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Full text of "The memoirs of Sarah Barnum"

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EbMUNDH -GARRETT 1910 OPUS 65 











*^»- - 



IR'AH BARH 



Bernhardt-Colom- 
bier Book. 



AT PARIS READS 



and 



LA BERNHARDT. 

The secret of her fame is that she has fascina^ 
tion. She herself is Art in the gown of allure 
ment— her own gowns do not permit themselves 
to be described by dressmaking terms. They 
are simply a drapery and a silken swirl of line 
lew charm, -where, after all, there are countless 
lines to emphasize each tone and motion. Not to 
see Berndardt is not to know what one quality j 
of acting is, the Bernhardt quality. It may he [ 
discussed, criticised, or compared with its own 
past, yet there it is— Jive, certain and 
irresistible. And apart from her acting-, 
the story of her impetuous personality 
does not lose its hold. She piques the 
curiosity ; she does and says what comes into 
her mind with such lightning-like celerity that 
there is exhilaration in her alertness of 
thought. 'T is easy to imagine her running up |*»- Q 
the rigging during a wild storm while on her lTl13.Y1 > 
Australian voyage and declaiming from her 
high post in splendid fearlessness. The alacri- 
ty with which she once kicked an entrance 
through a big glass door in the ladies' en- 
trance of a hotel was a flash of determina- 
tion of her own most Sarah-like quality. It was 
past twelve o'clock; the porter always 
had closed that door at midnight, and supposed 
of course Madame and her party would do like f 0IR ES de Sarah Barnum, par Marie Colom 
other belated folk-go around the corner to the f voi - Chez tout les hbraires. x Prix 3 
main entrance. Never! Not while there were 
strong little heels to her shoes. Bang! Crash! 
a splutter of glass atoms and a triumphant ; 
entry for Dona Sol. There was in a New York 

paper, the other day, a little account of a rnat purports to be ttie memoirs of Sarah 
woman's visit to Bernhardt once, when Madame ft, her ex-friend, companion and directress 
was in a tender and domestic mood. 5 Tis 
winning to think of— Bernhardt buttering toast 
and talking of home life, and assuring her 
visitors that home-keeping hearts are happiest 
in the French equivalent of the phrase. Go to 
see her in Cleopatra tonight and iniagi* .-» that— 



: NEWEST NOVELS 



About 
Daudet. 



a pas a dire c'est abominable. It is 
native of Furens quia jemina possit. 
lombier writes with venom, mnd and 



if you can, 






t the sympathy of the public is entirely wit n 
te. Bernhardt. There are other historical por- 
ages in these abominable memoirs. For instance, 
de LagrehSe, now French Consul at Moscow, 
lies under the name of De Malgrain^. M. Arthur 
ver, director of the GatOoiS, is Simon, director 
the Chants Cair; Vitu. the celebrated critic oi 
j<'inaro, is baptised Vilet; Sarcey, of the Zlempsj 
larssey; Damala, Sara Bernhardt'a husband, is 
ilaly. Cc it KapniU, the Secretary of the RttS- 
n Embassy at Paris, also appears in the memoirs, 
lo also a large portion of the coips diplomatique 



e tour in America. Sarah Barnum is Sarah 
t. No one can possibly be deceived on this 
n were it not lor a portrait of the cele- 
ctress passing through a hoop wfth her 
ised in her habitually peculiar manner, 
is the scandal of the day. in former days 
j__ — -3 book would have been simply torn 
up. The stories with which it is filled, 
whether true or imaginary, equally offend good 
taste and modesty. Mile. Marie Colombier begins 
with t-arah Bernhardt in the cradle; and after hav- 
ing dragged her through the mire, ends with a sort 
Di sotdisant prophecy, where Mile. Sarah Bernhardt 
ends her career in an accis of delirium tremens, 
•i he lock was burst open and the poor Barnum was 
round lying at the foot of her bed with her head cov- 
ered with blood. A half empty bottle of absinthe 
stood near the bed, which was in dis- 
order. The physicans who had been sum- 
moned examined the wound, and thus ev 
plained the scene. Sarah, in a complete state 
ot intoxication had fallen from her bed. and dunn"- 
the fall her head struck the corner of the table cle nnit 
and opened her skull." After this fashion this mon- 
ument of lury and hatred is brought to an end. 
i\ ho is right y .Who is wrong; ? These two actresses 
once played most harmoniously together in the 
J Passant" of Francois Coppee. The outcome of 
this scandalous book— a duel and the terrible scene 
between Madame Sarah Bernhard t-^fcas al- 
ready been cabled to you. We need not 
dwell upon it here. Suffice it to say 



SWANDAI^D GdUIHON. 



col %. 




PREFACE 

By PAUL BONSETAIN 



Hew yoi^ 

S. W. (Sheen's Son 

m Bbe^man Smi^BBJP 



Li 



All Paris is still talking about th m. Richepin waited 'in the rear. Sarah "went for 
gle between Sarah Bernhardt and her enemy, and when M. Soudan attempted to inte: 
which took- place two days ago, am i er e M. Richepin sprang forward and held him i 
reception accorded to Sarah last e^ check. Meanwhile Sarah was chasing Marie aboi 
her conduct is approved by a part t h e apartment, plying her whip vigorously whenev( 
least. The immediate cause of th 8ne con ld get at 'her antagonist, and in her rag 
administered by Sarah on the heat breaking furniture, bric-a-brac and even door 
friend is the publication of a scand, Fi na ny Marie Colombier succeeded in escapin 

by a back stairway, while Sarah and her companic 
retired victoriously. In an interview with a reporte 
last evening, Sarah Bernhardt said that she felt just 
tied in taking the law into her own hands, as sh 
could hope for no redress from the courts withoi 
waiting until the whole matter was dead and buried 



"The Memoirs of Sarah Bartium 
Marie Colombier. It is a dreadful 
only have been written or inspire 
against another. The writer is not 
tailing all the scandalous stories, ti 
have been told about the distinguis 



wr 



Ove 



the last days and death of her enei 
them as she probably wishes they n 



her birth up to the present time, bt she said that she was the last woman in the world t 



rK 



object to fair treatment, even when it took a liars 
and critical form, but the book was too strong. "Hap 
yon how apiteful Marie Colombier c pi i y> » she continued, "I have too many dear friend 
description ©f Sarah's death : who respect me, and who will nay no attention t( 

We can speak freely [it is the rept any utterance of a jealous and unscrupulous wo 

s^r^r^sr^ man - iM T e '" 8h ^t ded ; " that my siae ° 

have discovered the true causes of hi the affair wl11 have a sympathetic hearing." M. Pau 
num did not kill herself. Abandor Bonnetain, who wrote the preface to the book, has al 
whom she loved, who was, we are U rea dy been wounded in a duel by M. Octave Mir beau 
%SST&-JZ*iyZi£2!* whose severe a r t,c,e on MBonnetaio brought out a 
win back her lover, and, failing of challenge. M. Soudan, who says M. Richepin at- 
turned home in despair. She reques tacked him with a carving knife, has challenged the 
to bring her a bottle of absinthe. Si author of "Nana-Sahib," but M. Richepin refuses to 
woman declares, were red; but shd . .. satisfartinn T> 9t ,it>%\ 
wise betray any emotion. She gave 1 §11 
the morrow and then locked herself i: 
On Friday, her door still remaining 
cierge became alarmed and called tl 
lock was forced and the poor Ban 

?• lying at the foot of her bed with a qu 

' upon her face. The bottle of absii 

■ empty, and the bed evidently having 
a doctor who was called was able, t 

I the wound, to accurately surmise w 

q place : Sarah, dead drunk, had taller 



table. 



