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Full text of "An Englishman in Paris; notes and recollections"

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AN ENGLISHMAN IN PAEIS. 



AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

1250 copies First Edition, June 1892. 

1000 „ Second Edition, July 1892. 

1000 „ Third Edition, 12th August, 1892. 

1500 „ Fourth Edition, 22nd August, 1892. 



AN ENGLISHMAN IN PAEIS 



(NOTES AND RECOLLECTIONS) 



IN TWO VOLUMES 



VOL. I. 
REIGN OF LOUIS-PHILIPPE 



FOURTH EDITION 



LONDON: CHAPMAN & HALL, ld. 

1892 




Digitized by me Internet Arciiive 

in 2007 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



http://www.archive.org/details/englislimaninpari01vanduoft 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 



PAOB 



The Quartier- Latin in the late thirties — The difference between 
then and now — A caricature on the walls of Paris — I am 
anxious to be introduced to the quarter whence it emanated 
— ^I am taken to " La Childebert," and make the acquaint- 
ance of the original of the caricature — The story of Bougiuier 
and his nose — Dantan as a caricaturist — He abandons that 
branch of art after he has made Madame Malibran burst into 
tears at the sight of her statuette — How Bouginier came to 
be immortalized on the facade of the Passage du Caire — 
One of the first co-operative societies in France — An artists' 
hive — The origin of "La Childebert" — Its tenants in my 
time — The proprietress — Madame Chanfort, the providence 
of poor painters — Her portraits sold after her death — High 
jinks at " La Childebert " — The Childebertians and their 
peacefully inclined neighbours — Gratuitous baths and com- 
pulsory douches at "La Childebert" — The proprietress is 
called upon to repair the roof— The Childebertians bivouac 
on the Place St. Germain-des Pr^s — They start a " Society 
for the Conversion of the Mahometans " — The public sub- 
scribe liberally — "What becomes of the subscriptions? — My 
visits to " La Childebert " breed a taste for the other amuse- 
ments of the Quartier-Latin — Bobino and its entertainments 
— The audience — The manager — His stereotyped speech — 
The reply in chorus — Woe to the bourgeois intruder — Stove- 
pipe hats a rarity in the Quartier-Latin — The dress of the 
collegians — Their mode of living — Suppers when money 
was flush, rolls and milk when it was not — A fortune-teller 
in the Eue de Tournon — Her prediction as to the future of 
Josephine de Beauharnais — The allowance to students in 
those days — The Od^on deserted— Students' habits— The 
Chaumi^re — Rural excursions — Pfere Bonvin's .. .. 1 



vi CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER II. 

FAOB 

My introduction to the celebrities of the day — The Caf^ de Paris 
— The old Prince Demidoff— The old man's mania— His 
sons — The furniture and attendance at the Cafe de Paris — 
Its high prices — A mot of Alfred de Musset — The cuisine — 
A rebuke of the proprietor to Balzac — A version by one of 
his predecessors of the cause of Vatel's suicide — Some of the 
habitues — Their intercourse with the attendants — Their 
courteous behaviour towards one another — Le veau "k la 
casserole — What Alfred de Musset, Balzac, and Alexandre 
Dumas thought of it — A silhouette of Alfred de Musset — 
His brother Paul on his election as a member of the Acade- 
mie — A silhouette of Balzac, between sunset and sunrise — 
A curious action against the publishers of an almanack — A 
full-length portrait of Balzac— His pecuniary embarrassments 
— His visions of wealth and speculations — His constant 
neglect of his duties as a National Guard — His troubles in 
consequence thereof— L'Hotel des Haricots— Some of his 
fellow-prisoners — Adam, the composer of " Le Postilion de 
Lonjumeau " — Eugene Sue ; his portrait — His dandyism — 
The origin of the Paris Jockey Club — Eugene Sue becomes 
a member — The success of * Les Mysteres de Paris " — The 
origin of " Le Juif-Errant " — Sue makes himself objection- 
able to the members of the Jockey Club — His name struck 
off the list — His decline and disappearance . . . . 34 

CHAPTER III, 

Alexandre Dumas pfere — Why he made himself particularly 
agreeable to Englishmen — His way of silencing people — The 
pursuit he loved best next to literature — He has the privilege 
of going down to the kitchens of the Cafe de Paris — No one 
questions his literary genius, some question his culinary 
capacities — Dr. Veron and his cordon-bleu — Dr. Veron'a 
reasons for dining out instead of at home — Dr. Veron's 
friend, the philanthropist, who does not go to the theatre 
because he objects to be hurried with his emotions — Dr. 
V^ron, instigated by his cook, accuses Dumas of having 
oollaborateurs in preparing his dishes as he was known to 
have oollaborateurs in his literary work — Dumas' wrath — ' 
He invites us to a dinner which shall be wholly cooked by 



CONTENTS. Vll 

TAOK 

him in the presence of a delegate to be chosen by the guests 
— The lot falls upon me — Dr. V^ron and Sophie make the 
amende Jtonordble — A dinner-party at V^ron's — A curious 
lawsuit in connection with Weber's " Freyschutz " — Nestor 
Roqueplan, who became the successor of the defendant in 
the case, suggests a way out of it — Leon Pillet virtually 
adopts it and wins the day — A similar plan adopted years 
before by a fireman on duty at the opera, on being tried 
by cuurt-martial for having fallen asleep during the per- 
formance of " Guido et Genevra " — Firemen not bad judges 
of plays and operas — They were often consulted both by 
Meyerbeer and Dumas— Dumas at work — How he idled his 
time away — Dumas causes the traffic receipts of the Chemin 
de Fer de I'Ouest to swell during his three years' residence 
at Saint-Germain — M. de Montalivet advises Louis-Philippe 
to invite Dumas to Versailles, to see what his presence will 
do for the royal city — Louis-Philippe does not act upon the 
advice — The relations between Dumas and the d'Orleans 
family — After the Eevolution of '48, Dumas becomes a can- 
didate for parliament — The story of his canvass and his 
address to the electors at Joigny — Dumas' utter indifference 
to money matters — He casts his burdens upon others — 
Dumas and his creditors — Writs and distraints — How they 
are dealt with — Dumas' indiscriminate generosity — A dozen 
houses full of new furniture in half as many years — Dumas' 
frugality at table — ^Literary remuneration — Dumas and his 
son — ''Leave me a hundred francs" .. ,. .. 62 



CHAPTER IV. 

Dr. Louis Veron — The real man as distinguished from that of 
his own "Memoirs" — He takes the management of the 
Paris Opera — How it was governed before his advent — 
Meyerbeer's "Robert le Diable" underlined — Meyerbeer 
and his doubts upon the merits of his work — Meyerbeer's 
generosity — Meyerbeer and the beggars of the Rue Le 
Peletier — Dr. Veron, the inventor of the modern newspaper 
puff — Some specimens of advertisements in their infancy — 
Dr. Veron takes a leaf from the book of Moli^re — Dr. 
Veron's love of money — His superstitions — ^His objections to 
travelling in railways — He quotes the Queen of England as 



VIU CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

an example — When Queen Victoria overcomes her objection, 
Veron holds out — "Queen Victoria has got a successor: 
the Veron dynasty begins and ends with me " — Tliirteen at 
table — I make the acquaintance of Taglioni — The woman 
and the ballerina — Her adventure at Perth — An improvised 
performance of "Nathalie, la Laiti^re Suisse" — Another 
adventure in Russia — A modem Claude Du-Val — My last 
meeting with Taglioni — A dinner-party at De Momy's — A 
comedy scene between husband and wife — Flotow, the com- 
poser of " Martha " — His family — His father's objection to 
the composer's profession — The latter's interview with M. 
de Saint-Georges, the author of the libretto of Balfe's 
" Bohemian Girl " — M. de Saint-Georges prevails upon the 
father to let his son study in Paris for five years, and to pro- 
vide for him during that time — The supplies are stopped 
on the last day of the fifth year — Flotow, at the advice of 
M. de Saint-Georges, stays on and lives by giving piano- 
lessons — His earthly possessions at his first success — 
"Eob Eoy" at the Hotel Castellane — Lord Granville's 
opinion of the music — The Hotel Castellane and some Paris 
salons during Louis-Philippe's reign — The Princesse de 
Lieven's, M. Thiers', etc. — What Madame de Girardin's was 
like — Victor Hugo's — Perpetual adoration ; very artistic, but 
nothing to eat or to drink — The salon of the ambassador of 
the Two Sicilies — ^Lord and Lady Granville at the English 
Embassy — The salon of Count Apponyi — A story connected 
with it — Furniture and entertainments — Cakes, ices, and 
tea; no champagne as during the Second Empire — The 
Hotel Castellane and its amateur theatricals — Bival com- 
panies — No under-studies— Lord Brougham at the Hotel 
Castellane — His bad French and his would-be Don Juan- 
isra — A French rendering of Shakespeare's "There is but 
one step between the sublime and the ridiculous," as applied 
to Lord Brougham — He nearly accepts a part in a farce 
where his bad French is likely to produce a comic eflfect — 
His successor as a murderer of the language — M. de Saint- 
Georges — ^Like Molifere, he reads his plays to his house- 
keeper — When the latter is not satisfied, the dinner is spoilt, 
however great the success of the play in public estimation — 
Great men and their housekeepers — Turner, Jean Jacques 
Kousseau, Eugene Delacroix .. .. .. ..90 



CONTENTS. IX 



CHAPTER V. 



The Boalevards in the forties — The Chinese Baths — A favourite 
tobacconist of Alfred de Musset — The price of cigars — ^The 
diligence still the usual mode of travelling — Provincials in 
Paris — ^Parliamentary see-saw between M. Thiers and M. 
Guizot — ^Amenities of editors — ^An advocate of universal 
suffrage — Distribution of gratuitous sausages to the working 
man on the king's birthday — The rendezvous of actors in 
search of an engagement — Frederick Lemaitre on the eve of 
appearing in a new part — The Legitimists begin to leave 
their seclusion and to mingle with the bourgeoisie — Alex- 
andre Dumas and Scribe — The latter's fertility as a play- 
wright — The National Guards go shooting, in uniform 
and in companies, on the Plaine Saint-Denis — ^Vidocq's 
private inquiry office in the Rue Vivienne — No river-side 
resorts — The plaster elephant on the Place de la Bastille — 
The sentimental romances of Loisa Puget — The songs of the 
•working classes — Cheap bread and wine— How they enjoyed 
themselves on Sundays and holidays — Theophile Gautier*s 
pony-carriage — The hatred of tlie bourgeoisie — Nestor 
Roqueplan's expression of it — Gavami's — ^M. Thiers' sister 
keeps a restaurant at the comer of the Rue Drouot — ^When 
he is in power, the members of the Opposition go and dine 
there, and publish facetious accounts of the entertainment 
— All appearances to the contrary, people like Guizot better 
than Thiers — But few entries for the race for wealth in those 
days — The Rothschilds still live in the Rue Lafitte — 
Favourite lounges — The Boulevards, the Rue Le Peletier, 
and the Passage de I'Opera — The Opera — The Rue Le 
Peletier and its attractions — The Restaurant of Paolo Broggi 
— The Estaminet du Divan — ^Literary waiters and Boniface 
— ^Major Fraser — The mystery surrounding his origin — 
Another mysterious personage — The Passage de I'Opera is 
invaded by the stockjobbers, and loses its prestige as a pro- 
menade — Bernard Latte's, the publisher of Donizetti's operas, 
becomes deserted — Tortoni's — Louis-Blanc — His scruples as 
an editor — ^A few words about duelling — ^Two tragic meet- 
ings — Lola Months — 'Her adventurous career — ^A celebrated 
trial — ^My first meeting with Gustavo Flaubert, the author 
of" Madame Bo vary " and " Salambo " — Emile de Girardin — 
Hi8 opinion of duelling — My decision with regard to it — The 



CONTENTS. 



original of "La Dame aux Cailaelias" — Her parentage — 
Alexandre Dumas gives the diagnosis of her character in 
connection with his son's play — ^L'Homme au Camellia — M. 
Lautour-Mezerai, the inventor of children's periodical litera- 
ture in France — Auguste Lireux — He takes the manage- 
ment of the Od^on — Balzac again — His schemes, his greed 
— ^Lireux more fortunate with other authors — Anglophobia 
on the French stage — Gallophobia on the English stage .. 124 



CHAPTER VI. 

Rachel and some of her fellow-actors — Rachel's true character — 
Her greediness and spitefulness — Her vanity and her wit — 
Her powers of fascination — The cost of being fascinated 
by her — Her manner of levying toll — Some of her victims, 
Comte Duch§,tel and Dr. Veron — The story of her guitar — 
A little transaction between her and M. Fould — ^Her sup- 
posed charity and generosity — Ten tickets for a charity 
concert — How she made them into twenty — How she could 
have made them into a hundred — ^Baron Taylor puzzled — 
Her manner of giving presents — Beauvallet's precaution 
with regard to one of her gifts — ^Alexandre Dumas the 
younger, wiser or perhaps not so wise in his generation — 
Rachel as a raconteuse — The story of her debut at tlie 
Gymnase — What Rachel would have been as an actor instead 
of an actress — Her comic genius — Rachel's mother — What 
became of Rachel's money — Mama Felix as a pawnbroker — 
Rachel's trinkets — Two curious bracelets — Her first appear- 
ance before Nicholas I. — A dramatic recital in the open air 
— Rachel's opinion of the handsomest man in Europe — 
Rachel and Samson — Her obligations to him — How she repays 
them — How she goes to Berryer to be coached in the fable of 
" The Two Pigeons " — An anecdote of Berryer — Rachel's fear 
of a "warm reception" on the first night of "Adrienne 
Lecouvreur" — How she averts the danger — Samson as a 
man and as an actor — Petticoat-revolts at the Com^die- 
Fran^aise — Samson and Regnier as buffers — Their different 
ways of pouring oil upon the troubled waters — Mdlle. 
Sylvanie Plessy — A parallel between her and Sarah Bern- 
hardt — Samson and Regnier's pride in their profession — The 
different character of that pride — " Apollo with a bad tailor, 



CONTENTS. XI 



and who dreeses without a looking-glaas " — Samson gives a 
lesson in declamation to a procureur-imp^rial — The secret of 
Begnier's greatness as an actor — A lesson at the Conser- 
vatoire — Regnier on "make-up" — Begnier's opinion of genius 
on the stage — A mot of Augustine Brohan — Giovanni, the 
wigmaker of the Oom^{lie-Fran5aise — His pride in his pro- 
fession — M. Ancessy, the musical director, and hia three 
wigs .. .. .. .. .. .. 183 



CHAPTER Vn. 

Two composers, Auber and Fflicien David— Auber, the legend 
of his youthful appearance — How it arose — His daily rides, 
his love of women's society — His mot on Mozart's "Don 
Juan" — The only drawback to Auber's enjoyment of women's 
society — His reluctance to take his hat oflf — How he managed 
to keep it on most of the time — His opinion upon Meyerbeer's 
and Hal^vy's genius — His opinion upon Gerard de Nerval, 
who hanged himself with his hat on — ^His love of solitude — 
His fondness of Paris — His grievance against his mother for 
not having given him birth there — He refuses to leave Paris 
at the commencement of the siege — His small appetite — ^He 
proposes to write a new opera when the Prussians are gone 
— Auber suflfers no privations, but has diflBculty in finding 
fodder for his horse — ^The Parisians claim it for food — 
Another legend about Auber's independence of sleep — ^How 
and where he generally slept — Why Auber snored in Veron's 
company, and why he did not in that of other people — ^His 
capacity for work — ^Auber a brilliant talker — Auber's grati- 
tude to the artists who interpreted his work, but different 
from Meyerbeer's — The reason wHy, according to Auber — 
Jealousy or humility — ^Auber and the younger Coquelin — 
" The verdict on all things in this world may be summed 
up in the one phrase, ' It's an injustice' " — Felicien David — 
The man — The beginnings of bis career — ^His terrible poverty 
— He joins the Saint-Simoniens, and goes with some of them 
to the East — Their reception at Constantinople — M. Scribe 
and the libretto of "L'Africaine" — David in Egypt at 
the court of Mehemet-Ali — David's description of him — 
Mehemet's way of testing the educational progress of hia 
sons — Woe to the fat kine — ^Mehemet-Ali suggests a new 



XU CONTENTS. 



mode of teaching music to the inmates of the harem — Fflicien 
David's further wanderings in Egypt — ^Their eiFect upon 
his musical genius — His return to France — He tells the story 
of the first performance of " Le Desert " — An ambulant box- 
office — His success — Fame, but no money — He sells the score 
of "Le Desert" — He loses his savings — "La Perle du 
Bresil" and the Coup-d'Etat— " No luck "—Napoleon III. 
remains his debtor for eleven years — ^A mot of Auber, and 
one of Alexandre Dumas p^re— The story of " A'ida " — Why 
Felicien David did not compose the music — The real author 
of the libretto .. .. .. .. .. 217 



CHAPTER VIIL 

Three painters, and a school for pifferari — Gabriel Decamps, 
Eugfene Delacroix, and Horace Vernet — The prices of 
pictures in the forties — Delacroix' find no purchasers at 
all — Decamps' drawings fetch a thousand francs each — 
Decamps not a happy man — The cause of his unhappiness 
— The man and the painter — He finds no pleasure in 
being popular — Eugene Delacroix — His contempt for the 
bourgeoisie — A parallel between Delacroix and Shakespeare 
— Was Delacroix tall or short? — His love of fiowers — His 
delicate health — His personal appearance — ^His indifference 
to the love-passion — George Sand and Delacroix — ^A mis- 
carried love-scene — ^Delacroix' housekeeper, Jenny Leguillou 
— Delacroix does not want to pose as a model for one of 
George Cand's heroes — Delacroix as a writer — His approval 
of Carlyle's dictum, "Show me how a man sings," etc. — 
His humour tempered by his reverence— His failure as a 
caricaturist — His practical jokes on would-be art-critics — 
Delacroix at home — His dress while at work — Horace 
Vernet's, Paul Delaroche's, Ingres' — Early at work — He 
does not waste time over lunch — How he spent his evenings 
— His dislike of being reproduced in marble or on canvas 
after his death — Horace Vernet — The contrast between the 
two men and the two artists — Vernet's appearance — His own 
account of how he became a painter — Moral and mental re- 
semblance to Alexandre Dumas pfere — His political opinions 
— ^Vernet and Nicholas I. — A bold answer — His opinion on 
the mental state of the Bomanoffs — The comic side of 



CONTENTS. Xlll 

PAOK 

Vernet's character — He thinks himself a Vauban — ^Hia 
interviews with M. Thiers — His admiration of everything 
military — His worship of Alfred de Vigny — His ineffectual 
attempts to paint a scene in connection with the storming of 
Constantine— Laurent- Jan proposes to write an epic on it — 
He gives a synopsis of the cantos — ^Laurent- Jan lives " on 
the fat of the land " for six months — A son of Napoleon's 
companion in exile, General Bertrand — The chaplain of 
" la Belle-Poule " — ^The lirst French priest who wore the 
English dress — Horace Vernet and the veterans of "la 
grande armee" — His studio during their occupancy of it 
as models — His budget — His hatred of pifferari — A pro- 
fessor — ^The Quartier-Latin revisited .. .. .. 234 



CHAPTER IX. 

Louis-Philippe and his family — ^An unpublished theatrical skit 
on his mania for shaking hands with every one — ^His art of 
governing, according to the same skit — ^Louis-Philippe not 
the ardent admirer of the bourgeoisie he professed to be — 
The Faubourg Saint-Germain deserts the Tuileries — The 

English in too great a majority — ^Lord 's opinion of the 

dinners at the Tuileries — The attitude of the bourgeoisie 
towards Louis-Philippe, according to the King himself — 
Louis-Philippe's wit — His final words on the death of 
Talleyrand — His love of money — ^He could be generous at 
times — ^A story of the Palais-Royal — ^Louis-Philippe and the 
Marseillaise — Two curious stories connected with the Mar- 
seillaise — ^Who was the composer of it? — ^Louis-Philippe's 
opinion of the throne, the crown, and the sceptre of France 
as additions to one's comfort — His children, and especially 
his sons, take things more easily — Even the Bonapartists 
admired some of the latter — ^A mot of an Imperialist — How 
the boys were brought up — Their nocturnal rambles later 
on — The King himself does not seem to mind those escapades, 
but is frightened at M. Guizot hearing of them — Louis- 
Philippe did not understand Guizot — The recollection of 
his former misery frequently haunts the King — ^He worries 
Queen Victoria with his fear of becoming poor — Louis- 
Philippe an excellent husbaud and father — ^He wants to 
write the libretto of an opera on an English subject — ^His 



XIV CONTENTS. 



reli^on — The court receptions ridiculous — Even the prole- 
tariat sneer at them — The entree of the Duchesse d'Orleans 
into Paris — The scene in the Tuileries gardens — ^A mot of 
Princesse CMmentine on her father's too paternal solicitude 
— A practical joke of the Prince de Joiuville — His carica- 
tures and drawings — The children inherited their talent for 
drawing and modelling from their mother — The Due de 
Nemours as a miniature and water-colour painter — Suspected 
of being a Legitimist — ^All Louis-Philippe's children great 
patrons of art — How the bourgeoisie looked upon their inter- 
course with artists — The Due de Nemours' marvellous 
memory — The studio of Eugene Lami — His neighbours, 
Paul Delaroche and Honor^ de Balzac — The Duo de 
Nemours' bravery called in question — The Due d'Aumale'a 
exploits in Algeria considered mere skirmishes — A curious 
story of spiritism — The Due d'Aumale a greater favourite 
with the world than any of the other sons of Louis- 
Philippe — His wit — The Due d'Orleans also a great 
favourite — His visits to Decamps' studio — An indifferent 
classical scholar — A curious kind of black-mail — His in- 
difference to money — There is no money in a Republic — 
His death — ^A witty reply to the Legitimists . . , , 264 

CHAPTER X. 

The Revolution of '48 — The beginning of it — The National 
Guards in all their glory — The Cafe Gregoire on the Place 
du Cairo — The price of a good breakfast in '48 — The palmy 
days of the Cuisine Bourgeoise — The excitement on the 
Boulevards on Sunday, February '20th, '48 — The theatres — 
A ball at Poirson's, the erstwhile director of the Gymnase 
— A lull in the storm — Tuesday, February 22nd — Another 
visit to the Cafe Gregoire — On my way thither — The Come- 
die-Fran9aise closes its doors — What it means, according 
to ray old tutor — "We are waited upon by a sergeant and 
corporal — ^We are no longer "messieurs," but "citoyens" — 
An eye to the main chance — The patriots do a bit of business 
in tricolour cockades — The company marches away — Casual- 
ties — "Le patriotisrae" means the difference between the 
louis d'or and the ^cu of three francs — The company 
bivouacs on the Boulevard Saint-Martin — A tyrant's victim 



CONTENTS. XV 



FAQI 



" malgre lui —Wednesday, February 23rd— The Caf€ Gti- 
goire once more — The National Guards en neglig^—A novel 
mode of settling accounts — The National Guards fortify the 
inner man — A bivouac on the Boulevard du Temple — A 
camp scene from an opera — ^I leave — ^My companion's account 
— The National Guards protect the regulars — ^The author of 
these notes goes to the theatre — The Gymnase and the 
Variety on the eve of the Revolution — Bouflfe and Dejazet 
—Thursday, February 24th, '48— The Boulevards at 9.30 a.m. 
— No milk — The Revolutionaries do without it — The Place 
du Carrousel — The sovereigo people fire from the roofs on 
the troops — The troops do not dislodge them — The King 
reviews the troops — The apparent inactivity of Louis- 
Philippe's sons — ^A theory about the difference in bloodshed 
— One of the three ugliest men in France comes to see the 
King — Seditious cries — The King abdicates — Chaos — ^The 
sacking of the Tuileries — Receptions and feasting in the 
Galerie de Diane — " Du caf^ pour nous, des cigarettes pour 
les dames " — The dresses of the princesses — The bourgeois 
feast the gamins who guard the barricades — The Republic 
proclaimed — ^The riflF-raff insist upon illuminations — An 
actor promoted to the Governorship of the Hotel de Ville — 
Some members of the " provisional Government " at work 
— Mery on Lamartine — Why the latter proclaimed the 
Republic .. .. .. .. .. .. 298 



AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 



CHAPTEB I. 

The Quartier-Latin in the late thirties — The difference between then 
and now — A caricature on the walls of Paris — I am anxious to be 
introduced to the quarter whence it emanated — I am taken to " La 
Childebert," and make the acquaintance of the original of the 
caricature — The story of Bouginier and his nose — Dantan as a 
caricaturist — He abandons that branch of art after he has made 
Madame Malibran burst into tears at the sight of her statuette — 
How Bouginier came to be immortalized on the facade of the 
Passage du Cairo — One of the first co-operative societies in France 
— An artists' hive — The origin of "La Childebert "—Its tenants in 
my time — The proprietress — Madame Ohaufort, the providence of 
poor painters — Her portraits sold after her death — High jinks at 
"La Childebert" — The Childebertians and their peacefully in- 
clined neighbours — Gratuitous baths and compulsory douches at 
"La Childebert" — The proprietress is called upon to repair tlie 
roof — The Childebertians bivouac on the Place St. Germain-des- 
Pre's — Tliey start a " Society for the Conversion of the Mahome- 
tans"— The public subscribe liberally— What becomes of the 
subscriptions ? — My visits to " La Ciiildebert " breed a taste for 
the other amusements of the Quartier-Latin — Bobino and its 
entertainments — The audience — The manager — His stereotyped 
speech — The reply in chorus — Woe to the bourgeois-intruder — 
Stove-pipe liats a rarity in the Quartier-Latin — The dress of 
the collegians — TJieir mode of living — Suppers when money was 
flush, rolls and milk when it was not— A fortune-teller in the 
Rue de Tournon— Her prediction as to the future of Josephine de 
Beauharnais— The allowance to students in those days — The 
Ode'on deserted — Students' habits — The Chaumiere — Eural ex- 
cursions — Pere Bonvin's. 

Long before Baron Haussmann began his architectural 
transformation, many parts of Paris had undergone 
changes, perceptible only to those who had been 
brought up among the inhabitants, though distinct 
VOL. I. B 



2 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

from them in nationality, education, habits, and tastes. 
Paris became to a certain extent, and not altogether 
voluntarily, cosmopolitan before the palatial mansions, 
the broad avenues, the handsome public squares which 
subsequently excited the admiration of the civilized 
world had been dreamt of, and while its outer aspect 
was as yet scarcely modified. This was mainly due 
to the establishment of railways, which caused in the 
end large influxes of foreigners and provincials, who 
as it were drove the real Parisian from his haunts. 
Those visitors rarely penetrated in large numbers 
to the very heart of the Quartier-Latin. When 
they crossed the bridges that span the Seine, it was 
to see the Sorbonne, the Pantheon, the Observatory, 
the Odeon, and the Luxembourg ; they rarely stayed 
after nightfall. The Prado, the Theatre Bobino, the 
students' taverns, escaped their observation when there 
was really something to see; and now, when the 
Closerie des Lilas has become the Bal BuUier, when 
the small theatre has been demolished, and when the 
taverns are in no way distinguished from other Parisian 
taverns — when, in short, commonplace pervades the 
whole — people flock thither very often. But during 
the whole of the forties, and even later, the rive 
gauche, with its Quartier-Latin and adjacent Faubourg 
St. Germain, were almost entirely sacred from the 
desecrating stare of the deliberate sightseer ; and, 
consequently, the former especially, preserved its 
individuality, not only materially, but mentally and 
morally — immorally would perhaps have been the 
word that would have risen to the lips of the ob- 
server who lacked the time and inclination to study the 
life led there deeper than it appeared merely on the 



THE QUARTIER-LATIN IN THE FORTIES. 3 

fiurface. For though there was a good deal of royster- 
ing and practical joking, and short-lasted liaison, there 
was little of deliberate vice, of strategic libertinism — 
if I may be allowed to coin the expression. True, 
«very Jack had his Jill, but, as a rule, it was Jill who 
iiad set the ball rolling. 

The Quartier - Latin not only sheltered sucking 
lawyers and doctoi's, budding professors and savans 
and literateurs, but artists whose names have since 
then become world-renowned. It was with some of 
these that I was most thrown in contact in that 
quarter, partly from inclination, because from my 
earliest youth I have been fonder of pictures than 
•of books, partly because at that time I had already 
seen so many authors of fame, most of whom were 
the intimate acquaintances of a connection of mine, 
that I cared little to seek the society of those who 
had not arrived at that stage. I was very young, 
and, though not devoid of faith in possibilities, too 
mentally indolent when judgment in that respect 
involved the sitting down to manuscripts. It was so 
much easier and charming to be able to discover a 
budding genius by a mere glance at a good sketch, 
«ven when the latter was drawn on charcoal on a not 
particularly clean " whitewashed '* wall. 

I was scarcely more than a stripling when one 
morning such a sketch appeared on the walls of Paris, 
and considerably mystified, while it at the same time 
amused, the inhabitants of the capital. It was not the 
work of what we in England would call a " seascape 
and mackerel artist," for no such individual stood by 
to ask toll of the admirers ; it was not an advertisement, 
for in those days that mode of mural publicity was 



i 



4 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

scarcely born, let alone in its infancy, in Paris. What^ 
then, was this colossal, monumental nose, the like of 
which I have only seen on the faces of four human 
beings, one of whom was Hyacinth, the famous actor 
of the Palais-Koyal, the other three being M. d'Argout, 
the Governor of the Bank of France ; M. de Jussieu, 
the Director of the Jardin des Plantes ; and Lasailly, 
Balzac's secretary ? What was this colossal nose, with 
a ridiculously small head and body attached to it ? 
The nasal organ was certainly phenomenal, even 
allowing for the permissible exaggeration of the 
caricaturist, but it could surely not be the only title 
of its owner to this sudden leap into fame ? Was it 
a performing nose, or one endowed with extraordinary 
powers of smell ? I puzzled over the question for 
several days, until one morning I happened to run 
against my old tutor, looking at the picture and 
laughing till the tears ran down his wrinkled cheeks. 
It was a positive pleasure to see him. " C'est bien lui, 
c'est bien lui," he exclaimed ; " c'est absolument son 
portrait crache ! " " Do you know the original ? " I 
asked. " Mais, sans doute, je le connais, c'est un ami 
de mon fils, du reste, tout le monde connait Bouginier." 
" But I do not know him," I protested, feeling very 
much ashamed of my ignorance. " Ah, you ! that's 
quite a different thing ; you do not live in the Quartier- 
Latin, but everybody there knows him." From that 
moment I knew no rest until I had made the acquaint- 
ance of Bouginier, which was not very difficult ; and 
through him I became a frequent visitor to " La 
Childebert," which deserves a detailed description, 
because, though it was a familiar haunt to many 
Parisians of my time with a taste for Bohemian 



AN IMMORTAL CARICATURE. 5 

society, I doubt whether many Englishmen, save (the 
late) Mr. Blanchard Jerrold and one of the Mayhews, 
ever set foot there, and even they could not have seen 
it in its prime. 

But before I deal with " La Childebert," I must say 
a few words about Bouginier, who, contrary to my 
expectations, owed his fame solely to his proboscis. He 
utterly disappeared from the artistic horizon in a few 
years, but his features still live in the memory of those 
who knew him through a statuette in terra cotta 
modelled by Dantan the younger. During the reign 
of Louis-Philippe, Dantan took to that branch of art 
as a relaxation from his more serious work ; he finally 
abandoned it after he had made Madame Malibran 
burst into tears, instead of making her laugh, as he 
intended, at her own caricature. Those curious in 
such matters may see Bouginier's presentment in a 
medallion on the frontispiece of the Passage du Caire, 
amidst the Egyptian divinities and sphinxes. As a 
matter of course, the spectator asks himself why this 
modern countenance should find itself in such incon- 
gruous company, and he comes almost naturally to the 
conclusion that Bouginier was the owner, or perhaps 
the architect, of this arcade, almost exclusively tenanted 
— until very recently — by lithographers, printers, etc. 
The conclusion, however, would be an erroneous one. 
Bouginier, as far as is known, never had any property 
in Paris or elsewhere ; least of all was he vain enough 
to perpetuate his own features in that manner, even if 
3ie had had an opportunity, but he had not ; seeing 
Ihat he was not an architect, but simply a painter, of 
no great talents certainly, but, withal, modest and 
sensible, and as such opposed to, or at any rate not 



6 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

sharing, the crazes of mediae valism, romanticism, and 
other isms in which the young painters of that day 
indulged, and which they thought fit to emphasize in 
public and among one another by eccentricities of 
costume and language, supposed to be in harmony 
with the periods they had adopted for illustration. 
This absence of enthusiasm one way or the other 
aroused the ire of his fellow-lodgers at the " Childe- 
bert," and one of them, whose pencil was more deft 
at that kind of work than those of the others, executed 
their vengeance, and drew Bouginier's picture on the 
*' fag end " of a dead wall in the vicinity of the Church 
of St. Germain-des-Pres. The success was instantaneous 
and positively overwhelming, though truth compels 
one to state that this was the only flash of genius that 
illumined that young fellow's career. His name was 
Fourreau, and one looks in vain for his name in the 
biographical dictionaries or encyclopedias of artists. 
Fate has even been more cruel to him than to his 
model. 

For the moment, however, the success, as I have 
already said, was overwhelming. In less than a fort- 
night there was not a single wall in Paris and its out- 
skirts without a Bouginier on its surface. Though 
Paris was considerably less in area than it is now,, it 
wanted a Herculean effort to accomplish this. No 
man, had he been endowed with as many arms as 
Briareus, would have sufficed for it. Nor would it 
have done to trust to more or less skilful copyists — they 
might have failed to catch the likeness, which was 
really an admirable one ; so the following device was 
hit upon. Fourreau himself cut a number of stencil 
plates in brown paper, and, provided with them, an 



THE CHILDEBERTIANS ON THEIR TRAVELS. 7; 

army of Childebertiaus started every night in various, 
directions, Fourreau and a few undoubtedly clever 
youths heading the detachments, and filling in the 
blanks by hand. 

Meanwhile summer had come, and with it the long- 
ing among the young Tintos to breathe the purer air 
of the country, to sniff the salt breezes of the ocean. 
As a matter of course, they were not all ready to start 
at the same time, but being determined to follow the 
same route, to assemble at a common goal, the con- 
tingent that was to leave a fortnight later than the 
first arranged to join the others wherever they might be. 

" But how ? " was the question of those who were 
left behind. " Very simply indeed," was the answer ; 
" we'll go by the Baniere d'ltalie. You'll have but to 
look at the walls along the road, and you'll find your 
waybill." 

So said, so done. A fortnight after, the second 
division left head-quarters and made straight for the 
Barriere d'ltalie. But when outside the gates they 
stood undecided. For one moment only. The next 
they caught sight of a magnificent Bouginier on a wall 
next to the excise office — of a Bouginier whose out- 
stretched index pointed to the Fontainebleau road. 
After that, all went well. As far as Marseilles their 
Bouginier no more failed them than the clouds of 
smoke and fire failed the Israelites in the wilderness. 
At the seaport town they lost the track for a little while, 
rather through their want of faith in the ingenuity 
of their predecessors than through the latter's lack of 
such ingenuity. They had the Mediterranean in front 
of them, and even if they found a Bouginier depicted 
somewhere on the shore, his outstretched index could. 



8 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

only point to the restless waves ; he could do nothing- 
more definite. Considerably depressed, they were 
going down the Cannebiere, when they caught sight 
of the features of their guiding star on a panel between 
tlie windows of a shipping office. His outstretched 
index did not point this time ; it was placed over a 
word, and that word spelt " Malta." They took ship 
as quickly as possible for the ancient habitation of the 
Knights-Templars. On the walls of the Customs in the 
island was Bouginier, with a scroll issuing from his 
nostrils, on which was inscribed the word " Alexandria." 
A similar indication met their gaze at the Pyramids, 
and at last the second contingent managed to come up 
with the first amidst the ruins of Thebes at the very 
moment when the word " Suez " was being traced as 
issuing from Bouginier's mouth. 

Among the company was a young fellow of the 
name of Berthier, who became subsequently an archi- 
tect of some note. The Passage du Cairo, as I have 
already observed, was in those days the head-quarters 
of the lithographic-printing business in general, but 
there was one branch which flourished more than the 
rest, namely, that of lettres de faire fart* menus of 
restaurants and visiting-cards. The two first-named 
documents were, in common with most printed matter 
intended for circulation, subject to a stamp duty, but 
in the early days of the Second Empire Louis-Napo- 
leon had it taken off. To mark their sense of the 
benefit conferred, the lithographic firms f determined 

* The "lettre de faire part " is an intimation of a birth, marriage, or 
death sent to the friends, and even mere acquaintances, of a family. — 
Editor. 

t The lithographers were almost the first in France to form a co- 
operative society, but not in the sense of the Kochdale pioneers, which 



AN artists' hive. ^ 

io liave the arcade, which stood in sad need of repair, 
restored, and Berthier was selected for the task. The 
passage was originally built to commemorate Bona- 
parte's victories in Egypt, and when Berthier received 
the commission, he could think of no more fitting 
fapade than the reproduction of a house at Karnac. 
He fondly remembered his youthful excursion to the 
iand of Pharaohs, and at the same time the image of 
Bouginier uprose before him. That is why the pre- 
sentment of the latter may be seen up to this day on 
the frieze of a building in the frowsiest part of Paris. 

If I have dwelt somewhat longer on Bouginier than 
the importance of the subject warranted, it was mainly 
to convey an idea of the spirit of mischief, of the love 
of practical joking, that animated most of the inmates 
of " La Childebert." As a rule their devilries were 
innocent enough. The pictorial persecution of Bouginier 
is about the gravest thing that could be laid to their 
•charge, and the victim, like the sensible fellow he was, 
rather enjoyed it than otherwise. Woe, however, to the 
starched bourgeois who had been decoyed into their 
lair, or even to the remonstrating comrade with a 
serious turn of mind, who wished to pursue his studies 
in peace ! His life was made a burden to him, for the 
very building lent itself to all sorts of nocturnal 
surprises and of guerilla sorties. Elsewhere, when a 
man's door was shut, he might reasonably count upon 
a certain amount of privacy ; the utmost his neighbours 
could do was to make a noise overhead or by his side. 
At the "Childebert" such privacy was out of the 

dates from about the same period. The Lacrampe Association was for 
supplying lithographic work. It began in the Passage du Caire with 
■ten members, and in a short time numbered two hundred workmen. — 
Editob. 



10 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PAEIS. 

question. There was not a door that held on its hinges^- 
not a window that could be opened or shut at will, not 
a ceiling that did not threaten constantly to crush you 
beneath its weight, not a floor that was not in danger 
of giving way beneath you and landing you in the- 
room below, not a staircase that did not shake under 
your very steps, however light they might be ; in short, 
the place was a wonderful illustration of " how the rotten 
may hold together," even if it be not gently handled. 

The origin of the structure, as it stood then, was 
wrapt in mystery. It was five or six stories high, and' 
must have attained that altitude before the first 
Revolution, because the owner, a Madame Legendre, 
who bought it for assignats amounting in real value 
to about one pound sterling, when the clergy's property 
was sold by the nation, was known never to have spent 
a penny upon it either at the time of the purchase or- 
subsequently, until she was forced by a tenant more 
ingenious or more desperate than the rest. That it 
could not have been part of the abbey and adjacent 
monastery built by Childebert I., who was buried there 
in 558, was very certain. It is equally improbable 
that the Cardinal de Bissy, who opened a street upon 
the site of the erstwliile abbey in the year of Louis 
XIV. 's death, would have erected so high a pile for 
the mere accommodation of the pensioners of the former 
monastery, at a time when high piles were the ex(;ep- 
tion. Besides, the Nos. 1 and 3, known to have 
been occupied by those pensioners, all of whose rooms 
communicated with one another, were not more than 
two stories high. In short, the original intention of 
the builder of the house No. 9, yclept " La Childebert,'*^ 
has never been explained. The only tenant in thfr 



THE POOR painters' PROVIDENCE. 11 

Rue Childebert who might have thrown a light on the 
subject had died before the caravansary attained its^ 
fame. He was more than a hundred years old, and had 
married five times. His fifth wife was only eighteen 
when she became Madame Chanfort, and survived him 
for many, many years. She was a very worthy soul,, 
a downright providence to the generally impecunious 
painters, whom she used to feed at prices which even 
then were ridiculously low. Three eggs, albeit fried 
in grease instead of butter, for the sum of three-half- 
pence, and a dinner, including wine, for sixpence, could 
not have left much profit ; but Madame Chanfort always 
declared that she had enough to live upon, and that 
she supplied the art-students with food at cost price 
because she would not be without their company. At 
her death, in '57, two years before the "Childebert" 
and the street of the same name disappeared, there 
was a sale of her chattels, and over a hundred portraits 
and sketches of her, " in her habit as she lived," came 
under the hammer. To show that the various occu- 
pants of " La Childebert " could do more than make 
a noise and play practical jokes, I may state that not 
a single one of these productions fetched less than 
fifty francs — mere crayon studies ; while there were 
several that sold for two hundred and three hundred 
francs, and two studies in oil brought respectively 
eight hundred francs and twelve hundred francs. 
Nearly every one of the young men who had signed 
these portraits had made a name for himself. The 
latter two were signed respectively Paul Delaroche 
and Tony Johannot. 

Nevertheless, to those whose love of peace and 
quietude was stronger than their artistic instincts- 



S2 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

and watchful admiration of budding genius, the 
neighbourhood of " La Childebert " was a sore and 
grievous trial. At times the street itself, not a very- 
long or wide one, was like Pandemonium let loose ; it 
was when there was an " At Home " at "La Childebert," 
^nd such functions were frequent, especially at the 
beginning of the months. These gatherings, as a rule, 
partook of the nature of fancy dress conversaziones ; for 
-dancing, owing to the shakiness of the building, had 
become out of the question, even with such dare-devils 
as the tenants. "What the latter prided themselves 
upon most was their strict adherence to the local colour 
•of the periods they preferred to resuscitate. Unfortu- 
nately for the tranquillity of the neighbourhood, they 
pretended to carry out this revival in its smallest 
details, not only in their artistic productions, but in 
their daily lives. The actor who blacked himself all 
over to play Othello was as nothing to them in his 
attempted realism, because we may suppose that he 
;got rid of his paint before returning to the everyday 
-world. Not so the inmates of " La Childebert." They 
were minstrels, or corsairs, or proud and valiant knights 
from the moment they got up till the moment they 
went to bed, and many of them even scorned to stretch 
their weary limbs on so effeminate a contrivance as a 
modern mattress, but endeavoured to keep up the 
illusion by lying on a rush-bestrewn floor. 

I am not sufficiently learned to trace these various 
and succeeding disguises to their literary and theatrical 
causes, for it was generally a new book or a new play 
that set the ball rolling in a certain direction ; nor can 
I vouch for the chronological accuracy and complete- 
«ness of my record in that respect, but I remember 



THE CHILDEBEKTIANS AT HOME. 1^ 

some phases of that ever-shifting masquerade. When 
I was a very little boy, I was struck more than once 
with the sight of young men parading the streets in 
doublets, trunk hose, their flowing looks adorned with 
velvet caps and birds' wings, their loins girded with 
short swords. And yet it was not carnival-time. No 
one seemed to take particular notice of them ; the 
Parisians by that time had probably got used to their 
vagaries. Those competent in such matters have 
since told me that the " get-up " was inspired by " La 
Gaule Poetique" of M. de Marchangy, the novels of 
M. d'Arlincourt, and the kindred stilted literature that 
characterized the beginning of the Restoration. Both 
these gentlemen, from their very hatred of the Greeks 
and Romans of the first Empire, created heroes of 
fiction still more ridiculous than the latter, just as 
Metternich, through his weariness of the word 
•* fraternity," said that if he had a brother he would 
call him "cousin." A few years later, the first) 
translation of Byron's works produced its effect ; and 
then came Defauconpret, with his very creditable 
French versions of Walter Scott. The influence of 
Paul Delaroche and his co-champions of the cause 
of romanticism, the revolution of July, the dramas of 
Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo, all added their 
quota to the prevailing confusion in the matter of 
style and period, and early in the forties there were 
at the " Childebert " several camps, fraternizing in 
everything save in their dress and speech, which wera 
the visible and audible manifestation of their individual 
predilection for certain periods of history. For instance;^ 
it was no uncommon thing to hear the son of a con- 
cierge, whose real or fancied vocation had made him 



14 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

embrace the artistic profession, swear by " the faith 
of his ancestors," while the impoverished scion of a 
noble house replied by calling him "a bloated 
reminiscence of a feudal and superstitious age." 

At the conversaziones which I mentioned just now, 
the guests of the inmates of " La Childebert " not only 
managed to out-Herod Herod in diction and attire, 
but, to heighten illusion still further, adopted as far 
a,s possible the mode of conveyance supposed to have 
been employed by their prototypes. The classicists, 
and those still addicted to the illustration of Greek 
and Koman mythology, though nominally in the 
minority at the " Childebert " itself, were, as a rule, 
most successful in those attempts. The ass that 
had borne Silenus, the steeds that had drawn the 
chariot of the triumphant Roman warrior, the she-goat 
that was supposed to have suckled Jupiter, were as 
familiar to the inhabitants of the Rue Childebert as 
the cats and mongrels of their own households. The 
obstructions caused by the former no longer aroused 
their ire ; but when, one evening, Romulus and Remus 
made their appearance, accompanied by the legendary 
she-wolf, thej went mad with terror. The panic was 
at its height when, with an utter disregard of mytho- 
logical tradition, Hercules walked up the street, leading 
the Nemsean lion. Then the aid of the police was 
invoked; but neither the police nor the national 
guards, who came after them, dared to tackle the 
animals, though they might have done so safely, 
because the supposed wolf was a great dane, and the 
lion a mastiff, but so marvellously padded and painted 
as to deceive any but the most practised eye. The 
culprits, however, did not reveal the secret until they 



THE PROPRIETRESS OF "LA CHILDEBERT." 15 

-were at the commissary of police's oflSce, enjoying the 
magnificent treat of setting the whole of the neighbour- 
hood in an uproar on their journey thither, and of 
frightening that official on their arrival. 

In fact, long before I knew them, the inmates of the 
" Childebert " had become a positive scourge to the 
neighbourhood, while the structure itself threatened 
ruin to everything around it. Madame Legendre 
absolutely refused to do any repairs. She did not 
deny that she had bought the place cheap, but she 
pointed out at the same time that the rents she 
charged were more than modest, and that eight times 
but of ten she did not get them. In the beginning 
of her ownership she had employed a male concierge, 
to prevent, as it were, the wholesale flitting which was 
sure to follow a more strenuous application for arrears 
upon which she ventured now and then in those days. 
That was towards the end of the Empire, when the 
disciples of David had been reduced to a minority in 
the place by those of Lethiere, who sounded the first 
note of revolt against the unconditional classicism of 
the illustrious member of the Convention. If all the 
disciples of the Creole painter had not his genius, 
most of them had his courage and readiness to draw 
the sword on the smallest provocation,* and the various 
•Cerberi employed by Madame Legendre to enforce 
her claims had to fly one after another. The rumour of 
the danger of the situation had spread, and at last 

* Guillaurae Letliibre, whose real name was Guillon, was a native 
•of Guadeloupe. He fought and seriously woanded several officers 
because the latter had objected to "a mere dauber wearing mous- 
taciies." He was obliged to leave Paris, but, thanks to the protection 
of Lucien Bonaparte, was appointed Director of the French Academie 
at Rome. — Editob. 



16 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

Madame Legendre could find no man to fill it, except 
on monetary conditions with which she would not — 
perhaps could not — comply. From that day forth 
she employed a woman, who was safe, because she had 
been told to let "lawless impecuniosity" take its 
course, and it was recorded that pecuniarily the pro- 
prietress was the better off for this change of tactics, 
I am willing to repeat that record, which, if true, 
did credit to the head of the landlady and the heart* 
of her tenants, but am compelled to supplement it by 
a different version. When I saw the " Childebert " in- 
'37 or '38, no man in his senses would have paid rent 
for any one room in it on the two top stories ; he 
might as well have lived in the streets. It was an. 
absolute case of the bottomless sedan chair in which 
two of his fellow-porters put Pat ; "but for the honour 
of the thing, he might have walked." Consequently 
the tenants there were rarely harassed for their rent ; 
if they paid it at all, it was so much unexpected gain . 
It happened, however, that now and then by mistake 
a youngster was put there who had scruples about 
discharging his liabilities in that respect ; and one of 
these was Emile Lapierre, who subsequently became 
a landscape-painter of note. One night, after he had 
taken up his quarters there, the floodgates of heaven 
opened over Paris. Lapierre woke up amidst a deluge. 
I need not say that there were no bells at the "Chil- 
debert ; " nevertheless there was no fear of dying 
unattended, provided one could shout, for there was 
always a party turning night into day, or hailing the 
smiling morn before turning in. Lapierre's shouts 
found a ready echo, and in a few moments the old- 
concierge was on the spot. 



A REVOLT AT "LA CHILDEBERT." 17 

" Go and fetch a boat — go and fetch a boat !" yelled 
Lapierre. " I am drowning ! " yelled Lapierre. 

" There are none in the quarter,'* replied the old 
woman innocently, thinking he was in earnest. 

" Then go and fetch Madame Legendre, to show her 
the pond she is letting me instead of the room for 
which I pay her." 

"Madame would not come, not even for you, 
monsieur, who are the only one punctual with your 
rent; besides, if she did come, she would have no 
repairs done." 

" Oh, she'll have no repairs done ! We'll soon find 
out I think I'll make her," screamed Lapierre ; and 
he kept his word. 

It was the only instance of Madame Legendre 
having had to capitulate, and I have alluded to it 
before ; it remains for me to tell how it was done. 

Lapierre, contrary to the precept, allowed the sun to 
go down upon his wrath, in the hope perhaps of induc- 
ing Madame Legendre to change her oft-announced 
decision of doing no repairs ; but he rose betimes next 
morning, and when there was no sign of workmen, 
he proceeded to carry out his plan. The floors of the 
" Childebert " were made of brick, and he simply 
removed three or four squares from his, after which 
he went downstairs and recruited half a dozen water- 
carriers, and bade them empty their full pails into the 
opening he had made. I shall probably have some 
remarks to make elsewhere about the water-supply of 
Paris ; at present it is sufficient to say that in those 
days there was not a single house in the capital 
which was not dependent upon those Auvergnats who 
carried the commodity round in barrels on carts drawn 

VOL. L C 



18 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

by hand or horse. These gentlemen, though astonished 
at the strange task required of them, consented. In 
less than ten minutes there was a string of water-carts 
stationed in the Rue Childebert, and in a few minutes 
more the lower stories were simply flooded. Aime 
Millet, the sculptor, whose room was situated im- 
mediately beneath that of Lapierre, was the first 
victim. It was he who gave the alarm, but, as a matter 
of course, in the twinkling of an eye there were one 
or two heads at every window, and though very early, 
there was a stampede of very primitively clad models(?) 
into the street, shouting and yelling out at the top of 
their voices. Outside no one seemed to know exactly 
what had occurred ; the prevailing impression was that 
the place was on fire. Then Madame Legendre was sent 
for in hot haste. By that time the truth had become 
known in the house. The alarm had subsided, but not 
the noise. When the report of Madame Legendre's 
coming got wind, a deputation went to the entrance 
of the street to welcome her. It was provided with 
all sorts of instruments except musical ones, and the 
old dame was conducted in state to Millet's room. 
The cause of the mischief was soon ascertained, for 
the water-carriers were still at work. The police had 
refused to interfere ; in reality, they would not have 
been sorry to see the building come down with a crash, 
for it was as great a source of annoyance to them as 
to the peaceful burghers they were supposed to protect. 
A move was made to the room above, where Lapierre — 
without a stitch of clothing — stood directing the 
operations. 

" What are you doing, Monsieur Lapierre ? " 
screeched Madame Legendre. 



THE PROPRIETRESS MAKES A CONCESSION. 19 

" 1 am taking a bath, madame ; it is very warm. You 
gave me one against my will the night before last ; 
and lest I should be accused of selfishness, I am letting 
my neighbours partake of the pleasure." 

That is how Madame Legendre was compelled to 
repair the roof of " La Childebert." 

Such was the company amidst which I was intro- 
duced by the son of my old tutor. Many years have 
passed since then, during which I have been thrown 
into the society of the great and powerful ones of this 
world, rather through the force of circumstances than 
owing to my own merits, but I have looked in vain 
for the honest friendships, the disinterested actions, 
the genuine enthusiasm for their art, underlying 
their devilry, of which these young men were 
capable. The bourgeois vices, in the guise of civic 
and domestic virtues, entered the souls of Frenchmen 
early in the reign of Louis-Philippe, and have been 
gnawing since, with ever-increasing force, like a cancer, 
at everything that was noble and worthy of admiration 
in a nation. But those vices never found their way 
to the hearts of the inmates of " La Childebert " while 
they were there, and rarely in after-life. Many attained 
world-wide reputations ; few gathered riches, even when 
they were as frugal as the best among them — Eugene 
Delacroix. 

To have known these young men was absolutely a 
liberal education. To the Podsnap and Philistine of 
no matter what nationality, it seems a sad thing to 
have no thought for to-morrow. And these youngsters 
had not even a thought for the day. Their thoughts 
were for the future, when the world mayhap would ring 
with their names ; but their physical or mental hearing 



20 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

never strained for the ring of money. They were 
improvident creatures, to be sure ; but how much more 
lovable than the young painters of the present period, 
whose ideal is a big balance at their bankers ; who 
would rather have their names inscribed on the 
registers of the public debt than in the golden book 
of art ; whose dreamt-of Eden is a bijou villa in the 
Pare Monceaux or in the Avenue Villiers ; whose 
providence is the richard, the parvenu, the wealthy 
upstart, whose features they perpetuate, regardless 
of the perpetuation of their own budding fame. 

When I began to jot down these notes, I made up 
my mind to eschew comparisons and moralizing ; I find 
I have unconsciously done both, but will endeavour not 
to offend again. Still, I cannot help observing how 
the mere " moneyed nobody " rushes nowadays to the 
eminent painter to have his lineaments reproduced, 
when a guinea photograph would serve his purpose 
just as well for " family use ; '•' for I take it that no one, 
besides his relations and friends, cares or will care to 
gaze upon his features. And yet our annual picture 
exhibitions are crowded with the portraits of these 
nonentities. They advertise themselves through the 
painters that transfer them to canvas, and the latter 
are content to pocket heavy fees, like the advertising 
agents they are. I am certain that neither Holbein, 
Kubens, Van Dyck, Hals, nor Rembrandt would have 
lent themselves to such transactions. When they, or a 
Reynolds, a Lawrence, a Gainsborough, conferred the 
honour of their brush upon some one, it was because 
he or she was already distinguished from his or her 
fellow-creatures by beauty, social position, talents, 
genius, or birth ; not because he or she wanted to be, 



ART PATRONS AT "LA CHILDEBERT." 21 

or, in default of such distinction, wanted to attract the 
public notice at all costs. That, I fancy, was the way 
in which painters of other days looked upon the thing. 
I know it was the way in which the young fellows at 
the " Childebert " did ; and woe to their comrade who 
ventured to apply in art the principle of international 
maritime law, that " le pavilion couvre la marchandise " 
(the flag covers the cargo). He was scouted and jeered 
at, and, moreover, rarely allowed to reap the pecuniary 
benefit of his artistic abasement. Hence the " patron 
for a portrait " seldom found his way to " La Childe- 
bert." When he did, the whole of the place conspired 
to make his life and that of his would-be protege a 
misery. 

To enumerate all the devices resorted to to make 
the sittings abortive, to " distort the features that had 
donned the bland smile of placid contentment " with 
the paralyzing fear of some impending catastrophe, 
would be impossible ; the mention of a few must 
suflBce. That most frequently employed, and com- 
paratively easy of execution, was the setting alight of 
damp straw ; the dense smoke penetrated every nook 
and cranny of the crazy building, and the sitter, mad 
with fright, rushed away. The chances were a hun- 
dred to one against his ever returning. Another was 
the intrusion of a male model offering his services 
as a Saint-Jerome, or a female one offering hers as 
Godiva ; for, curious to relate, the devotion of the wife 
of Leofric of Murcia was a favourite subject with the 
Childebertians. As a matter of course, the applicants 
were in the costume, or rather lack of costume, appro- 
priate to the character. The strait-laced bourgeois 
or bourgeoise was shocked, and did not repeat the 



22 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

visit. The cry that there was a mad dog in the house 
was a common one on those occasions ; and at last the 
would-be portrait-painters had to give in, and a big 
placard appeared on the frontispiece : " Le commerce 
des portraits a ete cede aux directeur et membres de 
I'Ecole des Beaux-Arts." 

The most curious thing in connection with the 
" Childebert " was that, though the place was inex- 
pressibly ill kept, it escaped the most terrible visita- 
tions of the cholera. I prefer not to enter into details 
of the absolute disregard of all sanitary conditions, 
but in warm weather the building became positively 
uninhabitable. Long before the unsavoury spectacle 
of " learned fleas " became a feature of the suburban 
fairs, Emile Signol, who is best known as a painter of 
religious subjects, had trained a company of performers 
of a different kind of nocturnal pests. He averred in 
his opening lecture that their ingenuity was too great 
to remain unknown, and cited anecdotes fully proving 
his words. Certain is it that they were the only 
enemies before which the combined forces of the 
Childebertians proved powerless. But even under 
such trying circumstances the latter never lost their 
buoyant spirits, and their retreats en masse were effected 
in a manner the reports of which set the whole of 
Paris in a roar. One Sunday morning, the faithful 
worshippers, going to matins at the Church of St. 
Germain-des-Pres, found the square occupied by a 
troop of Bedouins, wrapt in their burnouses, and sleep- 
ing the sleep of the just. Some had squatted in 
corners, calmly smoking their chibouks. This was in 
the days of the Algerian campaign, and the rumour 
spread like wildfire that a party of Arab prisoners of 



A NEW CONVERSION SOCIETY. 23 

war were bivouacked round the church, where a special 
service would be given in the afternoon as the first step 
to their conversion to Christianity. It being Sunday, 
the whole of Paris rushed to the spot. The Bedouins 
had, however, disappeared, but a collection was made 
in their behalf by several demure-looking young men. 
The Parisians gave liberally. That night, and two or 
three nights after, the nocturnal pests' occupation was 
gone, for the " Childebert " was lighted a giorno from 
basement to roof, and the Childebertians held high 
festival. The inhabitants of the streets adjacent to 
the Eue Childebert spent as many sleepless nights, 
though their houses were perfectly wholesome and 
clean. 

I had the honour to be a frequent guest at those 
gatherings, but I feel that a detailed description of 
them is beyond my powers. I have already said that 
the craziness of the structure would have rendered 
extremely dangerous any combined display of chore- 
graphic art, as practised by the Childebertians and 
their friends, male and female, at the neighbouring 
Grande-Chaumiere ; it did, however, not prevent a lady 
or gentleman of the company from performing a pas 
seul now and then. This, it must be remembered, was 
the pre-Eigolbochian period, before Chieard with his 
chahut had been ousted from his exalted position by 
the more elegant and graceful evolutions of the 
originator of the modern cancan, the famous Brididi ; 
when the Faubourg du Temple, the Bal du Grand 
Saint-Martin, and " the descent of the Courtille " 
were patronized by the Paris jeunesse doree, and in 
their halcyon days, when the hahitues of the establish- 
ment of Le Pere Lahire considered it their greatest 



24) AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

glory to imitate as closely as possible the baccha- 
nalian gyrations of the choregraphic autocrat on the 
other side of the Seine. No mere description could 
do justice to these gyrations ; only a draughtsman of the 
highest skill could convey an adequate idea of them. 
But, as a rule, the soirees at the " Childebert " were 
not conspicuous for such displays; their programme 
was a more ambitious one from an intellectual point of 
view, albeit that the programme was rarely, if ever, 
carried out. This failure of the prearranged proceed- 
ings mainly arose from the disinclination or inability 
of the fairer portion of the company to play the 
passive part of listeners and spectators during the 
recital of an unpublished poem of perhaps a thousand 
lines or so, though the reciter was no less a personage 
than the author. In vain did the less frivolous and 
male part of the audience claim " silence for the 
minstrel ; " the interrupters could conceive no minstrel 
without a guitar or some kindred instrument, least of 
all a minstrel who merely spoke his words, and the 
feast of reason and flow of soul came generally to an 
abrupt end by the rising of a damsel more outspoken 
still than hei companions, who proposed an adjourn- 
ment to one of the adjacent taverns, or to the not far 
distant " Grande-Chaumiere," " si on continue a nous 
assommer avec des vers." The threat invariably 
produced its effect. The " minstrel " was politely 
requested to " shut up," and Beranger, Desaugiers, or 
even M. Scribe, took the place of the Victor Hugo in 
embryo until the small hours of the morning; the 
departure of the guests being witnessed by the night- 
capped inhabitants of the Rue Childebert from their 
windows, amidst the comforting reflections that for 



BOBINO AND ITS HABITUES. 25 

another three weeks or so there would be peace in the 
festive halls of that " accursed buildinp^." 

My frequent visits to "La Childebert" had developed 
a taste for the Bohemian attractions of the Quartier- 
Latin. I was not twenty, and though I caught fre- 
quent glimpses at home of some of the eminent men 
with whom a few years later I lived on terms of friend- 
ship, I could not aspire to their society then. It is 
doubtful whether I would have done so if I could. I 
preferred tlie Theatre Bobino to the Opera and the 
Comedie-Franpaise ; the Grande-Chaumiere — or the 
Ohauraiere, as it was simply called — to the most 
brilliantly lighted and decorated ballroom ; a stroll 
with a couple of young students in the gardens of the 
Luxembourg to a carriage- drive in the Bois de Bou- 
logne ; a dinner for three francs at Magny's, in the Rue 
Contrescarpe-Dauphine, or even one for twenty-two 
sous at Viot's or Blery's, to the most sumptuous repast 
at the Cafe Riche or the Cafe de Paris. I preferred the 
buttered rolls and the bowl of milk at the Boulangerie 
Cretaine, in the Rue Dauphine, to the best suppers at 
the Cafe Anglais, whither I had been taken once or 
twice during the Carnival — in short, I was very young 
and very foolish ; since then I have often wished that, 
at the risk of remaining very foolish for evermore, 1 
could have prolonged my youth for another score of 
years. 

For once in a way I have no need to be ashamed 
of my want of memory. I could not give an account 
of a single piece I saw during those two or three years 
at Bobino, but 1 am certain that not one of the 
companions of my youth could. It is not because the 
lapse of time has dimmed the recollection of the plots, 



26 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

but because there were no plots, or at any rate none 
that we could understand, and I doubt very much 
whether the actors and actresses were more enlightened 
in that respect than the audience. The pieces were 
vaudevilles, most of them, and it was suflScient for us 
to join in the choruses of the songs, with, which they 
were plentifully interlarded. As for the dialogue, it 
might have been sparkling with wit and epigram ; it 
was nearly always drowned by interpolations from 
one side of the house or the other. When the tumult 
became too great, the curtain was simply lowered, 
to be almost immediately raised, '* discovering " the 
manager — in his dressing-gown. He seemed prouder 
of that piece of attire than the more modern one would 
be of the most faultless evening dress. He never 
appealed to us by invoking the laws of politeness ; he 
never threatened to have the house cleared. He simply 
pointed out to us that the police vvould inevitably 
close the place at the request of the inhabitants of the 
Bue de Madame if tlie noise rose above a certain pitch, 
and disturbed their peaceful evening hours, spent in 
the bosom of their families; which remark was always 
followed by the audience intoning as one man Gretry's 
" Oil peut-on etre mieux qu'au sein de sa famille ? " 
the orchestra — such an orchestra! — playing the accom- 
paniment, and the manager himself beating time. 
Then he went on. " Yes, messieurs et mesdames, we 
are here en famille also, as much en famille as at the 
Grande-Chaumiere ; and has not M. Lahire obtained 
from the Government the permission de faire sa police 
tout seul ! After all, he is providing exercise for your 
muscles ; I am providing food for your brain." 

The speech was a stereotyped one — we all knew it by 



COLLEGIANS AND THEIR DRESS. 27 

heart ; it invariably produced its effect in keeping us 
comparatively quiet for the rest of the evening, unless 
a bourgeois happened to come in. Then the uproar 
became uncontrollable ; no managerial speech could 
quell it until the intruder had left the theatre. 

By a bourgeois was meant a man who wore broad- 
cloth and a top hat, but especially the latter. In fact, 
that head-gear was rarely seen within the inner pre- 
cincts of the Quartier-Latin, even during the daytime, 
except on the head of a professor, or on Thursdays 
when the collegians — the term " lyceen " was not in- 
vented — were taken for their weekly outing. The 
semi-military dress of the present time had not been 
thought of then. The collegian wore a top hat, like 
our Eton boys, a white necktie, a kind of black quaker 
coat with a stand-up collar, a very dark blue waistcoat 
and trousers, low shoes, and blue woollen stockings. In 
the summer, some of them, especially those of the 
College Rollin, had a waistcoat and trousers of a lighter 
texture, and drab instead of blue. They were virtually 
prisoners within the walls of the college all the week, 
for in their Thursday promenades they were little more 
than prisoners taking exercise under the supervision of 
their gaolers. They were allowed to leave on alternate 
Sundays, provided they had parents, relations, or 
friends in Paris, who could come themselves or send 
their servants to fetch them in the morning and take 
them back at night. The rule applied to all, whether 
they were nine or double that number of years ; it 
prevails even now. I only set foot in a French college 
of those days twice to see a young friend of mine, and 
I thanked my stars that four or five years of that 
existence had been spared to me. The food and the 



28 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

table appointments, the bedrooms — they were more 
like cells with their barred windows — would have been 
declined by the meanest English servant, certainly by 
the meanest French one. I have never met with a 
Frenchman who looks back with fond remembrance 
on his school-days. 

The evening wns generally wound up with a supper 
at Dagneaux's, Piuson's, or at the rotisseuse — that is, 
if the evening happened to fall within the first ten 
days of the month; afterwards the entertainment 
nearly always consisted of a meat-pie, bought at one 
of the charcutiers', and washed down with the bottles 
of wine purchased at the Horel de I'Empereur Joseph 
IL, at the south-eastern angle of the Kue de Tournon, 
where it stands still. The legend ran that the brother 
of Marie Antoinette had stayed there while on a visit 
to Paris, but it is scarcely likely that he would have 
done so while his sister was within a step of the throne 
of France ; nevertheless the Count von Falkenstein — 
which was the name he adopted when travelling in- 
cognito — was somewhat of a philosopher. Did not 
he once pay a visit to Jean-Jacques Rousseau without 
having apprised him of his call? Jean-Jacques was 
copying music as the door opened to let in the visitor, 
and felt flattered enough, we may be sure; not so 
Buffon, whom Joseph surprised under similar circum- 
stances, and who could never forgive himself for having 
been caught in his dressing-gown — he who never sat 
down to work except in lace ruffles and frill. 

