thought. 

" Well, in France there are principles superabundant which 
you can pit against the principle of Imperial rule. But there 
is not one name you can pit against Napoleon the Third ; 
therefore, I steer our little bark in the teeth of the popular 
gale when I denounce the plebiscite, and ' Le Sens Commun,' 
will necessarily fall in sale, it is beginning to fall already. 
We shall have the educated men with us, the rest against. . In 
every country even in China, where all are highly educated 
a few must be yet more highly educated than the many. 
Monsieur Rameau, I desire to overthrow the Empire ; in order 
to do that, it is not enough to have on my side the educated 
men, I must have the canaille, the canaille of Paris and of 
the manufacturing towns. But I use the canaille for my pur- 
pose, I don't mean to enthrone it. You comprehend ? The 
canaille quiescent is simply mud at the bottom of a stream ; 
the canaille agitated, is mud at the surface. But no man cap- 
able of three ideas builds the palaces and senates of civilized 
society out of mud, be it at the top or the bottom of an ocean. 
Can either you or I desire that the destinies of France shall be 
swayed by coxcombical artisans who think themselves superior 
to every man who writes grammar, and whose idea of a com- 
monwealth is the confiscation of private property ? " 

Rameau, thoroughly puzzled by this discourse, bowed his 
head, and replied whisperingly : " Proceed. You are against the 
Empire, yet against the populace ! What are you for ? Not, 
surely, the Legitimists ? Are you Republican, Orleanist, or 
what ? " 



6 THE PARISIANS. 

" Your questions are very pertinent," answered the Vicomte, 
courteously. " and rny answer shall be very frank. I am 
against absolute rule, whether under a Buonaparte or a Bour- 
bon. I am for a free State, whether under a constitutional 
hereditary sovereign like the English or Belgian, or whether, 
republican in name, it be less democratic than constitutional 
monarchy in practice, like the American. But as a man inter- 
ested in the fate of ' Le Sens Cominun,' I hold in profound dis- 
dain all crotchets for revolutionizing the elements of human 
nature. Enough of this abstract talk. To the point. You 
are of course aware of the violent meetings held by the Social- 
ists, nominally against the plebiscite, really against the 
Emperor himself ? " 

" Yes, I know, at least, that the working-class are extremely 
discontented ; the numerous strikes last month were not on a 
mere question of wages, they were against the existing forms 
of society. And the articles by Pierre Firmin which brought 
me- into collision with the Government seemed to differ from 
what you now say. They approve those strikes ; they appeared 
to sympathize with the revolutionary meetings at Belleville 
and Montmartre." 

" Of course we use coarse tools for destroying ; we cast 
them aside for finer ones when we want to reconstruct. 

" I attended one of those meetings last night. See, I have 
a pass for all such assemblies, signed by some dolt who cannot 
even spell the name he assumes, ' Pom-de-Tair? A com- 
missary of police sat yawning at the end of the orchestra, his 
secretary by his side, while the orators stammer out fragments 
of would-be thunderbolts. Commissary of police yawns more 
wearily than before, secretary disdains to use his pen, seizes 
his pen-knife and pares his nails. Up rises a wild-haired, 
weak-limbed silhouette of a man, and affecting a solemnity of 
mien which might have become the virtuous Guizot, moves this 
resolution: 'The French people condemns Charles Louis 
Napoleon the Third to the penalty of perpetual hard labor.' 
Then up rises the commissary of police and says quietly, ' I 
declare this meeting at an end.' 

" Sensation among the audience ; they gesticulate, they 



THE rARISlANS. 7 

screech, they bellow. The commissary puts on his great-coat, 
the secretary gives a last touch to his nails, and pockets his 
pen-knife ; the audience disperses ; the silhouette of a man 
effaces itself; all is over." 

" You describe the scene most wittily," said Rameau, laugh- 
ing. But the laugh was constrained , a would-be cynic himself t 
there was a something grave and earnest in the real cynic that 
awed him. 

" What conclusion do you draw from such a scene, cher 
poete?" asked De Mauleon, fixing his keen, quiet eyes on 
Rameau. 

" What conclusion ? Well, that, that " 

" Yes, continue." 

" That the audience were sadly degenerated from the time 
when Mirabeau said to a master of the ceremonies : ' We are 
here by the power of the French people, and nothing but the 
point of the bayonet shall expel us.' " 

" Spoken like a poet, a French poet. I suppose you admire 
M. Victor Hugo. Conceding that he would have employed a 
more sounding phraseology, comprising more absolute igno- 
rance of men, times, and manners in unintelligible metaphor 
and melodramatic braggadocio, your answer might have been 
his ; but pardon me if I add, it would not be that of Common 
Sense." 

" Monsieur le Vicomte might rebuke me more politely," said 
Rameau, coloring high. 

" Accept my apologies ; I did not mean to rebuke, but to 
instruct. The times are not those of 1789, and Nature, ever 
repeating herself in the production of coxcombs and block- 
heads, never repeats herself in the production of Mirabeaus. 
The Empire is doomed, doomed because it is hostile to the 
free play of intellect. Any Government that gives absolute 
preponderance to the many is hostile to intellect, for intellect 
is necessarily confined to the few. 

"Intellect is the most revengeful of all the elements of 
society. It cares not what the materials through which it 
insinuates or forces its way to its seat. 

" I accept the aid of Pom-de-Tair, I do not demean myself 






8 THE PARISIANS. 

to the extent of writing articles that may favour the principles 
of Pom-de-Tair signed m the name of Victor de Mauleon or of 
Pierre Firmin. 

" I will beg you, my dear editor, to obtain clever, smart 
writers, who know nothing about Socialists and Interna- 
tionalists, who therefore will not commit ' Le Sens Commun ' 
by advocating the doctrines of those idiots, but who will flat- 
ter the vanity of the canaille, vaguely ; write any stuff they 
please about the renown of Paris, ' the eye of the world,' 
' the sun of the European system,' etc., of the artisans of 
Paris as supplying soul to that eye and fuel to that sun, 
any blague of that sort, genre Victor Hugo ; but nothing defin- 
ite against life and property, nothing that may not be con- 
sidered hereafter as the harmless extravagance of a poetic 
enthusiasm. You might write such articles yourself. In fine, 
I want to excite the multitude, and yet not to commit our 
journal to the contempt of the few. 

" Nothing is to be admitted that may bring the law upon us 
except it be signed by my name. There may be a moment in 
which it would be desirable for somebody to be sent to prison ; 
in that case, I allow no substitute, I go myself. 

" Now you have my most secret thoughts. I intrust them 
to your judgment with entire confidence. Monsieur Lebeau 
gave you a high character, which you have hitherto deserved. 
By the way, have you seen anything lately of that bourgeois 
conspirator ? " 

" No ; his professed business of letter-writer or agent is 
transferred to a clerk, who says M. Lebeau is abroad." 

" Ah ! I don't think that is true. I fancy I saw him the 
other evening gliding along the lanes of Belleville. He is too 
confirmed a conspirator to be long out of Paris, no place like 
Paris for seething brains." 

"Have you known M. Lebeau long ?'" asked Rameau. 

" Ay, many years. We are both Norman by birth, as you 
may perceive by something broad in our accent." 

" Ha ! I knew your voice was familiar to me ; certainly it 
does remind me of Lebeau's." 

" Normans are like each other in many things besides voice 



THE PARISIANS. 



9 



and accent, obstinacy, for instance, in clinging to ideas once 
formed , this makes them good friends and steadfast enemies. 
I would advise no man to make an enemy of Lebeau. 

" Au revoir, cher confrere. Do not forget to present me to 
Mademoiselle Cicogna." 



.CHAPTER II. 

ON leaving De Mauleon and regaining his coupe, Rameau 
felt at once bewildered and humbled, for he was not prepared 
for the tone of careless superiority which the Vicomte as- 
sumed over him. He had expected to be much compli- 
mented, and he comprehended vaguely that he had been 
somewhat snubbed. He was not only irritated, he was be- 
wildered; for De Mauleon's political disquisitions did not 
leave any clear or definite idea on his mind as to the prin- 
ciples which as editor of " Le Sens Commun " he was to see 
adequately represented and carried out. In truth, Rameau 
was one of those numerous Parisian politicians who have 
read little and reflected less on the government of men and 
States. Envy is said by a great French writer to be the vice 
of democracies. Envy certainly had made Rameau a demo- 
crat. He could talk and write glibly enough upon the themes 
of equality and fraternity, and was so far an ultra-democrat 
that he thought moderation the sign of a mediocre under- 
standing. 

De Mauleon's talk, therefore, terribly perplexed him. It 
was unlike anything he had heard before. Its revolutionary 
professions, accompanied with so much scorn for the multi- 
tude and the things the multitude desired, were Greek to him. 
He was not shocked by the cynicism which placed wisdom in 
using the passions of mankind as tools for the interests of an 
individual, but he did not understand the frankness of its 
avowal. 

Nevertheless, the man had dominated over and subdued 



10 THE PARISIANS. 

him. He recognized the power of his contributor without 
clearly analyzing its nature, a power made up of large 
experience of life, of cold examination of doctrines that 
heated others, of patrician calm, of intellectual sneer, of 
collected confidence in self. 

Besides, Rameau felt, with a nervous misgiving, that in 
this man who so boldly proclaimed his contempt for the 
instruments he used, he had found a master. De Mauleon, 
then, was sole proprietor of the journal from which Kameau 
drew his resources; might at any time dismiss him; might 
at any time involve the journal in penalties which, even if 
Rameau could escape in his official capacity as editor, still 
might stop "Le Sens Commun," and with it Rameau's 
luxurious subsistence. 

Altogether, the visit to De Maule'on had been anything 
but a pleasant one. He sought, as the carriage rolled on, to 
turn his thoughts to more agreeable subjects, and the image 
of Isaura rose before him. To do him justice, he had learned 
to love this girl as well as his nature would permit, he 
loved her with the whole strength of his imagination; and 
though his heart was somewhat cold, his imagination was 
very ardent. He loved her also with the whole strength of 
his vanity ; and vanity was even a more preponderant organ 
of his system than imagination. To carry off as his prize one 
who had already achieved celebrity, whose beauty and fasci- 
nation of manner were yet more acknowledged than her 
genius, would certainly be a glorious triumph. 

Every Parisian of Rameau's stamp looks forward in mar- 
riage to a brilliant salon. What salon more brilliant than 
that which he and Isaura united could command ? He had 
long conquered his early impulse of envy at Isaura's success, 
in fact, that success had become associated with his own, 
and had contributed greatly to his enrichment; so that to 
other motives of love he might add the prudential one of 
interest. Rameau well knew that his own vein of composi- 
tion, however lauded by the cliques, and however unrivalled 
in his own eyes, was not one that brings much profit in the 
market. He compared himself to those poets who are too far 



THE PARISIANS. 11 

in advance of their time to be quite as sure of bread and 
cheese as they are of immortal fame. 

But he regarded Isaura's genius as of a lower order, and a 
thing in itself very marketable. Marry her, and the bread 
and cheese were so certain that he might elaborate as slowly 
as he pleased the verses destined to immortal fame. Then he 
should be independent of inferior creatures like Victor de 
Mauleon. But while Rameau convinced himself that he was 
passionately in love with Isaura, he could not satisfy himself 
that she was in love with him. 

Though during the past year they had seen each other con- 
stantly, and their literary occupations had produced many 
sympathies between them ; though he had intimated that 
many of his most eloquent love-poems were inspired by her ; 
though he had asserted in prose, very pretty prose too, that 
she was all that youthful poets dream of, yet she had hith- 
erto treated such declarations with a playful laugh, accepting 
them as elegant compliments inspired by Parisian gallantry ; 
and he felt an angry and sore foreboding that if he were to 
insist too seriously on the earnestness of their import and ask 
her plainly to be his wife, her refusal would be certain, and 
his visits to her house might be interdicted. 

Still, Isaura was unmarried ; still, she had refused offers of 
marriage from men higher placed than himself; still, he 
divined no one whom she could prefer. And as he now leaned 
back in his coupi he muttered to himself : " Oh ! if I could but 
get rid of that little demon Julie, I would devote myself so 
completely to winning Isaura's heart that I must succeed. 
But how to get rid of Julie ? She so adores me, and is so 
headstrong ! She is capable of going to Isaura, showing my 
letters, making such a scene ! " 

Here he checked the carriage at a cafl on the Boulevard, 
descended, imbibed two glasses of absinthe, and then, feeling 
much emboldened, remounted his coupt and directed the driver 
to Isaura's apartment. 



12 THE PARISIANS. 



CHAPTER III. 

YES, celebrities are of rapid growth in the salons of Paris. 
Far more solid than that of Rameau, far more brilliant than 
that of De Mauleon, was the celebrity which Isaura had now 
acquired. She had been unable to retain the pretty suburban 

villa at A . The owner wanted to alter and enlarge it 

for his own residence, and she had been persuaded by Signora 
Venosta, who was always sighing for fresh salons to conquer, 
to remove (towards the close of the previous year) to apart- 
ments in the centre of the Parisian beau monde. Without 
formally professing to receive, on one evening in the week 
her salon was open to those who had eagerly sought her ac- 
quaintance, comprising many stars in the world of fashion, as 
well as those in the world of art and letters. And as she had 
now wholly abandoned the idea of the profession for which 
her voice had been cultivated, she no longer shrank from the 
exercise of her surpassing gift of song for the delight of pri- 
vate friends. Her physician had withdrawn the interdict on 
such exercise. 

His skill, aided by the rich vitality of her constitution, had 
triumphed over all tendencies to the malady for which he had 
been consulted. To hear Isaura Cicogna sing in her own 
house was a privilege sought and prized by many who never 
read a word of her literary compositions. A good critic of a 
book is rare ; but good judges of a voice are numberless. Add- 
ing this attraction of song to her youth, her beauty, her frank 
powers of converse, an innocent sweetness of manner free 
from all conventional affectation, and to the fresh novelty of a 
genius which inspired the young with enthusiasm and beguiled 
the old to indulgence, it was no wonder that Isaura became a 
celebrity at Paris. 

Perhaps it was a wonder that her head was not turned by 
the adulation that surrounded her. But I believe be it said 



THE PARISIANS. 13 

with diffidence that a woman of mind so superior that the 
mind never pretends to efface the heart, is less intoxicated 
with flattery than a man equally exposed to it. 

It is the strength of her heart that keeps her head sober. 
Isaura had never yet overcome her first romance of love j as 
yet, amid all her triumphs, there was not a day in which her 
thoughts did not wistfully, mournfully, fly back to those 
blessed moments in which she felt her cheek colour before a 
look, her heart beat at the sound of a footfall. Perhaps if 
there had been the customary finis to this young romance, 
the lover's deliberate renunciation, his formal farewell, the 
girl's pride would ere this have conquered her affection ; 
possibly who knows ? replaced it. 

But, reader, be you male or female, have you ever known this 
sore trial of affection and pride, that from some cause or other, to 
you mysterious, the dear intercourse to which you had accus- 
tomed the secret life of your life, abruptly ceases ; you know 
that a something has come between you and the beloved which 
you cannot distinguish, cannot measure, cannot guess, and 
therefore cannot surmount ; and you say to yourself at the 
dead of solitary night, " Oh for an explanation ! Oh for one 
meeting more ! All might be so easily set right ; or if not, I 
should know the worst, and knowing it, could conquer ! " 

This trial was Isaura's. There had been no explanation, no 
last farewell, between her and Graham. She divined no 
woman lightly makes a mistake there that he loved her. 
She knew that this dread something had intervened between 
her and him when he took leave of her before others so many 
months ago, that this dread something still continued, what 
was it ? She was certain that it would vanish, could they but 
once meet again and not before others. Oh for such a meeting ! 

She could not herself destroy hope. She could not marry 
another. She would have no heart to give to another while 
he was free, while in doubt if his heart was still her own. And 
thus her pride did not help her to conquer her affection. 

Of Graham Vane she heard occasionally. He had ceased to 
correspond with Savarin ; but among those who most fre- 
quented her salon were the Morleys. Americans so well edu- 






14 THE PARISIANS. 

cated and so well placed as the Morleys knew something about 
every Englishman of the social station of Graham Vane. 
Isaura learned from them that Graham, after a tour on the 
Continent, had returned to England at the commencement of 
the year, had been invited to stand for Parliament, had refused ; 
that his name was in the list published by the " Morning Post " 
of the elite whose arrivals in London, or whose presence at 
dinner-tables, is recorded as an event ; that the " Athenaeum " 
had mentioned a rumour that Graham Vane was the author of 
a political pamphlet which, published anonymously, had made 
no inconsiderable sensation. Isaura sent to England for that 
pamphlet. The subject was somewhat dry, and the style, 
though clear and vigorous, was scarcely of the eloquence which 
wins the admiration of women ; and yet she learned every 
word of it by heart. 

We know how little she dreamed that the celebrity which 
she hailed as an approach to him was daily making her more 
remote. The sweet labours she undertook for that celebrity 
continued to be sweetened yet more by secret association with 
the absent one. How many of the passages most admired 
could never have been written had he been never known ! 

And she blessed those labours the more that they upheld her 
from the absolute feebleness of sickened reverie, beguiled her 
from the gnawing torture of unsatisfied conjecture. She did 
comply with Madame de Grantmesnil's command, did pass 
from the dusty beaten road of life into green fields and along 
flowery river-banks, and did enjoy that ideal by-world. 

But still the one image which reigned over her human heart 
moved beside her in the gardens of fairyland. 



CHAPTER IV. 

ISAURA was seated in her pretty salon with the Venosta, M. 
Savarin, the Morleys, and the financier Louvier, when Rameau 
was announced. 



THE PARISIANS. 



15 



" Ha ! " cried Savarin, " we were just discussing a matter 
which nearly concerns you, cher poete. I have not seen you 
since the announcement that Pierre Firmin is no other than 
Victor de Mauleon. Ma foi, that worthy seems likely to be 
as dangerous with his pen as he was once with his sword. 
The article in which he revealed himself makes -a sharp lunge 
on the Government. 

" Take care of yourself. When hawks and nightingales fly 
together, the hawk may escape, and the nightingale complain 
of the barbarity of kings, in a cage, ' flebiliter gemens infelix 
avis.' " 

" He is not fit to conduct a journal," replied Rameau, mag- 
niloquently, " who will not brave a danger for his body in de- 
fence of the right to infinity for his thought." 

" Bravo ! " said Mrs. Morley, clapping her pretty hands. 
" That speech reminds me of home. The French are very 
much like the Americans in their style of oratory." 

" So," said Louvier, " my old friend the Vicomte has come 
out as a writer, a politician, a philosopher ; I feel hurt that 
he kept this secret from me, despite our intimacy. I suppose 
you knew it from the first, Monsieur Rameau ? " 

" No, I was as much taken by surprise as the rest of the 
world. You have long known M. de Mauleon ? " 

" Yes, I may say we began life together, that is, much at 
the same time." 

" What is he like in appearance ? " asked Mrs. Morley. 

" The ladies thought him very handsome when he was 
young," replied Louvier. "He is still a fine-looking man, 
about my height." 

" I should like to know him ! " cried Mrs. Morley, " if only 
to tease that husband of mine. He refuses me the dearest of 
woman's rights, I can't make him jealous." 

" You may have the opportunity of knowing this ci-devant 
Lovelace very soon," said Rameau ; " for he has begged me 
to present him to Mademoiselle Cicogna, and I will ask her 
permission to do so on Thursday evening, when she receives." 

Isaura, who had hitherto attended very listlessly to the 
conversation, bowed assent. "Any friend of yours will be 




16 THE PARISIANS. 

welcome. But I own the articles signed in the name of Pierre 
Firmin do not prepossess me in favour of their author." 

" Why so ? " asked Louvier ; " surely you are not an Im- 
perialist ? " 

. " Nay, I do not pretend to be a politician at all ; but there 
is something in the writing of Pierre Firmin that pains and 
chills me." 

" Yet the secret of its popularity," said Savarin, " is that it 
says what every one says, only better." 

" I see now that it is exactly that which displeases me, it 
is the Paris talk condensed into epigram the graver it is the 
less it elevates ; the lighter it is, the more it saddens." 

" That is meant to hit me," said Savat^n, with his sunny 
laugh, " me, whom you call cynical." 

" No, dear Monsieur Savarin ; for above all your cynicism 
is genuine gayety, and below it solid kindness. You have 
that which I do not find in M. de Mauleon's writing, nor often 
in the talk of the salon, you have youthfulness." 

" Youthfulness at sixty flatterer ! " 

" Genius does not count its years by the almanac," said Mrs. 
Morley. " I know what Isaura means, she is quite right ; 
there is a breath of winter in M. de Mauleon's style, and an 
odour of fallen leaves. Not that his diction wants vigour ; on 
the contrary, it is crisp with hoar-frost. But the sentiments 
conveyed by the diction are those of a nature sear and with- 
ered. And it is in this combination of brisk words and de- 
cayed feelings that his writing represents the talk and mind 
of Paris. He and Paris are always fault-finding, fault-find- 
ing is the attribute of old age." 

Colonel Morley looked round with pride, as much as to say, 
" Clever talker, my wife." 

Savarin understood that look, and replied to it courteously. 
" Madame has a gift of expression which Emile de Girardin 
can scarcely surpass. But when she blames us for fault-find- 
ing, can she expect the friends of liberty to praise the present 
style of things ? " 

"I should be obliged to the friends of liberty," said tlio 
Colonel, dryly, " to tell me how that state of things is to be 



THE PARISIANS. 17 

mended. I find no enthusiasm for the Orleanists, none for a 
Republic ; people sneer at religion ; no belief in a cause, no 
adherence to an opinion. But the worst of it is that, like all 
people who are blasts, the Parisians are eager for strange ex- 
citement, and ready to listen to any oracle who promises a re- 
lief from indifferentism. This it is which makes the Press 
more dangerous in France than it is in any other country. 
Elsewhere the Press sometimes leads, sometimes follows, pub- 
lic opinion ; here there is no public opinion to consult, and in- 
stead of opinion the Press represents passion." 

" My dear Colonel Morley," said Savarin, " I hear you very 
often say that a Frenchman cannot understand America. 
Permit me to observe that an American cannot understand 
France, or at least Paris. A propos of Paris, that is a large 
speculation of yours, Louvier, in the new suburb." 

" And a very sound one ; I advise you to invest in it. I 
can secure you at present five per cent on the rental, that 
is nothing ; the houses will be worth double when the Rue de 
Louvier is completed." 

" Alas ! I have no money ; my new journal absorbs all my 
capital." 

" Shall I transfer the money I hold for you, Signorina, and 
add to them whatever you may have made by your delightful 
roman, as yet lying idle, to this investment? I cannot say 
more in its favour than this I have embarked a very large 
portion of my capital in the Rue de Louvier, and I flatter 
myself that I am not one of those men who persuade their 
friends to do a foolish thing by setting them the example." 

" Whatever you advise on such a subject," said Isaura, 
graciously, " is sure to be as wise as it is kind ! " 

*' You consent, then ? " 

"Certainly." 

Here the Venosta, who had been listening with great atten- 
tion to Louvier's commendation of this investment, drew him 
aside and whispered in his ear : " I suppose, Monsieur Louvier, 
that one can't put a little money a very little money, poco 
poco-pocolino into your street ? " 

" Into my street ! Ah, I understand, into the speculation 

VOL. I?, 






18 THE PARISIANS. 

of the Rue de Louvier! Certainly you can. Arrangements 
are made on purpose to suit the convenience of the smallest 
capitalists, from 500 francs upwards." 

" And you feel quite sure that we shall double our money 
when the street is completed ? I should not like to have my 
brains in rny heels." l 

" More than double it, I hope, long before the street is 
completed." 

" I have saved a little money, very little. I have no 
relations, and I mean to leave it all to the Signorina ; and 
if it could be doubled, why there would be twice as much to 
leave her." 

" So there would," said Lonvier. " You can't do better 
than put it all into the Rue de Louvier. I will send you 
the necessary papers to-morrow, when I send hers to the 
Signorina." 

Louvier here turned to address himself to Colonel Morley ; 
but finding that degenerate son of America indisposed to get 
cent per cent for his money when offered by a Parisian, he 
very soon took his leave. The other visitors followed his 
example, except Rameau, who was left alone with the Venosta 
and Isaura. The former had no liking for Rameau, who 
showed her none of the attentions her innocent vanity de- 
manded, and she soon took herself off to her own room to 
calculate the amount of her savings, and dream of the Rue de 
Louvier and " golden joys." 

Rameau, approaching his chair to Isaura's, then commenced 
conversation, dryly enough, upon pecuniary matters, acquit- 
ting himself of the mission with which De Mauleon had 
charged him, the request for a new work from her pen for 
" Le Sens Commun," and the terms that ought to be asked 
for compliance. The young lady author shrank from this 
talk. Her private income, though modest, sufficed for her 
wants, and she felt a sensitive shame in the sale of her 
thoughts and fancies. 

Putting hurriedly aside the mercantile aspect of the ques- 
tion, she said that she had no other work in her mind at 

* Avert il cervella nella calcaqna ; namely, to act without prudent reflection, 



THE PARISIANS. 19 

present; that whatever her vein of invention might be, it 
flowed at its own will, and could not be commanded. 

" Nay," said Rameau, " this is not true. We fancy, in our 
hours of indolence, that we must wait for inspiration ; but 
once force ourselves to work, and ideas spring forth at the 
wave of the pen. You may believe me here, I speak from 
experience. I, compelled to work, and in modes not to my 
taste, I do my task I know not how. I rub the lamp, ' the 
genius comes.' " 

" I have read in some English author that motive power is 
necessary to continued labour : you have motive power, I have 
none." 

" I do not quite understand you." 

" I mean that a strong ruling motive is required to persist 
in any regular course of action that needs effort. The motive 
with the majority of men is the need of subsistence ; with a 
large number (as in trades or professions), not actually want, 
but a desire of gain, and perhaps of distinction, in their 
calling. The desire of professional distinction expands into 
the longings for more comprehensive fame, more exalted 
honours, with the few who become great writers, soldiers, 
statesmen, orators." 

" And do you mean to say you have no such motive ? " 

" None in the sting of want, none in the desire of gain." 

"But fame?" 

" Alas ! I thought so once. I know not now, I begin to 
doubt if fame should be sought by women." This was said 
very dejectedly. 