Hgfi So.you may form an idea of what t 

etic£ are. No such vile book about an 

; y I ever been publicly printed and sold in 



COLOMBIER'S APOLOGIES. 



beenhaedt's victim expeesses regeet JFOE 

HAVING WRITTEN "SABAH BAENTJM."' 
[BY CABLE TO THE HEBABD. \ 

Paris, Dec. 21, 1883. 
Mile. Colombier has written a letter to the 



* h J and had fractured her skull against tl F Wro, in which she says she regrets that she 



wrote the "Memoirs of Sarah Barnuro," because 



f rti This is one of the mildest paragrap the book has caused such a discussion. She 



declares that Mine, Bernhardt was wrong in 
supposing herself to be the imaginary heroine 
alluded to in the book. Mile. Colombier eon- 
I the pity is that the present law is powl tinues: — "Neither her dagger nor horsewhip, 
diately stop the scandal. Before the 1 nor the cutlass of M. Richepin touched me. 
seized a great many forms must be | Concealed behind a window curtain I witnessed 
After rinding this out on Tuesday Sa all that passed. M. Richepin wounded one of 
determined to administer justice hen my friends who was endeavoring to prevent 
horsewhip she vent to Marie Colomb him from entering my apartments. Mme. 
in the Rue de Thann, accompanied by) Bernhardt never complained about my book 
pin She rushed past the servant j until injudicious iriends prompted her to do 
where Marie was sitting with Mile, i S o." 
theOdeon, and M. Jchan Soudan, a yo^e, jvo.nu.ueJ; 

S. W. GREEN'S SON, Publisher, 

69 Beekman Street, New York. 



A copy of Marie Colombier's book, "Sarah 
Barnum," which is an account of the adven- 
tures of Sarah Bernhardt in this country, ar- 
rived by the last French steamer, and was ob- 
tained by a publishing honse in New York 
Wednesday morning:. A force of translators, 
j sixty-nine in number, was immediately set to 
work, and the volume, containirg 350 pages, 
was finished at ten o'clock that night. 



BERNHARDT SCANDAL. 



How Mile. Bernhardt Horsewhipped 
Her Former Directress— Some Scan- 
dalous Memoirs — The Indignant 
Actress Visits Mile. Colombier in Her 
Apartments— Laying on the Lash - 
A Chase over Chairs and Tables, 
Breaking- Mirrors and Pictures — 
Escape hy the Servants' Stair Sarah 
Bernhardt, Avenged, Returns to Re- 
hearse for 6ft Nana Sahib." 
i By Cable to Hie Herald^ 

Paris, December 19, 188"!. 
The scandal of the day is the appearance of a book 
called 'Memoirs of Sarah Barnum," by Mlle. Marie 
Colombier, who writes with mud and ordure what 
purports to be the memoirs of Sarah Bernhardt, the 
authoress' ex-friend and directress during her tour iu 
America. Marie Colombier begins with Sarah Bern- 
hardt in the cradle, drags her whole life through the 
mire, and winds up a terrible soi-distant prophecy, 
where Sarah is represented dying and having cut open 
her head and face from striking the bedstead during an 
attack of delirium tremens. 

The first outcome of this abominable book was a duel 
yesterday morning between Octave Mirbeau, who 
wrote a scathing criticism of the book, and M. Paul 
Bonnetain, who wrote the preface to the memoirs. M. 
Bonnetain received two slight wounds. M. Bonnetain's 
seconds were Piiuce Karageorgevitch and the Marquis 
de Talleyrand. The duel begun in the morning by the 
men was continued in the afternoon by the women, and 
under the most unique circumstances. 

Mme. Sarah Bernhardt went in the morning to see M- 
Clement, Commissaire aux Delegations Judiciares, to 
find out whether the law did not give her the right to 
seize the book and stop its sale. Being told that she 
must first take legal proceedings and await the decision 
of the judges, Sarah Bernhardt went home again. 

Meanwhile Maurice Bernhardt, assuming the obli- 
gation of avenging his mother's honor, hastened to the 
apartment of M. Bonnetain, but finding that he had al- 
ready gone out to fight a duel with M. Mirbeau, he 
changed his mind and went to No. 9 Rue de Thann, 
where Marie Colombier resides. 



to receive her or see her. She displeased my son by her 
language and by her allures; in fact, one day he showed 
her the door without any ceremony, and since that day 
I have not seen her. I became aware of the ' 'Sarah 
Barnum'' book by the article of M. Octave Mirbe iu, 
and I resolved to avenge myself for these calumnies by 
taking justice into my own hands. 

Correspondent— Will you tell me about your visit to 
Marie Colombier? 

Mme Bernhardt— With pleasure. I was only armed 
with a horsewhip and cat o -nine-tails. I only used the 
horsewhip. It was one that Marshal Canrobert 
gave me when I used to ride horseback with him and 
his daughter. I rang at the door of Marie Colombier's 
apartment; a bonne opened. "Mile. Colombier?" I 
asked. "C'estici. Qui faut il annoncer?" 1 she asked. 
I then seized the servant by the arms, threw her on 
one side, saw a door in front, and we found Marie 
Colombier in the salon with M. Jehan Soudan. I 
lashed her with my whip and she fell into the arms of 
M. Soudan, and I horsewhipped him too Marie Col- 
ombier was dressed in a robe de chambre. M. Soudan 
drew a revolver and pointed it at me. when M. 
Richepin, who had entered the r om behind me, 
seized him by his two wrists, saying ' - Si tu bouse, 
je f^trangle Nous sommes les amis de, Madame Sarah 
Bernhardt. Nous sommes veuus ici la proteger contre 
un sonteneur car vous etes le souteneur de Marie Col- 
ombier; on traite vos pareils avec des coups de pieds 
dans le derriefe." 

Correspondent— Was the damage done to the apart- 
ment considerable? 

Mme. Bernhardt Enormous. Pictures, vases, 
plates, statuary, bibelots of all kinds, were dashed into 
a thousand bits I remember tearing to pieces the en- 
tire contents of a wardrobe that had got upset. 

Correspondent During the whole affair what was the 
attitude of M. Jehan Soudan? 

Mme. Bernhardt— Her mauvjAse lache. He cried out 
for the police; he was afraid. 

Correspondent- You left before the arrival of the 
police? 

Mme. Bernhardt— Yes; just before they arrived. 
Now, voila. Monsieur; you have all the details of my 
visit, and, tnanks to you. the people of New York well 
know about this little Parisian story more than the 
Parisians themselves do. I am pleased. It would have 
pained me very much to have had the American public, 
that I so love, and thai I hope to be with once again, 
and soon, have wrong impressions about this affair, 
where my reputation as a woman is engaged. 