If I have been unwittingly betrayed into a semi- 
historical disquisition, it is because almost every step 
in that quarter gave rise to one, even amongst those 
light-hearted companions of mine, to the great as- 



A CELEBRATED FORTUNE-TELLER. 29 

tonishment of the fairer portion of the company. 
They only took an interest in the biography of one 
of the inhabitants of the street, whether past or 
present, and that was in the biography of Mdlle. Lenor- 
mand, a well-known fortune-teller, who lived at No. 5. 
They had heard that the old woman, who had been 
the mistress of Hebert of " Pere Duchesne " fame, had, 
during the First Revolution, predicted to Josephine 
de Beauharnais that she should be empress, as some 
gipsy at Grenada predicted a similar elevation to 
Eugenie de Montijo many years afterwards. Mdlle. 
Lenormand had been imprisoned after Hebert's death, 
but the moment Napoleon became first consul she 
was liberated, and frequently sent for to the Tjuxem- 
bourg, which is but a stone's throw from the Rue de 
Tournon. As a matter of course her fame spread, and 
she made a great deal of money during the first 
empire. Ignorant as they were of history, the 
sprightly grisettes of our days had heard of that; their 
great ambition was to get the five francs that would 
open the door of Mdlle. Lenormand's to them, Mdlle. 
Lenormand died about the year '4.3. Jules Janin, 
who lived in the same street, in the house formerly 
inhabited by Theroigne de Mericourt, went to the 
fortune-teller's funeral. The five francs so often 
claimed by the etudiante, so rarely forthcoming from 
the pockets of her admirer, was an important sum 
in those days among the youth of the Quartier-Latin. 
There were few whose allowance exceeded two hundred 
francs per month. A great many had to do with less. 
Those who were in receipt of five hundred francs — 
perhaps not two score among the whole number — were 
scarcely considered as belonging to the fraternity. 



30 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARTS. 

They were called *' ultrapontins," to distinj^uish them 
from those wlio from one year's end to another never 
crossed the river, except perhaps to go to one of the 
theatres, because tliere was not much to be seen at 
the Odeon during the thirties. With Harel's migra- 
tion to the Porte St. Martin, the glory of the second 
Theatre-Franpais had departed, and it was not until 
'41 that Lireux managed to revive some of its 
ancient fame. By that time I had ceased to go to 
the Quartier-Latin, but Lireux was a familiar figure 
at the Cafe Riche and at the divan of the Rue Le 
Peletier ; he dined now and then at the Cafe de Paris. 
So we made it a point to attend every one of his first 
nights, notwithstanding the warnings in verse and in 
prose of every wit of Paris, Theophile Gautier in- 
cluded, who had written : — 

" On a fait Ik dessus mille plaisanteriea, 
Je le sais ; il poussait de I'berbe aux galeries ; 
Trente-six varie'te's de champignons malsains 
Dans les loges tigraient la mousse des coussins." 

It was impossible to say anything very spiteful of 
a theatre which had remained almost empty during 
a gratuitous performance on the king's birthday; 
consequently while I frequented the Quartier-Latin 
the students gave it a wide berth. When they were 
not disporting themselves at Bobino, they were at the 
Chaumiere, and not in the evening only. Notwith- 
standing the enthusiastic and glowing descriptions of it 
that have appeared in later days, the place was simple 
enough. There was a primitive shooting-gallery, a 
skittle-alley, and so forth, and it was open all day. 
The students, after having attended the lectures and 
taken a stroll in the gardens of the Luxembourg, 
repaired to the Chaumiere, where, in fine weather, 



RURAL EXCURSIONS. 31 

they were sure to find their "lady-loves" sitting at 
work demurely under the trees. The refreshments 
were cheap, and one spent one's time until the dinner 
hour, chatting, singing, or strolling about. The stu- 
dents were very clannish, and invariably remained in 
their own sets at the Chauraiere. There were tables 
exclusively occupied by Bourguignons, Angevins, etc. 
In fact, life was altogether much simpler and more 
individual than it became later on. 

One of our great treats was an excursion to the 
establishment of Le Pere Bonvin, where the student 
of to-day would not condescend to sit down, albeit 
that the food he gets in more showy places is not 
half as good and three times as dear. Le Pere 
Bonvin was popularly supposed to be in the country, 
though it was not more than a mile from the 
Barriere Montparnasse. The "country" was repre- 
sented by one or two large but straggling plots of 
erstwhile grazing-land, but at that time dotted with 
chalk-pits, tumble-down, wooden shanties, etc. Such 
trees as the tract of "country" could boast were on 
the demesne of Pere Bonvin, but they evidently felt 
out of their element, and looked the reverse of 
flourishing. The house of Pere Bonvin was scarcely 
distinguished in colour and rickettiness from the 
neighbouring constructions, but it was built of stone, 
and had two stories. The fare was homely and 
genuine, the latter quality being no small recom- 
mendation in an establishment where the prolific 
" bunny " was the usual plat de resistance. For sophis- 
tication, where the rabbit was concerned, was part of 
the suburban traiteur's creed from time immemorial, 
and the fact of the former's head being visible in the 



32 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

dish was no guarantee as to that and the body by 
its side having formed one whole in the flesh. The 
ubiquitous collector of rags and bottles and rabbits' 
skins was always anxiously inquiring for their heads 
also, and the natural conclusion was that, thanks to 
the latter, stewed grimalkin passed muster as gibe- 
lotte. At Pere Bonvin's do such suspicion could be 
entertained for one moment ; the visitor was admitted 
to inspect his dinner while alive. Pere Bonvin was 
essentially an honest man, and a character in his way. 
During the daytime he exercised the functions of 
garde-champetre; at night he became the restaurateur. 
In those days both his sons, Franpois and Leon, were 
still at home, but the former had apparently already 
made up his mind not to follow in his sire's footsteps. 
He was a compositor by trade, but the walls of the 
various rooms showed plainly enough that he did not 
aim at the fame of an Aldine or an Elzevir, but at 
that of a Jan Steen or a Gerard Dow. He has fully 
maintained the promise given then. His pictures 
rank high in the modern French school; there are 
few of his contemporaries who have so thoroughly 
caught the spirit of the Dutch masters. Leon was 
a mere lad, but a good many among the habitues of 
Pere Bonvin predicted a more glorious career for him 
than for his brother. The word " heaven-born musi- 
cian" has been often misapplied; in Leon's instance 
it was fully justified. The predictions, however, were 
not realized. Whether from lack of confidence in his 
own powers, or deterred by the never-ceasing remon- 
strances of his father, Leon, unlike Franpois, did not 
strike out for himself, but continued to assist in the 
business, only turning to his harmonium in his spare 



PfeRE bonvin's, 33 

time, or towards the end of the evening, when all 
distinction between guests and hosts ceased to exist, 
and the whole made a very happy family. He married 
early. I lost sight of him altogether, until about 
'64 I heard of his tragic end. He had committed 
suicide. 



VOL. T. 1> 



34' AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 



CHAPTER II. 

My introduction to the celebrities of the day — The Cafe de Paris — 
The old Prince Demidoff — The old man's maniei — His sons — The 
furniture and attendance at the Cafe de Paris — Its high prices — 
A mot of Alfred de Musset — The cuisine — A rebuke of the 
proprietor to Balzac — A version by one of his predecessors of the 
cause of Vatel's suicide — Some of the habitues — Their intercourse 
with the attendants — Their courteous behaviour towards one 
another — Le vcau h la casserole — What Alfred de Musset, 
Balzac, and Alexandre Dumas thought of it — A silhouette of 
Alfred de Musset — His brother Paul on his election as a member 
of the Academic — A silhouette of Balzac, between sunset and 
sunrise — A curious action against the publisliers of an almanack 
— A full-length portrait of Balzac — His pecuniary embarrass- 
ments — His visions of wealtli and speculations — His constant 
neglect of his duties as a National Guard — His troubles in con- 
sequence thereof — L'Hotel des Haricots — Some of his fellow- 
prisoners — Adam, the composer of " Le Postilion de Lonjumeau " 
— Eugene Sue ; his portrait — His dandyism — The origin of the 
Paris Jockey Club — Eugene Sue becomes a member — The success 
of " Les Mysteres de Paris " — The origin of " Le Juif-Errant " — 
Sue makes himself objectionable to the members of the Jockey 
Club — His name struck off the list — His decline and disappear- 
ance. 

If these notes are ever published, the reader will 
gather from the foregoing that, unlike many English- 
men brought up in Paris, I was allowed from a very 
early age to mix with all sorts and conditions of men. 
As I intend to say as little as possible about myself, 
there is no necessity to reveal the reason of this early 
emancipation from all restraint, which resulted in my 
being on familiar terms with a great many celebrities 
before I had reached my twenty-first year. I had no 
claim on their goodwill beyond my admiration of their 



THE CAF6 DE PARIS. 3S 

talents and the fact of being decently connected. The 
constant companion of my youth was hand and glove 
with some of the highest in the land, and, if the truth 
must be told, with a good many of the lowest; but 
the man who was seated at the table of Lord Palmer- 
ston at the Cafe de Paris at 8 p.m., could afford de 
3*encanailler at 2 a.m. next morning without jeopar- 
dizing his social status. 

The Cafe de Paris in those days was probably not 
•only the best restaurant in Paris, but the best in 
Europe. Compared to the " Freres Provenpaux " 
Vefour and Very, the Cafe de Paris was young ; it 
■was only opened on July 15, 1822, in the vast suite 
of apartments at the corner of the Eue Taitbout and 
Boulevard de Italiens, formerly occupied by Prince 
Demidoff, whose grandson was a prominent figure in 
the society of the Second Empire, and whom I knew 
personally. The grandfather died before I was born, 
or, at any rate, when I was very young; but his 
descendant often told me about him and his two 
sons, Paul and Anatole, both of whom, in addition 
to his vast wealth, inherited a good many of his 
eccentricities. The old man, like many Russian 
grand seigneurs, was never so happy as when he 
<50uld turn his back upon his own country. He 
inhabited Paris and Florence in turns. In the latter 
place he kept in his pay a company of French 
actors, who were lodged in a magnificent mansion 
near to his own, and who enacted comedies, vaude- 
villes, and comic operas. The London playgoer may 
remember a piece in which the celebrated Ravel made 
a great sensation ; it was entitled " Les Folies Dra- 
matiques," and was founded upon the mania of the 



S6 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

old man. For he was old before his time and racked 
with gout, scarcely able to set his feet to the ground. 
He had to be wheeled in a chair to his entertainments 
and theatre, and often fell into a dead faint in the 
middle of the performance or during the dinner. " It 
made no difference to his guests," said his grandson ; 
" they wheeled him out as they had wheeled him in, 
and the play or repast went on as if nothing had 
happened." In fact, it would seem that the prince 
would have been very angry if they had acted other- 
wise, for his motto was that, next to enjoying himself, 
there was nothing so comfortable as to see others do 
so. Faithful to this principle, he always kept some 
one near, whose mission it was to enjoy himself at his 
expense. He was under no obligation whatsoever, 
except to give an account of his amusements, most 
frequently in the dead of the night, when he got 
home, because the old prince suffered from insomnia ; 
he would have given the whole of his vast possessions 
for six hours' unbroken slumber. 

I have an idea that the three generations of these 
Demidoffs were as mad as March hares, though I am 
bound to say, at the same time, that the form this 
madness took hurt no one. Personally, I only knew 
Prince Anatole, the second son of the old man, and 
Paul, the latter's nephew. Paul's father, of the same 
name, died almost immediately after his son's birth. 
He had a mania for travelling, and rarely stayed in 
the same spot for forty-eight hours. He was always 
accompanied by a numerous suite and preceded by 
a couple of couriers, who, nine times out of ten, had 
orders to engage every room in the hotel for him. 
Being very rich and as lavish as he was wealthy, few 



A RUSSIAN GRAND SEIGNEUR. 37 

hotel proprietors scrupled to turn out the whole of 
their guests at his steward's bidding and at a moment's 
notice. Of course, people refused to put up with such 
cavalier treatment; but as remonstrance was of no 
avail, they often brought actions for damages, which 
they invariably gained, and were promptly settled by 
Boniface, who merely added them to Prince Paul's 
bill. The most comical part of the business, however, 
was that the prince as often as not changed his mind 
on arriving at the hotel, and, without as much as 
alighting, continued his journey. The bill was never 
disputed. Another of his mauias was that his wife 
should wash her hands each time she touched a metal 
object. For a while Princess Demidoff humoured 
her husband, but she found this so terribly irksome 
that she at last decided to wear gloves, and continued 
to do so long after her widowhood. 

It must be obvious to the reader that this digression 
has little or no raison d'etre, even in notes that do not 
profess to tell a succinct story ; but my purpose was 
to a certain extent to vindicate the character of 
one of the most charming women of her time, who 
had the misfortune to marry what was undoubtedly 
the most eccentric member of the family. I am 
referring to Princess Anatole DemidofF, nee Bonaparte, 
the daughter of Jerome, and the sister of Plon-Plon. 

To return to the Cafe de Paris and its habitues. 
First of all, the place itself was unlike any other res- 
taurant of that day, even unlike its neighbour and rival, 
the Cafe Hardi, at the corner of the Kue LafiStte, on 
the site of the present Maison d'Or. There was no 
undue display of white and gold ; and " the epicure 
was not constantly reminded that, when in the act of 



88 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

eating, he was not much superior to the rest of 
humanity," as Lord Palmerston put it when com- 
menting upon the welcome absence of mirrors. The 
rooms might have been transformed at a moment's 
notice into private apartments for a very fastidious, 
refined family; for, in addition to the tasteful and 
costly furniture, it was the only establishment of its 
kind in Paris that was carpeted throughout, instead of 
having" merely sanded or even polished floors, as was 
the case even in some of the best Paris restaurants as 
late as five and six years ago (I mean in the seventies) 
— Bignon, the Cafe Foy, and the Lion d'Or, in the 
Rue du Helder, excepted. The attendance was in 
every respect in thorough keeping with the grand air 
of the place, and, albeit that neither of the three or 
four succeeding proprietors made a fortune, or any- 
thing approaching it, was never relaxed. 

On looking over these notes, I am afraid that the 
last paragraph will be intelligible only to a small 
section of my readers, consequently I venture to 
explain. Improved communication has brought to 
Paris during the third quarter of the century a great 
many Englishmen who, not being very familiar either 
with French or with French customs in their better 
aspect, have come to look upon the stir and bustle of 
the ordinary Paris restaurant, upon the somewhat free- 
and-easy behaviour of the waiters, upon their eccen- 
tricities of diction, upon their often successful attempts 
at " swelling " the total of the dinner-bill as so much 
matter of course. The abbreviated nomenclature the 
waiter employs in recapitulating the bill of fare to 
the patron is regarded by him as merely a skilful 
handling of the tongue by the native ; the chances are 



A DISSERTATION ON RESTAURANTS. 39 

ten to one in favour of the patron trying to imitate 
the same in his orders to the attendant, and deriving 
a certain pride from being successful. The stir and 
bustle is attributed to the more lively temperament 
of our neighbours, the free-and-easy behaviour as a wish 
on the waiter's part to smooth the linguistically thorny 
path of the benighted foreigner, the attempt to multiply 
items as an irrepressible manifestation of French greed. 
Wherever these things occur, nowadays, the patron 
may be certain that he is " in the wrong shop ; " but 
in the days of which I treat, the wrong shop was legion, 
especially as far as the foreigner was concerned ; the 
Cafe de Paris and the Cafe Hardi were the notable 
exceptions. Truly, as Alfred de Musset said of the 
former, " you could not open its door for less than 
fifteen francs ; '* in other words, the prices charged 
were very high ; but they were the same for the repre- 
sentatives of the nations that conquered as for those 
who were vanquished at Waterloo. It would be more 
correct to say that the 'personnel of the Cafe, from the 
proprietor and manager downward, were utterly 
oblivious of such distinctions of nationality. Every 
one who honoured the establishment was considered 
by them a grand seigneur^ for whom nothing could be 
too good. I remember one day in '45 or '46 — for M. 
Martin Guepet was at the head of affairs then — Balzac 
announcing the advent of a Eussian friend, and asking 
Guepet to put his best foot forward. " Assuredly, mon- 
sieur, we will do so," was the answer, " because it is 
simply what we are in the habit of doing every day." 
The retort was sharp, but absolutely justified by 
facts. One was never told at the Cafe de Paris that 
this or that dish " could not be recommended," that 



40 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PAKIS. 

*' the fish could not be guaranteed." When the quality 
of the latter was doubtful, it did not make its appear- 
ance on the bill of fare. A propos of fish, there was 
a story current in the Cafe de Paris which may or 
may not have been the invention of one of the many 
clever literary men who foregathered there. It was 
to the effect that one of Guepet's predecessors — Angil- 
bert the younger, I believe — had cast a doubt upon 
the historical accuracy of the facts connected with the 
tragic death of Vatel, the renowned chef of the Prince 
de Conde. According to Angilbert, Vatel did not 
throw himself upon his sword because the fish for 
Louis XIV.'s dinner had not arrived, but because it 
had arrived, been cooked, and was found " not to be 
so fresh as it might be." The elimination of those 
dishes would have disturbed the whole of the economy 
of the menu, and rather than suffer such disgrace 
Vatel made an end of himself. " For you see, mon- 
sieur," Angilbert is supposed to have said, " one can 
very well arrange a perfect dinner without fish, as long 
as one knows beforehand; but one cannot modify a 
service that has been thought out with it, when it fails 
at a moment's notice. As every one of my chefs is a 
treasure, who would not scruple to imitate the sacrifice 
of his famous prototype; and as I do not wish to 
expose him to such a heroic, but inconvenient death, 
we take the certain for the uncertain, consequently 
doubtful fish means no fish." 

Truth or fiction, the story accurately conveys the 
pride of the proprietors in the unsullied gastronomic 
traditions of the establishment, and there is no doubt 
that they were ably seconded in that respect by every 
one around them, even to the clientele itself. Not a 



STILL THE CAFJS DE PARIS. ^ 41 

eingle one of the latter would have called the waiters 
by their names, nor would these have ventured to 
•rehearse the names of the dishes in a kind of slang 
or mutilated French, which is becoming more frequent 
day by day, and which is at best but fit as a means 
of communication between waiters and scullions. 
Least of all, would they have numbered the clients, 
as is done at present. A gentleman sitting at table 
No. 5 was " the gentleman at table No. 5," not merely 
" number five." There was little need for the bellow- 
ing and shouting from one end of the room to the 
other, because the head waiter himself had an eye 
everywhere. The word " addition," which people think 
it good taste in the seventies and eighties to employ 
when asking for their bills, was never heard. People 
did not profess to know the nature of the arithmetical 
operation by which the total of their liabilities was 
arrived at ; they left that to the cashier and the rest 
of the underlings. 

No coal or gas was used in the Cafe de Paris : lamps 
and wood fires upstairs ; charcoal, and only that of a 
peculiar kind, in the kitchens, which miglit have been 
a hundred miles distant, for all we knew, for neither 
the rattling of dishes nor- the smell of preparation 
betrayed their vicinity. A charming, subdued hum 
of voices attested the presence of two or three score 
of human beings attending to the inner man; the 
idiotic giggle, the affected little shrieks of the shop- 
girl or housemaid promoted to be the companion of 
the quasi-man of the world was never heard there. 
The cabinet particuUer was not made a feature of the 
Cafe de Paris, and suppers were out of the question. 
Now and tlien the frank laughter of the younger 



42 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

members of a family party, and that was all. As a 
rule, however, there were few strangers at the Cafe de 
Paris, or what are called chance customers, as distinct 
from periodical ones. But there were half a score of 
tables absolutely sacred from the invasion of no matter 
whom, such as those of the Marquis du Hallays, Lord 
Seymour, the Marquis de St. Cricq, M. Eomieu, Prince 
Rostopchine, Prince Soltikoff, Dr. Veron, etc., etc. 
Lord Palmerston, when in Paris, scarcely ever dined 
anywhere else than at the Cafe de Paris — of course 
T mean when dining at a public establishment. 

Almost every evening there was an interchange of 
dishes or of wines between those tables ; for instance. 
Dr. Veron, of whom I will have a good deal to say 
in these notes, and who was very fond of Musigny 
vintage, rarely missed offering some to the Marquis 
du Hallays, who, in his turn, sent him of the finest 
dishes from his table. For all these men not only pro- 
fessed to eat well, but never to suffer from indigestion. 
Their gastronomy was really an art, but an art aided 
by science which was applied to the simplest dish. 
One of these was veau a la casserole, which figured at 
least three times a week on the bill of fare, and the 
like of which I have never tasted elsewhere. Its 
recuperative qualities were vouched for by such men. 
as Alfred de Musset, Balzac, and Alexandre Dumas. 
The former partook of it whenever it was on the bill ; 
the others often came, after a spell of hard work, to 
recruit their mental and bodily strength, with it, and 
maintained that nothing set them up so effectually. 

These three men were particularly interesting to 
me, and their names will frequently recur in these 
notes. I was very young, and, though perhaps not so 



ALFRED DE MUSSET. 4» 

enthusiastic about literature as I was about painting 
and sculpture, it would indeed have been surprising 
if I had remained indifferent to the fascination ex- 
perienced by almost every one in their society: for 
let me state at once that the great poet, the great 
playwright and the great novelist were even something 
more than men of genius ; they were men of the 
world, and gentlemen who thouglit it worth their 
while to be agreeable companions. Unlike Victor 
Hugo, Lamartine, Chateaubriand, and Eugene Sue, all 
of whom I knew about the same time, they did not 
deem it necessary to stand mentally aloof from ordinary 
mortals. Alfred de Musset and Alexandre Dumas 
were both very handsome, but each in a different way. 
With his tall, slim figure, auburn wavy hair and beard, 
blue eyes, and finely-shaped mouth and nose, De 
Musset gave one the impression of a dandy cavalry 
oflScer in mufti, rather than of a poet: the "Miss- 
Byron" which Preault the sculptor applied to him 
was, perhaps, not altogether undeserved, if judged 
intellectually and physically at first sight. There was 
a feminine grace about all his movements. The " Con- 
fessions d'un Enfant du Siecle," his play, ''Frederic 
and Bernerette," were apt to stir the heart of women 
rather than that of men ; but was it not perhaps 
because the majority of the strong sex cannot be 
stirred except with a pole ? And the poet who was so 
sensitive to everything rough as to leave invariably 
the coppers given to him in exchange, was unlikely 
to take voluntarily to such an unwieldy and clumsy 
instrument to produce his effects.* 

• This reluctance to handle coppers proved a sore grief to his more 
economical and less fastidious brother Paul, who watched like a 



44 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

Throughout these notes, I intend to abstain care- 
fully from literary judgments. I am not competent 
to enter into them ; but, if I were, I should still be 
reluctant to do so in the case of Alfred de Musset, 
who, to my knowledge, never questioned the talent of 
any one. De Musset improved upon better acquaint- 
ance. He was apt to strike one at first as distant and 
supercilious. He was neither the one nor the other, 
simply very reserved, and at the best of times very 
sad, not to say melancholy. It was not affectation, as 
has been said so often ; it was his nature. The charge 
of superciliousness arose from his distressing short- 
sightedness, which compelled him to stare very hard 
at people without the least intention of being offensive. 

I have said that Balzac often came, after a spell of 
•hard work, to recruit his forces with the veau a la 
casserole of the Cafe de Paris; I should have added 
that this was generally in the autumn and winter, for, 
at the end of the spring and during the summer, the 
dinner hour, seven, found Balzac still a prisoner at 
home. Few of his acquaintances and friends ever 
caught sight of him, they were often in total ignor- 
ance of his whereabouts, and such news as reached 
them generally came through Joseph Mery, the poet 

guardian angel over his junior, whom he worshipped. It is on record 
^hat he only said a harsli word to him once in his life, namely, when 
they wanted to make him, Paul, a member of tlie Acade'mie Fran^aise. 
" C'est bien assez d'un immortel dans la famille," he replied to those 
who counselled him to stand. Then, turning to his brother, " Je ne 
comprends pas pourquoi tu t'es fourre dans cette galere, si elle est 
assez grande pour moi, tu dois y gtre joliment a I'e'troit." It is difficult 
to imagine a greater instance of brotherly pride and admiration, 
because Paul de Musset was by no means a nonentity, only from a 
very early age he had always merged his individuality in that of 
Alfred. To some one who once remarked upon this in my hearing, 
he answered, " Que voulez-vous? c'est comme cela : Alfred a eu toujours 
ia moitie' du lit, seulement la moitie' etait toujours prise du milieu." 



WALKS BEFORE SUNRISE. 45^ 

and novelist, the only one who came across him during 
those periods of eclipse. Mery was an inveterate 
gambler, and spent night after night at the card-table. 
He rarely left it before daybreak. His way lay past 
the Cafe de Paris, and for four consecutive mornings^ 
he had met Balzac strolling leisurely up and down^ 
dressed in a pantalon a pieds (trousers not terminating 
below the ankle, but with feet in them like stockings), 
and frock coat with velvet facings. The second 
morning, Mery felt surprised at the coincidence; the 
third, he was puzzled ; the fourth, he could hold out 
no longer, and asked Balzac the reason of these 
nocturnal perambulations round about the same spot. 
Balzac put his hand in his pocket and produced an 
almanack, showing that the sun did not rise before 
3.40. "I am being tracked by the officers of the- 
Tribunal de Commerce, and obliged to hide myself 
during the day ; but at this hour I am free, and can 
take a walk, for as long as the sun is not up they 
cannot arrest me." 

I remember having read that Ouvrard, the great 
army contractor, had done the same for many years ; 
nevertheless, he was arrested one day, — the authorities 
proved that the almanack was wrong, that the sun 
rose ten minutes earlier than was stated therein. Ho^ 
brought an action against the compiler and publishers. 
They had to pay him damages. 

Though literary remuneration was not in those days- 
what it became later on, it was sufficiently large to 
make it difficult to explain the chronic impecuniosity 
of Balzac, though not that of Dumas. They were- 
not gamblers, and had not the terrible fits of idle- 
ness or drinking which left De Musset stranded every 



40 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

now and again. Lamartine suffered from the same 
•complaint, I mean impecuniosity. There is proof 
of Balzac's industry and frugality in two extracts 
from his letters to his mother, dated Angouleme, 
July, 1832, when he himself was thirty-two years old, 
^nd had already written half a dozen masterpieces. 
^'Several bills are due, and, if I cannot find the 
money for them, I will have them protested and let 
-the law take its course. It will give me breathing time, 
and I can settle costs and all afterwards." 

Meanwhile he works eight hours a day at "Louis 
Lambert," one of the best things among his numberless 
best things. His mother sends him a hundred francs, 
and, perhaps with the same pen with which he wrote 
those two marvellous chapters that stand out like 
a couple of priceless rubies from among the mass of 
other jewels, he thanks her and accounts for them. 
" For the copying of the maps, 20 frs. ; for my passport, 
10 frs. I owed 15 frs. for discount on one of my bills, 
and 15 frs. on my fare. 15 frs. for flowers as a birthday 
present. Lost at cards, 10 frs. Postage and servant's 
tips, 15 frs. Total, 100 frs." 

But these ten francs have not been lost at one fell 
swoop ; they represent his bad luck at the gaming table 
during the whole month of his stay at Angouleme, at 
the house of his friend and sister's schoolfellow, 
Madame Zulma Carraud, — hence, something like seven 
sous {3^d.) per day : for which extravagance he makes 
up, on his return to Paris, by plunging into work 
harder than ever. He goes to roost at 7 p.m., " like 
the fowls ; " and he is called at 1 a.m., when he writes 
until 8 a.m. He takes another hour and a half of sleep, 
and, after partaking of a light meal, " gets into his 



HONORS DE BALZAC. 47 

collar " until four in the afternoon. After that, he 
receives a few friends, takes a bath, or goes out, and 
immediately he has swallowed his dinner he " turns 
in," as stated above, " I shall be compelled to lead 
this nigger's life for a few months without stopping, 
in order not to be swamped by those terrible bills that 
are due." 

These extracts are not personal recollections. I have 
inserted them to make good my statement that Balzac 
was neither a gambler, a drunkard, nor an idler. 

" How does he spend his money ? " I asked Mery, 
when he had told us of his fourth meeting with Balzac 
on that very morning. 

" In sops to his imagination, in balloons to the land 
of dreams, which balloons he constructs with his hard- 
won earnings and inflates with the essence of his 
visions, but which nevertheless will not rise three feet 
from the earth," he answered. Then he went on 
explaining : " Balzac is firmly convinced that every 
one of liis characters has had, or has still, its counter- 
part in real life, notably the characters that have risen 
from humble beginnings to great wealth ; and he 
thinks that, having worked out the secret of their 
success on paper, he can. put it in practice. He 
embarks on the most harum-scarum speculations with- 
out the slightest practical knowledge ; as, for instance, 
when he drew the plans for his country-house at the 
Jardies (Ville d'Avray), and insisted upon the builder 
carrying them out in every respect while he was away. 
When the place was finished there was not a single 
staircase. Of course, they had to put them outside, and 
he maintained that it was part of his original plan ; 
but he had never given a thought to the means of 



48 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PAEIS. 

ascent. But here is Monsieur Louis Lurine. If yoi> 
would like an idea of Balzac's impracticability, let him- 
tell you what occurred between Balzac and Kugelmann 
a few months ago." 

Kugelmann was at that time publishing a very 
beautifully illustrated work, entitled, " Les Kues de 
Paris," which Louis Lurine was editing. We were- 
standing outside the Cafe Eiche, and I knew Lurine 
by sight. Mery introduced me to him. After a few 
preliminary remarks, Lurine told us the following 
story. Of course, many years have elapsed since, but 
I think I can trust to my memory in this instance. 

" I had suggested," said Lurine, " that Balzac should 
do the Rue de Eichelieu, and we sent for him. I did 
not want more than half a sheet, so imagine my 
surprise when Balzac named his conditions, viz., five 
thousand francs, something over six hundred francs a 
page of about six hundred words. Kugelmann began 
to yell, I simply smiled ; seeing which, Balzac said, as- 
soberly as possible, ' You'll admit that, in order to 
depict a landscape faithfully, one should study its every 
detail. Well, how would you have me describe the 
Eiue de Richelieu, convey an idea of its commercial 
aspect, unless I visit, one after the other, the various 
establishments it contains ? Suppose I begin by the 
Boulevard des Italiens : I'd be bound to take my 
dejeuner at the Cafe Cardinal, I would have to buy a 
couple of scores at Brandus', a gun at the gunsmith's 
next door, a breastpin at the next shop. Could I do 
less than order a coat at the tailor's, a pair of boots at 
the bootmaker's ? ' 

" I cut him short. * Don't go any further,* I said, 
* or else we'll have you in at " Compagnie des Indes," 



HONORS DE BALZAC. 49 

and, as both lace and Indian shawls have gone up 
in price, we'll be bankrupt before we know where we 
are.' 

" Consequently,'* concluded Lurine, " the thing fell 
through, and we gave the commission to Gu6not- 
Lacointe, who has done the thing very well and has 
written twice the pages Balzac was asked for, without 
buying as much as a pair of gloves." 

When Balzac was not being harassed by the 
officials of the Tribunal de Commerce, he had to 
dodge the authorities of the National Guards, who 
generally had a warrant against him for neglect of 
duty. Unlike his great contemporary Dumas, Balzac 
had an invincible repugnance to play the amateur 
warrior — a repugnance, by-the-by, to which we owe 
one of the most masterly portraits in his wonderful 
gallery, that of the self-satisfied, bumptious, detestable 
bourgeois, who struts about in his uniform ; I am 
alluding to Crevel of " La Cousine Bette." But 
civic discipline could take no cognizance of the 
novelist's likes and dislikes, and, after repeated 
" notices " and " warnings," left at his registered 
domicile, his incarceration was generally decided upon. 
As a rule, this happened about half a dozen times in 
a twelvemonth. 

The next thing was to catch the refractory national 
guard, which was not easy, seeing that, in order to 
avoid an enforced sojourn at the Hotel des Haricots,* 
Balzac not only disappeared from his usual haunts, 
but left his regular domicile, and took an apartment 

^ • The name of the military prison which was originally built on the 
site of the former College Montaign, where the scholars were almost 
exclusively fed on haricot beans. Throughout its removals the 
prison preserved its nickname. — Editob. 

VOL. I. E 



50 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

elsewhere under an assumed name. On one occasion, 
at a small lodgings which he had taken near his 
publisher, Hippolyte Souverain, under the name of 
Madame Dupont, Leon Gozlan, having found him out, 
sent him a letter addressed to " Madame Dupont, nee 
Balzac." 

The sergeant-major of Balzac's company had un- 
doubtedly a grudge against him. He happened to be 
a perfumer, and ever since the publication and success 
of " Cesar Birotteau " the Paris perfumers bore Balzac 
no goodwill. That particular one had sworn by all 
his essences and bottles that he M^ould lay hands on 
the recalcitrant private of his company in the streets, 
for only under such conditions could he arrest him. 
To watch at Balzac's ordinary domicile was of no use, 
and, when he had discovered his temporary residence, 
he had to lure him out of it, because the other was on 
his guard. 

One morning, while the novelist was hard at work, 
his old housekeeper, whom he always took with him, 
came to tell him that there was a large van downstairs 
•with a case addressed to him. " How did they find me 
out here ? " exclaimed Balzac, and despatched the 
dame to gather further particulars. In a few moments 
she returned. The case contained an Etruscan vase 
sent from Italy, but, seeing that it had been knocking 
about for the last three days in every quarter of Paris 
in the carman's efforts to find out the consignee, the 
former was anxious that M. Balzac should verify the 
intact condition of the package before it was unloaded. 
Balzac fell straight into the trap. Giving himself 
no time even to exchange his dressing-gown, or rather 
his monk's frock he was in the hbit of wearing, for 



BALZAC AND THE NATIONAL GUARD. 51 

a coat, or his slippers for a pair of boots, lie rushed 
downstairs, watching with a benign smile the carrier 
handling most delicately the treasure that had come 
to him. 

" Caught at last," said a stentorian voice behind 
him, and dispelling the dream as its owner laid his hand 
on the novelist's shoulder, while a gigantic companion 
planted himself in front of the street door and cut off 
all retreat that way. 

" With a refinement of cruelty, which in the eyes of 
posterity will considerably diminish the glory of his 
victory " — I am quoting Balzac's own words as he 
related the scene to us at the Hotel des Haricots — the 
sergeant-major perfumer would not allow his prisoner 
to change his clothes, and while the van with the 
precious Etruscan vase disappeared in the distance, 
Balzac was hustled into a cab to spend a week in 
durance vile, where on that occasion he had the 
company of Adolphe Adam, the composer of " Le 
Postilion de Lonjumeau." 

However, '* les jours de fete etaient passes," and had 
been for the last five years, ever since the Hotel des 
Haricots had been transferred from the town mansion 
of the De Bazancourts in -the Rue des Fosses-Saint- 
Germain to its then locale near the Orleans railway 
station. There were no more banquets in the refec- 
tory as there had been of yore. Each prisoner had 
his meals in his cell. Joseph M6ry, Nestor Roqueplan, 
and I were admitted as the clock struck two, and had 
to leave exactly an hour afterwards. It was during 
this visit that Balzac enacted the scene for us which 
I have endeavoured to describe above, and reminded 
Mery of the last dinner he had given to Dumas, Jules 



52 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

Sandeau, and several others in the former prison, which 
dinner cost five hundred francs. Eugene Sue, who was 
as unwilling as Balzac to perform his civic duties, 
had had three of his own servants to wait upon him 
there, and some of his plate and silver brought to his 
cell. 

Seeing that the name of the celebrated author of 
" Les Mysteres de Paris " has presented itself in the 
course of these notes, I may just as well have done 
with him, for he forms part of the least agreeable 
of my recollections. He was also an habitue of the 
Cafe de Paris. A great deal has been written about 
him ; what has never been sufficiently insisted upon 
was the inveterate snobUshness of the man. When I 
first knew him, about *42-'43, he was already in the 
zenith of his glory, but I had often heard others 
mention his name before then, and never very favour- 
ably. His dandyism was offensive, mainly because it 
did not sit naturally upon him. It did not spring 
from an innate refinement, but from a love of show, 
although his father, who had been known to some of 
the son's familiars, was a worthy man, a doctor, and, it 
appears, a very good doctor, but somewhat brusque, 
like our own Abernethy ; still much more of a gentle- 
man at heart than the son. He did not like Eugene's 
extravagance, and when the latter, about '24, launched 
out into a cabriolet, he shipped him off on one of the 
king's vessels, as a surgeon; to which fact French 
literature owed the first novels of the future author of 
" Les Mysteres de Paris " and '* Le Juif-Errant." 

But the father was gathered to his fathers, and 
Eugene, who had never taken kindly to a seafaring 
life, returned to Paris, to spend his inheritance and to 



THE ORIGIN OF THE FRENCH JOCKEY CLUB. 53 

resume his old habits, which made one of his 
acquaintances say that " le pere and le fils had hoth 
entered upon a better life." It appears that, though 
somewhat of a poseur from the very beginning, he was 
witty and amusing, and readily found access to the 
circle that frequented the gardens of the Tivoli and 
the Cafe de Paris.* They, in their turn, made him 
a member of the Jockey Club when it was founded, 
which kindness they unanimously regretted, as will 
be seen directly. 

The Tivoli gardens, though utterly forgotten at 
present, was in reality the birthplace of the French 
Jockey Club. About the year 1833 a man named 
Bryon, one of whose descendants keeps, at the hour 
I write, a large livery stables near the Grand Cafe, 
opened a pigeon-shooting gallery in the Tivoli ; the 
pigeons, from what I have heard, mainly consisting of 
quails, larks, and other birds. The pigeons shot at 
were wooden ones, poised up high in the air, but 
motionless, as we still see them at the suburban fairs 
around Paris. Seven years before, Bryon had started 
a " society of amateurs of races," to whom, for a certain 
consideration, he let a movable stand at private meet- 
ings, for there were no others until the Society for the 
Encouragement of breeding French Horses started 
operations in 1834. But the deliberations at first took 
place at Bryon's place in the Tivoli gardens, and 
continued there until, one day, Bryon asked the 
fourteen or fifteen members why they should not have 
a locale of their own ; the result was that they took 

* There were two Tivoli gardens, both in the same neighbourhood, 
the site of the present Quartier de I'Europe. The author is alluding 
to the second, so often mentioned in the novels of Paul de Kock. — 
Kditob. 



54 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

modest quarters in the Rue du Helder, or rather 
amalgamated with a small club located there under the 
name of Le Bouge (The Den) ; for Lord Seymour, the 
Duke de Nemours, Prince Demidoff, and the rest were 
sufficiently clear-sighted to perceive that a Jockey 
Club governed on the English principle was entirely 
out of the question. That was the origin of the 
French Jockey Club, which, after various migrations, 
is, at the time of writing, magnificently housed in one 
of the palatial mansions of the Rue Scribe. As a 
matter of course, some of the fashionable habitues of 
the Cafe de Paris, though not knowing a fetlock from 
a pastern, were but too pleased to join an institution 
which, with the mania for everything English in full 
swing, then conferred as it were upon its members 
a kind of patent of " good form," and, above all, of 
exclusiveness, for which some, even amidst the flesh- 
pots of the celebrated restaurant, longed. Because, 
it must be remembered, though the majority of the 
company at the Caf6 de Paris were very well from 
the point of view of birth and social position, there was 
no possibility of excluding those who could lay no 
claim to such distinctions, provided they had the 
money to pay their reckoning, and most of them had 
more than enough for that. It appears that Eugene 
Sue was not so objectionable as he became afterwards, 
when the wonderful success of his " Mysteres de Paris " 
and the " Juif-Errant" had turned his head; he was 
made an original member of the club. Election on 
the nomination by three sponsors was not necessary 
then. That article was not inserted in the rules until 
two years after the foundation of the Paris Jockey 
Club. 



EUGfeNE SUE. 55 

Of the success attending Sue's two best-known 
works, I can speak from personal experience ; for 
I was old enough to be impressed by it, and foolish 
enough to rank him, on account of it, with Balzac and 
Dumas, perhaps a little higher than the former. After 
the lapse of many years, I can only console myself for 
my infatuation with the thought that thousands, of far 
greater intellectual attainments than mine, were in the 
same boat, for it must not be supposed that the 
furore created by *' Les Mysteres de Paris " was confined 
to one class, and that class the worst educated one. 
While it appeared in serial form in the Debate, one 
had to bespeak the paper several hours beforehand, 
because, unless one subscribed to it, it was impossible 
to get it from the news-vendors. As for the reading- 
rooms where it was supposed to be kept, the pro- 
prietors frankly laughed in your face if you happened 
to ask for it, after you had paid your two sous 
admission. "Monsieur is joking. We have got five 
copies, and we let them out at ten sous each for half 
an hour : that's the time it takes to read M. Sue's 
story. We have one copy here, and if monsieur likes 
to take his turn he may do so, though he will probably 
have to wait for three or four hours." 

At last the guileless demoiselle behind the counter 
found even a more effective way of fleecing her clients. 
The cabinets de lecture altered their fees, and the two 
sous, which until then had conferred the right of stay- 
ing as long as one liked, were transformed into the 
price of admission for one hour. Each reader received 
a ticket on entering, stating the time, and the shrewd 
caissiere made the round every ten minutes. I may 
say without exaggeration that the days on which the 



56 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

instalment of fiction was " crowded out," there was a 
general air of listlessness about Paris. And, after the 
first few weeks, this happened frequently ; for by that 
time the Bertins had become quite as clever as their 
formidable rival, the proprietor and editor of the 
Constitutionnel, the famous Dr. Veron, whom I have 
already mentioned, but of whom I shall have occasion 
to speak again and again, for he was one of the most 
notable characters in the Paris of my early manhood. 
But to return for a moment to " Les Mysteres de Paris " 
and its author. 

The serial, then, was frequently interrupted for one 
or two days, without notice, however, to the readers ; 
and on its resumption there was a nice little paragraph 
to reassure the " grandes dames de par le monde," as 
well as their maids, with regard to the health of M. Sue, 
who was supposed to have been too ill to work. The 
public took all this au grand serieux. They either 
chose to forget, or were ignorant of the fact, that 
a novel of that kind, especially in the early days of 
serial feuilleton, was not delivered to the editor bit by 
bit. Sue, great man as he was, would not have dared 
to inaugurate the system only adopted somewhat later 
by Alexandre Dumas the Elder, namely, that of 
writing " from hand to mouth." These paragraphs 
served a dual purpose — they whetted the lady and 
other readers' interest in the author, and informed the 
indifferent ones how great that interest was. For 
these paragraphs were, or professed to be, — I really 
believe they were, — the courteous replies to hundreds 
of kind inquiries which the author "could not acknow- 
ledge separately for lack of time." 

But this was not all. There was really a good 



A STARTLING SUCCESS o7 

excuse for Eugene Sue "se prenant au serienx," 
seeing that some of the most eminent magistrates 
looked upon him in that light and opened a cor- 
respondence with him, submitting their ideas about 
reforming such criminals as " le maitre d'ecole," and 
praising Prince Rodolph, or rather Eugene Sue under 
that name, for " his laudable efforts in the cause of 
humanity." In reality, Sue was in the position of 
Moli^re's " bourgeois gentilhomme " who spoke prose 
without being aware of it ; for there was not the 
smallest evidence, from his former work, that he 
intended to inaugurate any crusade, either socialistic 
or philanthropic, when he began his "Mysteres de 
Paris." He simply wanted to write a stirring novel. 
But, unlike M. Jourdain, he did not plead ignorance 
of his own good motives when congratulated upon 
them. On the contrary, he gravely and oflBcially replied 
in the Debats without winking. Some of the papers, 
not to be outdone, gravely recounted how whole 
families had been converted from their evil ways by 
the perusal of the novel; how others, after supper, 
had dropped on their knees to pray for their author ; 
how one working man had exclaimed, " You may say 
what you like, it would be a good thing if Providence 
sent many men like M. Sue in this world to take up 
the cudgels of the honest and struggling artisan." 
Thereupon Beranger, who did not like to be forgotten 
in this chorus of praise, paid a ceremonious visit to 
Sue, and between the two they assumed the protector- 
ship of the horny-handed son of toil. 

It must not be supposed that I am joking or 
exaggerating, and that the engoument was confined to 
the lower classes, and to provincial and metropolitan 



58 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

faddists. Such men as M. de Lourdoueix, the editor 
of the Gazette de France, fell into the trap. I have 
pointed out elsewhere that the republicans and social- 
ists of those days were not necessarily godless folk, 
and M. de Lourdoueix fitly concluded that a social- 
istic writer like Sue might become a powerful weapon 
in his hands against the Jesuits. So he went to the 
novelist, and gave him a commission to that effect. 
The latter accepted, and conceived the plot of " The 
Wandering Jew." When it was sketched out, he com- 
municated it to the editor ; but whether that gentle- 
man had reconsidered the matter in the interval, or 
whether he felt frightened at the horribly tragic 
conception with scarcely any relief, he refused the 
novel, unless it was modified to a great extent and 
its blood-curdling episodes softened. The author, 
taking himself au serieux this time as a religious 
reformer, declined to alter a line. Dr. Veron got 
wind of the affair, bought the novel as it stood, and, 
by dint of a system of puffing and advertising which 
would even make a modern American stare, obtained 
a success with it in the Constitutionnel which equalled 
if it did not surpass that of the Debats with the 
" Mysteres." 

" It is very amusing indeed," said George Sand one 
night, " but there are too many animals. I hope we 
shall soon get out of this menagerie." Nevertheless, 
she frankly admitted that she would not like to miss 
an instalment for ever so much. 

Meanwhile Sue posed and posed, not as a writer — 
for, like Horace Walpole, he was almost ashamed of 
the title — but as "a man of the world" who knew 
nothing about literature, but whose wish to benefit 



DE MUSSET AND SUE. 59 

humanity had been greater than his reluctance to 

enter the lists with such men as Balzac and Dumas. 

After his dinner at the Cafe de Paris, he would 

gravely stand on the steps smoking his cigar and 

listen to the conversation with an air of superiority 

without attempting to take part in it. His mind was 

supposed to be far away, devising schemes for the 

social and moral improvement of his fellow-creatures. 

These philanthropic musings did not prevent him 

from paying a great deal of attention — too much 

perhaps — to his personal appearance, for even in those 

days of beaux, bucks, and dandies, of Counts d'Orsay 

and others, men could not help thinking Eugene Sue 

overdressed. He rarely appeared without spurs to his 

boots, and he would no more have done without a new 

pair of white kid gloves every evening than without 

his dinner. Other men, like Nestor de Eoqueplan, 

Alfred de Musset, Major Eraser, all of whose names 

will frequently recur in these notes, did not mind 

having their gloves cleaned, though the process was 

not so perfect as it is now ; Eugene Sue averred that 

the smell of cleaned gloves made him ill. Alfred de 

Musset, who could be very impertinent when he liked, 

but who was withal a very good fellow, said one day : 

" Mais enfin, mon ami, 9a ne sent pas pire que les 

bouges que vous nous depeignez. N'y seriez vous 

jamais alle ? " 

In short, several years before the period of which I 
now treat, Eugene Sue had begun to be looked upon 
coldly at the Jockey Club on account of the " airs he 
gave himself;" and three years before the startling 
success of his work, he had altogether ceased to go 
there, though he was still a member, and remained so 



60 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

nominally until '47, when his name was removed from 
the list in accordance with Rule 5. Owing to momen- 
tary pecuniary embarrassments, he had failed to pay 
his subscription. It may safely be asserted that this 
was merely a pretext to get rid of him, because such 
stringent measures are rarely resorted to at any 
decent club, whether in London or Paris, and least 
of all at the Jockey Clubs there. The fact was, that 
the members did not care for a fellow-member whose 
taste differed so materially from their own, whose 
daily avocations and pursuits had nothing in common 
with theirs ; for though Eugene Sue as early as 1835 
had possessed a race-horse, named Mameluke, which 
managed to come in a capital last at Maisons-sur- 
Seine (afterwards Maisons-Lafitte); though he had 
ridden his haque every day in the Bois, and driven 
his cabriolet every afternoon in the Champs-Elysees, 
the merest observer could easily perceive that all this 
was done for mere show, to use the French expression, 
" pose." As one of the members observed, " M. Sue 
est toujours trop habille, trop carosse, et surtout trop 
eperonne." 

M. Sue was all that, and though the Jockey Club 
at that time was by no means the unobtrusive body 
of men it is to-day, its excesses and eccentricities 
were rarely indulged in public, except perhaps in 
carnival time. A M. de Chateauvillard might take 
it into his head to play a game of billiards on horse- 
back, or M. de Machado might live surrounded by a 
couple of hundred parrots if he liked ; none of these 
fancies attracted the public's notice: M. Sue, by his 
very profession, attracted too much of it, and brought 
a great deal of it into the club itself; hence, when he 



EXPELLED FROM THE JOCKEY CLUB. 61 

raised a violent protest against his expulsion and 
endeavoured to neutralize it by sending in his resig- 
nation, the committee maintained its original decision. 
A few years after this, Eugene Sue disappeared from 
the Paris horizon. 



62 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 



CBAPTEE III. 

Alexandre Dumas pfere — ^Why he made himself particularly agree- 
able to Englishmen — His way of silencing people — The pursuit he 
loved best next to literature — He has the privilege of going down 
to the kitchens of the Cafe de Paris — No one questions his 
literary genius, some question his culinary capacities — Dr. Veron 
and his cordon-bleu — Dr. Veron's reasons for dining out instead 
of at home — Dr. Veron's friend, the philanthropist, who does not 
go to the theatre because he objects to be hurried with his 
emotions — Dr. Veron, instigated by his cook, accuses Dumas of 
having coUaborateurs in preparing his dishes as he was known 
to have coUaborateurs in his literary work — Dumas's wrath — He 
invites us to a dinner which shall be wholly cooked by him in 
the presence of a delegate to be chosen by the guests — The lot 
falls upon me — Dr. Veron and Sophie make the amende honor- 
able — A dinner-party at Veron's — A curious law-suit in con- 
nection with Weber's "Freyschutz" — ^Nestor Eoqueplan, who 
became the successor of the defendant in the case, suggests a 
way out of it — Leon Pillet virtually adopts it and wins the day — 
A similar plan adopted years before by a fireman on duty at the 
opera, on being tried by court-martial for having fallen asleep 
during the performance of " Guido et Genevra " — Firemen not 
bad judges of plays and operas — They were often consulted both 
by Meyerbeer and Dumas — Dumas at work — How he idled his 
time away — Dumas causes the traffic receipts of the Chemin de 
Fer de I'Ouest to swell during his three years' residence at Saint- 
Germain — M. de Montalivet advises Louis-Philippe to invite 
Dumas to Versailles, to see what his presence will do for the 
royal city — Louis-Philippe does not act upon the advice — The 
relations between Dumas and the d'Orleans family — After the 
Revolution of '48, Dumas becomes a candidate for parliament — 
The story of his canvass and his address to the electors at Joigny 
— Dumas' utter indifference to money matters — He casts his 
burdens upon others — Dumas and his creditors — Writs and dis- 
traints — How they are dealt with — Dumas' indiscrimina:>e 
generosity — A dozen houses full of new furniture in half as 
many years — Dumas' frugality at table — Literary remuneration 
— Dumas and his son — " Leave me a hundred francs." 

Among my most pleasant recollections of those days 
are those of Alexandre Dumas. To quote his own words, 



DUMAS THE ELDER, 63 

" whenever he met an Englishman he considered it his 
particular duty to make himself agreeable to him, as 
part of the debt he owed to Shakespeare and Walter 
Scott." I doubt whether Dumas ever made himself 
deliberately disagreeable to any one ; even when 
provoked, he managed to disarm his adversary with 
an epigram, rather than wound him. One evening, 
a professor at one of the provincial universities had 
been dining at the Cafe de Paris, as the guest of Roger 
de Beauvoir. He had a magnificent cameo breast-pin. 
It elicited the admiration of every one, and notably 
that of Dumas. He said at once that it was a portrait 
of Julius Caesar. 

" Are you an archaeologist ? " asked the professor. 

" I," replied Dumas, " I am absolutely nothing." 

" Still," insisted the visitor, " you perceived at once 
that it was a portrait of Julius Caesar." 

" That is not very wonderful. C«sar is essentially a 
Roman type ; and, besides, I know Caesar as well as 
most people, and perhaps better." 

To tell a professor of history — especially a pro- 
vincial one — that one knows Ca3sar as well as most 
people and perhaps better, is naturally to provoke 
the question, " In what capacity ? " As a matter of 
course the question followed immediately. 

" In the capacity of Caesar's historian," said Dumas, 
imperturbably. 

We were getting interested, because we foresaw 
that the professor would, in a few minutes, get the 
worst of it. Dumas' eyes were twinkling with 
mischief. 

" You have written a history of Caesar ? " asked the 
learned man. 



64 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

« Yes ; why not ? " 

" Well, you won't mind my being frank with yoti : 
it is because it has never been mentioned in the world 
of savans." 

" The world of savans never mentions me." 

" Still, a history of Caesar ought to make somewhat 
of a sensation." 

" Mine has not made any. People read it, and that 
was all. It is the books which it is impossible to read 
that make a sensation : they are like the dinners one 
cannot digest ; the dinners oue digests are not as much 
as thought of next morning." That was Dumas' way 
of putting a would-be impertinent opponent hors de 
combat, and his repartees were frequently drawn from 
the pursuit he loved as well, if not better than 
literature, namely, cooking. It may sound exaggerated, 
but I verily believe that Dumas took a greater pride 
in concocting a stew than in constructing a novel or 
a play. Yery often, in the middle of the dinner, he 
would put down his knife and fork. " Ca, c'est rude- 
ment bon : il faut que je m'en procure la recette." 
And Guepet was sent for to authorize Dumas to 
descend to the lower regions and have a consultation 
with his chefs. He was the only one of the hahitues 
who had ever been in the kitchens of the Cafe de 
Paris. As a rule these excursions were followed by an 
invitation to dine at Damas' two or three days hence, 
when tlie knowledge freshly acquired would be put 
into practice. 

There were few of us who questioned Dumas* literary 
genius; there were many who suspected his culinary 
abilities, and notably among them. Dr. Yeron. The 
germs of this unbelief had been sown in the doctor's 



DR. V^RON. 65 

mind by his own cordon-bleu, Sophie. The erstwhile 
director of the opera lived, at that time, in a beautiful 
apartment on the first floor of a nice house in the Rue 
Taitbout, at the corner of which the Cafe de Paris 
was situated. Sophie had virtually a sinecure of it, 
because, with the exception of a dinner-party now and 
then, her master, who was a bachelor, took his dinners 
at the restaurant. And with regard to the dejeuner, 
there was not much chance of her displaying her 
talents, because the man, who was reputed to be a very 
Apicius, was frugality itself. His reasons for dining 
out instead of at home were perfectly logical, though 
they sounded paradoxical. One day, when I was 
remarking upon the seemingly strange habit of dining 
out, when he was paying " a perfect treasure " at home, 
he gave me these reasons. " My dear friend, depend 
upon it that it is man's stomach which found the 
aphorism, * Qui va jpiano va sanOy qui va sano va 
lontano.' In your own home the soup is on the table 
at a certain hour, the roast is taken off the jack, the 
dessert is spread out on the sideboard. Your servants, 
in order to get more time over their raeals, hurry you 
up ; they do not serve you, they gorge you. At the 
restaurant, on the contrary, *they are never in a hurry, 
they let you wait. And, besides, I always tell the 
waiters not to mind me ; that I like being kept a long 
while — that is one of the reasons why I come here. 

•* Another thing, at the restaurant the door is opened 
at every moment and something happens. A friend, a 
chum, or a mere acquaintance comes in ; one chats and 
laughs : all this aids digestion. A man ought not to 
be like a boa-constrictor, he ought not to make digestion 
a business apart. He ought to dine and to digest at 

VOL. I. p 



66 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

the same time, and nothing aids this dual function like 
good conversation. Perhaps the servant of Madame 
de Maintenon, when the latter was still Madame 
Scarron, was a greater philosopher than we suspect 
when he whispered to his mistress, * Madame, the 
roast has run short ; give them another story.' 

"I knew a philanthropist," wound up Dr. Veron, 
*' who objected as much to be hurried over his emotions 
as I object to be hurried over my meals. For that 
reason he never went to the theatre. When he wanted 
an emotional fillip, he wandered about the streets 
until he met some poor wretch evidently hungry and 
out of elbows. He took him to the nearest wine-shop, 
gave him something to eat and to drink, sat himself 
opposite to his guest, and told him to recount his 
misfortunes. ' But take your time over it. I am 
not in a hurry,' he recommended. The poor outcast 
began his tale ; my friend listened attentively until he 
was thoroughly moved. If the man's story was very 
sad, he gave him a franc or two ; if it was positively 
heartrending and made him cry, he gave him a five- 
franc piece ; after which, he came to see me, saying, 
* I have thoroughly enjoyed myself, and made the 
intervals between each sensational episode last as long 
as I liked, and, what is more, it has just cost me seven 
francs, the price of a stall at the theatre.' " 

To return to Dr. Veron's scepticism with regard to 
Dumas' culinary accomplishments, and how he was 
converted. Dumas, it appears, had got the recipe 
for stewing carp from a German lady, and, being at 
that moment on very friendly terms with Dr. Veron, 
which was not always the case, had invited him and 
several others to come and taste the results of his 



DUMAS AS A COOK. 67 

experiments. The dish was simply splendid, and for 
days and days Veron, who was really a frugal eater, 
could talk of nothing else to his cook. 

" Where did you taste it ? " said Sophie, getting 
somewhat jealous of this praise of others ; " at the 
Cafe de Paris?" 

" No, at Monsieur Dumas'," was the answer. 

" Well, then, I'll go to Monsieur Dumas' cook, and 
get the recipe." 

" That's of no use," objected her master. "Monsieur 
Dumas prepared the dish himself." 

"Well, then, I'll go to Monsieur Dumas himself 
and ask him to give me the recipe." 

Sophie was as good as her word, and walked herself 
off to the Chaussee d'Antin. The great novelist felt 
flattered, and gave her every possible information, but 
somehow the dish was not like that her master had 
so much enjoyed at his friend's. Then Sophie grew 
morose, and began to throw out hints about the great 
man's borrowing other people's feathers in his culinary 
pursuits, just as he did in his literary ones. For 
Sophie was not altogether illiterate, and the papers at 
that time were frequently charging Dumas with keep- 
ing his collaborateurs too much in the background and 
himself too much in front. Dumas had never much 
•difficulty in meeting such accusations, but Sophie had 
unconsciously hit upon the tactics of the clever solicitor 
who recommended the barrister to abuse the plaintiff, 
the defendant's case being bad, and she put it into 
practice. "C'est avec sa carpe comme avec ses romans^, 
les autres les font et il y met son nom," she said one 
day. "Je I'ai bien vu, c'est un grand diable de 
vaniteux." 



68 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

Now, there was no doubt about it, to those who did 
not know him very well, Dumas was "un grand 
diable de vaniteux ; " and the worthy doctor sat ponder- 
ing his cook's remarks until he himself felt inclined 
to think that Dumas had a clever chef in the back- 
ground, upon whose victories he plumed himself. 
Meanwhile Dumas had been out of town for more than 
a month, bat a day or so after his return he made 
his appearance at the Cafe de Paris, and, as a matter 
of course, inquired after the result of Sophie's efforts. 
The doctor was reticent at first, not caring to acknow- 
ledge Sophie's failure. He had, however, made the 
matter public, alleging, at the same time, Sophie's 
suspicions as to Dumas' hidden collaborateur, and one 
of the company was ill advised enough to let the 
cat out of the bag. During the many years of my 
acquaintance with Dumas, I have never seen him in 
such a rage as then. But he toned down in a very 
few minutes. " II n'y a qu'une reponse a une accusa- 
tion pareille," he said in a grandiloquent tone, which, 
however, had the most comical effect, seeing how 
trifling the matter was in reality — " il n'y qu'une 
reponse ; vous viendrez diner avec moi domain, vous- 
choissirez un delegue qui viendra a partir de trois 
heures me voir preparer raon diner." I was the 
youngest, the choice fell upon me. That is how my 
life-long friendship with Dumas began. At threo 
o'clock next day I was at the Chaussee d'Antin, and 
was taken by the servant into the kitchen, where the 
great novelist stood surrounded by his utensils, some 
of silver, and all of them glistening like silver. With 
the exception of a soupe aux choux, at which, by his 
own confession, he had been at work since the morn- 



A CHALLENGE. 6D 

ing, all the ingredients for the dinner were in their 
natural state — of course, washed and peeled, but 
nothing more. He was assisted by his own cook and 
a kitchen-maid, but he himself, with his sleeves rolled 
up to the elbows, a large apron round his waist, and 
bare chest, conducted the operations. I do not think I 
have ever seen anything more entertaining, though in 
the course of these notes 1 shall have to mention fre- 
quent vagaries on the part of great men. I came to the 
conclusion that when writers insisted upon the culinary 
challenges of Careme, Duglere, and Casimir they 
were not indulging in mere metaphor. 

At half-past six the guests began to arrive ; at a 
quarter to seven Dumas retired to his dressing-room ; 
at seven punctually the servant announced that 
" monsieur 6tait servi." The dinner consisted of the 
aforenamed soupe aux choux, the carp that had led 
to the invitation, a ragout de mouton a la Hongroise, 
roti de faisans, and a salad e Japonaise. The sweets 
and ices had been sent by the patissier. I never 
dined like that before or after, not even a week later, 
when Dr. Veron and Sophie made the amende 
honoralle in the Kue Taitbout. 

I have spent many delightful evenings with all 
these men ; I do not remember having spent a more 
delightful one than on the latter occasion. Every 
one was in the best of humours ; the dinner was very 
fine, albeit that, course for course, it did not come 
up to Dumas' ; and, moreover, during the week that 
had elapsed between the two entertainments, one of Dr. 
Veron's successors at the opera, L^on Pillet, had been 
served with the most ludicrous citation that was ever 
entered on the rolls of any tribunal. For nearly nine- 



70 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

teen years before that period there had been several 
attempts to mount Weber's " Freyschutz," all of which 
had come to nought. There had been an adaptation 
by Castil-Blaze, under the title of " Robin des Bois," 
and several others ; but until '41, Weber's work, even 
in a mutilated state, was not known to the French 
opera-goer. At that time, however, M. Emilien Pac- 
cini made a very good translation; Hector Berlioz 
was commissioned to write the recitatives, for it must 
be remembered that Weber's opera contains dialogue, 
and that dialogue is not admissible in grand opera. 
Berlioz acquitted himself with a taste and reverence 
for the composer's original scheme that did great credit 
to both ; he sought his themes in Weber's work itself, 
notably in the " Invitation a la Valse : " but notwith- 
standing all this, the " Freyschutz " was miserably 
amputated in the performance lest it should " play "^ 
longer than midnight, though a ballet was added 
rather than deprive the public of its so-called due. 
Neither Paccini nor Berlioz had set foot in the 
opera-house since their objections to such a course 
had been overruled, and they made it known to the 
world at large that no blame attached to them ; 
nevertheless, this quasi " Freyschutz " met with a 
certain amount of success. M. Pillet was rubbing his 
hands with glee at his own cleverness, until a Nemesis 
came in the shape of a visitor from the Fatherland, 
who took the conceit out of the director with one fell 
blow, and, what was worse still, with a perfectly legal 
one. 

The visitor was no less a personage than Count 
Tyszkiewicz, one of the best musical critics of the 
time and the editor of the foremost musical publica- 



A MUSICAL LAW-SUIT. 71 

tion in the world ; namely, Die Musikalische Zeitung, 
of Leipzig. The count, having been attracted by the 
announcement of the opera on the bills, was naturally 
anxious to hear how French artists would acquit 
themselves of a work particularly German, and, having 
secured a stall, anticipated an enjoyable evening. But 
alack and alas ! in a very little while his indignation at 
the liberties taken with the text and the score by the 
singers, musicians, and conductor got the upper hand, 
and he rushed ofif to the commissary of police on duty 
at the theatre to claim the execution of Weber's 
opera in its integrity, as promised on the bills, or the 
restitution of his money. Failing to get satisfaction 
either way, he required the commissary to draw up 
a verbatim report of his objections and his claim, 
determined to bring an action. Next morning, he 
sent a lithographed account of the transaction to all 
the papers, requesting its insertion, with which request 
not a single one complied. Finding himself baffled at 
every turn, he engaged lawyer and counsel and began 
proceedings. 

It was at that stage of the affair that the dinner at 
Dr. Veron's took place. As a matter of course, the 
coming lawsuit gave rise to a great deal of chaff on 
the part of the guests, although the victim of this 
badinage and defendant in the suit was not there. It 
was his successor who took up the cudgels and pre- 
dicted the plaintiff's discomfiture. " The counsel," 
said Koqueplan, " ought to be instructed to invite the 
president and assessors to come and hear the work 
before they deliver judgment : if they like it person- 
ally, they will not decide against Pillet ; if they don't, 
they'll fall asleep and be ashamed to own it alter- 



72 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

wards. But should they give a verdict for the plaintiflf, 
Pillet ought to appeal on a question of incompetence ; 
a person with the name of Tyszkiewicz has no right to 
plead in the interest of harmony." * 

Among such a company as that gathered round 
Dr. Yeron's table, a single sentence frequently led to 
a host of recollections. Scarcely had Eoqueplan's 
suggestion to invite the president and assessors of the 
court to the performance of the " Freyschutz " been 
broached than our host chimed in : '* I can tell you a 
story where the expedient you recommend was really 
resorted to, though it did not emanate from half as 
clever a man as you, Koqueplan. In fact, it was only 
a pompier that hit upon it to get out of a terrible 
scrape. He was going to be brought before a court- 
martial for neglect of duty. It happened under the 
management of my immediate successor, Duponchel, at 
the fourth or fifth performance of Halevy's ' Guido et 
Genevra.' Some of the scenery caught fire, and, but 
for Duponchel's presence of mind, there would have 
been a panic and a horrible catastrophe. Nevertheless, 
the cause of the accident had to be ascertained, and it 
was found that the brigadier fireman posted at the 
spot where the mischief began had been asleep. He 
frankly admitted his fault, at the same time pleading 
extenuating circumstances. ' What do you mean ? ' 
asked the captain, charged with the report. * Such a 
thing has never happened to me before, mon capitaine, 
but it is impossible for any one to keep his eyes open 

* The latter plea was, in fact, advanced by Fillet's counsel in the 
first instance, on Eoqueplan's advice, and perhaps influenced the 
court ; for though it gave a verdict for the plaintiff, it was only for 
seven francs (the price of the stall), and costs. The verdict waa 
based upon the " consideration " that the defendant had not carried 
out altogether the promise set forth on the programme. 



A MUSICAL TEST. 73 

Oiuring that act. You need not take my word, but 
perhaps you will try the effect yourself.* The captain 
did try ; the captain sat for two or three minutes after 
the rise of the curtain, then he was seen to leave his 
place hurriedly. The brigadier and his men were 
•severely reprimanded, but they were not tried. Out 
-of respect for Halevy the matter was kept a secret. 