" Tut, dearest Signorina ! what gadfly has stung you ? 
Your doubt is a weakness unworthy of your intellect. And 
even were it not, genius is destiny, and will be obeyed. You 
must write, despite yourself ; and your writing must bring 
fame, whether you wish it or not." 

Isaura was silent, her head drooped on her breast ; there 
were tears in her downcast eyes. 

Rameau took her hand, which she yielded to him passively, 
and clasping it in both his own, he rushed on impulsively. 

"Oh ! I know what these misgivings are when we feel our- 




20 THE PARISIANS. 

selves solitary, unloved, how often have they been mine ! 
But how different would labour be if shared and sympathized 
with by a congenial mind, by a heart that beats in unison 
with one's own ! " 

Tsaura's breast heaved beneath her robe ; she sighed 
softly. 

" And then how sweet the fame of which the one we love is 
proud ! How trifling becomes the pang of some malignant 
depreciation which a word from the beloved one can soothe ! 

Signorina ! Isaura ! are we not made for each other ? 
Kindred pursuits, hopes and fears in common, the same race 
to run, the same goal to win ! I need a motive stronger than 

1 have yet known for the persevering energy that insures 
success ; supply to me that motive. Let me think that what- 
ever I win in the strife of the world is a tribute to Isaura. 
No, do not seek to withdraw this hand, let me claim it as 
mine for life. I love you as man never loved before, do 
not reject my love." 

They say the woman who hesitates is lost. Isaura hesi- 
tated, but was not yet lost. The words she listened to moved 
her deeply. Offers of marriage she had already received, 
one from a rich middle-aged noble, a devoted musical virtuoso ; 
one from a young avocat fresh from the provinces, and some- 
what calculating on her dot; one from a timid but enthu- 
siastic admirer of her genius and her beauty, himself rich, 
handsome, of good birth, but with shy manners and faltering 
tongue. 

But these had made their proposals with the formal respect 
habitual to French decorum in matrimonial proposals. Words 
so eloquently impassioned as Gustave Rameau's had never 
before thrilled her ears. Yes, she was deeply moved ; and 
yet, by that very emotion she knew that it was not to the 
love of this wooer that her heart responded. 

There is a circumstance in the history of courtship familiar 
to the experience of many women, that while the suitor is 
pleading his cause, his language may touch every fibre in the 
heart of his listener, yet substitute, as it were, another pres- 
ence for his own. She may be saying to herself, " Oh that 



THE PARISIANS. 21 

another had said those words ! " and be dreaming of the other 
while she hears the one. 

Thus it was with Isaura ; and not till Rameau's voice had 
ceased did that dream pass away, and with a slight shiver she 
turned her face towards the wooer sadly and pityingly. 

" It cannot be," she said, in a low whisper ; " I were not 
worthy of your love could I accept it. Forget that you have 
so spoken ; let me still be a friend admiring your genius, 
interested in your career. I cannot be more. Forgive me if 
I unconsciously led you to think I could, I am so grieved to 
pain you." 

" Am I to understand," said Rameau, coldly, for his amour- 
propre was resentful, " that the proposals of another have been 
more fortunate than mine ? " And he named the youngest 
and comeliest of those whom she had rejected. 

" Certainly not," said Isaura. 

Rameau rose and went to the window, turning his face 
from her. In reality he was striving to collect his thoughts 
and decide on the course it were most prudent for him now 
to pursue. The fumes of the absinthe which had, de- 
spite his previous forebodings, emboldened him to hazard his 
avowal had now subsided into the languid reaction which 
is generally consequent on that treacherous stimulus, a re- 
action not unfavourable to passionless reflection. He knew 
that if he said he could not conquer his love, he would still 
cling to hope and trust to perseverance and time, he should 
compel Isaura to forbid his visits and break off their familiar 
intercourse. This would be fatal to the chance of yet win- 
ning her, and would also be of serious disadvantage to his 
more worldly interests ; her literary aid might become essen- 
tial to the journal on which his fortunes depended. And at 
all events, in her conversation, in her encouragement, in her 
sympathy with the pains and joys of his career, he felt a sup- 
port, a comfort, nay, an inspiration ; for the spontaneous gush 
of her fresh thoughts and fancies served to recruit his own 
jaded ideas and enlarge his own stinted range of invention. 
No, he could not commit himself to the risk of banishment 
from Isaura. 



22 THE PARISIANS. 

And mingled with meaner motives for discretion, there was 
one, of which he was but vaguely conscious, purer and nobler. 
In the society of this girl, in whom whatever was strong and 
high in mental organization became so sweetened into femi- 
nine grace by gentleness of temper and kindliness of disposi- 
tion, Rameau felt himself a better man. The virgin-like 
dignity with which she moved, so untainted by a breath of 
scandal, amid salons in which the envy of virtues doubted 
sought to bring innocence itself into doubt, warmed into a 
genuine reverence the cynicism of his professed creed. 

While with her, while under her chastening influence, he 
was sensible of a poetry infused within him far more true to 
the Camrense than all he had elaborated into verse. In these 
moments he was ashamed of the vices he had courted as dis- 
tractions. He imagined that with her all his own, it would 
be easy to reform. 

No ; to withdraw wholly from Isaura was to renounce his 
sole chance of redemption. 

While these thoughts, which it takes so long to detail, 
passed rapidly through his brain, he felt a soft touch on his 
arm, and, turning his face slowly, encountered the tender, 
compassionate eyes of Isaura. 

"Be consoled, dear friend," she said, with a smile, half 
cheering, half mournful. "Perhaps for all true artists the 
solitary lot is the best." 

" I will try to think so," answered Rameau ; " and mean- 
while I thank you with a full heart for the sweetness with 
which you have checked my presumption : the presumption 
shall not be repeated. Gratefully I accept the friendship you 
deign to tender me. You bid me forget the words I uttered : 
promise in turn that you will forget them, or at least consider 
them withdrawn. You will receive me still as friend ? " 

" As friend, surely ; yes. Do we not both need friends ? " 
She held out her hand as she spoke ; he bent over it, kissed it 
with respect, and the interview thus closed. 



THE PARISIANS. 23 






CHAPTER V. 

IT was late in the evening that day when a man who had 
the appearance of a decent bourgeois, in the lower grades of 
that comprehensive class, entered one of the streets in the 
Faubourg Montmartre, tenanted chiefly by artisans. He 
paused at the open doorway of a tall, narrow house, and drew 
oack as he heard footsteps descending a very gloomy staircase. 

The light from a gas-lamp on the street fell full on the face 
of the person thus quitting the house, the face of a young 
and handsome man, dressed with the quiet elegance which 
betokened one of higher rank or fashion than that neighbor- 
hood was habituated to find among its visitors. The first 
comer retreated promptly into the shade, and, as by sudden 
impulse, drew his hat low down over his eyes. 

The other man did not, however, observe him, went his way 
with a quick step along the street, and entered another house 
some yards distant. 

" What can that pious Bourbonite do here ? " muttered the 
first comer. " Can he be a conspirator ? Diable I 't is as dark 
as Erebus on that staircase." 

Taking cautious hold of the banister, the man now ascended 
the stairs. On the landing of the first floor there was a gas- 
lamp which threw upward a faint ray that finally died at the 
third story. But at that third story the man's journey ended ; 
he pulled a bell at the door to the right, and in another 
moment or so the door was opened by a young woman of 
twenty-eight or thirty, dressed very simply, but with a cer- 
tain neatness not often seen in the wives of artisans in the 
Faubourg Montmartre. Her face, which, though pale and del- 
icate, retained much of the beauty of youth, became clouded as 
ehe recognized the visitor ; evidently the visit was not wel- 
come to her. 






24 THE PARISIANS. 

" Monsieur Lebeau again ! " she exclaimed, shrinking back. 

" At your service, chere dame. The goodman is of course 
at home ? Ah ! I catch sight of him ; " and sliding by the 
woman, M. Lebeau passed the narrow lobby in which she 
stood, through the open door conducting into the room in 
which Armand Monnier was seated, his chin propped on his 
hand, his elbow resting on a table, looking abstractedly into 
space. In a corner of the room two small children were play- 
ing languidly with a set of bone tablets inscribed with the let- 
ters of the alphabet. But whatever the children were doing 
with the alphabet, they were certainly not learning to read 
from it. 

The room was of fair size and height, and by no means 
barely or shabbily furnished. There was a pretty clock on 
the mantelpiece. On the wall were hung designs for the dec- 
oration of apartments, and shelves on which were ranged a 
few books. 

The window was open, and on the sill were placed flower- 
pots ; you could scent the odour they wafted into the room. 

Altogether it was an apartment suited to a skilled artisan, 
earning high wages. From the room we are now in branched 
on one side a small but commodious kitchen ; on the other 
side, on which the door was screened by a portiere with a bor- 
der prettily worked by female hands, some years ago, for it 
was faded now, was a bedroom, communicating with one of 
less size in which the children slept. We do not enter those 
additional rooms, but it may be well here to mention them as 
indications of the comfortable state of an intelligent skilled 
artisan of Paris, who thinks he can better that state by some 
revolution which may ruin his employer. 

Monnier started up at the entrance of Lebeau, and his face 
showed that he did not share the dislike to the visit which 
that of the female partner of his life had evinced. On the 
contrary, his smile was cordial, and there was a hearty ring in 
the voice which cried out, 

" I am glad to see you ! Something to do, eh ? " 

" Always ready to work for liberty, mon brave I " 

11 1 hope so. What 's in the wind now ? " 



THE PARISIANS. 



25 



'Oh, Armand, be prudent, be prudent!" cried the woman, 
piteously. " Do not lead him into further mischief, Monsieur 
Lebeau." As she faltered forth the last words, she bowed her 
head over the two little ones, and her voice died in sobs. 

" Monnier," said Lebeau, gravely, " Madame is right. I 
ought not to lead you into further mischief ; there are three 
in the room who have better claims 011 you than " 

" The cause of millions," interrupted Monnier. 

"No." 

He approached the woman and took up one of the children 
very tenderly, stroking back its curls and kissing the face, 
which, if before surprised and saddened by the mother's sob, 
now smiled gayly under the father's kiss. 

" Canst thou doubt, my Heloise," said the artisan, mildly, 
"that whatever I do, thou and these are uppermost in my 
thoughts ? I act for thine interest and theirs ; the world as 
it exists is the foe of you three. The world I would replace 
it by will be more friendly." 

The poor woman made no reply ; but as he drew her 
towards him, she leaned her head upon his breast and wept 
quietly. Monnier led her thus from the room,, whispering 
words of soothing. The children followed the parents into 
the adjoining chamber. In a few minutes Monnier returned, 
shutting the door behind him, and drawing the portiere close. 

" You will excuse me, Citizen, and my poor wife, wife 
she is to me and to all who visit here, though the law says 
she is not." 

"I respect Madame the more for her dislike to myself," 
said Lebeau, with a somewhat melancholy smile. 

" Not dislike to you personally, Citizen, but dislike to the 
business which she connects with your visits, and she is more 
than usually agitated on that subject this evening, because, 
just before you came, another visitor had produced a great 
effect on her feelings, poor dear Heloise ! " 

" Indeed, how ? " 

" Well, I was employed in the winter in re-decorating the 
salon and boudoir of Madame de Vandemar ; her son, M. 
Baoul, took great, interest in superintending the details. He 



26 THE PARISIANS. 

would sometimes talk to me very civilly, not only on my work, 
but on other matters. It seems that Madame now wants 
something done to the salle-a-manger, and asked old Gerard 
my late master, you know to send me. Of course he said 
that was impossible ; for though I was satisfied with my own 
wages, I had induced his other men to strike, and was one of 
the ring-leaders in the recent strike of artisans in general, 
a dangerous man, and he would have nothing more to do with 
me. So M. Raoul came to see and talk to me, scarce gone 
before you rang at the bell ; you might have almost met him 
on the stairs." 

" I saw a beau monsieur come out of the house. And so his 
talk has affected Madame ? " 

" Very much ; it was quite brother-like. He is one of the 
religious set, and they always get at the weak side of the soft 
sex." 

" Ay," said Lebeau, thoughtfully ; " if religion were ban- 
ished from the laws of men, it would still find a refuge in the 
hearts of women. But Raoul de Vandemar did not presume 
to preach to Madame upon the sin of loving you and your 
children ? " 

" I should like to have heard him preach to her," cried 
Monnier, fiercely. " No, he only tried to reason with me about 
matters he could not understand." 

" Strikes ? " 

"Well, not exactly strikes. He did not contend that we 
workmen had not full right to combine and to strike for ob- 
taining fairer money's worth for our work, but he tried to 
persuade me that where, as in my case, it was not a matter of 
wages, but of political principle, of war against capitalists, 
I could but injure myself and mislead others. He wanted 
to reconcile me to old Gerard, or to let him find me employ- 
ment elsewhere ; and when I told him that my honour forbade 
me to make terms for myself till those with whom I was 
joined were satisfied, he said, ' But if this lasts much longer, 
your children will not look so rosy.' Then poor Heloise be- 
gan to wring her hands and cry, and he took me aside and 
wanted to press money on me as a loan. He spoke so kindly 



THE PARISIANS. 



27 






that I could not be angry j but when he found I would take 
nothing, he asked me about some families in the street of 
whom he had a list, and who he was informed were in great 
distress. That is true; I am feeding some of them myself 
out of my savings. You see, this young Monsieur belongs to 
a society of men, many as young as he is, which visits the 
poor and dispenses charity. I did not feel I had a right to re- 
fuse aid for others, and I told him where his money would be 
best spent. I suppose he went there when he left me." 

" I know the society you mean, that of Saint Franqois de 
Sales. It comprises some of the most ancient of that old 
noblesse to which the ouvriers in the great Revolution were so 
remorseless." 

" We ouvriers are wiser now ; we see that in assailing them, 
we gave ourselves worse tyrants in the new aristocracy of the 
capitalists. Our quarrel now is that of artisans against 
employers." 

" Of course, I am aware of that ; but to leave general pol- 
itics, tell me frankly, how has the strike affected you as yet, 
I mean in purse? Can you stand its pressure? If not, 
you are above the false pride of not taking help from me, a 
fellow-conspirator, though you were justified in refusing it 
when offered by Raoul de Vandemar, the servant of the 
Church." 

" Pardon, I refuse aid from any one, except for the com- 
mon cause. But do not fear for me ; I am not pinched as 
yet. I have had high wages for some years, and since I and 
[eloise came together, I have not wasted a sou out of doors, 
except in the way of public duty, such as making converts at 
the Jean-Jacques and elsewhere, a glass of beer and a pipe 
don't cost much. And He*loise is such a housewife, so thrifty, 
scolds me if I buy her a ribbon, poor love ! No wonder that 
I would pull down a society that dares to scoff at her, dares 
to say she is not my wife, and her children are base born. 
No, I have some savings left yet. War to society, war to the 
knife ! " 

" Monnier," said Lebeau, in a voice that evinced emotion, 
"listen to me: I have received injuries from society which. 






28 THE PARISIANS. 

when they were fresh, half-maddened me, that is twenty 
years ago. I would then have thrown myself into any plot 
against society that proffered revenge; but society, my friend, 
is a wall of very strong masonry, as it now stands. It may 
be sapped in the course of a thousand years, but stormed in a 
day, no. You dash your head against it, you scatter 
your brains, and you dislodge a stone. Society smiles in 
scorn, effaces the stain, and replaces a stone. I no longer 
war against society ; I do war against a system in that society 
which is hostile to me. Systems in France are easily over- 
thrown. I say this because I want to use you, and I do not 
want to deceive." 

" Deceive me, bah ! You are an honest man," cried Mon- 
nier ; and he seized Lebeau's hand and shook it with warmth 
and vigour. 

"But for you I should have been a mere grumbler. No 
doubt I should have cried out where the shoe pinched, and 
railed against laws that vex me ; but from the moment you 
first talked to me I became a new man. You taught me to 
act, as Rousseau and Madame de Grantmesnil had taught me 
to think and to feel. There is my brother, a grumbler too, 
but professes to have a wiser head than mine. He is always 
warning me against you, against joining a strike, against do- 
ing anything to endanger my skin. I always went by his 
advice till you taught me that it was well enough for women 
to talk and complain ; men should dare and do." 

" Nevertheless," said Lebeau, " your brother is a safer 
counsellor to a pere de famille than I. I repeat what I have 
so often said before : I desire, and I resolve, that the Empire 
of M. Bonaparte shall be overthrown. I see many concurrent 
circumstances to render that desire and resolve of practicable 
fulfilment. You desire and resolve the same thing. Up to 
that point we can work together. I have encouraged your 
action only so far as it served my design ; but I separate 
from you the moment you would ask me to aid your design in 
the hazard of experiments which the world has never yet fa- 
voured, and trust me, Monnier, the world never will favour." 

" That remains to be seen," said Monnier, with compressed, 



THE PARISIANS. 



29 



obstinate lips. "Forgive me, but you are not young; you 
belong to an old school." 

11 Poor young man ! " said Lebeau, readjusting his specta- 
cles, " I recognize in you the genius of Paris, be the genius 
good or evil. Paris is never warned by experience. Be it so. 
I want you so much, your enthusiasm is so fiery, that I can 
concede no more to the mere sentiment which makes me say 
to myself, ' It is a shame to use this great-hearted, wrong- 
headed creature for my personal ends.' I come at once to the 
point ; that is, the matter on which I seek you this evening. 
At my suggestion you have been a ringleader in strikes which 
have terribly shaken the Imperial system, more than its 
Ministers deem; now I want a man like you to assist in a 
bold demonstration against the Imperial resort to a rural, 
priest-ridden suffrage, on the part of the enlightened working- 
class of Paris." 

" Good ! " said Monnier. 

" In a day or two the result of the plebiscite will be known. 
The result of universal suffrage will be enormously in favour 
of the desire expressed by one man." 

" I don't believe it," said Monnier, stoutly. " France can- 
not be so hoodwinked by the priests." 

"Take what I say for granted," resumed Lebeau, calmly. 
" On the 8th of this month we shall know the amount of the 
majority, some millions of French votes. I want Paris to 
separate itself from France and declare against those blunder- 
ing millions. I want an emeute, or rather a menacing demon- 
stration, not a premature revolution, mind. You must 
avoid bloodshed." 

" It is easy to say that beforehand ; but when a crowd of 
men once meets in the streets of Paris " 

"It can do much by meeting, and cherishing resentment 

the meeting be dispersed by an armed force which it would 
be waste of life to resist." 

" We shall see when the time comes," said Monnier, with a 
fierce gleam in his bold eyes. 

" I tell you, all that is required at this moment is an evi- 
dent protest of the artisans of Paris against the votes of the 
'rurals ' of France. Do you comprehend me ? " 



30 THE PARISIANS. 

"I think so; if not, I obey. What we ouvriers want is 
what we have not got, a head to dictate action to us." 

" See to this, then. Rouse the men you can command. I 
will take care that you have plentiful aid from foreigners. 
We may trust to the confreres of our council to enlist Poles 
and Italians ; Gaspard le Noy will turn out the volunteer 
rioters at his command. Let the Entente be within, say, a 
week after the vote of the plebiscite is taken. You will need 
that time to prepare." 

" Be contented ; it shall be done." 

" Good night, then." Lebeau leisurely took up his hat and 
drew on his gloves ; then, as if struck by a sudden thought, 
he turned briskly on the artisan, and said in quick, blunt 
tones, 

"Armand Monnier, explain to me why it is that you, a 
Parisian artisan, the type of a class the most insubordinate, 
the most self-conceited, that exists on the face of earth, take 
without question, with so docile a submission, the orders of a 
man who plainly tells you he does not sympathize in your 
ultimate objects, of whom you really know very little, and 
whose views you candidly own you think are those of an old 
and obsolete school of political reasoners." 

" You puzzle me to explain," said Monnier, with an ingenu- 
ous laugh that brightened up features stern and hard, though 
comely when in repose. " Partly because you are so straight- 
forward and do not talk blague ; partly because I don't think 
the class I belong to would stir an inch unless we had a leader 
of another class, and you give me at least that leader. 
Again, you go to that first stage which we all agree to take, 
and Well, do you want me to explain more ? " 

" Yes." 

" Eh, bien ! you have warned me like an honest man ; like 
an honest man I warn you. That first step we take together. 
I want to go a step further. You retreat ; you say, ' No.' I 
reply you are committed ; that further step you must take, or 
I cry ' Traitre f a la lanterne ! ' You talk of ' superior experi- 
ence: ' bah! what does experience really tell you? Do you 
suppose that Philippe Egalite, when he began to plot against 
Louis XVI., meant to vote for his kinsman's execution by the 



THE PARISIANS. 



31 



guillotine ? Do you suppose that Robespierre, when he com- 
menced his career as the foe of capital punishment, foresaw 
that he should be the Minister of the Reign of Terror ? Not 
a bit of it. Each was committed by his use of those he de 
signed for his tools ; so must you be or you perish." 

Lebeau, leaning against the door, heard the frank avowal 
he had courted without betraying a change of countenance. 
But when Armand Monnier had done, a slight movement of 
his lips showed emotion : was it of fear or disdain ? 

" Monnier," he said gently, " I am so much obliged to you 
for the manly speech you have made. The scruples which 
my conscience had before entertained are dispelled. I dreaded 
lest I, a declared wolf, might seduce into peril an innocent 
sheep. I see I have to deal with a wolf of younger vigour and 
sharper fangs than myself. So much the better ! Obey my 
orders now ; leave it to time to say whether I obey yours 
later. Au revoir." 



CHAPTER VI. 

Is AURA'S apartment on the following Thursday evening was 
more filled than usual. Besides her habitual devotees in the 
artistic or literary world, there were diplomatists and deputies 
commixed with many fair chiefs of lajeunesse dor6e ; amongst 
the latter was the brilliant Enguerrand de Vandemar, who, 
deeming the acquaintance of every celebrity essential to his 
own celebrity in either Carthage, the beau monde or the demi- 
monde, had, two Thursdays before, made Louvier attend her 
soiree and present him. Louvier, though gathering to his own 
salons authors and artists, very rarely favoured their rooms with 
his presence; he did not adorn Isaura's party that evening. 
But Duplessis was there, in compensation. It had chanced 
that Valerie had met Isaura at some house in the past winter, 
and conceived an enthusiastic affection for her; since then, 



32 THE PARISIANS. 

Valerie came very often to see her, and made a point of 
dragging with her to Isaura's Thursday reunions her obedient 
father. Soirees, musical or literary, were not much in his line ; 
but he had no pleasure like that of pleasing his spoiled child. 
Our old friend Frederic Lemercier was also one of Isaura's 
guests that night. He had become more and more intimate 
with Duplessis, and Duplessis had introduced him to the fair 
Valerie as " uu jeune homme plein de moyens, qui ira loin." 

Savarin was there, of course, and brought with him an Eng- 
lish gentleman of the name of Bevil, as well known at Paris 
as in London, invited everywhere, popular everywhere; 
one of those welcome contributors to the luxuries of civilized 
society who trade in gossip, sparing no pains to get the pick 
of it, and exchanging it liberally, sometimes for a haunch of 
venison, sometimes for a cup of tea. His gossip, not being 
adulterated with malice, was in high repute for genuine worth. 

If Bevil said, " This story is a fact," you no more thought 
of doubting him than you would doubt Rothschild if he said, 
"This is Lafitte of '48." 

Mr. Bevil was at present on a very short stay at Paris ; and 
naturally wishing to make the most of his time, he did not 
tarry beside Savarin, but after being introduced to Isaura, 
flitted here and there through the assembly. 

" Apis Matinae 
More modoqne 
Grata carpentis thyma." 

"The bee proffers honey, but bears a sting." 
The room was at its fullest when Gustave Rameau entered, 
accompanied by Monsieur de Mauleon. 

Isaura was agreeably surprised by the impression made on 
her by the Vicomte's appearance and manner. His writings 
and such as she had heard of his earlier repute had prepared 
her to see a man decidedly old, of withered aspect and sar- 
donic smile, aggressive in demeanour, forward or contemptuous 
in his very politeness, a Mephistopheles engrafted on the 
stem of a Don Juan. She was startled by the sight of one 
who, despite his forty-eight years (and at Paris a man is gen- 



THE PARISIANS. 



33 



erally older at forty-eight than he is elsewhere), seemed in the 
zenith of ripened manhood, startled yet more by the singu- 
lar modesty of a deportment too thoroughly high-bred not to 
be quietly simple ; startled most by a melancholy expression 
in eyes that could be at times soft, though always so keen, and 
in the grave, pathetic smile which seemed to disarm censure 
of past faults in saying, " I have known sorrows." 

He did not follow up his introduction to his young hostess 
by any of the insipid phrases of compliment to which she was 
accustomed, but after expressing in grateful terms his thanks 
for the honour she had permitted Kaineau to confer on him, 
he moved aside, as if he had no right to detain her from 
other guests more worthy her notice, towards the doorway, 
taking his place by Enguerrand amidst a group of men of 
whom Duplessis was the central figure. 

At that time the first week in May, 1870 all who were 
then in Paris will remember that there were two subjects up- 
permost in the mouths of men : first, the plebiscite ; secondly, 
the conspiracy to murder the Emperor, which the disaffected 
considered to be a mere fable, a pretence got up in time to 
serve the plebiscite and prop the Empire. 

Upon this latter subject Duplessis had been expressing him- 
self with unwonted animation. A loyal and earnest Imperi- 
alist, it was only with effort that he could repress his scorn 
of that meanest sort of gossip which is fond of ascribing petty 
motives to eminent men. 

To him nothing could be more clearly evident than the 
reality of this conspiracy, and he had no tolerance for the 
malignant absurdity of maintaining that the Emperor or his 
Ministers could be silly and wicked enough to accuse seventy- 
two persons of a crime which the police had been instructed 

invent. 

As De Maule"on approached, the financier brought his speech 
to an abrupt close. He knew in the Vicomte de Mauleon the 
writer of articles which had endangered the Government, and 
aimed no pointless shafts against its Imperial head. 