Mme. Bernhardt shook hands, and as she was about 
to say adieu, suddenly called, "Felicie! Felicie!" A 
femmede chambre appeared. "Bring me my cat-o 1 - 
nine-tails!" The femme de chambre disappeared, and 
returned with a cat-o 1 nine-cails, made of a dozen long 
strips of cowhide attached to a wooden handle. 
Correspondent - Why this weapon, Madame? 
Mme. Bernhardt- Pour la cravacher partout ou je la 
rencontre -partout! partout! partout! J'avais hier ce 
martinet; il n'a pas servi; il servira une autre fois; et 
aprSs celni la, il y en aura un autre. 



MLLE. COLOMBIER S STORY— HOW MME. SARAH 
BERNHARDT' S ATTACK IS YIEWED BY HER 
OPPONENT. 

(By Gable to the Herald.) 

Paris, December 20, 1883. 
A Paris morning paper publishes the following inter- 
view with Marie Colombier The correspondent was 
received at a half -open door, fastened by a heavy chain. 



On presenting his card, he was immediately ushered 
by the servant into the small salon which was the scene 
of the first part of the occurences related, as told by 
Mile. Colombier herself: 

" I was sitting in the room," said Mile. Colombier, 
with M lle. Marie Desfresne, of the Ambigu and M. 
Jehan Soudan, who had called to say farewell before 
going on a journey, when the servant announced M. 
Maurice and two gentlemen who desired to see me 
' Conduct them into the drawing-room,' I said, and 
almost immediately I myself entered, and recognized 
Maurice Bernhardt, accompanied by MM. Stevens 
and Kirn Bernhardt. M. Bernhardt said, 'I have 
something to say to you,' whereupon I asked him into 
the small drawing room where I had left my friends. 

" Arriving there he addressed me thus: "You are a 
loose character,and if ever I meet you in public I 
will horsewhip you.' ' There are four persons here 
present,' I replied: 'what prevents iyou beginning at 
once?' M. Bernhardt, however, did not strike me, but 
continued to make use of insulting expressions, where- 
upon M. Soudan rose and endeavored to prevent him, 
but I obj ected strongly, saying : 

" • I will not allow any friends of mine to fight on my 
account with a son of Mile. Sarah Bernhardt.' Mau- 
rice Bernhardt, feeling probably rather uncomforta- 
ble at the ridiculous upshot of his visit, was about to 
retire when t^e eyes of M. Kirn Bernhardt fell upon 
a crayon sketch of the frontispiece to the book I have 
lately published ('Sarah Barnum'). No sooner had he 
seen this than he took it from the nail on which it was 
hanging, and. placing it on the floor, put his heel upon 
it 

■ "Again M. Soudan tried to interfere, and again I 
insisted upon his not doing so. M. Maurice Bernhardt 
and his friends thereupon left, muttering incoherently. 
But a few minutes had passed, and we were still com 
menting on the strange scene, when I heard a noise in 
the antechamber. Opening the door, I perceived Sarah 
Bernhardt, without anything on»her head, followed by 
M. Jean Richepin and M. Kirn Bernhardt. 

" Mme Sarah Bernhardt had a poniard in her left 
hand and a riding whip in her right. She rushed into 
the apartment crying ■ Where is she, that we may kill 
her? M. Jean Richepinwas armed with a large knife. 
I. who am not of a timid disposition, still not desiring 
to have a whip mark on my face, went through the door 
that separated the small draw.ng-room from the large 
one and kept the door shut by my weight against it. 

" Hearing their infuriated threats, I looked round for 
something with which to defend myself in case of ab 
solute need. All I saw was Mile. Desfresne's umbrella 
lying on the table I seized this, but in doing so I let 
go my hold of the door, which was immediately forced 
open by my wou d-be assailants. They opened the 
door so roughly that I was literally squeezed behind it. 
I covered myself with the portiere, and so was hidden 
in the corner. 

'' Sara Bernhardt, flourishing her whip and fol owed 
by her two friends, cryirjg, ' "Where is she ?' rushed, 
across the drawing-room through a door at the opposite 
side leading to the dining room. There they offered 
my servant a thousand francs to say where I wasi, and 
'--getting no satisfaction from hpr th^r uu.^™ ,i~—^.^ 



Od HHJL 



) 1 'l« *n»T Mca «ao'BT*T i£»isaaAiufi go 



"I shall not lower myself by striking a woman, 1 ' said 
he to her, " but I warn yon if you talk any more about 
my mother w us aurez affaire a moi." Maurice then 
went home. 

Meanwhile Sarah Bernhardt, with her blood thor- 
oughly aroused and too impatient to wait for legal tech 
nicalities to suppress the book, took justice into her 
own hands and sallied forth, armed, not with a sword 
nor a revolver, nor a mitrailleuse, but with a plain, stout 
horsewhip. 

Sarah drove straight to the apartment of Marie Co- 
lombier. At the moment of her departure Sarah, boil- 
ing over with fury, did not conceal what she meant to 
do, and her friends present— namely. Mile. Antonine, 
MM. Jean Richepin and Kirn Bernhardt— who knew well 
where a woman's anger begins, but not at all where it 
ends, also jumped into a carriage and followed Sarah 

Arrived at the Hue de Thann, Sarah glided up the 
staircase and rang the bell The moment the servant 
opened the door she darted like lightning into the 
salon, and suddenly found herself face to face with 
Marie Colombier. The two women for an instant eyed 
<each other, then like a hungry tigress Sarah sprang at 
Marie Colombier, vociferating murderous epithets, and 
lashed her adversary straight across the face with her 
horsewhip 

Mlle. Colombier shrieked with pain and rage. She 
was not alone, for M. Jehan Soudan and Mlle. De- 
mesnes happened to be visiting her. M. Jehan Sou- 
dan burst into the room to separate the two women. 
He tried to seize Sarah in his arms, t > hold her down 
but at the same moment M. Jean Richepin, who had 
just arrived behind Sarah, dashed open the door aud 
clutched M. Soudan by the throat. 

Sarah again sprang at Co'ombier. lashing aud cut 
ting her with the whip. M. Maurice Bernhardt, M. Kirn 
Bernhardt and Mlle. Antonine arrived upon .he scene of 
the drama. Mile. Colombier turned and fled, Sarah 
darting after her with the rapidity of lightning, and 
lashing her with her whip. 

The wild pursuit continued into one room and out of 
another, nobody being able to stop them, Sarah and her 
victim jumping over chairs and tables, and dashing into 
a thousand pieces mirrors, etageres, tabelots and pic- 
tures, Sarah all the time whipping Marie, who was 
shrieking with pain and terror. 

At last Mlle. Colombier managed to escape by the 
servants' stairway. Sarah Bernhardt, utterly exhaust- 
ed, but revenged, withdrew. In passing through the 
front door Sarah Bernhardt showed her horsewhip to 
the concierge, saying: '"Marshal Canrobert gave it to 
Hie, bat I gave it to Mlle. Colombier as a souvenir." 
An hour later Sarah Bernhardt played her role at the 
Theatre Porte Saint Martin in the dress rehearsal for 
"Nana Sahib." 

ORIGIN OF THE QUARREL. 

The quarrel between Mile Colombier and Sarah Bern- 
hardt had its origin during the latter's tour in this 
country. 

Mile. Colombier, being the leading lady of the com- 
pany while in this country, there was a good deal of 
gossip about the ill-feeling between the two actresses. 
M Jehan Soudan, it will be remembered, accompanied 
Mlle. Colombier on her travels in America. 