" I may add," said our host, " that the pompier is by 
no means a bad judge of things theatrical, seeing that 
he is rarely away from the stage for more than three 
or four nights at a time. I remember perfectly well 
-that, during the rehearsals of 'Robert le Diable,* 
Meyerbeer often had a chat with them. Curiously 
enough he now and then made little alterations after 
these conversations. I am not insinuating that the 
great composer acted upon their suggestions, but I 
should not at all wonder if he had done so." 

Alexandre Dumas, in whose honour, it will be 
Temembered, the dinner was given, had an excellent 
memory, and some years afterwards profited by the 
experiment. I tell the story as it was given to us 
subsequently by his son. Only a few friends and 
Alexandre the younger were present at the first of the 
final rehearsals of " The Three Musketeers," at the 
Ambigu Comique. They were not dress rehearsals 
proper, because there were no costumes, and the 
scenery merely consisted of a cloth and some wings. 
Behind one of the latter they had noticed, during the 
first six tableaux, the shining helmet of a fireman who 
was listening very attentively. The author had noticed 
him too. About the middle of the seventh tableau 
the helmet suddenly vanished, and the father remarked 
upon it to his son. When the act was finished, Dumaa 



74 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

went in search of the pompier, who did not knovr 
him. " What made you go away ? " he asked him. 
" Because it did not amuse me half as much as the 
others," was the answer. " That was enough for my 
father," said the younger Dumas. " There and then ha 
went to Beraud's room, took off his coat, waistcoat, and 
braces, unfastened the collar of his shirt — it was the 
only way he could work — and sent for the prompt 
copy of the seventh tableau, which he tore up and 
flung into the fire, to the consternation of Beraud. 
* What are you doing ? ' he exclaimed. * You see 
what I am doing ; I am destroying the seventh tableau. 
It does not amuse the pompier. 1 know what it wants.* 
And an hour and a half later, at the termination of 
the rehearsal, the actors were given a fresh seventh 
tableau to study." 

I have come back by a roundabout way to the author 
of " Monte-Christo," because, tout chemin avec moi 
mene a Dumas ; I repeat, he constitutes one of the 
happiest of my recollections. After the lapse of many 
years, I willingly admit that I would liave cheerfully 
foregone the acquaintance of all the other celebrities, 
perhaps David d'Angers excepted, for that of Dumas 
pere. 

After the lapse of many years, the elder Dumas 
still represents to me all the good qualities of the 
Trench nation and few of their bad ones. It was 
absolutely impossible to be dull in his society, but it 
must not be thought that these contagious animal 
spirits only showed themselves periodically or when in 
company. It was what the French have so aptly 
termed "la joie de vivre," albeit that they rarely 
associate the phrase with any one not in the spring 



DUMAS AT REST. 75 

of life. With Dumas it was clironic until a very few 
months before his death. I remember calling upon 
him shortly after the dinner of which I spoke just 
DOW. He had taken up his quarters at Saint-Germain, 
and come to Paris only for a few days. "Is monsieur 
at home ? " I said to the servant. 

"He is in his study, monsieur," was the answer. 
" Monsieur can go in," 

At that moment I heard a loud burst of laughter 
from the inner apartment, so I said, " I would sooner 
wait until monsieur's visitors are gone." 

** Monsieur has no visitors ; he is working," remai'ked 
the servant with a smile. "Monsieur Dumas often 
laughs like this at his work." 

It was true enough, the novelist was alone, or rather 
in company with one of his characters, at whose sallies 
he was simply roaring. 

Work, in fact, was a pleasure to him, like every- 
thing else he undertook. One day he had been out 
shooting, between Villers-Cotterets and Compiegne, 
since six in the morning, and had killed twenty-nine 
birds. " I am going to make up the score and a half, 
and then I'll have a sleep, for I feel tired," he said. 
When he had killed his thirtieth partridge he slowly 
walked back to the farm, where liis son and friends 
found him about four hours later, toasting himself 
before the fire, his feet on the andirons, and twirling 
his thumbs. 

" What are you sitting tliere for like that ? " asked 
his son. 

" Can't you see ? I am resting." 

" Did you get your sleep ? " 

" No, I didn't ; it's impossible to sleep here. Tiiere- 



76 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

is an infernal noise ; what with the sheep, the cows, the 
pigs, and the rest, there is no chance of getting a 
wink." 

" So you have been sitting here for the last four 
hours, twirling your thumbs ? " 

" No, I have been writing a piece in one act." The 
piece in question was "Romulus," which he gave to 
Eegnier to have it read at the Comedie-Franfaise, 
under a pseudonym, and as the work of a young 
unknown author. It was accepted without a dis- 
sentient vote. 

It is a well-known fact, vouched for by the accounts 
•of the Compagnie du Chemin de Fer de I'Ouest, that 
during the three years Dumas lived at Saint-Germain, 
the receipts increased by twenty thousand francs per 
annum. Of course, it has been objected that railways 
being then in their infancy the increment would have 
been just the same without Dumas' presence in the royal 
residence, but, curiously enough, from the day he left, 
the passenger traffic fell to its previous state. Dumas 
had simply galvanized the sleepy old town into life, 
lie had bought the theatre where the artists of the 
Comedie-Franpaise, previous to supping with him, 
came to play "Mademoiselle de Belle-Isle" or the 
"Demoiselles de Saint-Cyr," for the benefit of the 
poor. On such occasions, there was not a room to be 
had at the hotels. After supper, there were twice a 
week fireworks on the Terrace, which could be seen 
from Paris and from Versailles, to the great astonish- 
ment of Louis-Philippe, who really attributed the 
change to the beneficence of his reign, although he 
failed to account for the continued dulness of the 
latter royal borough, where he himself resided, and 



DUMAS AS A CENTRE OF ATTRACTION. 77 

whose picture-galleries he had restored and thrown 
open to the public, besides having the great fountains 
to play every first Sunday of the month. 

One day the king sent for M. de Montalivet, and 
told him that, though gratified at the revived 
prosperity of Saint-Germain, he would like to see a 
little more gaiety at Versailles. 

" You really mean it, sire ? " asked the minister. 

" Not only do I mean it, but I confess to you that 
it would give me great pleasure." 

"Well, sire, Alexandre Dumas has lately been 
sentenced to a fortnight's imprisonment for neglecting 
his duty in the National Guards : make an order for 
him to spend that fortnight in Versailles, and I 
guarantee your Majesty that Versailles will be lively 
enough." 

Louis-Philippe did not act upon the suggestion. 
The only member of the d'Orleans' family who was 
truly sympathetic to Dumas was the king's eldest son, 
whose untimely death shortly afterwards affected the 
great novelist very much, albeit that he frankly 
acknowledged to regretting the man and not the 
future ruler ; for while loudly professing his re- 
publican creed, he never pretended to overlook liia 
indebtedness to Louis-Philippe, when Due d'Orleans,. 
for having befriended him ; nay, I am inclined to 
think that Dumas' gratitude was far greater than the 
case warranted. When, in 1847, the fancy took him to 
go into parliament, he naturally turned to the borough 
he had benefited so much by his stay there — Saint- 
Germain, and Saint-Germain denied him. They 
thought him too immoral. Dumas waited patiently 
for another opportunity, which did not come until the 



78 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PAEIS. 

following year, when Louis-Philippe had abdicated. 
Addressing a meeting of electors at Joigny, he was 
challenged by a M. de Bonneliere to reconcile his title 
of republican with his title of Marquis de la Pailleterie, 
and the fact of his having been a secretary to the Due 
d'Orleans, although he had never occupied so im- 
portant a position in the Due d'Orleans' household. 
His reply was simply scathing, and I give it in full 
as the papers of the day reproduced it. " No doubt," 
he said, in an offhand, bantering way, "I was formerly 
called the Marquis de la Pailleterie, which was ray 
father's name, and of which I was very proud, being 
unable then to claim a glorious one of my own make. 
But at present, when I am somebody, I call myself 
Alexandre Dumas and nothing more ; and everybody 
knows me, you among the rest — you, you absolute 
nobody, who have merely come to be able to boast 
to-morrow, after insulting me to-night, that you have 
known the great Dumas. If such was your ambition, 
you might have satisfied it without failing in the 
<jommon courtesies of a gentleman." 

When the applause which the reply provoked had 
subsided, Dumas went on : " There is also no doubt 
about my having been a secretary to the Due d'Orleans, 
and that I have received all kinds of favours from his 
family. If you, citizen, are ignorant of the meaning 
of the term, 'the memory of the heart,' allow me 
at least to proclaim here in my loudest voice, that I 
am not, and that I entertain towards this royal family 
all the devotion an honourable man can feel." 

It is, however, not my intention to sketch Alexandre 
Dumas as a politician, for which career I considered 
him singularly unfit; but the speech from which I 



DUMAS AS A POLITICIAN. 79 

extracted the foregoing contains a few lines which, 
more tlian thirty-five years after they were spoken, 
cannot fail to strike the reader with his marvellous 
foresight. " Geographically," he said, commenting 
upon the political state of Europe, " Prussia has 
the form of a serpent, and, like it, she seems to be 
asleep, and to gather her strength in order to swallow 
everything around her — Denmark, Holland, Belgium, 
and, when she shall have swallowed all that, you will 
find that Austria will be swallowed in its turn, and 
perhaps, alas, France also." 

The last words, as may be imagined, provoked a 
storm of hisses; nevertheless, he kept his audience 
spellbound until midnight. 

A parliamentary candidate, however eloquent, who 
fiings his constituents into the river when they happen 
to annoy him, must have been a novelty even in 
those days, and that is what Dumas did to two 
brawlers after said meeting, just to show them that 
his " aristocratic grip " was worth their " plebeian 
one." 

A few years later, at a dinner at Dumas', in the Rue 
dAmsterdam, I met a Monsieur du ChaiFault who had 
been an eye-witness of this,' as well as of other scenes 
<luring that memorable day. Until the morning of 
that day, M. du Chaffault had never set eyes on the 
great novelist; in the evening, he was his friend for life. 
It only proves once more the irresistible fascination 
Dumas exercised over every one with whom he came 
in contact, because the beginning of that friendship 
cost M. du Chaffault six hundred francs, the expenses 
of that part of the electoral campaign. The story, as 
told by M. du Chafifault the following afternoon in the 



80 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

Cafe Eiche to Dr. Veron, myself, and Joseph Mery, ia 
too good to be missed. I give it as near as I can 
remember. 

"I was about twenty-four then, with nothing par- 
ticular to do, and a moderate private income. They 
were painting and whitewashing my place, a few milea 
away from Sens, and I had taken up my quarters in 
the principal hotel in the town. The first elections 
under the second republic were being held. There was 
a good deal of excitement everywhere, and I liked it, 
though not taking the slightest interest in politics. 
This was in May, 1848 ; and about six, one morning 
while I was still in bed, the door of my room was sud- 
denly opened without knocking, and what seemed to- 
me a big black monster stood before me. There was 
a pistol lying by the side of me, and I was reaching 
towards it, when he spoke. 'Don't alarm yourself,* 
he said; *I am Alexandre Dumas. They told me 
you were a good fellow, and I have come to ask you 
a service.' 

" I had never seen Dumas in the flesh, only a portrait 
of him, but I recognized him immediately. * You have 
often afforded me a great deal of amusement, but I 
confess you frightened me,' I said. * What, in Heaven's- 
name, do you want at this unholy hour ? ' 

" ' I have slept here,' was the answer. * I landed here 
at midnight, and am starting for Joigny by-and-by, to 
attend a political meeting. I am putting up as a 
member for your department.' 

" I jumped out of bed at once, Dumas handed me 
my trousers, and, when I got as far as my boots, he 
says, * Oh, while I think of it, I have come to ask 
you for a pair of boots ; in stepping into the carriage,. 



DUMAS' ELECTION TACTICS. 81 

one of mine has come to utter grief, and there is no 
shop open.' 

" As you may see for yourselves, I am by no means 
a giant, and Dumas is one. I pointed this out to 
him, but he did not even answer me. He had caught 
sight of three or four pair of boots under the dress- 
ing-table, and, in the twinkling of an eye, chose the 
best pair and pulled them on, leaving me his old 
ones, absolutely worn out, but which I have preserved 
in my library at home. I always show them to my 
visitors as the thousand and first volume of Alexandre 
Dumas.* 

" By the time he got the boots on we were friends, 
as if we had known one another for years; as for 
Dumas, he was * theeing ' and * thouing * me as if 
we had been at school together. 

" * You are going to Joigny ? ' I said ; * I know a 
good many people there.' 

" * All the better, for I am going to take you along 
with me.* 

*' Having to go no further than Joigny, and being 
taken thither in the conveyance of my newly-made 
friend, I did not think it necessary to provide myself 
with an extra supply of funds, the more that I had 
between five and six hundred francs in my pocket. In 
a short time we were on our road, and the first stage 
of three hours seemed to me as many minutes. When- 
ever we passed a country seat, out came a lot of 
anecdotes and legends connected with its owners, 
interlarded with quaint fancies and epigrams. At 
that first change of horses, Dumas' secretary paid. At 
he second, Villevailles, Dumas says, *Have you got 

* Alexandre Domas had a marvellously small foot.— Edito& 
VOL. I. G 



82 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

twenty francs change ? * Without a moment's hesita- 
tion, I took out my purse, paid the money, and put 
down in my pocket-book, * Alexandre Dumas, twenty 
francs.* I might have saved myself the trouble, as I 
found out in a very short time, for the moment he 
got out at Joigny, he rushed off in a hurry without 
troubling about anything. The postilion turned to 
me for his money, and I paid, and put down once 
more, * Alexandre Dumas, thirty francs.' 

" The first meeting was fixed for four, at the theatre. 
They applied to me for the hire of the building, for the 
gas, I went on paying, but I no longer put down the 
items, saying to myself, * When my six hundred francs 
are gone, my little excursion will be at an end, and 
I'll go back to Sens.' The little excursion did not 
extend to more than one day, seeing that I had to 
settle the dinner bill at the Due de Bourgogne, 
Dumas having invited every one he met on his way. 
I am only sorry for one thing, that I did not have ten 
thousand francs in my pocket that morning in order 
to prolong my excursion for a week or so. But next 
morning my purse was empty, and *our defeat was 
certain.' I had already identified myself with Dumas' 
aspirations, so I returned to Sens by myself, but over- 
joyed at having seen and spoken to this man of genius, 
who is richer than all the millionnaires in the world 
put together, seeing that he never troubles himself 
about paying, and has therefore no need to worry about 
money. Three months afterwards, the printer at Joigny 
drew upon me for a hundred francs for electioneering 
bills, which, of course, I could not have ordered, 
but which draft I settled as joyfully as I had settled 
the rest. I have preserved the draft with the boots ; 



DUMAS' IMPECUNIOSITY. 83 

they are mementoes of my first two days* friendship 
with my dear friend." 

At the first blush, all this sounds very much as if 
we were dealing with a mere Harold Skimpole, but no 
man was more unlike Dickens* creation than Alexandre 
Dumas. M. du Chafifault described him rightly when 
he said that he did not worry about money, not even 
his own. " My biographer,'* Dumas often said, " will 
not fail to point out that I was *a panier perce,' * 
neglecting, as a matter of course, to mention that, as 
a rule, it was not I who made the holes.*' 

The biographers have not been quite so unjust as 
that. Unfortunately, few of them knew Dumas inti- 
mately, and they were so intent upon sketching the 
playwright and the novelist that they neglected the 
man. They could have had the stories of Alexandre 
Dumas* improvidence with regard to himself and his 
generosity to others for the asking from his familiars. 
On the other hand, the latter have only told these 
stories in a fragmentary way ; a complete collection of 
them would be impossible, for no one, not even Dumas 
himself, knew half the people whom he befriended. In 
that very apartment of the Rue d'Amsterdam which 
I mentioned just now, the board was free to any and 
every one who chose to come in. Not once, but a score 
of times have I heard Dumas ask, after this or that man 
had left the table, "Who is he? what's his name?" 
Whosoever came with, or at the tail, not of a friend, 
but of a simple acquaintance, especially if the ac- 
quaintance happened to wear skirts, was immediately 
invited to breakfast or dinner as the case might be. 

* Literally, a basket with holes in it ; figuratively, the term applied 
to irreclaimable spendthrifts. — Editor. 



84 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

Count de Cherville once told me that Dumas, having 
taken a house at Varenne-Saint-Hilaire, his second 
month's bill for meat alone amounted to eleven hundred 
francs. Let it be remembered that his household 
consisted of himself, two secretaries, and three servants, 
and that money went a great deal further than it does 
at present, especially in provincial France, in some 
parts of which living is still very cheap. In conse- 
quence of one of those financial crises, which were 
absolutely periodical with Alexandre Dumas, M. de 
Cherville had prevailed upon him to leave Paris for 
a while, and to take up his quarters with him. All 
went comparatively well as long as he was M. de 
Cherville's guest; but, having taken a liking to the 
neighbourhood, he rented a house of his own, and 
furnished it from garret to cellar in the most expensive 
way, as if he were going to spend the remainder of his 
life in it. Exclusive of the furniture, he spent between 
fifteen thousand and eighteen thousand francs on 
hangings, painting, and repairs. The parasites and 
harpies which M. de Cherville had kept at bay came 
down upon him like a swarm of locusts. " And how 
long, think you, did Dumas stay in his new domicile ? 
Three months, not a day more nor less. As a matter of 
course, the furniture did not fetch a quarter of its cost ; 
the repairs, the decorating, etc., were so much sheer 
waste: for the incoming tenant 'refused to refund a 
cent for it, and Dumas, having made up his mind to go 
to Italy, would not wait for a more liberal or conscien- 
tious one, lest he should have the rent of the empty 
house on his shoulders also. Luckily, I took care that 
he should pocket the proceeds of the sale of the 
furniture." 



DUMAS AND THE BAILIFFS. 85 

This last sentence wants explaining. As a rule, 
when a man sells his sticks, he pockets the money. 
But the instance just mentioned was the only one in 
which Dumas had the disposal of his household goods. 
The presiding divinity invariably carried them away 
with her when she had to make room for a successor, 
and these successions generally occurred once, some- 
times twice, a year. "La reine est morte, vive la 
reine.'* The new sovereign, for the first few days of 
her reign, had to be content with bare walls and very 
few material comforts ; then the nest was upholstered 
afresh, and " il n'y avait rien de change en la demeure, 
sauf le nom de la maitresse." 

Consequently, though for forty years Alexandre 
Dumas could not have earned less than eiglit thousand 
pounds per annum ; though he neither smoked, drank, 
nor gambled ; though, in spite of his mania for cooking, 
he himself was the most frugal eater — the beef from 
the soup of the previous day, grilled, was his favourite 
dish, — it ruined writs and summonses around him, while 
he himself was frequently without a penny. 

M. du Chaffault one day told me of a scene a propos 
of this which is worth reproducing. He was chatting 
to Dumas in his study, when a visitor was shown in. 
He turned out to be an Italian man of letters and 
refugee, on the verge of starvation. M. du Chaffau.It 
could not well make out what was said, because they 
were talking Italian, but all at once Dumas got up and 
took from the wall behind him a magnificent pistol, 
one of a pair. The visitor walked off with it, to M. du 
Chaffault's surprise. When he was gone, Dumas turned 
to his friend and explained : " He was utterly penniless, 
and 80 am I ; so I gave him the pistol." 



86 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

"Great Heavens, yon surely did not recommend him 
to go and make an end of himself ! " interrupted du 
Chaffault. 

Dumas burst out laughing. "Of course not. I 
merely told him to go and sell or pawn it, and leave 
me the fellow one, in case some other poor wretch 
should want assistance while I am so terribly hard up." 

And yet, in this very Kue d' Amsterdam, whether 
Dumas was terribly impecunious or not, the dejeuner, 
which generally began at about half-past eleven, was 
rarely finished before half-past four, because during 
the whole of that time fresh contingents arrived to be 
fed, and communication was kept up between the apart- 
ment and the butcher for corresponding fresh supplies 
of beefsteaks and cutlets. 

Is it a wonder, then, that it rained summonses, and 
writs, and other law documents? But no one took 
much notice of these, not even one of the four secre- 
taries, who was specially appointed to look after these 
things. If I remember aright, his name was Hirschler. 
The names of the other three secretaries were Rusconi, 
Viellot, and Fontaine. Unfortunately, Hirschler was 
as dilatory as his master, and, until the process-server 
claimed a personal interview, as indifferent. These 
" limbs of the law " were marvellously polite. I was 
present one day at an interview between one of these 
and Hirschler, for Dumas' dwelling was absolutely and 
literally the glass house of the ancient philosopher — 
with this difference, that no one threw any stones /rowi 
it. There was no secret, no skeleton in the cupboard ; 
the impecuniosity and the recurrent periods of plenty 
were both as open as the day. 

The " man of law " and Hirschler began by shaking 



AN UNWRITTEN COMEDY 87 

hands, for they were old acquaintances ; it would have 
been difficult to find a process-server in Paris who was 
not an old acquaintance of Dumas. After which the 
visitor informed Hirschler that he had come to 
distrain. 

** To distrain ? I did not know we had got as far 
as that," said Hirschler. " Wait a moment. I must 
go and see." It meant that Hirschler repaired to 
the kitchen, where stood a large oaken sideboard, in 
a capacious drawer of which all the law documents, 
no matter by whom received, were indiscriminately 
thrown, to be fished out when the "mauvais quart 
d'heure " came, and not until then. 

** You are right," said Hirschler, but not in the 
least worried or excited. " I really did not know we 
had got as far as that. I must ask you to wait another 
minute. I suppose a third or a fourth of the total 
amount will do for the present ? " 

" Well, I do not know," said the process-server with 
most exquisite politeness. " Try what you can do. I 
fancy that with a third I may manage to stop proceed- 
ings for a while." 

The third or fourth part of the debt was rarely in 
the house ; messengers had to be despatched for it to 
Cadot, the publisher, or to the cashier of the MoniteuYy 
ConstitiUionnel, or Steele. Meanwhile the process-server 
was feasted in a sumptuous way, and when the mes- 
senger returned with the sum in question, Hirschler 
and the process-server shook hands once more, with 
the most cordial au revoir possible. 

As a matter of course, the same process-server re- 
appeared upon the scene in a few months. The comedy 
had often as many as a dozen representations, so that 



88 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

it may safely be said that a great number of Dumas* 
debts were paid six or seven times over. Even six- 
pence a line of sixty letters did not suffice to keep pace 
with such terrible improvidence, though the remu- 
neration was much more frequently fourpence or five- 
pence. It rarely rose to sevenpence halfpenny, but in 
all cases a third went to Dumas' collaborateurs, another 
third to his creditors, and the rest to himself. 

I have allowed my pen to run away with me. One 
more story, and then I leave Alexandre Dumas for the 
present. It is simply to show that he would have 
squandered the fortune of all the Rothschilds combined : 
I repeat, not on himself; he would have given it away, 
or allowed it to be taken. He had no notion of the 
value of money. About a year after I had made his 
acquaintance, he was ill at Saint-Germain, and I went 
to see him. His dog had bitten him severely in the 
right hand ; he was in bed, and obliged to dictate. 
His son had just left him, and he told me, adding, 
*' C'est un cceur d'or, cet' Alexandre." Seeing that I 
did not ask what had elicited the praise, he began 
telling me. 

" This morning I received six hundred and fifty 
francs. Just now Alexandre was going up to Paris, 
and he says, ' I'll take fifty francs.' 

" I did not pay attention, or must have misunder- 
stood ; at any rate I replied, * Don't take as much as 
that ; leave me a hundred francs.' 

" * What do you mean, father ? * he asked. * I am 
telling you that I am going to take fifty francs.' 

" ' I beg your pardon,' I said. * I understood you 
were going to take six hundred.' " 

He would have considered it the most natural thing 



THE TWO DUMASES. 89 

in the world for his son to take six hundred and leave 
him fifty ; just as he considered it the most natural 
thing to bare his arm and to have a dozen leeches put 
on it, because his son, when a boy of eight, having met 
with an accident, would not consent to blood-letting of 
that kind. In vain did the father tell him that the 
leeches did not hurt. "Well, put some on yourself, 
and then I will." And the giant turned up his sleeves, 
and did as he was told. 



90 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 



CHAPTEE IV. 

Dr. Louis Veron — The real man as distinguished from that of his 
own " Memoirs " — He takes the management of the Paris Opera — 
How it was governed before his advent — Meyerbeer's " Robert le 
Diable" underlined — Meyerbeer and his doubts upon the merits 
of his work — Meyerbeer's generosity — ^Meyerbeer and the beggars 
of the Rue Le Peletier — Dr. Veron, the inventor of the modern 
newspaper puff — Some specimens of advertisements in their 
infancy — Dr. Ve'ron takes a leaf from the book of Moliere — 
Dr. Veron's love of money — His superstitions — His objections 
to travelling in railways — He quotes the Queen of England as 
an example — When Queen Victoria overcomes her ol)jection, 
Veron holds out — " Queen Victoria has got a successor : the 
Veron dynasty begins and ends with me " — Thirteen at table — 
I make the acquaintance of Taglioni — The woman and the 
ballerina — Her adventure at Perth — An improvised perform- 
ance of " Nathalie, la Laiti^re Suisse " — ^Another adventure in 
Russia — A modem Claude Du-Val — My last meeting with Tag- 
lioni — A dinner-party at De Morny's — A comedy scene between 
husband and wife — Flotow, the composer of " Martha " — His 
family — His father's objection to tlie composer's profession — The 
latter's interview with M. de Saint-Georges, the author of the 
libretto of Balfe's " Bohemian Girl " — M. de Saint-Georges 
prevails upon the father to let his son study in Paris for five 
years, and to provide for him during that time — The supplies are 
stopped on the last day of the fifth year — Flotow, at the advice 
of M. de Saiut-Georges, stays on and lives by giving piano- 
lessons — His earthly possessions at his first success — " Rob 
Roy" at the Hotel Castellane — Lord Granville's opinion of the 
music — The Hotel Castellane and some Paris salons during 
Louis-Philippe's reign — The Princesse de Lieven's, M. Thiers', 
etc. — What Madame de Girardin's was like — ^Victor Hugo's — 
Perpetual adoration ; very artistic, but nothing to eat or to 
drink — The salon of the ambassador of the Two Sicilies — Lord 
and Lady Granville at the English Embassy — The salon of 
Count Apponyi — A story connected with it — Furniture and 
entertainments — Cakes, ices, and tea ; no champagne as during 
the Second Empire — The Hotel de Castellane and its amateur the- 
atricals — Rival companies — No under-studies — Lord Brougham 
at the Hotel Castellane — His bad French and his would-be 
Don Juanism — A French rendering of Shakespeare's " There is 
but one step between the sublime and the ridiculous," as applied 



DE. V]6rON. 91 

to Lord Brougham — ^He nearly accepts a part in a farce where 
his bad French is likely to produce a comic effect — His successor 
as a murderer of the language — M. de Saint-Georges — Like 
Moli^re, he reads his plays to his housekeeper — When the latter 
is not satisfied, the dinner is spoilt, however great the success of 
the play in public estimation — Great men and their housekeepers 
— Turner, Jean Jacques Bousseau, Eugene Delacroix. 

Next to Dumas, the man wlio is uppermost in my 
recollections of that period is Dr. Louis Yeroo, the 
founder of the Bevue de Paris, which was the precursor 
of the Bevue des Deux Mondes; Dr. Veron, under 
whose management the Paris Opera rose to a degree 
of perfection it has never attained since ; Dr. Veron, 
who, as some one said, was as much part and parcel 
of the history of Paris during the first half of the 
nineteenth century as was Napoleon I. of the history 
of France ; Dr. Veron, than whom tliere has been 
no more original figure in any civih'zed community 
before or since, with the exceptioo, perhaps, of Phineas 
Barnum, to whom, however, he was infinitely superior 
in education, tact, and manners. 

Dr. Veron has written his own " Memoirs " in six 
bulky volumes, to which he added a seventh a few 
years later. They are full of interesting facts from 
beginning to end, especially to those who did not 
know intimately the author or the times of which he 
treats. Those who did are tempted to repeat the 
mot of Diderot when they gave him the portrait of 
his father. " This is my Sunday father ; I want my 
everyday father." The painter, in fact, had repre- 
sented the worthy cutler of Langres in his best coat 
and wig, etc. ; not as his son had been in the habit 
of seeing him. The Dr. Veron of the "Memoirs" 
is not the Dr. V6ron of the Cafe de Paris, nor the 
Dr. Veron of the avant-scene in his own theatre, snoring 



92 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

a duet with Auber, and "keeping better time than 
the great composer himself ; " he is not the Dr. Veron 
full of fads and superstitions and uniformly kind, 
" because kindness is as a rule a capital investment ; " 
he is not the cheerful pessimist we knew; he is a 
grumbling optimist, as the journalists of his time 
have painted him ; in short, in his book he is a 
quasi-philanthropic illusion, while in reality he was 
a hard-hearted, shrewd business man who did good 
by stealth now and then, but never blushed to find it 
fame. 

The event which proved the starting-point of Dr. 
Veron's celebrity was neither of his own making nor 
of his own seeking. Though it happened when I was 
a mere lad, I have heard it discussed in after-years 
sufiBciently often and by very good authorities to be 
confident of my facts. In June, 1831, Dr. Veron took 
the management of the Paris Opera, which up till 
then had been governed on the style of the old regime, 
namely, by three gentlemen of the king's household 
with a working director under them. The royal 
privy purse was virtually responsible for its liabilities. 
Louis-Philippe shifted the burden of that responsibility 
on the State, and limited its extent. The three 
gentlemen of the king's household were replaced by 
a royal commissioner, and the yearly subsidy fixed at 
£32,500 ; still a pretty round sum, which has been 
reduced since by ^6500 only. 

At Dr. Yeron's advent, Meyerbeer's " Eobert le 
Diable " was, what they call in theatrical parlance, 
" underlined," or, if not underlined, at least definitely 
accepted. Only one work of his had at that time betu 
heard in Paris, " II Crociato in Egitto." 



VJ^RON AND MEYERBEER. 93 

It is diflScult to determine, after so many years, 
whether Dr. Veron, notwithstanding his artistic in- 
stincts, was greatly smitten with the German composer's 
masterpiece. It has often been argued that he was 
not, because he insisted upon an indemnity of forty 
thousand francs from the Government towards the cost 
of its production. In the case of a man like Veron, 
this proves nothing at all. He may have been 
thoroughly convinced of the merits of "Eobert le 
Diable," and as thoroughly confident of its success 
with the public, though no manager, not even the 
most experienced, can be; it would not have pre- 
vented him from squeezing the forty thousand francs 
from the minister on the plea that the performance 
of the work was imposed upon him by a treaty 
of his predecessor. To Dr. Yeron's credit be it 
said that he might have saved himself the hard 
tussle he had with the minister by simply applying 
for the money to Meyerbeer himself, who would have 
given it without a moment's hesitation, rather than 
see the success of " Kobert le Diable " jeopardized by 
inefficient mounting, although up to the last Meyer- 
beer could never make up his mind whether magnificent 
scenery and gorgeous dresses were an implied com- 
pliment or the reverse to the musical value of his 
compositions. A jpropos of this there is a very 
characteristic story. At one of the final dress-re- 
hearsals of " Robert le Diable," Meyerbeer felt much 
upset. At the sight of that beautiful set of the 
cloister of Sainte-Rosalie, where the nuns rise from 
their tombs, at the effect produced by the weird 
procession, Meyerbeer came up to Veron. 

" My dear director," he said, '* I perceive well enough 



^4 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

that you do not depend upon the opera itself; you 
are, in fact, running after a spectacular success." 

" Wait till the fourth act," replied Veron, who was 
above all logical. 

The curtain rose upon the fourth act, and what did 
Meyerbeer behold ? Instead of the vast, grandiose 
apartment he had conceived for Isabella, Princess of 
Sicily, he found a mean, shabby set, which would have 
been deemed scarcely good enough for a minor theatre. 

"Decidedly, my dear director," says Meyerbeer, 
with a bitter twinge in his features and voice, " I 
perceive well enough that you have no faith in my 
score ; you did not even dare go to the expense of a 
new set. I would willingly have paid for it myself." 

And he would willingly have paid for it, because 
Meyerbeer was not only very rich, but very generous. 

" It is a very funny thing," said Lord , as he 

came into the Cafe de Paris one morning, many years 
afterwards ; " there are certain days in the week when 
the Rue Le Peletier seems to be swarming with 
beggars, and, what is funnier still, they don't take 
any notice of me. I pass absolutely scot-free." 

" I'll bet," remarked Roger de Beauvoir, " that they 
are playing * Robert le Diable ' or * Les Huguenots ' 
to-night, and I can assure you that I have not seen 
the bills." 

" Now that you speak of it, they are playing * Les 

Huguenots ' to-night," replied Lord ; " but what 

has that to do with it? I am not aware that the 
Paris beggars manifest a particular predilection for 
Meyerbeer's operas, and that they are booking their 
places on the days they are performed." 

" It's simply this," explained De Beauvoir : " both 



meterbeer's charity. 95 

Rossini and Meyerbeer never fail to come of a morning 
to look at the bills, and when the latter finds hLs name 
on thera, he is so overjoyed that he absolutely empties 
his pockets of all the cash they contain. Notwith- 
standing his many years of success, he is still afraid 
that the public's liking for his music is merely a 
passing fancy, and as every additional performance 
decreases this apprehension, he thinks he cannot be 
sufficiently thankful to Providence. His gratitude 
shows itself in almsgiving." 

I made it my business subsequently to verify what 
I considered De Beauvoir's fantastical statement, and 
I found it substantially correct. 

To return to Dr. Veron, who, there is no doubt, did 
the best he could for "Robert le Diable," to which 
and to the talent of Taglioni he owed his fortune. 
At the same time, it would be robbing hirn of part of 
his glory did we not state that the success of that 
great work might have been less signal but for him ; 
both his predecessors and successors had and have 
still equally good chances without having availed 
themselves of them, either in the interest of lyrical 
art or in that of the public. 

I compared Dr. Veron just now to Phineas Barnum, 
and the comparison was not made at random. Dr. 
Veron was really the inventor of the newspaper puflf 
direct and indirect — of that personal journalism which 
records the slightest deed or gesture of the popular 
theatrical manager, and which at the present day is 
carried to excess. And all his subordinates and co- 
workers were made to share the advantages of the 
system, because their slightest doings also reflected 
glory upon him. An ar^i^t filling at a moment's 



96 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

notice the part of a fellow-artist who had become 
suddenly ill, a carpenter saving by his presence of 
mind the situation at a critical juncture, had not only 
his paragraph in next morning's papers, but a whole 
column, containing the salient facts of his life and 
career. It was the system of Frederick the Great 
and of the first Napoleon, acknowledging the daring 
deeds of their smallest as well as of their foremost 
aids — with this difference, that the French captain 
found it convenient to suppress them now and then, 
and that Dr. Yeron never attempted to do so. When 
the idea of putting down these notes first entered my 
mind, I looked over some files of newspapers of that 
particular period, and there was scarcely one between 
1831 and 1835 that did not contain a lengthy refer- 
ence to the Grand Opera and its director. I was 
irresistibly reminded of the bulletins the great 
Napoleon dictated on the battle-field. I have also 
seen a collection of posters relating to the same 
brilliant reign at the Opera. Of course, compared to 
the eloquent effusions and ingenious attempts of the 
contemporary theatrical manager to bait the public, 
Veron's are mere child's play ; still we must remember 
that the art of puffing was in its infancy, and, as such, 
some of them are worth copying. The public was not 
so hlase, and it swallowed the bait eagerly. Here 
they are. 

" To-morrow tenth performance of ... , which hence- 
forth will only be played at rare intervals. 

"To-morrow twentieth performance of ... ; posi- 
tively the last before the departure of M. . . . 

" To-morrow seventeenth performance of ...; re- 
appearance of Madame ... 



PRIMITIVE PUFFING. 97 

"To-morrow fifteenth performance of ... by all 
the principal artists who ' created ' the parts. 

'* To-morrow thirtieth performance of . . . The 
third scene of the second act will be played as on the 
first night. 

" To-morrow twentieth performance of ... , which 
can only be played for a limited number of nights. 

" To-morrow sixteenth performance of . . . In the 
Ball-Koom Scene a new pas de Chales will be intro- 
duced. 

" To-morrow thirtieth performance of . . . This suc- 
cessful work must be momentarily suspended owing 
to previous arrangements." 

Childish as these lines may look to the present 
generation, they produced a fortune of £2000 a year 
to Dr. Veron in four years, and, but for the outbreak 
of the cholera in '32, when " Robert le Diable " was 
in the flush of its success, would have produced another 
£1000 per annum. At that time Dr. Veron had already 
been able to put aside £24,000, and he might have 
easily closed his theatre during those terrible months ; 
but, like Moliere, he asked himself what would become 
of all those who were dependent upon him, and had 
not put aside anything ; so he made his savings into 
ten parcels, intending to hold out as many months 
without asking help of any one. Five of the parcels 
went. At the beginning of the sixth month the cholera 
abated ; by the end it had almost disappeared. 

Those who would infer from this that Dr. Veron 
was indifferent to money, would make a great mistake. 
But he would not allow his love of it to get the upper 
hand, to come between him and his conscience, to 
make him commit either a dishonest or a foolish act. 

VOL. I. H 



98 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

By a foolish act he meant headlong speculation. 
When the shares of the Northern Kailway were 
allotted, Dr. Veron owned the Gonstitutionnel ; 150 
shares were allotted to him, which at that moment 
represented a clear profit of 60,000 francs, they being 
400 francs above par. Dr. Veron made up his mind 
to realize there and then. But it was already late; 
the Bourse was closed, the stockbrokers had finished 
business for the day. He, however, met one on the 
Boulevards, who gave him a cheque for 55,000 francs 
on the Bank of France, which could only be cashed 
next day. The shares were left meanwhile in Dr. 
Veron's possession. Three minutes after the bargain 
was concluded Dr. Veron went back to his office. " I 
must have ready money for this, or decline the 
transaction," he said. The stockbroker, by applying 
to two of his colleagues, managed to scrape together 
50,000 francs. Dr. Veron gave him a receipt in i'ull, 
returned home, singing as he went the French version 
of " A bird in the hand," etc. 

Veron was exceedingly superstitious, and had fads. 
He could never be induced to take a railway journey. 
It was generally known in France at that time that, in 
the early days of locomotion by steam, Queen Victoria 
had held a similar objection. Veron, when twitted 
with his objection, invariably replied, " I have yet to 
learn that the Queen of England is less enlightened 
than any of you, and she will not enter a railway 
carriage." But one day the report spread that the 
queen had made a journey from Windsor to London 
by the "iron horse," and then Veron was sorely 
pressed. He had his answer ready, " The Queen of 
England has got a successor : the Veron dynasty begins 



TAGLIONI. 99 

and ends with me. I must take care to make it last 
as long as possible." He stuck to his text till the end 
of his life. 

On no consideration would Veron have sat down 
** thirteen at table." Once or twice, when the guests 
and host made up that number, his coachman's son 
was sent for, dressed, and made presentable, and joined 
the party; at others he politely requested two or 
three of us to go and dine at the Cafe de Paris, and 
to have the bill sent to him. We drew lots, as to who 
was to go. 

It was through Dr. Veron that I became acquainted 
with most of the operatic celebrities — Meyerbeer, 
Halevy, Auber, Duprez, etc. ; for though he had 
abdicated his directorship seven or eight years before 
Ave met, he was perhaps a greater power then in the 
lyrical world than at the date of his reign. 

It was at Dr. Veron's that I saw Mdlle. Taglioni 
for the first time — off the stage. It must have 
been in 1844, for she had not been in Paris since 
1840, when I had seen her dance at the Opera. I had 
only seen her dance once before that, in '36 or '37, but 1 
was altogether too young to judge then. 1 own that in 
1840 I was somewhat disappointed, and my disappoint- 
ment was shared by many, because some of my friends, 
to whom I communicated my impressions, told me 
that her three years' absence had made a vast differ- 
ence in her art. In '44 it was still worse; her per- 
formances gave rise to many a spiteful epigram, for 
she herself invited comparison between her former 
glory and her decline, by dancing in one of her most 
successful creations, " L'Ombre." Those most leniently 
disposed towards her thought what Alfred de Musset 



100 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

SO gracefully expressed when requested to write some 
verses in her album. 

" Si vous ne voulez plus danser, 
Si vous ne faites que passer 
Sur ce grand theS,tre si sombre, 
Ne courez pas apres votre ombre 
Et t&chez de nous la laisser." 

My disappointment with the ballerina was as 
nothing, however, to my disappointment with the 
woman. I had been able to determine for myself 
before then that Marie Taglioni was by no means a 
good-looking woman, but I did not expect her to be 
so plain as she was. That, after all, was not her fault ; 
but she might have tried to make amends for her 
lack of personal charms by her amiability. She rarely 
attempted to do so, and never with Frenchmen. Her 
reception of them was freezing to a degree, and on the 
occasions — few and far between — when she thawed, it 
was with Russians, Englishmen, or Viennese. Any 
male of the Latin races she held metaphorically as 
well as literally at arm's length. Of the gracefulness, 
so apparent on the stage, even in her decline, there 
was not a trace to be found in private life. One of 
her shoulders was higher than the other; she limped 
slightly, and, moreover, waddled like a duck. The 
pinched mouth was firmly set ; there was no smile on 
the colourless lips, and she replied to one's remarks 
in monosyllables. 

Truly she had suffered a cruel wrong at the hands 
of men — of one man, bien entendu ; nevertheless, the 
wonder to most people who knew her was not that 
Comte Gilbert de Voisins should have left her so soon 
after their marriage, but that he should have married 
her at all. " The fact was," said some one with whom 



TAGLIONI AT PERTH. 101 

I discussed the marriage one day, "that De Voisins 
considered himself in honour bound to make that 
reparation, but I cannot conceive what possessed him 
to commit the error that made the reparation neces- 
sary." And I am bound to say that it was not the 
utter lack of personal attractions that made every one, 
men and women alike, indifferent to Taglioni. She 
was what the French call " une pimbeche." * " Am 
I not a good-natured woman?" said Mdlle. Mars 
one day to Hoffman, the blood-curdling novelist. 
"Mademoiselle, you are the most amiable creature I 
know between the footlights and the cloth," he replied. 
No one could have paid Taglioni even such a left- 
handed compliment, for, if all I heard was true, she was 
not good-tempered either on or off the stage. Dr. 
Veron, who was really a very loyal friend, was very 
reticent about her character, and would never be drawn 
into revelations. "You know the French proverb," 
he said once, when I pressed him very closely. " * On 
ne herite pas de ceux que Ton tue ; ' and, after all, she 
helped me to make my fortune." 

That evening I was seated next to Mdlle. Taglioni 
at dinner, and when she. discovered my nationality 
she unbent a little, so that towards the dessert 
we were on comparatively friendly terms. She had 
evidently very grateful recollections of her engage- 
ments in London, for it was the only topic on which I 
could get her to talk on that occasion. Here is a little 
story I had from her own lips, and which shows the 
Scotch of the early thirties in quite a new light. It 
may have been known once, but has been probably 
forgotten by now, except by the " oldest inhabitant " of 
* The word "shrew " is the nearest equivalent — Editob, 



102 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

Perth. In 1832 or 1833 — I will not vouch for the exact 
year, seeing that it is two score of years since the story 
was told to me — the season in London had been a 
fatiguing one for Taglioni. A ballet her father had 
composed for her, " Nathalie, ou la Laitiere Suisse," a 
very inane thing by all accounts, had met with great 
success in London. The scene, however, had, as far as 
I could make out, been changed from Switzerland to 
Scotland, but of this I will not be certain. At the 
termination of her engagement Taglioni wanted rest, 
and she bethought herself to recruit in the Highlands. 
After travelling hither and thither for a little while, 
she arrived at Perth, and, as a matter of course, put 
down her name in the visitors' book of the hotel, then 
went out to explore the sights of the town. Meanwhile 
the report of her arrival had spread like wildfire, and 
on her return to the hotel she found awaiting her a 
deputation from the principal inhabitants, with the 
request to honour them with a performance. "The 
request was so graciously conveyed," said Taglioni, 
" that I could not but accept, though I took care to 
point out the difficulties of performing a ballet all by 
myself, seeing that there was neither a corps de ballet, 
a male dancer, nor any one else to support me. All 
these objections were overruled by their promise to 
provide all these in the best way they could, and before 
1 had time to consider the matter fully, I was taken 
off in a cab to inspect the theatre, etc. Great heavens, 
what a stage and scenery! Still, I had given my 
promise, and, seeing their anxiety, would not go back 
from it. I cannot tell where they got their personnel 
from. There was a director and a stage-manager, but 
as he did not understand French, and as my English 



.A SCRATCH PERFORMANCE. 108 

at that time was even worse than it is now, we were 
obliged to communicate through an interpreter. His 
English must have been bewildering, to judge from the 
manager's blank looks when he spoke to him, and his 
French was even more wonderful than my English. 
He was a German waiter from the hotel. 

*' Nevertheless, thanks to him, I managed to convey 
the main incidents of the plot of 'Nathalie' to the 
manager, and during the first act, the most complicated 
one, all went well. But at the beginning of the second 
everything threatened to come to a standstill. I must 
tell you that my father hit upon the novel idea of 
introducing a kind of dummy, or lay figure, on which 
this idiotic Nathalie lavishes all her caresses. The 
young fellow, who is in love with Nathalie, contrives 
to take the dummy's place ; consequently, in order to 
preserve some semblance of truth, and not to make 
Nathalie appear more idiotic than she is already, there 
ought to be a kind of likeness between the dummy and 
the lover. I know not whether the interpreter had 
been at fault, or whether in the hurry-scurry I had 
forgotten all about the dummy, but a few minutes 
before the rise of the curtain I discovered that there 
was no dummy. ' You must do the dummy,' I said 
to Pierre, my servant, * and I'll pretend to carry you 
on.' Pierre nodded a silent assent, and immediately 
began to don the costume, seeing which I had the 
curtain rung up, and went on to the stage. I was not 
very comfortable, though, for I heard a violent alter- 
cation going on behind the scenes, the cause of which 
I failed to guess. I kept dancing and dancing, getting 
near to the wings every now and then, to ask whether 
Pierre was ready. He seemed to me inordinately long 



104 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

in changing liis dress, but the delay was owing to 
something far more serious than his careful preparation 
for the part. Pierre had a pair of magnificent whiskers, 
and the young fello^v^ who enacted the lover had not 
a hair on his face. Pierre was ready to go on, when the 
manager noticed the difference. * Stop ! ' he shouted ; 
* that won't do. You must have your whiskers taken off.' 
Pierre indignantly refused. The manager endeavoured 
to persuade him to make the sacrifice, but in vain, 
until at last he had him held down on a chair by two 
stalwart Scotchmen while the barber did his work. 

"All this had taken time, but the public did not 
grow impatient. They would have been very difficult 
to please indeed had they behaved otherwise, for I 
never danced to any audience as I did to them. One 
of the few pleasant recollections in my life is that 
evening at Perth ; and, curiously enough, Pierre, who 
is still with me, refers to it with great enthusiasm, 
notwithstanding the cavalier treatment inflicted upon 
him. It was his first and last appearance on any stage." 

Here is another story Taglioni told me on a sub- 
sequent occasion. I have often wondered since 
whether Macaulay would not have been pleased with 
it even more than I was. 

"The St. Petersburg theatrical season of '24-25 
had been particularly brilliant, and nowhere more so 
than at the Italian Opera. I came away laden with, 
presents, among others one from the Czar — a magnifi- 
cent necklet of very fine pearls. When the theatre 
closed at Lent, I was very anxious to get away, in 
spite of the inclement season, and notwithstanding 
the frequent warnings that the roads were not safe. 
Whenever the conversation turned on that topic, the 



A RUSSIAN CLAUDE DU-VAL. 105 

name of Trischka was sure to crop up; he, in fact, 
was the leader of a formidable band of highwaymen, 
compared with whose exploits those of all the others 
seemed to sink into insignificance. Trischka had 
been steward to Prince Paskiwiecz, and was spoken of 
•as a very intelligent fellow. Nearly every one with 
whom I came in contact had seen him while he was 
still at St. Petersburg, and had a good word to say for 
'him. His manners were reported to be perfect ; he 
-spoke French and German very fairly; and, most 
curious of all, he was an excellent dancer. Some went 
even as far as to say that if he had adopted that 
profession, instead of scouring the highways, he 
would have made a fortune. By all accounts he never 
■molested poor people, and the rich, whom he laid 
under contribution, had never to complain of violent 
treatment either in words or deeds — nay, more, he 
never took all they possessed from his victims ; he 
was content to share and share alike. But papa 
n'ecoutait pas de cet' oreille la; papa etait tres peu 
j)artageur; and, truth to tell, I was taking away a 
great deal of money from St. Petersburg — which was 
perhaps another reason why, papa did not see the neces- 
sity of paying tithes to Trischka. If we had followed 
papa's advice, we should have either applied to the 
Ozar for an armed escort, or else delayed our departure 
till the middle of the summer, though he failed to see 
that the loss of my engagements elsewhere would have 
amounted to a serious item also. But papa had got 
it into his head not to part with any of the splendid 
presents I had received ; they were mostly jewels, and 
people who do not know papa can form no idea what 
they meant to him. However, as we were plainly 



lOG AX ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

told tHat Trischlva conducted liis operations all the 
year round, that we were as likely to be attacked by 
him in summer as in winter, papa reluctantly made 
up his mind to go in the beginning of April. Papa 
provided himself with a pair of large pistols that 
would not have hurt a cat, and were the laughing- 
stock of all those who accompanied us for the first 
dozen miles on our journey ; for I had made many 
friends, and they insisted on doing this. We had two 
very roomy carriages. My father, my maid, two 
German violinists, and myself were in the first; the 
second contained our luggage. 

" At the first change of horses after Pskoff, the 
postmaster told us that Trischka and his band had 
been seen a few days previously on the road to Duna- 
bourg; at the same time, he seemed to think very 
lightly of the matter, and, addressing himself par- 
ticularly to me, opined that, with a little diplomacy 
on my part and a good deal of sang-froid, I might be 
let off very cheaply. All went well until the middle 
of next night, when all of a sudden, in the thick 
of a dense forest, our road was barred by a couple of 
horsemen, while a third opened the door of our 
carriage. It was Trischka himself. ' Mademoiselle 
Taglioni ? ' he said in very good German, lifting his 
hat. *I am Mademoiselle Taglioni,' I replied in 
French. 'I know,' he answered, with a deeper bow 
than before. * I was told you were coming this way. 
I am sorry, mademoiselle, that I could not come to 
St. Petersburg to see you dance, but as chance has 
befriended me, I hope you will do me the honour ta 
dance before me here.' * How can I dance here, in 
this road, monsieur?' I said beseechingly. 'Alas, 



TAGLIONl'S HUSBAND. 107" 

mademoiselle, I have no drawing-room to offer yon,' 
he replied, still as polite as ever. ' Nevertheless,' he 
continued, *if you think it cannot be done, I shall 
be under the painful necessity of confiscating your 
carriages and luggage, and of sending you back on 
foot to the nearest post-town.' * But, monsieur,' I 
protested, * the road is ankle-deep in mud.' * Truly,' 
he laughed, showing a beautiful set of teeth, *but 
your weight won't make any difference ; besides, I 
dare say you have some rugs and cloths with you 
in the other carriage, and my men will only be too 
pleased to spread them on the ground.' 

" Seeing that all my remonstrance would be in vain, 
I jumped out of the carriage. While the rugs were 
being laid down, my two companions, the violinists, 
tuned their instruments, and even papa was prevailed 
upon to come out, though he was sulky and never 
spoke a word. 

"I danced for about a quaiter of an hour, and I 
honestly believe that I never had such an appreciative 
audience either before or afterwards. Then Trischka 
led me back to the carriage, and, simply lifting his 
hat, bade me adieu. ' I keep the rugs, mademoiselle. 
I will never part with them,' he said. The last I saw 
of him, when our carriages were turning a bend in the 
road, was a truly picturesque figure on horseback, 
waving his hand." 

More than eight years elapsed before I met 
Taglioni again, and then she looked absolutely like 
an old woman, though she was under fifty. It was at 
the Comte (afterwards Due) de Morny's, in '52, and, 
if I remember rightly, almost immediately after his 
resignation as Minister of the Interior. Taglioni and 



108 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

Mdlle. Kachel were the only women present. Just as 
we were sitting down to dinner, Count Gilbert De 
Voisins came in, and took the next seat but one on my 
left which had been reserved for him. We were on 
friendly, though not on very intimate, terms. He was 
evidently not aware of the presence of his wife, for after 
a few minutes he asked his neighbour, pointing to her, 
" Who is this governess-looking old maid ? " He told 
him. He showed neither surprise nor emotion ; but, if 
an artist could have been found to sketch his face 
there, its perfect blank would have been more amusing 
than either. He seemed, as it were, to consult his 
recollections ; then he said, " Is it ? It may be, after 
all ; " and went on eating his dinner. His wife acted 
less diplomatically. She recognized him at once, and 
made a remark to her host in a sufficiently loud voice to 
be overheard, which was not in good taste, the more 
that De Morny, notwithstanding his many faults, was 
not the man to have invited both for the mere pleasure 
of playing a practical joke. In fact, I have always 
credited De Morny with the good intention of bringing 
about a reconciliation between the two; but the affair 
•was hopeless from the very beginning, after Taglioni's 
-exhibition of temper. I am far from saying that 
Count Gilbert would have been more tractable if it 
had not occurred, but his spouse shut the door at once 
upon every further attempt in that direction. Never- 
theless, whether out of sheer devilry or from a wish 
to be polite, he went up to her after dinner, accom- 
panied by a friend, who introduced him as formally as 
if he and she had never seen one another. It was at 
a moment when the Comte de Morny was out of the 
room, because I feel certain that he was already sorry 



VON FLOTOW. 10^ 

then for what he had endeavoured to do, and had 
washed his hands of the whole affair. Taglioni made 
a stately bow. "I am under the impression," she 
said, "that I have had the honour of meeting you 
before, about the year 1832." With this she turned 
away. Let any playwright reproduce that scene in a 
farcical or comedy form, and I am sure that three- 
fourths of his audience would scout it as too exag- 
gerated, and yet every incident of it is absolutely true. 
Among my most pleasant recollections of those days 
is that connected with Von Flotow, the future com- 
poser of " Martha." In appearance he was alto- 
gether unlike the traditional musician ; he looked more 
like a stalwart officer of dragoons. Though of noble 
origin, and with a very wealthy father, there was a 
time when he had a hard struggle for existence. 
Count von Flotow, his father, and an old officer of 
Blucher, was nearly as much opposed to his son 
becoming a musician as Frederick the Great's. Never- 
theless, at the instance of Flotow's mother, he was sent 
to Paris at the age of sixteen, and entered the Con- 
servatoire, then under the direction of Eeicha. His 
term of apprenticeship was, not to extend beyond two 
years, " for," said the count, " it does not take longer 
for the rawest recruit to become a good soldier." 
" That will give you a fair idea," remarked Von Flotow 
to me afterwards, " how much he understood about it. 
He had an ill-disguised contempt for any music which 
did not come up to his ideal. His ideal was that per- 
formed by the drum, the fife, and the bugle. And the 
very fact of Germany ringing a few years later with 
the names of Meyerbeer and Halevy made matters 
worse instead of mending them. His feudal pride 



110 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

would not allow of his son's entering; a profession the 
foremost ranks of which were occupied by Jews. 
* Music,' he said, * was good enough for bankers' sons 
and the like,' and he considered that Weber had cast 
s. slur upon his family by adopting it." 

The two years grudgingly allowed by Count von 
Flotow for his son's musical education were inter- 
rupted by the revolution of 1830, and the young fellow 
had to return home before he was eighteen, because, 
in his father's opinion, " he had not given a sign of 
becoming a great musician ; " in other words, he had 
not written an opera or anything else which had 
-attracted public notice. However, towards the begin- 
ning of 1831, the count took his son to Paris once 
more ; " and though Meyerbeer nor Halevy were not 
so famous then as they were destined to become within 
the next three years, their names were already sufiS- 
ciently well known to have made an introduction 
valuable. It would not have been difficult to obtain 
such. My father would not hear of it. ' I will 
not have my son indebted for anything to a Jew,' 
he said; and I am only quoting this instance of 
prejudice to you because it was not an individual 
but a typical one among my father's social equals. 
The remark about *his son's entering a profession in 
which two Jews had carried off the highest prizes ' is of 
a much later date. Consequently we landed in Paris, 
provided with letters of introduction to M. de Saint- 
Georges.* Clever, accomplished, refined as was M. 
de Saint-Georges, he was scarcely the authority a 

* Jules-Henri de Saint-Georges, one of the most fertile librettists of 
the time, the principal collaborateur of Scribe, and best known in Eng- 
land as the author of the book of Balfe's " Bohemian Girl." — Editor. 



VON FLOTOW'S FATHER. Ill 

father with serious intentions about his son's musical 
career would have consulted ; he was a charming, 
skilful librettist and dramatist, a thorough man of the 
world in the best sense of the word, but absolutely- 
incapable of judging the higher qualities of the com- 
poser. Nevertheless, I owe him much ; but for him I 
should have been dragged back to Germany there and 
then ; but for him I should have been compelled to 
go back to Germany five years later, or starved in the 
streets of Paris. 

" My father's interview with M. de Saint-Georges, 
and my first introduction to him," said Flotow on 
another occasion, "were perhaps the most comical scenes 
^ver enacted off the stage. You know my old friend, 
and have been to his rooms, so I need not describe 
him nor his surroundings to you. You have never 
seen my father ; but, to give you an idea of what he 
was like, I may tell you that he was an enlarged 
edition of myself. A bold rider, a soldier and a 
sportsman, fairly well educated, but upon the whole 
& very rough diamond, and, I am afraid, with a corre- 
sponding contempt for the elegant and artistic side of 
Paris life. You may, there/ore, picture to yourself the 
<lifference between the two men — M. de Saint-Georges 
in a beautiful silk dressing-gown and red morocco 
clippers, sipping chocolate from a dainty porcelain 
cup ; my father, who, contrary to German custom, had 
always refused to don that comfortable garment, and 
who, to my knowledge, had never in his life tasted 
■chocolate. For the moment I thought that every- 
thing was lost. I was mistaken. 

" * Monsieur,' said my father in French, which abso- 
lutely creaked with the rust of age, * I have come to 



112 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PAEIS. 

ask your advice and a favour besides. My son desires- 
to become a musician. Is it possible ? ' 

" * There is no reason why he should not be,* replied 
M. de Saint-Georges, * provided he has a vocation.' 

" ' Vocation may mean obstinacy,' remarked my 
father. * But let us suppose the reverse — that obsti-^ 
nacy means vocation : how long would it take him to 
prove that he has talent ? ' 

" ' It is difficult to say — five years at least.' 

" ' And two he has already spent at the Conservatoire 
will make seven. I hope he will not be like Jacob, 
who, after that period of waiting, found that they had 
given him the wrong goddess ! ' growled my father,, 
who could be grimly humorous when he liked. ' Five 
years more be it, then, but not a single day longer. If 
by that time he has not made his mark, I withdraw 
his allowance. I thank you for your advice; and 
now I will ask a favour. Will you kindly supply my 
place — that is, keep an eye upon him, and do the best 
you can for him ? Remember, he is but twenty. It is 
hard enough that I cannot make a soldier of him^ 
from what I have heard and from what I can see, you 
will prevent him from becoming less than a gentle- 
man.' 

" M. de Saint-Georges was visibly moved. * Let me 
hear what he can do,' he said, ' and then I will telL 
you.' 

" I sat down to the piano for more than an hour. 

" ' I will see that your son becomes a good musician,. 
M. le Comte,' said M. de Sainte-Georges. 

" Next morning my father went back to Germany.. 
Nothing would induce him to stay a single day. He 
said the atmosphere of Paris was vitiated. 



THE LIBRETTIST OF "THE BOHEMIAN GIRL." 113 

" I need not tell you that M. de Saint-Georges kept 
his word as far as he was able ; he kept it even more 
rigorously than my father had bargained for, because 
when, exactly on the last day of the stipulated five 
years, I received a letter demanding my immediate 
return, and informing me that my father's banker had 
instructions to stop all further supplies, M. de Saint- 
Georges bade me stay. 

" * I promised to make a musician of you, and I 
have kept my word. But between a musician and 
an acknowledged musician there is a difierence. I 
say stay ! ' he exclaimed, 

" * How am I to stay without money ? * 

" * You'll earn some.' 

"'How?' 

" * By giving piano-lessons, like many a poor artist 
has done before you.* 

" I followed his advice, and am none the worse for 
the few years of hardships. The contrast between my 
own poverty and my wealthy surroundings was suffi- 
ciently curious during that time, and never more so than 
on the night when my name really became known to 
the general public. I am jalluding to the first per- 
formance of * Le Due de Guise,' \\hich, as you may 
remember, was given in aid of the distressed Poles, and 
sung throughout by amateurs. The receipts amounted 
to thirty thousand francs, and the ladies of the chorus 
had something between ten and twelve millions of 
francs of diamonds in their hair and round their 
throats. All my earthly possessions in money con- 
sisted of six francs thirty-five centimes.' 

I was not at the Theatre de la Eenaissance that 
night, but two or three years previously I had heard 

VOL. I. I 



114 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS 

the first opera Flotow ever wrote, at the Hotel Cas- 
tellane. I never heard " Rob Roy " since ; and, curi- 
ously enough, many years afterwards I inquired of 
Lord Grauville, who sat next to me on that evening in 
1838, whether he had. He shook his head negatively. 
"It is a great pity," he said, " for the music is very 
beautiful." And I believe that Lord Granville is a 
very good judge. 

The Hotel Castellane, or " La Maison du Mouleur," 
as it was called by the general public on account of 
the great number of scantily attired mythological 
deities with which its fagade was decorated, was one 
of the few houses where, during the reign of Louis- 
Philippe, the discussion of political and dynastic dif- 
ferences was absolutely left in abeyance. The scent 
of party strife — I had almost said miasma — hung over 
all the other salons, notably those of the Princesse 
de liieven, Madame Thiers, and Madame de Girardin, 
and even those of Madame Le Hon and Victor Hugo 
were not free from it. Men like myself, and especially 
young men, who instinctively guessed the hoUowness 
of all this — who, moreover, had not the genius to 
become political leaders and not sufficient enthusiasm 
to become followers — avoided them ; consequently 
their description will find little or no place in these 
notes. The little I saw of Princesse de Lieven at the 
Tuileries and elsewhere produced no wish to see more. 
Thiers was more interesting from a social and artistic 
point of view, but it was only on very rare occasions 
that he consented to doff his political armour, albeit 
that he did not wear the latter with unchanging dignity. 
Madame Thiers was an uninteresting woman, and only 
the "feeder" to her husband, to use a theatrical 



\ 



SOCIETY IN THE FORTIES. 115 

phrase. Madame Le Hon was exceedingly beautiful, 
exceedingly selfish, and, if anything, too amiable. 
The absence of all serious mental qualities was cleverly 
disguised by the mask of a grande dame ; but I doubt 
whether it was anything else but a mosk. Madame 
Delphine de Girardin, on the other hand, was endowed 
with uncommon literary, poetical, and intellectual 
gifts ; but I have always considered it doubtful whether 
even the Nine Muses, rolled into one, would be bfarable 
for any length of time. As for Victor Hugo, no man 
not blessed with an extraordinary bump of veneration 
would have gone more than once to his soirees. The 
permanent entertainment there consisted of a modern 
version of the " perpetual adoration," and of nothing 
else, because, to judge by my few experiences, his 
guests were never oflfered anything to eat or to drink. 
As a set-off, the furniture and appointments of his 
apartments were more artistic than those of most of 
his contemporaries ; but Becky Sharp has left it on 
record that " mouton aux navets," dished up in price- 
less china and crested silver, is after all but "mouton 
aux navets," and at Hugo's even that homely fare was 
wanting. 

Among the few really good salons were those of the 
ambassadors of the Two Sicilies, of England, and of 
Austria. The former two were in the Faubourg Saint- 
Honore, the latter in the Faubourg Saint-Germain. 
The soirees of the Due de Serra-Cabriola were very 
animated; there was a great deal of dancing. I cannot 
say the same of those of Lord and Lady Granville, 
albeit that both the host and hostess did the honours 
with charming and truly patrician grace and hos- 
pitality. But the English guests would not throw off 



k 



116 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

their habitual reserve, and the French in the end 
imitated the manner of the latter, in deference, pro- 
bably, to Lord and Lady Granville, who were not at all 
pleased at this sincerest form of French flattery of 
their countrymen. 

There was no such restraint at Count Apponyi's, 
in the Faubourg Saint-Germain, the only house where 
the old French noblesse mustered in force. The latter 
virtually felt themselves on their own ground, for the 
host was known to have not much sympathy with 
parvenus, even titled ones, though the titles had been 
gained on the battle-field. Had he not during the 
preceding reign ruthlessly stripped Soult and Marmont, 
and half a dozen other dukes of the first empire, by 
giving instructions to his servants to announce them 
by their family names? Consequently, flirtation a la 
Marivanx, courtly galanterie a la Louis XV., sprightly 
and witty conversation, " minuetting " a la Watteau, 
was the order of the day as well as of the night there, 
for the dejeuner dansant was a frequent feature of the 
entertainment. No one was afraid of being mistaken 
for a financier anobli ; the only one admitted on a 
footing of intimacy bore the simple name of Hope. 

Nevertheless, it must not be thought that the enter- 
tainments, even at the three embassies, partook of 
anything like the splendour so noticeable during 
the second empire. The refreshments elsewhere par- 
took of a simple character; ices and cake, and lukewarm 
but by no means strong tea, formed the staple of them. 
Of course there were exceptions, such as, for instance, 
at the above-named houses, and at Mrs. Tudor's, Mrs. 
Locke's, and at Countess LamoylofTs ; but the era of 
flowing rivers of champagne, snacks that were like 



AMATEUR THEATRICALS. 117 

banquets, and banquets that were not unlike orgies, had 
not as yet dawned. And, worse than all, in a great 
many salons the era of mahogany and Utrecht velvet 
was in full swing, while the era of white-and-gold 
walls, which were frequently neither white nor gold, 
was dying a very lingering death. 

The Hotel Caste 1 lane was a welcome exception to 
this, and politics were rigorously tabooed, the reading 
of long-winded poems was interdicted. Politicians were 
simply reminded that the adjacent Elysee-Bourbon, or 
even the Hotel Pontalba, might still contain sufficiently 
lively ghosts to discuss such all-important matters 
with them ; * poets who fancied they had something 
to say worth hearing, were invited to have it said for 
them from behind the footlights by rival companies of 
amateurs, each of which in many respects need not 
have feared comparison with the professional one oi 
the Comedie-Franpaise. Amateur theatricals were, 
therefore, the principal feature of the entertainments 
at the Hotel Castellane ; but there were *' off nights " 
to the full as brilliant as the others. There was 
neither acting nor dancing on such occasions, the latter 
amusement being rarely indulged in, except at the 
grand balls which often followed one another in rapid 
succession. 