" My cousin," said Enguerrand, gayly, as he exchanged a 

)rdial shake of the hand with Victor, " I congratulate you on 

VOL. II. 3 



34 THE PARISIANS. 

the fame of journalist into which you have vaulted, armed 
cap-a-pie, like a knight of old into his saddle ; but I don't 
sympathize with the means you have taken to arrive at that 
renown. I am not myself an Imperialist, a Vandemar can 
be scarcely that. But if I am compelled to be on board a ship, 
I don't wish to take out its planks and let in an ocean, when 
all offered to me instead is a crazy tub and a rotten rope." 

" Tres bien," said Duplessis, in parliamentary tone and 
phrase. 

" But," said De Mauleon, with his calm smile, " would you 
like the captain of the ship, when the sky darkened and the 
sea rose, to ask the common sailors whether they approved his 
conduct on altering his course or shortening his sail ? Better 
trust to a crazy tub and a rotten rope than to a ship in which 
the captain consults a, plebiscite." 

" Monsieur," said Duplessis, " your metaphor is ill chosen, 
no metaphor, indeed, is needed. The head of the State was 
chosen by the voice of the people ; and when required to change 
the form of administration which the people had sanctioned, 
and inclined to do so from motives the most patriotic and 
liberal, he is bound again to consult the people from whom he 
holds his power. It is not, however, of the plebiscite we were 
conversing, so much as of the atrocious conspiracy of assassins 
so happily discovered in time. I presume that Monsieur de 
Mauleon must share the indignation which true Frenchmen of 
every party must feel against a combination united by the 
purpose of murder." 

The Vicomte bowed, as in assent. "But do you believe," 
asked a Liberal depute, " that such a combination existed, ex- 
cept in the visions of the police or the cabinet of a Minister ? " 

Duplessis looked keenly at De Mauleon while this question 
was put to him. Belief or disbelief in the conspiracy was 
with him, and with many, the test by which a sanguinary rev- 
olutionist was distinguished from an honest politician. 

"Mafoi," answered De Mauleon, shrugging his shoulders, 
" I have only one belief left, but that is boundless. I believe in 
the folly of mankind in general, and of Frenchmen in particular. 
That seventy-two men should plot the assassination of a sover- 



THE PARISIANS. 35 

eign on whose life interests so numerous and so watchful 
depend, and imagine they could keep a secret which any 
drunkard amongst them would blab out, any tatterdemalion 
would sell, is a betise so gross that I think it highly probable. 
But pardon me if I look upon the politics of Paris much as I 
do upon its mud, one must pass through it when one walks 
in the street ; one changes one's shoes before entering the 
salon. A word with you, Enguerrand," and taking his kins- 
man's arm, he drew him aside from the circle. " What has 
become of your brother ? I see nothing of him now." 

" Oh, Raoul," 'answered Enguerrand, throwing himself on a 
couch in a recess, and making room for De Mauleon beside 
him, '' Raoul is devoting himself to the distressed ouvriers 
who have chosen to withdraw from work. When he fails to 
persuade them to return, he forces food and fuel on their 
wives and children. My good mother encourages him in this 
costly undertaking, and no one but you, who believe in the 
infinity of human folly, would credit me when I tell you that 
his eloquence has drawn from me all the argent de poche I get 
from our shop. As for himself, he has sold his horses, and 
even grudges a cab-fare, saying, ' That is a meal for a family.' 
Ah ! if he had but gone into the Church, what a saint would 
have deserved canonization ! " 

"Do not lament; he will probably have what is a better 
claim than mere saintship on Heaven, martyrdom," said De 
Mauleon, with a smile in which sarcasm disappeared in mel- 
ancholy. " Poor Raoul ! And what of my other cousin, the 
beau Marquis? Several months ago his Legitimist faith 
seemed vacillating; he talked to me very fairly about the 
duties a Frenchman owed to France, and hinted that he 
should place his sword at the command of Napoleon III. I 
have not yet heard of him as a soldat de France, I hear a 
great deal of him as a viveur de Paris." 

" Don't you know why his desire for a military career was 
frost-bitten ? " 

" No ;' why ? " 

" Alain came from Bretagne profoundly ignorant of most 
things known to a gamin of Paris. When he conscientiously 



36 THE PARISIANS. 

overcame the scruples natural to one of his name, and told 
the Duchesse de Tarascon that he was ready to tight under 
the flag of France whatever its colour, he had a vague reminis- 
cence of ancestral Rochebriants earning early laurels at the 
head of their regiments. At all events, he assumed as a mat- 
ter of course that he, in the first rank as gentilhomme, would 
enter the army, if as a sous-lieutenant, still as gentilhomme. 
But when told that as he had been at no military college, he 
could only enter the ranks as a private soldier, herd with 
private soldiers, for at least two years before passing through 
the grade of corporal, and that his birth, education, habits of 
life could, with great favour, raise him to the station of a 
sous-lieutenant, you may conceive that the martial ardour of a 
Rochebriant was somewhat cooled." 

" If he knew what the dormitory of French privates is, and 
how difficult a man well educated, well brought up, finds it, 
first to endure the coarsest ribaldry and the loudest blas- 
phemy, and then, having endured and been compelled to share 
them, ever enforce obedience and discipline as a superior 
among those with whom just before he was an equal, his 
ardour would not have been merely cooled, it would have been 
changed into despair for the armies of France if hereafter 
they are met by those whose officers have been trained to be 
officers from the outset, and have imbibed from their cradle 
an education not taught to the boy-pedants from school, 
the twofold education how with courtesy to command, how 
with dignity to obey. To return to Rochebriant : such salons 
as I frequent are somewhat formal, as befits my grave years 
and my modest income, I may add, now that you know my 
vocation, befits me also as a man who seeks rather to be 
instructed than amused. In those salons I did last year some- 
times, however, meet Rochebriant, as I sometimes still meet 
you ; but of late he has deserted such sober reunions, and I 
hear with pain that he is drifting among those rocks against 
which my own youth was shipwrecked. Is the report true ?" 

"I fear," said Enguerrand, reluctantly, "that at least the 
report is not unfounded. And my conscience accuses me of 
having been to blame in the first instance. You see, when 



THE PARISIANS. 87 

Alain made terms with Louvier by which he obtained a very 
fair income, if prudently managed, I naturally wished that a 
man of so many claims to social distinction, and who repre- 
sents the oldest branch of my family, should take his right 
place in our world of Paris. I gladly, therefore, presented 
him to the houses and the men most a la mode; advised him 
as to the sort of establishment in apartments, horses, etc., 
which it appeared to me that he might reasonably afford, I 
mean such as, with his means, I should have prescribed to 
myself " 

" Ah ! I understand. But you, dear Enguerrand, are a born 
Parisian, every inch of you ; and a born Parisian is, whatever 
be thought to the contrary, the best manager in the world. 
He alone achieves the difficult art of uniting thrift with show. 
It is your Provincial who comes to Paris in the freshness of 
undimmed youth who sows his whole life on its barren streets. 
I guess the rest, Alain is ruined." 

Enguerrand, who certainly was so far a born Parisian that, 
with all his shrewdness and savoirfaire, he had a wonderfully 
sympathetic heart, very easily moved one way or the other, 
Enguerrand winced at his elder kinsman's words, compli- 
mentarily reproachful, and said, in unwonted tones of humil- 
ity : " Cousin, you are cruel, but you are in the right. I did 
not calculate sufficiently on the chances of Alain's head being 
turned. Hear my excuse. He seemed to me so much more 
thoughtful than most at our age are, so much more stately 
and proud ; well, also so much more pure, so impressed with 
the responsibilities of station, so bent on retaining the old 
lands in Bretagne ; by habit and rearing so simple and self- 
denying, that I took it for granted he was proof against 
stronger temptations than those which a light nature like my 
<>\vu puts aside with a laugh. And at first I had no reason 
to think myself deceived, when, some months ago, I heard 
that he was getting into debt, losing at play, paying court to 
female vampires who drain the life-blood of those on whom 
they fasten their fatal lips. Oh 1 then I spoke to him 
earnestly." 

" And in vain ? " 



38 THE PARISIANS. 

" In vain. A certain Chevalier de Finisterre, whom you may 
have heard of " 

" Certainly, and met, a friend of Louvier's " 

" The same man has obtained over him an influence which 
so far subdues mine that he almost challenged me when I told 
him his friend was a scamp. In fine, though Alain and I 
have not actually quarrelled, we pass each other with ' Bon 
jour, mon ami.' " 

" Hum ! My dear Enguerrand, you have done all you could. 
Flies will be flies, and spiders, spiders, till the earth is de- 
stroyed by a comet. Nay, I met a distinguished naturalist in 
America who maintained that we shall find flies and spiders in 
the next world." 

" You have been in America ? Ah ! true, I remember, 
California." 

" Where have I not been ? Tush ! music. Shall I hear our 
fair hostess sing ? " 

" I am afraid not to-night, because Madame S is to 

favour us, and the Signorina makes it a rule not to sing at 
her own house when professional artists do. You must 
hear the Cicogna quietly some day, such a voice, nothing 
like it." 

Madame S , who since she had learned that there was 

no cause to apprehend that Isaura might become her profes- 
sional rival, conceived for her a wonderful affection, and wil- 
lingly contributed her magnificent gifts of song to the charms 
of Isaura's salon, now began a fragment from " I Puritani," 
which held the audience as silent as the ghosts listening to 
Sappho ; and when it was over, several of the guests slipped 
away, especially those who disliked music and feared Madame 

S might begin again. Enguerrand was not one of such 

soulless recreants, but he had many other places to go to. 
Besides, Madame S was no novelty to him. 

De Mauleon now approached Isaura, who was seated next to 

Valerie, and after well-merited eulogium on Madame S 's 

'performance, slid into some critical comparisons between that 
singer and those of a former generation which interested 
Isaura, and evinced to her quick perceptions that kind of love 



THE PARISIANS. 39 

for music which has been refined by more knowledge of the 
art than is common to mere amateurs. 

" You have studied music, Monsieur de Maul^on," she said. 
" Do you not perform yourself ? " 

" I ? No. But music has always had a fatal attraction for 
me. I ascribe half the errors of my life to that temperament 
which makes me too fascinated by harmonies, too revolted 
by discords." 

" I should have thought such a temperament would have led 
from errors, are not errors discords ? " 

" To the inner sense, yes ; but to the outer sense, not 
always. Virtues are often harsh to the ear, errors very 
sweet-voiced. The sirens did not sing out of tune. Better 
to stop one's ears than glide on Scylla or be merged into 
Charybdis." 

" Monsieur," cried Vale'rie, with a pretty brusquerie which 
became her well, " you talk like a Vandal." 

"It is, I think, by Mademoiselle Duplessis that I have the 
honour to be rebuked. Is Monsieur your father very suscepti- 
ble to music ? " 

" Well, I cannot say that he cares much for it. But then, 
his mind is so practical " 

" And his life so successful ; no Scylla, no Charybdis, for 
him. However, Mademoiselle, I am not quite the Vandal you 
suppose ; I do not say that susceptibility to the influence of 
music may not be safe, nay, healthful, to others, it was not 

ISO to me in my youth. It can do me no harm now." 
Here Duplessis came up and whispered to his daughter it 
was time to leave ; they had promised the Duchesse de Taras- 
con to assist at the soiree she gave that night. Vale'rie took 
her father's arm with a brightening smile and a heightened 
colour. Alain de Rochebriant might probably be at the 
Duchesse's. 

" Are you not going also to the H6tel de Tarascon, Mon- 
sieur de Mauleon ? " asked Duplessis. 

"No; I was never there but once. The Duchesse is an 
Imperialist at once devoted and acute, and no doubt very soon 
divined my lack of faith in her idols." 



40 THE PARISIANS. 

Duplessis frowned, and hastily led Valerie away. 

In a few minutes the room was comparatively deserted. De 
Mauleon, however, lingered by the side of Isaura till all the 
other guests were gone. Even then he lingered still, and re- 
newed the interrupted conversation with her, the Venosta 
joining therein ; and so agreeable did he make himself to her 
Italian tastes by a sort of bitter-sweet wisdom like that of her 
native proverbs comprising much knowledge of mankind 
on the unflattering side of humanity in that form of pleas- 
antry which has a latent sentiment of pathos that the Ve- 
nosta exclaimed, " Surely you must have been brought up in 
Florence ! " 

There was that in De Mauleon's talk hostile to all which 
we call " romance " that excited the imagination of Isaura, 
and compelled her instinctive love for whatever is more sweet, 
more beautiful, more ennobling on the many sides of human 
life, to oppose what she deemed the paradoxes of a man who 
had taught himself to belie even his own nature. She became 
eloquent; and her countenance, which in ordinary moments 
owed much of its beauty to an expression of meditative gen- 
tleness, was now lighted up by the energy of earnest convic- 
tion, the enthusiasm of an impassioned zeal. 

Gradually De Mauleon relaxed his share in the dialogue, 
and listened to her, rapt and dreamily, as in his fiery youth 
he had listened to the songs of the sirens. No siren Isaura ! 
She was defending her own cause, though unconsciously, de- 
fending the vocation of art as the embellisher of external 
nature, and more than embellisher of the nature which dwells 
crude, but plastic, in the soul of man, indeed, therein the 
creator of a new nature, strengthened, expanded, and bright- 
ened in proportion as it accumulates the ideas that tend 
beyond the boundaries of the visible and material nature, 
which is finite ; forever seeking in the unseen and the spirit- 
ual the goals in the infinite which it is their instinct to divine. 
" That which you contemptuously call ' romance,' " said Isaura, 
" is not essential only to poets and artists. The most real side 
of every life, from the earliest dawn of mind in the infant, 
is the romantic. When the child is weaving flower-chains, 



THE PARTSrAffS. 41 



chasing butterflies, or sitting apart and dreaming what it will 
do in the future, is notfhat the child's real life, and yet is it 
not also the romantic ? " 

" But there comes a time when we weave no flower-chains 
and chase no butterflies." 

" Is it so ? Still, on one side of life flowers and butterflies 
may be found to the last ; and at least to the last are there no 
dreams of the future ? Have you no such dreams at this 
moment ? And without the romance of such dreams would 
there be any reality to human life which could distinguish it 
from the life of the weed that rots on Lethe ? " 

"Alas, Mademoiselle," said De Maule'on, rising to take 
leave, " your argument must rest without answer. I would 
not, if I could, confute the beautiful belief that belongs to 
youth, fusing into one rainbow all the tints that can colour the 
world. But the Signora Venosta will acknowledge the truth 
of an old saying expressed in every civilized language, but 
best, perhaps, in that of the Florentine: 'You might as well 
physic the dead as instruct the old.' " 

" But you are not old," said the Venosta, with Florentine 
politeness, " you, not a gray hair ! " 

" 'T is not by the gray of the hair that one knows the age 
of the heart," answered De Mauleon, in another paraphrase of 
Italian proverb, and he was gone. 

As he walked homeward through deserted streets, Victor 
de Mauleon thought to himself : " Poor girl, how I pity her, 
married to a Gustave Rameau, married to any man ! Noth- 
ing in the nature of man, be he the best and the cleverest, 
can ever realize the dream of a girl who is pure and has 
genius. Ah ! is not the converse true ? What girl, the best 

I and the cleverest, comes up to the ideal of even a common- 
place man, if he ever dreamed of an ideal ! " 
Then he paused, and in a moment or so afterwards his 
thought knew such questionings no more. It turned upon 
personalities, on stratagems and plots, on ambition. The 
man had nfbre than his share of that peculiar susceptibility 
which is one of the characteristics of his countrymen, sus- 
ceptibility to immediate impulse, susceptibility to fleeting 



42 



THE PARISIANS. 



impressions. It was a key to many mysteries in his charac- 
ter when he owned his subjection to the influence of music, 
and in music recognized, not the seraph's harp, but the siren's 
song. If you could have permanently fixed Victor de Mau- 
leon in one of the good moments of his life, even now, some 
moment of exquisite kindness, of superb generosity, of daunt- 
less courage, you would have secured a very rare specimen 
of noble humanity. But so to fix him was impossible. 

That impulse of the moment vanished the moment after, 
swept aside by the force of his very talents, talents con- 
centrated by his intense sense of individuality, sense of 
wrongs or of rights, interests or objects personal to himself. 
He extended the royal saying, " L'etat, c'est moi," to words 
far more grandiloquent, " The universe, 't is I." The 
Venosta would have understood him, and smiled approvingly, 
if he had said, with good-humoured laugh, " I dead, the world 
is dead ! " That is an Italian proverb, and means much the 
same thing. 






BOOK via 



CHAPTER I. 

ON the 8th of May the vote of the plebiscite was recorded, 
between seven and eight millions of Frenchmen in support 
of the Imperial programme in plain words, of the Emperor 
himself against a minority of 1,500,000. But among the 
1,500,000 were the old throne-shakers, those who compose 
and those who lead the mob of Paris. On the 14th, as Ra- 
meau was about to quit the editorial bureau of his printing- 
office, a note was brought in to him which strongly excited 
his nervous system. It contained a request to see him forth- 
with, signed by those two distinguished foreign members of 
the Secret Council of Ten, Thaddeus Loubinsky and Leonardo 
Raselli. 

The meetings of that Council had been so long suspended 
that Rameau had almost forgotten its existence. He gave 
orders to admit the conspirators. The two men entered, 
the Pole tall, stalwart, and with martial stride ; the Italian 
small, emaciated, with skulking, noiseless, cat-like step, 
both looking wondrous threadbare, and in that state called 
"shabby genteel," which belongs to the man who cannot work 
for his livelihood, and assumes a superiority over the man 
who can. Their outward appearance was in notable discord 
with that of the poet-politician, he all new in the last fash- 
ions of Parisian elegance, and redolent of Parisian prosperity 
and extrait de mousseline ! 

" Confrere," said the Pole, seating himself on the edge of the 
table, while the Italian leaned against the mantelpiece and 
glanced round the room with furtive eye as if to detect itg 



44 THE PARISIANS. 

innermost secrets or decide where safest to drop a lucifer-uiatch 
for its conflagration, " confrere" said the Pole, " your country 
needs you " 

" Rather, the cause of all countries," interposed the Italian 
softly, " Humanity.''* 

"Please to explain yourselves. But stay, wait a moment," 
said Rameau; and rising, he went to the door, opened it, 
looked forth, ascertained that the coast was clear, then reclosed 
the door as cautiously as a prudent man closes his pocket 
whenever shabby-genteel visitors appeal to him in the cause 
of his country, still more if they appeal in that of humanity. 

" Confrere" said the Pole, " this day a movement is to be 
made, a demonstration on behalf of your country " 

"Of humanity," again softly interposed the Italian. 

" Attend and share it," said the Pole. 

" Pardon me," said Rameau j "I do not know what you 
mean. I am now the editor of a journal in which the propri- 
etor does not countenance violence ; and if you come to me as 
a member of the Council, you must be aware that I should 
obey no orders but that of its president, whom I have not seen 
for nearly a year, indeed, I know not if the Council still 
exists." 

" The Council exists, and with it the obligation it imposes," 
replied the Pole. " Pampered with luxury," here he raised 
his voice, "do you dare to reject the voice of Poverty and 
Freedom ? " 

"Hush! dear but too vehement confrere" murmured the 
bland Italian ; " permit me to dispel the reasonable doubts of 
our confrere ; " and he took out of his breast-pocket a paper 
which he presented to Rameau. On it were written these 
words : 

"This evening, May 14. Demonstration. Faubourg du Temple. 
Watch events, under orders of A. M. Bid the youngest member take 
that first opportunity to test nerves and discretion. He is not to act, 
but to observe." 

No name was appended to this instruction, but a cipher 
intelligible to all members of the Council, as significant of its 
president, Jeaii Leb*> a " 









THE PARISIANS. 45 

" If I err not," said the Italian, " Citizen Rameau is our 
youngest confrere." 

Raineau paused. The penalties for disobedience to an order 
of the President of the Council were too formidable to be dis- 
regarded. There could be no doubt that, though his name was 
not mentioned, he, Rameau, was accurately designated as the 
youngest member of the Council. Still, however he might 
have owed his present position to the recommendation of 
Lebeau, there was nothing in the conversation of M. de 
Mauleon which would warrant participation in a popular 
emeute by the editor of a journal belonging to that mocker of 
the mob. Ah ! but and here again he glanced over the 
paper he was asked, " not to act, but to observe." To ob- 
serve was the duty of a journalist. He might go to the dem- 
onstration as De Mauleon confessed he had gone to the Com- 
munist Club, a philosophical spectator. 

" You do not disobey this order ? " said the Pole, crossing 
his arms. 

" I shall certainly go into the Faubourg du Temple this 
evening," answered Rameau, dryly ; " I have business that 
way." 

" Bon ! " said the Pole. " I did not think you would fail us, 
though you do edit a journal which says not a word on the 
duties that bind the French people to the resuscitation of 
Poland." 

" And is not pronounced in decided accents upon the cause 
of the human race," put in the Italian, whispering. 

" I do not write the political articles in ' Le Sens Cornmun,' " 
answered Rameau ; " and I suppose that our president is sat- 
isfied with them, since he recommended me to the preference 
of the person who does. Have you more to say ? Pardon me ; 
my time is precious, for it does not belong to me." 

" Enough ! " said the Italian, " we will detain you no longer." 
Here, with a bow and a smile, he glided towards the door. 

" Confrere" muttered the Pole, lingering, "you must have 
become very rich ! Do not forget the wrongs of Poland, I 
am their representative. I speaking in that character, not 
as myself individually / have not breakfasted ! " 



46 THE PARISIANS. 

Kameau, too thoroughly Parisian not to be as lavish of his 
own money as he was envious of another's, slipped some pieces 
of gold into the Pole's hand. The Pole's bosom heaved with 
manly emotion : " These pieces bear the effigies of the tyrant, 

I accept them as redeemed from disgrace by their uses to 
Freedom." 

" Share them with Signer Raselli in the name of the same 
cause," whispered Kameau, with a smile he might have plagia- 
rized from De Mauleon. 

The Italian, whose ear was inured to whispers, heard and 
turned round as he stood at the threshold. 

" No, confrere of France, no, confrere of Poland ; I am 
Italian. All ways to take the life of an enemy are honourable, 

no way is honourable which begs money from a friend." 
An hour or so later, Rameau was driven in his comfortable 

coupe to the Faubourg du Temple. 

Suddenly, at the angle of a street, his coachman was stopped ; 
a rough-looking man appeared at the door : " Descends mon 
petit bourgeois." Behind the rough-looking man were menac- 
ing faces. 

Rameau was not physically a coward, very few French- 
men are ; still fewer Parisians ; and still fewer, no matter 
what their birthplace, the men whom we call vain, the 
men who over-much covet distinction, and over-much dread 
reproach. 

" Why should I descend at your summons ? " said Rameau, 
haughtily. " Bah I Coachman, drive on ! " 

The rough-looking man opened the door and silently ex- 
tended a hand to Rameau, saying gently : < Take my advice, 
mon bourgeois ; get out, we want your carriage. It is a day 
of barricades ; every little helps, even your coupe ! " 

While this man spoke, others gesticulated ; some shrieked 
out : " He is an employer ; he thinks he can drive over the 
employed ! " 

Some leader of the crowd a Parisian crowd always has a 
classical leader, who has never read the classics thundered 
forth : u Tarquin's car ! Down with Tarquin ! " Therewith 
came a yell, " A la lanterne Tarquin ! " 



THE PARISIANS. 47 

We Anglo-Saxons, of the old country or the new, are not 
familiarized to the dread roar of a populace delighted to have 
a Roman authority for tearing us to pieces ; still, Americans 
know what is Lynch law. Rameau was in danger of Lynch 
law, when suddenly a face not unknown to him interposed be- 
tween himself and the rough-looking man. 

" Ha ! " cried this new-comer, " my young confrere, Gustave 
Rameau, welcome ! Citizens, make way ! I answer for this 
patriot, I, Armand Monnier. He comes to help us. Is this 
the way you receive him ? " Then in a low voice to Rameau : 
" Come out. Give your coupt, to the barricade. What matters 
such rubbish ? Trust to me, I expected you. Hist ! Le- 
beau bids me see that you are safe." 

Rameau then, seeking to drape himself in majesty, as the 
aristocrats of journalism in a city wherein no other aristocracy 
is recognized, naturally and comrnendably do, when ignorance 
combined with physical strength asserts itself to be a power, 
beside which the power of knowledge is what a learned poodle 
is to a tiger, Rameau then descended from his coup4 and 
said to this Titan of labour, as a French marquis might have 
Baid to his valet, and as, when the French marquis has become 
a ghost of the past, the man who keeps a coupe says to the 
man who mends its wheels, " Honest fellow, I trust you ! " 

Monnier led the journalist through the mob to the rear of 
the barricade hastily constructed. Here were assembled very 
motley groups. 

The majority were ragged boys, the gamins of Paris, com- 
mingled with several women of no reputable appearance, some 
dingily, some gaudily apparelled. The crowd did not appear 
as if the business in hand was a very serious one. Amidst 
the din of voices the sound of laughter rose predominant, jests 
and bons mots flew from lip to lip. The astonishing good-hu- 
mour of the Parisians was not yet excited into the ferocity that 
grows out of it by a street contest. It was less like a popular 
emeute than a gathering of schoolboys bent not less on fun 
than on mischief. But still, amid this gayer crowd were sin- 
ister, lowering faces ; the fiercest were not those of the very 
poor, but rather of artisans who, to judge by their dress, 



48 THE PARISIANS. 

seemed well off, of men belonging to yet higher grades. 
Kameau distinguished amongst these the medecin des pauvres, 
the philosophical atheist, sundry young, long-haired 
artists, middle-aged writers for the republican press, in close 
neighbourhood with ruffians of villauous aspect, who might 
have been newly returned from the galleys. None were regu- 
larly armed ; still, revolvers and muskets and long knives were 
by no means infrequently interspersed among the rioters. 
The whole scene was to Rameau a confused panorama, and 
the dissonant tumult of yells and laughter, of menace and 
joke, began rapidly to act on his impressionable nerves. He 
felt that which is the prevalent character of a Parisian riot, 
the intoxication of an impulsive sympathy ; coming there as 
a reluctant spectator, if action commenced he would have been 
borne readily into the thick of the action, he could not have 
helped it ; already he grew impatient of the suspense of strife. 
Monnier, having deposited him safely, with his back to a wall, 
at the corner of a street handy for flight if flight became ex- 
pedient, had left him for several minutes, having business 
elsewhere. Suddenly the whisper of the Italian stole into his 
ear, 

" These men are fools. This is not the way to do business ; 
this does not hurt the robber of Nice, Garibaldi's Nice ; 
they should have left it to me." 