A Herald correspondent having interviewed Mlle. 
Sarah Bernhardt at Pesth in November, 1831, on Marie 
Colombier's story of her adventures in America, she 
said: " It was all written by a young man named Jehan 
Soudan, whom I took out and to whom I paid 1.00 if . a 
month to jot down my American traveling impressions 
forme." The tragedienne wound up the conversation 
by eagerly expressing a desire to "smash" Mile. Co- 
1 lombier. The book has now been published, and Mile. 
Bernhardt has fulfilled her threat. 



INTERVIEW WITH THE HEROINE OF THE PARIS 
ENCOUNTER— MLLE. COLOMBIER NEVER THE 
FRIEND OF THE DIVINE SARAH— ESCAPE OF 
THE VICTIM FROM HER PURSUER'S LASH 
— SCANDALS OF THE PAST. 

(By Cable to the Herald.) 

Paris, December 20, 1853. 

The Bernhardt-Colonibier affair continues to be al- 
most the exclusive topic of discussion to-day, and the 
names of the dramatis persona, are on • everybody's 
lips. 

Your correspondent called upon Mme. Sarah Bern 
hardt yesterday afternoon at her hotel in the Rue For- 
tuny. At the moment of my arrival Sarah Bernhardt was 
getting ready to go to the Theatre Porte Saint-Martin 
for the final rehearsal of "' Nana Sahib." She received 
your correspondent in a walking dress and cloak 
trimmed with fur, and the following conversation took 
place in the celebrated atelier where Sarah Bernhardt 
receives all her friends. The principal ornament for 
the room is a large portrait of Mme. Bernhardt, painted 
by Clairin, which hangs over the fireplace. On a col- 
umn of. marble is exposed the portrait of Emile de 
Girardin, by Sarah herself. 

Mme. Bernhardt remarked: 'T didn't know any- 
thing about the miserable book, no m ore did my son, 
until we saw the article of M. Mirbeau " 

Correspondent— In this article M. Mirbeau takes up 
the cudgels vigorously in your defense; do you know 
him? 

Mme. Bernhardt— No, I never saw him; but he, like 
all respectable people, seems indignant at the infa- 
mous scandals written by the fllle Colombier. 

Correspondent -But what have you done, Madame, 
to Mile. Marie Colombier, that she should write such a 
book? If 1 remember well, Marie Colombier was your 
most intimate friend. 

Mme. Bernhardt— An acquaintance who was under 
obligations to me, but never my friend. Marie Colom- 
bier was my comrade at the Conservatory. We shared 
together, she and I, the second prize for tragedy, and | 
after leaving the Conservatory we used to see a great j 
deal of each other. She had no luck, and was always j 
without money and on the verge of suffering execution ' 
for debt. She constantly had^recourse to her friends, 
and she counted me among her friends, and very often 
-; but there is no use talking about that. 

Correspondent— How does it happen that Mile Co- 
lombier, who is under such obligations to you, should 
suddenly turn round and write all these calumnies? 

PROFESSIONAL JEALOUSY. 

Mme. Bernhardt— Rancune de femme et d'artiste 
Marie Columbier formed a part of the troupe with which 
I went to America. It was I myself who went to see 
her to engage her for the tour. For reasons that I shall 
not state, for I should be accused of answering calumny 
by slander, Marie Colo nbier was not engaged for the 
European tour, and she got angry about it. Soon 
after, at the urgent demand of my son, I declined 



BERNHARDT ON DEATH. 



< Qrim Terror Has No Fear for Her, 
She Says. 

a Bernhardt bas written an article on 
for lh© Han Francisco Examiner. 

re some of tiie things she says: 

re a ereat love of death. 

fctress must necessarily think some- 

ibout the end of existence, for sne is so 

jailed upon to portray it. 

fa one has begun to think on death 
re but two ways of acting, 
■in put our hands to our ears, shut our 
id run away from the monster, 
e we can look calmly into the hollow 
the death's bead and accustom our- 
o that which must inevitably overtake 

fily great actress can dispense with a 

[study of the death agony and all tbe 

Ind feelings wnich lead up to the su- 

poment. 

ave succeeded at all as an artist It has 

cause of this study.. 

tucty of aeath is an art by itself, and a 

fficult arr. 

! winter bas living models before him, 
ire experience is ihe smallest ele- 
hich he muse take Into account. 
;ees with his eyes. He is not called 
o see with his aoui. 

perfoctly true that I have slept in a 

It was a very valuable experience. 

lg so thoroughly taught me the resigna- 

; death as this apparently crude experi- 

iffin Is the modern symbol. It is a hor- 
mject, and all our associations of chiid- 
lave made it stand for death, 
leep in a coffin in darkness is almost to 

he morning you are surprised to be 

e Is always a road to death, and one 
Inow that road well to get there on the 

lg my stage-deaths I count Fedora as 

•emely unsatisfactory one. 

trdou has not given me enough time to 



ire been compelled, therefore, in spite 
lon\ictlons, to indicate more strongly 
'ike the sympioms of poisoning. 
if vou have noticed me well, you will 
een that the determination to die is 
poarent early in the act, and even em- 
Id. 

s what an artist must do when the text 

umcient for the purpose. 
Camilie is a great death. 
lature of the siory happily helped out 

newhas mediocre talent of the son of 

las. 

e very nature of the story the death is 

iged one. 

oitlon, I must concede that it is very 

w that too wen. 

ster died just such a death. 

any one not an artist conceive the 
e of playing such a part— acting slow 

upon the stage? 

L the highest artistic delight possible to 
artist, and you can easily see, if you 
think, that these deaths must neces- 
e more artistic than those winch end 
>rtions. And tnese latter are mere 
uics, while such deaths as occur iu 



plays like "Camilie" require great knowledge 
aud great art. 

I have devoted two of my modest works of 
art to death. 

My pain tins, "The Young Gni and Death," 
was drawn from a model, all but the lace, 
and, of course, death. 

I ea#inot paint well. I do npt pretend to do 
so. But mv strong sympathy with the sub- 
ject gatte, I believe, the proper expression to 
that yoo^g girl's face. 

it is absolute innocence. ^ 

Death has her In his grasp, and, happy 
thing, she does not know it. 

My other work— me piece of sculpture, 
"After the Storm"— is well done. 

I arrf a fair hand at sculpture, and this time, 
at least, the cl&v responded to my touch. 

An old tisner woman is silting with her 
drowned son in her lap. 

His limbs are not rigid. They are disposed 
as if in sleep. 

I nave made him as beautiful as I knew 
how. 

This poor boy had a brief struggle with the 
sea, and all was soon over with him. 

As he lies in his mother's lap he is unaware 

*K*a*R. LOVE MAD. 

I A. Victim to 5& Hopeless Passion for I 
"Divine **arah." 