I have said rival companies, but only the two 

* The Elys^e-Bonrbon, which was the ofScial residence of Louie- 
Napoleon during his presidency of the second republic, was almost 
untenanted during the reign of Louis-Philippe. 

The Hotel Pontalba was partly built on the site of the former 
mansion of M. de Morfontaine, a staunch royalist, who, curiously 
enough, had married the daughter of Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau, 
the member of the Convention who had voted the death of Louis XVI., 
and who himself fell by the hand of an assassin. Mdlle. le Peletier 
Baint-Fargeau was called " La Fille de la Nation." — Edjtob. 



118 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

permanent ones came under that denomination ; the 
others were what we should term "scratch companies," 
got together for one or two performances of a special 
work, generally a musical one, as in the case of 
Flotow's "Kob Eoy" and "Alice." They vied in 
talent with the regular troupes presided over respec- 
tively by Madame Sophie Gay, the mother of Madame 
Emile de Girardin, and the Dachesse d'Abrantes. 
Each confined itself to the interpretation of the works 
of its manageress, who on such evening did the 
honours, or of those whom the manageress favoured 
with her protection. The heavens might fall rather 
than that an actor or actress of Madame Gay's company 
should act with Madame d'Abrantes, and vice versa. 
Seeing that neither manageress had introduced the 
system of " under-studies," disappointments were fre- 
quent, for unless a member of the Comedie-Franfaise 
could be found to take up the part at a moment's 
notice, the performance had necessarily to be post- 
poned, the amateurs refusing to act with any but the 
best. Such pretensions may at the first blush seem 
exaggerated ; they were justified in this instance, the 
amateurs being acknowledged to be the equals of the 
professionals by every unbiassed critic. In fact, 
several ladies among the amateurs "took eventually 
to the stage," notably Mdlles. Davenay and Mdlle. 
de Lagrange. The latter became a very bright star 
in the operatic firmament, though she was hidden to 
the musical world at large by her permanent stay in 
Eussia. St. Petersburg has ever been a formidable 
competitor of Paris for securing the best histrionic 
and lyrical talent. Madame Arnould-Plessy, Bressant, 
Dupuis, and later on M. Worms, deserted their native 



LORD BROUGHAM AS DON JUAN. 119 

scenes for the more remunerative, though perhaps really 
less artistic, triumphs of the theatre Saint-Michel ; 
and when they returnefl, the delicate bloom that had 
made their art so delightful was virtually gone. 
"C'etait de I'art Franpais a la sauce Tartare," said 
some one who was no mean judge. 

The Comte Jules de Castellane, though fully equal, 
and in many respects superior, in birth to those who 
professed to sneer at the younger branch of the 
Bourbons, declined to be guided by these opponents 
of the new dynasty in their social crusade against the 
adherents to the latter; consequently the company 
was perhaps not always so select as it might have been, 
and many amusing incidents and piquantes adventures 
were the result. He put a stop to these, however, 
when he discovered that his hospitality was being 
abused, and tliat invitations given to strangers, at the 
request of some of his familiars, had been paid for in 
kind, if not in coin. 

As a rule, though, the company was far less addicted 
to scandal-mongering and causing scandal than simi- 
larly composed "sets" during the subsequent reign. 
They were not averse to playing practical jokes, espe- 
cially upon those who made themselves somewhat too 
conspicuous by their eccentricities. Lord Brougham, 
who was an assiduous guest at the Hotel Castellane 
during his frequent visits to Paris, was often selected 
as their victim. He, as it were, provoked the tricks 
played upon him by his would-be Don-Juanesque 
behaviour, and by the many opportunities he lost of 
holding his tongue — in French. He absolutely mur- 
dered the language of Moliere. His worthy successor 
in that respect was Lady Normanby, who, as some one 



120 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

said, "not only murdered the tongue, but tortured it 
besides." The latter, however, never lost her dignity 
amidst the most mirth-compelling blunders on her 
part, while the English statesman was often very near 
enacting the buffoon, and was once almost induced to 
accept a role in a vaudeville, in which his execrable 
French would no doubt have been highly diverting 
to the audience, but would scarcely have been in 
keeping with the position he occupied on the other 
side of the Channel. *' Quant a Lord Brougham," 
said a very witty Frenchman, quoting Shakespeare 
in French, "il n'y a pour lui qu'un pas entre le 
sublime et le ridicule. C'est le pas de Calais, et il 
le traverse trop souvent." 

In 1842, when the Comte Jules de Castellane 
married Mdlle. de Villontroys, whose mother had 
married General Eapp and been divorced from him, 
a certain change came over the spirit of the house ; 
the entertainments were as brilliant as ever, but the 
two rival manageresses had to abdicate their sway, 
and the social status of the guests was subjected 
to a severer test. The new dispensation did not 
ostracize the purely artistic element, but, as the 
comtesse tersely put it, "dorenavant, je ne recevrai 
que ceux qui ont de I'art ou des armoiries." She 
strictly kept her word, even during the first years of 
the Second Empire, when pedigrees were a ticklish 
thing to inquire into. 

I have unwittingly drifted away from M. de Saint- 
Georges, who, to say the least, was a curious figure in 
artistic and literary Paris during the reigns of Louis- 
Philippe and his successor. He was quite as fertile as 
Scribe, and many of his plots are as ingeniously con- 



M. DE SAINT-GEORGES. 121 

ceived and worked out as the latter's, but he suffered 
both in reputation and purse from the restless activity 
and pushing character of the librettist of '* Kobert le 
Diablo." Like those of Rivarol,* M. Saint-Georges* 
claims to be of noble descent were somewhat contested, 
albeit that, unlike the eighteenth-century pamphleteer, 
he never obtruded them ; but there could be no doubt 
about his being a gentleman. He was utterly different 
in every respect from his rival. Scribe was not only 
eaten up with vanity, but grasping to a degree; he 
had dramatic instinct, but not the least vestige of 
literary refinement. M. de Saint-Georges, on the 
contrary, was exceedingly modest, very indifferent to 
money matters, charitable and obliging in a quiet way, 
and though perhaps not inferior in stage-craft, very 
elegant in his diction. When he liked, he could write 
verses and dialogue which often reminded one of 
Moliere. It was not the only trait he had in common 
with the great playwright. Moliere is said to have 
consulted his housekeeper, Laforet, with regard to his 
productions; M. de Saint-Georges was known to do 
the same — with this difference, however, that he did 
not always attend to Marguerite's suggestions, in which 
case Marguerite grew wroth, especially if the piece 
turned out to be a success, in spite of her predictions 
of failure. On such occasions the popular approval 
scarcely compensated M. de Saint-Georges for his 
discomforts at home; for though Marguerite was an 
admirable manager at all times — when she liked, 
though there was no bachelor more carefully looked 
after than the author of " La Fille du Eegiment," he 
had now and then to bear the brunt of Marguerite's 
* One of the great wits of the Bevolution.— Editob. 



122 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

temper when the public's verdict did not agree with 
hers. 

If under such circumstanoes M. de Saint-Georges 
ventured to give a dinner, the viands were sure to be 
cold, the Bordeaux iced, and the Champagne luke- 
warm. M. de Saint-G-eorges, who, notwithstanding his 
courtly manners, was candour itself, never failed to 
state the reasons of his discomfiture as a host to his 
guests. " Que voulez vous, mes amis, la piece n'a pas 
plu a Marguerite et le diner s'en ressent. Si je lui 
faisais une observation, elle me repondrait cotnme elle 
m'a repondu deja maintes fois. Le diner 6tait mauvais, 
vous dites? C'est possible, il etait assez bien pour 
ceux qui ont ea le bon gout d'applaudir votre piece 
hier-au-soir." Because Mdlle. Marguerite had a seat 
in the upper boxes reserved for her at all the first 
representations of her master's pieces. She did not 
always avail herself of the privilege at the Opera, but 
she never missed a first night at the Opera-Comique. 
I have quoted textually the words of M. de Saint- 
Georges on the morrow of the premiere of " Giselle," 
a ballet in two acts, written in collaboration with 
Th^ophile Gautier. " * Giselle ' had been a great 
success; Marguerite had predicted a failure; hence 
we had a remarkably bad dinner." 

I had had many opportunities of seeing Marguerite, 
and often wondered at the secret of the tyranny she 
exercised. She was not handsome — scarcely comely ; 
she was not even as smart in her appearance as dozens 
of servants I have seen, and her mental attainments, 
as far as I could judge, were not above those of her 
own class. One can understand a Turner, a Jean 
Jacques Rousseau, submitting to the influence of 



1.N IMPARTIAL CRITIC. 123 

such a low-born companion, because, after all, they, 
though men of genius, sprang from the people, and 
may have felt awkward, ill at ease, in the society 
of well-bred men and women, especially of women. 
Beranger sometimes gave me that idea. But, as I have 
already said, no one could mistake M. de Saint-Georges 
for anything but a well-bred man. Notwithstanding 
his little aflfectations, his inordinate love of scents, his 
somewhat effeminate surroundings, good breeding was 
patent at every sentence, at every movement. He was 
not a genius, certainly not, but the above remarks 
hold good of a man who was a genius, and who sprang, 
moreover, from the higher bourgeoisie of the eighteenth 
century — I am alluding to Eugene Delacroix. 



124 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 



' CHAPTER V. 

The Boulevards in the forties — The Chinese Baths — A favourite 
tobacconist of Alfred de Musset — The price of cigars — The 
diligence still tlie usual mode of travelling — Provincials in Paris 
— Parliamentary see-saw between M. Thiers and M. Guizot — 
Amenities of editors — An advocate of universal suffrage — Dis- 
tribution of gratuitous sausages to the working man on the king's 
birthday — The rendezvous of actors in search of an engagement — 
Frederick Lemaitre on the eve of appearing in a new part — The 
Legitimists begin to leave their seclusion and to mingle with the 
bourgeoisie — ^Alexandre Dumas and Scribe — The latter's fertility 
as a playwright — The National Guards go shooting, in unifoim 
and in companies, on the Plaine Saint-Denis — Vidocq's private 
inquiry office in the Kue Vivienne — No river-side resorts — The 
plaster elephant on the Place de la Bastille — The sentimental 
romances of Loisa Puget — The songs of the working classes — 
Cheap bread and wine — How they enjoyed themselves on Sundays 
and holidays — Theophile Gautier's pony-carriage — The hatred of 
the bourgeoisie — Nestor Koqueplan's expression of it — Gavarni's — 
M. Thiers' sister keeps a restaurant at the comer of the Rue 
Drouot — When he is in power, the members of the Opposition go 
and dine there, and publish facetious accounts of the entertain- 
ment — Ail appearances to the contrary, people like Guizot better 
than Thiers — But few entries for the race for wealth in those 
days — The Rothschilds still live in the Rue Lafitte — Favourite 
lounges — The Boulevards, the Rue Le Peletier, and the Passage 
de rOpera — The Opera — The Rue Le Peletier and its attractions 
— The Restaurant of Paolo Broggi — The Estaminet du Divan — 
Literary waiters and Boniface — Major Fraser — The mystery sur- 
rounding his origin — Another mysterious personage — The Passage 
de rOpera is invaded by the stockjobbers, and loses its prestige as 
a promenade — Bernard Latte's, the publisher of Donizetti's operas, 
becomes deserted — Tortoni's — Louis-Blanc — His scruples as an 
editor — ^A few words about duelling — Two tragic meetings — ^Lola 
Montes — Her adventurous career — ^A celebrated trial — My first 
meeting with Gustavo Flaubert, the author of " Madame Bovary " 
and "Salambo" — Emile de Girardin — His opinion of duelling — 
My decision with regard to it — The original of " La Dame aux 
Camelias " — Her parentage — Alexandre Dumas gives the diagnosis 
of her character in connection with his son's play — L'Homme an 
Camellia — M. Lautoar-Mczcrai,the inventorof children's periodical 



PARIS IN THE FORTIES. 125 

literature in France — Angnste Lireux — He takes the manaprement 
of the Odeon — Balzac again — His schemes, his greed — Lireux 
more fortunate wilh other authors — Anglophobia on the French 
stage — Gallophobia on the English stage. 

Even in those days " the Boulevards " meant to most 
of us nothing more than the space between the present 
opera and the Rue Drouot. But the Credit Lyonnaia 
and other palatial buildings which have been erected 
since were not as much as dreamt of ; if I remember 
rightly, the site of that bank was occupied by two or 
three " Chinese Baths." I suppose the process of 
steaming and cleansing the human body was some- 
thing analogous to that practised in our Turkish baths, 
but I am unable to say from experience, having never 
been inside, and, curious to relate, most of my familiars 
were in a similar state of ignorance. We rarely crossed 
to that side of the boulevard except to go and dine at 
the Cafe Anglais. At the corner of the Rue Lafitte, oppo- 
site the Maison d'Or, was our favourite tobacconist's, 
and the cigars we used to get there were vastly supe- 
rior to those we get at present in Paris at five times 
the cost. The assistant who served us was a splendid 
creature. Alfred de Musset became so enamoured of 
her that at one time his- familiars apprehended an 
" imprudence on his part." Of course, they were afraid 
he would marry her. 

In those days most of our journeys in the interior of 
France had still to be made by the mails of Lafitte- 
Caillard, and the people these conveyances brought 
up from the provinces were almost as great objects 
of curiosity to us as we must have been to them. 
It was the third lustre of Louis-Philippe's reign. 
" God," ace rding to the coinage, " protected France," 
and when the Almighty seemed somewhat tired of the 



126 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

task, Thiers and Guizot alternately stepped in to do 
the safeguarding. Parliament resounded with the 
eloquence of orators who are almost forgotten by now, 
except by students of history ; M. de Genoude was 
clamouring for universal suffrage ; M. de Cormenin, 
under the nom de plume of " U'imon," was the fashion- 
able pamphleteer ; tlie papers indulged in vituperation 
against one another, compared to which the amenities 
of the rival Eatanswill editors were compliments. 
Grocers and drapers objected to the participation of 
M. de Laraartine in the affairs of State. The Figaro of 
those days went by the title of Corsaire-Satan, and, 
though extensively read, had the greatest difficulty in 
making both ends meet. In order to improve the lot 
of the working man, there was a gratuitous distribution 
of sausages once a year on the king's fete-day. The 
ordinary rendezvous of provincial and metropolitan 
actors out of an engagement was not at the Cafe de 
Suede on the Boulevard Montmartre, but under the 
trees at the Palais-Royal. Frederick Leraaitre went to 
confession and to mass every time he *' created " a new 
role. The Legitimists consented to leave their aristo- 
cratic seclusion, and to breathe the same air with the 
bourgeoisie and proletarians of the Boulevard du Crime, 
to see him play. The Government altered the title of 
Sue and Goubeaux's drama " Les Pontons Anglais " into 
" Les Pontons," short, and made the authors change 
the scene from England to Spain. Alexandre Dumas 
chaffed Scribe, and flung his money right and left ; 
while the other saved it, bought country estates, and 
produced as many as twenty plays a year (eight more 
than he had contracted for). The National Guards 
went in uniform and in companies to shoot hares and 



THE HATRED OF THE BOURGEOISIE. 127 

rabbits on the Plaine Saint-Denis, and swaggered 
about on the Boulevards, ogling the women. Vidocq 
kept a private inquiry office in the Passage Vivienne, 
and made more money by blackmailing or catching 
unfaithful husbands than by catching thieves. Bou- 
gival, Asnieres and Joinville-le-Pont had not become 
riparian resorts. The plaster elephant on the Place de 
la Bastille was crumbling to pieces. The sentimental 
romances of Madame Loisa Puget proved the delight 
of every bourgeoise family, while the chorus to every 
popular song was " Larifla, larifla, fla, fla, fla." 

Best of all, from the working man's point of view, 
was the low price of bread and wine ; the latter could 
be had at four sous the litre in the wine-shops. He, 
the working man, still made excursions with his wife 
and children to the Artesian well at Grenelle; and if 
stranded perchance in the Champs-Ely sees, stood lost 
in admiration at the tiny carriage with ponies to 
match, driven by Theophile Gautier, who had left off 
wearing the crimson waistcoats wherewith in former 
days he hoped to annoy the bourgeois, though he 
ceased not to rail at him by word of mouth and with 
his pen. He was not singular in that respect. Among 
his set, the hatred of the bourgeois was ingrained ; it 
found constant vent in small things. Nestor Roqueplan 
wore jackboots at home instead of slippers, because the 
latter chaussure was preferred by the shopkeeper. 
Gavami published the most biting pictorial satires 
against him. Here is one. A dissipated-looking loafer 
is leaning against a lamp-post, contemptuously staring 
at the spruce, trim bourgeois out for his Sunday walk 
with his wife. The loafer is smoking a short clay 
pipe, and some of tlie fumes of the tobacco come 



128 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

between the wind and the bourgeois' respectability. 
" Voyou ! " says the latter contemptuously. " Voyou 
tant que vous voulez, pas epicier," is the answer. 

In those days, when M. Thiers happened to be in 
power, many members of the Opposition and their 
journalistic champions made it a point of organizing 
little gatherings to the table-d'hote kept by Mdlle. 
Thiers, the sister of the Prime Minister of France. 
Her establishment was at the entrance of the present 
Rue Drouot, and a sign-board informed the passer-by 
to that effect. There was invariably an account of these 
little gatherings in next day's papers — of course, with 
comments. Thiers was known to be the most wretched 
shot that ever worried a gamekeeper, and yet he was 
very fond of blazing away. ** We asked Mdlle. Thiers," 
wrote the commentators, '* whether those delicious 
pheasants she gave us were of her illustrious brother's 
bagging. The lady shook her head. * Non, monsieur ; 
le President du Conseil n'a pas I'honneur de fournir 
mon etablissement ; a quoi bon, je peux les acheter a 
meilleur marche que lui et au meme endroit. S'il m'en 
envoyait, il me ferait payer un benefice, parcequ'il ne 
fait jamais rien pour rien. C'est un pen le defaut de 
notre famille.' " I have got a notion that, mercurial as 
was M. Thiers up to the last hour of his life, and even 
more so at that period, and sedate as was M. Guizot, 
the French liked the latter better than the former. 

M. Guizot had said, "Enrichissez vous," and was 
known to be poor ; M. Thiers had scoffed at the advice, 
and was known to be hoarding while compelling his 
sister to earn her own living. It must be remem- 
bered that at the time the gangrene of greed had not 
entered the souls of all classes of Frenchmen so deeply 



A LITERARY CAVt. 129 

as it has now, that the race for wealth had as* 
yet comparatively few votaries, and that not every 
stockjobber and speculator aspired to emulate the 
vast financial transactions of the Rothschilds. The 
latter lived, in those days, in the Rue Lafitte, where 
they had three separate mansions, all of which since 
then have been thrown into one, and are at present 
exclusively devoted to business purposes. The Rue 
Lafitte was, however, a comparatively quiet street. 
The favourite lounges, in addition to the strip of 
Boulevards I have already mentioned, were the Rue 
Le Peletier and the galleries of the Passage de I'Opera. 
Both owed the preference over the other thoroughfares 
to the immediate vicinity of the Opera, which had its 
frontage in the last-named street, but was by no means 
striking or monumental. Its architect, Debret, had to 
run the gauntlet of every kind of satire for many a 
year after its erection ; the bitterest and most scathing 
of all was that, perhaps, of a journalist, who wrote one 
day that, a provincial having asked him the way to the 
grand opera, he had been obliged to answer, "Turn 
down the street, and it is the first large gateway on 
your right." 

But if the building itself was unimposing, the 
company gathered around its entrance consisted 
generally of half a dozen men whose names were then 
already household words in the musical world — Auber, 
Halevy, Rossini and Meyerbeer, St. Georges, Adam. 
Now and then, though rarely together, all of these 
names will frequently reappear in these notes. The 
chief attractions, though, of the Rue Le Peletier 
were the famous Italian restaurant of Paolo Broggi, 
patronized by a great many singers, the favourite haunt 

VOL. I. K 



130 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

of Mario, in the beginning of his career, and I'Esta- 
rainet du Divan, which from being a very simple caf6 
indeed, developed into a kind of politico-literary club 
under the auspices of a number of budding men of 
letters, journalists, and the like, whose modest purses 
were not equal to the charges of the Cafe Kiche and 
Tortoni, and who had gradually driven all more prosaic 
customers away. I believe I was one of the few 
habitues who had no literary aspirations, who did not 
cast longing looks to the inner portals of the offices of 
the National, the bigwigs of which — Armand Marrast, 
Baron Domes, Gerard de Nerval, and others — sometimes 
made their appearance there, though their restaurant 
in ordinary was the Cafe Hardi. The Estaminet du 
Divan, however, pretended to a much more literary 
atmosphere than the magnificent establishment on the 
boulevard itself. It is a positive fact that the waiters 
in the former would ask, in the most respectful way 
imaginable, "Does monsieur want Sue's or Dumas* 
fenilleton with his cafe?" Not once but a dozen 
times I have heard the proprietor draw attention 
to a remarkable article. Major Fraser, though he 
never dined there, spent an hour or two daily in the 
Estaminet du Divan to read the papers. He was a 
great favourite with every one, though none of us knew 
anything about his antecedents. In spite of his English 
name, he was decidedly not English, though he spoke 
the language. He was one of the best-dressed men of 
the period, and by a well-dressed man I do not mean 
one like Sue. He generally wore a tight-fitting, short- 
skirted, blue frock-coat, grey trousers, of a shape which 
since then we have defined as "pegtops," but the 
fashion of which was borrowed from the Cossacks. 



MAJOR FRASER. 131 

They are still worn by some French officers in cavalry 
reofiments, notably crack cavalry regiments. 

Major Fraser might have fitly borrowed Piron's 
epitaph for himself: '*Je ne suis rien, pas meme 
Acad6micien." He was a bachelor. He never alluded 
to bis parentage. He lived by himself, in an entresol 
at the corner of the Rue Lafitte and the Boulevard 
des Italiens. He was always flush of money, though 
the sources of his income were a mystery to every one. 
He certainly did not live by gambling, as has been 
suggested since; for those who knew him best did 
not remember having seen him touch a card. 

I have always had an idea, though I can give no 
reason for it, that Major Fraser was the illegitimate 
son of some exalted personage, and that the solution of 
the mystery surrounding him might be found in the 
records of the scandals and intrigues at the courts 
of Charles IV. and Ferdinand VII. of Spain. The 
foreign " soldiers of fortune " who rose to high posts, 
though not to the highest like Richards and O'Reilly, 
were not all of Irish origin. But the man himself was 
80 pleasant in his intercourse, so uniformly gentle and 
ready to oblige, that no one- cared to lift a veil which 
he was so evidently anxious not to have disturbed. 
I only remember his getting out of temper once, 
namely, when Leon Gozlan, in a comedy of his, intro- 
duced a major who had three crosses. The first had 
been given to him because he had not one, the second 
because he had already one, and tlie third because all 
good things consist of three. Then Major Fraser sent 
his seconds to the playwright; the former effected a 
reconciliation, the more that Gozlan pledged his word 
that an allusion to the major was farthest from his 



132 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

thoughts. It afterwards leaked out that our irrepres- 
sible Alexandre Dumas had been the involuntary cause 
of all the mischief. One day, while he was talking to 
Gozlan, one of his secretaries came in and told him 
that a particular bugbear of his, and a great nonentity 
to boot, had got the Cross of the Legion of Honour. 

"Grand Dieu," exclaimed Gozlan, "pourquoi lui 
a-t-on donne cette croix ? " 

" Vous ne savez pas ? " said Alexandre, looking very 
wise, as if he had some important state secret to 
reveal. 

" Assurement, je ne le sais pas," quoth Gozlan, " ni 
vous non plus." 

" Ah, par exemple, moi, je le sais." 

" He bien, dites alors." 

" On lui a donne la croix parceque il n'en avait pas." 

It was the most childish of all tricks, but Gozlan 
laughed at it, and, when he wrote his piece, remembered 
it. He amplified the very small joke, and, on the first 
night of his play, the house went into convulsions 
over it. 

Major Fraser's kindness and gentleness extended to 
all men — except to professional politicians, and those, 
from the highest to the lowest, he detested and 
despised. He rarely spoke on the subject of politics, 
but when he did every one sat listening with the raptest 
attention ; for he was a perfect mine of facts, which he 
marshalled with consummate ability in order to show 
that government by party was of all idiotic institutions 
the most idiotic. But his knowledge of political 
history was as nothing to his familiarity with the 
social institutions of every civilized country and of 
every period. Curiously enough, the whole of his 



A MYSTERIOUS ORIENTAL. 133 

library in his own apartment did not exceed two or 
three scores of volumes. His memory was something 
prodigious, and even men like Dumas and Balzac con- 
fessed themselves his inferiors in that respect. The 
mere mention of the most trifling subject sufliced to set 
it in motion, and the listeners were treated to a** maga- 
zine article worth fifty centimes la ligne au moins," as 
Duraas put it. But the major could never be induced 
to write one. Strange to say, he often used to hint 
that his was no mere book-knowledge. "Of course, 
it is perfectly ridiculous," he remarked with a strange 
smile, " but every now and again I feel as if all this 
did not come to me through reading, but from personal 
experience. At times I become almost convinced that 
I lived with Nero, that I knew Dante personally, and 
so forth." 

"When Major Fraser died, not a single letter was 
found in his apartment giving a clae to his antecedents. 
Merely a file of receipts, and a scrap of paper attached 
to one — the receipt of the funeral company for his 
grave, and expenses of his burial. The memorandum 
gave instructions to advertise his demise for a week in 
the Journal des Dehdts, the money for which would be 
found in the drawer of his dressing-table. His clothes 
and furniture were to be sold, and the proceeds to be 
given to the Paris poor. " I do not charge any one 
with this particular duty," the document went on ; "I 
have so many friends, every one of whom will be ready 
to carry out my last wishes." 

Another " mystery," though far less interesting than 
Major Fraser, was the Persian gentleman whom one 
met everywhere, at the Opera, at the Bois de Boulogne, 
at the concerts of the Conservatoire, etc. Though 



134 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

invariably polite and smiling, he never spoke to any 
one. For ten years, the occupant of the stall next to 
his at the Opera had never heard him utter a syllable. 
He always wore a long white silk petticoat, a splendidly 
embroidered coat over that, and a conical Astrakan 
cap. He was always alone ; and though every one knew 
where he lived, in the Passage de I'Opera, no one had 
ever set foot in his apartment. As a matter of course, 
all sorts of legends were current about him. Accord- 
ing to some, he had occupied a high position in his 
own country, from which he had voluntarily exiled 
himself, owing to his detestation of Eastern habits; 
according to others, he was simply a dealer in Indian 
shawls, who had made a fortune. A third group, the 
spiteful ones, maintained that he sold dates and 
pastilles, and that the reason why he did not speak 
was because he was dumb, though not deaf. He died 
during the Second Empire, very much respected in the 
neighbourhood, for he had been very charitable. 

Towards the middle of the forties the Passage de 
rOpera began to lose some of its prestige as a lounge. 
The outside stockjobbers, whom the police had driven 
from the Boulevards and the steps of Tortoni, migrated 
thither, and the galleries that had resounded with the 
sweet warblings — in a very low key — of the clients of 
Bernard Latte, the publisher of Donizetti's operas, 
were made hideous and unbearable with the jostling 
and bellowing of the money-spinners. Bernard Latte 
himself was at last compelled to migrate. 

In the house the ground-floor of which was occupied 
by Tortoni, and which was far different in aspect from 
what it is now, lived Louis Blanc. Towards nine in the 
morning he came down for his cup of cafe au lait. 



\ 



LOUIS BLANC. 135 

It was the first cup of coflfee of the day served in the 
establishment. I was never on terms of intimacy with 
Blanc, and least of all then, for I shared with Major 
Fraser a dislike to politic-mongers, and, rightly or 
wrongly, I have always considered the author of 
" L'Histoire de Dix Ans " as such. Though Louis 
Blanc was three or four and thirty then, he looked 
like a boy of seventeen — a fact not altogether owing 
to his diminutive stature, though he was one of the 
smallest men, if not the smallest man, I ever saw. Of 
course I mean a man not absolutely a dwarf. I have 
been assured, however, that h^ was a giant compared 
to Don Martinez Garay, Duke of Altamira, and 
Marquis of Astorga, a Spanish statesman, who died 
about the early part of the twenties. These notes do 
not extend beyond the fall of the Commune, and it 
was only after that event that I met M. Blanc once or 
twice in his old haunts. Hence my few recollections 
of him had better be jotted down here. They are not 
important. The man, though but sixty, and apparently 
not in bad health, looked desillusione. They were, 
no doubt, the most trying years to the Third Kepublic, 
but M. Blanc must have perceived well enough that, 
granting all the existiag difficulties, the men at the 
head of affairs were not the Republicans of his dreams. 
He had, moreover, suffered severe losses ; all his im- 
portant documents, such as the correspondence between 
him and George Sand and Louis-Napoleon while the 
latter was at Ham, and other equally valuable matter, 
had been destroyed at the fire of the Northern Goods 
Station at La Villette, a fire kindled by the Communists. 
He was dressed almost in the fashion of the forties, a 
widc'skirted, long, brown frockcoat, a shirt innocent of 



136 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

starch, and a broad-brimmed hat. A few years later, 
he founded a paper, L'Eomme-Libre, the oflSces of which 
were in the Kue Grange-Bateliere. The concern was 
financed by a Polish gentleman. Blanc gave his 
readers to understand that he would speak out plainly 
about persons and thiogs, whether past or present; 
that he would advance nothing except on docu- 
mentary proofs ; but that, whether he did or not, 
he would not be badgered into giving or accepting 
challenges in defence of his writings. " I am, first of 
all, too old, " he said ; " but if I were young again, I 
should not repeat my folly of '47, when I wanted to 
fight with Eugene Pelletan on account of a woman 
whose virtue, provided she had any, could make no 
difference to either of us. It does not matter to me 
that we were not the only preux chevaliers of that 
period, ready to do battle for or against the charms 
of a woman whose remains had crumbled to dust by 
then." * 

* M. Eugene Pelletan, the father of M. Camille Pelletan, the editor 
of La Justice, and first lieutenant to M. Clemenceau, having severely 
criticized some passages in M. Blanc's "Histoire de la Revolu- 
tion," relating to Marie-Antoinette, the author quoted a passage 
of Madame Campan's " Memoires " in support of his writings. The 
critic refused to admit the conclusiveness of the proof, whereupon 
M. Blanc appealed to the Societe des Gens de Lettres, which, on the 
summing up of M. Taxile Delord, gave a verdict in his favour. M. 
Pelletan declined to submit to the verdict, as he had refused to admit 
tlie jurisdiction, of the tribunal. M. Blanc, who had at first scouted 
all idea of a duel, considered himself obliged to resort to this means 
of obtaining satisfaction, seeing that M. Pelletan stoutly maintained 
his opinion. A meeting had been arranged when the Revolution of 
'48 broke out. The opponents having both gone to the H6tel-de- 
Ville, met by accident at the entrance, and fell into one another's 
arms. " Thank Heaven ! " exclaimed Thiers, when he heard of it. 
" If Pelletan had killed Blanc, I should have been the smallest man 
in France." 

M. Blanc's allusion to other "preux chevaliers" aimed particularly 
at M. Cousin, who, having become a minister against his will, resumed 
with a sigh of relief his studies under the Second Empire. He was 



LOUIS BLANC AS AN EDITOR. 137 

M. Blanc's boast that he would advance nothing 
except on proof positive was not an idle one, as his 
contributors found out to their cost. Every afternoon, 
at three, he arrived at the office to read the paper in 
proof from the first line to the last. Not the slightest 
inaccuracy was allowed to pass. Kind as he was, his 
reporters' lives became a burden. One of the latter 
told me a story which, though it illustrates the ridicu- 
lousness of M. Blanc's scruples when carried too far, 
is none the less valuable. A dog had been run 
over on the Boulevards, and the reporter, with a 
hankering after the realistic method, had endeavoured 
to reproduce onomatopoeically the sounds uttered by 
the animal in pain. 

" Are you quite sure, monsieur, about your sounds ? " 
asked Blanc 

" Of course, I am as sure as a non-scientific man can 
be," was the answer. 

" Then strike them out ; one ought to be scientifically 
sure. By-the-by, I see you have made use of the word 
• howl ' (Jiurler). Unless I am mistaken, a dog when 
in pain yelps {glapit). Please alter it." 

On another occasion, on going through the advertise- 
ments, he found a new one relating to a cough mixture, 
setting forth its virtues in the most glowiug terms. 

especially fond of the seventeenth century, and all at once he, who had 
scarcely ever noticed a pretty woman, became violently smitten with 
the Duchesse de Longueville, who had been in her grave for nearly 
two centuries. He positively invested her with every perfection, 
moral and mental; uafortunately, lie could not invest her with a 
shapely bust, the evidence being too overwhelmingly against her 
having been adorned that way. One day some one showed him a 
portrait of the sister of the "grand Condi," in which she was amply 
provided with the cliarms the absence of which M. Cousin regretted. 
Ho wrote a special chapter on tlie subject, and was well-nigh ehalleng- 
ing all his contradictors.— EsixoB. 



138 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

Immediately the advertisement canvasser was sent for, 
M. Blanc having refused to farm out that department 
to an agency, as is frequently done in Paris, in order 
to retain the absolute control over it. 

" Monsieur, I see that you have a new advertisement, 
and it seems to me a profitable one ; still, before insert- 
ing it, I should like to be certain that the medicine 
does all it professes to do. Can you personally vouch 
for its efficiency ? " 

" Mon Dieu, monsieur, I believe it does all it pro- 
fesses to do, but you can scarcely expect me to run 
ihe risk of bronchitis in order to test it upon myself ! " 

" Heaven forbid that I should be so exacting and 
indifferent to other people's health, but until you can 
bring me some one who has been cured, we will not 
insert it." 

Let me come back for a moment to that sentence of 
Louis Blanc, about the practice of duelling, in con- 
nection with one of the most tragic affairs of that 
kind within my recollection. I am alluding to the 
Dujarrier-Beauvallon duel. I have been in the habit 
for years, whenever an important meeting took place 
in France, to read every shade of English opinion on 
the subject ; and while recognizing the elevated sen- 
timents of the writers, I have no hesitation in saying 
that not a single one knew what he was writing about. 
They could not grasp the fact that for a man of social 
standing to refuse a challenge or to refrain from 
sending one, save under very exceptional circumstances, 
was tantamount to courting social death. They knew 
not that every door would henceforth be closed against 
him ; that his wife's best friends would cease to call 
upon her, by direction of their husbands ; that his 



DUELS. 139 

children at school would be shunned by their comrades ; 
that no young man of equal position to his, were he 
ever so much in love with hLs daughter, would ask her 
to become his wife, that no parents would allow their 
daughter to marry his son. That is what backing 
out of a duel meant years ago; that is what it still 
means to-day — of course, I repeat, with certain classes. 
Is it surprising, then, that with such a prospect facing 
him, a man should risk death rather than become a 
pariah ? Would the English leader-writer, if he be a 
man of worth, like to enter his club-room without a 
hand held out to welcome him from those with whom 
he was but a few weeks ago on the most friendly 
footing, witliout a voice to give him the time of day ? 
I think not ; and that is what would happen if he were 
a Frenchman who neglected to ask satisfaction for even 
an imaginary insult. 

I knew M. Dujarrier, the general manager of La 
Presse, and feel convinced that he was not a bit more 
quarrelsome or eager ** to go out " than Louis Blanc. 
It is, moreover, certain that he felt his inferiority, both 
as a swordsman and as a marksman, to such a practised 
shot and fencer as M. de Beauvallon ; and well he 
might, seeing that subsequent evidence proved that 
he, Dujarrier, had never handled either weapon. Yet 
he not only strenuously opposed all attempts on the 
part of his friends to effect a reconciliation, but would 
not afford a hint to his adversary of his want of skill, 
lest the latter should make him a present of his life. 
The present would not have been worth accepting. 
It would have been a Nessus-shirt, and caused the 
moral death of the recipient. Consequently, Dujarrier 
literally went like a lamb to the slaughter rather than 



140 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

be branded as a coward, and he made no secret of his 
contemplated sacrifice. " I have no alternative but 
to fio:ht," he said, two days before the meeting, to 
Alexandre Dumas, who taxed all his own ingenuity, 
and that of his son, to- prevent, at any rate, a fatal 
issue. The only way to effect this, according to the 
very logical reasoning of the two Dumases, was to 
induce Dujarrier, who, as the offended party, had the 
choice of weapons, to choose the sword. They counted 
upon the generosity of Beauvallon, who, as a gentle- 
man, on discovering his adversary's utter lack of skill, 
would disarm, or inflict a slight wound on him. Un- 
fortunately, young Dumas, with the best intentions, 
unburthened himself to that effect among those most 
interested in the affair, namely, the staffs of La Presse 
and Le Globe. These two journals were literally at 
daggers drawn, and some writers connected with the 
latter went hinting, if not saying openly, that 
Dujarrier was already showing the white feather. 
Whether Dujarrier heard of the comments in that 
shape, or whetiier he instinctively guessed what they 
would be, has never been clearly made out, but it is 
certain that from that moment he insisted upon the 
use of pistols. "I do not intend my adversary to 
show me the slightest favour, either by disarming me 
or by wounding me in the arm or leg. I mean to have 
a serious encounter," he said. Young Dumas, 
frightened perhaps at his want of reticence in the 
matter, begged his father to go and see Grisier,* and 
claim his intervention. Alexandre Dumas, than whom 
no stauncher friend ever existed, who would have 

* The great fencing-maBter, whom Dumas immortalized in his 
"Maltre d'Armes."— Editor. 



EMILE DE GIRARDIN ON DUELLING. 141 

willingly risked his own life to save that of Dujarrier, 
had to decline the mission suggested by his son, " I 
cannot do it," he said ; " the first and foremost thing 
is to safeguard Dujarrier's reputation, which is the 
more precious because it is his first duel." 

" His first duel," — here is the key-note to the 
whole of the proceedings as far as Dujarrier and his 
personal friends were concerned. Had Dujarrier been 
in the position of the editor of his paper, Emile de 
Girardin, — had he been out before and killed or severely 
wounded his man, as the latter killed Armand Carrel 
nine years before, — he might have openly announced 
his determination " never to go out again " under no 
matter what provocation. Unfortunately, Dujarrier 
was not in that position ; in fact, it is no exaggeration 
to say that Dujarrier paid the penalty of M. de 
Girardin's decision. A great deal. of mawkish senti- 
ment has been wasted upon the tragic fate of Armand 
Carrel ; in reality, he had what he deserved, albeit 
that no one more than M. de Girardin himself regretted 
his untimely end. Most writers will tell one that 
Carrel fell a victim to his political opinions ; nothing 
is farther from the truth. Armand Carrel fell a victim 
to a "question of shop "of which he allowed himself, 
though perhaps not deliberately, to become the 
champion. After many attempts, more or less success- 
ful, in the way of popular journalism, M. de Girardin, 
in 1836, started La Presse, a serious journal of the same 
size as the then existing ones, but at half the sub- 
scription of the latter, all of which absolutely banded 
at once against him. Armand Carrel, who was a 
soldier, and a valiant soldier, a writer of talent, and 
a gentleman to boot, ought to have stood aloof from 



142 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

that kind of polemics. Emile de Girardin was not the 
likely man to submit to open or implied insult. His 
best, albeit his least-known, book, " Emile," which is 
as it were an autobiography, had given the measure of 
his thoughts on the subject of duelling. "Emile" 
goes into society as a soldier would go into an enemy's 
country. Not that he is by nature cruel or blood- 
thirsty, but he knows that, to hold his own, he must be 
always ready, not only for defence, but for attack. 

" The secret one is bound to preserve with regard 
to the preparations for a meeting, and those prepa- 
rations themselves are simply horrible. The care, 
the precautions to be taken, the secret which is not 
to leak out, all these are very like the preparations 
for a crime," he says. "Nevertheless," he goes on, 
"the horror of all this disappears, when the man, 
impelled by hatred or resentment, is thirsting for 
revenge ; but when the heart is absolutely without 
gall, and when the imagination is still subject to all 
the softer emotions, then, in order not to recoil with 
fear at the ever horrible idea of a duel, a man must 
be imbued with all the force of a prejudice which 
resists the very laws that condemn it." 

It was under the latter circumstances that M. de 
Girardin confronted his adversary. The two men had 
probably never exchanged a word with one another, 
they felt no personal animosity ; nay, more, the duel 
was not an inevitable one ; and yet it cost one man his 
life, and burthened the other with lifelong regrets. 

Had the issue been different. La Presse would 
probably have disappeared, and all recrimination 
ceased. As it was, unable to goad M. de Girardin 
into a reversal of his decision "never to go out 



A CELEBRATED ENCOUNTER. 143 

again," and that in spite of nine years of direct 
insult from a so-called political party, of every kind 
of quasi-legal vexation, M. de Beauvallon consti- 
tuted himself a second Armand Carrel, selecting 
Dujarrier as his victim, the chief not being available. 
But here all resemblance to Armand Carrel ceased, 
and the law itself was anxious to mark the diflference. 
In the one case it had been set at nought by two 
men of undoubted courage and undoubted honour, 
meeting upon equal terras ; in the other, it was 
j)roved that, not content with Dujarrier's well-known 
inferiority, De Beauvallon's pistols had been tried 
before the encounter. The court could take no cog- 
nizance of this, but it marked its disapproval by 
sentencing Beauvallon to eight years', and one of his 
seconds, M. d'Ecqnevilley, to ten years' imprison- 
ment for perjury. Both had declared on oath that 
the pistols had not been tried. The Dujarrier duel 
caused a deep and painful sensation. I have dwelt 
upon it at greater length than was absolutely 
necessary, because it inspired me with a resolution 
from which I have never departed since. I was 
twenty-seven at the time, and, owing to circumstances 
which I need not relate here, foresaw that the greater 
part of my life would be spent in France. I am 
neither more courageous nor more cowardly than most 
persons, but I objected to be shot down like a mad 
dog on the most futile pretext because some one 
happened to have a grudge against me. To have de- 
clined "to go out" on the score of my nationality 
would not have met the case in the conditions in 
which I was living, so from that moment I became 
an assiduous client at Gosset's shooting-gallery, and 



144 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

took fencing lessons of Grisier. I do not know that 
I became very formidable with either weapon, only 
sufficiently skilled not to be altogether defenceless. 
I took care at the same time to let it go forth that a 
duel to me not only meant one or both parties so 
severely wounded as not to be able to continue the 
struggle, but the resumption of the combat, when he 
or they had recovered, until one was killed. Of course, 
it implied that I would only go out for a sufficiently 
weighty reason, but that, if compelled to do so for a 
trifling one, I would still adhere to my original reso- 
lution. Only once, more than twelve years afterwards, 
I had a quarrel fastened upon me, arising out of the 
excitement consequent upon the attempt of Orsini. 
I was the offended party, and, as such, could dictate 
the conditions of the meeting. I declined to modify 
in the least the rules I had laid down for my own 
guidance, and stated as much to those who were to 
act for me — General Fleury and Alexandre Dumas. 
My adversary's friends refused to accept the terms. 
I was never molested afterwards, though an English- 
man had not always a pleasant life of it, even under 
the Second Empire. 

In connection with Dujarrier's duel, I may say a 
few words here of that quasi-wonderful woman, Lola 
Montes. I say " quasi," because really there was 
nothing wonderful about her, except perhaps her 
beauty and her consummate impudence. She had 
not a scrap of talent of any kind ; education she had 
none, for, whether she spoke in English, French, or 
Spanish, grammatical errors abounded, and her ex- 
pressions were always those of a pretentious house- 
maid, unless they were those of an excited fishwife. 



LOLA MOXTteS, 145 

She told me that she had been at a boarding school 
in Bath, and that she was a native of Limerick, but 
that when quite a child she was taken to Seville by 
her parents. Her father, accordin<^ to her account, 
was a Spaniard, her mother a Creole. *' But I scan- 
dalized every one at school, and would not learn." 
I could quite believe that ; what I could not believe 
was that a girl of her quick powers — for she un- 
doubtedly possessed those — could have spent, how- 
ever short a time in the society of decent girls of 
her own age, let alone of presumedly refined school- 
mistresses, without having acquired some elementary 
notions of manner and address. Her gait and carriage 
were those of a duchess, for she was naturally graceful, 
but the moment she opened her lips, the illusion 
vanished — at least to me ; for I am bound to admit 
that men of far higher intellectual attainments than 
mine, and familiar with very good society, raved and 
kept raving about her, though all those defects could 
not have failed to strike them as they had struck me. 
I take it that it must have been her beauty, for, though 
not devoid of wit, her wit was that of the pot-house, 
which would not have been tolerated in the smoking- 
room of a club in the small hours. 

When Dujarrier was carried home dying to tlie 
Kue Lafitte, a woman flung herself on the body and 
covered his face with kisses. That woman was Lola 
Montes. In his will he left her eighteen shares in the 
Palais-Royal Theatre, amounting in value to about 
20,000 francs. She insisted afterwards in appearing as 
a witness at the trial at Rouen, although her evidence 
threw not the slightest light upon the matter. She 
wanted to create a sensation; and she accomplished 

VOL. I. L 



146 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PAKIS. 

her aim. I was there, and though the court was 
crowded with men occupying the foremost ranks in 
literature, art, and Paris society, no one attracted the 
attention she did. Even the sober president and 
assessors sat staring at her open-mouthed when she 
took her stand behind the little rail which does duty 
for a witness-box in France. She was dressed in 
mourning — not the deepest, but soft masses of silk 
and lace — and when she lifted her veil and took off 
her glove to take the prescribed oath, a murmur of 
admiration ran through the court. That is why she 
had undertaken the journey to Rouen, and verily she 
had her reward. 

It was on that occasion that I became acquainted, 
though quite by accident, with the young man who, 
ten or eleven years later, was to leap into fame all of 
a sudden with one novel. I have already said that 
the court was very crowded, and next to me was 
standing a tall, strapping fellow, somewhat younger 
than myself, whom, at the first glance, one would have 
taken to be an English country gentleman or well-to- 
do farmer's son. Such mistakes are easily made in 
Normandy. AVhen Lola Montes came forward to give 
her evidence, some one on the other side of him 
remarked that she looked like the heroine of a novel. 

" Yes," he replied ; " but the heroines of the real novels 
enacted in everyday life do not always look like that." 

Then he turned to me, having seen me speak to 
several people from Paris and in company of Alex- 
andre Dumas and Berryer, whom everybody knew. 
He asked me some particulars about Lola Montes, 
which I gave him. I found him exceedingly well- 
informed. We chatted for a while. When he left 



SHE TELLS HER OWN STORY. 147 

he handed me his card, and hoped that we should see 
one another again. The card bore the simple super- 
scription of " Gustave Flaubert." I was told during 
the evening that he was the son of a local physician 
of note. Twelve years later the whole of France rang 
with his name. He had written *•' Madame Bovary," 
and laid the foundation of what subsequently became 
the ultra-realistic school of French fiction. 

To return for a moment to Lola Montes. The trial 
was really the starting-point of her notoriety, for, in 
spite of her beauty, she had been at one time reduced 
to sing in the streets in Brussels. That was after she 
had fled from Calcutta, whither her first husband, a 
captain or lieutenant James, in the service of the 
East India Company, had taken her. She landed at 
Southampton, and, during her journey to London, 
managed to ingratiate herself with an English 
nobleman, by pretending that she was the wife of a 
Spanish soldier who had been stiot by the Carlists. 
She told me all tliis herself, because she was not in 
the least reticent about her scheming, especially after 
her scheming had failed. She would, however, not 
divulge the name of her i,ra veiling companion, who 
tried to befriend her by introducing her to some of his 
acquaintances, with the view of obtaining singing 
lessons for her. " But I did not make my expenses, 
because you English are so very moial and my patron 
was suspected of not giving himself all that trouble 
for nothing. Besides, they managed to ferret out that 
I was not the widow of a Spanish officer, but the wife 
of an English one ; and then, as you may imagine, it 
was all up. I got, however, an engagement at the 
Opera House in the ballet, but not for long ; of course. 



148 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

1 could not dance much, but I could dance as well 
as half your wooden ugly women that were there. 
But they told tales about me, and the manager dis- 
missed me.* 

• The English nobleman must have been Lord Malmesbury, who 
alludes to her as follows : " This was a most remarkable woman, and 
may be said by her conduct at Munich to have set fire to the magazine 
of revolution, which was ready to burst forth all over Europe, and 
which made the year 1848 memorable. I made her acquaintance by 
accident, as I was going up to London from Heron Court, in tlie 
railway. 'I'he Consul at Southampton asked me to take charge of a 
Spanish lady who had been recommended to his care, and who had 
just landed. I consented to do this, and was introduced by him to a 
remarkably handsome person, who was in deep mourning, and who 
appeared to be in great distress. As we were alone in the carriage, 
she, of her own accord, informed me, in bad English, that she was the 
widow of Don Diego Leon, who had lately been shot by the Carlists 
after he was taken prisoner, and that she was going to London to sell 
some Spanish property that she possessed, and give lessons in singing, 
as she was very poor. On arriving in London slie took some lodgings, 
and came to my house to a little concert which I gave, and sang some 
Spanish ballads. Her accent was foreign, and she had all the appearance 
of being what she pretended to be. She sold different things, such as 
veils, etc., to the party present, and received a good deal of patronage. 
Eventually she took an engagement for the ballet at the Opera House, 
but her dancing was very inferior. At last she was recognized as an 
impostor, her real name bein<^ Mrs. James, and Irish by extraction, 
and had married an oflBcer in India. Her engagement at the Opera 
was cancelled, she left the country, and retired to Munich. She was a 
very vioh nt woman, and actually struck one of the Bavarian generals 
as he was reviewing the troops. The king became perfectly infatuated 
with her beauty and cleverness, and gave her large sums of money, 
with a title, which she afterwards bore when she returned to England." 
(" Memoirs of an Ex-minister," by the Earl of Malmesbury.) 

Lord Malmesbury is wrong in nearly every particular which he has 
got from hearsay. Lola Montes did not retire to Munich after her 
engagement at the Opera House had been cancelled, but to Brussels, 
and from there to Warsaw. Nor did she play the all-important part 
in the Bavarian riots or revolution he ascribes to her. The author of 
these notes has most of the particulars of Lola Montes' career previous 
to her appearance in Munich from her own lips, and, as he has already 
said, she was not in the least reticent about her scheming, especially 
when her scheming had failed. For the story of the events at Munich, 
I gather inferentially from his notes that he is indebted to Karl von 
Abel, King Ludwig's ultramontane minister, who came afterwards 
to Paris, and who, if I mistake not, was the father or the uncle of Herr 
von Abel, the Berlin correspondent of the 'limes, some fourteen or 
fifteen years ago. — Editor. 



ROYAL CONJUGAL FELICITY. 149 

She fostered no illusions with regard to her chore- 
graphic talents ; in fact, she fostered no illusions about 
anything, and her candour was the best trait in her 
character. She had failed as a dancer in Warsaw, 
whither she had gone from London, by way of Brussels. 
In the Belgian capital, according to her own story, 
she had been obliged to sing in the streets to keep 
from starvation. I asked her why she had not come 
from London to Paris, "where, for a woman of her 
attractions, and not hampered by many scruples," as 
I pointed out to her, " there were many more resources 
than elsewhere." The answer was so characteristic 
of the daring adventuress, who, notwithstanding her 
irapecuniosity, flew at the highest game to be had, 
that I transcribe it in full. I am often reluctant to 
trust to my memory : in this instance I may ; I 
remember every word of it. This almost illiterate 
schemer, who probably had not the remotest notion of 
geography, of history, had pretty well " the Almanach 
de Gotha " by heart, and seemed to guess instinctively 
at things which said Almanach carefully abstained from 
mentioning, namely, the good understanding or the 
reverse between the married royal couples of Europe, etc. 

"Why did not I come to Paris!" sho replied. 
" What was the good of coming to Paris where 
there was a king, bourgeois to his finger-nails, tight- 
fisted besides, and notoriously the most moral and 
best father all the world over ; with princes who were 
nearly as much married as their dad, and with those 
who were single far away ? What was the good of 
coming to a town where you could not bear the title 
of ' la maitresse du prince ' without the risk of being 
taken to the frontier between two gendarmes, where 



150 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

you could not have squeezed a thousand luuis out of 
any of the royal sons for the life of you ? What was 
the good of tryino^ to get a count, where the wife of 
a grocer or a shoemaker might have objected to your 
presence at a ball, on the ground of your being an 
immoral person ? No, I really meant to make my way 
to the Hague. I had heard that William II. whacked 
his wife like any drunken labourer, so that his sons 
had to interfere every now and then. I had heard 
this in Calcutta, and from folk who were likely to 
know. But as I thought that I might have the 
succession of the whacks, as well as of the lord, I 
wanted to try my chance at Brussels first; besides, 
I hadn't much money." 

"But King Leopold is married, and lives very happily 
with his wife," I interrupted. 

" Of course he does — they all do," was the answer ; 
"mais pa n'empeche pas les sentiments, does it? I 
am very ignorant, and haven't a bit of memory, but 
I once heard a story about a Danish or Swedish king 
— I do not know the difference — who married an 
adventuress like myself, though the queen and the 
mother of his heir was alive. He committed bigamy, 
but kings and queens may do things we mayn't. One 
day, he and his lawful wife were at one of their country 
seats, and, leaning out of the window, when a carriage 
passed with a good-looking woman in it, * Who is this 
lady?' asked the queen. 'That's my wife,' replied 
the king. ' Your wife ! what am I, then ? ' said the 
queen. ' You ? well, you are my queen.' * 

"Never mind, whatever my intentions on Leopold's 

* Lola Monies was perfectly correct. It was Frederick lY. of 
Denmark, only the woman was not an adventuress like herself, but 
tlic Countess Eeventlow, whom he had abducted. — Editor. 



HER WANDERINGS. 151 

money or aflfections may have been, they came to 
nothing; for before I could get as much as a peep at 
him, my money had all been spent, and I was obliged 
to part with my clothes first, and then to sing in the 
streets to get food. I was taken from Brussels to 
Warsaw by a man whom I believe to be a German. 
He spoke many languages, but he was not very well 
off himself. However, he was very kind, and, when 
we got to Warsaw, managed to get me an engagement 
at the Opera. After two or three days, the director 
told me that I couldn't dance a bit. I stared him foil 
in the face, and asked him whether he thought that, 
if I could dance, I would have come to such a hole 
as his theatre. Tiiereupon he laughed, and said I was 
a clever girl for all that, and that he would keep me 
on for ornament. I didn't give him the chance for 
long. I left after about two months, with a Polish 
gentleman, who brought me to Paris. The moment I 
get a nice round lump sum of money, I am going to 
carry out my original plan ; that is, trying to hook a 
prince. I am sick of being told that I can't dance. 
They told me so in London, they told me in Warsaw, 
they told me at the Porte Saint-Martin where they 
hissed me. I don't think the men, if lett to themselves, 
would hiss me ; their wives and their daughters put 
them up to it : a woman like myself spoils their trade 
of honest women. I am only waiting my chance 
here ; for though you are all very nice and generous 
and all that kind of thing, it is not what I want." 

Shortly after this conversation, the death of Dujarrier 
and his legacy to her gave her the chance she had 
been looking for. She left for Loudon, I heard, with 
an Englishman ; but I never saw him, so I cannot say 



152 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

for certain. But, it appears, site did not stay long', 
because, a little while after, several Parisians, on their 
return from Germany, reported that they had met her 
at Wiesbaden, at Homburg, and elsewhere, punting in 
a small way, not settling down anywhere, and almost 
deliberately avoiding both Frenchmen and Englishmen. 
The rumour went that her husband was on her track, 
and that her anxiety to avoid him had caused her 
to leave London hurriedly. In spite of her chequered 
career, in spite of the shortcomings at Brussels, Lola 
Montes was by no means anxious for the " sweet yoke 
of domesticity." In another six months, her name was 
almost forgotten by all of us, except by Alexandre 
Dumas, who now and then alluded to her. Though 
iar from superstitious, Dumas, who had been as much 
smitten with her as most of her admirers, avowed that 
he was glad she had disappeared. *' She has *the evil 
eye,' " he said ; " and sure to bring bad luck to any one 
who closely links his destiny with hers, for however 
short a time. You see what has occurred to Dujarrier. 
If ever she is heard of again, it will be in connection 
with some terrible calamity that has befallen a lover 
of hers." We all laughed at him, except Dr. Veron, 
who could have given odds to Solomon Eagle himself 
at prophesying. Fortunately he was generally afraid 
to open his lips, for he was thoroughly sincere in his 
belief that he could prevent the event by not predicting 
it — at any rate aloud. For once in a way, however, 
Alexandre Dumas proved correct. When we did hear 
again of Lola Montes, it was in connection with the 
disturbances that had broken out at Munich, and the 
abdication of her royal lover, Louis I. of Bavaria, in 
favour of his eldest son, Maximilian. 



I 



LOLA AND LOUIS L OF BAVARIA. 153 

The substance of the following notes relating to 
said disturbances was communicated to me by a 
political personage who played a not inconsiderable 
part in the events themselves. As a rule it is not very 
safe to take interested evidence of that kind, " but in 
this instance," as my informant put it, " there was really 
no political reputation to preserve, as far as he was 
concerned." Lola Montes had simply tried to over- 
throw him as Madame Dubarry overthrew the Due de 
Choiseul, because he would not become her creature ; 
and she had kept on repeating the tactics with every 
succeeding ministry, even that of her own making. 
But it should be remembered that revolution was in 
the air in the year '48, and that if T^ola Montes had 
been the most retiring of favourites, or Louis I. the most 
moral of kings, the uprising would have happened just 
the same, though the upshot might have been different 
•with regard to Louis himself. 

Here is a portrait of him, which, in my literary 
ignorance, I think sufficiently interesting to reproduce. 

" Louis was a chip of the old Wittelsbach block ; 
that is, a Lovelace, with a touch of the minnesing&r 
about him. Age had not damped his ardour; for, 
though he was sixty-one when Lola Montes took up 
her quarters at Munich, any and every "beauty" that 
came to him was sure of an enthusiastic welcome. And 
Heaven alone knows how many had come to him 
during his reign ; they seemed really directed to him 
from every quarter of the globe. The new arrival had 
her portrait painted almost immediately ; it was added 
to the collection for which a special gallery had been 
set apart, and whither Louis went to meditate by him- 
self at least once a day. He averred that he went 



154 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

thither for poetic inspiration, for he took himself an 
serieux as a poet, and, above all, as a classical poet, 
modelling his verse upon those of ancient times. He 
had published a volume of poems, entitled * Walhalla's 
Genossen ; ' * but his principal study of antiquity was 
mainly confined to the rites connected, with the worship 
of Venus. He Mas very good-natured and pleasant in 
his dealings with every one ; he had not an ounce of 
gall in the whole of his body. He was, moreover, very 
religious in his own way, and consequently the tool of 
the Jesuits, who really governed the kingdom, but who 
endeavoured to make his own life sweet and pleasant 
to him. They liked him to take part in the religious 
processions, as any burgher of devout tendencies might, 
but being aware of his tendency to be attracted by the 
first pretty face he caught sight of, they took care to 
relegate all the handsome maidens and matrons to 
the first and second floors. In that way Louis's eyes 
were always lifted heavenwards, and religious appear- 
ances were preserved. 

"Under such conditions, it was not diflicult for a 
woman of Lola Montes' attractions and daring to gain 
her ends. She was not altogether without means when 
she came to Munich, though the sum in her possession 
was far from a hundred thousand francs, as she after- 
wards alleged it was. At any rate, she was not the 
penniless adventuress she had formerly been, and when, 
in iier beautiful dresses, she applied to the director of 
the Hof-Theatre for an engagement, the latter was 
fairly dazzled, and granted her request without a 
murmur. She did, however, not want to dance, and, 
before her first appearance, she managed to set tongues 

* " Compauions in Walhalla." — Editor. 



A ROYAL LOVELACE. 155 

wagging about her beauty, and, as a matter of course, 
the rumours reached the king's ears. I am afraid I 
shall have to prefer a grave charge, but I am not 
doins: so without foundation. It is almost certain 
by now that the Jesuits, seeing in her a tool for the 
further subjugation of the superannuated royal trou- 
badour, countenanced, if they did not assist her in her 
schemes ; they, the Jesuits, did many things of which 
a Catholic, like myself, however firm in his allegiance 
to Rome, could not but disapprove. At any rate, 
three or four days after the king's first meeting with 
her, Lola Montes was presented at court, and introduced 
to the royal family and corps diplomatique by the 
sovereign himself, as ' his best friend.' Events pro- 
ceeded apace. In August, '47, the king granted 
her patents of * special naturalization,' created her 
Baroness von Rosenthal, and, almost immediately 
afterwards. Countess von Landsfeld. Slie received an 
annuity of twenty thousand florins, and had a magni- 
ficent mansion built for her. At the instance of the 
king, the queen was compelled to confer the order 
of St. Therese upon her. I, and many others, had 
strenuously opposed all this, though not unaware that, 
up till then, the Jesuits were on her side, rather than 
on ours. We paid the penalty of our opposition with 
our dismissal from oflSce, and then Lola Montes con- 
fronted the Jesuits by herself. She was absolutely 
mad to invade Wurtemberg, not for any political 
reason ; she could no more have accounted for any 
such than the merest hind, but simply because, a few 
months before her appearance at Munich, she had 
been, in her opinion, slighted by the old king. The 
fact was, old William, sincerely attached to Amalia 



156 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

Stubenraiich, the actress, had not fallen a victim to 
Lola Montes' charms, and had taken little or no notice 
of her. The contemplated invasion of Wurtemberg was 
an act of private revenge. But mad as she was, there 
was some one more mad still — King Louis I. of Bavaria. 
" The most ill-advised thing she did, perhaps, was 
to change her supporters. Like the ignorant, over- 
bearing woman she was, she would not consent to share 
her power over the king with the Jesuits ; she tried to 
form an opposition against them among the students 
at the University, and she succeeded to a certain extent. 
These adherents constituted the nucleus of a corps 
which soon became known under the title of *Allemanen.' 
But the more noble-minded and patriotic youths at the 
Munich University virtually ostracized the latter, and 
several minor disturbances had already broken out in 
consequence of this, when, in the beginning of February, 
'48, a more than usually serious manifestation against 
* Lola's creatures,' as they were called, took place. 
The woman did not lack pluck, and she insisted upon 
defying the rioters by herself. But they proved too 
much for her ; and, after all, she was a woman. She 
endeavoured to escape from their violence, but every 
house was shut against her ; the Swiss on guard at the 
Austrian Embassy refused her shelter. A most painful 
scene happened ; the king himself, the moment the 
news reached him, rushed to her rescue, and, having 
elbowed his way through the threatening, yelling 
crowd, offered her his arm, and conducted her to the 
church of the Theatines, hard by. As a matter of 
course, several officers had joined him, and all might 
have been well, if she had taken the lesson to heart. 
But her violent, domineering, vindictive temper got 



THE REVOLUTION AT MUNICH. 157 

the better of her. No sooner did she find herself in 
comparative safety, than, emboldened by the presence 
of the officers, she snatched a pistol from one of them, 
and, armed with it, leapt out of the building, confront- 
ing the crowd, and threatening to fire. Heaven alone 
knows what would have been the result of this mad 
act, but for the timely arrival of a squadron of 
cuirassiers, who covered her retreat. 

"The excitement might have died out in a week or 
a fortnight, though the year '48 was scarcely a pro- 
pitious one for a display of such quasi-feudal defiance, 
if she had merely been content to forego the revenge 
for the insults she herself had provoked ; but on the 
luth of February she prevailed upon the king to issue 
a decree, closing the University for a twelvemonth. 
The smouldering fire of resentment against her con- 
stant interference in the affairs of the country blazed 
forth once more,and this time with greater violence than 
ever. The working men, nay, the commercial middle 
classes, hitherto indifferent to the king's vagaries, 
which, after all, brought grist to their mill, espoused 
the students' cause. Barricades were erected ; the cry 
was not * Long live the Constitution,' or ' Long live the 
Republic,' but * Down with the concubine,' It was 
impossible to mistake the drift of that insurrection, but, 
in order to leave no doubt about it in the sovereign's 
mind, a deputation of the municipal council and one 
of the Upper House waited upon Louis, and insisted 
upon the dismissal of Lola Montes, who, in less than an 
hour, left Munich, escorted by a troop of gendarmes, 
who, however, had all their work to do to prevent her 
from being torn to pieces by the mob. Her departure 
was the signal for the pillaging of her mansion, at 



158 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

which the king looked on — as he thought — incognito. 
It is difficult to determine what prompted him to 
commit so rash an act. Was it a feeling of relief at 
having got rid of her — for there was a good deal of 
cynicism about that semi-philosophical, semi-mystical 
troubadour — or a desire to chew the cud of his vanished 
happiness? Whatever may have been the reason, he 
paid dearly for it, for some one smashed a looking- 
glass over his head, and he was carried back to the 
palace, unconscious, and bleeding profusely. It was 
never ascertained who inflicted the wounds, though 
tliere is no doubt that the assailant knew his victim. 
Meanwhile Lola Montes had succeeded in slipping 
away from her escort, and three hours later she 
re-entered Munich disguised, and endeavoured to make 
her way to the palace. But the latter was carefully 
guarded, and for the next month all her attempts in 
that direction proved fruitless, though, audacious as 
she was, she did not dare stop for a single night in the 
capital itself. Besides, I do not believe that a single 
inhabitant would have given her shelter. Unlike a 
good many royal favourites of the past, she had no 
personal adherents, no faithful servants who would 
Jiave stood by her through thick and thin, because she 
never treated any one kindly in the days of her pros- 
perity : she could only bribe ; she was incapable of 
inspiring disinterested affection among those who were 
insensible to the spell of her marvellous beauty." 

So far the narrative of my informant. The rest is 
pretty well known by everybody. A i'ew years later, 
she committed bigamy with another English officer, 
named Heald, who was drowned at Lisbon about the 
same time that her real husband died. Alexandre 



"LA DAME AUX CAM^LIAS." 159 

Dumas was right — she brought ill-luck to those who 
attached themselves to her for any length of time, 
whether in the guise of lovers or husbands. 

These notes about Lola Montes remind me of 
another woman whom public opinion would place in 
the same category, though she vastly differed in 
character. I am alluding to Alphonsine Plessis, better 
known to the world at large as " La Dame aux 
Camelias." I frequently met her in the society of 
some of my friends between '43 and '47, the year of 
her death. Her name was as I have written it, and 
not Marie or Marguerite Duplessis, as has been written 
since. 