" What would you do ? " 

" I have invented a new machine," whispered the Friend of 
Humanity; "it would remove all at one blow, lion and 
lioness, whelp and jackals, and then the revolution, if you 
will; not this paltry tumult! The cause of the human race 
is being frittered away. I am disgusted with Lebeau. 
Thrones are not overturned by gamins." 

Before Kameau could answer,' Monnier rejoined him. The 
artisan's face was overcast, his lips compressed, yet quiver- 
ing with indignation. "Brother," he said to Rameau, "to- 
day the cause is betrayed" (the word trahi was just then 
coming into vogue at Paris); "the blouses I counted on are 
recreant. I have just learned that all is quiet in the other 
quartiers, where the rising was to have been simultaneous 



THE PARISIANS. 49 

with this. We are in a guet-apens, the soldiers will be 
down on us in a few minutes. Hark ! don't you hear the 
distant tramp ? Nothing for us but to die like mea. Our 
blood will be avenged later. Here," and he thrust a revolver 
into Rameau's hand. Then, with a lusty voice that rang 
through the crowd, he shouted, " Vive le peuple ! " The 
rioters caught and re-echoed the cry, mingled with other cries, 
" Vive la Republique ! " " Vive le drapeau rouge ! " 

The shouts were yet at their full when a strong hand 
grasped Momrier's arm, and a clear, deep, but low voice 
thrilled through his ear: "Obey! I warned you. No fight 
to-day ; time not ripe. All that is needed is done, do not 
undo it. Hist ! the sergents de ville are force enough to dis- 
perse the swarm of those gnats. Behind the sergents come 
soldiers who will not fraternize. Lose not one life to-day. 
The morrow when we shall need every man nay, every gamin 
will dawn soon. Answer not. Obey!" The same strong 
hand, quitting its hold on Monnier, then seized Rameau by 
the wrist, and the same deep voice said : " Come with me." 
Rameau, turning in amaze not unmixed with anger, saw 
beside him a tall man with sombrero hat pressed -close over 
his head, and in the blouse of a labourer ; but through such dis- 
guise he recognized the pale-gray whiskers and green spec- 
tacles of Lebeau. He yielded passively to the grasp that led 
him away down the deserted street at the angle. 

At the farther end of that street, howerer, was heard the 
steady thud of hoofs. 

"The soldiers are taking the mob at its rear," said Lebeau, 
calmly ; " we have not a moment to lose, this way ; " and 
he plunged into a dismal court, then into a labyrinth of lanes, 
followed mechanically by Rameau. They issued at last on 
the Boulevards, in which the usual loungers were quietly 
sauntering, wholly unconscious of the riot elsewhere. " Now, 
take that fiacre and go home ; write down your impressions of 
what you have seen, and take your manuscript to M. de 
Maule"on." Lebeau here quitted him. 

Meanwhile all happened as Lebeau had predicted. The 
sergents de ville showed themselves in front of the barricades, 

VOL. II, 4 




50 THE PARISIANS. 

a small troop of mounted soldiers appeared in the rear. The 
mob greeted the first with yells and a shower of stones, at 
the sight of the last they fled in all directions, and the sergents 
de ville, calmly scaling the barricades, carried off in triumph, 
as prisoners of war, four gamins, three women, and one Irish- 
man, loudly protesting innocence and shrieking " Murther ! " 
So ended the first inglorious rise against the plebiscite and the 
Empire, on the 14th of May, 1870. 

FROM ISAURA CICOGNA TO MADAME DE GRANTMESNIL. 

Saturday, May 21, 1870 

I AM still, dearest Eulalie, under the excitement of impressions wholly 
new to me. I have this day witnessed one of those scenes which take 
us out of our private life, not into the world of fiction, but of history, 
in which we live as in the life of a nation. You know how intimate I 
have become with Valerie Duplessis. She is in herself so charming in 
her combination of petulant wilfulness and guileless naivete that she 
might sit as a model for one of your exquisite heroines. Her father, 
who is in great favour at Court, had tickets for the Salle des fitats of the 
Louvre to-day, when, as the journals will tell you, the results of the 
plebiscite were formally announced to the Emperor, and I accompanied 
him and Valerie. I felt on entering the hall as if I had been living for 
months in an atmosphere of false rumours ; for those I chiefly meet in 
the circles of artists and men of letters, and the wits and flaneurs who 
haunt such circles, are nearly all hostile to the Emperor. They agree, 
at least, in asserting the decline of his popularity, the failure of his 
intellectual powers; in predicting his downfall, deriding the notion 
of a successor in his son. Well, I know not how to reconcile these 
statements with the spectacle I have beheld to-day. 

In the chorus of acclamation amidst which the Emperor entered the 
hall, it seemed, as if one heard the voice of the France he had just 
appealed to. If the Fates are really weaving woe and shame in his woof, 
it is in hues which to mortal eyes seem brilliant with glory and joy. 

You will read the address of the President of the Corps Le"gislatif : 
I wonder how it will strike you ! I own fairly that me it wholly carried 
away. At each sentiment I murmured to myself, ' Is not this true? 
and if true, are France and human nature ungrateful ? ' 

" It is now," said the President, " eighteen years since France, 
wearied with confusion and anxious for security, confiding in your 
genius and the Napoleonic dynasty, placed in your hands, together with 
the Imperial crown, the authority which the public necessity de- 






THE PARISIANS. 51 

manded." Then the address proceeded to enumerate the blessings that 
ensued, social order speedily restored ; the welfare of all classes of 
society promoted ; advances in commerce and manufactures to an ex- 
tent hitherto unknown. Is not this true? and, if so, are you, noble 
daughter of France, ungrateful ? 

Then came words which touched me deeply, me, who, knowing 
nothing of politics, still feel the link that unites Art to Freedom : " But 
from the first your Majesty has looked forward to the time when this 
concentration of power would no longer correspond to the aspirations 
of a tranquil and reassured country, and foreseeing the progress of 
modern society, you proclaimed that ' Liberty must be the crowning of 
the edifice.' Passing then over the previous gradual advances in pop- 
ular government, the President came to the " present self-abnegation, 
unprecedented in history," and to the vindication of that plebiscite 
which I have heard so assailed ; namely, fidelity to the great principle 
upon which the throne was founded, which required that so important 
a modification of a power bestowed by the people should not be made 
without the participation of the people themselves. Then, enumerating 
the millions who had welcomed the new form of government, the Presi- 
dent paused a second or two, as if with suppressed emotion, and every 
one present held his breath till, in a deeper voice, through which there 
ran a quiver that thrilled through the hall, he concluded with : " France 
is with you ; France places the cause of liberty under the protection of 
your dynasty and the great bodies of the State." Is France with him? 
I know not; but if the malcontents of France had been in the hall at 
that moment, I believe they would have felt the power of that wonder- 
ful sympathy which compels all the hearts in great audiences to beat in 
accord, and would have answered, " It is true." 

All eyes now fixed on the Emperor, and I noticed few eyes which 
were not moist with tears. You know that calm, unrevealing face of 
his, a face which sometimes disappoints expectation. But there is 
that in it which I have seen in no other, but which I can imagine to 
have been common to the Romans of old, the dignity that arises from 
self-control; an expression which seems removed from the elation of 
joy, the depression of sorrow ; not unbecoming to one who has known 
great vicissitudes of Fortune, and is prepared alike for her frowns or 
her smiles. 

I had looked at that face while M. Schneider was reading the ad- 
dress, it moved not a muscle, it might have been a face of marble, 
even when at moments the words were drowned in applause, and the 
Empress, striving at equal composure, still allowed us to see a move- 
ment of her eyelids, a tremble on her lips. The boy at his ricrht, heir 



52 THE PARISIANS. 

to his dynasty, had his looks fixed on the President as if eagerly 
swallowing each word in the address, save once or twice, when he 
looked round the hall curiously, and with a smile as a mere child might 
look. He struck me as a mere child. Next to the Prince was one of 
those countenances which, once seen, are never to be forgotten, the 
true Napoleonic type, brooding, thoughtful, ominous, beautiful. But 
not with the serene energy that characterizes the head of the first 
Napoleon when Emperor, and wholly without the restless eagerness for 
action which is stamped in the lean outline of Napoleon when First 
Consul. No, in Prince Napoleon there is a beauty to which, as woman, 
T could never give my heart, were I a man, the intellect that would 
not command my trust. But, nevertheless, in beauty it is signal, and 
in that beauty the expression of intellect is predominant. 

Oh, dear Eulalie, how I am digressing 1 The Emperor spoke and 
believe me, Eulalie, whatever the journals or your compatriots may in- 
sinuate, there is in that man no sign of declining intellect or failing 
health. I care not what may be his years, but that man is in miud and 
in health as young as Caesar when he crossed the Rubicon. 

The old cling to the past, they do not go forward to the future. 
There was no going back in that speech of the Emperor. There was 
something grand and something young in the modesty with which he 
put aside all references to that which his Empire had done in the past, 
and said, with a simple earnestness of manner which I cannot ade- 
quately describe, 

"We must more than ever look fearlessly forward to the future. 
Who can be opposed to the progressive march of a regime founded by 
a great people in the midst of political disturbance, and which now is 
fortified by liberty ? " 

As he closed, the walls of that vast hall seemed to rock with an 
applause that must have been heard on the other side of the Seine. 

" Vive 1'Empereur ! " 

" Vive Hmperatrice ! " 

" Vive le Prince Imperial I " And the last cry was yet more pro- 
longed than the others, as if to affirm the dynasty. 

Certainly I can imagine no court in the old days of chivalry more 
splendid than the audience in that grand hall of the Louvre, to the 
right of the throne all the ambassadors of the civilized world in the 
blaze of their rich costumes and manifold orders ; in the gallery at 
the left, yet more behind, the dresses and jewels of the dames d'hon- 
neur and of the great officers of State. And when the Empress rose to 
depart, certainly my fancy cannot picture a more queen-like image, or 
one that seemed more in unison with the representation of royal pomp 



THE PARISIANS. 53 

and power. The very dress, of a colour which would have been fatal to 
the beauty of most women equally fair, a deep golden colour (Valerie 
profanely called it buff), seemed so to suit the splendour of the cere- 
mony and the day ; it seemed as if that stately form stood in the midst 
of a sunlight reflected from itself. Day seemed darkened when that 
sunlight passed away. 

I fear you will think I have suddenly grown servile to the gauds and 
shows of mere royalty. I ask myself if that be so, I think not. 
Surely it is a higher sense of greatness which has been impressed on me 
by the pageant of to-day ; I feel as if there were brought vividly before 
me the majesty of France, through the representation of the ruler she 
has crowned. 

I feel also as if there, in that hall, I found a refuge from all the war- 
ring contests in which no two seem to me in agreement as to the sort of 
government to be established in place of the present. The " Liberty " 
clamoured for by one would cut the throat of the " Liberty " worshipped 
by another. 

I see a thousand phantom forms of LIBERTY, but only one living 
symbol of ORDER, that which spoke from a throne to-day. 

Isaura left her letter uncompleted. On the following 
Monday she was present at a crowded soiree given by M. 
Louvier. Among the guests were some of the most eminent 
leaders of the Opposition, including that vivacious master of 

sharp sayings, M. P , whom Savarin entitled "the French 

Sheridan," if laws could be framed in epigrams, he would 
be also the French Solon. 

There, too, was Victor de Maule"on, regarded by the repub- 
lican party with equal admiration and distrust. For the dis- 
trust, he himself pleasantly accounted in talk with Savarin. 

" How can I expect to be trusted ? I represent ' Common 
Sense ; ' every Parisian likes Common Sense in print, and 
cries ' Je suis trahi ' when Common Sense is to be put into 
action." 

A group of admiring listeners had collected round one (per- 
haps the most brilliant) of those oratorical lawyers by whom, 
in France, the respect for all laws has been so often talked 
away : he was speaking of the Saturday's ceremonial with elo- 
quent indignation. It was a mockery to France to talk of her 
placing Liberty under the protection of the Empire. 






54 THE PARISIANS. 

There was a flagrant token of the military force under 
which civil freedom was held in the very dress of the Em- 
peror and his insignificant son, the first in the uniform of a 
General of Division ; the second, forsooth, in that of a SOMS- 
lieutenant. Then other liberal chiefs chimed in. "The 
army," said one, " was an absurd expense, it must be put 
down ; " " The world was grown too civilized for war," said 
another ; " The Empress was priest-ridden," said a third ; 
" Churches might be tolerated : Voltaire built a church, but a 
church simply to the God of Nature, not of priestcraft," 
and so on. 

Isaura, whom any sneer at religion pained and revolted, 
here turned away from the orators to whom she had before 
been listening with earnest attention, and her eyes fell on the 
countenance of De Mauleon, who was seated opposite. The 
countenance startled her, its expression was so angrily scorn- 
ful ; that expression, however, vanished at once as De 
Mauleon's eyes met her own, and drawing his chair near to 
her, he said, smiling: "Your look tells me that I almost 
frightened you by the ill-bred frankness with which my face 
must have betrayed my anger at hearing such imbecile twad- 
dle from men who aspire to govern our turbulent France. 
You remember that after Lisbon was destroyed by an earth- 
quake a quack advertised ' pills against earthquakes.' These 
messieurs are not so cunning as the quack ; he did not name 
the ingredients of his pills." 

"But, Monsieur de Mauleon," said Isaura, "if you, being 
opposed to the Empire, think so ill of the wisdom of those who 
would destroy it, are you prepared with remedies for earth- 
quakes more efficacious than their pills ? " 

"I reply as a famous English statesman, when in opposi- 
tion, replied to a somewhat similar question, ' I don't pre- 
scribe till I 'm called in.' " 

"To judge by the seven millions and a half whose votes 
were announced on Saturday, and by the enthusiasm with 
which the Emperor was greeted, there is too little fear of an 
earthquake for a good trade to the pills of these messieurs, or 
for fair play to the remedies you will not disclose till called in." 









THE PARISIANS. 55 

" Ah, Mademoiselle ! playful wit from lips not formed for 
politics makes me forget all about emperors and earthquakes. 
Pardon that commonplace compliment; remember I am a 
Frenchman, and cannot help being frivolous." 

" You rebuke my presumption too gently. True, I ought 
not to intrude political subjects on one like you, I under- 
stand so little about them ; but this is my excuse, I so desire 
to know more." 

M. de Mauleon paused, and looked at her earnestly with a 
kindly, half-compassionate look, wholly free from the imperti- 
nence of gallantry. " Young poetess," he said softly, " you 
care for politics ! Happy indeed is he, and whether he suc- 
ceed or fail in his ambition abroad, proud should he be of an 
ambition crowned at home, he who has made you desire to 
know more of politics!" 

The girl felt the blood surge to her temples. How could 
she have been so self-confessed ? She made no reply, nor did 
M. de Mauleon seem to expect one ; with that rare delicacy 
of high breeding which appears in France to belong to a 
former generation, he changed his tone, and went on as if 
there had been no interruption to the question .her words 
implied. 

" You think the Empire secure, that it is menaced by no 
earthquake ? You deceive yourself. The Emperor began 
with a fatal mistake, but a mistake it needs many years to 
discover. He disdained the slow, natural process of adjust- 
ment between demand and supply, employer and workmen. 
He desired no ignoble ambition to make Paris the 
wonder of the world, the eternal monument of his reign. In 
so doing, he sought to create artificial modes of content for 
revolutionary workmen. Never has any ruler had such tender 
heed of manual labour to the disparagement of intellectual 
culture. Paris is embellished, Paris is the wonder of the 
world ; other great towns have followed its example, they, 
too, have their rows of palaces and temples. Well, the time 
comes when the magician can no longer give work to the 
spirits he raises ; then they must fall on him and rend : out 
of the very houses he built for the better habitation of work- 



56 THE PARISIANS. 

men will flock the malcontents who cry, 'Down with the 
Empire ! ' On the 21st of May you witnessed the pompous 
ceremony which announces to the Empire a vast majority of 
votes, that will be utterly useless to it except as food for gun- 
powder in the times that are at hand. Seven days before, on 
the 14th of May, there was a riot in the Faubourg du Temple, 
easily put down, you scarcely hear of it. That riot was not 
the less necessary to those who would warn the Empire that 
it is mortal. True, the riot disperses, but it is unpunished ; 
riot unpunished is a revolution begun. The earthquake is 
nearer than you think; and for that earthquake what are the 
pills yon quacks advertise ? They prate of an age too en- 
lightened for war ; they would mutilate the army, nay, dis- 
band it if they could, with Prussia next door to France. 
Prussia, desiring, not unreasonably, to take that place in the 
world which France now holds, will never challenge France ; 
if she did, she would be too much in the wrong to find a sec- 
ond. Prussia, knowing that she has to do with the vainest, 
the most conceited, the rashest antagonist that ever flourished 
a rapier in the face of a spadassin, Prussia will make 
France challenge her. 

" And how do ces messieurs deal with the French army ? 
Do they dare to say to the ministers, ' Reform it ' ? Do they 
dare say: 'Prefer, for men whose first duty it is to obey, 
discipline to equality; insist on the distinction between the 
officer and the private, and never confound it. Prussian 
officers are well-educated gentlemen, see that yours are ' ? 
Oh, no ! they are democrats too stanch not to fraternize with 
an armed mob ; they content themselves with grudging an 
extra sou to the commissariat, and winking at the millions 
fraudulently pocketed by some ' Liberal contractor.' Dieu des 
dieuxf France to be beaten, not, as at Waterloo, by hosts 
combined, but in fair duel by a single foe ! Oh, the shame ! 
the shame ! But as the French army is now organized, beaten 
she must be, if she meets the march of the German." 

" You appall me with your sinister predictions," said Isaura ; 
" but, happily, there is no sign of war. M. Duplessis, who. 
is in the confidence of the Emperor, told us only the other 



I 



THE PARISIANS 57 

day that Napoleon, on learning the result of the plebi$cite, 
said : ' The foreign journalists who have been insisting that 
the Empire cannot coexist with free institutions, will no 
longer hint that it can be safely assailed from without. And 
more than ever I may say, L'Empire c'est la paix ! ' " 

Monsieur de Maule'on shrugged his shoulders. "The old 
story, Troy and the wooden horse." 

" Tell me, Monsieur de Mauleon, why do you, who so de- 
spise the Opposition, join with it in opposing the Empire ? " 

" Mademoiselle, the Empire opposes me ; while it lasts I 
cannot be even a d6put6. When it is gone, Heaven knows that 
I may be, perhaps dictator ; one thing you may rely upon, 

that I would, if not dictator myself, support any man who 
was better fitted for that task." 

" Better fitted to destroy the liberty which he pretended to 
fight for." 

" Not exactly so," replied M. de Maule'on, imperturbably, 

" better fitted to establish a good government in lieu of the 
bad one he had fought against, and the much worse govern- 
ments that would seek to turn France into a madhouse, and 
make the maddest of the inmates the mad doctor ! " He 
turned away, and here their conversation ended. 

But it so impressed Isaura that the same night she con- 
cluded her letter to Madame de Grantmesnil by giving a 
sketch of its substance, prefaced by an ingenuous confession 
that she felt less sanguine confidence in the importance of the 
applauses which had greeted the Emperor at the Saturday's 
ceremonial, and ending thus : " I can but confusedly tran- 
scribe the words of this singular man, and can give you no 
notion of the manner and the voice which made them elo- 
quent. Tell me, can there be any truth in his gloomy 
predictions ? I try not to think so, but they seem to rest 
over that brilliant hall of the Louvre like an ominous 
thunder-cloud." 



68 THE PARISIANS. 



CHAPTER II. 

THE Marquis de Itochebriant was seated in his pleasant 
apartment, glancing carelessly at the envelopes of many notes 
and letters lying yet unopened on his breakfast-table. He 
had risen late at noon, for he had not gone to bed till dawn. 
The night had been spent at his club over the card-table, by 
no means to the pecuniary advantage of the Marquis. The 
reader will have learned, through the conversation recorded 
in a former chapter between De Mauleon and Enguerrand de 
Vandernar, that the austere Seigneur Breton had become a fast 
viveur of Paris. He had long since spent the remnant of 
Louvier's premium of 1,000, and he owed a year's interest. 
For this last there was an excuse. M. Collot, the contractor 
to whom he had been advised to sell the yearly fall of his for- 
est-trees, had removed the trees, but had never paid a sou 
beyond the preliminary deposit ; so that the revenue out of 
which the mortgagee should be paid his interest was not forth- 
coming. Alain had instructed M. Hebert to press fhe con- 
tractor; the contractor had replied that if not pressed he 
could soon settle all claims, if pressed, he must declare 
himself bankrupt. The Chevalier de Finisterre had laughed 
at the alarm which Alain conceived when he first found him- 
self in the condition of debtor for a sum he could not pay, 
creditor for a sum he could not recover. 

" Bagatelle ! " said the Chevalier. " Tschu ! Collot, if you 
give him time, is as safe as the Bank of France, and Louvier 
knows it. Louvier will not trouble you, Louvier, the best 
fellow in the world ! I '11 call on him and explain matters." 

It is to be presumed that the Chevalier did so explain ; for 
though both at the first, and quite recently at the second, de- 
fault of payment, Alain received letters from M. Louvier's 
professional agent as reminders of interest due and as requests 
foi its payment, the Chevalier assured him that these applica 






THE PARISIANS. 59 

tions were formalities of convention, that Louvier, in fact, 
knew nothing about them ; and when, dining with the great 
financier himself, and cordially welcomed and called "Mon 
cher," Alain had taken him aside and commenced explanation 
and excuse, Louvier had cut him short. " Peste ! don't men- 
tion such trifles. There is such a thing as business, that 
concerns my agent ; such a thing as friendship, that con- 
cerns me. Allen ! " 

Thus M. de Rochebriant, confiding in debtor and in creditor, 
had suffered twelve months to glide by without much heed of 
either, and more than lived up to an income amply sufficient 
indeed for the wants of an ordinary bachelor, but needing more 
careful thrift than could well be expected from the head of one 
of the most illustrious houses in France cast so young into the 
vortex of the most expensive capital in the world. 

The poor Marquis glided into the grooves that slant down- 
ward, much as the French marquis of tradition was wont to 
glide, not that he appeared to live extravagantly, but he 
needed all he had for his pocket-money, and had lost that 
dread of being in debt which he had brought up from the 
purer atmosphere of Bretagne. 

But there are some debts which, of course, a Rochebriant 
must pay, debts of honour ; and Alain had, on the previous 
night, incurred such a debt and must pay it that day. He 
had been strongly tempted, when the debt rose to the figure 
it had attained, to risk a change of luck ; but whatever his 
imprudence, he was incapable of dishonesty. If the luck did 
not change, and he lost more, he would be without means to 
meet his obligations. As the debt now stood, he calculated that 
he could just discharge it by the sale of his coupe and horses. 
It is no wonder he left his letters unopened, however charm- 
ing they might be ; he was quite sure they would contain no 
check which would enable him to pay his debt and retain his 
equipage. 

The door opened, and the valet announced M. le Chevalier 
de Finisterre, a man with smooth countenance and air dis- 
tinytit, a pleasant voice and perpetual smile. 

"Well, wifl cAr>" cried the Chevalier, "I hope that you 



60 THE PARISIANS. 

recovered the favour of Fortune before you quitted her green 
table last night. When I left she seemed very cross with 
you." 

" And so continued to the end," answered Alain, with well- 
simulated gayety, much too bon gentilhomme to betray rage 
or anguish for pecuniary loss. 

" After all," said De Finisterre, lighting his cigarette, " the 
uncertain goddess could not do you much harm ; the stakes 
were small, and your adversary, the Prince, never goes double 
or quits." 

" Nor I either. * Small,' however, is a word of relative im- 
port ; the stakes might be small to you, to me large. Entre 
nous, cher ami, I am at the end of my purse, and I have only 
this consolation, I am cured of play. Not that I leave the 
complaint, the complaint leaves me ; it can no more feed on 
me than a fever can feed on a skeleton." 

" Are you serious ? " 

"As serious as a mourner who has just buried his all." 

" His all ? Tut, with such an estate as Rochebriant ! " 

For the first time in that talk Alain's countenance became 
overcast. 

" And how long will Rochebriant be mine ? You know 
that I hold it at the mercy of the mortgagee, whose interest 
has not been paid, and who could, if he so pleased, issue notice, 
take proceedings that " 

" Peste ! " interrupted De Finisterre ; " Louvier take pro- 
ceedings ! Louvier, the best fellow in the world ! But don't I 
I see his handwriting on that envelope ? No doubt an invita- 
tion to dinner." 

Alain took up the letter thus singled forth from a miscel- 
lany of epistles, some in female handwritings, unsealed but 
ingeniously twisted into Gordian knots ; some also in female 
handwritings, carefully sealed ; others in ill-looking envelopes, 
addressed in bold, legible, clerk-like calligraphy. Taken all to- 
gether, these epistles had a character in common, they be- 
tokened the correspondence of a viveur regarded from the 
female side as young, handsome, well-born ; on the male side 
as a viveur who had forgotten to pay his hosier and tailor. 



II 






THE PARISIANS. 61 

Louvier wrote a small, not very intelligible, but very mas- 
culine hand, as most men who think cautiously and act 
promptly do write. The letter ran thus : 

CHER PETIT MARQUIS [at that commencement Alain haughtily 
raised his head and bit his lips], It is an age since I have seen you. 
No doubt my humble soirees are too dull for a beau seigneur so courted. 
1 forgive you. Would I were a beau seigneur at your age I Alas ! 1 am 
only a commonplace man of business, growing old too. Aloft from the 
world in which I dwell, you can scarcely be aware that I have em- 
barked a great part of my capital in building speculations. There is 
a Rue de Louvier that runs its drains right through my purse. I am 
obliged to call in the moneys due to me. My agent informs me that I 
am just 7,000 louis short of the total I need, all other debts being 
paid in, and that there is a trifle more than 7,000 louis owed to me as 
interest on my hypotheque on Rochebriant : kindly pay into his hands, 
before the end of this week, that sum. You have been too lenient to 
Collot, who must owe you more than that. Send agent to him. Denote 
to trouble you, and am au desespoir to think that my own pressing ne- 
cessities compel me to urge you to take so much trouble. Mais qut 
faire * The Rue de Louvier stops the way, and I must leave it to my 
agent to clear it. 