Madly in love with Sarah Bombard 
the last, a poor lunatic named Benatre has 
now "been consigned to the grave from the 
Asylum, of Ville-Evrard, says a Paris corre- 
spondent, fifteen years ago Benatre, who 
had lost a considerable amount of money, 
obtained a post as supernumerary ; clerk in 
the Municipal Savings Bank, which en- 
abled him to live. He was a most assidu- 
ous, accurate and exemplary official until 
after one evening w..en he went to the 
Theatre Fraucais in-order to see "Hernani" 
I played, Mice. Sarah Bernhardt filling 
the role of Dona Sol. He left 
the playhouse frantically in love 
I with the great actress, and ^ext 
morning on arriving at his office, instead of 
1 preparing lor his diurnal work of castmg-up 
; i' "-ares and balancing accounts, he took ' 
| out of his desk a large sheet of official note 
paper and wrote upon it an effusion ad- 
tragedienne.- Tn his 
! epistolary style Be atre described his pas- 
I sionate love for Dona Sol, aud offered her 
I his hand, "with the lawful share of his 
humble but honorable position." Madame 
:rnhardt paid no attention to the 
missive of the audacious suitor. Out 
surprised to receive anoti er and yet 
another four-page, large size 'declaration of 
. with the offer of hand, heart, and 
: honorable position. Annoy i, the 

actress wrote to Ben -i, who was 

.horrified': oi affairs. Ku>u- 

ing i ff to the lunatic's desk, tne chief 
found Benatre in the act of induing his 
forty-third epistle beginning "Mademoi- 
\ < g \]q el G-r te." The lover never 

1 rallied from the effects oi' the official scold- 
ing, Lecam aorose, and 
unable to do anymore ciphering. A iew 
weeks after the scene ;it his este Benatre 
was sent to the asylum, where he lan- 
guished for fifteen years, always in the 
fixed idea that he would one day become 
I 'the husband of Dona Sol. The deceased 
lunatic will now go down to posterity as 
I the "man who fell m love with Sarah/ 
Bernhardt/' / 







TOl 






.l?)bi' 



Who but remembers fair and fat Marie Colombier, who accom- 
panied Mme. Bernhardt when the French actress first visited 
the United States? There was not much said of her while she 
acted in America, but on her return to Lurope she wrote some 
naughty books about Sarah, who promptly horsewhipped her, 
and on the strength of the notoriety conferred by thi^ perform- 
ance Colombier floated for a term on the surface of Parisian life. 
Unluckily for her, Paris is fickle, end Marie was growing old. Ere 
long her money vanished, her friends forsook her, and a disas- 
trous finale to a lively existence appeared imminent. At this junc- 
ture Marie formed the acquaintance of an elderly gentleman who 
turned out to be connected with the springs that gi\ e forth the 
St. Galmier water, the mineral beverage that all France now 
drinks. The eMerly gentleman looked into Marie's eyes, and. in 
the language of the French, memejeu on the part of the lady. A 
long liaison was the outcome of this exchange of glances, and a 
little while ago the elderly gentleman passed away. He bequeathed 
to Marie Colombier a sum of money sufficient to yield an annual 
income of $12,000, and on this, lam advised, the lady is at pres- 
ent living. To rise from absolute want to so high a pinnacle of 
prosperity is to undergo an experience seldom vouchsafed to im- 
provident actresses. Thus far, I learn, Mile. Colombier bears her 
good fortune tranquilly, and as the principal of the legacy is in- 
vested and beyond the legatee's reach, there is a likelihood that 
her equanimity will be enduring. 



THE MEMOIRS ' 

OF 

SARAH BARNUM 

BY 

MARIE COLOMBIER 



With a Preface 

BY 

PAUL BOXNETAEST 

Translated under the Management of 

FERDINAND C. VALENTINE AND LEIGH H. HUNT 



, S? ANDAUD , ¥JjITION 



NEW YORK 

S. W. GREE1SPS SON, PUBLISHER 

69 Beekmaist Street 



T 9 7 
JLfhJL 



Copyright, 1884, 
By CHAS. M. GREEN. 

ALLEN A BROWN 
DEC. 17, 1909 






PUBLISHER'S NOTE, 



The first copy of the French original of this book arrived in 
this city at 1 p.m. of January 2, 1884. The first edition of the 
only English version is placed on the market just thirty hours 
later. This unprecedented work is due to our editors mid their 
able corps of assistants, who from the beginning to the end of 
their task did not rest an instant. 

The intense interest which the French original called forth in 
Europe causes us to hope that American readers will be pleased 
with the work. 

S. W. GREEN'S SON. 

69 Beekman Street, New York. 



AMERICAN EDITORS' PREFACE. 



Just twelve hours previous to going to press, Mr. S. W. Green's 
Son placed this book in our hands for English translation and re- 
vision. The facilities of all kinds which he gave without stint, 
and the able assistance rendered by the fifty-three ladies and 
gentlemen who were employed to do the work, should be credited 
with the favor with which the public will receive it. 

FERD. C. VALENTINE. 

LEIGH H. HUNT. 



PREFACE, 



Dear Madame: 

Then, it is decided ; although unworthy, as well as not having 
attained the literary age necessary for such a pontificate, that I 
must place upon the baptismal font your last little new boon. 

The printing you write me waits for the preface by my promise. 
Promised? Yes, I have promised it beforehand. And to confess 
ail, at the moment when the "Memoirs of Sarah Barnum" only 
existed in your imagination — at the moment when, shamed by vir- 
tuous people, I could look at your flattering request as a simple 
protestation against the " shameful hypocrisy, and the venonous 
denunciation of certain of my associates— at the moment, finally, 
when, appearing natural, I believed in the necessity of the protes- 
tations 

And what better occasion to offer a protest than in a preface? 
Has not this kind of literature been invented to permit the "pre- 
facier" to entertain the public with his little affairs and to 
shoulder a " puff " upon the back of the preface? 

Judge of it rather by this letter, of which, I am sure, you will 
publish the preamble as well as the end, although actuated by 
modesty I might appear to suppose the contrary. Without doubt, 
I have promised; but in good faith, could I not promise? To-day 
you place me at the foot of the wall, and I must act without wa- 
vering. Certainly I am happy to be useful to you in something, 
and proud to offer you my arm ; however, it is not without hesi- 
tation that I obey you, and, even I could challenge my own opin- 
ion if you should not suppose that, by reason of the hostilities 
that can be born of this book, it has not required some courage to 
put my name beneath your own. Consider consequently, I beg 
you, that my literary baggage is light, that I detest the "pose," 
that I do not possess the necessary authority to place the name 
of Barnum upon your door-sill, and, since you believe in the ne- 



vi PREFACE. 

cessity of an introduction, permit, me after having thanked you 
for the great honor with which you overwhelm me, to acquit my- 
self as briefly as possible of my task. 

Doubtful task ! If I should withdraw myself from it without 
having offended, without having made you question my sympa- 
thetic recognition, without having been ridiculed in the exercise 
of my too new functions, it will be because, in giving me a " carte 
blanche," you have not calculated with what a quantity of 
praises I could bombard you, and it will be, above all, because you 
are the least pretentious of women. And there is nothing less 
necessary than this statement, in the disguise of an exordium to 
give me the proper courage. It is such an agreeable duty to speak 
of our friends' books. 

Does one praise them? In a jolly way; wickedly polite. 

Are they criticised? Why: do you wish to put me at my ease? 

I share with the romancers of two classes — the writers and 
the amusers. If you will tolerate it, I shall put you among the 
second, "that will stand quite alone," and I shall have hardly as 
much good to say of your book ; but if you require that, with 
you, I prove an obstacle, that to my great regret I do not find, 
I am going to be deucedly troubled with my conscience on the 
subject of literary honesty. I count upon it. 