The world at large, and especially the English, have 
always made very serious mistakes, both with regard to 
the heroine of the younger Dumas' novel and play, and 
the author himself. They have taxed him with having 
chosen an unworthy subject, and, by idealizing it, 
taught a lesson of vice instead of virtue ; they have 
taken it for granted that Alphonsine Plessis was no 
better than her kind. She was much better than that, 
though probably not sufficiently good to take a house- 
maid's place and be obedient to her pastors and 
masters, to slave from morn till night for a mere pit- 
tance, in addition to her virtue, which was ultimately to 
prove its own reward — the latter to consist of a home of 
her own, with a lot of squalling brats about her, where 
she would have had to slave as she had slaved before, 
without the monthly pittances hitherto doled out to her. 
She was not sufficiently good to see her marvellously 
beautiful face, her matchless graceful figure set off 
by a cambric cap and a calico gown, instead of having 
the first enhanced by the gleam of piiceless jewels in 



160 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

her hair and the second wrapped in soft laces and velvets 
and satins ; but, for all that, she was not the common 
courtesan the goody-goody people have thought fit to 
proclaim her — the common courtesan, who, according 
to these goody-goody people, would have descended to 
her grave forgotten, but for the misplaced enthusiasm 
of a poetical young man, who was himself corrupted 
by the atmosphere in which he was born and lived 
afterwards. 

The sober fact is that Dumas jils did not idealize 
anything at all, and, least of all, Alphonsine Plessis' 
character. Though very young at the time of her 
death, he was then already much more of a philosopher 
than a poet. He had not seen half as much of 
Alphonsine Duplessis during her life as is commonly 
supposed, and the first idea of the novel was probably 
suggested to him, not by his acquaintance with her, 
but by the sensation her death caused among the Paris 
public, the female part of which — almost without 
distinction — went to look at her apartment, to appraise 
her jewels and dresses, etc. "They would probably 
like to have had them on the same terms," said a 
terrible cynic. The remark must have struck young 
Dumas, in whose hearing it was said, or who, at any 
rate, had it reported to him ; for if we carefully look 
at all his earlier plays, we find the spirit of that 
remark largely pervading them. 

Alphonsine Plessis had probably learned even less 
in her girlhood than Lola Montes, but she had a 
natural tact, and an instinctive refinement which no 
education could have enhanced. She never made 
grammatical mistakes, no coarse expression ever 
passed her lips. Lola Montes could not make friends; 



HOW THE PLAY WAS WRITTEN. 161 

Alphonsine Plessis could not make enemies. She 
never became riotous like the other, not even boister- 
ous; for amidst the most animated scenes she was 
haunted by the sure knowledge that she would die 
young, and life, but for that knowledge, would have 
been very sweet to her. Amidst these scenes, she 
would often sit and chat to me : she liked me, because 
I never paid her many compliments, although I was 
bat six years older than the most courted woman of 
her time. The story of her being provided for by a 
foreign nobleman because she was so like his deceased 
daughter, was not a piece of fiction on Dumas' part ; 
it was a positive fact. Alphonsine Plessis, after this 
provision was made for her, might have led the most 
retired existence ; she might, like so many demi- 
mondaines have done since, bought hejself a country- 
house, re-entered " the paths of respectability," have 
had a pew in the parish church, been in constant 
communication with the vicar, prolonged her life by 
several years, and died in the odour of sanctity : but, 
notwithstanding her desperate desire to live, her very 
nature revolted at such self-exile. When Alexandre 
Dumas read the " Dame aux Caraelias " to his father, 
the latter wept like a baby, but his tears did not 
drown the critical faculty. " At the beginning of the 
third act," he said afterwards, " I was wondering how 
Alexandre would get his Marguerite back to town 
without lowering her in the estimation of the spectator. 
Because, if such a woman as he depicted was to remain 
true to nature — to her nature — and consequently able 
to stand the test of psychological analysis, she could 
not have borne more than two or three months of such 
retirement. This does not mean that she would have 
VOL. I. H 



162 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

severed her connection with Armand Duval, but he 
would have become * un plat daus le menu ' after a 
little while, nothing more. The way Alexandre got 
out of the diflSculty proves that he is my son every 
inch of him, and that, at the very outset of his career, 
he is a better dramatist than I am ever likely to be. 
But depend upon it, that if, in real life and with such 
a woman, le pere Duval had not interfered, la belle 
Marguerite would have taken the * key of the street ' on 
some pretext — and that, notwithstanding the sale of 
her carriages, the pledging of her diamonds and her 
furs — in order not to worry the man she loved, for the 
time being, with money matters. Honestly speaking, it 
wanted my son's cleverness to make a piece out of 
Alphonsine Plessis' life. True, he was fortunate in that 
she died, which left him free to ascribe that death to 
any cause but the right one, namely, consumption. I 
know that he made use of it, but he toolc care to show 
the malady aggravated by Armand Duval's desertion 
of her, and this is the only liberty he took with the 
psychological, consequently scientific and logical, de- 
velopment of the play. People have compared his 
Marguerite Gautier to Manon Lescaut, to Marion 
Delorme, and so forth : it just shows what they know 
about it. They might just as well compare Tliiers to 
Cromwell. Manon Lescaut, Marion Delorme, Crom- 
well, knew what they wanted : Marguerite Gautier and 
Thiers do not ; both are always in search of Vineonnu, 
the one in experimental politics, the other in experi- 
mental love-making. Still, my son has been true to 
Nature ; but he has taken an episode showing her at 
her best. He was not bound to let the public know 
that the frequent recurrence of these love episodes, but 



THE GENEALOGY OF "LA. DAME AUX CAM^LIAS." 163 

always with a different partner, eonstitutes a disease 
which is as well known to specialists as the disease 
of drunkenness, and for which it is impossible to find 
a cure. Messalina, Catherine IL, and thousands of 
women have suffered from it. When they happen to 
be born in such exalted stations as these two, they buy 
men ; when they happen to be born in a lowly station 
and are attractive, they sell themselves ; when they 
are ugly and repulsive they sink to the lowest depths 
of degradation, or end in the padded cells of a mad- 
house, where no man dares come near them. Nine 
times out of ten the malady is hereditary, and I am 
certain that if we could trace the genealogy of 
Alphonsine Plessis, we should find the taint either on 
the father's side or on the mother's, probably on the 
former's, but more probably still ou both." * 

• The following is virtually a summary of an article by Count G. 
de Ck)ntade8, in a French bibliographical periodical, Le Livre (Dec 
10, 1885), and shows how near Alexandre Dumas was to the truth. I 
have given it at great length. My excuse for so doing is the extra- 
ordinary popularity of Dumas' play with all classes of playgoers. 
As a consequence, there is not a single modern play, with the 
exception of those of Shakespeare, the genesis of which has been 
80 much commented upon. It is no exaggeration to say that most 
educated playgoers, not to mention professional students of the drama, 
have at some time or other expressed a wish to know sometliing more 
of the real Marguerite Gautier's parentage and antecedents than is 
shown by Dumas, either in his play or in his novel, or than what they 
could gather from the partly apocryphal details given by her con- 
temporaries. Dumas himself, in his preface to the play, says that she 
was a farm servant. He probably knew no more than that, nor did 
Alphonsine Plessis herself. In after-years, the eminent dramatist 
had neither the time nor the inclination to search musty parish 
registers ; Count de Contades has done so for him. Here are the 
results, as briefly as possible, of his researches. Alphonsine Plessis' 
paternal grandmother, "moitie mendiante et moitie prostitute," 
inhabited, a little less than a century ago, the small parish of Long^- 
Bur-Maire, which has since become simply Longe' in the canton of 
Briouze, arrondissement of Argentan (about thirty miles from 
Alen9on). She had been nicknamed " La Guenuchetonne," a rustic 
version of the archaic French word gu^ippe (slattern). Lotiis 
Descours, a kind of country clod who had ieutered the priesthood 



164 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

There were few of us who, during Alphonsine Plessis* 
lifetime, were so interested in her as to have gone to 

without tlie least vocation, and just because his people wislied him 
to do 80, becomes enamoured of "La Guenucbetonne," and early ia 
January, 1790, the cure Philippe christens a male child, which is 
registered as Marin Plessis, mother Louis-Renee Plessis, father 
unknown. That the father was known well enough is proved by the 
Christian name bestowed upon tiie babe, Murin, which was that of 
Louis Descours' father. This gallant adventure of the country priest 
was an open secret for miles around. 

Marin Plessis grew into a handsome fellow, and when about twenty 
took to travelling in the adjacent provinces of lower and upper 
Normandy with a pack of smallwares. Handsome and amiable 
besides, he was a welcome guest everywhere, and soon became a great 
favourite with the female part of the Normandy peasantry. For a 
little while he flitted from one rustic beauty to another, until he was 
fairly caught by one more handsome than the rest, Marie Deshayes. 
She was not, perhaps, immaculately virtuous, but, apart from her 
extraordinary personal attractions, she was something more than an 
ordinary peasant girl. 

Some sixty years before Marin Plessis' union with Marie Deshayes, 
there lived in the neighbourhood of Evreux a spinster lady of good 
descent, though not very well provided with worldly goods. She was 
comely and sweet-tempered enough, but then, as now, comeliness and 
a sweet temper do not count for much in the French matrimonial 
market, and least of all in the provincial one. Owing to the modesty 
of her marriage portion, she had no suitors for her hand, and, being 
of an exceedingly amorous disposition, she bestowed her affection 
where she could, " without regret, and without false shame," as the 
old French chronicler has it. 

The annals of the village — for, curiously enough, these annals do 
exist, though only in manuscripts— are commendably reticent about 
the exact number and names of her lovers. It would seem that the 
author, a contemporary of Mdlle. Anne du Mesnil d'Argentelles and 
the great-grandfather of the present possessor of the notes, a gentleman 
near Bernay, was divided between tlie wish of not being too hard upon 
his neighbour, who was, after all, a gentlewoman, and the desire to leave 
a record of a peculiar phase of the country manners of those days to 
posterity. Be this as it may, Mdlle. d'Argentelles' swains, previous 
to the very last one, have been doomed to anonymous obscurity. 
But with the advent of Etienne Deshayes, tlie annalist becomes less 
reticent, he is considered worthy of being mentioned in full, perhaps 
as a reward for having finally " made an honest woman " of his 
inamorata. For that is the final upshot of tlie love-story between him 
and Mdlle. d'Argentelles, which, in its earlier stages, bears a certain 
resemblance to that between Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Madame 
de Warens, with this difference — that the Normand Jean-Jacques is 
considerably older than his mistress. 

The children bora of this marriage were very numerous. One of 



THE REAL ALPHONSINE PLESSIS. 166 

the length of such a psychological analysis of her 
pedigree. Nevertheless, most men were agreed that 
she was no ordinary girl. Her candour about her 
early want of education increased the interest. 
" Twenty or twenty-five years ago," said Dr. V^ron, 
one day, after Alphonsine Plessis had left the dinner 
table, " a woman of her refinement would not have been 
phenomenal in her position, because at that period the 
grisette, promoted to the rank of femme entretenue, 
had not made her appearance. The expression * femme 
entretenue' was not even known. Men chose their 
companions, outside marriage, from a different class ; 
they were generally women of education and often of 
good family who had made a faux pas, and, as such, 
forfeited the society and countenance of their equals 
who had not stumbled in that way, at any rate not in 
the sight of the world. I confess, Alphonsine Plessis 
interests me very much. 8he is, first of all, the best- 
dressed woman in Paris ; secondly, she neither flaunts 
nor hides her vices ; thirdly, she is not always talking 
or hinting about money ; in short, she is a wonderful 
courtesan." 

The result of all this adipiration was very favourable 
to Alexandre Dumas fils when he brought out his book 
about eighteen months after her death. It was in 

them, Louis-Deshayes, married a handsome peasant girl, Marie- 
Madeleine Murra, who appears to have been somewhat too intimate 
with a neighbouring squire, but who gave birth a few years after to 
a daughter, of whose paternity tliere could not be the smallest doubt, 
seeing that she grew up into a speaking likeness of her maternal 
grandmother, the erstwhile Mdlle. Anne du Mesnil d'Argentelles. 
Fate ought to have had a better lot in store for beautiful Marie 
Deshayes than a marriage with a poor pedlar like Matin Plessis ; but 
the latter was very handsome, and, notwithstanding the opposition 
of the family, she became his wife. On the 15th of January, 1824, the 
child which was to be immortalized as " La Dame aux Camillas " 
•aw the light, in a small village in Lower Normandy.— Editor. 



166 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

every one's hands, and the press kept whetting thfe 
curiosity of those who had not read it as yet with 
personal anecdotes about the heroine. In addition to 
this, the title was a very taking one, and, moreover, 
absolutely new; for, though it was obvious enough 
from Alphonsine Plessis' habit of wearing white 
camellias the greater part of the year, no one had ever 
thought of applying it to her wliile she was alive ; 
hence, the credit of its invention belongs decidedly to 
Dumas ^Zs. 

I may return to the subject of " La Dame aux 
Cam61ias " in connection with the play ; meanwhile, I 
will say a few words of the only man among our set 
who objected to the title, " because it injures ray own," 
as he put it; namely, M. Lautour-Mezerai, who had 
been 8urnamed"L'Homme au Camellia;" in the singular, 
from his habit of never appearing in public without 
that flower in his button-hole. And be it remembered 
that in those days, the flower was much more rare than 
it is at present, and consequently very expensive. The 
plagiarist, if there was one, must have been Alphon- 
sine Plessis, for Dr. Veron, who was one of his oldest 
friends, did not remember having even seen him 
minus the camellia, and their friendship dated from 
the year 1831. It is computed that during the nine- 
teen years Mezerai was in Paris, previous to his 
departure for the South of France and afterwards for 
Algeria, in both of which provinces he fulfilled the 
functions of prefect, he must have spent no less than 
fifty thousand francs on his favourite floral ornament, 
for he frequently changed it twice a day, and its price, 
especially in the thirties and earlier part of the forties^ 
was not Jess than five francs. It is, therefore, not 



l'homme au camellia. 167 

surprising that he resented the usurpation of his title. 
M. Lautour-Mezerai was one of the most elegant men 
I knew. He not only belonged to a very good pro- 
vincial stock, but his family on both sides counted 
some eminent names in literature.* He was a most 
charming companion, exceedingly generous ; but he 
would not have parted with the flower in his button- 
hole for any consideration, not even to oblige his greatest 
friend, male or female. It was more than an ornament 
to him, he looked upon it as a talisman. He always 
occupied the same place at the Opera, in the balcony, 
or what we call the " dress-circle," and many a 
covetous glance from the brightest eyes was cast at 
the dazzling white camellia, standing out in bold relief 
against the dark blue coat, but neither glances nor 
direct requests had any effect upon him. He became 
absolutely savage in his refusal when too hardly 
pressed, because, by his own admission, he was super- 
stitious enough to believe that, if he went home 
without it, something terrible would happen to him 
during the night. 

M. Lautour-Mezerai , was, however, something more 
than a mere man of fashion. To him belongs the 
credit of having founded— at any rate in France — the 
children's periodical. For the comparatively small 
subscription of six francs per annum, thousands of 
little ones received every month a number of the 
Journal des Enfants, stitched in blue paper, and with 
their own name on the wrapper. It flattered their 
pride to be treated like their elders by having their 
literature despatched to them in that way, and there is 

* Curiously enough, he belonged to the same department, and died 
almost on the very spot where Marin Plessis was born. — Editob. 



168 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

no doubt that this ingenious device contributed, to a 
certain extent, to the primary and enormous success 
of the undertaking. But M. Lautour-Mezerai was too 
refined a litterateur to depend upon such a mere trick, 
and a look at even the earlier numbers of the Journal 
des En/ants, would prove conclusively that, in the 
way of amusing children while instructing them a 
little, nothing better has been done since, whether 
in France, England, or Grermany. The editor and 
manager succeeded in grouping around him such 
men as Paul Lacroix (le hihliophile Jacoh) and Charles 
Nodier, both of whom have never been surpassed in 
making history attractive to young minds. Emile 
Souvestre, Leon Gozlan, Eugene Sue, and even Alex- 
andre Dumas told them the most wonderful stories. 
The men who positively kept the adult population of 
France spellbound by their stirring romances seemed 
to take a delight in competing with women like 
Virginie Ancelot, the Duchesse d'Abrantes, and others 
on the latter's ground. As a consequence, it became 
the fashion to present the young ones on New Year's 
Day with a leceipt for a twelvemonth's subscription, 
made out in their names, instead of the everlasting bag 
of sweets. At one time the circulation of Le Journal 
des Enfanis was computed at 60,000, and M. Lautour- 
Mezerai was said to make 100,000 francs per annum 
out of it. 

In a former note, I incidentally mentioned Auguste 
Lireux. He is scarcely remembered by the present 
generation of Frenchmen ; I doubt whether there are 
a hundred students of French literature in England 
who know his name, let alone his writings : yet he is 
worthy of being remembered by both. He had — what 



A THEATRICAL MANAGER. 169 

a g:reat many French writers of talent, far greater 
than his own, essentially lack — humour. True, the 
latter was not subtle ; but it was rarely, if ever, coarse. 
The nearest approach to him among the journalists of 
the present day is M. Francisque Sarcey; but the 
eminent dramatic critic has had a better education. 
Nevertheless, if Lireux had finished as he began, he 
would not be so entirely forgotten. Unfortunately 
for his fame, if not for his material welfare, he took it 
into his head to become a millionnaire, and he almost 
succeeded ; at any rate, he died very well off, in a 
beautiful villa at Bougival. 

I remember meeting with Lireux almost immediately 
after he landed in Paris, at the end of '40 or the 
beginning of '41. He came, I believe, from Rouen ; 
though, but for his accent, he might have come from 
Marseilles. Tall, well-built, with brown hair and 
beard and ruddy complexion, a pair of bright eyes 
behind a pair of golden spectacles, very badly dressed, 
though ills clothes were almost new, very loud and very 
restless, his broad-brimmed hat cocked on one side, 
he gave one the impression of what in Paris we used 
to call a " departeraental pracle." He was that to a 
certain extent, still he was not really pompous, and 
the feeling of discomfort one experienced at first soon 
wore off. He was not altogether unknown among the 
better class of journalists in the capital, for it appears 
that he frequently contributed to the Paris papers from 
the provinces. He had a fair knowledge of the French 
drama theoretically, for he had never written a piece, 
and openly stated his intention never to do so. But 
in virtue of his dramatic criticisms in several periodi- 
cals — which, in spite of the difference in education 



170 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

between the two men, read unoommonly like the 
articles of M. Sarcey in the Temps — and his un- 
wavering faith in his lucky star, he considered himself 
destined not only to lift the Odeon from the slough 
in which it had sunk, but to make it a formidable 
rival to the house in the Rue de Richelieu. He had 
no ambition beyond that. The Odeon was really at 
its lowest depth. Harel had enjoyed a subsidy of 
130,000 francs, M. d'Epagny eleven years later had 
to content himself with less than half, and yet the 
authorities were fully cognizant of the necessity of 
a second Theatre-Franpais. Whether from incapacity 
or ill-luck, M, d'Epagny did not succeed in bringing 
back the public to the old house. The direction was 
offered then to M, Hippolyte Lucas, the dramatic critic 
of Le Steele, and one of the best English scholars I 
have ever met with among the French, and, on his 
declining the responsibility, given to Lireux, who for 
the sake of making a point, exclaimed, " Directeur I 
. . . au refus d'Hippolyte Lucas ! " * 

It was a piece of bad taste on Lireux's part, because 
M. Lucas was his superior in every respect, though 
he would probably have failed where the other 
succeeded — at least for a while. Save for this mania 
of saying smart things in and out of season, Lireux 
was really a good-natured fellow, and we were all 
glad that he had realized his ambition. The venture 
looked promising enough at the start. He got an 
excellent company together, comprising Bocage, Mon- 
rose, Gil-Peres, Maubant, Mdlles. Georges and Araldi, 
Madame Dorval, etc. ; and if, like young Bonaparte's 

* An imitation of the line of Don Carlos in Hugo's " Hemani : " 
" Empereur I . . . au refus de Frederio-le-Sage I " — Editor 



LIREUX AND HIS PATRONS. 171 

troops, they were badly paid and wanted for every- 
thing, they worked with a will, because, like Bonaparte, 
Lireux inspired them with confidence. He, on the 
other hand, knew their value, and on no pretext would 
allow them to be ousted from the positions they had 
honourably won by their talents and hard work. 
Presumptuous mediocrity, backed either by influence 
or intrigue, found him a stern adversary ; the intriguer 
got his answer in such a way as to prevent him from 
returning to the charge. One day an actor of reputed 
incapacity, Machanette, claimed the title-role in 
Moliere's " Misanthrope." 

" You have no one else to play Alceste," he said. 

" Yes, I have. I have got one of the checktakers," 
replied Lireux. 

Auguste Lireux was one of those managers the 
race of which began with Harel at the Porte Saint- 
Martin and Dr. Yeron at the Opera. Duponehel, at 
the latter house, Montigny at the Gymnase, Buloz 
and Arsene Houssaye at the Comedie-Fran^aise, en- 
deavoured as far as possible to follow their traditions 
of liberality towards the public and their artists, 
and encouragement given to untried dramatists. It 
was not Lireux's fault that he did not succeed for any 
length of time. Of course, there is a ridiculous side to 
everything. During the terrible cholera visitation of 
1832, Harel published a kind of statistics, showing that 
not a single one of the spectators had been attacked 
by the plague ; but all this cannot blind us to the 
support given to the struggling playwright, Dumas, 
in the early part of his career. During the winter of 
1841-42, which was a severe one, Lireux sent foot- 
warmers to the rare audience that patronized him on 



172 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

a bitterly cold night, " when tragedy still further chills 
the house ; " the little bit of charlatanism cannot dis- 
turb the fact of his having given one of the foremost 
dramatists of the day a chance with " La Cigue." I am 
alluding to the first piece of Emile Augier. 

This kind of thing tells with a general public, 
more so still with a public composed of generous- 
minded, albeit somewhat riotous youths like those 
of the Quartier-Lfitin in the early forties. Gradually 
the latter found their way to the Odeon, " sinon pour 
voir la piece, alors pour entendre Lireux, qui est 
toujours amusant ; " which, in plain language, meant 
that come what may they would endeavour to provoke 
Lireux into giving them a speech. 

Flattering as was this resolve on their part to 
Lireux's eloquence, the means they employed to 
encompas^s their end would have made the existence 
of an ordinary manager a burden to him. But Lireux 
was not an ordinary manager ; he possessed " the gift 
of the gab" to a marvellous degree: consequently he 
made it known that he would be happy at any time 
to address MM. les etudiants without putting them 
to the expense of apples and eggs on the evening 
of the performance, and voice-lozenges the next day, 
if they, MM. les etudiants, would in return respect 
his furniture and the dresses of his actors. The 
arrangement worked exceedingly well, and for four 
years the management and the student part of the 
audience lived in the most perfect harmony. 

Lireux did more than that, he forestalled their 
possible objections to a doubtful episode in a play. 
I remember the first night of "Jeanne de Naples." 
The piece had dragged fearfully. Lireux had made 



THE PRUNING-KNIFE WITH A VENGEANCE. 173 

three diflferent speeches during the evening, but he fore- 
saw a riot at the end of the piece which no eloquence 
on his part would be able to quell. It appears — for we 
only found this out the next day — that the condemned 
woman, previous to being led to execution, had to 
deliver a monologue of at least a hundred and fifty 
or two hundred lines. The unhappy queen had 
scarcely begun, when a herculean soldier rushed on 
the stage, took her into his arms and carried her off 
by main force, notwithstanding her struggles. It was 
a truly sensational ending, and the curtain fell amidst 
deafening applause. It redeemed the piece ! 

Next day Lireux made his appearance at Tortoni's 
in the afternoon, and, as matter of course, the pro- 
duction of the previous evening was discussed. 

" I cannot understand," said Roger de Beauvoir, 
** how a man with such evident knowledge of stage- 
craft as the author displayed in that denoument, could 
have perpetrated such an enormity as the whole of 
the previous acts." 

Lireux was fairly convulsed with laughter. "Do 
you really think that was his own invention ? " he 
asked. 

" Of course I do," was the reply. 

" Well, it is not. His denoument was a speech 
which would have taken about twenty minutes, at 
the end of which the queen is tamely led off between 
the soldiers. I know what would have been the 
result : the students would have simply torn up the 
benches and Heaven knows what else. You know 
that if the gas is left burning, if only a moment, after 
twelve, there is an extra charge irrespective of the 
quantity consumed. I looked at my watch when she 



174 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

began to speak her lines. It was exactly thirteen 
minutes to twelve ; she might have managed to get 
to the end by twelve, but it was doubtful. What was 
not doubtful was the row that would have ensued, and 
the time it would have taken me to coi)e with it. My 
mind was made up there and then. I selected the 
biggest of the supers, told him to go and fetch her, 
and you know the rest." 

There were few theatrical managers in those days 
who escaped the vigilance of Balzac. Among the 
many schemes he was for ever hatching for benefiting 
mankind and making his own fortune, there was one 
which cannot be more fitly described than in the 
American term of "making a corner;" only that 
particular " corner " was to be one in plays. 

About two years before the advent of Lireux, and 
when the house at Ville d'Avray, of which I have 
spoken elsewhere, was completed, a party of literary 
men received an invitation to spend the Sunday there. 
It was not an ordinary invitation, but a kind of 
circular-letter, the postsciiptum to which contained the 
following words, " M. de Balzac will make an important 
communication." Leon Guzlan, Jules Sandeau, Louis 
Desnoyers, Henri Mounier, and those familiar with 
Balzac's schemes, knew pretty well what to expect ; 
and when Lassailly, one of the four men whose nose 
vied with the legendary one of Bonginier, confirmed 
their apprehensions that it was a question of making 
their fortunes, they resigned themselves to their fate. 
Jules Sandeau, who was gentleness itself, merely 
observed with a sigh that it was the fifteenth time 
Balzac had proposed to make him a millionnaire ; 
Henri Monnier offered to sell his. share of the pro- 



BALZAC AGAIN. 175 

spective profits for 7 francs, 50 centimes ; Ldon Gozlan 
suggested that their host might have discovered a 
diamond mine, whereupon Balzac, who had just entered 
the room, declared that a diamond mine was nothing 
to it. He was simply going to monopolize the whole 
of the Paris theatres. He exposed the plan in a 
magnificent speech of two hours' duration, and would 
have continued for two hours more had not one of the 
guests reminded him that it was time for dinner. 

" Dinner," exclaimed Balzac ; " why, I never thought 
of it." 

Luckily there was a restaurant near, and the future 
millionnairesandthoir would-be benefactor were enabled 
to sit down to "a banquet quite in keeping, not only 
with the magnificent prospects just disclosed to them, 
but with the splendour actually surrounding them," as 
M^ry expressed it. 

For it should be added that the sumptuous dwelling 
which was to be, was at that moment absolutely bare 
of furniture, save a few deal chairs and tables. The 
garden was a wilderness, intersected by devious paths, 
sloping so suddenly as to make it impossible to keep 
<me's balance without the aid of an Alpenstock or 
the large stones imbedded in the soil, but only 
temporarily, by the considerate owner. One day, 
Dutacq, the publisher, having missed his footing, 
rolled as far as the wall inclosing the domain, without 
his friends being able to stop him. 

The garden, like everything else connected with the 
schemes of Balzac, was eventually to become a gold- 
mine. Part of it was to be built upon, and converted 
into a dairy ; another part was to be devoted to the 
culture of the pine-apple and the Malaga grape, all pi" 



176 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

which would yield an income of 30,000 francs annually 
" at least " — to borrow Balzac's own words. 

The apartments had been furnished in the same 
grandiose way — theoretically. The walls were, as I 
have already remarked, absolutely bare, but on their 
plaster, scarcely dry, were magnificent inscriptions of 
what was to be. They were mapped out regardless 
of expense. On that facing the north there was a 
splendid piece of thirteenth-century Flemish ta})estry 
— in writing, of course, flanked by two equally price- 
less pictures by Kaphael and Titian. Facing these, 
one by Rembrandt, and, underneath, a couch, a couple 
of arm-chairs, and six ordinary ones, Louis XV., and 
upholstered in Aubus;*on tapestry — subjects, Lafon- 
taine's Fables. Opposite again, a monumental mantel- 
piece in malachite (a present of Czar Nicholas, who 
had expressed his admiration of Balzac's novels), with 
bronzes and clock by De Gouttieres. The place on 
the ceiling was marked for a chandelier of Venetian 
glass, and in the dining-room a square was drawn on 
the carpetless floor for the capacious sideboard, whereon 
would be displayed " the magnificent family plate." 

Pending the arrival of the furniture, the building of 
the dairy, hothouses, and wineries, the guests had to 
sit on hard wooden chairs, to eat a vile dinner, supple- 
mented, however, by an excellent dessert. Balzac was 
very fond of fruit, and especially of pears, of which he 
always ate an enormous quantity. The wine was, as 
a rule, very inferior, but on that particular occasion 
Balzac's guests discovered that their host's imagination 
could even play him more cruel tricks in the selection 
of his vintages than it played him in his pursuit of 
financial schemes and the furnishing of his house. 



BALZAC'S VISIONS. 177 

When the fruit was placed upon the table, Balzac 
assumed a most solemn air. "Gentlemen," he said, 
" I am going to give you some Chateau-Lafitte, such 
as you have never tasted — such as it has been given 
to few mortals to taste. I wish you to sip it carefully 
— I might almost say reverently, because the oppor- 
tunity may not repeat itself in our lives." 

Wherewith the guests' glasses were filled; all of 
them made horrible faces, for it was abominable stuff, 
but one more outspoken than the rest gave his opinion 
there and then — 

" This may be * Chateau de la Rue Lafitte,' but it is 
enough to give one the colic." 

Any one else but Balzac would have been horribly 
disconcerted ; he, on the contrary, did not budge. 
" Yes," he said proudly, " you are right in one respect ; 
this ambrosial nectar comes in a straight line from the 
Rne Lafitte, for it is Baron James de Rothschild who 
made me a present of two barrels, for which I am 
profoundly grateful. Drink, gentlemen, drink, and be 
thankful also." 

Those who would consider this a piece of clever 
acting on Balzac's part, would be greatly mistaken. 
His imagination at times affected his palate as well 
as his other organs, and at that moment he was under 
the distinct impression that he was offering his guests 
one of the rarest vintages on record. 

I have endeavoured hitherto to digress as little as 
possible in my recollections, though their very nature 
made it difficult. In this instance, digression was 
absolutely necessary to convey an idea of the shock 
which would naturally result from the contact of two 
such brains as those of Balzac and Lireux ; for it was 

VOL. I. N 



178 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

not long after the young manager's advent to the 
Odeon that Balzac found his way to his sanctum. 
The play he offered him was " Les Kessources de 
Quinola." Strange as it may seem to us, even as late 
as '42, Balzac's name as a novelist did not rank first 
in the list with the general public, still it is very 
doubtful whether any young manager would have 
refused a stage play by him ; consequently, Lireux 
accepted " Les Kessources de Quinola " almost without 
fear. It is not to the purpose to say that it was a 
bad play, and that he ought to have known better ; it 
has been amply proved by now that the most ex- 
perienced manager is not infallible ; but it is a moot 
point whether the greatest masterpiece would have 
succeeded with the tactics adopted by Balzac to insure 
its success. The following may appear like a scene 
from a farcical comedy ; I can vouch for the truth of 
every word of it, because I had it from the lips of 
Lireux himself, who, after all, was the heaviest 
sufferer by Balzac's incurable greed, or, to put it as 
leniently as one can, by his constant chase after a 
capital stroke of business. His resolve to pack the 
house on the first night was not due to a desire to 
secure a favourable reception from a friendly audience, 
but to the determination to secure " a lump sum," let 
come what might. In Balzac are found the two 
contradictory traits of the money-grubber and the 
spendthrift. 

The scene alluded to just now, took place when the 
rehearsals were far advanced; the author and the 
manager were discussing the invitations to be sent 
out, etc. All at once Balzac declared that he would 
have none but Knights of the Order of Saint-Louis in 



BALZAC AND LIBEUX. 179 

the pit. " I am agreeable,*' replied Lireux ; " provided 
you ferret them out." * 

" I'll see to that," said Balzac. " Pray go on. What 
is the next part of the house ? " 

" Orchestra stalls." 

" Nothing but peers of France there." 

"But the orchestra stalls will not hold them all, 
Monsieur de Balzac." 

" Those who cannot find room in the house will have 
to stand in the lobbies," said Balzac, imperturbably. 

" Stage boxes ? " continued Lireux. 

" They will be reserved for the Court." 

" Stage boxes on the first tier ? " 

" For the ambassadors and plenipotentiaries." 

" The open boxes on the ground floor ? " 

** For the wives and families of the ambassadors." 

*' Upper circle ? " enumerated Lireux, not a muscle 
of his face moving. 

" For the deputies and grand officers of State." 

" Third circle ? " enumerated Lireux. 

"The heads of the great banking and financial 
establishments." 

* It shows that Lireux ■was not very fsumliar with the royal edicts 
affecting that order, and that BalzUc himself exaggerated the social 
and monetary importance of its wearers. For, though Louis-Philippe at 
his accession suppressed the order, not less than twelve thousand new 
knights had been created by his two immediate predecessors. They, 
the recently created knights, were allowed to retain their honours and 
pensions; but, even betore the fall of the Bourbons, the distinction 
had lost much of its prestige. After the Battle of Navarino, Admiral 
de Rigny, soliciting rewards for his officers who had distinguished 
themselves, tacitly ignored the order of Saint-Louis in favour of tliat 
of the Legion of Honour. The order, as founded by Louis XIV. in 
1693, was only available to officers and Catholics. Several modifica- 
tions were introduced afterwards in its statutes. The Order of Saint- 
Louis and that of " MUitary Merit " were the only two recognized by 
the Constituent Assembly of 1789 ; but the Convention suppressed the 
former, only leaving the latter. — Editob. 



180 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

" The galleries and amphitheatre ? " 

"A carefully selected, but varied, bourgeoisie," 
wound up Balzac. 

Lireux, who was a capital mimic, re-enacted the 
scene for us four and twenty hours after it had been 
enacted in his own room, and while he was still under 
the impression that it was merely a huge joke on 
Balzac's part. He soon discovered, however, that the 
latter was terribly in earnest, when, a few days later, 
Balzac claimed the whole of the seats for the first 
three nights, on the penalty of withdrawing his piece 
there and then. Lireux foolishly submitted, the box 
office was closed ; every one applying for tickets was 
referred to Balzac himself, or, rather, to the shady indi- 
vidual who had egged him on to this speculation. The 
latter, at the first application, had run up the prices ; 
the public felt disgusted, and, when the curtain rose 
upon "Les Eessources de Quinola," the house was 
almost empty. Thereupon a batch of nondescripts 
was sent into the streets to dispose of the tickets at 
any price; the bait was indignantly rejected, and the 
curtain fell amidst violent hisses. I repeat, a master- 
piece would have failed under such circumstances ; 
but the short run of the revival, almost a quarter of 
a century later at the Vaudeville, proved that the 
piece was not even an ordinary money-drawing one. 
It only kept the bills for about nine or ten days. 

Lireux was more fortunate with several other pieces, 
notably with that of Leon Gozlan, known to students 
of the French drama as " La Main Droite et la Main 
Gauche," but which originally bore the title of "II 
etait une Fois un Eoi et une Reine." There could be 
no doubt about its tendency in its original form; it 



ANGLOPHOBIA ON THE STAGE. 181 

was nothing less than an indictment for bigamy both 
against Queen Victoria and her Consort; and the 
authorities had to insist not only upon the change of 
title and the names of the dramatis personse, but upon 
the action being shifted from London to Stockholm. 
The author and manager had to comply; but the 
public, who had got wind of the affair, crowded the 
house every night in order to read between the lines. 

One of my great sources of amusement for many 
years has been the perusal of political after-dinner 
speeches, and political leaders in the English papers, 
especially when the speakers and writers have en- 
deavoured to lay stress upon the cordial relations 
between the French and the English, upon the friendly 
feelings guiding their actions on both sides. I am 
putting together these notes nearly fourteen years 
after the conclusion of the Franco-German War, 
nearly three quarters of a century after Waterloo. 
There is not a single Frenchman, however Chauvinistic, 
who ever thinks, let alone talks, of avenging Napo- 
leon's defeat by Wellington ; while, on the other 
hand, there is not a single Frenchman, however 
unpatriotic, who does not dream now and then of 
wiping out the humiliation suffered at Sedan. Well, 
in spite of the almost entire oblivion of the one 
disaster, and the poignant recollection of the other, 
the French of to-day hate the English more than the 
Germans; or — let me put it more correctly — they hate 
the Germans, they despise us. Nothing that we can 
do will ever remove this dislike of us. 

It has been thus as long as I can remember ; no royal 
visits, no exchange of so-called international courtesies 
will alter the feeling. It is ready to burst forth, the 



182 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

smallest provocation or fancied one will set it ablaze. 
During the forties there were a good many real or 
imaginary provocations on the part of England, and, as 
a consequence, the hostile feeling against her broke 
forth where it is almost always sure to break forth first 
in France — on the stage and in song. After " La Main 
Droite et la Main Gauche," came Hal^vy's opera of 
" Charles VI." It is but fair to say that the Govern- 
ment did all it could to stem the tide, but, notwith- 
standing its positive orders to modify the chorus of 
the famous war song in the first act, the song was 
henceforth regarded as a patriotic hymn. Nor did the 
visit of the Queen to Louis-Philippe at Eu, in 1843, 
effect much improvement in this state of things ; and, 
as a matter of course, we on the English side of the 
Channel retaliated the skits, etc., though I do not 
think we took them au grand serieux. When, in 
January, *44, I went to London for a few days, I found 
the Christmas pantomime of "King Pippin" in full 
swing at Drury Lane. I well remember a scene of it, 
laid in the shop of a dealer in plaster figures. Two 
of these represented respectively the King of France 
and the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. At a 
given moment, the two statues became animated, drew 
close to one another, and exchanged the most profuse 
salutations. But meanwhile, at the back of the stage, 
the Gallic cock and the British lion (or leopard) 
assumed a threatening attitude, and at each mark of 
affection between the two royal personages, shook their 
heads violently and seemed to want desperately to 
come to close quarters. The audience applauded voci- 
ferously, and it was very evident to me that neither 
in Paris nor in London the two nations shared the 
entente cordiale of their rulers. 



BACHEU 183 



CHAPTER VI. 

Bachel and some of her fellow-actors — ^Rachel's trne character — Her 
greediness and spitefulness — Her vanity and her wit — Her powers 
of fascination — The cost of being fascinated by her — Her 
manner of levying toll — Some of her victims, Oomte Duch&tel and 
Dr. Veron — The story of her guitar — A little transaction between 
her and M. Pould — Her supposed charity and generosity — 
Ten tickets for a charity concert — How she made them into 
twenty — How she could have made them into a hundred— Baron 
Taylor puzzled— Her manner of giving presents — Beauvallet's 
precaution witli regard to one of her gifts — Alexandre Dumas 
the younger, wiser or perhaps not so wise in his generation — 
Bachel as a racontense — The story of her d^btit at the Gymnase — 
What Rachel would have been as an actor instead of an actress — 
Her comic genius — Rachel's mother — What became of Rachel's 
money — Mama Felix as a pawnbroker — Rachel's trinkets — Two 
curious bracelets — Her first appearance before Nicholas I. — A 
dramatic recital in tlie open air — Rachel's opinion of the hand- 
somest man in Europe — Rachel and Samson — Her obligations to 
him — How she repays them — How she goes to Berryer to be 
coached in the fable of "The Two Pigeons" — An anecdote of 
Berryer — Rachel's fear of a " warm reception " on the first night 
of " Adrienne Lecouvreur " — How she averts the danger — Samson 
as a man and as an actor — Petticoat-revolts at the Gomedie- 
Fran^aise — Samson and Regnier as buflfers — Their different ways 
of pouring oil upon the troubled wat«rs — Mdlle. Sylvanie 
Plessy — A parallel between htir and Sarah Bernhardt — Samson 
and Regnier's pride in their profession — The different character 
of that pride — " Apollo with a bad tailor, and who dresses without 
a looking-glass "—Samson gives a lesson in declamation to a 
procureur-imp^rial — The secret of Regnier's greatness as an actor 
— A lesson at the Conservatoire — Regnier on "make-up" — 
Regnier's opinion of genius on the stage — A mot of Augustine 
Brohan — Giovanni, the wigmaker of the Comedie-Fran^aise — 
His pride in his profession — M. Ancessy, the musical director, 
and his three wigs. 

There were few authors of my time who came in 
contact with Bachel without writing about her ; there 
were absolutely none who have represented her in her 
true character. Either her genius blinded them to 



184 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

her faults, or else they were content to perpetuate the 
popular belief in her amiability, good nature, generosity, 
etc. The fact is, that Rachel off the stage was made 
of very ordinary clay. She had few of the good 
qualities of her race, and a good many of the bad 
ones ; she was greedy to a degree, and could be very 
spiteful. All these drawbacks, in the eyes of most 
of her biographers, were redeemed by her marvellous 
tragic abilities on the stage, by a wonderful " gift of 
the gab," by a *' happy-go-lucky," " hail-fellow, well- 
met " manner off the stage to those whom she liked to 
propitiate. Nevertheless, there were times when she 
had not a single friend at the Comedie-Franpaise, and 
though her champions attributed this hostility to 
jealousy of her great gifts, a moment's consideratioa 
would show us that such a feeling could scarcely have 
influenced the men who to a great extent shared her 
histrionic triumphs, viz. Beauvallet, Regnier, Provost, 
Sara son, and least of all the latter. Still, all these 
would have willingly kept her out of the Comedie- 
Franpaise after she had left it in a huff. She was diflScult 
to get on with ; her modesty, assumed in everyday life, 
was a sham, for woe to the host who, deceived by it, 
did not at once make her the queen of the entertain- 
ment ! And, in reality, nothing in her warranted such 
a temporary elevation. She was witty in her way and 
after her kind — that is, she had the quick-wittedness 
of the French woman who is not an absolute fool, and 
who has for many years rubbed elbows with everything 
distinguished in art and literature. Notwithstanding 
this intimacy, I am doubtful whether she had ever read, 
let alone appreciated, any of the masterpieces by the 
writers of her own days that did not directly bear upon 



tHE REAL WOMAN. 185 

her profession. I exclude fiction — I mean narrative 
fiction, and especially that of a sensational kind, of 
which she was probably as fond as the meanest con- 
cierge and most romantic milliner-girl. 

Nevertheless, provided one did not attempt to 
analyze it, the power of fascinating the coldest inter- 
locutor was there. To their honour be it said, her 
contemporaries, especially the men, rarely made such 
an attempt at analysis. They applauded all she said 
(ofif and on the stage), they tolerated all she did, albeit 
that they paid the cost of many of her so-called 
" amiable tricks," which were mainly so many instances 
of greed and nothing else. One evening she was 
dining at Comte Duchatel's, the minister of Louis- 
Philippe. The table was positively laden with flowers, 
but Kachel did not care much about them ; what she 
wanted was the splendid silver centre-piece. But she 
was too clever to unmask her batteries at once, so she 
began by admiring the contents, then at last she came 
to the principal point. The host was either in one of 
bis generous or foolish moods, and made her a present 
of it there and then. Bachel knew, though, that even 
with a grand seigneur like .Comte Duchatel, there are 
" les lendemains de I'enthousiasme," especially when he 
is a married man, whose wife does not willingly submit 
to have her home stripped of its art-treasures. The 
tragedienne came in a hackney cab ; the comte offered 
to send her back in his carriage. She struck the iron 
while it was hot. "Yes, that will do admirably; there 
will be no fear of my being robbed of your present, 
which I had better take with me." "Perfectly, 
mademoiselle," replied the comte ; ** but you will send 
me back my carriage, won't you ? " 



186 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

Dr. V6ron was despoiled with even less ceremony. 
Having taken a fancy to some silver saucers or cups 
in which the proprietor of the Constitutionnel offered 
ices to his visitors, she began by pocketing one, and 
never rested until she had the whole of the set. In 
short, everything was fish to her net. She made her 
friends give her bibelots and knickknacks of no par- 
ticular value, to which she attached some particular 
legend — absolute inventions for the greatest part — in 
order to sell them for a thousand times their original 
cost. One day she noticed a guitar at the studio of 
one of her familiars. " Give me that guitar ; people 
will think it is the one with which I earned my living 
on the Place Eoyale and on the Place de la Bastille." 
And as such it was sold by her to M. Achille Fould 
for a thousand louis. The great financier nearly fell 
into a fit when the truth was told to him at Rachel's 
death ; he, in his turn, having wanted to " do a bit 
of business." In this instance no Christian suffered, 
because buyer and vendor belonged to the same race. 
Of course the panegyrists of Rachel, when the story 
came to their ears, maintained that the thousand louis 
were employed for some charitable purpose, without, 
however, revealing the particular quarter whither they 
went; but those who judged Rachel dispassionately 
could not even aver that her charity began at home, 
because, though she never ceased complaining of her 
brother's and her sisters' extravagance, both brother 
and sisters could have told very curious tales about 
the difficulty of making her loosen her purse-strings 
for even the smallest sums. As for Rachel's doing 
good by stealth and blushing to find it fame, it was 
all so much fudge. Contrary to the majority of her 



I 



HER SUPPOSED CHARITY. 187 

fellow-professionals, in the past as well as the present, 
she even grudged her services for a concert or a per- 
formance in aid of a deserving object, although she 
was not above swelling her own hoard by such 
entertainments. 

The following instance, for the absolute truth of 
which I can vouch, is a proof of what I say. One day 
the celebrated Baron Taylor, who had been the director 
of the Comedie-Franpaise, came to solicit her aid for a 
charity concert ; I am not certain of the object, but 
believe it was in aid of the Christians in Persia or 
China. The tickets were to be a hundred francs each, 
Sontag, Alboni, Kosine Stoltz, Mario, Lablache, Vieux- 
temps, and I do not know how many more celebrated 
artists had promised their services. 

It was in 1850 when M. Arsene Houssaye was her 
director, and I am particular about giving the year, 
because Rachel refused on the pretext that her director 
would never give her leave to appear on any other 
stage. Now, it so happened that no woman ever had 
a more devoted friend and chivalrous champion than 
Rachel had in Arsene Houssaye. His friendship for 
her was simply idolatry, and I verily believe that if 
she had asked him to stand on his head to please her, 
he would have done so, at the risk of making himself 
supremely ridiculous — he who feared ridicule above 
everything, who was one of the most sensible men of 
his time, who was and is the incarnation of good- 
nature, to whom no one in distress or diflSculties ever 
appealed in vain. 

Baron Taylor argued all this, but Rachel remained 
inflexible. " I am very sorry," he said at last, rising 
to go, " because I am positive that your name on the 



188 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

bill would have made a difference of several thousand 
francs in the receipts." 

" Oh, if you only want my name," was the answer, 
" you may have it ; you can make an apology at the 
eleventh hour for my absence on the score of sudden 
indisposition — the public at charity concerts are used 
to that sort of thing ; besides, you will have so many 
celebrities that it will make very little difference. By- 
the-by " — as he was at the door — " I think my name 
is worth ten or twenty tickets." Taylor knew Rachel 
too well to be in the least surprised at the demand 
and left ten tickets on the mantelpiece. 

That same afternoon he met Count Walewski, and as 
a matter of course asked him to take some tickets. 

" Very sorry, cher baron, but I have got ten already. 
You see, poor Rachel did not know very well how to 
get rid of the two hundred you burdened her with as a 
lady patroness ; so she wanted me to have twenty, but 
I settled the matter with ten. As it is, it cost me a 
thousand francs." 

Taylor did not say another word — he probably 
could not ; he was struck dumb with astonishment at 
the quickness with which Rachel had converted the 
tickets into money. But what puzzled him still more 
was the fact of her having offered Walewski double 
the quantity of tickets he had given her. Where had 
she got the others from ? He was coming to the con- 
clusion that she had offered twenty in order to place 
ten, when he ran against Comte Le Hon, the husband 
of the celebrated Mdlle. Musselmans, the erstwhile 
Belgian ambassador to the court of Louis-Philippe, 
who averred frankly that he was the father of a family, 
though he had no children of his own. 



HER DISINTERESTEDNESS. 189 

Taylor thought he would try another chance, and 
was met with the reply, " Cher baron, I am very sorry, 
but I have just taken five tickets from Mdlle. Rachel. 
It appears that she is a lady patroness, and that they 
burdened her with two hundred ; fortunately, she told 
me, people were exceedingly anxious to get them, and 
these were the last five." 

" Then she had two hundred tickets after all," said 
Baron Taylor to himself, making np his mind to find 
out who had been before him with Rachel. But no 
one had been before him. The five tickets sold to 
Comte Le Hon were five of the ten she had sold to 
Comte Walewski. When the latter had paid her, she 
made him give her five tickets for herself and family, 
or rather for her four sisters and herself. Of Comte 
Le Hon she only took toll of one, which, wonderful to 
relate, she did not sell. That was Rachel's way of 
bestirring herself in the cause of charity. 

'* Look at the presents she made to every one," say 
the panegyrists. They forget to mention that an hour 
afterwards she regretted her generosity, and from that 
moment she never left off scheming how to get the 
thing back. Every one knew this. Beauvallet, to 
whom she gave a magnificent sword one day, instead 
of thanking her, said, " I'll have a chain put to it, 
mademoiselle, so as to fasten it to the wall of my 
dressing-room. In that way I shall be sure that it 
will not disappear during my absence." Alexandre 
Dumas the younger, to whom she made a present of a 
ring, bowed low and placed it back on her finger at 
once. "Allow me to present it to you in my turn, 
mademoiselle, so as to prevent you asking for it." 
She did not say nay, but carried the matter with one of 



190 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

her fascinating smiles. "It is most natural to take 
back what one has given, because what one has given 
was dear to us," she replied. 

Between '46 and *53 I saw a great deal of Rachel, 
generally in the green-room of the Comedie-Franpaise, 
which was by no means the comfortable or beautiful 
apartment people imagine, albeit that even in those 
days the Uomedie had a collection of interesting 
pictures, busts, and statues worthy of being housed in 
a small museum. The chief ornament of the room 
was a large glass between the two windows, but if the 
apartment had been as bare as a barn, the conversation 
of Kachel would have been sufficient to make one 
forget all about its want of decoration ; for, with the 
exception of the elder Dumas, I have never met any 
one, either man or woman, who exercised the personal 
charm she did. I have been told since that Bismarck 
has th'e same gift. I was never sufficiently intimate 
with the great statesman to be able to judge, having 
only met him three or four times, and under conditions 
that did not admit of fairly testing his powers in that 
respect, but I have an idea that the charm of both lay 
an their utter indifference to the effect produced, or 
else in their absolute confidence of the result of their 
simplicity of diction. Rachel's art of telling a story, 
if art it was, reminded one of that of the chroniclers of 
the Niebdungen; for notwithstanding her familiarity 
with Racine and Oorneille, her vocabulary was exceed- 
ingly limited, and her syntax, if not her grammar, off 
the stage, not always free from reproach. 

I do not pretend, after the lapse of so many years, 
to give these stories in her own language, or all of 
them; there ai<e a few, however, worth the telling. 



THE STORY OF A FAILURE. 191 

apart from the fascination with which she invested 
them. 

One evening she said to me, "Do you know 
Poirson ? " 

I had known Poirson when he was director of the 
Gymnase. He afterwards always invited me to his 
soirees, one of which, curiously enough, was given on 
the (Sunday before the Kevoiutiou ol '48. foo i said, 
" Yes, I know Poirson." 

"Has he ever told you why he did not re-engage me? " 

" Never." 

" I'll tell you. People said it was because I did not 
succeed in ' La Vendeenne * of Paul Duport ; but that 
was not the cause. It was something much more 
ridiculous ; and now that I come to think of it, I am 
not sure that I ought to tell you, for you are an 
Englishman, and you will be shocked." 

1 was not shocked, I was simply convulsed with 
laughter, for Kachel, not content with telling the 
story, got up, and, gradually drawing to the middle 
of the room, enacted it. It was one of those ludicrous 
incidents that happen sometimes on the stage, which 
no amount of foresight on the part of the most skilful 
and conscientious manager -or actor can prevent, but 
which almost invariably ruins the greatest masterpiece. 
There were about eight or nine actors and actresses in 
the room — Rdgnier, Samson, Beauvallet, etc. It was 
probably the most critical audience in Europe, but 
every one shook, and Mdlle. Anais Aubert went into 
a dead faint. R^gnier often averred that if Kachel 
had been a man, she would have been the greatest 
comic actor that ever lived ; and it is not generally 
known that she once played Dorine in " Tartuflfe," and 



192 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

set the whole of the house into a perfect roar ; but 
on that evening I became convinced that Rachel, in 
addition to her tragic gifts, was the spirit of Aris- 
tophanesque comedy personified. I am afraid, how- 
ever, that I cannot tell the story, or even hint at it, 
beyond mentioning that Poirson is reported to have 
said that Rachel did not want a stage-manager, but a 
nurse to take care of her. The criticism was a cruel 
one, though justified by appearances. It was Mama 
Felix, and not her daughter, who was to blame. The 
child — she was scarcely more than that — had hurt 
herself severely, and instead of keeping her at home, 
she sent her to the theatre, "poulticed all over," as 
Rachel expressed it afterwards. 

Mama Felix was the only one who was a match for 
her famous daughter in money matters. What the 
latter did with the enormous sums of money she earned 
has always been a mystery. As I have already said, 
they were not spent in charity. Nowadays, whatever 
other theatres may do, the Comedie-Frangaise dresses 
its pensionnaires as well as its societaires from head to 
foot; it pays the bootmaker's as well as the wigmaker's 
bill, and the laundress's also. Speaking of the begin- 
ning of her career, which coincided with the end of 
Rachel's, Madeleine Brohan, whose language was often 
more forcible than elegant, remarked, "Dans ma 
jeunesse, on nous mettait toutes nues sur la scene ; 
nous etions assez jolies pour cela." But Rachel's cos- 
tumes varied so little throughout her career as to have 
required but a small outlay on her part. Nor could 
her ordinary dresses and furniture, which I happened 
to see in April, 1858, when they were sold by public 
auction at her apartments in the Place Royale, have 



HER MONETARY AFFAIRS. 193 

made a considerable inroad on her earnings. The 
furniture was commonplace to a degree ; such pictures 
and knickknacks as were of value had been given to her, 
or acquired in the manner I have already described ; 
the laces and trinkets were, undoubtedly, not purchased 
with her own money. It is said that her brother 
Raphael was a spendthrift. He may have been, but he 
did not spend his celebrated sister's money ; of that I 
feel certain. Then what became of it? I am inclined 
to think that Mdlle. Rachel dabbled considerably 
in stocks, and that, notwithstanding her shrewdness 
and sources of information, she was the victim of 
people cleverer than she was. At any rate, one thing 
is certain — she was nearly always hard up ; and, after 
having exhausted the good will of all her male acquaint- 
ances and friends, compelled to appeal to her mother, 
who had made a considerable hoard for her other four 
sisters, and perhaps also for her scapegrace son ; for, 
curiously enough, with Mama F^lix every one of her 
children was a goddess or god, except the goddess. This 
want of appreciation on the mother's part reminds me 
of a story told to me by Meisonnier. His grand- 
daughter, on her fifteenth or sixteenth birthday, had 
a very nice fan given to her. The sticks were ex- 
quisitely carved in ivory, and must have cost a pretty 
tidy sum, but the fan itself, of black gauze, was abso- 
lutely plain. The donor probably intended the grand- 
father's art to enhance the value of the present, and 
the latter was about to do so, when the young lady 
stopped him with the cry, "Voila qu'il va me gater 
mon eventail avec ses mannequins ! " The irony of 
non-appreciation by one's nearest and dearest could no 
further go. 

VOL, I. O 



194 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

Mama Felix, then, was very close-fisted, and would 
never lend her daughter any money, except on very 
good security, namely, on her jewels. In addition to 
this, she made her sign an undertaking that if not 
redeemed at a certain date they would be forfeited ; 
and forfeited they were, if the loan and interest were 
not forthcoming at the stipulated time, notwithstanding 
the ravings of Rachel. This would probably account 
for the comparatively small quantity of valuable 
jewellery found after her death. 

Some of the ornaments I have seen her wear had 
an artistic value utterly apart from their cost, others 
were so commonplace and such evident imitations as 
to have been declined by the merest grisette. One 
day I noticed round her wrist a peculiar bracelet. It 
was composed of a great number of rings, some almost 
priceless, others less valuable but still very artistic, 
others again possessing no value whatsoever, either 
artistically or otherwise. I asked her to take it off, 
and found it to be very heavy, so heavy that I re- 
marked upon it. " Yes," she replied, " I cannot wear 
two of the same weight, so I am obliged to wear the 
other in my pocket." And out came the second, 
composed of nearly double the number of rings of the 
first. I was wondering where all those rings came 
from, but I refrained from asking questions. I was 
enabled to form my own conclusions a little while 
afterwards, in the following way. 

While we were still admiring the bracelet, Rachel 
took from her finger a plain gold hoop, in the centre 
of which was an imperial eagle of the same metal. 
" This was given to me by Prince Louis Napoleon,' 
she said, "on the occasion of my last journey to London. 



A STORY OF LOUIS NAPOLEON. 195 

He told me that it was a souvenir from his mother, 
and that he would not have parted with it to any one 
else but me." 

I cannot remember the exact date of this conver- 
sation, but it must have been shortly after the Kevo- 
lution, when the future emperor had just landed in 
France. About three or four weeks afterwards we were 
talking to Augustine Brohan, who had just returned 
from London, where she bad fulfilled an engagement 
of one or two months. Kachel was not there that night, 
but some one asked her if she had seen Prince Louis in 
London. " Yes," she replied ; '* he was going away, and 
he gave me a present before he went." Thereupon she 
took from her finger a ring exactly like that of Rachel's. 
" He told me it was a souvenir from his mother, and that 
he would not have parted with it to any one but me." 

We looked at one another and smiled. The prince 
had evidently a jeweller who manufactured "souve- 
nirs from his mother " by the dozen, and which he, the 
prince, distributed at that time, "in remembrance of 
certain happy hours." The multiplicity of the rings 
on Rachel's wrist was no longer a puzzle to me. I 
was thinking of the story ip. the " Arabian Nights," 
where the lady with the ninety-eight rings bewitches 
the Sultans Shariar and Shahzenan, in spite of the 
jealousy and watchfulness of the monster to whom she 
belongs, and so makes the hundred complete. 

Among the many stories Rachel told me there is 
one not generally known — that of her first appearance 
before Nicholas I. Though she was very enthusias- 
tically received in London, and though she always 
spoke gratefully of the many acts of kindness shown 
her there, I am inclined to think that she felt hurt 



196 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

at the want of cordiality on the part of the English 
aristocracy when they invited her to recite at their 
entertainments. This may be a mere surmise of mine ; 
I have no better grounds for it than an expression 
of hers one day when we were discussing London 
society. " Oui, les Anglais, lis sont tres aimables, mats 
ils paraissent avoir peur des artistes, corame des betes 
sauvages, car ils vous parquent comme elles au Jardin 
des Plantes." I found out afterwards that it was a 
kind of grudge she bore the English for having 
invariably improvised a platform or enclosure by 
means of silken ropes. Certain is it that, beyond a 
few casual remarks at long intervals upon London, 
she seemed reluctant to discuss the subject with me. 
Not so with regard to Potsdam after her return 
whence in August, '51. In the beginning of July of 
that year she told me that she had a special engage- 
ment to appear before the court on the 13th of that 
month. I did not see her until a few weeks after she 
came back, and then she gave me a full account of the 
affair. I repeat, after the lapse of so many years, I 
cannot reproduce her own words, and I could not, even 
half an hour after her narrative, have reproduced the 
manner of her telling it; but I can vouch for the 
correctness of the facts. 

" About six o'clock, Kaphael [her brother], who was 
to give me my cues, and I arrived at Potsdam, where 
we were met by Schneider, who had made the engage- 
ment with me. You know, perhaps, that Schneider had 
been an actor himself, that afterwards he had been 
promoted to the directorship of the Koyal Opera House, 
and that now he is the private reader to the king, with 
the title of privy or aulic councillor. 



RACHEL AT THE PRUSSIAN COURT. 197 

"Schneider is a very nice man, and I have never 
heard a German speak our language so perfectly. 
Perhaps it was as well, because I dread to contemplate 
what would have been the effect upon my nerves and 
ears of lamentations in Teutonized French." 

" Why lamentations ? " I asked. 

" Ah, nous voila ! " she replied. " You remember I 
was in mourning. The moment I stepped out of the 
carriage, he exclaimed, *But you are all in black, 
mademoiselle.* ' Of course I am,' I said, ' seeing that 
I am in mourning.' ' G-reat Heaven ! what am I to 
do? Black is not admitted at court on such 
occasions.' I believe it was the birthday of the 
Czarina, but of course I was not bound to know that. 

" There was no time to return to Berlin, and least 
of all to get a dress from there, so Kaphael and he 
put their heads together ; tlie result of which con- 
ference was my being bundled rather tlian handed into 
a carriage, which drove off at full speed to the Chateau 
de Glinicke. I could scarcely catch a glimpse of the 
country around Potsdam, which seemed to me very 
lovely. 

" When we got to Glinicke, which belongs to Prince 
Charles, I was handed over to some of the ladies-in- 
waiting of the princess. Handed over is the only 
word, because I felt more like a prisoner than 
anything else, and they tried to make 'little Rachel' 
presentable according to their lights. One of them, 
after eyeing me critically, suggested my wearing a dress 
of hers. In length it would have done very well, only 
I happen to be one of the lean kine, and she decidedly 
was not, so that idea had to be abandoned. They may 
be very worthy women, these German ladies, but their 



198 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

inventiveness with regard to dress is absolutely nil. 
When the idea suggested by tlie first lady turned out 
to be impracticable, they were a bout de ressources. You 
may gather from this, mon ami, that the beginning 
and the end of their strategie de la toilette are not far 
apart. There was one thing that consoled me for this 
sudden exhaustion of their limited ingenuity. Be- 
tween the half-dozen — for they were half a dozen — 
they could not find a single word when the first and 
only device proved impossible of realization. Had 
there been the same number of French women assem- 
bled, it would have been a kind of little madhouse ; in 
this instance there was a deep silence for at least ten 
minutes, eventually broken by the knocking at the 
door of one of the maids, with Herr Schneider's 
compliments, and wishing to know what had been 
decided upon. The doleful answer brought him to 
the room, and what six women could not accomplish, 
he, like the true artist, accomplished at once. *Get 
Mdlle. Eachel a black lace mantilla, put a rose in 
her hair, and give her a pair of white gloves.' In 
less than ten minutes I was ready, and in another ten, 
Kaphael, Schneider, and I embarked on a pretty little 
steam-yacht lying ready at the end of the mag- 
nificent garden for 'I'lle des Paons' (Pfauen-Insul, 
Peacock Island), where we landed exactly at eight. But 
my troubles and surprises were not at an end. I made 
sure that there would be at least a tent, an awning, 
or a platform for me to stand under or upon. Ah, 
oui ! not the smallest sign of either. ' Voila votre 
estrade,' said Schneider, pointing to a small lawn, 
separated from the rest of the gardens by a gravelled 
walk three or four feet wide. I declined at once to 



A CURIOUS DRAMATIC RECITAL. 199 

act under such conditions, and insisted upon being 
taken back immediately to the station, and from thence 
to Berlin. Poor Schneider was simply in despair. In 
vain did he point out that to any one else the total 
absence of scenery and adjuncts might prove a draw- 
back, but that to me it would only be an additional 
advantage, as it would bring into greater relief my own 
talent ; I would not be persuaded. Finding that it 
was fruitless to play upon my vanity as an artist, he 
appealed to me as a femme du monde. * The very 
absence of all preparations,' he said, * proves that their 
majesties have not engaged Mdlle. Kachel of the 
Comedie-Franpaise to give a recitation, but invited 
Mdlle. Kachel Felix to one of their soirees. That 
Mdlle. Eachel Felix should be kind enough, after 
having partaken of a cup of tea, to recite something, 
would only be another proof of her well-known readiness 
to oblige ; ' and so forth. Let me tell you, mon cher, 
that I have rarely met with a cleverer diplomatist, and 
Heaven knows I have seen a lot who imagined them- 
selves clever. They could not hold a candle to this 
erstwhile actor ; nevertheless I remained as firm as a 
rock, though I was sincerely distressed on Schneider's 
account." 

" What made you give in at last ? " I inquired. 
*•' Was it the idea of losing the magnificent fee ? " 

" For once you are mistaken," she laughed, " though 
Schneider himself brought that argument to bear as a 
big piece of artillery. * Remember this, mademoiselle/ 
he said, when he could think of nothing else; * re- 
member this — that this soiree may be the means of 
putting three hundred thousand or four hundred 
thousand francs into your pocket. You yourself 



200 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

told me just now on board the yacht that you were 
very anxious for an engagement at St. Petersburg. 
I need scarcely tell you that, if you refuse to appear 
before their majesties to-night, I shall be compelled 
to state the reason, and Russia will be for ever closed 
to you. Apart from pecuniary considerations, it will 
be said by your enemies — and your very eminence in 
your profession causes you to have many — that you 
failed to please the Empress. After all, the fact that 
all the ordinary surroundings of the actress have been 
neglected proves that you are not looked upon as an 
actress by them, but as une femme du monde.'" 

" That persuaded you ? " I remarked. 

" Not at all." 

" Then it was the money." 

" Of course you would think so, even if I swore the 
contrary a hundred times over; but if you were tp 
guess from now till to-morrow, you would never hit 
upon the real reason that made me stay." 

"Well, then, I had better not try, and you had 
bettor tell me at once." 

" Strange as it may seem to you, it was neither the 
gratification of being treated en femme du monde nor 
the money that made me stay ; it was the desire to 
see what I had been told was the handsomest man in 
Europe. I did see him, and for once in a way rumour 
had not exaggerated the reality. I had scarcely given 
my final consent to Schneider, when the yacht carrying 
the imperial and royal families came alongside the 
island, and the illustrious passengers landed, amidst an 
avalanche of flowers thrown from the other vessels 
Schneider presented me to the King, who was also 
good-looking, and the latter presented me to the Czar. 



IMPROVISED FOOTLIGHTS. 201 

** Immediately afterwards the recital began. At the 
risk of taxing your credulity still further, I may tell 
you that I, Kachel, who never knew what 'stage 
fright * meant, felt nervous. That man to me looked 
like a very god. Fortunately for my reputation, the 
shadows of night were gathering fast ; in another 
twenty minutes it would be quite dark, and I felt 
almost rejoiced that my audience could scarcely dis- 
tinguish my features. On the other hand, Raphael, 
who only knew the part of Hippolyte by heart, and 
who was obliged to read the others, declared that he 
could not see a line, and candles had to be brought in. 
It was a glorious evening, but there was a breeze 
nevertheless, and as fast as the candles were lighted, 
they were extinguished by the wind. To put ordinary 
lamps on the lawn at our feet was not to be thought 
of for a moment ; luckily one of the functionaries re- 
membered that there were some candelabra with globes 
inside, and by means of these a kind of * float ' was 
improvised. Still the scene was a curious one. Raphael 
close to me on the edge of the lawn, with one of these 
candelabra in his left hand. Behind, to the left and 
right of us, a serried crowd of generals, court digni- 
taries in magnificent uniforms. In front, and separated 
by the whole width of a gravel walk, the whole group 
of sovereigns and their relations, and behind them the 
walls of the mansion, against which the tea-table had 
been set, and around which stood the ladies-in-waiting 
of the Queen of Prussia and the Empress of Russia. 
A deep silence around, only broken by the soft soughing 
of the wind in the trees and the splashing of a couple 
of fountains near, playing a dirge-like accompaniment 
to Raphael's and my voice. 