Accept all my excuses, with the assurance of my sentiments the most 
cordial. PAUL LOUVIER. 

Alain tossed the letter to De Finisterre. " Read that from 
the best fellow in the world." 

The Chevalier laid down his cigarette and read. " Diable ! " 
he said, when he returned the letter and resumed the cigar- 
ette, " Diable ! Louvier must be much pressed for money, 
or he would not have written in this strain. What does it 
matter ? Collot owes you more than 7,000 louis. Let your 
lawyer get them, and go to sleep with both ears on your 
pillow." 

" Ah ! you think Collot can pay if he will ? " 

" Ma foi ! did not M. Garidrin tell you that M. Collot was 
safe to buy your wood at more money than any one else 
would give ? " 

"Certainly," said Alain, comforted. "Gandrin left that 
impression on my mind. I will set him on the man. All 
will come right, I daresay ; but if it does not come right, what 
would Louvier do ? " 



62 THE PARISIANS. 

" Louvier do ? " answered Finisterre, reflectively. " Well, 
do you ask my opinion and advice ? " 

" Earnestly, I ask." 

" Honestly, then, I answer. I am a little on the Bourse 
myself, most Parisians are. Louvier has made a gigantic 
speculation in this new street, and with so many other irons in 
the fire he must want all the money he can get at. I daresay 
that if you do not pay him what you owe, he must leave it to 
his agent to take steps for announcing the sale of Rochebriant. 
But he detests scandal ; he hates the notion of being severe ; 
rather than that, in spite of his difficulties he will buy Roche - 
briant of you at a better price than it can command at pub- 
lic sale. Sell it to him. Appeal to him to act generously, 
and you will natter him. You will get more than the old 
place is worth. Invest the surplus, live as you have done, or 
better, and marry an heiress. Morbleu ! a Marquis de Roche- 
briant, if he were sixty years old, would rank high in the 
matrimonial market. The more the democrats have sought 
to impoverish titles and laugh down historical names, the 
more do rich democrat fathers-in-law seek to decorate their 
daughters with titles and give their grandchildren the heri- 
tage of historical names. You look shocked, pauvre ami. 
Let us hope, then, that Collot will pay. Set your dog I 
mean your lawyer at him ; seize him by the throat ! " 

Before Alain had recovered from the stately silence with 
which he had heard this very practical counsel, the valet 
again appeared, and ushered in M. Frederic Lemercier. 

There was no cordial acquaintance between the visitors. 
Lemercier was chafed at finding himself supplanted in Alain's 
intimate companionship by so new a friend, and De Finisterre 
affected to regard Lemercier as a would-be exquisite of low 
birth and bad taste. 

Alain, too, was a little discomposed at the sight of Lemer- 
cier, remembering the wise cautions which that old college 
friend had wasted on him at the commencement of his 
Parisian career, and smitten with vain remorse that the 
cautions had been so arrogantly slighted. 

It was with some timidity that he extended his hand to 
Frederic, and he was surprised as well as moved by the more 



THE PARISIANS. 63 

than usual warmth with which it was grasped by the friend 
he had long neglected. Such affectionate greeting was 
scarcely in keeping with the pride which characterized 
Frederic Leinercier. 

" Ma foi," said the Chevalier, glancing towards the clock, 
" how time flies ! I had no idea it was so late. I must leave 
you now, my dear Rochebriant. Perhaps we shall meet at 
the club later, I dine there to-day. Au plaisir, Monsieur 
Lemercier ! " 



CHAPTER III. 

WHEN the door had closed on the Chevalier, Frederic's 
countenance became very grave. Drawing his chair near to 
Alain, he said : " We have not seen much of each other lately, 
nay, no excuses ; I am well aware that it could scarcely be 
otherwise. Paris has grown so large and so subdivided into 
sets, that the best friends belonging to different sets become 
as divided as if the Atlantic flowed between them. I come to- 
day in consequence of something 1 have just heard from 
Duplessis. Tell me, have you got the money for the wood you 
sold to M. Collot a year ago ? " 

"No," said Alain, falteringly. 

" Good heavens ! none of it ? " 

" Only the deposit of ten per cent, which of course I spent, 
for it formed the greater part of my income. What of Collot ? 
Is he really unsafe ? " 

" He is ruined, and has fled the country. His flight was the 
talk of the Bourse this morning. Duplessis told me of it." 

Alain's face paled. " How is Louvier to be paid ? Read 
that letter ! " 

Lemercier rapidly scanned his eye over the contents of 
Louvier's letter. 

" It is true, then, that you owe this man a year's interest, on 
more than 7,000 louis ? " 



64 THE PARISIANS. 

" Somewhat more, yes. But that is not the first care that 
troubles me; Rochebriant may be lost, but with it not my 
honour. I owe the Russian Prince 300 louis, lost to him last 
night at ecarte. I must find a purchaser for my coupe and 
horses ; they cost me 600 louis last year, do you know any 
one who will give me three ? " 

" Pooh ! I will give you six ; your alezan alone is worth 
half the money ! " 

" My dear Frederic, I will not sell them to you on any 
account. But you have so many friends " 

" Who would give their soul to say, ' I bought these horses 
of Rochebriant.' Of course I do. Ha! young Rameau, you 
are acquainted with him ? " 

" Rameau, I never heard of him ! " 

" Vanity of vanities ! then what is fame ? Rameau is the 
editor of ' Le Sens Commun.' You read that journal ? " 

" Yes, it has clever articles, and I remember how I was 
absorbed in the eloquent roman which appeared in it." 

" Ah ! by the Signora Cicogna, with whom I think you were 
somewhat smitten last year." 

" Last year, was I ? How a year can alter a man ! But 
my debt to the Prince. What has ' Le Sens Commun ' to clo 
with my horses ? " 

"I met Rameau at Savarin's the other evening. He was 
making himself out a hero and a martyr, his coupe had been 
taken from him to assist in a barricade in that senseless e'meute 
ten days ago ; the coupe got smashed, the horses disappeared. 
He will buy one of your horses and coup. Leave it to me. I 
know where to dispose of the other two horses. At what hour 
do you want the money ? " 

" Before I go to dinner at the club." 

" You shall have it within two hours ; but you must not dine 
at the club to-day. I have a note from Duplessis to invite you 
to dine with him to-day ! " 

" Duplessis ! I know so little of him ! " 

" You should know him better. He is the only man who 
can give you sound advice as to this difficulty with Louvier ; 
and he will give it the more carefully and zealously because 



THE PARISIANS. 



65 



he has that enmity to Louvier which one rival financier has to 
another. I dine with him too. We shall find an occasion to 
consult him quietly ; he speaks of you most kindly. What a 
lovely girl his daughter is ! " 

" I daresay. Ah ! I wish I had been less absurdly fastidi- 
ous. I wish I had entered the army as a private soldier six 
months ago ; I should have been a corporal by this time ! 
Still, it is not too late. When Rochebriant is gone, I can yet 
say, with the mousquetaire in the m6lodrame : ' I am rich, I 
have my honour and my sword ! ' ' 

" Nonsense ! Rochebriant shall be saved ; meanwhile I 
hasten to Rameau. Au revoir at the Hotel Duplessis, seven 
o'clock." 

Lemercier went, and in less than two hours sent the Mar- 
quis bank-notes for 600 louis, requesting an order for the 
delivery of the horses and carriage. 

That order written and signed, Alain hastened to acquit him- 
self of his debt of honour, and contemplating his probable ruin 
with a lighter heart, presented himself at the Hotel Duplessis. 

Duplessis made no pretensions to vie with the magnificent 
existence of Louvier. His house, though agreeably situated 
and flatteringly styled the Hotel Duplessis, was of moderate 
size, very unostentatiously furnished ; nor was it accustomed 
to receive the brilliant motley crowds which assembled in the 
salons of the elder financier. 

Before that year, indeed, Duplessis had confined such enter- 
tainments as he gave to quiet men of business or a few of the 
more devoted and loyal partisans of the Imperial dynasty ; but 
since Valerie came to live with him he had extended his hospi- 
talities to wider and livelier circles, including some celebrities 
in the world of art and letters as well as of fashion. Of the 
party assembled that evening at dinner were Isaura, with the 
Signora Venosta, one of the Imperial Ministers, the colonel 
whom Alain had already met at Lemercier's supper, deputes 
(ardent Imperialists), and the Duchesse de Tarascon ; these, 
with Alain and Frederic, made up the party. The conversa- 
tion was not particularly gay. Duplessis himself, though an 
exceedingly well-read and able man, had not the genial accom 

VOL. II. 5 






66 THE PARISIANS. 

plishments of a brilliant host. Constitutionally grave and 
habitually taciturn, though there were moments in which 
he was roused out of his wonted self into eloquence or wit, 
he seemed to-day absorbed in some engrossing train of thought. 
The Minister, the d6put6s, and the Duchesse de Tarascon 
talked politics and ridiculed the trumpery Entente of the 14th ; 
exulted in the success of the plebiscite; and admitting, with 
indignation, the growing strength of Prussia, and with 
scarcely less indignation, but more contempt, censuring the 
selfish egotism of England in disregarding the due equi- 
librium of the European balance of power, hinted at the 
necessity of annexing Belgium as a set-off against the results 
of Sadowa. 

Alain found himself seated next to Isaura, to the woman 
who had so captivated his eye and fancy on his first arrival in 
Paris. 

Remembering his last conversation with Graham nearly a 
year ago, he felt some curiosity to ascertain whether the 
rich Englishman had proposed to her, and if so, been refused 
or accepted. 

The first words that passed between them were trite enough, 
but after a little pause in the talk, Alain said, 

" I think Mademoiselle and myself have an acquaintance in 
common, M. Vane, a distinguished Englishman. Do you 
know if he be in Paris at present ? I have not seen him 
for many months." 

" I believe he is in London, at least, Colonel Morley met 
the other day a friend of his who said so." 

Though Isaura strove to speak in a tone of indifference, 
Alain's ear detected a ring of pain in her voice ; and watching 
her countenance, he was impressed with a saddened change in 
its expression. He was touched, and his curiosity was min- 
gled with a gentler interest as he said : " When I last saw 
M. Vane, I should have judged him to be too much under the 
spell of an enchantress to remain long without the pale of the 
circle she draws around her." 

Isaura turned her face quickly towards the speaker, and her 
lips moved ; but she said nothing audibly, 



THE PARISIANS. 67 

" Can there have been quarrel or misunderstanding ? " 
thought Alain ; and after that question his heart asked itself, 
supposing Isaura were free, her affections disengaged, could 
he wish to woo and to win her ? And his heart answered : 
" Eighteen months ago thou wert nearer to her than now. 
Thou wert removed from her forever when thou didst accept 
the world as a barrier between you ; then, poor as thou wert, 
thou wouldst have preferred her to riches. Thou wert then 
sensible only of the ingenuous impulses of youth ; but the mo- 
ment thou saidst, ' I am Rochebriant, and having once owned 
the claims of birth and station, I cannot renounce them for 
love,' Isaura became but a dream. Now that ruin stares thee 
in the face, now that thou must grapple with the sternest diffi- 
culties of adverse fate, thou hast lost the poetry of sentiment 
which could alone give to that dream the colours and the form 
of human life." He could not again think of that fair crea- 
ture as a prize that he might even dare to covet. And as he 
met her inquiring eyes and saw her quivering lip, he felt 
instinctively that Graham was dear to her, and that the tender 
interest with which she inspired himself was untroubled by 
one pang of jealousy. He resumed, 

" Yes, the last time I saw the Englishman he spoke with 
such respectful homage of one lady, whose hand he would 
deem it the highest reward of ambition to secure, that I can- 
not but feel deep compassion for him if that ambition has 
been foiled ; and thus only do I account for his absence from 
Paris." 

" You are an intimate friend of Mr. Vane's ? " 

"No, indeed, I have not that honour, our acquaintance is 
but slight; but it impressed me with the idea of a man of 
vigorous intellect, frank temper, and perfect honour." 

Isaura's face brightened with the joy we feel when we hear 
the praise of those we love. 

At this moment Duplessis, who had been observing the 
Italian and the young Marquis for the first time during dinner, 
broke silence. 

" Mademoiselle," he said, addressing Isaura across the table, 
' I hope I have not been correctly informed that your literary 



68 THE PARISIANS. 

triumph has induced you to forego the career in which all the 
best judges concur that your successes would be not less 
brilliant ; surely one art does not exclude another ? " 

Elated by Alain's report of Graham's words, by the convic- 
tion that these words applied to herself, and by the thought 
that her renunciation of the stage removed a barrier between 
them, Isaura answered, with a sort of enthusiasm, 

" I know not, Monsieur Duplessis, if one art excludes another, 
if there be desire to excel in each. But I have long lost all de- 
sire to excel in the art you refer to, and resigned all idea of 
the career in which it opens." 

" So M. Vane told me," said Alain, in a whisper. 

" When ? " 

" Last year, on the day that he spoke in terms of admira 
tion so merited of the lady whom M. Duplessis has just had 
the honour to address." 

All this while Valerie, who was seated at the farther end 
of the table beside the Minister who had taken her in to din- 
ner, had been watching, with eyes the anxious, tearful sorrow 
of which none but her father had noticed, the low-voiced con- 
fidence between Alain and the friend whom till that day she 
had so enthusiastically loved. Hitherto she had been answer- 
ing in monosyllables all attempts of the great man to draw 
her into conversation ; but now, observing how Isaura blushed 
and looked down, that strange faculty in women, which we 
men call dissimulation, and which in them is truthfulness to 
their own nature, enabled her to carry off the sharpest anguish 
she had ever experienced, by a sudden burst of levity of 
spirit. She caught up some commonplace the Minister had 
adapted to what he considered the poverty of her understand- 
ing, with a quickness of satire which startled that grave man, 
and he gazed at her astonished. Up to that moment he had 
secretly admired her as a girl well brought up, as girls 
fresh from a French convent are supposed to be ; now, hear- 
ing her brilliant rejoinder to his stupid observation, he said 
inly : " Dame ! the low birth of a financier's daughter shows 
itself." 

But being a clever man himself, her retort put him on his 



THE PARISIANS. 



69 




mettle, and he became, to his own amazement, brilliant him- 
self. With that matchless quickness which belongs to Pari- 
sians, the guests around him seized the new esprit de 
conversation which had been evoked between the statesman 
and the childlike girl beside him ; and as they caught up the 
ball lightly flung among them, they thought within them- 
selves how much more sparkling the financier's pretty, lively 
daughter was than that dark-eyed young muse of whom all 
the journalists of Paris were writing in a chorus of welcome 
and applause, and who seemed not to have a word to say 
worth listening to, except to the handsome young Marquis, 
whom, no doubt, she wished to fascinate. 

Valerie fairly outshone Isaura in intellect and in wit ; and 
neither Valerie nor Isaura cared, to the value of a bean-straw, 
about that distinction. Each was thinking only of the prize 
which the humblest peasant women have in common with the 
most brilliantly accomplished of their sex, the heart of a 
man beloved. 



CHAPTER IV. 



ON the Continent generally, as we all know, men do not sit 
drinking wine together after the ladies retire. So when the 
signal was given, all the guests adjourned to the salon ; and 
Alain quitted Isaura to gain the ear of the Duchesse de 
Tarascon. 

" It is long at least long for Paris life," said the Marquis 
" since my first visit to you, in company with Enguerrand 
de Vandemar. Much that you then said rested on my mind, 
disturbing the prejudices I took from Bretagne." 

" I am proud to hear it, my kinsman." 

" You know that I would have taken military service under 
the Emperor, but for the regulation which would have com- 
pelled me to enter the ranks as a private soldier." 

" I sympathize with that scruple ; but you are aware that 



70 THE PARISIANS. 

the Emperor himself could not have ventured to make any ex- 
ception even in your favour." 

" Certainly not. I repent me of my pride ; perhaps I may 
enlist still in some regiment sent to Algiers." 

" No ; there are other ways in which a Rochebriant can 
serve a throne. There will be an office at court vacant soon 
which would not misbecome your birth." 

"Pardon me! A soldier serves his country, a courtier 
owns a master ; and I cannot take the livery of the Emperor, 
though I could wear the uniform of France." 

" Your distinction is childish, my kinsman," said the Duch- 
esse, impetuously. " You talk as if the Emperor had an inter- 
est apart from the nation. I tell you that he has not a corner 
of his heart, not even one reserved for his son and his dy- 
nasty, in which the thought of France does not predominate." 

" I do not presume, Madame la Duchesse, to question the 
truth of what you say ; but I have no reason to suppose that 
the same thought does not predominate in the heart of the 
Bourbon. The Bourbon would be the first to say to me : ' If 
France needs your sword against her foes, let it not rest in the 
scabbard.' But would the Bourbon say, ' The place of 
a Rochebriant is among the valetaille of the Corsican's 
successor ' ? " 

" Alas for poor France ! " said the Duchesse ; " and alas for 
men like you, my proud cousin, if the Corsican's successors or 
successor be " 

" Henry V. ? " interrupted Alain, with a brightening eye. 

" Dreamer ! No ; some descendant of the mob-kings who 
gave Bourbons and nobles to the guillotine." 

While the Duchesse and Alain were thus conversing, Isaura 
had seated herself by Valerie, and unconscious of the offence 
tihe had given, addessed her in those pretty, caressing terms 
with which young lady friends are wont to compliment each 
other ; but Valerie answered curtly or sarcastically, and turned 
aside to converse with the Minister. A few minutes more, 
and the party began to break up. Lemercier, however, de- 
tained Alain, whispering, " Duplessis will see us on your busi- 
ness so soon as the other guests have gone." 



THE PARISIANS. 71 



CHAPTER V. 

" MONSIEUR LE MARQUIS," said Duplessis, when the salon 
was cleared of all but himself and the two friends, " Lemercier 
has confided to me the state of your affairs in connection with 
M. Louvier, and flatters me by thinking my advice may be of 
some service ; if so, command me." 

" I shall most gratefully accept your advice," answered 
Alain, " but I fear my condition defies even your ability and 
skill." 

" Permit me to hope not, and to ask a few necessary ques- 
tions. M. Louvier has constituted himself your sole mort- 
gagee ; to what amount, at what interest, and from what 
annual proceeds is the interest paid?" 

Herewith Alain gave details already furnished to the reader. 
Duplessis listened, and noted down the replies. 

" I see it all," he said, when Alain had finished. " M. 
Louvier had predetermined to possess himself of your estate ; 
he makes himself mortgagee at a rate of interest so low that 
I tell you fairly, at the present value of money, I doubt if you 
could find any capitalist who would accept the transfer of the 
mortgage at the same rate. This is not like Louvier, unless 
he had an object to gain, and that object is your land. The 
revenue from your estate is derived chiefly from wood, out of 
which the interest due to Louvier is to be paid. M. Gandrin, 
in a skilfully guarded letter, encourages you to sell the wood 
from your forests to a man who offers you several thousand 
francs more than it could command from customary buyers. 
I say nothing against M. Gandrin, but every man who knows 
Paris as I do, knows that M. Louvier can put, and has put, a 
great deal of money into M. Gandrin's pocket. The purchaser 
of your wood does not pay more than his deposit, and has 
just left the country insolvent. Your purchaser, M. Collot, 
was an adventurous speculator; he would have bought any- 




72 



THE PARISIANS. 



thing at any price, provided he had time to pay j if his specu- 
lations had been lucky he would have paid. M. Louvier 
knew, as I knew, that M. Collot was a gambler, and the 
chances were that he would not pay. M. Louvier allows a 
year's interest on his hypotheque to become due, notice thereof 
duly given to you by his agent ; now you come under the 
operation of the law. Of course, you know what the 
law is ? " 

"Not exactly," answered Alain, feeling frost-bitten by the 
congealing words of his counsellor ; " but I take it for granted 
that if I cannot pay the interest of a sum borrowed on my 
property, that property itself is forfeited." 

" No, not quite that ; the law is mild. If the interest, 
which should be paid half yearly, remains unpaid at the end 
of a year, the mortgagee has a right to be impatient, has 
he not?" 

" Certainly he has." 

" Well, then, on fait un commandement tendant a saisie immo- 
biliere ; namely, the mortgagee gives a notice tha.t the property 
shall be put up for sale. Then it is put up for sale, and in 
most cases the mortgagee buys it in. Here, certainly, no com- 
petitors in the mere business way would vie with Louvier ; 
the mortgage at 3 per cent covers more than the estate is 
apparently worth. Ah ! but stop, Monsieur le Marquis ; the 
notice is not yet served. The whole process would take six 
months from the day it is served to the taking possession 
after the sale ; in the mean while, if you pay the interest due, 
the action drops. Courage, Monsieur le Marquis ! Hope yet, 
if you condescend to call me friend." 

"And me," cried Lemercier; " I will sell out of my rail- 
way shares to-morrow see to it, Duplessis enough to pay 
off the damnable interest. See to it, mon ami." 

" Agree to that, Monsieur le Marquis, and you are safe for 
another year," said Duplessis, folding up the paper on which 
he had made his notes, but fixing on Alain quiet eyes half 
concealed under drooping lids. 

"Agree to that," cried Rochebriant, rising, "agree to 
allow even my worst enemy to pay for me moneys I could 



THE PARISIANS. 



73 




never hope to repay ; agree to allow the oldest and most con- 
fiding friends to do so ? Monsieur Duplessis, never ! If I 
carried the porter's knot of an Auvergnat, I should still 
remain yentilhomme and Breton." 

Duplessis habitually the driest of men, rose with a moist- 
ened eye and flushing cheek, " Monsieur le Marquis, vouch- 
safe me the honour to shake hands with you. I, too, am by 
descent gentilhomme, by profession a speculator on the Bourse. 
In both capacities I approve the sentiment you have uttered. 
Certainly if our friend Frederic lent you 7,000 louis or so this 
year, it would be impossible for you even to foresee the year 
in which you could repay it; but " Here Duplessis paused 
a minute ; and then, lowering the tone of his voice, which had 
been somewhat vehement and enthusiastic, into that of a 
colloquial good-fellowship equally rare to the measured 
reserve of the financier, he asked, with a lively twinkle of his 
gray eye : " Did you never hear, Marquis, of a little encounter 
between me and M. Louvier ? " 

" Encounter at arms ! Does Louvier fight ? " asked Alain, 
innocently. 

" In his own way he is always fighting ; but I speak meta- 
phorically. You see this small house of mine, so pinched 
in by the houses next to it that I can neither get space for a 
ball-room for Vale'rie, nor a dining-room for more than a friendly 
party like that which has honoured me to-day ? Eh bien ! I 
bought this house a few years ago, meaning to buy the one 
next to it and throw the two into one. I went to the pro- 
prietor of the next house, who, as I knew, wished to sell. 
' Aha ! ' he thought, ' this is the rich M. Duplessis ; ' and 
he asked me 2,000 louis more than the house was worth. 
We men of business cannot bear to be too much cheated ; a 
little cheating we submit to, much cheating raises our gall. 
Bref, this was on Monday. I offered the man 1,000 louis 
above the fair price, and gave him till Thursday to decide. 
Somehow or other Louvier hears of this. ' Hillo ! ' says Lou- 
vier, ' here is a financier who desires a hotel to vie with mine !' 
He goes on Wednesday to my next-door neighbour. ' Friend, 
you want to sell your house, I want to buy : the price ? ' 



74 THE PARISIANS. 

The proprietor, who does not know him by sight, says : ' It is as 
good as sold. M. Duplessis and I shall agree.' ' Bah ! What 
sum did you ask M. Duplessis ? ' He names the sum, 2,000 
louis more than he can get elsewhere. ' But M. Duplessis will 
give me the sum.' ' You ask too little ; I will give 3,000. A 
fig for M. Duplessis ! I am M. Louvier.' So when I call on 
Thursday the house is sold. I reconcile myself easily enough 
to the loss of space for a larger dining-room ; but though 
Valerie was then a child at a convent, I was sadly disconcerted 
by the thought that I could have no salle de bal ready for her 
when she came to reside with me. ' Well,' I say to myself, 
' patience ! I owe M. Louvier a good turn ; my time to pay him 
off will come.' It does come, and very soon. M. Louvier 
buys an estate near Paris, builds a superb villa. Close to his 
property is a rising forest-ground for sale. He goes to the 
proprietor. Says the proprietor to himself: ' The great Lou- 
vier wants this,' and adds 5,000 louis to its market price. 
Louvier, like myself, can't bear to be cheated egregiously. 
Louvier offers 2,000 louis more than the man could fairly get, 
and leaves him till Saturday to consider. I hear of this, 
speculators hear of everything. On Friday night I go to the 
man and I give him 6,000 louis, where he had asked 5,000. 
Fancy Louvier's face the next day ! But there my revenge only 
begins," continued Duplessis, chuckling inwardly. " My for- 
est looks down on the villa he is building. I only wait till his 
villa is built, in order to send to my architect and say, ' Build 
me a villa at least twice as grand as M. Louvier's ; then clear 
away the forest-trees, so that every morning he may see my 
palace dwarfing into insignificance his own.' " 

" Bravo ! " cried Lemercier, clapping his hands. Lemercier 
had the spirit of party, and felt for Duplessis against Louvier 
much as in England Whig feels against Tory, or vice versa. 

"Perhaps now," resumed Duplessis, more soberly, "per- 
haps now, Monsieur le Marquis, you may understand why I 
humiliate you by no sense of obligation if I say that M. Louvier 
shall not be the Seigneur de Kochebriant if I can help it. Give 
me a line of introduction to your Breton lawyer and to Made- 
moiselle your aunt 5 let me have your letters early to-morrow, 



THE PARISIANS. 75 

I will take the afternoon train. I know not how many days 
I may be absent, but I shall not return till I have carefully 
examined the nature and conditions of your property. If I 
see my way to save your estate and give a mauvais quart 
d'heure to Louvier, so much the better for you, Monsieur le 
Marquis ; if I cannot, I will say frankly, ' Make the best 
terms you can with your creditor.' " 

" Nothing can be more delicately generous than the way 
you put it," said Alain ; " but pardon me if I say that the 
pleasantry with which you narrate your grudge against M. 
Louvier does not answer its purpose in diminishing my sense 
of obligation." So, linking his arm in Lemercier's, Alain 
made his bow and withdrew. 