Here is, consequently, my sincere judgment : 

I have read the Memoirs of Sarah Barnum at a single dash, and 
with a growing pleasure in each page, for you have the spirit of a 
demon, and your style is ravishing. Your characters have inter- 
ested me to the end, for, actress beyond everything, you put 
them so well on the scene that one can see them and hear them 
speak. 

You are a charmer, for your laugh is contagious, and born 
with the first pages it rolls with full volume to the last. 

You are, finally, an artist; for when the conceit takes you to 
moisten this laughter with a little sentimental tear, you give 
yourself this pleasure without any trouble, and be it with the 
shearing of the golden-haired queen, be it with the agony of Cin- 
derella, you make grievous the recital; while keeping good the 
thread of your story, the most exhilarating satire accompanies it 
all the time over its joyful road. 

Amusing? Yes. And it is among the possibilities of this wicked 
volume that the most morose will laugh to tears in reading it. But 



PREFACE. Vli 

do not see disdain expressed in this first judgment. It is so 
difficult to be amusing and so easy to be tiresome ; so laborious 
to unwrinkle the brows of the reader and it costs so little to 
astonish him in turning suddenly ' ' styliste" by an ingenious 
imitation of the masters. Believe it, my appreciation has in it 
nothing disdainful as much as you have confined your efforts to 
this result— to amuse. Which is not a slender merit, besides, in a 
time when your petticoated associates could pulverize Schopen- 
hauer, or serve us some paganism with cold cream ! 

And then, to mistake the wit, that is not only to avow that one 
is unprovided,— and to agree in his own poverty, even implicitly, 
would seem still an awkwardness, — it is again to slander one of 
the 3 oiliest features in the character of our race; it is finally to 
misconceive the essence even of our language, to insult our 
national genius. Everything progresses. Everything changes: 
the wit lives.* It is that which puts wings to the idea. What 
remains of the Encyclopedia? Nothing, neither science nor phi- 
losophy ; but the wits of the encyclopedists have awakened all 
their century. Do we not laugh at what amused our fathers? 
With what joy are not letters and lectures heaped upon every 
correspondence of the Eighteenth Century that is exhumed, 
upon all the words that are disinterred. Oh, how much reason 
you have to be spirituelle in this epoch of " humbugging" and of 
1 ' slang" ! Not one of you, oh know it well ! is willing to reproach 
himcelf for having spoken a wicked word. 

Leo them speak : the public will laugh, and perhaps, not to 
appear ridiculed, even the victims themselves will laugh, like 
wise husbands. Besides, under the reign of the revolver, when 
one is also "mal embouche" in the street, in the salons, in the 
press, as well as in the chamber, when the formula "Break 
your head " enters into the language, and the act that it designates 
into the manners, the mind has every right to understand it, and 
to take its revenge. Heaven preserve me from mistaking the 
spirit. It consoles as much as it rests, and sometimes it avenges 
us. Then it is the great lever, the great strength. Your friend 
Rochefort would not have demolished the Empire if he had not 
been a man of mind; and I know a marshal of France that 
portier had not, perhaps, turned out of power; if all the spirit- 
uelle people of this time, your other friend Aurelien Scholl at 
the head, had not pelted him with epigrams which would 



Viii PREFACE. 

drive away our nephews, and which each one would repeat again, 
when only the people of the institute would know which was the 
north. 

Wit ! Why it gives life to our history, and the day is near 
when the Dorsays will make anecdotes ; in the place of stuffing the 
heads of their young scholars with useless Latia, they will teach 
them the chronology with the good jokes of sovereigns and our 
foremost statesmen. Louis XVIII. will be more popular in the 
classes than M. G-revy : that is all. Moreover, this system is in 
full vigor already for antiquity. Our bachelors have retained of 
Plutarch's illustrious men only their sarcastic features. Farther 
yet in the past we refind the taunts with which the fabulous he- 
roes of the Siege of Troy received that great game cock Menelaus. 
Such a passage from Homer is as "rich" as a tale by Armand 
Sylvestre, and it is not Thucydides, this Theirs, that we read 
again, it is Aristophanes, this Labiche ; I do not recall, nor you 
either, dear Madame, at what epoch Breimus entered Kome, but I 
know very well that this bold fellow, in dragging out the Senators 
by their beards, and then bolting them to their chairs, made 
speeches to them with which his grand-sons souls, just equally ir- 
reverent, plague the Senators of to-day, none the less "bolted" 
as well. It is true still that we do not drag our conscript fathers 
by their beards, but it is, perhaps, because they have none. 

And do not reproach me for this parenthesis. It has its little 
usefulness —but not for you, perhaps— our veterans seem willingly 
to believe that we the " Youths" hold ourselves in low esteem with 
the minds of spiritual people. If the naturalists committed this 
blunder they would be unworthy of their name, the spirit being in 
France a product of the soil, a natural flower. It is not this 
" sweep-net " of a gardener, Henry Ceord, who will contradict me. 
Now— to return to these "Memoirs of Sarah Barnum, " the tone of 
fine humor which has put me in enjoyment, and of which I relish 
in advance the noisy explosion — is it to be sufficiently exact the 
role of the spiritual and amusing revealer? I do not believe it. 
There are in these three hundred pages more than simple gayety ; 
more than wit. I find there a very real and very fine observation. 
Such portraits of your heroine are marvellous to the eye and un- 
derstanding. Few novelists could succeed so well. You have not 
pretended to make a work of art, but artists will find in your 



PREFACE. IX 

work a mine of documents. I have let slip the great word, and 1 
maintain it. Yes, your volume is documentary. 

Our great Ed. de Goncourt, in his preface to Faustine, extolled 
the appeal to the "living remembrance" for the psychological 
and philosophical studies upon woman. I find, said he, that the 
books written about women by men fail for lack of feminine 
collaboration. And he asked of his readers to reveal to him by 
anonymous confidences "all the unknown femininity grounded 
in woman, that the husbands and even the lovers passed their 
life in ignorance of." The master, in a word, wished to make for 
his contemporary heroines what one makes before writing a 
book upon a woman of the past, "an appeal to all the holders 
of the life of this woman, to all the possessors of little pieces 
of paper, where are found recounted a little of the history of the 
soul of the dead." 

You have read this preface of Edmond de Goncourt, and you 
have wanted to bring him the "human documents" asked for. 
That is wit again, for should your book succeed owing to its 
amusing spirit it would in duty remain on the side of analysis 
and of proof. Do not be mistaken in the first place with these 
two words. I intend simply to say that you have labored after 
nature and without abandoning anything to phantasy. You 
have simply sprinkled with your wit and lightened by your laugh, 
the verbal process of things seen, read and heard. What you 
have listened to, your remembrances, searched for in your 
drawers full of letters, or asked about from eye-witnesses: you 
have done right. It requires an enormous courage, and, as art, 
that seems to me of a superior method. Now let the fools speak, 
who can regulate everything with a breath, wish at each page to 
roll your eyes up to the ceiling at the resemblance to your Sarah, 
and with eyes and nose upon the cornices seek to put a name 
over the mask of your puppets and over that of the heroine. 
Artist to the last, you have taken here and there, and from Peter 
and to Paul, something to build upon for your characters. Only 
familiarized for a long period in their midst, and knowing even 
the most secret wrinkles of their mind, the Adams, even the Eves, 
from whom you subtract the ribs in order to bring forth some 
heroes who will recall them without being altogether their 
"sosier," you have created some good people much alike, for 
which I congratulate you. Your Sarah is one, two, three, five and 



x PREFACE. 

ten Sarahs that we have known— known too well. But of what 
importance since you place her before us so well that one can 
almost imagine to see her alive and breathing. She makes you 
think at once of ten stars, and not of one alone, it is true ; but one 
does not ask you for a photograph, and I shall not quibble witk 
you about it, since in borrowing a feature or a gesture from each 
one of our actual celebrities, you have, as we wish, analyzed and 
portrayed not Mademoiselle X. nor Madame Z., but the star gen- 
eral, social, psychique, and physical, such as make her our 
manners, our sister, our catch- word. Then, bravo and thanks ! 