202 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

"The recital lasted for nearly an hour; if I had 
liked I could have kept them there the whole night, 
for never in my career have I had such an attentive, 
such a religiously attentive, audience. The King was 
the first to notice my fatigue, and he gave the signal 
for my leaving off by coming up and thanking me for 
my efforts. The Emperor followed his example, and 
stood chatting to me for a long while. In a few 
minutes I was the centre of a circle which I am not 
likely to forget as long as I live. Then came the 
question how Raphael and I were to get back to 
Berlin. The last train was gone. But Schneider 
simply suggested a special, and a mounted messenger 
was despatched then and there to order it. After 
everything had been arranged for my comfortable 
return, the sovereigns departed as they had come, only 
this time the yacht, as well as the others on the lake, 
were splendidly illuminated. This was my first appear- 
ance before Nicholas I." 

There was no man to whom Eachel owed more than 
to Samson, or even as much ; but for him, and in spite 
of her incontestable genius, the Comedie-Franpais 
might have remained closed to her for many years, 
if not for ever. Frederick Lemaitre and Marie Dorval 
were undoubtedly, in their own way, as great as she, 
yet the blue riband of their profession never fell to 
their lot. And yet, when she had reached the topmost 
rung of the ladder of fame, Rachel was very often 
not only ungrateful to him, but her ingratitude showed 
itself in mean, spiteful tricks. When Legouve's 
" Adrienne Lecouvreur " was being cast, Samson, 
who had forgiven Rachel over and over again, was 
on such cool terms with her that the authors feared 



RACHEL AND SAMSON. 203 

Jie would not accept the part of the Prince de Bouillon. 
Nevertheless, Samson, than whom there was not a 
more honourable and conscientious man on or off the 
stage, accepted; he would not let his resentment 
interfere with what he considered his duty to the 
institution of which he was so eminent a member. 
This alone ought to have been sufficient to heal the 
breach between the tutor and the pupil ; any woman 
with the least spark of generosity, in the position 
of Rachel towards Samson, would have taken the first 
step towards a reconciliation. Kachel, as will be seen 
directly, was perfectly conscious of what she ought to 
do under the circumstances; she was too great an 
actress not to have studied the finer feelings of the 
human heart, and yet she did not do it. On the 
contrary, she aggravated matters. Every one knows 
the fable of "The Two Pigeons" which Adrienne 
recites at the soiree of the Princesse de Bouillon. 
Now, it so happened that the great barrister and 
orator, Berryer, was considered a most charming 
reciter of that kind of verse. Berryer, a most simple- 
minded man, took special delight in sharing the most 
innocent games of young children. He was especially 
fond of the game of ** forfeits ; " and so great was his 
fame as a diseur, that the penalty generally imposed 
upon him was the reciting of a fable. But great diseur 
as he was, he himself acknowledged that Samson could 
have given him a lesson. 

At every new part she undertook, Eachel was in the 
habit of consulting with her former tutor; this time she 
went to consult Berryer instead, and, what was worse, 
took pains that every one should hear of it. "Then 
my heart smote me," she said afterwards, when by 



204 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

one of those irresistible tricks of hers she had obtained 
her tutor's pardon once more. It was as deliberate 
a falsehood as she ever uttered in her life, which in 
Eachel's case means a good deal. The fact was, the 
affair, as I have already said, had been bruited about, 
mainly by herself at first; the public showed a dis- 
position to take Samson's part, and she felt afraid of 
a " warm reception " on the first night. 

Under these circumstances she had recourse to one 
of her wiles, which, for being theatrical, was not less 
effective. At the first rehearsal, when Adrienne has 
to turn to Michonnet, saying, " This is my true friend, 
to whom I owe everything," she turned, not to Regnier* 
who played Michonnet, and to whom the words are 
addressed, but to Samson, at the same time holding 
out her hand to him. Samson, who, notwithstanding 
all their disagreements, felt very proud of his great 
pupil, who was, moreover, of a very affectionate dispo- 
sition, notwithstanding his habitual reserve, fell into 
the trap. He took her proffered hand; then she 
flung herself into his arms, and the estrangement 
was at an end, for the time being, llachel took 
great care to make the reconciliation as public as 
possible. 

I was never very intimate with Samson, but the 
little I knew of him I liked. I repeat, he was 
essentially an lionourable and honest man, and very 
tolerant with regard to the foibles of the fair sex. 
There was need for such tolerance in those days. 
Augustine Brohan, Sylvanie Plessy, Eachel, and half 
a dozen other women, all very talented, but all very 
wayward, made Buloz' life (he was the director of the 
Comedie-Franjaise, as well as the editor of the Bevue 



A DIRECTOR OF THE COM^DIE. 205 

des Deux Mondes) a burden to him. He who could, 
and often did, dictate his will to men who already 
then were famous throughout Europe, frequently found 
himself powerless against women, who, however cele- 
brated, were, with the exception of Rachel, nothing 
in comparison with the former. He was, it is true, 
overbearing to a degree, and disagreeable besides, but 
his temper proved of no avail with them ; it only made 
matters worse. " Apres tout," he said one day to 
Madame Allan, who was the most amenable of all, 
"je suis le raaitre ici." " Ca se peut, monsieur," was 
the answer, " mais nous sommes les contres maitre." * 

In nearly all such troubles Regnier and Samson had 
to act as buffers between the two contending parties ; 
but, as Augustine Brohan explained once, the two were 
utterly different in their mode of casting oil upon the 
troubled waters. "Regnier," she said, "c'est le bon 
Dieu des Chretiens, qui se fait tres souvent mener 
par le nez par des mots. Du reste son nez s'y prete.-}- 
Samson c'est le Dieu juste, mais vengeur des Juifs, qui 
veut bien pardonner, mais seulement apres soumissiou 
complete et entiere. Samson ne vous promet pas le 
ciel, il vous offre des compensations solides ici bas." 

It would be diflBcult to paint the contrast between 
two characters in fewer words. In 1845, when Mdlle. 
Sylvanie Plessy seceded from the Comedie-Franpaise, 
Regnier wrote a kind epistle, recommending her to 
come and explain matters either personally or by 
letter. " Let your letter be kind and affectionate, and 

* The play upon the word is Bcarcely translatable. " Contre-maitre " 
in the singular means foreman ; as it is used here it means against the 
master. — Editor. 

t Regnier's nose was always a subject of jokes among his fellow- 
actors. " It is not because it is large," said Beauvallet, " but because 
ii ia his principal organ of speech." — Editob. 



206 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

be sure that things will right themselves better than 
you expect." 

Samson also wrote, but simply to say that if she did 
not come back at onee all the terrors of the law 
would be invoked against her. Which was done. The 
Comedie-Franpaise instituted proceedings, claiming two 
hundred thousand francs damages, and twenty tliousand 
francs "a titre de provision."* The court cast Mdlle. 
Plessy in six thousand francs provision, deferring 
judgment on the principal claim. Two years later 
Mdlle. Plessy returned and re-entered the fold. 
Thanks to Samson, she did not pay a single farthing 
of damages, and the Comedie bore the costs of the 
whole of the lawsuit.f 

Both Samson and Eegnier were very proud of their 
profession, but their pride showed itself in different 
ways. Eegnier would have willingly made every one 
an actor — that is, a good actor ; he was always teaching 
a great many amateurs, staging and superintending 
their performances. Samson, on the other hand, had 
no sympathy whatsoever with that kind of thing, and 
could rarely be induced to give it aid, but he was very 
anxious that every public speaker should study elo- 
cution. "Eloquence and elocution are two different 
things," he said ; " and the eloquent man who does not 
study elocution, is like an Apollo with a bad tailor, 
and who dresses without a looking-glass. I go further 
still, and say that every one ought to learn how to 
speak, not necessarily with the view of amusing his 

* Damages claimed by one of the parties, pending the final verdict. — 
Editor. 

t Curiously enough, it was Emile Augier's " Aventuri^re " that 
caused Mdlle. Plessy's secession, just as it did thirty-five years later, 
in the case of Mdlle. Sarah Bernhardt. — Editor. 



SAMSON. 207 

friends and acquaintances, but with the view of not 
annoying them. I am a busy man, but should be glad 
to devote three hours a week to teach the rising 
generation, and especially the humbler ones, how to 
speak." 

In connection with that wish of Samson, that every 

man whose duties compelled him, or who voluntarily 

undertook to speak in public, should be a trained 

elocutionist, I remember a curious story of which I 

was made the recipient quite by accident. It was in 

the year '60, one morning in the summer, that I 

happened to meet Samson in the Eue Vivienne. We 

exchanged a few words, shook hands, and each went his 

own way. In the afternoon I was sitting at Tortoni's, 

when a gentleman of about thirty-five came up to me. 

" Monsieur," he said, " will you allow me to ask you a 

question ? " " Certainly, monsieur, if it be one I can 

answer," I replied. " I believe," he said, " that I saw 

you in the Rue Vivienne this morning talking to some 

one whose name I do not know, but to whom I am 

under great obligations, I was in a great hurry and 

in a cab, and before I could stop the cabman both of 

you had disappeared. Will, you mind telling me his 

name ? " "I recollect being in the Eue Vivienne and 

meeting with M. Samson of the Comedie-Franpaise," 

I answered. " I thought so," remarked my interlocutor. 

"Allow me to thank you, monsieur." With this he 

lifted his hat and went out. 

The incident had slipped my memory altogether, 
when I was reminded of it by Samson himself, about 
three weeks afterwards, in the green-room of the 
Comedie-Franpaise. I had been there but a few 
moments when he came in. "You are the man who 



208 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

betrayed me," he said with a chuckle. *' I have been 
cudgelling my brain for the last three weeks as to 
who it could have been, for I spoke to no less than 
half a dozen friends and acquaintances in the Eue 
Vivienne on the morning I met you, and they all wear 
imperials and moustaches. A nice thing you have 
done for me; you have burdened me with a grateful 
friend for the rest of my life ! " 

And then he told me the story, how two years before 
he had been at Granville during the end of the summer ; 
how he had strolled into the Palais de Justice and heard 
the procureur-imperial make a speech for the prosecu- 
tion, the delivery of which would have disgraced his 
most backward pupil at the Conservatoire. " I was very 
angry with the fellow, and felt inclined to write him a 
letter, telling him that there was no need to torture the 
innocent audience, as well as the prisoner in the dock. 
I should have signed it. I do not know why I did 
not, but judge of my surprise when, the same evening 
at dinner, I found myself seated opposite him. I must 
have scowled at him, and he repaid scowl for scowl. 
It appears that he was living at the hotel temporarily, 
while his wife and child were away. I need not tell 
you the high opinion our judges have of themselves, 
and I dare say he thought it the height of impertinence 
that I, a simple mortal, should stare at him. I soon 
came to the conclusion, however, that if I wanted to 
spare my fellow-creatures such an infliction as I had 
endured that day, I ought not to arouse the man's 
anger. So I looked more mild, then entered into con- 
versation with him. You should have seen his face 
when I began to criticize his tone and gestures. But 
he evidently felt that I was somewhat of an authority 



t 



A LESSON IN ELOCUTION. 209 

on the subject, and at last I took him out on the beach 
and gave him a lesson in delivering a speech, and left 
him there without revealing my name. Next morning 
I went away, and never set eyes on him again until 
three weeks ago, when he left his card, asking for an 
interview. He is a very intelligent man, and has 
profited by the first lesson. During the three days he 
remained in Paris I gave him three more. He says 
that if ever I get into a scrape, he'll do better than 
defend me — prosecute me, and I'm sure to get off." 

r have never seen Samson give a lesson at the 
Conservatoire, but I was present at several of Regnier's, 
thanks to Auber, whom I knew very well, and who 
was the director, and to Regnier himself, wlio did not 
mind a stranger being present, provided he felt certain 
that the stranger was not a scoffer. I believe that 
Samson would have objected without reference to the 
stranger's disposition ; at any rate, Auber hinted as 
much, so I did not prefer my request in a direct form. 

I doubt, moreover, whether a lesson of Samson to 
his pupils would have been as interesting to the out- 
sider as one of Regnier's. Of all the gifts that go to the 
making of a great actor, Regnier had naturally only 
two — taste and intelligence ; the others were replaced 
by what, for want of a better term, one might call 
the tricks of the actor; their acquisition demanded 
constant study. For instance, Regnier's appearance 
off the stage was absolutely insignificant ; his voice 
was naturally husky and indistinct, and, moreover, 
what the French call nasillarde, that is, produced 
through the nose. His features were far from mobile ; 
the eyes were not without expression, but these never 
twinkled with merriment nor shone with passion. 

VOL. I. p 



210 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

Consequently the smallest as well as largest effect 
necessary to the interpretation of a character had to 
be thought out carefiilly beforehand, and then to be 
tried over and over again materially. Each of his 
inflections had to be timed to a second ; but when all 
this was accomplished, the picture presented by him 
was so perfect as to deceive the most experienced 
critic, let alone an audience, however intelligent. In 
fact, but for his own frank admission of all this, his 
contemporaries and posterity would have been never 
the wiser, for, to their honour be it said, his fellow- 
actors were so interested in watching him " manipu- 
late himself," as they termed it, as to never breathe 
a word of it to the outside world. They all acknow- 
ledged that they had learned something from him 
during rehearsal. For instance, in one of his best- 
known characters, that of the old servant in Madame 
de Girardin's " La Joie fait peur," * there is a scene 
which, as played by Regnier and Delaunay, looked 
to the spectator absolutely spontaneous. The smallest 
detail had been minutely regulated. It is where the 
old retainer, while dusting the room, is talking to 
himself about his young master, Lieutenant Adrien 
Desaubiers, who is reported dead. 

" I can see him now," says Noel, who cannot resign 
himself to the idea ; " I can see him now, as he used 
to come in from his long walks, tired, starving, and 
shouting before he was fairly into the house. 'Here 
I am, my good Noel ; I am dying with hunger. Quick ! 

* There are several English versions of the play, and I am under 
the impression that the late Tom Robertson was inspired by it when 
be adapted " Caste." I allude to that scene in the third act, where 
George d'Alroy returns unexpectedly and where Polly Eccles breaks 
the news to her sister. — Editok. 



E^QNIER AND HIS ART. 211 

an omelette.' " At that moment the young lieutenant 
enters the room, and having heard Noel's last sentence, 
repeats it word for word. 

Short as was the sentence, it had been arranged 
that Delaunay should virtually cut it into four parts. 

At the words, " It is I" Kegnier shivered from 
head to foot ; at " Here I am, my good Noel" he lifted 
his eyes heavenwards, to make sure that the voice did 
not come from there, and that he was not labouring 
under a kind of hallucination ; at the words, " I am 
dying with hunger" he came to the conclusion that it 
was a real human voice after all; and at the final, 
** Quick ! an omelette," he turned round quickly, and 
fell like a log into the young fellow's arms. 

I repeat, the whole of the scene had been timed 
to the fraction of a second ; nevertheless, on the first 
night, Regnier, nervous as all great actors are on such 
occasions, forgot all about his own arrangements, and, 
at the first sound of Delaunay's voice, was so overcome 
with emotion that he literally tumbled against the 
latter, who of course was not prepared to bear him up, 
and had all his work to do to keep himself from 
falling also. Meanwhile Regnier lay stretclied at 
full length on the stage, and the house broke into 
tumultuous applause. 

"That was magnificent," said Delaunay after the 
performance. "Suppose we repeat the thing to- 
morrow ? " 

But Regnier would not hear of it ; he stuck to his 
original conception in four tempi. He preferred 
trusting to his art rather than to the frank promptings 
of nature. 

That is why a lesson of Regnier to his pupils was so 



212 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

interesting to the outsider. The latter was, as it were, 
initiated into all the resources the great actor has at 
his command wherewith to produce his illusion upon 
the public. Among Kegnier's pupils those were his 
favourites who never allowed themselves to be carried 
away by their feelings, and who trusted to these 
resources as indicated to them by their tutor. He 
was to a certain extent doubtful of the others. 
*' Feelings vary ; effects intelligently conceived, 
studied, and carried, out ought never to vary," he 
said. Consequently it became one of his theories 
that those most plentifully endowed with natural gifts 
were not likely to become more perfect than those who 
had been treated niggardly in that respect, provided 
tlie vocation and the perseverance were there. The 
reverse of Samson, who was proudest of Eachel, 
Kegnier was never half as proud of M. Coquelin 
as of others who had given him far more trouble. 
Augustine Brohan explained the feeling in her own 
inimitable way. " Regnier est comme le grand seigneur 
qui s'enamourache d'une paysanne a qui il faut tout 
enseigner; si moi j'etais homme, j'aimerais mieux 
une demoiselle de bonne famille, qui n'aurait pas 
besoin de tant d'enseignement." 

Mdlle. Brohan exaggerated a little bit. Eegnier's 
pupils were not peasant children, to whom he had 
to teach everything ; a great many, like Coquelin, 
required very little teaching, and all the others 
had the receptive qualities which make teaching a 
pleasure. The latter, boys and girls, had to a certain 
extent become like Eegnier himself, " bundles of 
tricks," and, what is perhaps not so surprising to 
students of psychology and physiology, their features 



R^GNIER AT THE CONSERVATOIRE. 213 

had contracted a certain likeness to his. At the first 
blush one mi<];ht have mistaken them for his children. 
And they might have been, for the patience he had 
with them. It was rarely exhausted, but he now and 
then seemed to be waiting for a new supply. At such 
times there was a frantic clutch at the shock, grey- 
haired head, or else a violent blowing of the perky 
nose in a large crimson chequered handkerchief, its 
owner standing all the while on one leg ; the attitude 
was irresistibly comic, but the pupils were used to it, 
and not a muscle of their faces moved. 

Those who imagine that Kegnier's courses were 
merely so many lessons of elocution and gesticulation 
would be altogether mistaken. Regnier, unlike many 
of his great fellow-actors of that period, had received 
a good education ; he bad been articled to an architect, 
he had even dabbled in painting, and there were few 
historical personages into whose characters he had not 
a thorough insight. He was a fair authority upon 
costume and manners of the Middle Ages, and his 
acquaintance with Roman and Greek antiquities 
would have done credit to many a professor. He was 
called " le comedien savant "* and " le savant comedien." 
As such, whenever a pupil failed to grasp the social 
or political importance of one of the dramatis personee 
of Racine's or Corneille's play, there was sure to be a 
disquisition, telling the youngster all about him, but 
in a way such as to secure the attention of the listener 
— a way that might have aroused the envy of a uni- 
versity lecturer. The dry bones of history were clothed 
by a man with an eye for the picturesque. 

" Who do you think Augustus was ? " he said one 
day when I was present, to the pupil, who was de- 



214 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

claiming some lines of " Cinna." *' Do you think he was 
the concierije or le commissionnaire dii coin?" And 
forthwith there was a sketch of Augustus. Absolutely 
quiverin;:^ with life, he led his listener through the 
streets of Rome, entered the palace with him, and once 
there, became Augustus himself. After such a scene 
he would frequently descend the few steps of the 
platform and drop into his armchair, exhausted. 

Every now and then, in connection with some 
character of Moliere or Regnard, there would be an 
anecdote of the great interpreter of the character, 
but an anecdote enacted, after which the eyes would 
fill with tears, and the ample chequered handkerchief 
come into requisition once more. 

E^gnier was a great favourite with most of his 
fellow-actors and the employes of the Comedie-Fran- 
paise, but he was positively worshipped by Giovanni, 
the wigmaker of the establishment. They were in 
frequent consultation even in the green-room, the 
privilege of admission to which had been granted to 
the Italian Figaro. The consultations became most 
frequent when one of the members undertook a part 
new to him. It was often related of Balzac that he 
firmly believed in the existence of the characters his 
brain had created. The same might be said of Reg- 
nier with regard to the characters created by the 
great playwrights of his own time and those of the 
past. Of course, I am not speaking of those who had 
an historical foundation. But Alceste, Harpagon, 
Georges Dandin, Sganarelle, and Scapin were as real 
to him as Orestes and CEdipus, as Augustus and 
Mohammed. He would give not only their biographies, 
but describe their appearance, their manners, their 



GIOVANNI AND BONIER. 215 

gait, and even their complexion. The first time I 
heard him do so, I made sure that he was trying to 
mystify Giovanni ; but Kachel, who was present, soon 
undeceived me. And the Italian would sit listening 
reverently, then start up and exclaim, "Ze sais ce 
qu'il vous faut, Monsu Kegnier, ze vais faire oune 
parruque a etonner Moliere lui-meme." And he kept 
his word, because he considered that the wig con- 
tributed as much to, or detracted from, the success 
of an actor as his diction, and more than his clothes. 
When Delaunay became a societaire his first part 
was that of the lover in M. Viennet's " Migraine." 
" Voila Monsu Delaunay, oune veritable parruque di 
societaire. Zouez a present, vous etes sour de votre 
affaire." 

One day Beauvallet found him standing before the 
window of Brandus, the music-publisher in the Rue 
de Richelieu. He was contemplating the portrait of 
Rossini, and he looked sad. 

"What are you standing there for, Giovanni?" 
asked Beauvallet. 

" Ah, Monsu Bouvallet, I am looking at the por- 
trait of Maestro Giovanni Rossini, and when I think 
that his name is Giovanni like mine, when I see that 
abominable wig which looks like a grass-plot after a 
month of drought, I feel ashamed and sad. But I 
will go and see him, and make him a wig for love or 
money that will take twenty years off his age." He 
went, but Rossini would not hear of it, or rather 
Madame Rossini put a spoke in his wheel. Giovanni 
never mentioned his name again. It was Ligier who 
brought Giovanni to Paris, and for a quarter of a century 
he worked unremittingly for the glory of the Comedie- 



216 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

Franpaise, and when one of the great critics happened 
to speak favourably of the " make-up " of an actor, as 
Paul de St. Victor did when Kegnier " created Noel," 
Giovanni used to leave his card at liis house. It was 
Giovanni who made the wigs for M. Ancessy, the 
musical director at the Odeon, who, under the manage- 
ment of M. Edouard Thierry, occupied the same 
position at the Comedie-Franpaise. M. Ancessy was not 
only a good chef d'orchestre, but a composer of talent ; 
but he had one great weakness — he was as bald as a 
billiard-ball and wished to pass for an Absalom. Gio- 
vanni helped him to carry out the deception by making 
three artistic wigs. The first was of very short hair, 
and was worn from the 1st to the 10th of the month ; 
from the 11th to the 20th M. Ancessy donned one 
with hair that was so visibly growing as to cover his 
ears. From the 20th to the last day of the month his 
locks were positively flowing, and he never failed to 
say on that last evening in the hearing of every one, 
" What a terrible nuisance my hair is to me ! I must 
have it cut to-morrow." 



AUBER. 217 



CHAPTER VII. 

Two composers, Auber and Felicien David — Auber, the legend of his 
youthful appearance — How it arose — His daily rides, his love of 
women's society — His mot on Mozart's " Don Juan " — The only 
drawback to Auber's enjoyment of women's society — His reluc- 
tance to take his hat off — How he managed to keep it on most 
of tlie time — His opinion upon Miyerbeer's and Hale'vy's genius 
— His opinion upon Gerard de Nerval, who hanged himself with 
his hat on — His love of solitude — His fondness of Paris — Hia 
grievance against his mother for not having given him birth 
there — He refuses tf> leave Paris at the commencement of the 
siege — His small appetite — He proposes to write a new opera 
when the Prussians are gone — Auber suffers no privations, but 
has difficulty in finding fodder for his horse — The Parisians 
claim it for food — Anotlier legend about Auber's independence 
of pleep — How and where he generally slept — Why Auber snored 
in Ve'ron's company, and why he did not in that of other people 
— His capacity for work — Auber a brilliant talker — Auber's 
gratitude to the artists who interpreted his work, but different 
from Meyerbeer's — The reason why, according to Auber — 
Jealousy or humility — Auber and the younger Coquelin — " The 
verdict on all things in this world may be summed up in the one 
phrase, ' It's an injustice ' " — Fe'licien David — The man — The 
beginnings of his career — His terrible poverty — He joins the 
Saint-Simoniens, and goes with some of them to the East — Their 
reception at Constantinople — M. Scribe and the libretto of 
"L'Afiicaine" — David in Egj'pt at the court of Mehemet-Ali — 
David's description of him — Mehemet's way of testing the edu- 
cational progress of his sons — Woe to the fat kine — Mehemet-Ali 
suggests a new mode of teaching music to the inmates of the 
harem — Felicien David's further wanderings in Egypt — Their 
effect upon his musical genius — His return to France — He tells 
the story of the fir&t performance of " Le De'sert " — An ambulant 
box-office — His success — Fame, but no money — He sells the 
score of "Le Desert" — He loses his savings — "La Perle du 
Bre'sil" and the (Joup-iJ'Etat— " No luck "—Napoleon III. re- 
mains his debtor for eleven years — A mot of Auber, and one of 
Alexandre Dumas p^re — The story of "Aida" — Why Felicien 
David did not compose the music — The real author of the libretto. 

I KNEW Auber from the year '42 or '43 until the day 
of his death. He and I were in Paris during: the 



218 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

siege and the Commune ; we saw one another fre- 
quently, and I am positive that the terrible mis- 
fortunes of his country shortened his life by at least 
ten years. For though at the beginning of the 
campaign he was close upon ninety, he scarcely 
looked a twelvemonth older than when I first knew 
him, nearly three decades before ; that is, a very 
healthy and active old man, but still an old man. So 
much nonsense has been written about his perpetual 
youth, that it is well to correct the error. But the 
ordinary French public, and many journalists besides, 
could not understand an octogenarian being on horse- 
back almost every day of his life, any more than they 
understood later on M. de Lesseps doing the same. 
They did not and do not know M. Mackenzie-Grieves, 
and half a dozen English residents in Paris of a similar 
age, who scarcely ever miss their daily ride. If they 
had known them, they might perhaps have been less 
loud in their admiration of the fact. 

What added, probably, to Auber's reputation of 
possessing the secret of perpetual youth was his great 
fondness for women's society, his very handsome 
appearance, though he was small comparatively, and 
his faultless way of dressing. He was most charm- 
ing with the fairer sex, and many of the female pupils 
of the Conservatoire positively doted on him. Though 
polite to a degree with men — and I doubt whether 
Auber could have been other than polite with no 
matter whom — his smiles, I mean his benevolent ones, 
for he could smile very sceptically, were exclusively 
reserved for women. When he heard Mozart's "Don 
Juan " for the first time, he said, " This is the music 
of a lover of twenty, and if a man be not an imbecile, 



auber's mania. 219 

he may always have in a little corner of his heart the 
sentiment or fancy that he is only twenty." 

There was but one drawback to Auber's enjoyment 
of the society of women — he was obliged to take off 
his hat in their presence, and he hated being without 
that article of dress. He might have worn a skull-cap 
at home, though there was no necessity for it, as far as 
his hair was concerned, for up to the last he was far 
from bald ; but he wanted his hat. He composed with, 
his hat on, he had his meals with his hat on, and though 
he would have frequently preferred to take his seat in 
the stalls or balcony of a theatre, he invariably had 
a box, and generally one on the stage, in order to 
keep his hat on. He would often stand for hours 
on the balcony of his house in the Rue Saint-Georges 
with his hat on. " I never feel as much at home 
anywhere, not even in my own apartment, as in the 
synagogue," he said one day. He frequently went 
there for no earthly reason than because he could 
sit among a lot of people with his hat on. In fact, 
those frequent visits, coupled with his dislike to be 
bareheaded, made people wonder now and then whether 
Auber was a Jew. The ^supposition always made 
Auber smile. " That would have meant the genius 
of a Meyerbeer, a Mendelssohn, or a Halevy," he said. 
" No, I have been lucky enough in my life, but such 
good fortune as that never fell to my lot." For there 
was no man so willing — nay, anxious — to acknowledge 
the merit of others as Auber. But Auber was not a 
Jew, and his mania for keeping on his hat had nothing 
to do with his religion. It was simply a mania, and 
nothing more. When, in January, '55, Gerard de 
^Nerval was found suspended from a lamp-post in the 



220 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

Rue de la Vieille-Lanteriie, he had his hat on his 
head ; his friends, and even the police, pretended to 
argue from this that he had not committed suicide, 
but had been murdered. "A man who is going to 
hang himself does not keep his hat on," they said. 
"Pourquoi pas, mon Dieu ? " asked Auber, simply. 
"If I were going to kill myself, I should certainly 
keep my hat on." In short, it was the only thing 
about Auber which could not be explained. 

Auber was exceedingly fond of society, and yet he 
was fond of solitude also. Many a time his friends 
reported that, returning home late from a party, they 
found Auber standing opposite his house in the Rue 
Saint-Georges, with apparently no other object than to 
contemplate it from below. After bis return to Paris 
from London, whither he had been sent by his father, 
in order to become conversant with English business 
habits, he never left the capital again, though at the 
end of his life he regretted not having been to Italy. 
It was because Rossini, who was one of his idols, had 
said " that a musician should loiter away some of 
his time under that sky." I^ut almost immediately 
he comforted himself with the thought that Paris, 
after all, was the only city worth living in. " I was 
very fond of my mother, but I have one grievance 
against her memory. What did she want to go to 
Caen for just at the moment when I was about to be 
born? But for that I should have been a real Parisian." 
I do not think it made much difference, for I never 
knew such an inveterate Parisian as Auber. When 
the investment of Paris had become an absolute 
certainty, some of his friends pressed him to leave; 
he would not hear of it. They predicted discomfort, 



i 



auber's independence of sleep. 221 

famine, and what-not. "The latter contingency will 
not affect me much, seeing that I eat but once a day, 
and very little then. As for the sound of the firipg 
disturbing me, I do not think it will. It has often 
been said that the first part of my overture to * Fra 
Diavolo ' was inspired by the retreating tramp of a 
regiment; there may be some truth in it. If it be 
vouchsafed to me to hear tlie retreating tramp of the 
Germans, I will write an overture and an opera, 
which will be something different, I promise yon." 

I do not suppose that, personally, Auber suffered 
any privations during the siege. A man in his position, 
who required but one meal a day, and that a very light 
one, was sure to find it somewhere ; but he had great 
trouble to find suflScient fodder for his old faithful 
hack, that had carried him for years, and when, after 
several months of scheming and contriving to that 
effect, he was forced to give it up as food for others, 
his cup of bitterness was full. "lis m'ont pris mon 
vieux cheval pour le manger," he repeated, when I 
saw him alter the event; "je I'avais depuis vingt ans." 
It was really a great blow to him. 

There is another legend- about Auber which is not 
founded upon facts, namely, that he was pretty well 
independent of sleep. It was perfectly true that he 
went to bed very late and rose very early, but most 
people have overlooked the fact that during the 
evening he had had a comfortable doze, of at least an 
hour and a half or two hours, at the theatre. He rarely 
missed a performance at the Opera or Opera-Comique, 
except when his own work was performed. And during 
that time he slumbered peacefully, "en homme du 
monde," said Nestor Roqueplan, " without snoring." 



222 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

"I never knew what it meant to snore," said 
Auber, apologetically, "until I took to sleeping in 
Veron's box ; and as it is, I do not snore now except 
under provocation. But there would be no possibility 
of sleeping by the side of Veron without snoring. You 
have to drown his, or else it would awaken you." 

Auber was a brilliant talker, but he scarcely ever 
liked to exert himself except on the subject of music. 
It was all in all to him, and the amount of work he 
did must have been something tremendous. There 
are few students of the history of operatic music, no 
matter how excellent their memories, who could give 
the complete list of Auber's works by heart. We 
tried it once in 1850, when that list was much shorter 
than it is now ; there was not a single one who gave 
it correctly. The only one who came within a measure- 
able distance was Roger, the tenor. 

In spite of his world-wide reputation, even at that 
time, Auber was as modest about his work as Meyerbeer, 
but he had more confidence in himself than the latter. 
Auber was by no means ungrateful to the artists who 
contributed to his success ; " but I don't * coddle ' them, 
and put them in cotton-wool, like Meyerbeer," he 
said. " It is perfectly logical that he should do so. 
The Nourrits, the Levasseurs, the Viardot-Garcias, and 
the Eogers, are not picked up at street-corners; but 
bring me the first urchin you meet, who has a decent 
voice, and a fair amount of intelligence, and in six 
months he'll sing the most difficult part I ever wrote, 
with the exception of that of Masaniello. My operas 
are a kind of warming-pan for great singers. There is 
something in being a good warming-pan." 

At the first blush, this sounds something like 



AUBER AND COQUELIN CADET. 223 

jealousy in the guise of humility, but I am certain 
that there was no jealousy in Auber s ciiaracter. Few 
men have been so uniformly successful, but he also 
had his early struggles, "when perhaps I did better 
work than I have done since." The last sentence was 
invariably trolled out when a pupil of the Conservatoire 
complained to him of having been unjustly dealt with. 
I remember Coquelin tlie younger competing for the 
" prize of Comedy " in '65 or 'Q6. He did not get it, 
and when we came out of Auber's box at the Conser- 
vatoire, the young fellow came up to him with tears 
in his eyes. 1 fancy they were tears of anger rather 
than of sorrow. 

"Ah, Monsieur Auber," he exclaimed, "that's an 
injustice." 

"Perhaps so, my dear lad," replied Auber; "but 
remember that the verdict on all things in this world 
may be summed up in the words you have just uttered, 
* It's an injustice.' Let me give you a bit of advice. 
If you mean to become a good Figaro, you must be 
the first to laugh at an injustice instead of weeping 
over it." Wherewith he turned his back upon the now 
celebrated comedian. In tl*e course of these notes I 
shall have occasion to speak of Auber again. 

Auber need not have generalized to young Coquelin ; 
he might have cited one instance of injustice in his 
own profession, to which, fortunately, there was no 
parallel for at least thirty years. In the forties the 
critics refused to recognize the genius of Felicien 
David, just as they had refused to recognize the genius 
of Hector Berlioz. In the seventies they were morally 
guilty of the death of Georges Bizet, the composer of 
•• Carmen." 



224 AN ENGLISHMA.N IN PARIS. 

I knew little or nothing of Hector Berlioz, but 1 
frequently met Felicien David at Auber's. It was a 
pity to behold the man even after his success — a success 
which, however, did not put money in his purse. His 
moral sufferings, his material privations, had left their 
traces but too plainly on the face as well as on the 
mind. David had positively starved in order to buy 
the few books and the paper necessary to his studies, 
and yet he had the courage to say, " If I had to begin 
over ao^ain, I would do the same." The respectability 
that drives a gig when incarnated in parents who 
refuse to believe in the power of soaring of their off- 
spring because they, the parents, cannot see the wings, 
has assuredly much to answer for. Flotow's father 
stops the supplies after seven years, because his son 
has not come up to time like a race-horse. Berlioz' 
father does not give him so long a shrift ; he allows 
him three months to conquer fame. Felicien David 
had no father to help or to thwart him in his ambition. 
He was an orphan at the age of five, and left to the 
care of a sister, who was too poor to help him ; but he 
had an uncle who was well-to-do, and who allowed him 
the magnificent sum of fifty francs per month — for a 
whole quarter — and then withdrew it, notwithstanding 
the assurance of Oherubini that the young fellow had 
the making of a great composer in him. And the 
worst is that these young fellows suffer in silence, 
while there are hundreds of benevolent rich men who 
vpould willingly open their purses to them. When 
they do reveal their distressed condition, it is generally 
to some one as poor as themselves. These rich men 
buy the autographs of the deceased genius for small or 
large sums which would have provided the struggling 



F^LICIEN DAVID. '2'2o 

ones with comforts for days and days. I have before 
me such a letter which I bought for ten francs. I 
would willingly have given ten times the amount not 
to have bought it. It is written to a friend of his 
youth. " As for money," it says, " seeing that I am 
bound to speak of it, things are going from bad to 
worse. And it is very certain that in a little while I 
shall have to give it up altogether. I have been ill 
for three weeks with pains in the back, and fever and 
ague everywhere. I dare say that my illness was 
brought on by my worries, and by the bad food of the 
Paris restaurants, also by the constant damjiness. 
Why am I not a little better off? I fancy that the 
slight comforts an artist may reasonably expect would 
do me a great deal of good. I am not speaking of 
the body, though it is a part of ourselves which con- 
siderably affects our intellect, but my imagination 
would be the better for it, for how can my brain, con- 
stantly occupied as it is with the worry of material 
wants, act unhampered? Really, I do not hesitate to 
say that poverty and privation kill the imagination." 

They did not kill the imagination in David's case, 
but they undermined his constitution. It was at that 
period that he fell in with the Saint-Simoniens, to 
the high priest of which, M. Enfantin, who eventually 
became the chairman of the Paris, Lyons, and Mediterra- 
nean Railway Company, he took me many years later. 
After their dispersion, the group to which he belonged 
went to the East, and it is to this apparently fortuitous 
circumstance that the world owes not only " Le Desert," 
" La Perle du Bresil," and " L'Eden," but probably also 
Meyerbeer's " Africaine." Meyerbeer virtually acknow- 
ledged that but for David's scores, so replete with the 

VOL. I. Q 



^2(3 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

poetry of the Orient, he would have never thought ot 
such a subject for one of his operas. M. Scribe, on the 
other hand, always maintained that the idea emanated 
from him, and that it dated from 1847, when the com- 
poser was p^iven the choice between " Le Prophete " 
and " L'Africaine," and chose the former. One might 
almost paraphrase the accusation of the wolf against 
the lamb in La Fontaine's fable. " M. Scribe, if you 
did not owe your idea to Felicien David, you owed it 
to Montigny, the director of the Gymnase, who in the 
thirties produced a play with a curious name, and a 
more curious plot, at the Ambigu-Comique." * One 
thing is certain, that " L'Africaine " was discarded, if 
ever it was offered, and would never have been thought 
of again but for Meyerbeer's intense and frankly 
acknowledged admiration of Felicien David's genius. 

To return for a moment to Felicien David, whose 
melancholy vanished as if by magic when he related 
his wanderings in the East. I do not mean the poetical 
side of them, which inspired him with his great com- 
positions, but the ludicrous one. I do not remember 
tlie dress of the Saint-Simoniens, I was too young at 

* I have taken some paine to unearth this play. It was .called 
" Amazampo ; or, The Discovery of Quinine." The scene was laid in 
Peru in 1636. Amazampo, the chief of a Peruvian tribe, is in love 
with Maida, who on iier part is in love with Ferdinand, the son of the 
viceroy. Amazampo is heart-broken, and is stricken down with 
fever. In his despair and partial delirium he tries to poison himself, 
and diinks the water of a pool in which several trunks of a tree called 
kina, reported poisonous, have been lying for years. He feels the 
effect almost immediately, but not the etlect he espected. He 
recovers, and takes advantage of his recovered health to forget his 
love passion, and to be avenged upon the oppressors of his country, 
many of whom are dying witii fever. Lima becomes a huge cemetery. 
Then the wife of tlie viceroy is stricken down. Mai'da wishes to savo 
her, but is forestalled by Amazampo, wlio compels Dona Theodori> 
to drink the li(juor, and so forth. But Amazampo and Ma'ida die. — 
Editor. 



k 



DAVID AND THE SAINT-SIMON lENS. 227 

the time to have noticed it, but am told it consisted 
of a blue tunic and trousers to match, a scarlet jersey, 
which buttoned at the back, and could not be undone 
except with the aid of some one else. It was meant 
to symbolize mutual dependence upon one another. 
"As far as Marseilles everything went comparatively 
well," said David ; " we lived by giving concerts, and 
though the receipts were by no means magnificent, 
they kept the wolf from the door. Our troubles began 
at Constantinople. Whether they did not like our 
music, or ourselves, or our dresses, I have never been 
able to make out, but we were soon denounced to the 
authorities, and marched off to prison, though our 
incarceration did not last more than a couple of hours, 
thanks to our ambassador. Admiral Eoussin. Our 
liberation, however, was conditional ; we had to leave 
at once. We made our way to Smyrna, where my 
music seemed to meet with a little more favour. I 
performed every night, but in the open air, and some 
one took the hat round, just as if we had been a 
company of ambulant musicians to the manner born. 
We were, however, not altogether unhappy, for we had 
enough to eat and to drink, which with me, at any 
rate, was a paramount consideration. Up till then 
suflBcient food had not been a daily item in my pro- 
gramme of life. My companions, nevertheless, became 
restless ; they said they had not come to eat and drink 
and play music, but to convert the most benighted 
part of Europe to their doctrines ; so we moved to 
Jaffa and Jerusalem, then to Alexandria, and finally 
to Cairo. By the time we got there, only three of 
us were left ; the rest had gone homeward. Koenig- 
Bey had just at that moment undertaken the tuition 



228 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

of Mehemet-Ali's children — there were between sixty 
and seventy at that time ; it was he who presented me 
to their father, with a view of my becoming the pro- 
fessor of music to the inmates of the harem. * It is of 
no use to try to get you the appointment of professor 
of music to the young princes, because Mehemet, 
though intelligent enough, would certainly not hear of 
it. He would not think it necessary tliat a man-child 
should devote himself to so effeminate an accomplish- 
ment. I am translating his own thoughts on the 
subject, not mine. When I tell you that my monthly 
report about their intellectual progress is invariably 
waved off with the words, " Tell me how much they 
have gained or lost in weight," you will understand 
that I am not speaking at random. The viceroy 
thinks that hard study should produce a corresponding 
decrease in weight, which is not always the case, for 
those more or less inclined to obesity make flesh in 
virtue of their sitting too much. Consequently the 
fat kine have a very bad time of it, and among the 
latter is one of the most intelligent boys, Mohamraed- 
Said.' " 

" Those who would infer from this," said David one 
day, referring to the same subject, " that Mehemet- 
Ali was lacking in intelligence, would commit a grave 
error. I am convinced, from the little I saw of him, 
that he was a man of very great natural parts. His 
features, though not absolutely handsome, were very 
striking and expressive. He was over sixty then, but 
looked as if he could bear any amount of fatigue. His 
constitution must originally have been an iron one. 
Instead of the Oriental repose which I expected, there 
was a kind of semi-European, semi-military stiffness 



DAVID AND MEHEMET-ALI. 229 

about him, which, however, soon wore off in conversa- 
tion. I say advisedly conversation, albeit that he did 
not understand a word of French, which was the only 
language I spoke, and that I could not catch a 
word of his. But in spite of Koenig-Bey's acting the 
interpreter, it was a conversation between us both. He 
seemed to catch the meaning of my words the moment 
they left my lips, and every now and then smiled at 
my remarks. He as it were read the thoughts that 
provoked them, and I do not wonder at his having been 
amused, for I myself was never so amused in my life. 
Perhaps you will be, when I tell you that I was not 
to see the ladies 1 had to teach ; my instruction was 
to be given to the eunuchs, who, in their turn, had to 
transmit tiiem to the viceroy's wives and daughters. 
Of course, I tried to point out the impossibility of such 
a system, but Mehemet-Ali shook his head with a 
knowing smile. That was the only way he would 
have his woraenkind initiated into the beauties of 
Mozart and Mendelssohn. I need not tell you that 
the arrangement came to nought." 

Nearly all these conversations which I have noted 
down here, without much, attempt at transition, took 
place at different times. One day, when he was 
relating some experiences of his wanderings through 
the less busy haunts of Egypt, I happened to say, 
" After all, Monsieur David, they did you good ; they 
inspired you with the themes of your most beautiful 
works." 

It was a very bitter smile that played on his lips, 
but only for a moment ; the next his face resumed its 
usual melancholy expression. " Yes, they did me good. 
Do you know what occurred on the eve of the first per- 



230 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

formance of ' Le Desert,' on the morrow of which I may 
say without undue pride that I found myself famous ? 
Well, I will tell you. But for Azevedo, I should have 
gone supperless that night.* I met him on the 
Boulevards, and I almost forced him to take some 
tickets, for I was hungry and desperate. I had been 
running about that morning to dispose of some tickets 
for love or money, for what I feared most was an empty 
house. I had sold half a dozen, perhaps, but no one 
had paid me. Azevedo said, 'Yes, send me some this 
afternoon.' *I can give them to you now,' I replied, 
* for I carry my box ofiSce upon me.' Then he under- 
stood, and gave me the money. May God bless him 
for it, for ever and ever ! 

" Now would you like to hear what happened after 
the performance ? " he continued. " The place was full 
and the applause tremendous. Next morning the papers 
were full of my name; I was, according to most of 
them, ' a revelation in music' But for all that I was 
living in an attic on a fifth floor, and had not suffi- 
cient money to pay my orchestra, let alone to arrange 
for another concert. As for the score of ' Le Desert, ' 
it went the round of every publisher but one, and was 
declined by all these. At last the firm of Escudier 
offered me twelve hundred francs for it, which, of 
course, I was glad to take. They behaved handsomely 
after all, because they arranged for a series of perform- 
ances of it, which I was to direct at a fee of a thousand 
francs per performance. Those good Saint-Simoniens, 
the Pereiras, Enfantin, Michel Chevalier, had not lifted 

* Alexis Azevedo, one of the best musical critics of the time, as 
enthusiastic in his likes as unreasoning in his dislikes. He became a 
fervent admirer of Fe'licien David. — Editor. 



DAVID AND LOUIS NAPOLEON. 231 

a finger to help me in my netd; nevertheless, I was 
not going to condemn good principles on account of 
the men who represented them not very worthily. Do 
you know what was the result of this determination 
not to be unjust if others were ? I embarked my little 
savings in a concern presided over by one of them. I 
lost every penny of it ; since then I have never been 
able to save a penny." 

Felicien David was right — he never made money ; 
first of all, " because," as Auber said, " he was too great 
an artist to be popular ; " secondly, because the era of 
cantatas and oratorios had not set in in France; 
thirdly, because he composed very slowly ; and fourthly, 
" because he had no luck." The performances of his 
principal theatrical work were interrupted by the 
Coup-d'Etat. I am alluding to " La Perle du Bresil," 
which, though represented at the Opera-Comique in 
1850, only ran for a few nights there, divergencies of 
opinion having arisen between the composer and M. 
Emile Perrin, who was afterwards director of the Grand 
Opera, and finally of the Comedie-Fran9aise. When it 
was revived, on November 22, 1851, the great event 
which was to transform the second republic into the 
second empire was looming on the horizon. In 18(32, 
Napoleon III. made Felicien David an officer of the 
Legion d'Honneur ; Louis-Philippe had bestowed the 
knighthood upon him in '46 or '47, after a perform- 
ance of his " Christophe Colomb " at the Tuileries. 
When Auber was told of the honour conferred, he 
said, " Napoleon is worse than the fish with the ring of 
Polycrates ; it did not take him eleven years to bring 
it back." Alexandre Dumas opined that '*it was a 
pearl hid in a dunghill for a decade or more." When, 



232 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PAKIS. 

towards the end of the Empire, a street near the 
projected opera buildinp: was named after Auber, and 
when he could see his bu^t on the facade of the build- 
ing, the scafifolding of which had been removed, Auber 
remarked that the Emperor had been good enough to 
give him credit. "Now we are quits," he added, *' for 
he was David's debtor for eleven years. At any rate, 
I'll do my best to square the afcount, so you need not 
order any hatbands until 79." When '79 came, he had 
been in his tomb for nearly eight years. 

I wrote just now that Felicien David composed very 
slowly. But for this defect, if it was one, Verdi would 
have never put his name to the score of " Aida." The 
musical encyclopedias will tell you that Signor Ghis- 
lanzoni is the author of the libretto, and that the 
khedive applied to Signor Verdi for an opera on an 
Egyptian subject. The first part of that statement is 
utterly untrue, the other part is but partially true. 
Signor Ghislanzoui is at best but the adapter in verse 
and translator of the libretto. The original in prose is 
by M. €amille du Locle, founded on the scenario sup- 
plied by Mariette-Bey, whom Ismail-Pasha had given 
carte llanche with regard to the music and words. 
Mariette-Bey intended from the very first to apply to 
a French playwright, when one night, being belated 
at Memphis in the Serapeum, and unable to return 
on foot, he all at once remembered an old Egyptian 
legend. Next day he committed the scenario of it to 
paper, showed it to the khedive, and ten copies of it 
were printed in Alexandria. One of these was sent 
to M. du Locle, who developed the whole in prose. 

M. du Locle had also been authorized to find a 
French composer, but it is very certain that Mariette- 



THE ORIGIN OF VERDl'S " AIDA." 233 

Bey had in his mind's eye the composer of " Le Desert," 
though he may not have expressly said so. At any 
rate, M. du Locle applied to David, who refused, 
although the " retaining fee " was fifty thousand francs. 
It was because he could not comply with the first and 
foremost condition, to Have the score ready in six 
months at the latest. Then Wagner was thought of. 
It is most probable that he would have refused. To 
Mariette-Bey belongs the credit furthermore of having 
entirely stage-managed the ojiera. 

Thu'^ Felicien David, who had revealed "the East in 
music " to the Europeans, no more reaped the fruits of 
his originality than Decamps, who had revealed it in 
painting. Was not Auber right when he said to young 
Coquelin that the verdict on all things in this world 
might be summed up in the one phrase, "It's an 
injustice " ? 



234 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 



CHAPTER VIIE. 

Three painters, and a school for pifferari — Gabriel Decamps, Eugene 
Delacroix, and Horace Vernet — The prices of pictures iu the 
forties — Delacroix' find no pnrcliasers at all — Decamps' drawings 
fetch a thousand francs each — Decamps not a happy man — The 
cause of his nnhappiness — The man and the painter — He finds 
no pleasure in being popular — Eugene Delacroix — His contempt 
for the bourgeoisie — A parallel between Delacroix and Shake- 
speare— "Was Delacroix tailor short? — His love of flowers — His 
delicate health — His personal appearance — His indifference to 
the love-passinn— George Sand and Delacroix — A miscarried 
love-scene — Delacroix' housekeeper, Jenny Leguillou — Delacroix 
does not want to pose as a model for one of George Sand's heroes 
— Delacroix as a writer — His approval of Carlyle's dictum, " Show 
me how a man sings," etc.— His humour tempered by his reve- 
rence — His failure as a caricaturist — His practical jokes on would- 
be art-critics — Delacroix at home — His dress while at work — 
Horace Vernet's, Paul Delaroche's,' Ingres' — Early at work — He 
does not waste time over lunch — How he spent his evenings — His 
dislike of being reproduced in marble or on canvas after his death 
— Horace Vernet — The contrast between the two men and the two 
artists — Vernet's appearance — His own account of how he became 
a painter — Moral and mental resemblance to Alexandre Dumas 
pere — His political opinions — Vernet and Nicholas I. — A bold 
answer — His opinion on the mental state of tlie Romanoffs — The 
comic side of Vernet's character — He thinks himself a Vauban — 
His interviews with M. Thiers — His admiration of everything 
military — His worship of Alfred de Vigny — His ineffectual 
attempts to paint a scene in connection with the storming of Con- 
stantine — Laurent-Jan proposes to write an epic on it — He gives 
a synopsis of the cantos — Laurent- Jan lives '*on the fat of the 
land " for six months — A son of Napoleon's companion in exile, 
General Bertrand — The chaplain of "la Belle-Poule" — The first 
French priest who wore the English dress — Horace Vernet and 
the veterans of "la grande arme'e" — His studio during their 
occupancy of it as models— His budget — His hatred of pifferari — 
A professor — The Quartier-Latin revisited. 

A FEW weeks ago,* when rummaging among oM 
papers, documents, memoranda, etc., I came upon 

* Written in 1882. 



THE PRICE OF PICTURES IN THE FORTIES. 235 

some stray leaves of a catalogue of a picture sale at 
the Hotel Bullion * in 1845. I had marked the prices 
realized by a score or so of paintings signed by men 
who, though living at that time, were already more 
or less famous, and many of whom have since then 
acquired a world-wide reputation. There was only 
one exception to this — that of Herrera the Elder, who 
had been dead nearly two centuries, and whose name 
was, and is still, a household word among connoisseurs 
by reason of his having been the master of Velasquez. 
The handiwork of the irascible old man was knocked 
down for three francs seventy-five centimes, though no 
question was raised as to the genuineness of it in my 
hearing. It was a saint — the catalogue said no more, — 
and I have been in vain trying to recollect why I 
did not buy it. There must have been some cogent 
reason for my not having done so, for "the frame 
was no doubt worth double the money," to use an 
auctioneer's phrase. Was it suspicion, or what ? At 
any rate, two years later, I heard that it had been sold 
to an American for fourteen thousand francs, though, 
after all, that was no guarantee of its value. 

In those days it was certainly better to be a live 
artist than a dead one, for, a little further on among 
these pages, I came upon a marginal note of the prices 
fetched by three works of Meissoiiier, '* Le Corps de 
Garde," " Une partie de piquet," and " Un jeune 
homme regardant des dessins," all of which had been 
in the salon of that year,t and each of which fetched 

• Tlie Hotel Bullion was formerly the town mansion of the financier 
of that name, and situated in the Eue Coquillifere. — Editor. 

t The annual salon was held in the Louvre then ; in 1849 it was 
transferred to the Tuileries. In 1850, '51, and '52 it was removed to 
the galleries of the Falais-Boyal : in 1853 and '51 the salon was held 



236 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

3000 francs. I should not like to say what their pur- 
chasing price would be to-day, allowing for the differ- 
ence in the value of money. Further on still, there 
is a note of a picture by Alfred de Dreux, which 
realized a similar amount. Allowing for that same 
difference in the value of money, that work would 
probably not find a buyer now among real connoisseurs 
at 200 francs.* At the same time, the original sketch 
of David's " Serment du Jeu de Paume " did not find 
a purcliaser at 2500 francs, the reserve price. A land- 
scape by Jules Andre, a far greater artist than Alfred 
de Dreux, went for 300 francs, and Baron's " Oies du 
Frere Piiilippe " only realized 200 francs more. There 
was not a single " bid " for Eugene Delacroix' " Marc- 
Aurele," and when he did sell a picture it was for 500 
or 600 francs; nowadays it would fetch 100,000 francs. 
On the other hand, the drawings of Decamps' admirable 
" Histoire de Samson" realized 1000 francs each. 

Yet Gabriel Decamps was a far unhappier man than 
Eugene Delacroix. The pictures rejected by the 
public became the " apples " of Delacroix' eyes, with 
which he would not part, subsequently, at any price, 
as in the case of his " Marino Faliero." Decamps, 
one day, while he lived in the Faubourg Saint-Denis, 
deliberately destroyed one hundred and forty draw- 
ings, the like of which were eagerly bought up for a 

in the Hotel des Menus-Plaisirs, in the Faubourg Poissonni^re, which 
became afterwards the storehouse for tlie scenery of the Grand Ope'ra. 
In 1855 the exhibition took place in a special annex of the Palais de 
I'Industrie ; after that, it was lodged in the Palais itself. — Editor. 

* Alfred de Dreux was not an unknown figure in London society. 
He came in 1848. He was a kind of Comte d'Orsay, and painted 
chiefly equestrian figures. After the Coup-d'Etat lie returned to 
Paris, and was patronized by society, and subsequently by Napoleon 
III. himself, whose portrait he painted. He was killed in a duel, the 
cause of which has never been revealed. — Editor. 



GABRIEL DECAMPS, 237 

thousand francs apiece, though at present they would 
be worth four times that amount. Delacroix was con- 
tent with his God-given genius ; " he saw everything 
he had made, and behold it was very good." Decamps 
fumed and fretted at the supposed systematic neglect 
of the Government, which did not give him a com- 
mission. " You paint with a big brush, but you ai e 
not a great painter," said Sir Joshua to a would-be 
Michael-Augelo. To Gabriel Decamps the idea of 
being allowed or invited by the State to cover a 
number of yards of canvas or wall or ceiling was so 
attractive that he positively lost his sleep and his appe- 
tite over it. It was, perhaps, the only bitter drop in 
his otherwise tolerably full cup of happiness, but that 
one drop very frequently embittered the whole. He 
had many good traits in his character, though he was 
not uniformly good-tempered. There was an absolute 
indifference as to the monetary results of his calling, 
and an inherent generosity to those who " had fallen 
by the way." But he was soinethiug of a bear and a 
recluse> not because he disliked society, but because he 
deliberately suppressed his sociable qualities, lest he 
should arouse the suspicion of making them the step- 
ping-stone to his ambition. No man ever misread the 
lesson, " Do well and fear not," so utterly as did De- 
camps. He was never tired of well-doing ; and he was 
never tired of speculating what the world would think 
of it. There is not a single picture from his brush 
that does not contain an original thought; he founded 
an absolutely new school — no small thing to do. Tlie 
world at large acknowledged as much, and yet he would 
not enjoy the fruits of that recognition, because it 
lacked the " official stamp." When Decamps cou- 



238 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

sented to forget his real or fancied grievances he 
became a capital companion, provided one had a taste 
for bitter and scathing satire. I fancy Jonathan Swift 
must have been something like Gabriel Decamps in 
his daily intercourse with his familiars. But he rarely 
said an ill-natured thing of his fellow-artists. His 
strictures were reserved for the political men of his 
time, and of the preceding reign. The Bourbons he 
despised from the bottom of his heart, and during the 
Kestauration his contempt found vent in caricatures 
which, at the moment, must have seared like a red- 
hot iron. He had kept a good many of these ephe- 
meral productions, and, I am bound to say, they struck 
one afterwards as unnecessarily severe. " If they " 
(meaning the Bourbons) " had continued to reign in 
France," he said one day, " I would have applied for 
letters of naturalization to the Sultan." 

Decamps was killed, like Gericault, by a fall off his 
horse, but long before that he had ceased to work. 
" I cannot add much to my reputation, and do not care 
to add to my store," he said. In 1855, the world 
positively rang with his name, but I doubt whether 
this universal admiration gave him much satisfaction. 
He exhibited more than fifty works at the Exposition 
Universelle of that year, a good many of which had 
been rejected by the " hanging committees " of previous 
salons. True to his system, he rarely, perhaps never 
directly, called the past judgment in question, but he 
lived and died a dissatisfied man. Unlike Mirabeau, 
who had not the courage to be unpopular, Decamps 
derived no gratification from popularity. 

I knew Eugene Delacroix better than any of the 
others in the marvellous constellation of painters of 



EUGfeNE DELACROIX. 239 

that period, and our friendship lasted till the day of 
his death, in December 1863. I was also on very good 
terms with Horace Vernet ; but though the latter was 
perhaps a more lively companion, the stronger at- 
traction was towards the former. I was one of the few 
friends whom he tolerated whilst at work. Our friend- 
ship lasted for nearly a quarter of a century, and 
during that time there was never a single unpleasant- 
ness between us, though I am bound to admit that 
Delacroix' temper was very uncertain. Among all 
those men who had a profound, ineradicable contempt 
for the bourgeois, I have only known one who despised 
him even to a greater extent than he ; it was Gustave 
Flaubert. Though Delacroix' manners were perfect, 
he could scarcely be polite to the middle classes. 
With the exception of Dante and Shakespeare, Dela- 
croix was probably the greatest poet that ever lived ; a 
greater poet undoubtedly than Victor Hugo, in that 
he was absolutely indifferent to the material results 
of his genius. If Shakespeare and the author of the 
" Inferno " had painted, they would have painted 
like Delacroix ; his " Sardanapale " is the Byronic 
poem, condensed and transferred to canvas. 

Long as I knew Delacroix, I had never been able to 
make out whether he was tall or short, and most of his 
friends and acquaintances were equally puzzled. As 
we stood around his coffin many were surprised at its 
length. His was decidedly a curious face, at times 
stony in its immobility, at others quivering from the 
tip of chin to the juncture of the eyebrows, and with 
a peculiar movement of the nostrils that was almost 
pendulum-like in its regularity. It gave one the 
impression of their being assailed by some unpleasant 



240 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

smell, and, one day, when Delacroix was in a light 
mood, I remarked upon it. " You are perfectly right," 
he replied ; " I always fancy there is corruption in the 
air, but it is not necessarily of a material kind." 

Be this as it may, he liked to surround himself with 
flowers, and his studio was often like a hothouse, apart 
from the floral decorations. The temperature was 
invariably very high, and even then he would shiver 
now and again. I have always had an idea that Dela- 
croix had Indian blood in his veins, which idea was 
justified to a certain extent by his appearance, albeit 
that there was no tradition to that efiect in his family. 
But it was neither the black hair, the olive skin, nor 
the peculiar formation of the features which forced 
that conclusion upon me ; it was the character of 
Delacroix, which for years and years I endeavoured to 
read thoroughly, without succeeding to any appreciable 
degree. There was one trait that stood out so distinctly 
that the merest child might have perceived it — his 
honesty ; but the rest was apparently a mass of contra- 
diction. It is difficult to imagine a poet, and especially 
a painter-poet, without an absorbing passion for some 
woman — not necessarily for the same woman ; to my 
knowledge Delacroix had no such passion, for one can 
scarcely admit that Jenny Leguillou, his housekeeper, 
could have inspired such a feeling. True, when I first 
knew Delacroix he was over forty, but those who had 
known him at twenty and twenty-five never hinted at 
any romantic attachment or even at a sober, homely 
affection. And assuredly a man of forty is not in- 
vulnerable in that respect. And yet, the woman who 
positively bewitched, one after another, so many of 
Delacroix' eminent contemporaries, Jules Sandeau, 



EUGfeNE DELACROIX AND GEORGE SAND. 241 

Alfred de Musset, Michel de Bourges, Chopin, Pierre 
Leroux, Cabet, Lammenais, etc., had no power over him. 

Paul de Musset, perhaps as a kind of revenge for 
the wrongs suffered by his brother, once gave an 
amusing description of the miscarried attempt of 
George Sand "to net" Eugene Delacroix. 

It would appear that the painter had shown signs 
of yielding to the charms which few men were able to 
withstand, or, at any rate, that George Sand fancied 
she could detect such signs. Whether it was from a 
wish on George Sand's part to precipitate matters 
or to nip the thing in the bud, it would be difiScnlt to 
determine, but it is certain that she pursued her usual 
tactics — that is, she endeavoured to provoke an ad- 
mission of her admirer's feeling. Though I sub- 
sequently ascertained that Paul de Musset's story was 
substantially true, I am not altogether prepared, 
knowing his animosity against her, to accept his 
hinted theory of the lady's desire " de brusquer les 
fianjailles." 

One morning, then, while Delacroix was at work, 
George Sand entered his studio. She looked out of 
spirits, and almost immediately stated the purpose of 
her visit. 

"My poor Eugene!" she began; "I am afraid I 
have got sad news for you." 

" Oh, indeed," said Delacroix, without interrupting 
his work, and just giving her one of his cordial smiles 
in guise of welcome. 

" Yes, my dear friend, I have carefully consulted my 
own heart, and the upshot is, I am grieved to tell you, 
that I feel I cannot and could never love you." 

Delacroix kept on painting. " Is that a fact ? " he said. 

VOL. I. B 



242 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

" Yes, and I ask you once more to pardon me, and to 
give me credit for my candour — my poor Delacroix." 

Delacroix did not budge from his easel. 

" You are angry with me, are you not ? You will 
never forgive me ? " 

" Certainly I will. Only I want you to keep quiet 
for ten minutes ; I have got a bit of sky there which 
has caused me a good deal of trouble, it is just coming 
right. Go and sit down or else take a little walk, and 
come back in ten minutes." 

Of course, George Sand did not return ; and equally, 
of course, did not tell the story to any one, but some- 
how it leaked out. Perhaps Jenny Leguillou had 
overheard the scene — she was quite capable of listening 
behind a screen or door — and reported it. Delacroix 
himself, when "chaffed" about it, never denied it. 
There was no need for him to do so, because theoretically 
it redounded to the lady's honour ; had she not rejected 
his advances r 

I have noted it here to prove that the poetry of 
Delacroix n'allait pas se faufiler dans les jupons, 
because, though we would not take it for granted that 
where George Sand failed others would have suc- 
ceeded, it is nevertheless an authenticated fact that 
only one other man among the many on whom she tried 
her wiles remained proof against them. That man 
was Prosper Merimee, the author of " Colomba " and 
"Carmen," the friend of Panizzi. "Quand je fais un 
roman, je choisis mon sujet ; je ne veux pas que Ton 
me decoupe pour en faire un. Madame Sand ne met 
pas ses amants dans sou coeur, elle les raets dans ses 
lirres ; et elle le fait si diablement vite qu'on n'a pas 
lo temps de la devancer." Merimee was right, each of 



THE ARTIST. 243 

George Sand's earlier books had been written with 
the heart's blood of one of the victims of her insatiable 
passions — for I should not like to prostitute the word 
" love " to her liaisons ; and I am glad to think that 
Eugene Delacroix was spared that ordeal. It would 
have killed him ; and the painter of " Sardanapale " 
was more precious to his own art than to hers, which, 
with all due deference to eminent critics, left an un- 
pleasant sensation to those who were fortunate enough 
to be free from incipient hysteria. 

A liaison with George Sand would have killed 
Eugene Delacroix, I am perfectly certain ; for he 
would have staked gold, she would have only played 
with counters. It would have been the vitiated 
atmosphere in which the candle of his life and of his 
genius — which were one, in this instance — would have 
been extinguished. 

As it was, that candle burned very low at times, 
because, during the years I knew Delacroix, he had 
nearly always one foot in the grave ; the healthy 
breezes of art's unpolluted air made that candle burn 
brightly now and again ; hence the difference in quality, 
as striking, of some of his pictures. 