When his guests had gone, Duplessis remained seated in 
meditation, apparently pleasant meditation, for he smiled 
while indulging it ; he then passed through the reception- 
rooms to one at the far end appropriated to Valerie as a 
boudoir or morning-room, adjoining her bed-chamber ; he 
knocked gently at the door, and all remaining silent within, he 
opened it noiselessly and entered. Valerie was reclining on 
the sofa near the window, her head drooping, her hands 
clasped on her knees. Duplessis neared her with tender, 
stealthy steps, passed his arm round her, and drew her head 
towards his bosom. " Child ! " he murmured ; " my child, my 
only one ! " 

At that soft, loving voice, Valerie flung her arms round 
him, and wept aloud like an infant in trouble. He seated 
himself beside her, and wisely suffered her to weep on till 
her passion had exhausted itself; he then said, half fondly, 
half chidingly : " Have you forgotten our conversation only 
three days ago ? Have you forgotten that I then drew forth 
the secret of your heart ? Have you forgotten what I 
promised you in return for your confidence ? And a promise 
to you have I ever yet broken ? " 

" Father, father ! I am so wretched and so ashamed of my- 
self for being wretched ! Forgive me. No, I do not forget 
your promise ; but who can promise to dispose of the heart of 
another ? And that heart will never be mine ! But bear 
with me a little, I shall soon recover," 



76 THE PARISIANS. 

" Valerie, when I made you the promise you now think 1 
cannot keep, I spoke only from that conviction of power to 
promote the happiness of a child which nature implants in 
the heart of parents ; and it may be also from the experience 
of my own strength of will, since that which I have willed I 
have always won. Now I speak on yet surer ground. Before 
the year is out you shall be the beloved wife of Alain de 
Rochebriant. Dry your tears and smile on me, Valerie. If 
you will not see in me mother and father both, I have double 
love for you, motherless child of her who shared the poverty 
of my youth, and did not live to enjoy the wealth which I 
hold as a trust for that heir to mine all which she left me." 

As this man thus spoke, you would scarcely have recog- 
nized in him the old saturnine Duplessis, his countenance 
became so beautified by the one soft feeling which care and 
contest, ambition and money-seeking, had left unaltered in 
his heart. Perhaps there is no country in which the love 
of parent and child, especially of father and daughter, is so 
strong as it is in France ; even in the most arid soil, among 
the avaricious, even among the profligate, it forces itself into 
flower. Other loves fade away: in the heart of the true 
Frenchman that parent love blooms to the last. 

Valerie felt the presence of that love as a divine protecting 
guardianship. She sank on her knees and covered his hand 
with grateful kisses. 

"Do not torture yourself, my child, with jealous fears of 
the fair Italian. Her lot and Alain de Rochebriant's can 
never unite ; and whatever you may think of their whispered 
converse, Alain's heart at this moment is too filled with 
anxious troubles to leave one spot in it accessible even to a 
frivolous gallantry. It is for us to remove these troubles ; 
and then, when he turns his eyes towards you, it will be with 
the gaze of one who beholds his happiness. You do not weep 
now, Valerie ! " 



BOOK IX. 



CHAPTER I. 

ON waking some morning, have you ever felt, reader, as if 
a change for the brighter in the world, without and within 
you, had suddenly come to pass ? Some new glory has been 
given to the sunshine, some fresh balm to the air ; you feel 
younger and happier and lighter in the very beat of your 
.eart ; you almost fancy you hear the chime of some spiritual 
music far off, as if in the deeps of heaven. You are not at 
first conscious how or wherefore this change has been brought 
about. Is it the effect of a dream in the gone sleep that has 
made this morning so different from mornings that have 
dawned before ? And while vaguely asking yourself that 
question, you become aware that the cause is no mere illusion, 
that it has its substance in words spoken by living lips, in 
things that belong to the work-day world. 

It was thus that Isaura woke the morning after the conver- 
sation with Alain de Rochebriant ; and as certain words then 
spoken, echoed back on her ear, she knew why she was so 
happy, why the world was so changed. 

In those words she heard the voice of Graham Vane. No, 
she had not deceived herself, she was loved, she was loved ! 
What mattered that long, cold interval of absence ? She had 
not forgotten, she could not believe that absence had 
brought forgetfulness. There are moments when we insist on 
judging another's heart by our own. All would be explained 
some day, all would come right. 

How lovely was the face that reflected itself in the glass as 
stood before it smoothing back her long hair, murmuring 




78 THE PARISIANS. 

sweet snatches of Italian love-song, and blushing with sweeter 
love-thoughts as she sang ! All that had passed in that year 
so critical to her outer life, the authorship, the fame, the 
public career, the popular praise, vanished from her mind 
as a vapour that rolls from the face of a lake to which the sun- 
light restores the smile of a brightened heaven. 

She was more the girl now than she had ever been since the 
day on which she sat reading Tasso on the craggy shore of 
Sorrento. 

Singing still as she passed from her chamber, and entering 
the sitting-room, which fronted the east and seemed bathed in 
the sunbeams of deepening May, she took her bird from its 
cage and stopped her song to cover it with kisses, which per- 
haps yearned for vent somewhere. 

Later in the day she went out to visit Valerie. Recalling 
the altered manner of her young friend, her sweet nature be- 
came troubled. She divined that Valerie had conceived some 
jealous pain which she longed to heal ; she could not bear the 
thought of leaving any one that day unhappy. Ignorant be- 
fore of the girl's feelings towards Alain, she now partly 
guessed them, one woman who loves in secret is clairvoy- 
ante as to such secrets in another. 

Valerie received her visitor with a coldness she did not at- 
tempt to disguise. Not seeming to notice this, Isaura com- 
menced the conversation with frank mention of Rochebriaut. 
" I have to thank you so much, dear Valerie, for a pleasure 
you could not anticipate, that of talking about an absent 
friend, and hearing the praise he deserved from one so capa- 
ble of appreciating excellence as M. de Rochebriant appears 
to be." 

" You were talking to M. de Rochebriant of an absent 
friend ? Ah ! you seemed indeed very much interested in the 
conversation " 

" Do not wonder at that, Valerie, and do not grudge me the 
happiest moments I have known for months." 

" In talking with M. de Rochebriant ! No doubt, Made- 
moiselle Cicogna, you found him very charming." 

To her surprise and indignation, Valerie here felt the arm 



THE PARISIANS. 79 

of Isaura tenderly entwining her waist, and her face drawn 
towards Isaura's sisterly kiss. 

" Listen to me, naughty child, listen and believe. M. de 
Kochebriant can never be charming to me, never touch a 
chord in my heart or my fancy, except as friend to another, 
or kiss me in your turn, Valerie as suitor to yourself." 

Valerie here drew back her pretty childlike head, gazed 
keenly a moment into Isaura's eyes, felt convinced by the 
limpid candour of their unmistakable honesty, and flinging 
herself on her friend's bosom, kissed her passionately and 
burst into tears. 

The complete reconciliation between the two girls was thus 
peacefully effected ; and then Isaura had to listen, at no small 
length, to the confidences poured into her ears by Valerie, 
who was fortunately too engrossed by her own hopes and 
oubts to exact confidences in return. Valerie's was one of 
ose impulsive, eager natures that longs for a confidante. 
ot so Isaura's. Only when Valerie had unburdened her 
eart, and been soothed and caressed into happy trust in the 
.ture, did she recall Isaura's explanatory words, and said, 
chly: "And your absent friend? Tell me about 'him. Is 
e as handsome as Alain ? " 

" Nay," said Isaura, rising to take up the mantle and hat 
he had laid aside on entering, " they say that the colour of a 
ower is in our vision, not in the leaves." Then, with a 
rave melancholy in the look she fixed upon Valerie, she 
.ded: "Rather than distrust of me should occasion you pain, 
have pained myself in making clear to you the reason why I 
felt interest in M. de Rochebriant's conversation. In turn, 
I ask of you a favour, do not on this point question me 
further. There are some things in our past which influence 
the present, but to which we dare not assign a future, on 
which we cannot talk to another. What soothsayer can tell 
s if the dream of a yesterday will be renewed on the night 
f a morrow ? All is said ; we trust one another, dearest." 



80 THE PARISIANS. 



CHAPTER II. 

THAT evening the Morleys looked in at Isaura's on their 
way to a crowded assembly at the house of one of those rich 
Americans who were then outvying the English residents at 
Paris in the good graces of Parisian society. I think the 
Americans get on better with the French than the English 

do, I mean the higher class of Americans. They spend 

more money ; their men speak French better ; the women are 
better dressed, and, as a general rule, have read more largely 
and converse more frankly. 

Mrs. Morley's affection for Isaura had increased during the 
last few months. As so notable an advocate of the ascend- 
ency of her sex, she felt a sort of grateful pride in the accom- 
plishments and growing renown of so youthful a member of 
the oppressed sisterhood. But apart from that sentiment, she 
had conceived a tender, mother-like interest for the girl who 
stood in the world so utterly devoid of family ties, so desti- 
tute of that household guardianship and protection which, 
with all her assertion of the strength and dignity of woman, 
and all her opinions as to woman's right of absolute emanci- 
pation from the conventions fabricated by the selfishness of 
man, Mrs. Morley was too sensible not to value for the indi- 
vidual, though she deemed it not needed for the mass. Her 
great desire was that Isaura should marry well, and soon. 
American women usually marry so young that it seemed to 
Mrs. Morley an anomaly in social life that one so gifted in 
mind and person as Isaura should already have passed the 
age in which the belles of the great Republic are enthroned 
as wives and consecrated as mothers. 

We have seen that in the past year she had selected from 
oiir unworthy but necessary sex Graham Vane as a suitable 
spouse to her young friend. She had divined the state of his 



I 



THE PARISIANS. 81 









heart, she had more than suspicions of the state of Isaura's. 
She was exceedingly perplexed and exceedingly chafed at the 
Englishman's strange disregard to his happiness and her own 
projects. She had counted all this past winter on his return 
to Paris, and she became convinced that some misunderstand- 
ing, possibly some lover's quarrel, was the cause of his pro- 
tracted absence, and a cause that, if ascertained, could be 
removed. A good opportunity now presented itself, Col- 
onel Morley was going to London the next day. He had 
business there which would detain him at least a week. He 
ould see Graham; and as she considered her husband the 
shrewdest and wisest person in the world, I mean of the 
male sex, she had no doubt of his being able to turn Gra- 
's mind thoroughly inside out and ascertain his exact 
feelings and intentions. If the Englishman, thus assayed, 
were found of base metal, then, at least, Mrs. Morley would 
be free to cast him altogether aside, and coin for the uses of 
the matrimonial market some nobler effigy in purer gold. 

" My dear child," said Mrs. Morley, in a low voice, nestling 
.erself close to Isaura, while the Colonel, duly instructed, 
drew off the Venosta, " have you heard anything lately of our 
pleasant friend Mr. Vane ? " 

You can guess with what artful design Mrs. Morley put 
that question point-blank, fixing keen eyes on Isaura while 
she put it. She saw the heightened colour, the quivering lip, 
of the girl thus abruptly appealed to, and she said inly : " I 
was right, she loves him ! " 

" I heard of Mr. Vane last night, accidentally." 
" Is he coming to Paris soon ? " 

"Not that I know of. How charmingly that wreath be- 
comes you, it suits the earrings so well, too ! " 

" Frank chose it, he has good taste, for a man. I trust 
him with my commissions to Hunt and Roskell's, but I limit 
him as to price, he is so extravagant, men are, when they 
make presents. They seem to think we value things accord- 
ing to their cost. They would gorge us with jewels, and let 
us starve for want of a smile. Not that Frank is so bad as 
the rest of them. But a propos of Mr, Vane Frank will be 
VOL, IT. fl 



82 THE PARISIANS. 

sure to see him, and scold him well for deserting us all. I 
should not be surprised if he brought the deserter back with 
him, for I sent a little note by Frank, inviting him to pay us 
a visit. We have spare rooms in our apartments." 

Isaura's heart heaved beneath her robe, but she replied, in 
a tone of astonishing indifference : "I believe this is the 
height of the London season, and Mr. Vane would probably 
be too engaged to profit even by an invitation so tempting." 

" Nous verrons. How pleased he will be to hear of your 
triumphs ! He admired you so much before you were famous ; 
what will be his admiration now! Men are so vain, they 
care for us so much more when people praise us. But till we 
have put the creatures in their proper place, we must take 
them for what they are." 

Here the Venosta, with whom the poor Colonel had ex- 
hausted all the arts at his command for chaining her atten- 
tion, could be no longer withheld from approaching Mrs. Mor- 
ley and venting her admiration of that lady's wreath, earrings, 
robes, flounces. This dazzling apparition had on her the 
effect which a candle has on a moth, she fluttered round it, 
and longed to absorb herself in its blaze. But the wreath 
especially fascinated her, a wreath which no prudent lady 
with colourings less pure, and features less exquisitely deli- 
cate than the pretty champion of the rights of women, could 
have fancied on her own brows without a shudder. But the 
Venosta in such matters was not prudent. " It can't be dear/ 1 ' 
she cried piteously, extending her arms towards Isaura. " I 
must have one exactly like. Who made it ? Cara signora, 
give me the address." 

" Ask the Colonel, dear Madame ; he chose and bought it," 
and Mrs. Morley glanced significantly at her well-tutored 
Frank. 

" Madame," said the Colonel, speaking in English, which 
he usually did with the Venosta, who valued herself on 
knowing that language, and was flattered to be addressed in 
it, while he amused himself by introducing into its forms the 
dainty Americanisms with which he puzzled the Britisher, 
he might well puzzle the Florentine, " Madame, I am toQ 



THE PARISIANS. 83 

anxious for the appearance of my wife to submit to the test of 
a rival schemer like yourself in the same apparel. With all 
the homage due to a sex of which I am enthused dreadful, I 
decline to designate the florist from whom I purchased Mrs. 
Morley's head-fixings." 

" Wicked man," cried the Venosta, shaking her finger at him 
coquettishly, " you are jealous ! Fie ! a man should never be 
jealous of a woman's rivalry with women." And then, with 
a cynicism that might have become a gray-beard, she added, 
" But of his own sex every man should be jealous, though of 
his dearest friend. Is n't it so, Colonello ? " 

The Colonel looked puzzled, bowed, and made no reply. 

" That only shows," said Mrs. Morley, rising, " what villains 
the Colonel has the misfortune to call friends and fellow-men." 

" I fear it is time to go," said Frank, glancing at the clock. 

In theory the most rebellious, in practice the most obedient, 
of wives, Mrs. Morley here kissed Isaura, resettled her crino- 
line, and shaking hands with the Venosta, retreated to the 
door. 

" I shall have the wreath yet," cried the Venosta, impishly. 
" La speranza e femmina " (Hope is female). 

" Alas ! " said Isaura, half mournfully, half smiling, 
" alas ! do you not remember what the poet replied when 
asked what disease was most mortal ? ' The hectic fever 
caught from the chill of hope.' " 



CHAPTER III. 

GRAHAM VANE was musing very gloomily in his solitary 
apartment one morning, when his servant announced Colonel 
Morley. 

He received his visitor with more than the cordiality with 
which every English politician receives an American citizen. 
Graham liked the Colonel too well for what he was in himself 




84 THE PARISIANS. 

to need any national title to his esteem. After some prelimi- 
nary questions and answers as to the health of Mrs. Morley, 
the length of the Colonel's stay in London, what day he could 
dine with Graham at Richmond or Gravesend, the Colonel 
took up the ball. 

" We have been reckoning to see you at Paris, sir, for the 
last six months." 

" I am very much flattered to hear that you have thought 
of me at all; but I am not aware of having warranted the 
expectation you so kindly express." 

" I guess you must have said something to my wife which 
led her to do more than expect, to reckon on your return. 
And, by the way, sir, I am charged to deliver to you this note 
from her, and to back the request it contains that you will 
avail yourself of the offer. Without summarizing the points, 
I do so." 

Graham glanced over the note addressed to him. 

DEAR MK. VANE, Do you forget how beautiful the environs of 
Paris are in May and June? how charming it was last year at the lake 
of Enghien ? how gay were our little dinners out of doors in the garden 
arbours, with the Savarins and the fair Italian and her incomparably 
amusing chaperon ? Frank has my orders to bring you back to renew 
these happy days while the birds are in their first song, and the leaves 
are in their youngest green. I have prepared your rooms cJiez nous, 
a chamber that looks out on the Champs Elysees, and a quiet cabinet de 
travail at the back, in which you can read, write, or sulk undisturbed. 
Come, and we will again visit Enghien and Montmorency. Don't talk 
of engagements. If man proposes, woman disposes. Hesitate not, 
obey. Your sincere little friend, 

LIZZY. 

" My dear Morley," said Graham, with emotion, " I cannot 
find words to thank your wife sufficiently for an invitation so 
graciously conveyed. Alas ! I cannot accept it." 

" Why ? " asked the Colonel, dryly. 

" I have too much to do in London." 

" Is that the true reason, or am I to suspicion that there is 
anything, sir, which makes you dislike a visit to Paris ? " 

The Americans enjoy the reputation of being the frankest 



THE PARISIANS. 85 

putters of questions whom liberty of speech has yet educated 
into la recherche de la verite; and certainly Colonel Morley in 
this instance did not impair the national reputation. 

Graham Vane's brow slightly contracted, and he bit his lip 
as if stung by a sudden pang ; but after a moment's pause he 
answered, with a good-humoured smile, 

" No man who has taste enough to admire the most beauti- 
ful city, and appreciate the charms of the most brilliant 
society in the world, can dislike Paris." 

" My dear sir, I did not ask if you disliked Paris, but if 
there were anything that made you dislike coming back to it 
on a visit." 

" What a notion ! and what a cross-examiner you would 
have made if you had been called to the Bar ! Surely, my 
dear friend, you can understand that when a man has in one 
place business which he cannot neglect, he may decline going 
to another place, whatever pleasure it would give him to do 
so. By the way, there is a great ball at one of the Ministers' 
to-night , you should go there, and I will point out to you all 
those English notabilities in whom Americans naturally take 

interest. I will call for you at eleven o'clock. Lord , 

who is a connection of mine, would be charmed to know you." 

Morley hesitated ; but when Graham said, " How your 
wife will scold you if you lose such an opportunity of telling 

her whether the Duchesse of M is as beautiful as report 

says, and whether Gladstone or Disraeli seems to your phre- 
nological science to have the finer head ! " the Colonel gave 
in, and it was settled that Graham should call for him at 
the Langham Hotel. 

That matter arranged, Graham probably hoped that his 
inquisitive visitor would take leave for the present ; but the 
Colonel evinced no such intention. On the contrary, settling 
himself more at ease in his arm-chair, he said, " If I remem- 
ber aright, you do not object to the odour of tobacco ? " 

Graham rose, and presented to his visitor a cigar-box which 
he took from the mantelpiece. 

The Colonel shook his head, and withdrew from his breast- 
pocket a leather case, from which he extracted a gigantic 



86 THE PARISIANS. 

regalia ; this he lighted from a gold match-box in the shape 
of a locket attached to his watch-chain, and took two or three 
preliminary puffs, with his head thrown back and his eyes 
meditatively intent upon the ceiling. 

We know already that strange whim of the Colonel's (than 
whom, if he so pleased, no man could speak purer English as 
spoken by the Britisher) to assert the dignity of the Ameri- 
can citizen by copious use of expressions and phrases familiar 
to the lips of the governing class of the great Republic, 
delicacies of speech which he would have carefully shunned 
in the polite circles of the Fifth Avenue in New York. Now 
the Colonel was much too experienced a man of the world not 
to be aware that the commission with which his Lizzy had 
charged him was an exceedingly delicate one ; and it occurred 
to his mother wit that the best way to acquit himself of it, 
so as to avoid the risk of giving or of receiving serious affront, 
would be to push that whim of his into more than wonted 
exaggeration. Thus he could more decidedly and briefly 
come to the point; and should he, in doing so, appear too 
meddlesome, rather provoke a laugh than a frown, retiring 
from the ground with the honours due to a humourist. Ac- 
cordingly, in his deepest nasal intonation, and withdrawing 
his eyes from the ceiling, he began, 

" You have not asked, sir, after the Signorina, or, as we 
popularly call her, Mademoiselle Cicogna ? " 

" Have I not ? I hope she is quite well, and her lively 
companion, Signora Venosta ? " 

" They are not sick, sir, or at least were not so last night, 
when my wife and I had the pleasure to see them. Of course 
you have read Mademoiselle Cicogna's book, a bright per- 
formance, sir, age considered." 

" Certainly, I have read the book ; it is full of unquestion- 
able genius. Is Mademoiselle writing another ? But of 
course she is." 

" 1 am not aware of the fact, sir. It may be predicated, 
such a mind cannot remain inactive ; and I know from M. 
Savarin and that rising young man, Gustave Rameau, that the 
publishers bid high for her brains considerable. Two transla- 



THE PARISIANS. 87 

tions have already appeared in our country. Her fame, sir, 
will be world-wide. She may be another Georges Sand, or at 
least another Eulalie Grantmesnil." 

Graham's cheek became as white as the paper I write on. 
He inclined his head as in assent, but without a word. The 
Colonel continued, 

" We ought to be very proud of her acquaintance, sir. I 
think you detected her gifts while they were yet unconjec- 
tured. My wife says so. You must be gratified to remember 
that, sir, clear grit, sir, and no mistake." 

" I certainly more than once have said to Mrs. Morley that 
I esteemed Mademoiselle's powers so highly that I hoped she 
would never become a stage-singer and actress. But this M. 
Rameau ? You say he is a rising man. It struck me when at 
Paris that he was one of those charlatans, with a great deal of 
conceit and very little information, who are always found in 
scores on the ultra-liberal side of politics ; possibly I was 
mistaken." 

" He is the responsible editor of ' Le Sens Commun,' in 
which talented periodical Mademoiselle Cicogna's book was 
first raised." 

" Of course I know that, a journal which, so far as I have 
looked into its political or social articles (certainly written by 
a cleverer and an older man than M. Rameau), is for unsettling 
all things and settling nothing. We have writers of that kind 
among ourselves, I have no sympathy with them. To me 
it seems that when a man says, ' Off with your head,' he ought 
to let us know what other head he would put on our shoulders, 
and by what process the change of heads shall be effected. 
Honestly speaking, if you and your charming wife are inti- 
mate friends and admirers of Mademoiselle Cicogna, I think 
you could not do her a greater service than that of detaching 
her from all connection with men like M. Rameau and journals 
like ' Le Sens Commun.' " 

The Colonel here withdrew his cigar from his lips, lowered 
his head to a level with Graham's, and relaxing into an arch, 
significant smile, said, " Start to Paris and dissuade her your- 
self. Start ; go ahead ; don't be shy ; don't seesaw on the 



88 THE PAKISIANS. 

beam of speculation. You will have more influence with that 
young female than we can boast.** 

Never was England in greater danger of quarrel with Amer- 
ica than at that moment ; but Graham curbed his first wrath- 
ful impulse and replied coldly, 

"It seems to me, Colonel, that you, though very uncon- 
sciously, derogate from the respect due to Mademoiselle Ci- 
cogna. That the counsel of a married couple like yourself 
and Mrs. Morley should be freely given to and duly heeded by 
a girl deprived of her natural advisers in parents, is a reason- 
able and honourable supposition ; but to imply that the most 
influential adviser of a young lady so situated is a young sin- 
gle man in no way related to her, appears to me a dereliction 
of that regard to the dignity of her sex which is the chival- 
rous characteristic of your countrymen, and to Mademoiselle 
Cicogna herself a surmise which she would be justified in re- 
senting as an impertinence.** 

"I deny both allegations,** replied the Colonel, serenely. 
I maintain that a single man whips all connubial creation 
when it comes to gallantizing a single young woman, and that no 
young lady would be justified in resenting as impertinence my 
friendly suggestion to the single man so deserving of her con- 
sideration as I estimate you to be, to solicit the right to advise 
her for life. And that *s a caution.** 

Here the Colonel resumed his regalia and again gazed intent 
on the ceiling. 

" Advise her for life ! Yon mean, I presume, as a candidate 
for her hand.** 

" You don't turkey now. Well, I guess you are not wide of 
the mark there, sir.** 

" You do me infinite honour, but I do not presume so far." 

** So, so, not as yet Before a man who is not without 
gumption runs himself for Congress, he likes to calculate how 
the votes will run. Well, sir, suppose we are in caucus, and 
let us discuss the chances of the election with closed doors.** 

Graham could not help smiling at the persistent officions- 
ness of his visitor, but his smile was a very sad one. 

** Pray change the subject, my dear Colonel Morley, it is 








THE PARISIANS. 69 

not a pleasant one to me; and as regards Mademoiselle 
Cicogna can you think it would not shock her to suppose 
that her name was dragged into the discussions you would 
provoke, even with closed doors ? n 

" Sir," replied the Colonel, imperturbably, " since the doors 
are closed, there is no one, unless it be a spirit-listener under 
the table, who can wire to Mademoiselle Cicogna the substance 
of debate. And, for my part, I do not believe in spiritual 
manifestations. Fact is, that I have the most amicable senti- 
ments towards both parties, and if there is a misunderstanding 
which is opposed to the union of the States, I wish to remove 
it while yet in time. Now, let us suppose that you decline to 
be a candidate : there are plenty of others who will run ; and 
as an elector must choose one representative or other, so a gal 
must choose one husband or other. And then you only repent 
when it is too late. It is a great thing to be first in the field. 
Let us approximate to the point : the chances seem good, 
will you run ? Yes or no ?" 

"1 repeat, Colonel Morley, that I entertain no such 
presumption." 