There remains no more for me only to caution you against the 
replies, evidently stupid, of the different models who have served 
you. Let the people whose nostrils you have tickled with 
the shaft of your pen brandish furiously their handkerchief , and 
labor still. Inasmuch as you are a woman, comedienne and 
spiritual, you know how to observe and produce. Give us other 
books and other documents. 

It is kindness that I wish for ourselves, in assuring you, dear 
madame, of my respectful and grateful friendship, 

Paul Bonnetain. 

Paris, November 28, 1883. 



THE 

MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 



FIRST STEPS. 



There were only four young apprentices in the crowd, but 
then, too, there were only two policemen on whom to cast admir- 
ing glances. 

Any Parisian, whether he be young or old, knows very well 
that the number of apprentice boys, (forming as thoy do the very 
life and soul of every crowd,) is in direct proportion to the num- 
ber of gentlemen in uniform along the sidewalks. 

These apprentices belonged to the large printing house of Chaix, 
which is situated in the neighborhood — young, but already u hard 
cases," and knowing beyond their years. 

The policemen were as usual, fine strapping fellows, grave in 
demeanor, wearing white trousers, shiny leather boots, very stiff, 
looking absolutely splendid with the purple lining of their tunic 
skirts turned back, their gloves a la Crispin, their bright batons, 
and in the metallic radiance of their helmets. 

Apprentice boys and cavaliers were stationed on this fine sum- 
mer day of 1862 before the Comptoir d'Escompte, and this to the 
no small astonishment of such citizens as lived beyond the bound- 
aries of the Ninth Police Precinct. 

Alongside them were drawn up in file on that frontage, which 
runs south of the Conservatoire, some half dozen private car- 
riages, and about twenty hacks, which extended as far as the 
Rue Richer. 

It was the day for the annual distribution of prizes for comedy 



2 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

in the musical and dramatic temple, where some three hundred 
art pupils, of both sexes, come ten months out of the twelve, to 
try and obtain the ways and means of succeeding in art, or end- 
ing their days in the Maison Dubois, and this under the guidance 
of some composer and celebrated professor. 

Examination day,— that is to say, a time of regular bustle and 
preparation. 

The old governmental school and the four streets about it 
were completely topsy-turvy: the Faubourg Poissoniere, the Rue 
Bergere, the Rue du Conservatoire, and the Rue Cecile presented 
a scene of unusual animation ; but the liveliest place of all was 
in the great court of the building itself. 

The families of the young competitors were walking over the 
yellow gravel, running in and out of the archways, calling one 
another here and there, and making the common and dull stones 
resound with noisy and joyous clatter. The mass of the crowd 
and the greatest noise were at the small door leading to the meet- 
ing hall. The crowd was waiting for the examination to be over. 

Suddenly there was a stir— a general cry of " Ah," and his 
Excellency the Ministre des Beaux Arts, escorted by the Director 
of the establishment, came out, followed by a crowd of high 
officials, critics and old men, who were neither journalists or poli- 
ticians, but who were always on hand at first representations, and 
especially pleased with such shows as the one in question. Every- 
body rushed to the gate and crowded into the carriages. The 
policemen, who had remained as impassible as usual, put their 
clubs in their belts, and as soon as the Ministers moved off, also 
moved off with much noise and fuss. 

Then the apprentice boys chaffed louder, the crowd grew larger 
and the hackmen tugged round their old nags and proffered their 
services in stentorian tones. People, in fact, could not make 
themselves heard. The court was too small for the crowd that 
came out of the hall. The confusion became greater, but above all 
might be heard joyous laughter and shrill notes of feminine 
chatter. * The little urchins became more numerous, and elbowed 
their way among the dense crowd of dark dresses and hats with 
gay-colored flowers. The families that came from the hall en- 
deavored to press back the groups that had prudently emerged 
first and who now filled up the court yard. Everyone wanted to 
be at the door and show their relationship to the candidates for 



FIRST STEPS. s . '. 3 

the prizes. And these candidates, male and female, were just 
beginning to come out too. The young men were either red as 
cherries, or else pale, their black coats were ill-fitting and seemed 
to give them a comical appearance, while there was something 
constrained in their looks. Their arrival was the occasion of much 
whispering. The young girls were bolder ; in fact, some of them 
were brazen, pre-occupied only with their dresses, trying to 
attract attention, craning their necks and making believe they 
saw nothing. Such names as "Louise! Charlotte! Christine!" 
were called out, and this fact made the crowd rather hilarious, if 
not indiscreet — especially the men. 

All at once a feminine and very shrill voice uttered, " Sarah 1" 
in such a loud tone that every one looked around. 

Then, in the front of the crowd, a very handsome little woman 
of the Jewish type was seen gesticulating violently and crying 
loudly to attract the attention of a young girl who was still under 
the arch. 

The little woman held by the hand and pressed to her side two 
little girls, one of whom seemed ten, the other about seven years 
of age. 

But, hastening too quickly, and stumbling over a lady who was 
stooping to recover her fan, which had fallen under the feet of the 
crowd, the surging waves of spectators and competitors became 
jammed in the doorway unable to advance. The young girl 
whom they had called "Sarah" remained, like the rest, motion- 
less, fixed to the spot in the crowd. And, during the moment 
when the human current that was pouring from the hall was mo- 
tionless the little woman, whose signals never ceased could be 
distinctly seen. 

Very elegant in carriage, shrouded in laces, Madame Barnum, 
despite her Jewish look, which indeed was softened in profile, by 
the growing roundness of her cheeks, had the classic physiognomy 
of the Catholic Virgin. Seeing her clear complexion, her Oriental 
eyes, following the sinuous lines of her figure and measuring the 
compact roundness of her lips, one would have called her thirty 
years of age. 

An attentive observer, however, if he had well studied the tem- 
ples, beneath the powdered down which stretched from the hair 
to the middle of the cheeks, would have added fifteen years to 
that superficial estimate. The little woman, to tell the truth, 



4 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

would have astounded the aforesaid observer. With a more than 
impertinent air, she held in her left hand a large, gold-mounted 
eye-glass, and stared with effrontery at every one whose curiosity 
she divined, while her right hand, made conspicuous by a light 
glove, continued to gesticulate like the arm of a windmill, and 
rattled an absurd number of very showy bracelets on her wrist. 
Suddenly, the human current started and ran more strongly than 
before. The young girl, whom we have just called Sarah, left 
the porch in her turn and ran to the little woman. 