Perhaps on account of hi& delicate health, Delacroix 
was not very fond of society, in which, however, he 
was ever welcome, and particularly fitted to shine, 
though he rarely attempted to do so. I have said that 
Dante and Shakespeare, if they had painted, would 
have painted as Delacroix did ; I am almost tempted 
to add that if Delacroix' vocation had impelled him 
that way, he would have sung as they sang — of course, 
I do not mean that he would have soared as hifrh, but 
his name would have lived in literature as it does in 



244 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

painting, though perhaps not with so brilliant a halo 
around it. For, unlike many great painters of his 
time, Delacroix was essentially lettre. One has but 
to read some of his critical essays in the Bevue des 
Deux Monies of tliat period, to be convinced of that at 
once. Theophile Gautier said, one evening, that it 
■was " the style of a poet in a hurry." The sentences 
give one the impression of newly-minted golden coins. 
Nearly every one contains a thought, which, if reduced 
to small change, would still make an admirnbie para- 
graph. He gives to his readers what he expects from 
his authors — a sensation, a shock in two or tliree lines. 
The sentences are modelled upon his favourite prose 
author, who, curious to relate, was none other than 
Napoleon I. I often tried to interest him in English 
literature. Unfortunately, he knew no English to speak 
of, and was obliged to have recourse to translations. 
Walter Scott he thought long-winded, and, after a few 
attempts at Shakespeare in French, he gave it up. 
" Ca ne pent pas etre cela," he said. But he had 
several French versions of " Gulliver's Travels," all of 
which he read in turn. One day, I quoted to him 
a sentence from Carlyle's '* Lectures on Heroes : " 
" Show me how a man sings, and I will tell you how 
he will fight." ** C'est cela," he said ; " if Shakespeare 
had been a general, he would have won his battles like 
Napoleon, by thunderclaps " (par des coups de foudre). 
Delacroix had what a great many Frenchmen lack 
— a keen sense of humour, but it was considerably 
tempered by what, for the want of a better term, I 
may call the bump of reverence. He could not be 
humorous at the expense of those he admired or re- 
spected, consequently his attempts at caricature at th 



HIS PRACTICAL JOKES. 245 

early period of his career in Le Nain Jaune were a 
failure ; because Delacroix' admiration and respect 
were not necessarily reserved for those with whom he 
agreed in art or politics, but for every one who 
attempted something great or useful, though he failed. 
The man who, at the age of sixty, would enthusiasti- 
cally dilate upon his meeting forty years before with 
Gros, whose hat he had knocked off by accident, was 
not the likely one to hold up to ridicule the celebrity 
of the hour or day without malice prepense. And this 
malice prepense never uprose within him, except in 
the presence of some bumptious, ignorant nobody. 
Then it positively boiled over, and he did not mird 
what trick he played his interlocutor. The latter 
might be a wealthy would-be patron, an influential 
Government official, or a well-known picture-dealer; it 
was all the same to Delacroix, who had an utter con- 
tempt for patronage, nepotism, and money. It was as 
good as a clever scene in a comedy to see him rise 
and draw himself up to his full height, in order to 
impress his victim with a sense Of the importance of 
what he was going to say. To get an idea of him 
under such circumstances, one must go and see his 
portrait in the Louvre, painted by himself, with the 
semi-supercilious, semi-benevolent smile playing upon 
the parted lips, and showing the magnitlcent regular 
set of teeth, of which he was very proud, beneath the 
black bushy moustache, which reminds one curiously 
of that of Kembrandt. Of course, the victim was 
mesmerized, and stood listening with all attention, 
promising himself to remember every word of the 
spoken essay on art, with the view of reproducing it as 
his own at the first favourable opportunity. And he 



246 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

generally did, to his own discomfiture and the amuse*- 
ment of his hearers, who, if they happened to know 
Delacroix, which was the case frequently, invariably 
detected the source of the speaker's information. I once 
heard a spoken essay on Holbein reproduced in that 
way, which would have simply made the fortune of any 
comic writer. The human parrot had not even been 
parrot-like, for he had muddled the whole in trans- 
mission. I took some pains to reproduce his exact 
words, and I never saw Delacroix laugh as when I 
repeated it to him. For, as a rule, and even when he 
was mystifying that kind of numskull in the presence 
of half a dozen well-informed friends, Delacroix 
remained perfectly serious, though the others had to 
bite their lips lest they should explode. In fact, it 
would have been difficult at any time to guess or 
discover, beneath the well-bred man of the world, with 
his charming, courtly, though somewhat distant 
manner, the painter who gave us "La Barque de 
Dante," and " Les Massacres de Scio ; " still, Delacroix 
M'as tiiat man of the world, exceedingly careful of his 
appearance, particular to a degree about his nails, 
which he wore very long, dressed to perfection, and, 
in spite of the episode with George Sand, recorded 
above, most ingratiating with women. 

Different altogether was he in his studio. Though 
he was " at home " from three till five, to visitors of 
both sexes, it was distinctly understood that he would 
not interrupt his work for them, or play the host as 
the popular painter of to-day is supposed to do. The 
atelier, encumbered with bric-a-brac and sumptuous 
hangings and afternoon tea, had not been invented : 
if the host wore a velvet coat, a Byronic collar, and 



DELACROIX AT HOME. 247 

gorgeous papooshes, it was because he liked these 
things himself, not because he intended to impress 
his visitors. As a rule, the host, though in his youth 
perhaps he had been fond of extravagant costumes, 
did not like them : Horace Vernet often worked in his 
shirt-sleeves, Paul Delaroche nearly always wore a 
blouse, and Ingres, until he became " a society man," 
which was very late in life, donned a dressing-gown. 
Delacroix was, if anything, more slovenly than the 
rest when at work. An old jacket buttoned up to 
the chin, a large muffler round his neck, a cloth cap 
pulled over his ears, and a pair of thick felt slippers 
made up his usual garb. For he was nearly always 
shivering with cold, and had an affection of the throat, 
besides, which compelled him to he careful. " But for 
my wrapping up, I should have been dead at thirty,'* 
he said. 

Nevertheless, at the stroke of eight, winter and 
summer, he was in his studio, which he did not leave 
until dark, during six months of the year, and a little 
before, during the other six. Contrary to the French 
habit, he never took luncheon, and generally dined at 
home a little after six — the fatigue of dining out being 
too much for him. 

I may safely say that I was one of Delacroix' 
friends, with whom he talked without restraint. I 
often went to him of an evening when the weather 
prevented his going abroad, which, in his state of 
health, was very often. He always chafed at such 
confinement; for though not fond of society in a 
general way, he liked coming to the Boulevards, after 
his work was over, and mixing with his familiars. 
Delacroix smoked, but, unlike many addicted to 



248 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

tobacco, could not sit idle. His hands, as well as his 
brain, wanted to be busy; consequently, wlien im- 
prisoned by rain or snow, he sat sketching fi^^ures or 
groups, talking all the while. By then his name had 
become familiar to every art student throughout the 
world, and he often received flattering letters from 
distant parts. One evening, shortly after the death of 
David d'Angers, to an episode in whose life I have 
devoted a considerable space in these notes, Delacroix 
received an American newspaper, the title of which 
I have forgotten, but which contained an exceedingly 
able article on the great sculptor, as an artist, and as 
a man. It wound up with the question, " And what 
kind of monument will be raised to him by the man 
who virtually shortened his life by sending him into 
exile, because David remained true to the republican 
principles which Napoleon only shammed — or, if not 
shammed, deliberately trod underfoot to ascend a 
tyrant's throne?" 

I translated the whole of the article, and, when I 
came to the last lines, Delacroix shook his head sadly. 
" You remember," he said, " the answer of our friend 
Dumas, when they asked him for a subscription towards 
a monument to a man whom every one had reviled in 
the beginning of his career. 'They had better be 
content with the stones they threw at him during his 
existence. No monument they can raise will be so 
eloquent of their imbecility and his genius.' I may 
take it," he went on, "that such a question will be 
raised one day after my death, perhaps many years 
after I am gone. If you are alive you will, by my will, 
raise your voice against the project. I have painted 
my own portrait; while I am here, I will take care 



HIS DEATH AND LAST WILL. f49 

that it be not reproduced ; I will forbid them to do so 
after I am at rest. There shall not be a bust on my 
tomb." 

About a fortnight before his death he made a will 
to that effect, and up to tho present hour (1883) its 
injunctions have been respected. Delacroix lies in a 
somewhat solitary spot in Pere-Lachaise. Neither 
emblem, bust, nor statue adorns his tomb, which was 
executed according to his own instructions. "They 
libelled me so much during my life," he said one day, 
"that I do not want them to libel me after my death, 
on canvas or in marble. They flattered me so much 
afterwards, that I know their flattery to be fulsome, 
and, if anything, I am more afraid of it than of their 
libels." 

It would be difficult to find a greater contrast than 
there existed between Eugene Delacroix, both as a man 
and an artist, and Horace Vernet. The one loved his 
art with the passionate devotion of an intensely poetical 
lover for his wayward mistress, whom to cease wooing 
for a moment might mean an irreparable breach or, at 
least, a long estrangement; the other loved his with 
the calm affection of the cherished husband for the 
faithful wife who had blessed him with a numerous 
ofispring, whom he had known from his very infancy, a 
marriage with whom had been decided upon when he 
was a mere lad, whom he might even neglect for a 
little while without the bond being in any way relaxed. 
According to their respective certificates of birth,Vernet 
was the senior by ten years of Delacroix. When I 
first knew them, about 1840, Vernet looked ten years 
younger than Delacroix. If they had chosen to dis- 
guise themselves as musketeers of the Louis XIIL 



250 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

period, Vernet would have reminded one of both 
Aramis and d'Artagnan; Delacroix, of Athos. 

Montaigne spoke Latin before he could speak French ; 
Vernet drew men and horses before he had mastered 
either French or Latin. His playthings were stumpy, 
worn-out brushes, discarded palettes, and sticks of 
charcoal; his alphabet, the pictures of the Louvre, 
where his father occupied a set of apartments, and 
where he was born, a month before the outbreak of the 
first Revolution. He once said to me, " Je suis peintre 
comme il y des horames qui sont rois — parceque ils ne 
pen vent pas etre autre chose. H fallait un homme de 
genie pour sortir d'un pareil bourbier et malheureuse- 
ment je n'ai qne du talent." By the "bourbier "he 
meant his great-grandfather, his two grandfathers, and 
his father, all of whom were painters and draughtsmen. 

Posterity will probably decide whether Horace 
Vernet was a genius or merely a painter of great 
talent, but it will scarcely convey an approximate idea 
of the charm of the man himself. There was only one 
other of his contemporaries who exercised the same 
spell on his companions — Alexandre Dumas pere. 
Though Vernet was a comparative dwarf by the side 
of Dumas, the men had the same qualities, physical, 
moral, and mental. Neither of them knew what 
bodily fatigue meant ; both could work for fourteen or 
fifteen hours a day for a fortnight or a month ; both 
would often have "a long bout of idleness," as they 
called it, which, to others not endowed with their 
strength and mental activity, would have meant hard 
labour. Both were fond of earning money, fonder still 
of spending it ; both created almost without an effort. 
Dumas roared with laughter while writing ; Vernet sang 



HORACE VERNET. 251 

at the top of his voice while painting, or bandied jokes 
with his visitors, who might come and go as they liked 
at all hours. Dumas, especially in the earlier days of 
his career, had to read a great deal before he could 
catch the local colour of his novels and plays — he 
himself has told us that he was altogether ignorant 
of the history of France. But when he had finished 
reading up the period in question, he wrote as if he had 
been born in it. Vernet was a walking cyclopaedia on 
military costume ; he knew, perhaps, not much more 
than that, but that he knew thoroughly, and never 
had to think twice about the uniforms of his models, 
and, as he himself said, "I never studied the thing, 
nor did I learn to paint or to draw. According to 
many people, 1 do not know how to paint or to draw 
now: it may be so; at any rate I have the comfort 
of having wasted nobody's time in trying to learn." 

Like Dumas, he was very proud of his calling and 
of the name he had made for himself in it, which he 
would not have changed for the title of emperor — least 
of all for that of king ; for, like his great contemporary, 
he was a republican at lieart. It did not diminish 
either his or Dumas' admiration for Napoleon I. " I 
can understand an absolute monarchy, nay, a downright 
autocracy, and I can understand a republic," said 
Vernet, " but I fail to understand the use of a con- 
stitutional king, just because it implies and entails 
the principle of succession by inheritance. An 
autocracy means one ruler over so many millions of 
subjects ; a constitutional mooarchy means between 
five and six hundred direct rulers, so many millions 
of indirect ones, and one subject who is called king. 
Who would leave his child the inheritance of such 



252 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

slavery? A la boune heure, give me a republic such 
as we understand it in France, all rulers, all natural- 
born kings, gods in mortals' disguise who dance to the 
piping of the devil. There have been two such since 
I was born ; there may be another half-dozen like these 
within the next two centuries, because, bifore you can 
have an ideal republic, you must have ideal republicans, 
and Nature cannot afford to fritter away her most 
precious gifts on a lot of down-at-heels lawyers and 
hobnail-booted scum. She condescends now and then 
to make an ideal tyrant — she will never make a nation 
of ideal republicans. You may just as well ask her to 
make a nation of Raffaelles or Michael Angelos, or 
Shakespeares or Molieres." 

Both men, in spite of their republican opinions, 
were personally attached to some members of the 
Orleans family; both had an almost invincible 
objection to the Bourbons. Vernet had less occasion 
to be outspoken in his dislike than Dumas, but he 
refused to receive the Due de Berri when the latter 
offered to come and see the battle-pieces Vernet was 
painting for the then Duke of Orleans (Luuis-Phili{)pe). 
Vernet had stipulated that his paintings should 
illustrate exclusively the campai^^^ns of the first 
Eepublic and the Empire, though subsequently he 
depicted some episodes of the Algerian wars, in which 
the son of the King had distinguished himself. "Tri- 
colour cockades or no pictures," he remarked, and 
Louis-Philippe good-humouredly acquiesced. Though 
courteous to a degree, he never minced matters to 
either king or beggar. While in Russia Nicholas took 
a great fancy to him. It appears that the painter, 
who must have looked even smaller by the side of the 



VERNET AND NICHOLAS I. 253 

Czar than lie did by that of Dumas, had accompanied 
the former, if not on a perilous, at least on a very 
uncomfortable journey in the middle of the winter. 
He and the Emperor were the only two men who had 
borne the hardships and privations without grumbling, 
nay, with Mark Tapleyean cheerfulness. That kind 
of fortitude was at all times a passport to Nicholas' 
heart, doubly so in this instance, by reason of Vernet's 
by no means robust appearance. From that moment 
Nicliolas became very attached to, and would often 
send for, him. They would often converse on subjects 
even more serious, and, one day, after the partition of 
Poland, Nicholas proposed that Vernet should paint a 
picture on the subject. 

** 1 am afraid I cannot do it, sire," was the answer. 
*' I have never painted a Christ on the cross." 

"The moment I had said it," continued Vernet, 
when he told me the story, which is scarcely known, 
" I thought my last hour had struck. I am positively 
certain that a Russian would have paid these words 
with his life, or at least with lifelong exile to Siberia. 
I shall never forget the look he gave me; there 
was a murderous gleam in the eyes : but it was over 
in an instant. Nevertheless, I feel convinced that 
Nicholas was mad, and, what is more, I feel equally 
convinced that there is incipient madness throughout 
the whole of the Romanoff family. I saw a good 
many of its members during my stay in Russia. 
They all did and said things which would have landed 
ordinary men and women in a lunatic asylum. At the 
same time there was an unmistakable touch of genius 
about some of them. I often endeavoured to discuss 
the matter with the resident foreign physicians, but, 



254 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

as you may imagine, they were very reticent. But 
mark my words, one day there will be a terrible flare- 
up. Of course, the foreigner, who sees the superstitious 
reverence, the slavish respect with which they are 
surrounded, scarcely wonders that these men and 
women should, in the end, consider themselves above, 
and irresponsible to, the millions of grovelling mortals 
whom they rule ; in spite of all this, the question can 
only be one of time, and when the Russian empire 
falls, the cataclysm will be unlike any other that has 
preceded it." 

There was a comic side to Horace Vernet's character. 
By dint of painting battle-pieces lie had come to con- 
sider himself an authority on strategy and tactics, and 
his criticisms on M. Thiers' system of fortifications 
used to set us roaring. I am under the impression — 
though I will not strictly vouch for it — that at the 
recommendation of one or two of the inveterate jokers 
of our set, Laurent-Jan * and Mery, he had a couple of 
interviews with M. Thiers, but we never ascertained the 
result of them. It is almost certain that the minister 
of Louis-Pbilippe, who at one period of his life con- 
sidered himself a Napoleon and a Vauban rolled into 
one, did not entertain Vernet's suggestions with the 
degree of entkusiasm to which he thought thera en- 
titled ; at any rate, from that time, the mention of 
M. Thiers' name generally provoked a contemptuous 
shrug of the shoulders on Vernet's part. " C'est tout 
a fait comme Napoleon et Jomini, mon cher Vernet," 

• Laurent-Jan was a witty, though incorrigibly idle journalist. He 
is entirely forgotten now save by such men as MM. Arsbne Houssaye 
and Roger de Beanvoir, who were his contemporaries. He was the 
author of a clever parody on Kotzebue's " Menschenhasz und Reue." 
known on the English stage as " The Stranger." — Editor. 



A PROJECTED EPIC. 255 

said Laurent- Jan ; *' mais, apr^s tout, qu*est que cela 
V0U8 fait ? La post^rit^ jugera entre vous deux, elle 
saura bien debrouiller la part que vous avez contribute 
a ces travaux immortels." 

Much as Horace Vernet admired his great contem- 
poraries in art and literature, his greatest worship 
was reserved for Alfred de Vigny, the soldier-poet, 
though the latter was by no means a sympathetic 
companion. Next to his society, which was rarely 
to be had, he preferred that of Arthur Bertrand, the 
son of Napoleon's companion in exile. Arthur Ber- 
trand had an elder brother. Napoleon Bertrand, who, 
at the storming of Constantino, put on a new pair of 
white kid gloves, brought from Paris for the purpose. 
Horace Vernet made at least fifty sketches of that 
particular incident, but he never painted the picture. 
"I could not do it justice," he said, when remonstrated 
with for his procrastination. " I should fail to realize 
the grandeur of the thing." Thereupon Laurent- Jan, 
who had no bump of reverence, proposed a poem, in 
80 many cantos, to be illustrated by Vernet. I give 
the plan as developed by the would-be author. 

1. The kid in its ancestral home among the moun- 
tains. A mysterious voice from heaven tells it that 
its skin will be required for a pair of gloves. The kid 
objects, and inquires why the skin of some other kid 
will not do as well. The voice reveals the glorious 
purpose of the gloves. The kid consents, and at the 
same moment a hunter appears in sight. The kid, 
instead of taking to its heels, assumes a favourable 
position to be shot. It makes a dying speech. 

2. A glove-shop on the Boulevard. Enter Napoleon 
Bertrand, asking for a pair of gloves. The girl tells 



256 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

him that she has only one pair left, and communicates 
the legend connected with it. The price is twenty 
francs. Napoleon Bertrand demuT s at it, and tells her, 
in his turn, what the gloves are wanted for. The girl 
refuses to take the money, and her employer, overhear- 
ing the conversation, dismisses her tliere and then. He 
keeps the wages due to her as the price of the gloves. 
Napoleon Bertrand puts the latter in his pocket, offers 
the girl his arm, and invites her to breakfast in a 
cabinet jparticulier, " en tout bien, en tout, honueur." 
To prove his perfectly honourable intentions, he tells 
her the story of Jeanne d'Arc. The girl's imagination 
is fired by the recital, and after luncheon she goes in 
search of a book on the subject. An unscrupulous, 
dishonest second-hand bookseller palms off an edition 
of Voltaire's " La Pucelle." The girl writes to Napo- 
leon Bertrand to tell him that he has made a fool of 
her, that Jeanne d'Arc was no better than she should 
be, and that she is going to join the harem of the Bey 
of Constantine. 

8. Napoleon Bertrand stricken with remorse before 
Constantine. Orders given for the assault. Napoleon 
Bertrand looks for his gloves, and finds that they are 
too small. He can just get them on, but cannot grasp 
the handle of the sword. His servant announces a 
mysterious stranger, a veiled female stranger. She is 
admitted ; she has made her escape from the harem ; 
a mysterious voice from heaven — the same that spoke 
to the kid — having warned her the night before that 
the gloves would be too small, and that she was to let 
a piece in. Eeconciliation. Tableau. The bugles are 
sounding " boot and saddle." Storming of Constantine. 

I have reprodaced the words of Laurent- Jan; I 



THE ABB6 COQUEREAU. 257 

will not attempt to reproduce his manner, which was 
simply inimitable. Horace Vernet and Arthur Ber- 
trand shook with laughter, and the latter offered 
Laurent-Jan to keep him for a twelvemonth if he 
would write the poem. Jau consented, and lived 
upon the fat of the land during that time, but the 
poem never saw the light. 

Arthur Bertrand was one of the most jovial fellows 
of his time. He, Eugene Sue, and Latour-Mezerai 
were the best customers of the florist on the Boule- 
vards. It was he who accompanied the Prince de 
Joinville to St. Helena to bring back the remains 
of Napoleon. After their return, a new figure joined 
our set now and then. It was the Abbe Coquereau, 
the chaplain of "La Belle-Poule." The Abbe Coque- 
reau was the first French Catholic priest who dis- 
carded the gown and the shovel hat, and adopted that 
of the English clergy. He was a charming man, and 
by no means straight-laced, but he drew the line at 
accompanying Arthur in his nightly perambulations. 
One evening he, Arthur Bertrand, and Alexandre 
Dumas were strolling along the Boulevards when the 
latter tried to make the abb^ enter the Varietes. The 
abbe held firm, or rather took to his heels. 

In those days there were still a great many veterans 
of the grande armee about, and a great deal of Horace 
Vernet's money went in entertaining them at the 
various cafes and restaurants — especially when he was 
preparing sketches for a new picture. The ordinary 
model, clever and eminently useful as he was at that 
period, was willingly discarded for the old and bronzed 
warrior of the Empire, some of whom were even then 
returning from Africa. " They may just as well earn 

VOL. I. s 



258 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

the money I pay the others," he said; consequently 
it was not an unusual thing to see a general, a couple 
of colonels, half a dozen captains, and as many ser- 
geants and privates, all of whom had served under 
Napoleon, in \'ernet's studio at the same time. Of 
course the oflBcers were only too pleased to give their 
services gratuitously, but Vernet had a curious way 
of making up his daily budget. Twenty models at 
four francs — for models earned no more then — eighty 
francs. Fifteen of them refuse their pay. The eighty 
francs to be divided between five. And the five 
veterans enjoyed a magnificent income for weeks and 
weeks at a time. 

Truth compels me to state, however, that during 
those weeks " the careful mother could not have taken 
her daughter " to Vernet's studio. A couple of live 
horses, not unfrequently three, an equal number of 
stufied ones, camp kettles, broken limbers, pieces of 
artillery, an overturned ammunition waggon, a col- 
lection of uniforms, that would have made the fortune 
of a costumier, scattered all over the place ; drums, 
swords, guns and saddles : and, amidst this confusion, 
a score of veterans, some of whom had been comrades- 
in-arms and who seemed oblivious, for the time being, 
of their hard-earned promotion in the company of 
those who had been less lucky than they, every man 
smoking his hardest and telling his best garrison story : 
all these made up a scene worthy of Vernet himself, 
but somewhat appalling to the civilian who happened 
to come upon it unawares. 

Vernet was never happier than when at work under 
such circumstances. Perched on a movable scaffolding 
or on a high ladder, he reminded one much more of 



A PROFESSOR OF STREET MUSIC. 259 

an acrobat than of a painter. Like Dumas, he could 
work amidst a very Babel of conversation, but the 
sound of music, however good, disturbed him. In 
those days, itinerant Italian musicians and pifferari, 
who have disappeared from the streets of Paris 
altogether since the decree of expulsion of '81, were 
numerous, and grew more numerous year by year. I, 
for one, feel sorry for their disappearance, for I 
remember having spent half a dozen most delightful 
evenings listening to them. 

The thing happened in this way. Though my 
regular visits to the Quartier-Latin had ceased long 
ago, I returned now and then to my old haunts during 
the years '63 and '64, in company of a young English- 
man who was finishing his medical studies in Paris, 
who had taken up his quarters on the left bank of the 
Seine, and who has since become a physician in very 
good practice in the French capital He had been 
specially recommended to me, and I was not too old 
to enjoy an evening once a week or a fortnight among 
my juniors. At a cafe, which has been demolished 
since to make room for a much more gorgeous 
establishment at the corners of the Boulevards Saint- 
Michel and Saint-Germain, we used to notice an 
elderly gentleman, scrupulously neat and exquisitely 
clean, though his clothes were very threadbare. He 
always sat at the same table to the right of the 
counter. His cup of coffee was eked out by frequent 
supplements of water, and meanwhile he was always 
busy copying music — at least, so it seemed to us at 
first. We soon came to a different conclusion, though, 
because every now and then he would put down his 
pen, lean back against the cushioned seat, look up at 



260 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

the ceiling and smile to himself — such a sweet smile ; 
the smile of a poet or an artist, seeking inspiration 
from the spirits supposed to be hovering now and 
then about such. 

That man was no copyist, but an obscure, un- 
appreciated genius perhaps, biding his chance, hoping 
against hope, meanwhile living a life of jealously 
concealed dreams and hardship. For he looked sad 
enough at the best of times, with a kind of settled 
melancholy which apparently only one thing could 
dispel — the advent of a couple or trio of pifferari. 
Then his face would light up all of a sudden, he would 
gently push his music away, speak to them in Italian, 
asking them to play certain pieces, beating time with 
an air of contentment which was absolutely touching 
to behold. On the other hand, the young pifferari 
appeared to treat him with greater deference than 
they did the other customers; the little girl who 
accompanied them was particularly eager for his 
approval. 

In a little while we became very friendly with the 
old gentleman, and, one evening, he said, "If you 
will be here next Wednesday, the pifferari will give 
us something new." 

On the evening in question he looked quite smart ; 
he had evidently " fait des frais de toilette," as our 
neighbours have it ; he wore a different coat, and his 
big white neckcloth was somewhat more starched than 
usual. He seemed quite excited. The pifferari, on 
the other hand, seemed anxious and subdued. The 
cafe was very full, for all the habitues liked the old 
gentleman, and had made it a point of responding to 
-his quasi-invitation. They were well rewarded, for I 



A PARIS SAFFRON -HILL. 261 

have rarely heard sweeter music. It was unlike any- 
thing we were accustomed to hear from such musicians; 
there was an old-world sound about it that went straight 
to the heart, and when we looked at the old gentleman 
amidst the genuine applause after the termination of 
the first piece, there were two big tears coursing down 
his wrinkled cheeks. 

The piflferari came again and again, and though 
they never appealed to him directly, we instinctively 
guessed that there existed some connection between 
them. All our efforts to get at the truth of the 
matter were, however, in vain, for the old gentleman 
was very reticent. 

Meanwhile my young friend had passed his exami- 
natioDS, and shifted his quarters to ray side of the 
river. He did not abandon the Quartier-Latin alto- 
gether, but my inquiries about the old musician met 
with no satisfactory response. He had disappeared. 
Nearly two years went by, when, one afternoon, he 
called. "Come with me," he said; "I am going to 
show you a curious nook of Paris which you do not 
know, and take you to an old acquaintance whom you 
will be pleased to see againj' 

The " curious nook " of Paris still exists to a certain 
extent, only the pifferari have disappeared from it. It 
is situated behind the Pantheon, and is more original 
than its London counterpart — Saffron Hill. It is like 
a corner of old Eome, Florence, or Naples, without 
the glorious Italian sun shining above it to lend 
picturesqueness to the rags and tatters of its popu- 
lation; swarthy desperadoes with golden rings in 
their ears and on tlieir grimy fingers, their greasy, 
soft felt hats cocked jauntily on their heads, or drawn 



262 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

over the flashing dark eyes, before which their 
womankind cower and shake ; old men who but for 
the stubble on their chins would look like ancient 
cameos ; girls with shapely limbs and handsome faces ; 
middle-aged women who remind one of the witches 
in Macbeth ; women younger still, who have neither 
shape nor make ; urchins and little lassies who remind 
one of the pictures of Murillo : in short, a population 
of wood-carvers and modellers, vendors of plaster casts, 
artist-models, sugar-bakers and mosaic-workers, living 
in the streets the greater part of the day, retiring to 
their wretched attics at night, sober and peaceful 
generally, but desperate and unmanageable when in 
their cups. 

The cab stopped before a six-storied house which 
had seen better days, in a dark, narrow street, into 
which the light of day scarcely penetrated. The 
moment we alighted we heard a charivari of string 
instruments and voices, and as we ascended the steep, 
slimy, rickety staircase the sound grew more distinct. 
When we reached the topmost landing, my friend 
knocked at one of the three or four doors, and, without 
waiting for an answer, we entered. It was a scantily 
furnished room with a bare brick floor, an old bedstead 
in one corner, a few rush-bottomed chairs, and a deal 
table; but everything was scrupulously clean. Behind 
the table, a cotton nightcap on his head, his tall thin 
frame wrapt in an old overcoat, stood our old friend, 
the composer ; in front, half a dozen urchins, in cos- 
tumes vaguely resembling those of the Calabrian 
peasantry, grimy like coalheavers, their black hair 
standing on end with attention, were rehearsing a 
new piece of music. Then I understood it all. He 



THE professor's DEATH. 263 

was the professor of pifferari, an artist for all that, 
an unappreciated genius, perhaps, who, rather thau 
not be heard at all, introduced a composition of his 
own into their hackneyed programme, and tasted the 
sweets of popularity, without the accompanying 
rewards which, nowadays, popularity invariably brings. 
This one had known Paisiello and Eossini, had been 
in the thick of the excitement on the first night of 
the " Barbiere," and had dreamt of similar triumphs. 
Perhaps his genius was as much entitled to them as 
that of the others, but he had loved not wisely, but 
too well, and when he awoke from the love-dream, he 
was too ruined in body and mind to be able to work 
for the realization of the artistic one. He would 
accept no aid. Three years later, we carried him to 
his grave. A simple stone marks the place in the 
cemetery of Montparnasse. 



264 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 



CHAPTER IX. 

Louis-Philippe and his family — An unpublished theatrical skit on his 
mania for shaking hands with every one — ^His art of governing, 
according to the same skit — Louis-Philippe not the ardent 
admirer of the bourgeoisie he professed to be — The Faubourg 
Saint-Germain deserts the Tuileries — The English in too great a 

majority — Lord 's opinion of the dinners at the Tuileries — 

The attitude of the bourgeoisie towards Louis-Philippe, accord- 
ing to the King himself— Louis-Philippe's wit — His final words 
on the death of Talleyrand — His love of money — He could be 
generous at times — A story of the Palais-Koyal — Louis-Philippe 
and the Marseillaise — Two curious stories connected with 
tlie Marseillaise — Who was the composer of it ? — Louis- 
Philippe's opinion of the throne, the crown, and the sceptre of 
France as additions to one's comfort — His children, and espe- 
cially his sons, take things more easily — Even the Bonapartists 
admired some of the latter — A mot of an Imperialist — How the 
boys were brought up - Their nocturnal rambles later on — The 
King himself does not seem to mind those escapades, but is 
frightened at M. Guizot hearing of them — Louis-Philippe did 
not understand Guizot — The recollection of his former misery 
frequently haunts the King — He worries Queen Victoria with his 
fear of becoming poor — Louis-Philippe an excellent husband and 
father — He wants to write the libretto of an opera on an English 
subject — His religion — The court receptions ridiculous — Even the 
proletariat sneer at them — The entree of the Duchesse d'Orleans 
into Paris — The scene in the Tuileries gardens — A mot of Prin- 
cesse Ole'mentine on her father's too paternal solicitude — A prac- 
tical joke of the Prince de Joinville — His caricatures and drawings 
— The children inherited their talent for drawing and modelling 
from their mother — The Due de Nemours as a miniature and water- 
colour painter — Suspected of being a Legitimist — All Louis- 
Philippe's children great patrons of art — How the bourgeoisie 
looked upon their intercourse with artists — The Due de Nemours' 
marvellous memory — The studio of Eugfene Larai — His neigh- 
bours, Paul Delaroche and Honor^ de Balzac — The Due de 
Nemours* bravery called in question — The Due d'Aumale's ex- 
ploits in Algeria considered mere skirmishes — A curious story of 
spiritism — The Due d'Aumale a greater favourite with the world 
than any of the other sons of Louis-Philippe — His wit — The Due 
d'Orleans also a great favourite — His visits to Decamps* studio 



AN UNPUBLISHED PLAY. 265 

— An indifferent classical scholar — A curious kind of black-mail 
— His indifference to money — There is no money in a Kepublio — 
His death — A witty reply to the Legitimists. 

As will appear by-and-by, I was an eye-witness of a 
good many incidents of the Eevolulion of '48, and 
a great many more have been related to me by friends, 
whose veracity was and still is beyond suspicion. 
Neither they nor I have ever been able to establish a 
sufficiently valid political cause for that upheaval. 
Perhaps it was because we were free from the preju- 
dices engendered by what, for want of a better term, 
I must call " dynastic sentiment." We were not 
blind to the faults of Louis-Philippe, but we refused 
to look at them through the spectacles supplied in 
turns by the Legitimists, the Imperialists, and Re- 
publicans. How far these spectacles were calculated 
to improve people's vision, the following specimen 
will show. 

I have lying before me a few sheets of quarto paper, 
sewn together in a primitive way. It is a manuscript 
skit, in the form of a theatrical duologue, professing 
to deal with the king's well-known habit of shaking 
hands with every one with, whom he came in contact. 
The dramatis personas are King Fip I., Eoi des 
Epiciers-read, King of the Philistines or Shopkeepers, 
and his son and heir, Grand Poulot (Big Spooney). 
The monarch is giving the heir-apparent a lesson in 
the art of governing. " Do not be misled," he says, 
*' by a parcel of theorists, who will tell you that the 
citizen-monarchy is based upon the sovereign will of 
the people, or upon the strict observance of the 
Charter ; this is merely so much drivel from the poli- 
tical Rights or Lefts. In reality, it does not signify a 



266 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

jot whether France be free at home and feared and 
respected abroad, whether the throne be hedged round 
with republican institutions or supported by an heredi- 
tary peerage, whether the language of her statesmen 
be weighty and the deeds of her soldiers heroic. The 
citizen-monarchy and the art of governing consist of 
but one thing — the capacity of the principal ruler for 
shaking hands with any and every ragamuffin and 
out-of-elbows brute he meets." Thereupon King Fip 
shows his son how to shake hands in every conceivable 
position — on foot, on horseback, at a gallop, at a trot, 
leaning out of a carriage, and so forth. Grand Poulot 
is not only eager to learn, but ambitious to improve 
upon his sire's method. " How would it do, dad," he 
asks, " if, in addition to shaking hands with them, one 
inquired after their health, in the second person 
singular — ' Comment vas tu, mon vieux cochon ? ' or, 
better still, * Comment vas tu, mon vieux citoyen ? ' " 
" It would do admirably," says papa ; " but it does 
not matter whether you say cochon or citoyen, the 
terms are synonymous." 

I am inclined to think that beneath this rather 
clever banter there was a certain measure of truth. 
Louis-Philippe was by no means the ardent admirer 
of the bourgeoisie he professed to be. He did not 
foster any illusions with regard to their intellectual 
worth, and in his inmost heart he resented their 
so-called admiration of him, which he knew to be 
would-be patronage under another name. They had 
formed a hedge round him which prevented any 
attempt on his part at conciliating his own caste, the 
old noblesse. It is doubtful whether he would have 
been successful, especially in the earlier years of his 



louis-philippe's court. 267 

reign ; but their ostracism of him and his family 
rankled in his mind, and found vent now and again in 
an epigram that stung the author as much as the 
party against which it was directed. " There is more 
difficulty in getting people to my court entertain- 
ments from across the Seine than from across the 
Channel," he said. 

The fact is, that the whole of the Faubourg St.- 
Germain was conspicuous by its absence from the 
Tuileries in those days, and that the English were in 
rather too great a majority. They were not always a 
distinguished company. I was little more than a lad 

at this time, but I remember Lord *s invariable 

answer when his friends asked him what the dinner 
had been like, and whether he had enjoyed himself : 
" The dinner was like that at a good table-d'hote, and I 
enjoyed myself as I would enjoy myself at a good 
hotel in Switzerland or at Wiesbaden, where the pro- 
prietor knew me personally, and had given orders to 
the head waiter to look after my comforts. But," he 
added, " it is, after all, more pleasant dining there, 
when the English are present. At any rate, there is 
no want of respect. When the French sit round the 
table, it is not like a king dining with his subjects, 
but like half a hundred kings dining with one subject." 
Allowing for a certain amount of exaggeration, there 
was a good deal of truth in the remarks, as I found 
out afterwards. " The bourgeoisie in their attitude 
towards me," said Louis-Philippe, one day, to the 
English nobleman I have just quoted, " are always 
reminding me of Adalberon of Bheims with Hugues 
Capet : * Qui t'as fait roi ? * asked the bishop. * Qui 
t'as fait due ? ' retorted the king. I have made 



268 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

them dukes to a p^reater extent, though, than they 
have made me king," 

For Louis-Philippe was a witty king — wittier, per- 
haps, than any that had sat on the throne of France 
since Henri IV. Some of his mots have become his- 
torical, and even his most persistent detractors have 
been unable to convict him of plagiarism with regard 
to them. What he specially excelled in was the " mot 
de la fin " anglice — the clenching of an argument, such 
as, for instance, his final remark on the death of 
Talleyrand. He had paid him a visit the day before. 
When the news of the prince's death was brought to 
him, he said, "Are you sure he is dead?" 

" Very sure, sire," was the answer. " Why, did not 
your majesty himself notice yesterday that he was 
dying?" 

"I did, but there is no judging from appearances 
with Talleyrand, and I have been asking myself for 
the last four and twenty hours what interest he could 
possibly have in departing at this particular moment." 

To those who knew Louis-Philippe personally, it 
was very patent that he disliked those who had been 
instrumental in setting hira on the throne, and who, 
under the cloak of " liberty, fraternity, and equality," 
were seeking their own interest only, namely, the 
bourgeoisie. He knew their quasi-goodwill to him to 
be so much sheer hypocrisy, and perhaps he and they 
were too much alike in some respects, in their love of 
money for the sake of hoarding it. It was, perhaps, 
the only serious failing that could be laid to the 
charge of the family, because none of its members, 
with the exception of the Due d'Orleans, were entirely 
free from it. It must not be inferred, though, that 



louis-philippe's charity. 269 

Louis-Philippe kept his purse closed to really 
deserving cases of distress. Far from it. I have the 
following story from my old tutor, to whom I am, more- 
over, indebted for a great many notes, dealing with 
events of which I could not possibly have had any 
knowledge but for him. 

In 1829 the greater part of the Galerie d'Orl^ans 
in the Palais-Koyal was completed. The unsightly 
wooden booths had been taken down, and the timber 
must have been decidedly worth a small fortune. 
Several contractors made very handsome offers for it, 
but Louis-Philippe (then Due d'Orleans) refused to 
sell it. It was to be distributed among the poor of 
the neighbourhood for fuel for the ensuing winter, 
which threatened to be a severe one. One day, when 
the duke was inspecting the works in company of his 
steward, an individual, who was standing a couple of 
yards away, began to shout at the top of his voice, 
" Vive Louis-Philippe ! " " Go and see what the 
fellow wants, for assuredly he wants something," said 
the duke, who was a Voltairean in his way, and had 
interpreted the man's enthusiasm aright. Papa 
Sournois was one of those nondescripts for whom even 
now there appear to be more resources in the French 
capital than elsewhere. At the period in question he 
mainly got his living by selling contre-marques 
(checks) at the doors of the theatre. He had heard 
of the duke's intention with regard to the wood, hence 
his enthusiastic cry of " Vive Louis-Philippe ! " A 
cartload of wood was sent to his place ; papa Sournois 
converted it into money, and got drunk with the 
proceeds for a fortnight. When the steward, horribly 
scandalized, told the duke of the results of his bene- 



270 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

volence, the latter merely laughed, and sent for the 
wife, who made her appearance accompanied by a young 
brood of five. The duke gave her a five-franc piece, 
and told her to apply to the concierge of the Palais- 
Koyal for a similar sum every day during the winter 
months. Of course, five francs a day was not as much 
as a drop of water out of the sea when we consider 
Louis-Philippe*s stupendous income, and yet, when 
the Tuileries were sacked in 1848, documents upon 
documents were found, compiled with the sole view of 
saving a few francs per diem out of the young princes' 
" keep." 

'* I am so sick of the word * fraternity,' " said Prince 
Metternich, after his return from France, "that, if I had 
a brother, I should call him cousin." Though it was 
to the strains of the Marseillaise that Louis-Philippe 
had been conducted to the H6tel-de-Ville on the day 
when Lafayette pointed to him as "the best of all 
republics," a time came when Louis-Philippe got 
utterly sick of the Marseillaise. 

But what was he to do, seeing that his attempt at 

introducing a new national hymn had utterly failed ? 

The mob refused to sing " La Parisienne," composed 

by Casimir de la Vigne, after Alexandre Dumas had 

refused to write a national hymn ; and they, moreover, 

insisted on the King joining in the chorus of the old 

hymn, as he had hitherto done on all public occasions.* 

They had grumblingly resigned themselves to his 

* When there was no public occasion, his political antagonists or 
merely practical jokers who knew of his dislike invented one, like 
Edouard d'Ourliac, a well-known journalist and the author of several 
novels, who, whenever he had nothing better to do, recruited a band 
of street arabs to go and sing the Marseillaise under the king's 
windows. They kept on singing until Louis-Philippe, in sheer self- 
defence, was obliged to come out and join in the song. — Editor. 



LOUIS-PHILIPPE AND THE MARSEILLAISE. 271 

beating time no longer, but any further refnsal of bis 
co-operation might have been resented in a less 
peaceful fashion. On the other hand, there was the 
bourgeoisie who were of opinion that, now that the 
monarchy had entered upon a more conservative 
period, the intoning of the hymn, at any rate on the 
sovereign's part, was out of place, and savoured too 
much of a republican manifestation. ** It was Guizot 
who told him so," said Lord , who had been stand- 
ing on the balcony of the Tuileries on the occasion of 
the king's " saint's day," * and had heard the minister 
make the remark. 

" And what did the king reply ? " was the question. 

" Do not worry yourself, monsieur le ministre ; I am 
only moving my lips ; I have ceased to pronounce the 
words for many a day." 

These were the expedients to which Louis-Philippe 
was reduced before he had been on the throne half 
a dozen years. "I am like the fool between two 
stools," observed the king in English, afterwards, when 

speaking to Lord , " only I happen to be between 

the comfortably stuffed easy-chair of the bourgeois 
drawing-room and the piece of furniture seated on 
which Louis XIV. is said to have received the Dutch 
ambassadors." 

While speaking of the Marseillaise, here are two 
stories in connection with it which are not known to 
the general reader. The first was told to me by the 
old tutor already mentioned ; the second aroused a 
great deal of literary curiosity in the year 1860, and 
bears the stamp of truth on the face of it. It was, 

* In France it is the Patron Saint's day, not the birthday, that is 
kept. 



272 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

however, never fully investigated, or, at any rate, the 
results of the investigation were never published.* 

" We were aU more or less aware," said my infor- 
mant, " that Eouget de I'lsle was not the author of the 
whole of the words of the Marseillaise. But none of 
us in Lyons, where I was born, knew who had written 
the last strophe, commonly called the 'strophe of 
the children,' and I doubt whether they were any 
wiser in Paris. Some of my fellow-students — for I 
■was nearly eighteen at that time — credited Andre 
Chenier with the authorship of the last strophe, others 
ascribed it to Louis-Franpois Dubois, the poetf 
All this was, however, so much guess-work, when, one 
day during the Keign of Terror, the report spread 
that a ci-devant priest, or rather a priest who had 
refused to take the oath to the Eepublic, had been 
caught solemnizing a religious marriage, and that he 
was to be brought before the Kevolutionary Tribunal 
that same afternoon. Though you may not think so, 
merely going by what you have read, the appearance 
of a priest before the Tribunal always aroused more 
than common interest, nor have you any idea what 
more than common interest meant in those days. A 
priest to the Revolutionaries and to the Terrorists, 
they might hector and bully as they liked, was not 
an ordinary being. They looked upon him either as 
something better than a man or worse than a devil. 
They had thrown the religious compass they had 

* I have inserted them here in order not to fall into repetitions on 
the same subject. — Editor. 

t Louis-Francois Dubois, the author of several heroic poems, 
" Ankarstrom," " Genevieve et Siegfried," etc., which are utterly 
forgotten. His main title to the recollection of posterity consists in 
his having saved, during the Revolution, a great many literary works 
of value, which he returned to the State afterwards. — Editob. 



A STORY OF THE MARSEILLAISE. 273 

brought from home with them overboard, and they had 
not the philosophical one to take its place. You may 
work out the thing for yourself; at any rate, the place 
was crammed to suflfocation when we arrived at the 
Hotel de Ville. It was a large room, at the upper end 
of which stood an oblong table, covered with a black 
cloth. Seated around it were seven self-constituted 
judges. Besides their tricolour scarfs round their 
waists, they wore, suspended by a ribbon from their 
necks, a small silver axe. 

"As a rule there was very little speechifying, *La 
mort sans phrase,' which had become the fashion 
since Louis XVI.'s execution, was strictly adhered to. 
Half a dozen prisoners were brought in and taken 
away without arousing the slightest excitement, 
either in the way of commiseration or hatred. After 
having listened, the judges either extended their hands 
on the table or put them to their foreheads. The first 
movement meant acquittal and liberation, the second 
death; not always by the guillotine though, for the 
instrument was not perfect as yet, and did not work 
sufficiently quickly to please them. All at once the 
priest was brought in, and a dead silence prevailed. 
He was not a very old man, though his hair was snow- 
white. 

" * Who art thou ? ' asked the president. 

" The prisoner drew himself up to his full height. ' I 
am the Abbe Pessoneaux, a former tutor at the college 
at Vienne, and the author of the last strophe of the 
Marseillaise,' he said quietly. 

" I cannot convey to you the impression produced 
by those simple words. The silence became positively 
oppressive ; you could hear the people breatiie. The 

VOIi. I. T 



274! AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

president did not say another word ; the priest's reply 
had apparently stunned him also : he merely turned 
round to his fellow-judges. Soldiers and gaolers stood 
as if turned into stone ; every eye was directed towards 
the table, watching for the movement of the judges' 
hands. Slowly and deliberately they stretched them 
forth, and then a deafening cheer rang through the 
room. The Abbe Pessoneaux owed his life to his 
strophe, for, though his story was not questioned then, 
it was proved true in every particular. On their way 
to Paris to be present at the taking of the Tuileries on 
the 10th of August, the Marseillais had stopped at 
Vienne to celebrate the Fete of the Federation. On 
the eve of their arrival the Abbe Pessoneaux had 
composed the strophe, and but for his seizure the 
authorship would have always remained a matter of 
conjecture, for Eouget de I'lsle would have never 
had the honesty to acknowledge it." 

My tutor was right, and I owe him this tardy 
apology ; it appears that, after all, Kouget de I'lsle had 
not the honesty to acknowledge openly his indebted- 
ness to those who made his name immortal, and that 
his share in the Marseillaise amounts to the first 
six strophes. He did not write a single note of 
the music. The latter was composed by Alexandre 
Boucher, the celebrated violinist, in 1790, in the 
drawing-room of Madame de Mortaigne, at the request 
of a colonel whom the musician had never met before, 
whom he never saw again. The soldier was starting 
next morning with his regiment for IMarseilles, and 
pressed Boucher to write him a march there and then. 
Rouget de I'lsle, an officer of engineers, having been 
imprisoned in 1791, for having refused to take a 



WHO WROTE THE MUSIC? 275 

second oath to the Constitution, heard the march from 
his cell, and, at the instance of his gaoler, adapted 
the words of a patriotic hymn he was then writing 
to it. 

One may fancy the surprise of Alexandre Boucher, 
when he heard it sung everywhere and recognized it 
as his own composition, though it had been somewhat 
altered to suit the words. But the pith of the story 
is to come. I give it in the very words of Boucher 
himself, as he told it to a Paris journalist whom I 
knew well. 

" A good many years afterwards, I was seated next 
to Rouget de I'lsle at a dinner-party in Paris. We 
had never met before, and, as you may easily imagine, 
I was rather interested in the gentleman, whom, with 
many others at the same board, I complimented on 
his production ; only I confined myself to compliment- 
ing him on his poem. 

" * You don't say a word about the music,' he replied ; 
* and yet, being a celebrated musician, that ought to 
interest you. Do not you like it ? ' 

"'Very much indeed,' I said, in a somewhat 
significant tone. 

" * Well, let me be frank with you. The music is 
not mine. It was that of a march which came. 
Heaven knows whence, and which they kept on 
playing at Marseilles during the Terror, when I was 
a prisoner at the fortress of St. Jean. I made a few 
alterations necessitated by the words, and there it is.' 

"Thereupon, to his great surprise, I hummed the 
march as I had originally written it. 

" * Wonderful ! ' he exclaimed ; ' how did you come 
by it ? ' he asked. 



276 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

"When I told him, he threw himself round my 
neck. But the next moment he said — 

" ' I am very sorry, my dear Boucher, but I am afraid 
that you will be despoiled for ever, do what you will ; 
for your music and my words go so well together, that 
they seem to have sprung simultaneously from the 
same brain, and the world, even if I proclaimed my 
indebtedness to you, would never believe it.' 

"' Keep the loan,' I said, moved, in spite of myself, by 
his candour. ' Without your genius, my march would 
be forgotten by now. You have given it a patent of 
nobility. It is yours for ever.' " 

I return to Louis-Philippe, who, at the time of my 
tutor's story, and for some years afterwards, I only 
knew from the reports that were brought home to us. 
Of course, I saw him several times at a distance, at 
reviews and on popular holidays, and I was surprised 
that a king of whom every one spoke so well in private, 
who seemed to have so much cause for joy and happi- 
ness in his own family, should look so careworn and 
depressed in public. For, young as I was, I did not 
fail to see that, beneath the calm and smiling exterior, 
there was a great deal of hidden grief. But I was 
too young to understand the deep irony of his reply 
to one of my relatives, a few months before his 
accession to the throne : " The crown of France is too 
cold in winter, too warm in summer ; the sceptre is too 
blunt as a weapon of defence or attack, it is too short 
as a stick to lean upon : a good felt hat and a strong 
umbrella are at all times more useful." Above all, 
I was too young to understand the temper of the 
French where their rulers were concerned, and though, 
at the time of my writing these notes, I have lived for 



lotjis-philippe's children. 277 

fifty years amongst them, I doubt whether I could 
give a succinct psychological account of their mental 
attitude towards their succeeding regimes, except by 
borrowing the words of one of their cleverest country- 
women, Madame Emile de Girardin : " When Mar- 
shal Soult is in the Opposition, he is acknowledged 
to have won the battle of Toulouse ; when he belongs 
to the Government, he is accused of having lost it." 
Since then the Americans have coined a word for that 
state of mind — " cussedness." 

Louis-Philippe's children, and especially his sono, 
some of whom I knew personally before I had my first 
invitation to the Tuileries, seemed to take matters 
more cheerfully. Save the partisans of the elder 
branch, no one had a word to say against them. On 
the contrary, even the Bonapartists admired their 
manly and straightforward bearing. I remember 
being at Tortoni's one afternoon when the Due 
d'Orleans and his brother, the Due de Nemours, rode 
by. Two of my neighbours, unmistakable Imperialists, 
and old soldiers by their looks, stared very hard at 
them ; then one said, " Si le petit au lieu de filer 
le parfait amour partout, avait mis tons ses ceufs dans 
le meme panier, il aurait eu des grands comme cela et 
nous ne serious pas dans Tim passe ou nous sommes." 

" Mon cher,'* replied the other, " des grands comme 
cela ne se font qu'a loisir, pas entre deux campagnes." * 

The admiration of these two veterans was perfectly 

♦ It reminde one of the answer of the younger Dumas to a gentleman 
whose wife had been notorious for her conjugal faithlessness, and 
whose sons were all weaklings. " Ah, Monsieur Dumas, c'est un fila 
comme voub qu'il me fallait," he exclaimed. "Mon cher monsieur," 
came the reply, " quand on yeut aroir un file comme moi, 11 faut le 
faire 8oi-m6me." — JBditob. 



278 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

justified : they were very handsome young men, the 
sons of Louis- Philippe, and notably the two elder ones, 
thougfh the Due d'Orleans was somewhat more delicate- 
looking than his brother, De Nemours. The boys had 
all been brought up very sensibly, perhaps somewhat 
too strict for their position. They all went to a public 
scliool, to the College Henri IV., and I remember 
well, about the year '38, when I had occasion of a 
morning to cross the Pont-Neuf, where there were 
still stalls and all sorts of booths, seeing the blue-and- 
yellow carriage with the royal livery. It contained 
the Dues d'Aumale and de Montpensier, who had not 
finished their studies at that time. 

But though strictly brought up, they were by no 
means milksops, and what, for want of a better term, 
I may call " mother's babies : " quite the reverse. It 
was never known how they managed it, but at night, 
when they were supposed to be at home, if not in bed, 
they were to be met with at all kinds of public places, 
notably at the smaller theatres, such as the Vaude- 
ville, the Varietes, and the Palais-Royal, one of which, 
at any rate, was a goodly distance from the Tuileries. 
It was always understood that the King knew nothing 
about these little escapades, but I am inclined to 
doubt this : I fancy he connived at them ; because, 

when Lord told him casually one day that he had 

met his sons the night before, Louis-Philippe seemed 
not in the least surprised, he only anxiously asked, 
"Where?" 

" At the C&U de Paris, your majesty." 

The king seemed relieved. " That's all right," he 
said, laughing. " As long as they do not go into places 
where they are likely to meet with Guizot, I don't 



louis-philippe's dread of poverty. 279 

mind ; for if he saw them out in the evening, it might 
cost me my throne. Guizot is so terribly respectable. 
I am afraid there is a mistake either about his 
nationality or about his respectability; they are badly 
matched." 

The fact is, that though Louis-Philippe admired and 
respected Guizot, he failed to understand him. To the 
most respectable of modern kings — not even Charles I. 
and William III. excepted — if by respectability we 
mean an unblemisiied private life — Guizot's respect- 
ability was an enigma. The man who, in spite of his 
advice to others, " Enrichissez vous, enrichissez vous," 
was as poor at the end of his ministerial career 
as at the beginning, must have necessarily been a 
puzzle to a sovereign who, with a civil list of 
£750,000, was haunted by the fear of poverty, and 
haunted to such a degree as to harass his friends and 
counsellors with his apprehensions. " My dear 
minister," he said one day to Guizot, after he had 
recited a long list of his domestic charges — " My dear 
minister, I am telling you that my children will be 
wanting for bread." The recollection of his former 
misery uprose too frequently before him like a horrible 
nightmare, and made him the first bourgeois instead of 
the first gentilhomme of the kingdom, as his prede- 
cessors had been. When a tradesman drops a shilling 
and does not stoop to pick it up, his neglect becomes 
almost culpable improvidence; when a prince drops a 
sovereign and looks for it, the deed may be justly 
qualified as mean. The leitmotif of Louis-Philippe's 
conversation, witty and charming as it was, par- 
took of the avaricious spirit of a Thomas Guy and 
a John Overs rather than of that of the great adven- 



280 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

turer John Law. The chinking of the money-bags is 
audible through both, but in the one case the orches- 
tration is strident, disagreeable, depressing; in the 
other, it is generous, overflowing with noble impulses, 
and cheering. I recollect that during my stay at 
Treport and Eu, in 1843, when Queen Victoria paid 
her visit to Louis-Phih'ppe, the following story was 

told to me. Lord and I were quartered in a 

little hostelry on the Place du Chateau. One morn- 
ing Lord came home laughing till he could 

laugh no longer. '* What do you think the King has 
done now ? " he asked. I professed my inability to 
guess. " About an hour ago, he and Queen Victoria 
were walking in the garden, when, with true French 
politeness, he offered her a peach. The Queen seemed 
rather embarrassed how to skin it, when Louis-Philippe 
took a large clasp-knife from his pocket. 'When a 
man has been a poor devil like myself, obliged to live 
upon forty sous a day, he always carries a knife. I 
miglit have dispensed with it for the last few years ; 
still, I do not wish to lose the habit — one does not 
know what may happen,' he said. Of course, the tears 
stood in the Queen's eyes. He really ought to know 
better than to obtrude his money worries upon every 
one." 

I must confess that I was not as much surprised 
as my interlocutor, who, however, had known Louis- 
Philippe much longer than L Not his worst enemies 
could have accused the son of Philippe Egalite of being 
a coward : the bulletins of Valmy, Jemmappes, and 
Neerwinden would have proved the contrary. But the 
contempt of physical danger on the battle-field does not 
necessarily constitute heroism in the most elevated sense 



louis-philippe's religion. 281 

of tbe term, although the world in general frequently 
accepts it as such. A man can die but once, and the 
semi-positivism, semi-Voltaireanism of Louis-Philippe 
had undoubtedly steeled him against the fear of death. 
His religion, throughout life, was not even skin-deep ; 
and when he accepted the last rites of the Church on 
his death-bed, he only did so in deference to his wife. 
" Ma femme, es-tu contente de moi ? " were his words 
the moment the priests were gone. 

Nevertheless, he was too good a husband to grieve 
his wife, who was deeply religious, by any needless 
display of unbelief He always endeavoured, as far as 
possible, to find an excuse for staying away from 
churcli. He, as well as the female members of his 
family, were very fond of music ; and Adam, the com- 
poser, was frequently invited to come and play for them 
in the private apartments. In fact, after his abdica- 
tion, he seriously intended to write, in conjunction with 
Scribe, the libretto of an opera on an English historical 
subject, the music of whidh should be composed by 
Halevy. The composer of " La Juive " and the author 
of " Les Hugenots " came over once to consult with the 
King, whose death/ a few mjonths later, put an end to 
the scheme. 

On the occasion of Adam's visits the princesses 
worked at their embroidery, while the King often stood 
by the side of the performer. Just about that period 
the chamber organ was introduced, and, on the recom- 
mendation of Adam, one was ordered for the Tuileries. 
The first time Louis-Philippe heard it played he was 
delighted : " This will be a distinct gain to our rural 
congregations," he said. " There must be a great many 
people who, like myself, stay away from church on 



282 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

account of their objection to tliat horrible instrument, 
the serpent. Is it not so, my wife ? " 

The ideal purpose of life, if ever he possessed it, had 
been crushed out of him — first, by his governess, 
Madame de Genlis'; secondly, by the dire poverty he 
suffered during his exile : and, notwithstanding all that 
has been said to the contrary, France wanted at that 
moment an ideal ruler, not the rational father of a 
large family who looked upon his monarchy as a suit- 
able means of providing for them. He was an usurper 
without the daring, the grandeur, the lawlessness of 
the usurper. The lesson of Napoleon I.'s method 
had been thrown away upon him, as the lesson of 
Napoleon III.'s has been thrown away upon his grand- 
son. When I said France, I made a mistake, — I 
should have said Paris ; for since 1789 there was no 
longer a King of France, there was only a King of 
Paris. Such a thing as a Manchester movement, as a 
Manchester school of politics, would have been and is 
still an impossibility in France. 

And, unfortunately, Paris, which had applauded the 
glorious mise-en-scene of the First Empire, which had 
even looked on approvingly at some of the pomp and 
state of Louis XVIII. and Charles X., jeered at Louis- 
Philippe and his court with its ridiculous gatherings 
of tailors, drapers, and bootmakers, " ces gardes nation- 
aux d'un pays oii il n'y a plus rien de national a 
garder," and their pretentious spouses " qui," according 
to the Duchesse de la Tremoille, "ontplus de chemises 
que nos aieules avaient des robes." * She and the 

* She had unconsciously borrowed the words from the Duchesse de 
Coislin, who, under similar circumstances a few years before, said to 
Madame de Chateaubriand, " Oela sent la parvenue ; nous autres, 
femmes de la cour, nous n'avions que deux chemises ; on les renou- 



LOUIS-PHILIPPE AND THE NOBLESSE. 283 

Princesse Bap;ration were tlie only female representa- 
tives of the Faubourg St. Germain who attended these 
gatherings ; for the Countess Le Hon, of whom I may- 
have occasion to speak again, and who was the only 
other woman at these receptions that could lay claim 
to any distinction, was by no means an aristocrat. 
And be it remembered that in those days ridicule had 
still the power to kill. 

Nor was the weapon wielded exclusively by the 
aristocracy ; the lower classes could be just as satirical 
against the new court element. I was in the Tuileries 
gardens on that first Sunday in June, 1837, when the 
Duchesse d'Orleans made her entree into Paris. The 
weather was magnificent, and the set scene — as distin- 
guished from some of the properties, to use a theatrical 
expression — in keeping with the weather. The crowd 
itself was a pleasure to look at, as it stood in serried 
masses behind the National Guards and the regular 
infantry lining the route of the procession from the 
Arc de Triomphe to the entrance of the Chateau. All 
at once an outrider passes, covered with dust, and the 
crowd presses forward to get a better view. A woman 
of the people, in her nice white cap, comes into some- 
what violent contact with an elegantly dressed elderly 
lady, accompanied by her daughter. The woman, 
instead of apologizing, says aloud that she wishes to 
see the princess : " You will have the opportunity of 
seeing her at court, mesdames," she adds. The 
elegant lady vouclisafes no reply, but turns to her 
daughter : " The good woman," says the latter, shrug- 

velait quand elles ^taient us^es ; nous ^tions vetuea de robes de soie et 
nous n'avioDs pas I'air de grisettes comme ces demoiselles de mainte- 
naat." — Editob. 



284 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

ging her shoulders, " is evidently not aware that she 
has got a much greater chance of going to that court 
than we have. She has only got to marry some grocer 
or other tradesman, and she will be considered a grande 
dame at once." Then the procession passes — first the 
National Guards on horseback, then the king and M". 
de Montalivet, followed by Princesse Helene, with her 
young husband riding by the side of the carriage. So 
far so good : the first three or four carriages were more 
or less handsome, but Heaven save us from the rest, as 
well as from their occupants ! They positively looked 
like some of those wardrobe-dealers so admirably 
described by Balzac. 

When all is over, the woman of the people turns to 
the elegant lady: "I ask your pardon, ipadame ; it 
was really not worth while hurting you. If these are 
grandes dames, I prefer les petites whom I see in my 
neighbourhood, the Eue Notre-Dame de Lorette. 
Comme elles etaient attifees ! " — Angliee, '* What a lot 
of frumps they looked ! " 

In fact, Louis-Philippe and his queen sinned most 

grievously by overlooking the craving of the Parisians 

for pomp and display. No one was better aware of 

this than his children, notably the Duo d'Orleans, 

Princess Clementine,* and the Due de Nemours. They 

* The mother of Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg, the present niler 
of Bulgaria. She was a particular favourite of Queen Victoria, and 
Louis-Philippe himself not only considered her the cleverest of his 
three daughters, but the most likely successor to his sister Adelaide, 
as his private adviser. That the estimate of her abilities was by no 
means exaggerated, subsequent events have proved. The last time I 
saw the princess was at the garden party at Sheen-House, on the 
occasion of the silver wedding of the Count and Countess de Paris. I 
did not remember her for the moment, for a score of years had made a 
difference. I asked an Austrian attache who she was. The answer 
came pat, "Alexander III.'S nightmare, Francis-Joseph's bogy, and 
Bismarck's sleeping draught ; one of the three clever women in Europe; 
Bulgaria's mother." — Editob. 



THE PRINCE DE JOINVILLE AND HIS SISTER. 285 

called him familiarly "le pere." "II est trop pere," said 
the princess in private ; " il fait concurrence au Pere 
Eternel." She was a very clever girl — perhaps a 
great deal cleverer than any of her brothers, the Solon 
of the family, the Due de Nemours, included — but 
very fond of mischief and pnictical joking. She found 
her match, though, in her brother, the Prince de 
Joinville, the son of Louis-Philippe of whom France 
heard most and saw least, for he was a sailor. One day, 
his sister asked him to bring her a complete dress of a 
Red-Skin chieftain's wife. His absence was shorter 
than usual, and, a few days before his return, he told 
her in a letter that he had the costume she wanted. 
" Here, Clementine, this is for you," he said, at his 
arrival, putting a string of glass beads on the table. 

" Very pretty," said Clementine, " but you promised 
me a complete dress." 

" This is the complete dress. I never saw them 
wear any other." 

I did not see the Prince de Joinville very often, 
perhaps two or three times in all ; once on the occasion 
of his marriage with Princess Fran9oise de Bourbon, 
the daughter of Dom Pedro I. of Brazil, and sister of 
the present emperor, when tlie prince brought his 
young bride to Paris. He was a clever draughtsman 
and capital caricaturist ; but if the first of these talents 
proved an unfailing source of delight to his parents, 
the second frequently inspired them with terror, 
especially his father, who never knew which of his 
ministers might become the next butt for his tliird son's 
pencil. I have seen innumerable sketches, ostensibly 
done to delight his young wife and brothers, which, 
had they been published, would have been much more 



286 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

telling against his father's pictorial satirists than any- 
thing they produced against the sovereign. For in 
those days, whatever wisdom or caution they may have 
learnt afterwards, the sons of Louis-Philippe were by 
no means disposed to sit down tamely under the insults 
levelled at the head of their house. In fact, nearly 
the whole of Louis-Philippe's children had graphic 
talents of no mean order. The trait came to them 
from their mother, who was a very successful pupil of 
Angelica Kauffman. Princesse Marie, who died so 
young, executed a statue of Jeanne d'Arc, which was 
considered by competent judges, not at all likely to 
be influenced by the fact of the artist's birth, a very 
creditable piece of work indeed. I never saw it, so I 
cannot say, but I have seen some miniatures by the 
Due de Nemours, which might fairly rank with per- 
formances by the best masters of that art, short of 
genius. 

It is a curious, but nevertheless admitted fact that 
the world has never done justice to the second son 
of Louis-Philippe. He was not half as great a 
favourite with the Parisians as his elder brother, 
although, in virtue of his remarkable likeness to Henri 
IV., whom the Parisians still worship — probably be- 
cause he is dead, — he ought to have commanded their 
sympathies. This lukewarraness towards the Due de 
Nemours has generally been ascribed by the partisans 
of the Orleanist dynasty to his somewhat reticent dis- 
position, which by many people was mistaken for 
hauteur. I rather fancy it was because he was suspected 
of being his father's adviser, and, what was worse, 
his father's adviser in a reactionary sense. He was 
accused of being an anti-parliamentarian, and he never 



THE DUG DE NEMOUES. 287 

took the trouble to refute the charge, probably because 
he was too honest to tell a lie.* I met the Due de 
Nemours for the first time in the studio of a painter, 
Eugene Lami, just as I met his elder brother in that 
of Decamps. In fact, all these young princes were 
sincere admirers and patrons of art, and, if they had 
had their will, the soirees at the Tuileries would have 
been graced by the presence of artists more frequently 
than they were ; but, preposterous and scarcely credible 
as it may seem, the bourgeoisie looked upon this 
familiar intercourse of the king's sons with artists, 
literary men, and the like, as so much condescension, 
if not worse, of which they, the bourgeoisie, would not 
be guilty if they could help it. It behoves me, how- 
ever, to be careful in this instance, for the English 
aristocracy at home was not much more liberal in those 
days. 