The Colonel here, rising, extended his hand, which Graham 
shook with constrained cordiality, and then leisurely walked 
to the door ; there he paused, as if struck by a new thought, 
and said gravely, in his natural tone of voice, " You have 
nothing to say, sir, against the young lady's character and 
honour ? " 

I ? Heavens, no ! Colonel Morley, such a question in- 
me. M 

The Colonel resumed his deepest nasal bass. " It is only, 
then, because you don't fancy her now so much as you did last 
year, fact, you are soured on her, and fly off the handle. 
Such things do happen. The same thing has happened to 
myself, sir. In my days of celibacy there was a gal at Sara- 
toga whom I gallaiitized, and whom, while I was at Saratoga, 
I thought Heaven had made to be Mrs. Morley. I was on the 
very point of telling her so, when I was suddenly called off to 
Philadelphia; and at Philadelphia, sir, I found that Heaven 
had made another Mrs. Morley. I state this fact, sir, 



90 THE PARISIANS. 

though I seldom talk of my own affairs, even when willing to 
tender my advice in the affairs of another, in order to prove 
that I do not intend to censure you if Heaven has served you 
in the same manner. Sir, a man may go blind for one gal 
when he is not yet dry behind the ears, and then, when his 
eyes are skinned, go in for one better. All things mortal 
meet with a change, as my sister's little boy said when, at 
the age of eight, he quitted the Methodys and turned Shaker. 
Threep and argue as we may, you and I are both mortals, 
more 's the pity ! Good morning, sir [glancing at the 
clock, which proclaimed the hour of 3 p. M.], I err ; good 
evening." 

By the post that day the Colonel transmitted a condensed 
and laconic report of his conversation with Graham Vane. I 
can state its substance in yet fewer words. He wrote word 
that Graham positively declined the invitation to Paris ; that 
he had then, agreeably to Lizzy's instruction, ventilated the 
Englishman, in the most delicate terms, as to his intentions 
with regard to Isaura, and that no intentions at all existed. 
The sooner all thoughts of him were relinquished, as a new 
suitor on the ground, the better it would be for the young 
lady's happiness in the only state in which happiness should 
be, if not found, at least sought, whether by maid or man. 

Mrs. Morley was extremely put out by this untoward result 
of the diplomacy she had intrusted to the Colonel ; and when, 
the next day, came a very courteous letter from Graham, 
thanking her gratefully for the kindness of her invitation and 
expressing his regret briefly, though cordially, at his inability 
to profit by it, without the most distant allusion to the subject 
which the Colonel had brought on the tapis, or even requesting 
his compliments to the Signoras Venosta and Cicogna, she was 
more than put out, more than resentful, she was deeply 
grieved. Being, however, one of those gallant heroes of 
womankind who do not give in at the first defeat, she began 
to doubt whether Frank had not rather overstrained the deli- 
cacy which he said he had put into his " soundings." He ought 
to have been more explicit. Meanwhile she resolved to call on 
Isaura, and without mentioning Graham's refusal of her invita- 



THE PARISIANS. 91 

tion, endeavour to ascertain whether the attachment which she 
felt persuaded the girl secretly cherished for this recalcitrant 
Englishman were something more than the first romantic fancy, 

whether it were sufficiently deep to justify farther effort on 
Mrs. Morley's part to bring it to a prosperous issue. 

She found Isaura at home and alone ; and, to do her justice, 
she exhibited wonderful tact in the fulfilment of the task she 
had set herself. Forming her judgment by manner and look, 

not words, she returned home, convinced that she ought 
to seize the opportunity afforded to her by Graham's letter. 
It was one to which she might very naturally reply, and in 
that reply she might convey the object at her heart more felic- 
itously than the Colonel had done. "The cleverest man is,'' 
she said to herself, " stupid compared to an ordinary woman 
in the real business of life which does not consist of fighting 
and money-making." 

Now there was one point she had ascertained by words in 
her visit to Isaura, a point on which all might depend. She 
had asked Isaura when and where she had seen Graham last ; 
and when Isaura had given her that information, and she 
learned it was on the eventful day on which Isaura gave her 
consent to the publication of her manuscript, if approved by 
Savarin, in the journal to be set up by the handsome-faced 
young author, she leaped to the conclusion that Graham had 
been seized with no unnatural jealousy, and was still under 
the illusive glamoury of that green-eyed fiend. She was con- 
firmed in this notion, not altogether an unsound one, when 
asking, with apparent carelessness, " And in that last inter- 
view, did you see any change in Mr. Vane's manner, especially 
when he took leave ? " 

Isaura turned away pale, and involuntarily clasping her 
hands, as women do when they would suppress pain, 
replied, in a low murmur, " His manner was changed." 

Accordingly, Mrs. Morley sat down and wrote the following 
letter : 

DEAR MR. VANE, I am very angry indeed with yon for refusing 
my invitation, I had so counted on you I And I don't believe a word 



92 THE PARISIANS. 

of your excuse. Engagements! To balls and dinners, I suppose,-- 
as if you were not much too clever to care about such silly attempts 
to enjoy solitude in crowds. And as to what you men call " business," 
you have no right to have any business at all. You are not in com- 
merce ; you are not in Parliament ; you told me yourself that you had 
no great landed estates to give you trouble ; you are rich, without any 
necessity to take pains to remain rich or to become richer ; you have 
no business in the world except to please yourself ; and when you will 
not come to Paris to see one of your truest friends, which I certainly 
am, it simply means that, no matter how such a visit would please 
me, it does not please yourself. I call that abominably rude and 
ungrateful. 

But I am not writing merely to scold you. I have something else on 
my mind, and it must come out. Certainly, when you were at Paris 
last year you did admire, above all other young ladies, Isaura Cicogna. 
And I honoured you for doing so. 1 know no other young lady to be 
called her equal. Well, if you admired her then, what would you do 
now if you met her ? Then she was but a girl, very brilliant, very 
charming, it is true, but undeveloped, untested. Now she is a woman, 
a princess among women ; but retaining all that is most lovable in a 
girl : so courted, yet so simple, so gifted, yet so innocent. Her head 
is not a bit turned by all the flattery that surrounds her. Come and 
judge for yourself. I still hold the door of the rooms destined to you 
open for repentance. 

My dear Mr. Vane, do not think me a silly, match-making little wo- 
man when I write to you thus a cceur ouvert. 

I like you so much that I would fain secure to you the rarest prize 
which life is ever likely to offer to your ambition. Where can you 
hope to find another Isaura ? Among the stateliest daughters of your 
English Dukes, where is there one whom a proud man would be more 
proud to show to the world, saying, ' She is mine ! ' where one more dis- 
tinguished, I will not say by mere beauty, there she might be eclipsed, 
but by sweetness and dignity combined, in aspect, manner, every 
movement, every smile? 

And you, who are yourself so clever, so well read ; you, who would be 
?o lonely with a wife who was not your companion, with whom you 
couid not converse on equal terms of intellect, my dear friend, where 
could you find a companion in whom you would not miss the poet-soul 
of Tsaura? Of course I should not dare to obtrude all these question- 
ings on your innermost reflection if I had not some idea, right or wrong, 
that since the days when, at Enghien and Montmorency, seeing you and 
Isaura side by side, I whispered to Frank, "So should those two be 



THE PARISIANS. 93 

through life," some cloud has passed between your eyes and the future 
on which they gazed. Cannot that cloud be dispelled? Were you so 
unjust to yourself as to be jealous of a rival, perhaps of a Gustave 
Rameau ? I write to you frankly, answer me frankly ; and if you 
answer, " Mrs. Morley, I don't know what you mean. I admired 
Mademoiselle Cicogna as I might admire any other pretty, accom- 
plished girl; but it is really nothing to me whether she marries Gustave 
Rameau or any one else," why, then, burn this letter ; forget that 
it has been written. And may you never know the pang of remorseful 
sigh if, in the days to come, you see her whose name in that case I 
should profane did I repeat it the comrade of another man's mind, 
the half of another man's heart, the pride and delight of another man's 
blissful home. 



THERE is somewhere in Lord Lytton's writings writings 
so numerous that I may be pardoned if I cannot remember 
where a critical definition of the difference between dra- 
matic and narrative art of story, instanced by that marvellous 
passage in the loftiest of Sir Walter Scott's works, in which 
all the anguish of Ravenswood on the night before he has to 
meet Lucy's brother in mortal combat is conveyed without 
the spoken words required in tragedy. It is only to be con- 
jectured by the tramp of his heavy boots to and fro all the 
night long in his solitary chamber, heard below by the faithful 
Caleb. The drama could not have allowed that treatment; 
the drama must have put into words, as " soliloquy," agonies 
which the non-dramatic narrator knows that no soliloquy can 
describe. Humbly do I imitate, then, the great master of 
narrative in declining to put into words the conflict between 
love and reason that tortured the heart of Graham Vane 
when, dropping noiselessly the letter I have just transcribed, 
he covered his face with his hands and remained I know 
not how long in the same position, his head bowed, not 3 
sound escaping from his lips. 




94 THE PARISIANS. 

He did not stir from his rooms that day; and had there 
been a Caleb's faithful ear to listen, his tread, too, might have 
been heard all that sleepless night passing to and ro, but 
pausing oft, along his solitary floors. 

Possibly love would have borne down all opposing reason- 
ings, doubts, and prejudices, but for incidents that occurred 
the following evening. On that evening Graham dined en 
famille with his cousins the Altons. After dinner the Duke 
produced the design for a cenotaph inscribed to the memory 
of his aunt, Lady Janet King, which he proposed to place in 
the family chapel at Alton. 

" I know," said the Duke, kindly, " you would wish the old 
house from which she sprang to preserve some such record of 
her who loved 'you as her son; and even putting you out of 
the question, it gratifies me to attest the claim of our family 
to a daughter who continues to be famous for her goodness, 
and made the goodness so lovable that envy forgave it for 
being famous. It was a pang to me when poor Richard King 
decided on placing her tomb among strangers ; but in conced- 
ing his rights as to her resting-place, I retain mine to her 
name, Nostris liberis virtutis exemplar" 

Graham wrung his cousin's hand; he could not speak, 
choked by suppressed tears. 

The Duchess, who loved and honoured Lady Janet almost 
as much as did her husband, fairly sobbed aloud. She had, 
indeed, reason for grateful memories of the deceased : there 
had been some obstacles to her marriage with the man who 
had won her heart, arising from political differences and fam- 
ily feuds between their parents, which the gentle mediation of 
Lady Janet had smoothed away. And never did union 
founded on mutual and ardent love more belie the assertion 
of the great Bichat (esteemed by Dr. Buckle the finest intel- 
lect which practical philosophy has exhibited since Aristotle) 
that " Love is a sort of fever which does not last beyond two 
years," than that between those eccentric specimens of a class 
denounced as frivolous and heartless by philosophers, English 
and French, who have certainly never heard of Bichat. 

When the emotion the Duke had exhibited was calmed down, 






THE PARISIANS. 95 

his wife pushed towards Graham a sheet of paper inscribed 
with the epitaph composed by his hand. " Is it not beau- 
tiful ? " she said, falteringly, " not a word too much or 
too little." 

Graham read the inscription slowly, and with very dimmed 
eyes. It deserved the praise bestowed on it ; for the Duke, 
though a shy and awkward speaker, was an incisive and 
graceful writer. 

Yet in his innermost self Graham shivered when he read 
that epitaph, it expressed so emphatically the reverential nature 
of the love which Lady Janet had inspired, the genial influ- 
ences which the holiness of a character so active in doing good 
had diffused around it. It brought vividly before Graham 
that image of perfect spotless womanhood. And a voice within 
him asked : " Would that cenotaph be placed amid the monu- 
ments of an illustrious lineage if the secret known to thee 
could transpire ? -What though the lost one were really as 
unsullied by sin as the world deems, would the name now 
treasured as an heirloom not be a memory of gall and a sound 
of shame ? " 

He remained so silent after putting down the .inscription 
that the Duke said modestly, " My dear Graham, I see that 
you do not like what I have written. Your pen is much more 
practised than mine. If I did not ask you to compose the 
epitaph, it was because I thought it would please you more in 
coining, as a spontaneous tribute due to her, from the repre- 
sentative of her family. But will you correct my sketch, or 
give me another according to your own ideas ? " 

" I see not a word to alter," said Graham. " Forgive me il 
my silence wronged my emotion ; the truest eloquence is that 
which holds us too mute for applause." 

" I knew you would like it. Leopold is always so disposed 
to underrate himself," said the Duchess, whose hand was rest- 
ing fondly on her husband's shoulder. " Epitaphs are so dif- 
ficult to write, especially epitaphs on women of whom in life 
the least said the better. Janet was the only woman I ever 
knew whom one could praise in safety." 

" Well expressed," said the Duke, smiling j " and I wish you 



96 



THE PARISIANS. 



would make that safety clear to some lady friends of yours, to 
whom it might serve as a lesson. Proof against every breath 
of scandal herself, Janet King never uttered and never en- 
couraged one ill-natured word against another. But I am 
afraid, my dear fellow, that I must leave you to a tete d fete 
with Eleanor. You know that I must be at the House this 
evening, I only paired till half-past nine." 

" I will walk down to the House with you, if you are going 
on foot." 

" No," said the Duchess ; " you must resign yourself to ine 
for at least half an hour. I was looking over your aunt's 
letters to-day, and I found one which I wish to show you ; it 
is all about yourself, and written within the last few months 
of her life." Here she put her arm into Graham's, and led 
him into her own private drawing-room, which, though others 
might call it a boudoir, she dignified by the name of her study. 

The Duke remained for some minutes thoughtfully leaning 
his arm on the mantelpiece. It was no unimportant debate in 
the Lords that night, and on a subject in which he took great 
interest, and the details of which he had thoroughly mastered. 
He had been requested to speak, if only a few words ; for his 
high character and his reputation for good sense gave weight 
to the mere utterance of his opinion. But though no one had 
more moral courage in action, the Duke had a terror at the 
very thought" of addressing an audience, which made him 
despise himself. 

" Ah ! " he muttered, "If Graham Vane were but in Parlia- 
ment, I could trust him to say exactly what I would rather be 
swallowed up by an earthquake than stand up and say for my- 
self. But now he has got mouey he seems to think of nothing 
but saving it." 






THE PARISIANS. 97 




CHAPTER V. 

THE letter from Lady Janet which the Duchess took from 
the desk and placed in Graham's hand was in strange coinci- 
dence with the subject that for the last twenty-four hours had 
absorbed his thoughts and tortured his heart. Speaking of 
him in terms of affectionate eulogy, the writer proceeded to 
confide her earnest wish that he should not longer delay that 
change in life which, concentrating so much that is vague in 
the desires and aspirations of man, leaves his heart and his 
mind, made serene by the conte'ntment of home, free for the 
steadfast consolidation of their warmth and their light upon 
the ennobling duties that unite the individual to his race. 

" There is no one," wrote La'ly Janet, " whose character and career 
a felicitous choice in marriage can have greater influence over than this 
dear adopted son of mine. I do not fear that in any case he will be 
liable to the errors of his brilliant father. His early reverse of fortune 
here seems to me one of those blessings which Heaven conceals in the 
form of affliction ; for in youth the genial freshness of his gay animal 
spirits, a native generosity mingled with desire of display and thirst for 
applause, made me somewhat alarmed for his future. But though he 
still retains these attributes of character, they are no longer predomi- 
nant, they are modified and chastened ; he has learned prudence. But 
what I now fear most for him is that which he does not show in the 
world, which neither Leopold nor you seem to detect, it is an exceed- 
ing sensitiveness of pride. I know not how else to describe it. ft is 
FO interwoven with the highest qualities that T sometimes dread injury 
to them, could it be torn away from the faultier ones which it supports. 

" Tt is interwoven with that lofty independence of spirit which has 
made him refuse openings the most alluring to his ambition ; it commu- 
nicates a touching grandeur to his self-denying thrift ; it makes him so 
tenacious of his word once given, so cautious before he gives it. Public 
life to him is essential ; without it he would be incomplete ; and yet I 
VOL. n. 7 



98 THE PARISIANS. 

sigh to think that whatever success he may achieve in it 'will be at- 
tended with proportionate pain. Calumny goes side by side with fame, 
and courting fame as a man, he is as thin-skinned to calumny as a 
woman. 

" The wife for Graham should have qualities not, taken individually, 
uncommon in English wives, but in combination somewhat rare. 

" She must have mind enough to appreciate his, not to clash with 
it. She must be fitted with sympathies to be his dearest companion, 
his confidante in the hopes and fears which the slightest want of sym- 
pathy would make him keep ever afterwards pent within his breast. 
In herself worthy of distinction, she must merge all distinction in his. 
You have met in the world men who, marrying professed beauties or 
professed literary geniuses, are spoken of as the husband of the beauti- 
ful Mrs. A or of the clever Mrs. B : can you fancy Graham 

Vane in the reflected light of one of those husbands? I trembled last 
year when I thought he was attracted by a face which the artists raved 
about, and again by a tongue which dropped bons mots that went the 
round of the club. I was relieved when, sounding him, he said, laugh- 
ingly, ' No, dear aunt, I should be one sore from head to foot if I mar- 
ried a wife that was talked about for anything but goodness.' 

" No, Graham Vane will have pains sharp enough if he live to be 
talked about himself. But that tenderest half of himself, the bearer of 
the name he would make, and for the dignity of which he alone would 
be responsible, if that were the town talk, he would curse the hour 
he gave any one the right to take on herself his man's burden of cal- 
umny and fame. I know not which I should pity the most, Graham 
Vane, or his wife. 

" Do you understand me, dearest Eleanor ? No doubt you do so far 
that you comprehend that the women whom men most admire are not 
the women we, as women ourselves, would wish our sons or brothers to 
marry. But perhaps you do not comprehend my cause of fear, which 
is this, for in such matters men do not see as we women do, Gra- 
ham abhors, in the girls of our time, frivolity and insipidity. Very 
rightly, you will say. True ; but then he is too likely to be allured by 
contrasts. I have seen him attracted by the Very girls we recoil from 
more than we do from those we allow to be frivolous and insipid. I 
accused him of admiration for a certain young lady whom you call 
' odious,' and whom the slang that has come into vogue calls ' fast ' ; 
and I was not satisfied with his answer, ' Certainly I admire her; she 
is not a doll, she has ideas.' I would rather of the two see Graham 
married to what men call a doll, than to a girl with ideas which are 
distasteful to women." 



99 

Lady Janet then went on to question the Duchess about a 
Miss Asterisk, with whom this tale will have nothing to do, 
but who, from the little which Lady Janet had seen of her, 
might possess all the requisites that fastidious correspondent 
would exact for the wife of her adopted son. 

This Miss Asterisk had been introduced into the London 
world by the Duchess. The Duchess had replied to Lady 
Janet that if earth could be ransacked, a more suitable wife 
for Graham Vane than Miss Asterisk could not be found ; she 
was well born, an heiress ; the estates she inherited were in 

the county of (namely, the county in which the ancestors 

of D'Altons and Vanes had for centuries established their 
whereabout). Miss Asterisk was pretty enough to please any 
man's eye, but not with the beauty of which artists rave ; well- 
informed enough to be companion to a well-informed man, but 
certainly not witty enough to supply bons mots to the clubs. 
Miss Asterisk was one of those women of whom a husband 
might be proud, yet with whom a husband would feel safe 
from being talked about. 

And in submitting the letter we have read to Graham's eye, 
the Duchess had the cause of Miss Asterisk pointedly in view. 
Miss Asterisk had confided to her friend that of all men she 

I had seen, Mr. Graham Vane was the one she would feel the 
least inclined to refuse. 
So when Graham Vane returned the letter to the Duchess, 
simply saying, " How well my dear aunt divined what is 
weakest in me ! " the Duchess replied quickly, " Miss Asterisk 
dines here to-morrow, pray come ; you would like her if you 
knew more of her." 
" To-morrow I am engaged, an American friend of mine 
dines with me ; but 't is no matter, for I shall never feel more 
for Miss Asterisk than I feel for Mont Blanc." 



100 THK PARISIANS. 



CHAPTER VI. 

ON leaving his cousin's house Graham walked on, he scarce 
knew or cared whither, the image of the beloved dead so 
forcibly recalled the solemnity of the mission with which he 
had been intrusted, and which hitherto he had failed to fulfil. 
What if the only mode by which he could without causing 
questions and suspicions that might result in dragging to-day 
the terrible nature of the trust he held enrich the daughter 
of Richard King, repair all wrong hitherto done to her, and 
guard the sanctity of Lady Janet's home, should be in that 
union which Richard King had commended to him while his 
heart was yet free ? 

In such a case, would not gratitude to the dead, duty to the 
living, make that union imperative at whatever sacrifice of 
happiness to himself ? The two years to which Richard King 
had limited the suspense of research were not yet expired. 
Then, too, that letter of Lady Janet's so tenderly anxious 
for his future, so clear-sighted as to the elements of his own 
character in its strength or its infirmities combined, with 
graver causes, to withhold his heart from its yearning impulse, 
and no, not steel it against Isaura, but forbid it to realize, 
in the fair creature and creator of romance, his ideal of the 
woman to whom an earnest, sagacious, aspiring man commits 
all the destinies involved in the serene dignity of his hearth. 
He could not but own that this gifted author, this eager 
seeker after fame, this brilliant and bold competitor with men 
on their own stormy battle-ground, was the very person from 
whom Lady Janet would have warned away his choice. She 
(Isaura) merge her own distinctions in a husband's ; she leave 
exclusively to him the burden of fame and calumny ; she shun 
" to be talked about," she, who could feel her life to be a 
success or a failure according to the extent and the loudness 
of the talk which it courted ! 



THE PARISIANS. 101 

While these thoughts racked his mind, a kindly hand was 
laid on his arm, and a cheery voice accosted him. "Well 
met, my dear Vane ! I see we are bound to the same place ; 
there will be a good gathering to-night." 

" What do you mean, Bevil ? I am going nowhere, except 
to my own quiet rooms." 

" Pooh ! Come in here at least for a few minutes ; " and 
Bevil drew him up to the door-step of a house close by, where, 
on certain evenings, a well-known club drew together men 
who seldom meet so familiarly elsewhere, men of all call- 
ings , a club especially favoured by wits, authors, and the 
flaneurs of polite society. 

Graham shook his head, about to refuse, when Bevil added : 
"I have just come from Paris, and can give you the last 
news, literary, political, and social. By the way, I saw 
Savarin the other night at the Cicogna's, he introduced me 
there." 

Graham winced ; he was spelled by the music of a name, 
and followed his acquaintance into the crowded room, and 
after returning many greetings and nods, withdrew into a 
remote corner and motioned Bevil to a seat beside him. 

" So you met Savarin ? Where, did you say ? " 

" At the house of the new lady-author I hate the word 
authoress Mademoiselle Cicogna. Of course you have read 
her book ? " 

Yes." 

" Full of fine things, is it not ? though somewhat high- 
lown and sentimental ; however, nothing succeeds like suc- 
cess. No book has been more talked about at Paris ; the only 
thing more talked about is the lady-author herself." 

" Indeed, and how ? " 

"She doesn't look twenty, a mere girl, of that kind of 
beauty which so arrests the eye that you pass by other faces 

gaze on it, and the dullest stranger would ask, ' Who and 
what is she ? ' A girl, I say, like that who lives as inde- 
pendently as if she were a middle-aged widow, receives every 
week (she has her Thursdays), with no other chaperon than 
an old ci-devant Italian singing woman dressed like a guy 



THE PARISIANS. 

must set Parisian tongues into play, even if she had not 
written the crack book of the season." 

" Mademoiselle Cicogna receives on Thursdays, no harm 
in that ; and if she have no other chaperon than the Italian 
lady you mention, it is because Mademoiselle Cicogna is an 
orphan, and having a fortune, such as it is, of her own, I do 
not see why she should not live as independently as many 
an unmarried woman in London placed under similar circum- 
stances. I suppose she receives chiefly persons in the literary 
or artistic world ; and if they are all as respectable as the 
Savarins, I do not think ill-nature itself could find fault with 
her social circle." 

" Ah ! you know the Cicogna, I presume. I am sure I did 
not wish to say anything that could offend her best friends, 
only I do think it is a pity she is not married, poor girl ! " 

" Mademoiselle Cicogna, accomplished, beautiful, of good 
birth (the Cicognas rank among the oldest of Lombard fami- 
lies), is not likely to want offers." 

" Offers of marriage, h'tn, well, I daresay, from authors 
and artists. You know Paris better even than I do ; but I 
don't suppose authors and artists there make the most desir- 
able husbands, and I scarcely know a marriage in France 
between a man-author and lady -author which does not end in 
the deadliest of all animosities, that of wounded amour- 
propre. Perhaps the man admires his own genius too much to 
do proper homage to his wife's." 

" But the choice of Mademoiselle Cicogna need not be 
restricted to the pale of authorship ; doubtless she has many 
admirers beyond that quarrelsome borderland." 

"Certainly, countless adorers. Enguerrand de Vandemar, 
you know that diamond of dandies ? " 

" Perfectly : is he an admirer ? " 

" Cela va sans dire ; he told me that though she was not 
the handsomest woman in Paris, all other women looked less 
handsome since he had seen her. But, of course, French 
lady-killers like Enguerrand, when it comes to marriage, leave 
it to their parents to choose their wives and arrange the 
terms of the contract. Talking of lady-killers, I beheld ami 1 






THE PARISIANS. 103 



the throng at Mademoiselle Cicogna's the ci-devant Lovelace 
whom I remember some twenty-three years ago as the darling 
of wives and the terror of husbands, Victor de Mauleon." 

" Victor de Mauleon at Mademoiselle Cicogna's ! What ! is 
hat man restored to society ? " 

" Ah ! you are thinking of the ugly old story about the Jew- 
Is, oh, yes ! he has got over that. All his grand relations, 
,he Vandemars, Beauvilliers, Rochebriant, and others, took 
him by the hand when he reappeared at Paris last year ; and 
though I believe he is still avoided by many, he is courted by 
till more, and avoided, I fancy, rather from political than 
ocial causes. The Imperialist set, of course, execrate and 
proscribe him. You know he is the writer of those biting 
articles signed ' Pierre Firmin ' in ' Le Sens Commun ; ' and I 
am told he is the proprietor of that very clever journal, which 
has become a power." 

" So, so ; that is the journal in which Mademoiselle Cicogna's 
roman first appeared, So, so ; Victor de Mauleon one of her 
associates, her counsellor and friend ah ! " 

" No, I did n't say that ; on the contrary, he was presented 

her for the first time the evening I was at the house. I saw 
that young silk-haired coxcomb, Gustave Rameau, introduce 
him to her. You don't perhaps know Rameau, editor of 'Le 
Sens Commun,' writes poems and criticisms. They say he 

a Red Republican ; but De Mauleon keeps truculent French 
politics subdued, if not suppressed, in his cynical journal. 
Somebody told me that the Cicogna is very much in love 
with Rameau, certainly he has a handsome face of his own, 
and that is the reason why she was so rude to the Russian 
Prince X ." 

" How rude ! Did the Prince propose to her ? " 

" Propose ! you forget, he is married. Don't you know 
the Princess ? Still, there are other kinds of proposals than 
those of marriage which a rich Russian prince may venture to 
make to a pretty novelist brought iip for the stage." 

" Bevil ! " cried Graham, grasping the man's arm fiercely, 
" how dare you ? " 

" My dear boy," said Bevil, very much astonished, " I really 







s< 






104 THE PARISIANS. 

did not know that your interest in the young lady was so 
great. If I have wounded you in relating a mere on-dit 
picked up at the Jockey Club, I beg you a thousand pardons. 
I daresay there was not a word of truth in it." 

" Not a word of truth, you may be sure, if the on-dit was 
injurious to Mademoiselle Cicogna. It is true, I have a strong 
interest in her, any man, any gentleman, would have such 
interest in a girl so brilliant and seemingly so friendless. It 
shames one of human nature to think that the reward which 
the world makes to those who elevate its platitudes, brighten 
its dulness, delight its leisure, is slander ! I have had the 
honour to make the acquaintance of this lady before she 
became a 'celebrity,' and I have never met in my paths 
through life a purer heart or a nobler nature. What is the 
wretched on-dit you condescend to circulate ? Permit me 
to add 

" ' He who repeats a slander shares the crime.' " 

" Upon my honour, my dear Vane," said Bevil, seriously (he 
did not want for spirit), " I hardly know you this evening. It 
is not because duelling is out of fashion that a man should 
allow himself to speak in a tone that gives offence to another 
who intended none ; and if duelling is out of fashion in Eng- 
land, it is still possible in France. Entre nous, I would rather 
cross the Channel with you than submit to language that con- 
veys unmerited insult." 

Graham's cheek, before ashen pale, flushed into dark red. 
" I understand you," he said quietly, " and will be at Bou- 
logne to-morrow." 

"Graham Vane," replied Bevil, with much dignity, "you 
and I have- known each other a great many years, and neither 
of us has cause to question the courage of the other ; but I am 
much older than yourself, permit me to take the melancholy 
advantage of seniority. A duel between us in consequence of 
careless words said about a lady in no way connected with 
either, would be a cruel injury to her ; a duel on grounds so 
slight would little injure me, a man about town, who would 
not sit an hour in the House of Commons if you paid him a 



I 









THE PARISIANS. 105 

thousand pounds a minute. But you, Graham Vane, you, 
whose destiny it is to canvass electors and make laws, 
would it not be an injury to you to be questioned at the hust- 
ings why you broke the law, and why you sought another 
man's life ? Come, come ! shake hands, and consider all that 
seconds, if we chose them, would exact, is said, every 
affront on either side retracted, every apology on either side 
made." 

"Bevil, you disarm and conquer me. I spoke like a hot- 
headed fool ; forget it forgive. But but I can listen 
calmly now ; what is that on-dit ? " 

" One that thoroughly bears out your own very manly up- 
holding of the poor young orphan, whose name I shall never 
again mention without such respect as would satisfy her most 

sensitive champion. It was said that the Prince X 

boasted that before a week was out Mademoiselle Cicogna 
should appear in his carriage at the Bois de Boulogne, and 
wear at the opera diamonds he had sent to her; that this 
boast was enforced by a wager, and the terms of the wager 
compelled the Prince to confess the means he had taken to 
succeed, and produce the evidence that he had lost or won. 
According to this on-dit, the Prince had written to Mademoi- 
selle Cicogna, and the letter had been accompanied by a 
parure that cost him half a million of francs ; that the dia- 
monds had been sent back with a few words of such scorn as 
a queen might address to an upstart lackey. But, my dear 
Vane, it is a mournful position for a girl to receive such 
offers; and you must agree with me in wishing she were 
safely married, even to Monsieur Rameau, coxcomb though 
he be. Let us hope that they will be an exception to 
French authors, male and female, in general, and live like 
turtle-doves." 



106 THE PARISIANS. 



CHAPTER VH. 

A FEW days after the date of the last chapter, Colonel Mor- 
ley returned to Paris. He had dined with Graham at Green- 
wich, had met him afterwards in society, and paid him a 
farewell visit on the day before the Colonel's departure ; but the 
name of Isaura Cicogna had not again been uttered by either. 
Morley was surprised that his wife did not question him mi- 
nutely as to the mode in which he had executed her delicate 
commission, and the manner as well as words with which Gra- 
ham had replied to his " ventilations." But his Lizzy cut him 
short when he began his recital, 

" I don't want to hear anything more about the man. He 
has thrown away a prize richer than his ambition will ever 
gain, even if it gained him a throne." 

" That it can't gain him in the old country. The people are 
loyal to the present dynasty, whatever you may be told to the 
contrary." 

" Don't be so horribly literal, Frank ; that subject is done 

with. How was the Duchess of M dressed ? " 

But when the Colonel had retired to what the French call 
the cabinet de travail, and which he more accurately termed 
his " smoke den," and there indulged in the cigar, which, 
despite his American citizenship, was forbidden in the draw- 
ing-room of the tyrant who ruled his life, Mrs. Morley took 
from her desk a letter received three days before, and brooded 
over it intently, studying every word. When she had thus 
re-perused it, her tears fell upon her page. " Poor Isaura ! " 
she muttered, " poor Isaura, I know she loves him ! And 
how deeply a nature like hers can love ! But I must break it 
to her. If I did not, she would remain nursing a vain dream, 
and refuse every chance of real happiness for the sake of 
nursing it." Then she mechanically folded up the letter, 
I need not say it was from Graham Vane, restored it to the 



THE PARISIANS. 107 

desk, and remained musing till the Colonel looked in at the 
door and said peremptorily, " Very late ; come to bed." 

The next day Madame Savarin called on Isaura. 

" Chbre enfant" said she, " I have bad news for you. Poor 
Gustave is very ill, an attack of the lungs and fever ; you 
know how delicate he is." 

" I am sincerely grieved," said Isaura, in earnest, tender 
tones. " It must be a very sudden attack, he was here last 
Thursday." 

" The malady only declared itself yesterday morning ; but 
surely you must have observed how ill he has been looking 
for several days past ? It pained me to see him." 

" I did not notice any change in him," said Isaura, somewhat 
conscience-stricken. Wrapped in her own happy thoughts, 
she would not have noticed change in faces yet more familiar 
to her than that of her young admirer. 

"Isaura," said Madame Savarin, "I suspect there are moral 
causes for our friend's failing health. Why should I disguise 
my meaning ? You know well how madly he is in love with 
you, and have you denied him hope ? " 

" I like M. Kameau as a friend ; I admire him, at times I 
pity him." 

" Pity is akin to love." 

" I doubt the truth of that saying, at all events as you 
apply it now. I could not love M. Rameau ; I never gave him 
cause to think I could." 

" I wish, for both your sakes, that you could make me a 
different answer, for his sake because, knowing his faults 
and failings, I am persuaded that they would vanish in a 
companionship so pure, so elevating as yours ; you could 
make him, not only so much happier, but so much better a 
man. Hush ! let me go on ; let me come to yourself, I say 
for your sake I wish it. Your pursuits, your ambition, are 
akin to his ; you should not marry one who could not sym- 
pathize with you in these. If you did, he might either 
restrict the exercise of your genius or be chafed at its dis- 
play. The only authoress I ever knew whose married lot 
was serenely happy to the last, was the greatest of English 






108 THE PARISIANS. 

poetesses married to a great English poet. You cannot, you 
ought not, to devote yourself to the splendid career to which 
your genius irresistibly impels you, without that counsel, that 
support, that protection, which a husband alone can give. My 
dear child, as the wife myself of a man of letters, and famil- 
iarized to all the gossip, all the scandal, to which they who 
give their names to the public are exposed, I declare that if I 
had a daughter who inherited Savarin's talents and was am- 
bitious of attaining to his renown, I would rather shut her up 
in a convent than let her publish a book that was in every 
one's hands until she had sheltered her name under that of a 
husband ; and if I say this of my child, with a father so wise 
in the world's ways and so popularly respected as my bon- 
homme, what must I feel to be essential to your safety, poor 
stranger in our land, poor solitary orphan, with no other 
advice or guardian than the singing mistress whom you touch- 
ingly call ' Madre ! ' I see how I distress and pain you, - 
cannot help it. Listen. The other evening Savarin came 
back from his favourite caft in a state of excitement that made 
me think he came to announce a revolution. It was about 
you; he stormed, he wept, actually wept, my philosophi- 
cal, laughing Savarin. He had just heard of that atrociou: 
wager made by a Russian barbarian. Every one praised yoi 
for the contempt with which you had treated the savage's 
solence. But that you should have been submitted to such an 
insult without one male friend who had the right to resent 
and chastise it, -you cannot think how Savarin was chafe 
and galled. You know how he admires, but you cannot guesi 
how he reveres you ; and since then he says to me every day : 
'That girl must not remain single. Better marry any man 
who has a heart to defend a wife's honour and the nerve J fi 
a pistol, every Frenchman has those qualifications ! ' 

Here Isaura could no longer restrain her emotions; s 
burst into sobs so vehement, so convulsive, that Madam- 
Savarin became alarmed; but when she attempted to embrac 
' and soothe her, Isaura recoiled with a visible shudder, an. 
gasping out, "Cruel, cruel!" turned to the door and rush 
to her own room. 



THE PARISIANS. 109 

A few minutes afterwards a maid entered the salon with 
a message to Madame Savarin that Mademoiselle was so un- 
well that she must beg Madame to excuse her return to the 
salon. 

Later in the day Mrs. Morley called, but Isaura would not 
see her. 

Meanwhile poor Rameau was stretched on his sick-bed, and 
in sharp struggle between life and death. It is difficult to 
disentangle, one by one, all the threads in a nature so complex 
as Eameau's ; but if we may hazard a conjecture, the grief of 
disappointed love was not the immediate cause of his illness, 
and yet it had much to do with it. The goad of Isaura's re- 
fusal had driven him into seeking distraction in excesses 
which a stronger frame could not have courted with impunity. 
The man was thoroughly Parisian in many things, but especi- 
ally in impatience of any trouble. Did love trouble him, love 
could be drowned in absinthe ; and too much absinthe may 
be a more immediate cause of congested lungs than the love 
which the absinthe had lulled to sleep. 

His bedside was not watched by hirelings. When first 
taken thus ill, too ill to attend to his editorial duties, 
information was conveyed to the publisher of " Le Sens Com- 
raun," and in consequence of that information Victor de 
Mauleon came to see the sick man. By his bed he found 

,varin, who had called, as it were by chance, and seen the 
octor, who had said, " It is grave. He must be well nursed." 

Savarin whispered to De Maule'on, " Shall we call in a pro- 

ssional nurse, or a saeur de chariti ? " 

De Maule'on replied also in a whisper : " Somebody told me 
that the man had a mother." 

It was true, Savarin had forgotten it. Rameau never 
mentioned his parents ; he was not proud of them. 

They belonged to a lower class of the bourgeoisie, retired 
shopkeepers, and a Red Republican is sworn to hate of the 
bourgeoisie, high or low ; while a beautiful young author push- 
ing his way into the Chausse"e d'Antin does not proclaim to 
the world that his parents had sold hosiery in the Rue St. 
Denis. 




IIQ THE PARISIANS. 

Nevertheless, Savarin knew that Rameau had such parents 
still living, and took the hint. Two hours afterwards Rameau 
was leaning his burning forehead on his mother's breast. 

The next morning the doctor said to the mother : You are 
worth ten of me. If you can stay here we shall pul 

^Stty'here'.-iny own boy!" cried indignantly the poor 
mother. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

THE day which had inflicted on Isaura so keen an anguish 
was marked by a great trial in the life of Alain 

Rochebriant. 

In the morning he received the notice "of un commande- 
m ent tendant a saisle immobilize" on the part of his creditor 
M. Louvier; in plain English, an announcement that his 
property at Rochebriant would be put up to public sale < 
certain day, in case all debts due to the mortgagee were not 
paid before. An hour afterwards came a note from Duplessu 
stating that "he had returned from Bretagne on the previou! 
evening, and would be very happy to see the Marquis de 
Rochebriant before two o' clock, if not inconvenient to call. 
Alain put the " commandement " into his pocket, and 
paired to the Hotel Duplessis. 

The financier received him with very cordial civility, 
he began: "I am happy to say I left your excellent aunt 
very good health. She honoured the letter of introduction 1 
he/which I owe to your politeness with the most amiab 
hospitalities; she insisted on my removing from the >.aube 
at which I first put up, and becoming a guest under yo 
venerable roof-tree, -a most agreeable lady, and a i 
interesting chateau." 

"I fear your accommodation was in striking contrast 
your comforts at Paris ; my chateau is only interesting t 
antiquarian enamoured of ruins." 







! 



le, 
I 



THE PARISIANS. Ill 

" Pardon me, ' ruins ' is an exaggerated expression. I do 
not say that the chateau does not want some repairs, but they 
would not be costly; the outer walls are strong enough to 
defy time for centuries to come, and a few internal decora- 
tions and some modern additions of furniture would make the 
old manoir a home fit for a prince. I have been over the 
whole estate, too, with the worthy M. Hubert, a superb 
property ! " 

" Which M. Louvier appears to appreciate," said Alain, 
with a somewhat melancholy smile, extending to Duplessis 
the menacing notice. 

Duplessis glanced at it, and said dryly, " M. Louvier knows 
what he is about. But I think we had better put an immedi- 
ate stop to formalities which must be painful to a creditor so 
benevolent. I do not presume to offer to pay the interest 
ue on the security you can give for the repayment. If you 
efused that offer from so old a friend as Lemercier, of course 
you could not accept it from me. I make another proposal, 
to which you can scarcely object. I do not like to give my 
scheming rival on the Bourse the triumph of so profoundly 
planned a speculation. Aid me to defeat him. Let me take 
he mortgage on myself, and become sole mortgagee, hush ! 
on this condition, that there should be an entire union of 
interests between us two ; that I should be at liberty to make 
the improvements I desire, and when the improvements be 
made, there should be a fair arrangement as to the proportion 
of profits due to me as mortgagee and improver, to you as 
original owner. Attend, my dear Marquis, I am speaking 
as a mere man of business. I see my way to adding more 
than a third I might even say a half to the present 
revenues of Rochebriant. The woods have been sadly neg- 
lected ; drainage alone would add greatly to their produce. 

our orchards might be rendered magnificent supplies to 
Paris with better cultivation. Lastly, I would devote to 
building purposes or to market-gardens all the lands round 

the two towns of and . I think I can lay my hands 

on suitable speculators for these last experiments. In a word, 
though the market value of Rochebriant, as it now stands, 




112 THE PARISIANS. 

would not be equivalent to the debt on it, in five or six years 
it could be made worth well, I will not say how much, but 
we shall both be well satisfied with the result. Meanwhile, 
if you allow me to find purchasers for your timber, and if you 
will not suffer the Chevalier de Finisterre to regulate your 
expenses, you need have no fear that the interest due to me 
will not be regularly paid, even though I shall be compelled, 
for the first year or two at least, to ask a higher rate of inter- 
est than Louvier exacted, say a quarter per cent more ; and 
in suggesting that, you will comprehend that this is now a 
matter of business between us, and not of friendship." 

Alain turned his head aside to conceal his emotion, and 
then, with the quick, affectionate impulse of the genuine 
French nature, threw himself on the financier's breast and 
kissed him on both cheeks. 

" You save me ! you save the home and the tombs of my 
ancestors ! Thank you I cannot ; but I believe in God I 
pray I will pray for you as for a father ; and if ever," he 
hurried on in broken words, " I am mean enough to squander 
on idle luxuries one franc that I should save for the debt due 
to you, chide me as a father would chide a graceless son." 

Moved as Alain was, Duplessis was moved yet more deeply. 
" What father would not be proud of such a son ? Ah, if I 
had such a one ! " he said softly. Then, quickly recovering 
his wonted composure, he added, with the sardonic smile which 
often chilled his friends and alarmed his foes : " Monsieur 
Louvier is about to pass that which I ventured to promise 
him, a mauvais quart d'heure. Lend me that commands 
ment tendant a saisie. I must be off to my avoue with instruc- 
tions. If you have no better engagement, pray dine with me 
to-day and accompany Valerie and myself to the opera." 

I need not say that Alain accepted the invitation. How 
happy Vale'rie was that evening ! 



THE PARISIANS. 113 



I 



CHAPTER IX. 

THE next day Duplessis was surprised by a visit from M. 
Louvier ; that magnate of millionnaires had never before set 
foot in the house of his younger and less famous rival. 

The burly man entered the room with a face much flushed, 
and with more than his usual mixture of jovial brusquerie and 
opulent swagger. 

" Startled to see me, I daresay," began Louvier, as soon as 

e door was closed. " I have this morning received a com- 

unication from your agent containing a check for the interest 
ue to me from M. Rochebriant, and a formal notice of your 

tention to pay off the principal on behalf of that popinjay 
Todigal. Though we two have not hitherto been the best 

lends in the world, I thought it fair to a man in your station 

come to you direct and say : ' Cher confrere, what swindler 
as bubbled you ? You don't know the real condition of this 

reton property, or you would never so throw away your 
millions. The property is not worth the mortgage I have on 
it by 30,000 louis.' " 

"Then, Monsieur Louvier, you will be 30,000 louis the 
richer if I take the mortgage off your hands." 

" I can afford the loss no offence better than you can ; 
and I may have fancies which I don't mind paying for, but 
which cannot influence another. See, I have brought with me 
the exact schedule of all details respecting this property. 

ou need not question their accuracy; they have been ar- 

,nged by the Marquis's own agents, M. Gandrin and M. 
Hubert. They contain, you will perceive, every possible item 
of revenue, down to an apple-tree. Now, look at that, and 
tell me if you are justified in lending such a sum on such a 
property." 

" Thank you very much for an interest in my affairs that I 
scarcely ventured to expect M, Louvier to entertain ; but I see 
vot TI 8 



114 THE PARISIANS, 

that I have a duplicate of this paper, furnished to me very 
honestly by M. Hubert himself. Besides, I, too, have fancies 
which I don't mind paying for, and among them may be a 
fancy for the lands of Rochebriant." 

" Look you, Duplessis, when a man like me asks a favour, 
you may be sure that he has the power to repay it. Let me 
have my whim here, and ask anything you like from me in 
return ! " 

" Desoli not to oblige you, but this has become not only a 
whim of mine, but a matter of honour ; and honour, you know, 
my dear Monsieur Louvier, is the first principle of sound 
finance. I have myself, after careful inspection of the Roche- 
briant property, volunteered to its owner to advance the money 
to pay off your hypotheque ; and what would be said on the 
Bourse if Lucien Duplessis failed in an obligation ? " 

" I think I can guess what will one day be said of Lucien 
Duplessis if he make an irrevocable enemy of Paul Louvier. 
Corbleu ! mon cher, a man of thrice your capital, who watched 
every speculation of yours with a hostile eye, might some beau 
jour make even you a bankrupt ! " 

" Forewarned, forearmed ! " replied Duplessis, imperturbably. 
" Fas est ab hoste doceri, I mean, ' It is right to be taught by 
an enemy ; ' and I never remember the day when you were 
otherwise. And yet I am not a bankrupt, though I receive 
you in a house which, thanks to you, is so modest in point of 
size ! " 

" Bah ! that was a mistake of mine ; and, ha ! ha ! you had 
your revenge there, that forest ! " 

" Well, as a peace-offering, I will give you up the forest, and 
content my ambition as a landed proprietor with this bad 
speculation of Rochebriant ! " 

" Confound the forest, I don't care for it now ! I can sell 
my place for more than it has cost me to one of your Imperial 
favourites. Build a palace in your forest. Let me have 
Rochebriant, and name your terms." 

"A thousand pardons ! but I have already had the honour 
to inform you that I have contracted an obligation which does 
not allow me to listen to terms." 



I 



THE PARISIANS. 115 



As a serpent that, after all crawlings and windings, rears 
itself on end, Louvier rose, crest erect, 

"So then it is finished. I came here disposed to offer 
peace ; you refuse, and declare war." 

" Not at all ; I do not declare war, I accept it if forced on me." 

"Is that your last word, Monsieur Duplessis ? " 

" Monsieur Louvier, it is." 

"Bon jour!" And Louvier strode to the door; here he 
paused. " Take a day to consider." 

" Not a moment." 

"Your servant, Monsieur, your very humble servant." 
Louvier vanished. 

Duplessis leaned his large, thoughtful forehead on his thin, 
nervous hand. " This loan will pinch me," he muttered. " I 
must be very wary now with such a foe. Well, why should 
I care to be rich? Valerie's dot, Vale'rie's happiness, are 
secured." 



CHAPTER X. 

MADAME SAVARIN wrote a very kind and very apologetic 
letter to Isaura, but no answer was returned to it. Madame 
Savarin did not venture to communicate to her husband the 
substance of a conversation which had ended so painfully. He 
had, in theory, a delicacy of tact which, if he did not always ex- 
hibit it in practice, made him a very severe critic of its defi- 
ciency in others. Therefore, unconscious of the offence given, 
he made a point of calling at Isaura's apartments and leaving 
word with her servant that he was sure she would be pleased to 
hear M. Rameau was somewhat better, though still in danger. 

It was not till the third day after her interview with Ma- 
dame Savarin that Isaura left her own room, she did so to 
receive Mrs. Morley. 

The fair American was shocked to see the change in Isaura's 
countenance. She was very pale, and with that indescribable 
appearance of exhaustion which betrays continued want of 



116 THE PARISIANS. 

sleep ; her soft eyes were dim, the play of her lips was gone, 
her light step weary and languid. 

" My poor darling ! " cried Mrs. Morley, embracing her, 
" you have indeed been ill ! What is the matter ? Who at- 
tends you ? " 

" I need no physician ; it was but a passing cold, the air of 
Paris is very trying. Never mind me, dear. What is the last 
news ? " 

Therewith Mrs. Morley ran glibly through the principal 
topics of the hour, the breach threatened between M. Ollivier 
and his former Liberal partisans ; the tone unexpectedly taken 
by M. de Girardin; the speculations as to the result of the 
trial of the alleged conspirators against the Emperor's life, 
which was fixed to take place towards the end of that month 
of June, all matters of no slight importance to the interests 
of an empire. Sunk deep in the recesses of her fauteuil, 
Isaura seemed to listen quietly, till, when a pause came, she 
said in cold, clear tones, 

" And Mr. Graham Vane, he has refused your invitation ? " 

" I am sorry to say he has ; he is so engaged in London." 

"I knew he had refused," said Isaura, with a low, bitter 
laugh. 

" How ? Who told you ? " 

" My own good sense told me. One may have good sense, 
though one is a poor scribbler." 

" Don't talk in that way ; it is beneath you to angle for 
compliments." 

" Compliments, ah ! And so Mr. Vane has refused to come 
to Paris, never mind, he will come next year. I shall not 
be in Paris then. Did Colonel Morley see Mr. Vane ? " 

" Oh, yes, two or three times." 

" He is well ? " 

" Quite well, I believe, at least, Frank did not say to the 
contrary ; but from what I hear, he is not the person I took 
him for. Many people told Frank that he is much changed 
since he came into his fortune, is grown very stingy, quite 
miserly, indeed; declines even a seat in Parliament because of 
the expense. It is astonishing how money does spoil a man." 



THE PARISIANS. 117 

" He had come into his fortune when he was here. Money 
had not spoiled him then." 

Isaura paused, pressing her hands tightly together; then 
she suddenly rose to her feet, the colour on her cheek mant- 
ling and receding rapidly, and fixing on her startled visitor 
eyes no longer dim, but with something half fierce, half im- 
ploring in the passion of their gaze, said, "Your husband 
spoke of me to Mr. Vane, 1 know he did. What did Mr. 
Vane answer? Do not evade my question. The truth, the 
truth ; I only ask the truth ! " 

" Give me your hand ; and sit here beside me, dearest 
child." 

" Child ! No, I am a woman, weak as a woman, but strong 
as a woman too ! The truth ! " 

Mrs. Morley had come prepared to carry out the resolution 
she had formed and "break" to Isaura "the truth," that 
which the girl now demanded. But then she had meant to 
break the truth in her own gentle, gradual way. Thus sud- 
denly called upon, her courage failed her. She burst into 
tears. Isaura gazed at her dry-eyed. 

"Your tears answer me. Mr. Vane has heard that I have 
been insulted. A man like him does not stoop to love for 
a woman who has known an insult. I do not blame him ; I 
honour him the more, he is right." 

" No, no, no ! You insulted ! Who dared to insult you ? 
[Mrs. Morley had never heard the story about the Russian 
Prince.] Mr. Vane spoke to Frank, and writes of you to me 
as of one whom it is impossible not to admire, to respect ; but 
I cannot say it you will have the truth; there, read 
and judge for yourself." And Mrs. Morley drew forth and 
thrust into Isaura's hands the letter she had concealed from 
her husband. The letter was not very long; it began with 
expressions of warm gratitude to Mrs. Morley, not for her in- 
vitation only, but for the interest she had conceived in his 
happiness. It went on thus : 

" I join with my whole heart in all that you say, with such eloquent 
justice, of the mental and personal gifts so bounteously lavished by Na- 
ture on the young lady whom you name. 



118 THE PARISIANS. 

" No one can feel more sensible than I of the charm of so exquisite a 
loveliness ; no one can more sincerely join in the belief that the praise 
which greets the commencement of her career is but the whisper of the 
praise that will cheer its progress with louder and louder plaudits. 

"He only would be worthy of her hand who, if not equal to herself 
in genius, would feel raised into partnership with it by sympathy with 
its objects and joy in its triumphs. For myself, the same pain with 
which I should have learned she had adopted the profession which she 
originally contemplated, saddened and stung me when, choosing a career 
that confers a renown yet more lasting than the stage, she no less left be- 
hind her the peaceful immunities of private life. Were I even free to 
consult only my own heart in the choice of the one sole partne