The first thing that struck one in the Due de 
Nemours was the vast extent of his general information 
and the marvellous power of memory. Eugene Lami 
had just returned from London, and, in the exercise of 
his profession, had come in contact with some members 
of the oldest families. T^he mere mention of the 
name sufficed as the introduction to the general and 
anecdotal history of such a family, and I doubt whether 
the best oflScial at Herald's College could have dissected 
a pedigree as did the Due de Nemours. Eugene 

* There was a similar divergence of dynastic opinion during tlio 
Second Empire between the sovereign and those placed very near him 
on the throne. When Alphonse Daudet came to Paris to make a 
name in literature, the Duo de Morny offered him a position as 
secretary. " Before I accept it, monsieur le due, I had better tell you 
that I am a Legitimist," replied the future novelist. " Don't let that 
trouble you," laughed De Morny ; " so am I to a certain extent, and the 
Empress is even more of a Legitimist than I am." — Editob. 



288 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

Lami was at that time engaged upon designing some 
new uniforms for the army, many of which disappeared 
only after the war of 1870. He lived in the Eue des 
Marais, the greater part of which was subsequently 
demolished to make room for the Boulevard de 
Magenta, and in the same house with two men whose 
names have become immortal, Honore de Balzac and 
Paul Delaroche. I have already spoken of both, but 
I did not mention the incident that led to the painter's 
acquaintance with the novelist, an incident so utterly 
fanciful that the boldest farce-writer would think twice 
before utilizing it in a play. It was told to me by 
Lami himself. One morning, as he and Paul Dela- 
roche were working, there was a knock at the door, 
and a stout individual, dressed in a kind of monastic 
garb, appeared on tha threshold. Delaroche remem- 
bered that he had met him on the staircase, but neither 
knew who he was, albeit that Balzac's' fame was not 
altogether unknown to them. " Gentlemen," said the 
visitor, " I am Honore Balzac, a neighbour and a con- 
frere to boot. My chattels are about to be seized, 
and I would ask you to save a remnant of my library." 
Of course, the request was granted. The books were 
stowed away behind tlie pictures ; and, after that, Balzac 
often dropped in to have a chat with them, but neither 
Delaroche nor Lami, the latter least of all, ever con- 
ceived a sincere liking for the great novelist. Their 
characters were altogether dissimilar. I have seen a 
good many men whose names have become household 
words among the refined, the educated, and the art- 
loving all the world over; I have seen them at the 
commencement, in the middle, and at the zenith of 
their career ; I have seen none more indififerent to the 



THE Duc d'aumale. 289 

material benefits of their art than Eugene Lamf and Paul 
Delaroche, not even Eugene Delacroix and Decamps. 
Balzac was the very reverse. To make a fortune was 
the sole ambition of hia life. 

To return for a moment to Louis-Philippe's sons. 
I have said that the Duc de Nemours was essentially 
the grand seigneur of the family ; truth compels me to 
add, however, that there was a certain want of pliability 
about him which his social inferiors could not liave 
relished. It was Henri IV. minus the bonhomie, also 
perhaps minus tliat indiscriminate galanterie which 
endeared Ravaillac's victim to all classes, even when 
he was no longer young. In the days of which I am 
treating just now, the Duc de Nemours was very young. 
As for his courage, it was simply above suspicion; 
albeit that it was called in question after the revolution 
of '48, to his lather's intense sorrow. No after-dinner 
encomium was ever as absolutely true as that of Sir 
Robert Peel on the sons and daughters of the last 
King of France, when he described them as respectively 
brave and chaste. Nevertheless, had the Duc de 
Nemours and his brothers been a thousand times as 
brave as they were, party 8j)irit, than which there 
is nothing more contemptible in France, would have 
found the opportunity of denying that bravery. 

If these notes are ever publi>hed. Englishmen will 
smile at what I am about to write now, unless their 
disgust takes another form of expression. The ex- 
ploits of the Duc d'Aumale in Algeria are quoted by 
independent military authorities as so many separate 
deeds of signal heroism. They belong to history, 
and not a single historian has endeavoured to impair 
their value. Will it be believed that the Opposition 

VOL. I. u 



290 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

journals of those days spoke of them with ill-disguised 
contempt as mere skirmishes with a lot of semi-savages ? 
And, during the Second Republic, many of these papers 
returned to the charge because the Due d'Aumale, 
being the constitutionally-minded son of a constitu- 
tionally-minded king, resigned the command of his 
army instead ot bringing it to France to coerce a nation 
into retaining a ruler whom, ostensibly at least, she 
had voluntarily accepted, and whom, therefore, she was 
as free to reject. 

In connection with these Algerian campaigns of 
the Duo d'Aumale, I had a story told to me by his 
biother, De Montpensier, which becomes particularly 
interesting nowadays, when spiritualism or spiritism 
is so much discussed. He had it from two unim- 
peachable soiirces, namely, from his brother D'Aumale 
and from General Cousin - Montauban, afterwards 
Comte de Palikao, the same who was so terribly afraid, 
after the expedition in China, that the emperor 
Mould create him Comte de Pekin, and who sent an 
aide-de-camp in advance to beg the sovereign not to 
do so.* 

It was to General Montauban that Abdel-Kader 
surrendered after the battles of Isly and Djemma- 
Gazhouat. It was in the latter engagement that a 
Captain de Gereaux fell, and when the news of his 
death reached his family tbey seemed almost pre- 
pared for it. It transpired that, on the very day of 
the engagement, and at the very hour in which Cap- 
tain de Gereaux was struck down, his sister, a young 

* In order to understand this dread on Montauban's part, tlie 
Englisli reader should be told that tlie term p^kin is the contemp- 
tuous nickname for the civilian, with the French soldier. — Editor. 



A SPIRITUALIST STORY.' 291 

and handsome but very impressionable girl, started all 
of a sudden from her chair, exclaiming that she had 
seen her brother, surrounded by Arabs, who were 
felling hitn to the ground. Then she dropped to the 
floor in a dead swoon. 

A few years elapsed, when General Montauban, who 
had become the military Governor of the province of 
Oran, received a letter from the De Gereaux family, 
requesting him to make some further inquiries re- 
specting tlie particulars of the captain's death. Tlie 
letter was written at the urgent prayer of Mdlle. de 
Gereaux, who had never ceased to think and speak of 
her brother, and who, on one occasion, a month or so 
before the despatch of the petition, had risen again 
from her chair, though in a more composed manner 
than before, insisting that she had once more seen her 
brother. This time he was dressed in the native garb, 
he seemed very poor, and was delving the soil. These 
visions recurred at frequent intervals, to the intense 
distress of the family, who could not but ascribe them 
to the overstrung imagination of Mdlle. de Gereaux. 
A little while after, she maintained having seen her 
brother in a white robe ai^d turban, and intoning 
hymns that sounded to her like Arabic. She im- 
plored her parents to institute inquiries, and 
General Montauban was communicated with to that 
effect. He did all he could ; the country was at 
peace, and, after a few months, tidings came that there 
was a Frenchman held prisoner in one of the villages 
on the Morocco frontier, who for the last two or three 
years had entirely lost his reason, but that, previous 
to that calamity, he had been converted to Islamism. 
His mental derangement being altogether harmless. 



292 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

he was an attendant at the Mosque. As a matter of 
course, the information had been greatly embellished 
in having passed through so many channels, nor was 
it of 80 definite a character as I have noted it down, 
but that was the gist of it. 

Meanwhile, Montauban had been transferred to 
another command, and for a twelvemonth after his 
successor's arrival the inquiry was allowed to fall 
in abeyance. When it was finally resumed, the 
French prisoner had died, but, from a document 
written in his native language found upon him and 
brought to Oian, there remained little doubt that he 
was Captain de Geieaux. 

To return for a moment to the Due d'Aumale, who, 
curiously enough, exercised a greater influence on 
the outside world in general than any of his other 
brethren — an influence due probably to his enormous 
wealth rather than to his personal qualities, though 
the latter may, to some people, have seemed remark- 
able. I met him but seldom during his father's 
lifetime. He was the beau-ideal of the preux 
chevalier, according to the French notion of the 
modern Bayard — that is, handsome, brave to a fault, 
irresistibly fascinating with women, good-natured in 
his way, and, above all, very witty. It was he who, 
after the confiscation of the d' Orleans' property by 
Napoleon III., replied to the French Ambassador at 
Turin, who inquired after his health, " I am all right ; 
health is one of the things that cannot be confiscated." 
Nevertheless, upon closer acquaintance, I failed to 
see the justifying cause for the preference manifested 
by public opinion, and, upon more minute inquiry, I 
found that a great many people shared my views. I 



THE Duc d'orl^ans. 293 

am at this moment convinced that, but for his having 
been the heir of that ill-fated Prince de Conde, and 
consequently the real defender in the various suits 
resulting from the assassination of that prince by 
Madame de Feucheres, he would have been in no way 
distinguished socially from the rest of the D'Orleans. 

The popularity of his eldest brother, the Duc 
d'Orleans, was, on the contrary, due directly to the 
man himself. As far as one can judge of him, he was 
the reverse of Charles II., in that he never said a wise 
thing and never did a foolish one. He was probably 
not half so clever as his father, nor, brave as he may 
have been, would he have ever made so dashing a 
soldier as his brother D'Aumale, or so rollicking a 
sailor as his brother De Joinville. He did not pre- 
tend to the wisdom of his brother De Nemours, nor to 
the mystic tendencies of his youngest sister, nor to 
the 8[)rightly wit of Princesse Clementine, and yet 
withal he understood the French nation better than 
any of them. Even his prenuptial escapades, secrets 
to no one, were those of the grand seigneur, though by 
no means aflSchees; they endeared him to the ma- 
jority of the people. " Chacun colon-ise k sa fapon," 
was the lenient verdict on his admiration for Jenny 
Colon, at a moment when colonization in Algeria was 
the topic of the day. On the whole he liked artists 
better, perhaps, than art itself, yet it did not prevent 
him from buying masterpieces as far as his means 
would allow him. Though still young, in the latter 
end of the thirties, I was already a frequent visitor to 
the studios of the great French painters, and it was 
in that of Decamps' that I became alive to his 
character fur the tirst time. I was talking to the 



294 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PAHlS. 

great painter when the duke came in. We had met 
before, and shook hands, as lie had been taught to do 
by his father when he met with an Englishman. But 
I could not make out why he was carrying a pair of 
trousers over his arm. After we had been chatting 
for about ten minutes, I wondering all the while what 
he was going to do with the nether garment, he 
caught one of my side glances, and burst out laughing. 
" I forgot," he said ; " here. Decamps, here are your 
breeches." Then he turned to me to explain. "I 
always bring them up with me when I come in the 
morning. The concierge is very old, and it saves her 
trudging up four flights of stairs." The fact was, that 
the concierge, before she knew who he was, had once 
asked him to take up the painter's clothes and boots. 
From that day forth he never failed to ask for them 
when passing her lodge. 

I can but repeat, the Due d'Orleans was one of the 
most charming men I have known. I always couple 
him in my mind with Benjamin Disraeli, and Alex- 
andre Dumas the elder. I knew the English states- 
man almost as well during part of my life as the 
French novelist. Though intellectually wide apart 
from them, the duke had one, if not two traits in 
common with both ; his utter contempt for money 
affairs and the personal charm he wielded. I doubt 
whether this personal charm in the other two men 
was due to their intellectual attainments; with the 
Due d'Orleans it was certainly not the case. He 
rarely, if ever, said anything worth remembering ; in 
fact, he frankly acknowledged his very modest scholar- 
ship, and his inability either to remember the epi- 
grams of others or to condense his thoughts into one 



HIS INDIFFERENCE WITH REGARD TO MONEY. 295 

of his own. " I should not like to admit as much to 
my father, who, it appears, is a very fine Greek and 
Latin scholar," he said — " that is, if I am to believe 
my brotliers, De Nemours and D'Aumale, who ouo;ht to 
know ; for, notwithstanding the prizes tiiey took at 
college, I believe they are very clever. Ah, you may 
well look surprised at my saying, 'notwithstanding 
the prizes they took,' because I took ever so many, 
although, for the life of me, I could not construe a 
Greek sentence, and scarcely a Latin one. I have 
paid very handsomely, however, for my ignorance." 
And then he told us an amusing story of his having 
had to invent a secretaryship to the duchess for an 
old schoolfellow. " You see, he came upon me una- 
wares with a slip of paper I had written him while 
at college, asking him to explain to me a Greek 
passage. There was no denying it, I had signed it. 
What is worse still, he is supposed to translate and to 
reply to the duchess's German correspondence, and, 
wiien I gave him the appointment, he did not know a 
single word of Schiller's language, so I had to pay a 
Geiman tutor and him too." 

I have said that the Due d'Orleans was absolutely 
indifferent with regard to money, but he would not 
be fleeced with impunity. What he disliked more 
than anything else, was the greed of the shop-keeping 
bourgeois. One day, while travelling in Lorraine, 
he stopped at the posting-house to have his breakfast, 
consisting of a couple of eggs, a few slices of bread 
and butter, and a cup of coffee. Just before proceeding 
on his journey, his valet came to tell him that mine 
host wanted to charge him two hundred francs for the 
repast. The duke merely sent for the mayor, handed 



296 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

him a thousand-franc note, gave him the particulars 
of his bill of fare, told him to pay the landlord 
according to the tariff, and to distribute the remainder 
of the money among the poor. It is more than 
probable that mine host was among the first, in '48, 
to hail the republic: princes and kings, according 
to him, were made to be fleeced ; if they objected, what 
was the good of having a monarchy ? 

The popular idol in France must distribute largesse, 
and distribute it individually, or be profitable in some 
other way. G-reed, personal interest, underlies most 
of the political strife in France. During one of the 
riots, so common in the reign of Louis-Philippe, Mimi- 
Lepreuil, a well-known clever pickpocket, was shouting 
with all his might, " Vive Louis-Philippe ! a bas la 
Kepublique ! " As a rule, gentlemen of his profession 
are found on the plebeian side, and one of the super- 
intendents of police on duty, who had closely watched 
him, inquired into the reason of his apostasy. *' I am 
sick of your Republicans," was the answer. " I come 
here morning after morning" — it happened on the 
Place de la Bourse, — " and dip my hands into a score 
of pockets without finding a red cent. Daring the 
Kevolution of July, at the funeral of General La- 
marque, I did not make my expenses. Give me a royal 
procession to make money." These were his politics. 

It would be difficult to say what the Due d'Orleans 
would have done, had he lived to ascend the throne. 
One thing is certain, however, that, on the day of 
his death, genuine tears stood in the eyes of all 
classes, except the Legitimists. As I have already 
said, they ascribed the fatal accident to God's 
vengeance for the usurpation of his father. " If this 



"PROVIDENCE IN A FIX." 297 

be the case," said an irreverent but witty journalist, 
"it argues but very little providence on the part of 
1/our Providence, ior now He will have to keep the peace 
between the Due de Berri, the Due de Reicbstadt, and 
the Due d'Orl^ans." 



298 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 



CHAPTER X. 

The Revolution of '48 — The beginning of it — The National Guards in 
all their glory — The Cafe Gre'goire on the Place du Caire — The 
price of a good breakfast in '48 — The palmy days of the Cuisine 
Bourgeoise — The excitement on the Boulevards on Sunday, 
February 20th, *48 — The theatres — ^Aball at Poirson's, the erst- 
while director of the Gymnase — A lull in the storm — Tuesday, 
February 22iid — Another visit to the Cafe Gregoire — On my way 
thitlier — The Coraedie-Fran9ai8e closes its doors — What it means, 
according to my old tutor— We are waited upon by a sergeant 
and corporal — We are no longer " messieurs," but " citoyens " — 
An eye to the main ch nee — The patriots do a bit of business in 
tricolour cockades — The company marches away — Casualties — 
"Le patriotisme" means the difference between the louis d'or 
and the ecu of three francs — The company bivouacs on the 
Boulevard Saint-Martin— A tyrant's victim "malgre lui" — 
Wednesday, February 23rd — The Cafe Gregoire once more — The 
National Guards en neglige — A novel mode of settling accounts — 
The National Guards fortify the inner man — A bivouac on the 
Boulevard du Temple — A camp scene from an opera — I leave— 
My companion's account — TheNational Guards protect the regulars 
• — The author of these notes goes to the theatre — The Gymnase 
and the Varie'te'son the eve of the Revolution- Bonffe'and Dejazet 
—Thursday, February 24th, '48 — The Boulevards at 9.30 a.m. — 
No milk — The Revolutionaries do without it — The Place du 
Carrousel — The sovereign people fire from tlie roofs on the troops 
— The troops do not dislodge tiiem — The King reviews the troops — 
The apparent inactivity of Louis-Philippe's sons — A theory about 
the difference in bloodshed — One of the three ugliest men in 
France comes to see the King — Seditious cries — The King 
abdicates — Chaos — The sacking of the Tuileries — Receptions and 
feasting in the Galerie de Diane — "Du cafe pour nous, des 
cigarettes pour les dames " — The dresses of the princesses — The 
bourgeois fe.ist the gamins who guard the barricades — The 
Republic proclaimed — The riff-raff insist upon illuminations — An 
actor promoted to tlie Governor«hip of the Hotel de Ville — Some 
members of the *' provisional Government " at work — M^ry on 
Lamartine — Why the latter proclaimed the Republic. 

I Was returning home earlier than usual on Saturday 
night, the 19lh of February, '48, when, at the corner of 



THE BEGINNING OF THE REVOLUTION OF '48. 299 

the Rue Lafitte, I happened to run against a young 
Englishman who had been established for some years 
in Paris as the representative of his father, a wealthy 
cotton-spinner in the north. We had frequently met 
before, and a cordial feeling had sprung up between us, 
based at first — I am bound to say — on our common 
contempt for the vanity of the French. 

*• Come and breakfast with me to-morrow morning," 
he said ; *' I fancy you will enjoy yourself. We will 
breakfast in my quarter, and you will see the National 
Guards in all their glory. They will muster very 
strong to-morrow, if it be fine." 

"But why to-morrow?" I replied. "I was under 
the impression that the idea of the Reformist banquet 
in the Ciiamps-Elysees had been abandoned, so there 
will be no occasion for them to parade ? Besides, that 
would be on Tuesday only." 

" It has been abandoned, but if you think that it 
will prevent them from turning out, you are very 
much mistaken; at any rate, come and listen to the 
preliminaries." 

I promised him to come, but I had not the slightest 
idea that I was going to witness a kind of mild prologue 
to a revolution. 

Next morning turned out very fine — balmy spring 
weather — and as I sauntered along the Boulevards 
Montmartre and Poissoniere to the place of appoint- 
ment the streets were already crowded with people 
in their Sun<iay clothes. The place where I was to 
meet my English friend was situated in the midst of a 
busy quarter, scarcely anything but warehouses where 
they sold laces, and flowers, and silks ; something like 
the neighbourhood at the back of Cheapside. The 



300 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

wealthy tradesmen of those days did not live in the 
outskirts of Paris, as they did later on ; and when my 
friend and I reached the principal cafe and restaurant 
on the Place du Caire — I think it was called the Cafe 
Gregoire — there was scarcely a table vacant. The 
habitues were, almost to a man, National Gruards, 
prosperous business men, considerably more anxious, 
as I found out in a short time, to play a political part 
than to maintain public tranquillity. If I remember 
rightly, one of them, a chemist and druggist, who was 
pointed out to me then, became a deputy after the 
fall of the Second Empire ; and I may notice en passant 
that this same spot was the political hothouse which 
produced, afterwards. Monsieur Tirard, who started 
life as a small manufacturer of imitation jewellery, 
and who rose to be Minister of Finances under the 
Third Kepublic. 

The breakfast was simply excellent, the wine genuine 
throughout, the coffee and cognac all that could be 
wished; and, when I asked my friend to let me look 
at the bill, out of simple curiosity, or, rather, for the 
sake of comparing prices with those of the Cafes de 
Paris and Riche, I found that he had spent something 
less than eleven francs. At the Cafe Eiche it would 
have been twenty-five francs, and, at the present time, 
one would be charged double that sum. These were 
the palmy days of the Cuisine Fran9aise, or, to call 
it by another name, the Cuisine Bourgeoise, for which, 
a few years later, a stranger in Paris would have almost 
sought in vain. Luckily, however, for my enjoyment 
and digestive organs, I was no stranger to Paris and 
to the French ; if I had been, both the former would 
have been spoilt, the excitement of those around me 



THE NATIONAL GUARDS. 301 

being such as to lead the alien to believe that there 
would be an instantaneous departure for the Tuileries, 
and a revival of the bloody scenes of the first revo- 
lution. It has been my lot, in after-years, to hear a 
great deal of political drivel in French and English, 
but it was sound philosophy compared to what I 
heard that morning. I have spoken before of the 
Hotel des Haricots, where men like Hugo, Balzac, 
Beranger, and Alfred de Musset chose to be im- 
prisoned rather than perform their duties as National 
Guards. After that, I could fully appreciate their 
reluctance to be confounded with such a set of pompous 
wiudbags. 

It came to nothing that day, but I had become 
interested, and made an appointment with my friend 
for the Tuesday, unless something should happen in 
the interval Still, I did not think that the monarchy 
of July was doomed, though, on returning to the 
Boulevards, I could not help noticing that the excite- 
ment had considerably increased during the time I 
had been at breakfast. By twelve o'clock that night 
I was convinced that I had been mistaken, and that 
the dynasty of the D'Orleans had not a week to live. 
All the theatres were still open, but I had an invitation 
to a ball, given by Poirson, the then late director 
of the Gymnase Theatre, at his house in the Faubourg 
Poissonniere. "Nous ne danserons plus jamais sous 
Louis-Philippe ! " was the general cry, which did 
not prevent the guests from thoroughly enjoying 
themselves. 

Next morning, Monday, there seemed to be a lull 
in the storm, but on the Tuesday the signs of the 
coming hurricane were plainly visible on the horizon. 



302 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

The Ministry of Marine was guarded by a company of 
linesmen. I had some business in the Kue de Rivoli, 
which at that time ended almost abruptly at the 
Louvre ; and, on my way to the Cafe Gregoire, I met 
patrol upon patrol of National Guards beating the " as- 
sembly." I had occasion to pass before the Comedie- 
Franjaise. The ominous black-lettered slip of yellow 
paper, with the word JRelache, was pa-^ted across the 
evening's bill. That was enough for me. I remem- 
bered the words of my old tutor : " When the Cometiie- 
Franpaise shuts its doors in perilous times, it is like 
the battening down of the hatches in dirty weather. 
There is mischief brewing." When I got to the Place 
du Caire, I was virtually in the thick of it. With the 
exception of my friend and I, there was not a man in 
mufti. Even the proprietor had donned his uniform. 
Our fillet of beef was brought to us by a corporal, and 
our coffee poured out by a sergeant. Whether these 
warrior- waiters meant to strike one blow for freedom 
and to leave the place to take care of itself, we were 
unable to make out ; but their patrons were no longer 
" messieurs," but had already become " citoyens." I 
was tempted to say, in the words of Dupin — the one 
who was President of the Chamber on the day of the 
Coup d'Etat, and who was Louis-Philippe's personal 
friend, " Soyons citoyens, mais restons messieurs," but 
I thought it better not. My friend had given up all 
idea of attending to business. " It will not be of the 
least use," he said. "If I had ribbons to sell instead 
of cottons, I might make a lot of money, though ; for 
I am open to wager that some of our patriotic neigh- 
bours, while they are going to bell the cat outside, 
have given orders to their workpeople to manufacture 



A STROKE OF BUSINESS. 303 

tricolour cockadea and rosettes with the magic R. F. 
(Republique Franpaise) in the centre. 

" You do not mean that they would think of such 
a thing at such a critical moment, even if the 
republic were a greater probability than it appears 
to be ? " 1 remonstrated. 

" I do mean to say so," he replied, beckoning at the 
same time to a sleek, corpulent lieutenant, standing 
a few paces away. "Can you do with a nice lot 
of narrow silk ribbon?" he asked, as the individual 
walked up to our table. 

*' What colour ? " inquired the lieutenant. 

My friend gave me a significant look, and named 
all the hues of the rainbow except white, red, and 
blue. 

" Won't do," said the lieutenant, shaking his head. 
** If it had been red, white, and blue I would have 
bought as much as you like, because I am manu- 
facturing rosettes for the good cause." After this ho 
■walked away. 

On the Thursday afternoon the Boulevards and 
principal thoroughfares swarmed with peripatetic 
vendors of the republican insignia, and some of my 
friends expressed their surprise as to where they had 
come from in so short a time. Seeing that they were 
Frenchmen, I held my tongue, even when one pro- 
fessed to explain, " They have come from England ; 
they are always speculating upon our misfortunes, 
though they do it cleverly enough. They got scent 
of what was coming, and sent them over as quickly as 
they could. Truly they are a great nation — of shop- 
keepers I " I was reminded of Beranger's sca[iegrace, 
when he wa'^ accused of being drunk. 



304 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

" Qu'est que cela me fait, a moi ? 
Que Ton m'appelle ivrogne ? " 

he sings. 

As the afternoon wore on, the excitement increased ; 
the news from the Boulevards became alarming, and 
at about three o'clock the company marched away. 
As a matter of course we followed, and equally, as a 
matter of course, did not leave them until 2.30 next 
morning. Casualties to report. A large scratch in 
one of the drummer's cheeks, made by an oyster- 
shell, flung at the company as it turned round the 
corner of the Kue de Clery. No battles, no skir- 
mishes, a great deal of fraternizing with "le peuple 
souverain," whom, in their own employ, the well-to-do 
tradesmen would have ordered about like so many 
mangy curs. 

From that day forth I have never dipped into any 
history of modern France, professing to deal with the 
political causes and effects of the various upheavals 
during the nineteenth century in France. They may 
be worth reading ; I do not say that they are not. I 
have preferred to look at the men who instigated those 
disorders, and have come to the conclusion that, had 
each of them been born with five or ten thousand a 
year, their names would have been absolutely wanting 
in connection with them. This does not mean that the 
disorders would not have taken place, but they would 
have always been led by men in want of five or ten 
thousand a year. On the other hand, if the D'Orleans 
family had been less wealthy than they are there would 
have been no firmly settled third republic ; if Louis- 
Napoleon had been less poor, there would, in all 
probability, have been no second empire ; if the latter 
had lasted another year, we should have found Gam- 



A MILITARY SPECTACLE. 305 

betta among the ministers of Napoleon III., just like 
Emile Ollivier, of the " light heart." " Les con- 
victions politiques en France sent basees sur le fait 
que le louis d'or vaut sept fois plus que I'ecu de trois 
francs." This is the dictum of a man who never wished 
to be anything, who steadfastly refused all offers to 
enter the arena of public life. 

My friend and I had been baulked of the drama 
we expected — for we frankly confessed to one another 
that the utter annihilation of that company of National 
Guards would have left us perfectly unmoved, — and 
got instead, a kind of first act of a military spectacular 
play, such as we were in the habit of seeing at Fran- 
coni's. The civic warriors were ostensibly bivouacking 
on the Boulevard St. Martin ; they stacked their 
muskets and fraternized with the crowd ; it would not 
have surprised us in the least to see a troupe of ballet 
dancers advance into our midst and give us the enter- 
tainment de rigueur — the intermede. It was the only 
thing wanting to complete the picture, from which 
even the low comedy incident was not wanting. An 
old woebegone creature, evidently the worse for liquor, 
had fallen down while a patrol of regulars was passing. 
He was not a bit hurt ; but there and then the rabble 
proposed to carry him to the Hotel de Ville, and to 
give him an apotheosis as a martyr to the cause. 
They had already fetched a stretcher, and were, not- 
withstanding his violent struggles, hoisting him on 
it, when prevented by the captain of the National 
Guards. 

Still, we returned next day to the Caf^ Gregoire. 
In the middle of the place there lay an old man — that 
one, stark dead, who had been fired upon without 

VOL. I. X 



£06 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

rhyme or reason by a picket of the National Guards. 
It was only about eleven o'clock, and those valiant 
defenders of public order were still resting from their 
fatigue — at any rate, there were few of them about. 
There was a discussion going on whether they should 
go out or not — a discussion confined to the captain, 
two lieutenants, and as many sub-lieutenants. They 
appeared not to have the least idea of the necessity 
to refer for orders to the colonel or the head-quarters 
of the regiment or the legion, as it was called. They 
meant to settle the matter among themselves. The 
great argument in favour of calling out the men was 
that one of them, while standing at his window that 
very morning, was fired at by a passing ragamuffin, 
who, instead of hitting him, shattered his window- 
panes. 

" Well," said one of the lieutenants, who had been 
opposed to the calling out of the men, *' then we are 
quits after all; for look at the old fellow lying out 
there." 

" No, we are not," retorts the captain ; " for he was 
shot by a mistake, so he doesn't count." 

"L'esprit ne perd jamais ses droits en France ; " so, 
in another moment or two, the bugle sounded lustily 
throughout the quarter. We followed the buglers for 
a little while, it being still too early for our breakfast, 
and consequently enjoyed the felicity of seeing a good 
many of the warriors " in their habit as they lived " 
indoors — namely, in dressing-gown and slippers and 
smoking-caps. For most of them opened their windows 
on the first, second, and third floors, to inquire whether 
the call was urgent. The buglers entered into expla- 
nations. No, the call was not urgent, but the captain 



THE CIVIC WARRIOR IN HIS GLORY. 307 

haii decided on a military promenade, just to reassure 
the neighbourhood, and to stimulate the martial spirit 
of the lagging members of the company. The expla- 
nation invariably provoked the same answer, and in a 
voice not that of the citizen-warrior : " Que le capitaine 
attende jusqu'apres le dejeuner." 

Davoust has said that the first condition of the 
fitness of an army is its commissariat. In that respect 
every one of these National Guards was fit to be a 
Davoust, for their fortifying of the inner man was 
not accomplished until close upon two o'clock. By 
that time they marched out, saluted by the cries of 
" Vive la Keforme ! " of all the ragtag and bobtail from 
the Faubourgs du Temple and St. Antoine, who had 
invaded the principal thoroughfares. The " Marseil- 
laise," the " Chant des Girondins," " La Republique 
nous appelle " resounded through the air ; and I was 
wondering whether they were packing their trunks at 
the Tuileries, also what these National Guards had 
come out for. They only seemed to impede the 
efficient patrolling of the streets by the regulars, and, 
instead of dispersing the rabble, they attracted them. 
They were evidently under the impression that they 
made a very goodly show, and at every word of com- 
mand I expected to see the captain burst asunder. 
When we got to the Boulevard St. Martin, the latter 
was told that the sixth legion was stationed on the 
Boulevard du Temple. A move was made in that 
direction. 

Now "Kichard is himself again;" he is among the 
crowd he likes best — the crowd of the Boulevard du 
Crime, with its theatres, large and small, its raree and 
puppet shows, its open-air entertainments, its cafes 



308 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

and mountebanks; and, what is more, he is there in 
his uniform, distinguished from the rest, and conse- 
quently the cynosure of all the little actresses and 
■pretty figurantes who have just left the rehearsal — for 
by this time it is after three — and who are but too 
willing to be entertained. Appointments are made to 
dine or to sup together, without the slightest reference 
as to what may happen in the interval. All at once 
there is an outcry and a rush towards the Porte Saint- 
Martin ; our warriors are obliged to leave their inamo- 
ratas, and when they come to look for their muskets, 
which they have placed in a corner for convenience' 
sake, they find that a good many have disappeared. 
The customers belonging to the sovereign people have 
slunk off with them. Nevertheless they join the 
ranks, for the bugle has sounded. At the corner of 
the Faubourg Saint-Martin, whence the noise proceeded, 
they are met by three or four score of the sovereign 
people, ragged, unkempt, who are pushing in front of 
them two of the students of the Ecole Polytechnique. 
The two young fellows are very pale, and can scarcely 
speak. Still they manage to explain that the Municipal 
Guard at the Saint-Martin barracks have fired upon the 
people : then they go their way. Whither ? Heaven 
only knows. But our captain, in the most stentorian 
of voices, gives the word of command, " To the right, 
wheel ! " and we are striding up the faubourg, which 
is absolutely deserted as far as the Eue des Marais. 
A collision seems pretty inevitable now, the more that 
the Municipal Gruards are already taking aim, when 
all at once our captain and one of the lieutenants rush 
forward, and fling themselves into the arms of the 
officers of the Municipal Guards. Tableau ; and I am 



HE PROTECTS THE REGULARS. 300 

baulked once more of a good fight. I leave my friend 
to see the rest of this ridiculous comedy, and take my 
departure there and then. 

The following is my companion's account of what 
happened after I left. I am as certain that every 
word of it is true as if I had been there myself, 
though it seems almost incredible that French officers, 
whose worst enemies have never accused them of 
being deficient in courage, sliould have acted so 
inconsiderately. 

" The officers of the National Guards appear to have 
assumed at once the office of protectors of the regulars 
against the violence of the crowd. Wiiy the regulars 
should have submitted to this, seeing that they were 
far better armed than their would-be guardians, I am 
unable to say. Be this as it may, the regulars con- 
sented, the Hag floating above the principal door of 
the barracks was taken down, and I really believed 
that the Municipal Guards stacked their arms and 
virtually handed them over to the others. But I will 
not vouch for it. At any rate, a few hours afterwards, 
while the company had gone to dinner, the barracks 
were assailed, the men and officers knocked down by 
the people, and the building set on fire. When the 
fifth legion returned about eleven o'clock to the Fau- 
bourg Saint-Martin, the flames were leaping up to the 
sky, so they turned their heels contentedly in the 
direction of the Boulevard du Temple, where they 
bivouacked between the Theatre de la Gaite and the 
Ambigu-Comique, while those who had made appoint- 
ments with the little actresses went round by the stage 
doors to keep them. That, as far as I could judge, 
was the part of the fifth legion in the day's proceediugs- 



310 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

I left them in all their glory, thinking themselves, no 
doubt, very fine fellows. 

"On the Thursday morning" — my companion told 
me all this on Saturday evening, the 26th of February 
— " I was up betimes, simply because the drumming 
and bugling prevented my sleeping. At eight, the Cafe 
Gregoire was already very full, the heroes of the 
previous night had returned to perform their ablutions, 
and also, I suppose, to reassure their anxious spouses ; 
but they had no longer that conquering air I noticed 
when I left thetn the night before. Whether they 
had come to the conclusion that both in love and war 
they had reaped but barren victories, I cannot say, 
but their republican ardour, it seemed to me, had 
considerably cooled down. I am convinced that, not- 
withstanding the events of AVednesday night in the 
Faubourg Saint-Martin, they were under the impression 
that neither the people nor the military would resort 
to further extremities. I cannot help thinking that, 
after I left, not a single man could have remained at 
his post, because not one amongst them seemed to 
have an idea of the horrible slaughter on the Boulevard 
des Capucines.* They were not left very long in 

* The author, as will be seen directly, saw nothing of that massacre, 
though he must have passed within a few hundred yards of the spot 
immediately before it began. It would have been the same if he had ; 
he could not Lave explained the cause, seeing that the most pains- 
taking historians who have consulted the most trustworthy eye- 
witnesses have failed to do so. It will always remain a mystery 
whence the first shot came, whether from the military who were 
drawn up across the Boulevard des Capucines, on the spot where now 
stands the Grand Cafe, or from the crowd that wanted to pass, in 
order to proceed to Odilon-Barrot's to serenade him, because, not- 
withstanding the opposition of the king, he was to be included in 
the new ministry, which Mol^ had been instructed to form. It may 
safely be sai(l, however, that, but for that shot and the slaughter con- 
sequent upon it, the revolution might have been averted then — after 
all, perhaps, only temporarily. — Editob. 



THE EVE OF THE REVOLUTION. 311 

ignorance of the real state of affairs, and then they 
saw at once that they had roused a spectre they would 
be unable to lay. From that moment, it is my opinion, 
they would have willingly drawn back, but it was too 
late. While they were still debating, an individual 
rushed in, telling them that one or two regiments, 
commanded by a general (who turned out to be General 
Bedeau), had drawn up in front of the barricade which 
had been thrown up during the night in the Boulevard 
Bonne-Nouvelle, and was being defended by a detach- 
ment of the fifth legion. They all ran out, and I ran 
with them. When we got to the boulevard, matters 
had already been arranged, and they were just in time 
to join the escort General Bedeau had accepted, after 
having consented not to execute the orders with which 
he had been entrusted. By that time I began to per- 
ceive which way the wind was blowing : the canaille 
had unceremoniously linked their arms in those of the 
National Guards, and insisted, courteously but firmly, 
on carrying their firearms. When we got to the Rue 
Montmartre, they took the horses out of the gun- 
carriages, and the soldiers looked tamely on, notwith- 
standing the commands of -their officers. When the 
latter endeavoured to enforce their orders by hitting 
them with the flat of their swords, they simply left the 
ranks and joined the rabble. I had had enough of it, 
and made my way home by the back streets. I had 
had enough of it, and kept indoors until this afternoon." 
Thus far my informant. As for myself, I saw little 
on the Wednesday night of what was going on. It was 
my own fault : I was too optimistic. I had scarcely 
gone a few steps, after my dinner, when, just in front 
of the Gymnase, they began shouting, "La Pairie, 



312 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

Journal du soir ; achetez La Patrie. Yoyez le nouveau 
ministere de Monsieur Mole." I remember giving 
the fellow half a franc, at which he grumbled, though 
it was three times the ordinary price. On opening 
the paper, I rashly concluded from what I read that 
the revolution was virtually at an end, and I was the 
more confirmed in my opinion by the almost instanta- 
neous lighting up of the Boulevards. It was like a 
fairy scene : people were illuminating — a little bit too 
soon, as it turned out. Being tired of wandering, 
and feeling no inclination for bed, I turned into the 
Gymnase. There were Bressant and Eose Cheri and 
Arnal ; I would surely be able to spend a few pleasant 
hours. But alack and alas! the house presented 
a very doleful appearance — dead-heads, to a man ; 
and very few of these, people who, if they could not 
fiddle themselves, like Nero while Rome was burning, 
would go to hear fiddling under no matter what 
circumstances, provided they were not asked to pay. 
I did not stay long, but whea I came out into 
the streets the noise was too deafening for me. 
The " Marseillaise " has always had a particularly 
jarring effect upon my nerves. There are days when 
I could be cruel enough to prefer " the yells of those 
ferocious soldiers, as they murder in cold blood the 
sons and the companions " of one section of defenceless 
patriots, to the stirring strains of the other section as 
they figuratively rush to the rescue; and on that 
particular evening I felt in that mood. So, when I 
got to the Boulevard Montmartre, I turned into the 
Theatre des Yarietes. I remember the programme up 
to this day. They were playing " Le Suisse de Marly," 
"Le Marquis de Lauzun," "Les Extremes se touchent," 



THE 24th FEBRUARY, 1848. 313 

and " Les Vieux Peches." I had seen the second and 
the last piece at least a dozen times, but I was always 
ready to see them again for the sake of Virginie Dejazet 
in the one, of Bouffe in the other. The lessee at that 
time was an Englishman. Bouffe and I had always 
kept up our friendship ; so I made up my mind to go 
and have a chat with him, hoping that Dejazet, whose 
conversation affected one like a bottle of cham- 
pagne, would join us. The house, like the Gymnase, 
was almost empty, but I made my way behind the 
scenes, and in about half an hour forgot all about the 
events outside. Bouffe was telling me anecdotes about 
his London performances, and Dejazet was imitating 
the French of some of the bigwigs of King Leopold's 
court ; so the time passed pleasantly enough. At the 
end of the performance we proposed taking supper, 
and turned down the Rue Montmartre. It was late 
when I returned home, consequently I saw nothing of 
the slaughter on the Boulevard des Capucines. 

Though I had gone to bed late, I was up betimes 
on the Thursday morning. A glance at the Boule- 
vards, as I turned the corner of my street about half- 
past nine, convinced me that* the illuminations of the 
previous night had been premature, and that before 
the day was out there would be an end of the 
monarchy of July. A slight mist was still hanging 
over the city as I strolled in the direction of the 
Madeleine, and the weather was damp and raw, but 
in about half an hour the sun broke through. A shot 
was heard now and then, but I myself saw no collision 
then between the troops and the people. On the 
contrary, it looked to me as if the former would have 
been glad to be left alone. As I had been obliged 



314 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

to leave home without my usual cup of tea for want 
of milk — the servant had told me there was none — 
I went back a little way to Tortoni's, where I was 
greeted with the same answer. I could have tea or 
coifee or chocolate made with water, but milk there 
was none on that side of Paris, and, unless things took 
a turn, there would be no butter. The sovereign 
people had thrown up barricades during the night 
round all the northern and north-western issues, and 
would not let the milk-carts pass. They, no doubt, 
had some more potent fluids to fall back upon, for a 
good many, even at that early hour, were by no 
means steady in their gait. The Boulevards were 
swarming with them. Since then, I have seen these 
sovereign people getting the upper hand twice, viz. 
on the 4th of September, 70, and on the 18th of March, 
'71. I have seen them during the siege of Paris, and I 
have no hesitation in saying that, for cold-blooded, 
apish, monkeyish, tigerish cruelty, there is nothing on 
the face of God's earth to match them, and that no 
concessions wrung from society on their behalf will 
ever make them anything else but the fiends in human 
shape they are. 

After my fruitless attempt to get my accustomed 
breakfast, I resumed my perambulations, this time 
taking the Rue Vivienne as far as the Palais-Royal. 
It must have been between half-past ten and eleven 
when I reached the Place du Carrousel, which, at a 
rough guess, was occupied by about five thousand 
regular infantry and horse and National Guards. The 
Place du Carrousel was not then, what it became later 
on, a large open space. Part of it was encumbered 
with narrow streets of very tall houses, and from their 



THE SOLDIERS AND THE PEOPLE. 315 

windows and roofs the sovereign people — according to 
an officer who had been on duty from early mom — 
had been amusing themselves by firing on the troops, 
— not in downright volleys, but with isolated shots, 
picking out a man here and there. " But," I remon- 
strated, "half a dozen pompiers and a score of lines- 
men could dislodge them in less than ten minutes, 
instead of returning their shots one by one." " So 
they could," was the reply, "but orders came from 
the Chateau not to do so, and here we are. Besides," 
added my informant, " I doubt very much, if I gave 
my men the word of command to storm the place, 
whether they would do so; they are thoroughly 
demoralized. On our way hither I had the greatest 
difficulty in keeping them together. Without a roll- 
call I could not exactly tell you how many are miss- 
ing, but as we came along I noticed several falling out 
and going into the wine-shops with the rabble. They 
did not come back again. I had to shut my eyes to 
it. If I had attempted to prevent it, there would have 
been a more horrible slaughter than there was last 
night on the Boulevards, and, what is worse, the men 
who remained staunch would- have been in a minority, 
and not able to stand their ground. The mob have 
got hold of the muskets of the National Guards. I 
dare say, as you came along, you noticed on many 
doors, written up in chalk, * Arms given up,' and on 
some the words *with pleasure' added to the state- 
ment." It was perfectly true ; I had noticed it. 

I was still talking to the captain when the drums 
began to beat and the buglers sounded the salute. 
At the same moment I saw the King, in the uniform 
of a general of the National Guards, cross the court- 



316 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

yard on horseback. I noticed a great many ladies 
at the ground-floor windows of the palace, but could 
not distinguish their faces. I was told afterwards that 
they were the Queen and the princesses, endeavouring 
to encourage the septuagenarian monarch. Louis- 
Philippe was seventy-five then. 

I have often heard and seen it stated by historians 
of the revolution of '48, that the Duke d'Aumale and 
the Prince de Joinville, had they been in Paris, would 
have saved their father's crown. This is an assumption 
which it is difficult to disprove, seeing how popular 
these young princes were then. But if the assumption 
is meant to convey that the mob at the sight of these 
brave young fellows would have laid down their arms 
without fighting, I can unhesitatingly contradict it. 
What the National Guard might have done it is im- 
possible to say. The regulars, no doubt, would have 
followed the princes into battle, as they would have 
followed their brother, De Nemours, notwithstanding 
the latter's unpopularity. There would have been a 
great deal of bloodshed, but the last word would have 
remained with • the Government. Louis - Philippe's 
greatest title to glory is that of having prevented 
such bloodshed. But to show how little such abne- 
gation of self is understood by even the most educated 
Frenchmen, I must relate a story which was told to 
me many years afterwards by a French officer who, 
at that time, had just returned from the Pontifical 
States, where he had helped to defeat the small army 
of Garibaldi. He was describing the battle-field of 
Mentana to Napoleon III., and mentioned a prisoner 
he had made who turned out to be an old acquaint- 
ance from the Boulevards. " He was furious against 



EXIT LOUIS-PHILIPPE. 317 

Garibaldi, sire,'* said the officer, "because the latter 
had placed him in the necessity, as it were, of firing 
upon his own countrymen in a strange land. Said 
the prisoner, * I am not an emigr^ ; I would not have 
gone to Coblenz ; I am a Frenchman from the crown 
of my head to the sole of my foot. If it came to 
fighting my countrymen in the streets of Paris, that 
would be a. different thing. I should not have the 
slightest scruple of firing upon the Imperial Guards 
or upon the rabble, as the case might be, for that 
would be civil war.' That's what he said, sire." 

Napoleon nodded his head, and with his wonderful, 
sphinx-like smile, replied, "Your prisoner was right; 
it makes all the difference." The Orleans princes, 
save perhaps one, never knew these distinctions; if 
they had known them, the Comte de Paris might be 
King of France to-day. 

To return for a moment to Louis-Philippe as I saw 
him at the last moments of his reign. He felt evi- 
dently disappointed at the lukewarm reception he 
received, for though there was a faint cry among the 
regulars of " Vive le Koi ! " it was immediately drowned 
by the stentorian one of the rabble of *' Vive Ja Ke- 
forme ! " in which a good many of the National Guards 
joined. He was evidently in a hurry to get back to 
the Tuileries, and, when he disappeared in the door- 
way, I had looked upon him for the last time in my 
life. An hour and a half later, he had left Paris for 
ever. 

• » • • » 

Personally I saw nothing of the fliglit of the King, 
nor of the inside of the Tuileries, until the royal 
family were gone. The story of that flight was told 



3 IS AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

to me several years later by the Due de Montpensier. 
What is worse, in those days it never entered my 
mind that a time would come when I should feel 
desirous of committing my reminiscences to paper, 
consequently I kept no count of the hours that went 
by, and cannot, therefore, give the exact sequence of 
events, i do not know how long I stood among the 
soldiers and the crowd, scarcely divided from one 
another even by an imaginary line. It was not a 
pleasant crowd, though to my great surprise there 
were a great many more decently dressed persons in 
it than I could have expected, so I stayed on. About 
half an hour after the King re-entered the Tuileries, 
I noticed two gentlemen elbow their way through the 
serried masses. I had no difficulty in recognizing the 
one in civilian's clothes. Though he was by no means 
so famous as he became afterwards, there was hardly 
a Parisian who would not have recognized him on the 
spot. His portrait had been drawn over and over 
again, at least as many times as that of the King, and 
it is a positive fact that nurses frightened their babies 
with it. He was the ugliest man of the century. 
It was M. Adolphe Cremieux.* His companion was 
in uniform. I learnt afterwards that it was General 
Gourgaud, but I did not know him then except by 
name, and in connection with his polemics with the 
Duke of Wellington, in which the latter did not 
altogether behave with the generosity one expects 
from an English gentleman towards a fallen foe. As 
they passed, the old soldier must have been recog- 

* The author is slightly mistaken. The two ugliest men in France 
in the nineteenth century were Andrieux, Who wrote " Les Etourdis," 
and Littre; but Cremieux ran them very hard. — Editob. 



\ 



SCENES AT THE TUILERIES. 319 

nized, because not one, but at least a hundred cries 
resounded, "Vive la grande armee! Vive TEmpereur!" 
In after years I thought that these cries sounded 
almost prophetic, though I am pretty sure that those 
who uttered them had not the slightest hope of, and 
perhaps not even a desire for, a Napoleonic restora- 
tion; at any rate, not the majority. There is one 
thing, however, which could not have failed to strike 
the impartial observer during the next twenty years. 
I have seen a good many riots, small and large, during 
the Second Republic and the Second Empire. "Sedi- 
tious cries," as a matter of course, were freely shouted. 
I have never heard a single one of " Vivent les D'Or- 
leans ! " or " Vivent les Bourbons ! " I have already 
spoken more than once about the powerful influence 
of the Napoleonic legend in those days ; I shall have 
occasion to refer to it again and again when speaking 
about the nephew of the first Napoleon. 

Cremieux and Gourgaud could not have been inside 
the Tuileries more than a quarter of an hour when 
they rushed out again. They evidently made a com- 
munication to the troops, because I beheld the latter 
waving their arms, but, of Qourse, I did not catch a 
word of what they said ; I was too far away. It was, 
I learnt afterwards, the announcement of the advent 
of a new ministry, and the appointment of a new 
commander of the National Guards. When I saw 
hats and caps flung into the air, and heard the people 
shouting, I made certain that the revolution was at 
an end. I was mistaken. It was not Cremieux's 
communication at all that had provoked the enthu- 
siasm ; it was a second communication, made by some 
one from the doorway of the Tuileries immediately 



320 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

after the eminent barrister had disappeared among 
the crowd, to the eflect that the King had abdicated 
in favour of the Comte de Paris, with the Duchesse 
d'Orleans as regent. Between the first and second 
announcements there could not have elapsed more 
than five or six minutes, ten at the utmost, because, 
before I had time to recover from my surprise, I saw 
Cremieux and Gourgaud battle through the tightly 
wedged masses once more, and re-enter the Tuileries 
to verify the news. I am writing this note especially 
by the light of subsequent information, for, I repeat, 
it was impossible to understand events succinctly by 
the quickly succeeding efiects they produced at the 
time. Another ten minutes elapsed — ten minutes 
which I shall never forget, because every one of the 
thousands present on the Place du Carrousel was in 
momentary danger of having the life crushed out of 
him. It was no one's fault ; there was, if I recollect 
rightly, but one narrow issue on the river-side, and 
there was a dense seething mass standing on the 
banks, notwithstanding the danger of that position, 
for the insurgents were firing freely and recklessly 
across the stream. Egress on the opposite side of the 
Place du Carrousel, that of the Place du Palais-Koyal, 
had become absolutely impossible, for at that moment 
a fierce battle was raging there between the people 
and the National Guards for the possession of the 
military post of the Chateau d'Eau ; * and those of the 
non-combatants who did not think it necessary to pay 
for the fall or the maintenance of the monarchy of 

* So called after a large ornamental fountain ; the same, I believe, 
which subsequently was transferred to what is now called the Place 
de la Ke'publique, and which finally found its way to the Avenue 
Daumeenil, where it stands at present. — Editob. 



THE PLACE DU CARROUSEL. <88t 

July with life or limb, tried to get out of the bullets* 
reach. There was but one way of doing so, by a 
stampede in a southerly direction ; the Kue de Rivoli, 
at any rate that part which existed, was entirely 
blocked to the west, the congeries of streets that have 
been pulled down since to make room for its pro- 
longation to the east were bristling with barricades; 
hence the terrible, suflfocating crush, in which several 
persons lost their lives. The most curious incident 
connected with these awful ten minutes was that of 
a woman and her baby. When Cremieux issued for 
the second time from the Tuileries, it was to confirm 
the news of the King's abdication. Almost imme- 
diately afterwards, the masses on the quay were 
making for the Place de la Concorde and the Palais- 
Bourbon, whither, it was rumoured, the Diichesse 
D'Orleans and her two sons were going; and gradually 
the wedged-in mass on the Place du Carrousel found 
breathing space. Then the woman was seen to fall 
down like a ninepin that has been toppled over; she 
was dead, but her baby, which she iiad held above the 
crowd, and which they had, as it were, to wrench from 
her grasp, was alive and well. 

I stood for a little while longer on the Place du 
Carrousel, trying to make up my mind whether to 
proceed to the Place de la Concorde or to the Place 
de I'Hotel de Ville. I knew that the newly-elected 
powers, whosoever they might be, would make their 
appearance at the latter spot, but how long it would 
be before they came, I had not the least idea. I was 
determined, however, to see at any rate one act of the 
drama or the farce; for even then there was no knowing 
in what guise events would present themselves. I 

VOL. I. Y 



J322 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

could hear the reports of firearms on both sides of me, 
though why there should be firing when the King had 
thrown up the sponge, I could not make out for the 
life of me. I did not know France so well then as, 
I know her now. I did not know then that there is 
no man or, for that matter, no woman on tlie civilized 
«arth so heedlessly and obdurately bloodthirsty when 
he or she works himself into a fury as the professedly 
debonnaire Parisian proletarian. Nevertheless, I de- 
cided to go to the Hotel de Ville, and had carefully 
worked my way as far as the site of the present 
Place du Chatelet, when I was compelled to retrace 
my steps. The elite of the Paris scum was going to 
dictate its will to the new Government ; it was march- 
ing to the Chamber of Deputies with banners flying. 
One of the latter was a red-and-white striped flaimel 
petticoat, fastened to a tremendously long pole. 1 
had no choice, and if at that moment my friends had 
seen me they might have easily imagined that 1 had 
become one of the leaders of the revolutionary mob. 
We took by the Quai de la Megisserie, and just before 
the Pont d<^s Arts there was a momentary halt. The 
vanguard, which I was apparently leading, had de- 
cided to turn to the right ; in other words, to visit the 
abode of the hated tyrant. Had I belonged to the 
main division, I should have witnessed a really more 
important scene, from the historical point of view ; as 
it was, I witnessed — 

The Sacking of the Tuileries. 

The idea that "there is a divinity that hedgeth 
round a king " seemed, I admit, preposterous enough 
at that moment ; but I could not help being struck 



THE SACKING OF THE TUILERIES. 323 

with its partial truth on seeing the rabble inva/Ie tim 
palace. When I say the rabble, I mean the rabl)le, 
though there were a great many persons whom it 
would bean insult to class as 8U(!h, and who from sheer 
curiosity, or because they could not help themselves, 
had gone in with them. The doors proved too narrow, 
and those who could not enter by that way, entered by 
the windows. The whole contingent of the riflf-raff, 
male and female, weltering in the adjacent streets — 
and such streets I — was there. Well, for the first ten 
minutes they stood positively motionless, not daring 
to touch anything. It was not the fear of being 
caught pilfering and punished summarily that pre- 
vented them. The minority which might have pro- 
tested was so utterly insignificant in numbers, as to 
make action on their part impossible. No, it was 
neither fear nor shame that stayed the rabble's hands ; 
it was a sentiment for which I can find no name. It 
was the consciousness that these objects had belonged 
to a king, to a royal family, which made them gaze 
upon them in a kind of superstitious wonder. It did 
not last long. We were on the ground floor, which 
mainly consisted of the private apartments of the 
household of Louis-Philippe. We were wandering, or 
rather squeezing, through the study and bedroom of the 
King himself, through the sitting-rooms of the prinres 
and princesses. I do not think that a single thing was 
taken from there at that particular time. But as if 
the atmosphere their rulers had breathed but so very 
recently became too oppres^sive, the crowd swayed 
towards the vestibule, and ascended the grand staircase. 
Then the spell was broken. The second batch that 
entered through the windows, when we had made ruum 



324 AN englishman' in PARIS. 

for them, were apparently not affected by wonder 
and respect, for, half an hour later, when I came down 
again, every cupboard, every wardrobe, had been 
forced, though it is but fair to say that very little 
seems to have been taken ; the contents, books, cloth- 
ing, linen, etc., were scattered on the floors ; but the 
cellars, containing over four thousand bottles of wine, 
were positively empty. Two hours later, however, the 
clothing, especially that of the princesses, had totally 
disappeared. It had disappeared on the backs of the 
inmates of St. Lazare, the doors of which had been 
thrown open, and who had rushed to the Tuileries to 
deck themselves with these fine feathers which, in 
this instance, did not make fine birds. I saw some 
of them that same evening on the Boulevards, and a 
more heart-rending spectacle I have rarely beheld. 

The three hours I spent at the Tuileries were so 
crowded with events as to make a succinct account of 
them altogether impossible. I can only give frag- 
ments, because, though at first the wearers of broad- 
cloth were not molested, this tolerance did not last 
long on the part of the new possessors of the Tuileries ; 
and consequently the former gradually dropped off, 
and those of them who remained had to be very 
circumspect, and, above all, not to linger long in the 
same spot. This growing hostility might have been 
nipped in the bud by our following the example 
of the National Gruards, and taking off our coats and 
fraternizing with the rabble; but I frankly confess 
that I had neither the courage nor the stomach to do 
so. I have read descriptions of mutinous sailors 
stowing in casks of rum and gorging themselves with 
victuals; revolting as such scenes must be to those 



THE SOVEREIGN PEOPLE AT TABLE. 325 

who take no active part in them, I doubt whether they 
could be as revolting as the one I witnessed in the 
Gallerie de Diane. 

The Gallerie de Diane was one of the large recep- 
tion rooms on the first floor, but it generally served as 
the dining and breakfast room of the royal family 
The table had been laid for about three dozen persons, 
because, as a rule, Louis-Philippe invited the prin- 
cipal members of his military and civil households to 
take their repasts with him. The breakfast had been 
interrupted, and not been cleared away. When I 
entered the apartment some sixty or seventy ruffians 
of both sexes were seated at the board, while a score 
or so were engaged in waiting upon them. They were 
endeavouring to accomplish what the Highest Authority 
has declared impossible of accomplishment, namely, 
the making of silken purses out of sows* ears. They 
were " putting on " what they considered " company 
manners," and, under any other circumstances but 
these, the attempt would have proved irresistibly 
comic to the educated spectator ; as it was, it brought 
tears to one's eyes. I have already hinted elsewhere 
that the cuisine at the .Tuileries during Louis- 
Philippe's reign was execrable, though the wine was 
generally good. Bad as was the fare on that aban- 
doned breakfast-table, it must, nevertheless, have 
been superior to that usually partaken of by the 
convives who had taken the place of the fugitive king 
and princes. They, the convives, however, did not 
think so; they criticized the food, and ordered the 
improvised attendants "to give them something 
different ; " then they turned to their female com- 
panions, filling their glasses and paying them compli- 

VOL. I. Y 3 



326 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

ments. But for the fact of another batch eagerly 
claiming their turn, the repast would have been 
indefinitely prolonged ; as it was, the provisions in 
the palace were running short, and the deficiency had 
to be made up by supplies from outside. The inner 
man being refreshed, the ladies were invited to take a 
stroll through the apartments, pending the serving of 
the cafe and liqueurs. The preparation of the mocha 
was somewhat difficult, seeing the utensils necessary 
for the supply of so large a company were probably 
not at hand, and the ingredients themselves in the 
store-rooms of the palace. Nothing daunted, one of 
the self-invited guests rose and said, in a loud voice, 
^' Permettez moi d'offrir le cafe a la compagnie," 
which offer was received with tumultuous applause. 
Suiting the action to the word, he pulled out a small 
canvas bag, and took from it two five-franc pieces. 
"Qu'on aille chercher du cafe et du meilleur," he 
said to one of the guests who had stepped forward to 
execute his orders, for they sounded almost like it ; 
and I was wondering why those professed champions 
of equality did not tell him to fetch the coffee himself. 
Then he added, "Et pendant que tu y es, citoyen, 
apporte des cigarres pour nous et des cigarettes pour 
les dames." The " citoyen " was already starting on 
his errand, when the other " citoyen " called him back. 
*' Ecoute," he said ; " tu n'acheteras rien a moins d'y 
etre force. Je crois que tu n'auras qu'a demander a 
la premiere epicerie venue ce qu'il te faut, et ainsi au 
premier bureau de tabac. lis ont si peur, ces sales 
bourgeois qu'ils n'oseront pas te refuser. En tout cas 
prends un fusil ; on ne sait pas ce qui peut arriver ; 
mais ne t'en sers pas qu'en cas de necessite : " — which 



SOCUL AMENITIES. 327 

meant plainly enough, " If they refuse to give you the 
coffee and the tobacco, shoot them down." 

Of course, I am unable to say how these two com- 
modities were eventually procured ; but I have every 
reason to believe that this messenger had only " to ask 
and have," without as much as showing his musket. 
There is no greater cur at troublous times than the 
Paris shopkeeper. The merest urchin will terrify 
him. Even on the previous day I had seen bands of 
gamins who had constituted themselves the guardians 
of the barricades — and there was one in nearly every 
street — levy toll without the slightest resistance, 
when a few well-administered cuffs would have sent 
them flying, so I have not the slightest doubt 
that our friend had all the credit of his generosity 
without disbursing a penny — unless his delegate 
fleeced him also, on the theory that a man who could 
*' fork out " ten francs at a moment's notice was 
nothing more or less than a bourgeois. However, 
when I returned after about forty minutes* absence, it 
was very evident that both the coflfee and the tobacco 
had arrived, because the Galerie de Diane, large as it 
was, was full of smoke, and three saucepans, filled with 
water, were standing on the fire, while two or three 
smaller ones were arranged on the almost priceless 
marble mantelpiece. Another batch of ravenous re- 
publicans had taken their seats at the board, their 
predecessors whiling the time away in sweet converse 
with the " ladies." Some of the latter were more use- 
fully engaged ; they were rifling the cabinets of the 
most rare and valuable Sevres, and arranging the 
cups, saucers, platters on their tops to be ready for 
the beverage that was being brewed. I was wondering 



328 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PAEIS. 

how they had got at these art- treasures, having noticed 
an hour before that their receptacles were locked and 
the keys taken away. The doors had simply been 
battered in with the hammer of the great clock of the 
Tuileries. 

It was of a piece with the wanton destruction I had 
witnessed elsewhere, during my absence from the 
Galerie de Diane. Before I returned thither, I had 
seen the portrait of General Bugeaud in the Salle des 
Marechaux, literally stabbed with bayonets ; the throne 
treated to a similar fate, and carried off to the Place 
de la Bastille to be burned publicly ; the papers of the 
royal family mercilessly flung to the winds; the dresses 
of the princesses torn to ribbons or else put on the 
backs of the vilest of the vile. 

There was only one comic incident to relieve the 
horror of the whole. In one of the private apartment* 
the rabble had come upon an aged parrot screeching 
at the top of its voice, " A bas Guizot ! " The bird 
became a hero there and then, and was absolutely 
crammed with sweets and sugar. That one comic note 
was not enough to dispel my disgust, and after the 
scene in the Galerie de Diane which I have just 
described, I made my way into the street. 

I had scarcely proceeded a few steps, when I heard 
the not very startling news that the republic had 
been formally proclaimed in the Chamber by M. de 
Lamartine, who had afterwards repaired to the Hotel 
de Ville. At the same time, people were shouting that 
the King had died suddenly. I endeavoured to get as 
far, but, though the distance was certainly not more 
than half a mile, it took me more than an hour. At 



THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT. 329 

every few yards my progress was interrupted by 
barricades, the self-elected custodians of which were 
particularly anxious to show their authority to a man 
like myself, dressed in a coat. At last I managed to 
get to the corner of the Rues des Lombards and 
Saint-Martin, and just in time to enjoy a sight than 
which I have witnessed nothing more comic during 
the succeeding popular uprisings in subsequent years. 
I w^ just crossing, when a procession hove in sight, 
composed mainly of ragged urchins, dishevelled 
women, and riff-raff of both sexes. In their midst was 
an individual on horseback, dressed in the uniform of 
a general of the First Republic, whom they were 
cheering loudly. The stationary crowd made way for 
them, and mingled with the escort. The moment I 
had thrown in my lot with the latter, retreat was no 
longer possible, and in a very short time I found 
myself in the courtyard of the Hotel de Ville, and, in 
another minute or so, in the principal gallery on the 
lirst floor, where, it appears, some members of the 
Provisional Government were already at work. I had 
not the remotest notion who they were, nor did I care 
to inquire, having merely come to look on. The work 
of the members of the Provisional Government seemed 
mainly to consist in consuming enormous quantities 
of charcuterie and washing them down with copious 
libations of cheap wine. The place was positively 
reeking with the smell of both, not to mention the 
fumes of tobacco. Every one was smoking his hardest. 
The entrance of the individual in uniform caused 
somewhat of a sensation ; a member — whom I had never 
seen before and whom I have never beheld since — 



330 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

stepped forward to ask his business. The new-comer 
did not appear to know himself; at any rate, he 
stammered and stuttered, but his escort left him no 
time to betray his confusion more plainly. "C'est le 
citoyen gouverneur de I'Hotel de Ville," they shouted 
as with one voice ; and there and then the new 
governor was installed, though I am perfectly sure that 
not a soul of all those present knew as much as his 
name. 

Subsequent inquiries elicited the fact that the man 
was a fourth or fifth-rate singer, named Chateaurenaud, 
and engaged at the Opera National (formerly the 
Cirque Olympique) on the Boulevard du Temple. 
On that day they were having a dress rehearsal of a 
new piece in which Chateaurenaud was playing a 
military part. He had just donned his costume when, 
hearing a noise on the Boulevards, he put his head out 
of the window. The mob caught sight of him. " A 
general, a general ! " cried several urchins ; and in less 
time than it takes to tell, the theatre was invaded, 
and notwithstanding his struggles, Chateaurenaud was 
carried off, placed on horseback, and conducted to 
the Hotel de Ville, where, for the next fortnight, he 
throned as governor. For, curious to relate, M. de 
Lamartine ratified his appointment (?) on the morning 
of the 25th of February. Chateaurenaud became an 
official of the secret police during the Second Empire. 
I often saw him on horseback in the Bois de Boulogne, 
when the Emperor drove in that direction. 

I did not stay long in the Hotel de Ville, but made 
my way back to the Boulevards as best I could ; for by 
that time darkness had set in, and the mob uas shouting 



WHY LAMARTINB MADE A REPUBMC. 381 

for illuminations, and obstructing the thoroughfares 
everywhere. Every now and then one came upon a 
body which had been lying there since the morning, 
but they took no notice of it. Tlieir principal concern 
seemed the suitable acknowledgment of the advent of 
the Second Kepublic by the bourgeoisie by means of 
coloured devices, or, in default of such, by coloured 
lamps or even candles. Woe to the houses, the 
inhabitants of which remained deaf to their summons 
to that effect. In a very few minutes every window 
was smashed to atoms, until at last a timid hand was 
seen to arrange a few bottles with candles stuck into 
them on the sill, and light them. Then they departed, 
to impose their will elsewhere. 

That night, after dinner, the first person of my 
acquaintance I met was Mery. He liad been in the 
Chamber of Deputies from the very beginning of the 
proceedings; it was he who solemnly assured me that 
the first cry of *' Vive la Republique ! " had been uttered 
by M. de Lamartine. I was surprised at this, because 
I had been told that early in the morning the poet 
had paid a visit to the Duchesse d'Orleans to assure 
her of his devotion to her cause. " That may be so," 
said Mei-y, to whom I repeated what I had heard ; 
" but you must remember that Lamartine is always 
hard up, and closely pursued by duns. A revolution 
with the prospect of becoming president of the 
republic was the only means of staving off his 
creditors. He clutched at it as a last resouice." 

Alexander Dumas was there also, but I have an 
idea that he would liave willingly passed the sponge 
over that incident of his life, for 1 never could get 



332 AN ENGLISHMAN IN PARIS. 

him to talk frankly on the subject. This does not 
mean that he would have recanted his republican 
principles, but that he was ashamed at having lent 
his countenance to such a republic as that. I fancy 
there were a great many like him. 



END OP VOL. I. 



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Vandam, Albert Dresden 
An Englishman in Paris