"Mamma!" 

She had thrown herself on her mother's neck and was clasping 
her with both arms. 

But her mother, moving on towards the railing, disengaged her- 
self. 

" Stop, you are rumpling my dress." 

And she patted the Marie Antoinette scarf, which was thrown 
loosely over her shoulders, and whose lace border had been 
crushed under Sarah's weight. The young girl left her mother, 
remained a moment out of countenance, furious at what might 
have been seen and heard by her young friends, then she disdain- 
fully shrugged her shoulders like a girl who has had many similar 
experiences. And, bending towards the two little urchins who 
were sulkily clinging to their mother's dress, she embraced them 
in an affected manner, commencing with the elder. 

" Good day, Annette; how are you, Eeine." 

Meanwhile the little woman had called a cab. The driver 
brought up his vehicle, opened the door and removed the bags of 
oats which had been fastened to the horses' heads. While he was 
doing- this, Sarah continued looking at the peoplf who rushed out 
faster and more confusedly. The mother was surprised at this 
look and immediately began scolding even before entering the 
cab, where the two children were already quarrelling. 

" Ah! you may well devour them with your eyes; " she grum- 
bled. "A fine day this has been; a second prize of comedy and 
a rank in tragedy. It is fine, this crowd of yours; then be- 
sides Mademoiselle kept looking into the air instead of fastening 
her eyes upon the jury, with whom she could have done as she 
pleased. That's her style : to show the whites of her eyes ! Gaze 
at the ceiling, my dear, at the ceiling ! pose for the Assumption ! 
You shall see whether you will find money in the cornices. 



FIRST STEPS. 5 

Ah, do you suppose that you can accomplish anything in this 



way 



»" 



The coachman had finally completed his little preparations. 
Whip in hand, he remained behind the two women holding the 
door open. Then they entered. The mother kept scolding, but 
Sarah, leaning against the coach window nearest the sidewalk, 
made her no answer. She dreamily contemplated the conserva- 
tory. The court became empty and the door of the hall gave pas- 
sage only to people who were unexpected and not in haste. Upon 
the top of the monument the setting sun threw a light veil of gold. 
At the entrance of the left pavilion it lighted up the letters ' ' Musee 
Bibliotheque, " inscribed on a tablet of black marble, and under 
its falling shower of rays the monotonous melancholy of the old 
buildings softened into a bright smile. Sarah saw nothing of all 
this. 

From the house from which she was escaping, having completed 
her studies, she brought neither the bitterness of a regret nor the 
sweetness of a reminiscence. Her fine indifferent eyes wandered 
along the stones of the pavement, lost in inward contemplation. 
When the vehicle shook she did not move, still apparently watch- 
ing the bare houses. 

Her mother still complained, only stopping her reproaches to 
caress Annette, her favorite, and the cab kept rolling with 
sluggish movement on its old springs. At first they traversed the 
Eue Bergere, blocked by trucks, its whole aspect changed by the 
departure of the studios and shops. At every instant they were 
forced to slow up. In the Faubourg Montmatre they made a dead 
halt. 

The yocmg girl, however, was in no hurry. 

In the mean time she gazed at the crowd jostling one another 
upon the pavements and causeway, and on the surging tide of 
vehicles. 

She was very much excited. 

This noisy Paris, full of life and action, moved her very 
soul after her day's work. She wished to go and mix in it, to 
strive with it, to conquer it. 

Glowing verses from a portion of the examination sounded a 
flourish in her ear. Emerging on the boulevards, she saw a 
crowd surrounding the Colonne Morris, covered with many-col- 
ored placards. And, as she recognized some familiar names, 



6 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

whose syllables, in immense letters, placed on boxes, attracted 
the eye, she placed herself in a corner of the carriage and persist- 
ently continued to regard the top ; her eyelids gradually closed, 
and assuming an indifferent attitude, she dreamed in silence. 
Still larger placards were before her, and her name was exposed 
throughout Paris in letters so great that people were dazzled by 
it, and cried, "Hold, enough!" 

A cry from her sister Annette awoke her from her reverie. 

" Here we are!" cried the urchin, " this is Saint Roch!" 

Two minutes afterward, the coach stopped on the Hue Saint 
Honore, before a beautiful mansion with a massive and elegant 
front gate. The coachman was paid, and the family entered. 

Sarah walked behind, tapping the balustrade with the handle 
of her umbrella. On the third floor, a door opens without knock- 
ing and a small woman, ruddy and plump, strikingly resembling 
the mother of the young girl, appeared on the flat. 

" Good-morning, Aunt !" they cried out to her. " How kind to 
have come beforehand !" 

Aunt Rosette allowed herself to be embraced, then, while the 
company were rushing into the apartment, she remained at the 
entrance, not losing hold of her niece, asking her about her ex- 
amination. But this was very agreeable. A second prize ! Her 
sister Esther wanted too much 

She did not finish, Esther was calling her ; both entered the 
hall. This was quite a large room, commanding the street, and 
which was furnished, at first sight, very elegantly, but when one 
stopped to examine more closely for a short time, a conglomera- 
tion of ill-matched things peculiar to the apartment was seen and 
dashing ladies, destitute of taste. Much tinsel, a mass of imita- 
tion objects, and new furniture which contrasted with that which 
was so much used, presented a vulgar appearance. Then here 
and there were unexceptional traces of disorder and slovenliness. 
The lamps had leaked and had left oily rings upon the piano, 
upon the centre-table, everywhere ; the carpet, the curtains, were 
soiled; the backs of the sofas showed long contact with well- 
greased hair. A bottle of " Parfait Amour" perfume was on the 
mantel, and bits of rubbish everywhere. A ragged corset lay on 
a table. The other rooms into which the wide open doors allowed 
a view presented, for the most part, the same aspect of negligent 
abandonment. 



FIMST STEPS. -^ 7 

In the mean time Sarah had removed her hat, her mantlet and 
gloves ; left alone by her mother and sisters, who were undres- 
sing, she was arranging her hair before the glass, without listen- 
ing to her aunt's prattling. 

Her face, during this slight task, had not that quaint coquet- 
tishness which a girl's eye betrays who is seeking to make herself 
more attractive, but rather the attentive preoccupation of an ar- 
tist studying a model and unravelling the idea which he can draw 
from it. 

Large and slender, slim to quite a ridiculous extent, the young 
female comedian had a strangely characteristic head. The traits 
were correct and pure, whose lines recalled to mind, but still 
softened and refined, the Jewish face of the mother. Moreover, 
one could not have said more concerning the beauty of this face 
than to affirm its ugliness, something of subterfuge, of malforma- 
tion disfigured. It was like one of those incomplete heads which 
one sees at sculptors' workshops. The final model, the last stroke 
was wanting ; but just as one discovers in the incompleteness the 
ideal which the artist will realize later, the latent growth of a trans- 
formation, the slow work of a future budding, is seen under 
the gracefulness of the vague figure of twelve years. Moreover, 
her never-to-be-forgotten quaintness did not proceed from this in- 
completeness. She would move her eyes, those very long, haughty 
eyes. Their pupils changed their color with the variations of 
light, with the movements of the face, old looking when the child 
was dreaming, green as a cat's eye whenever anger contracted 
her eyelids, dark-blue when she smiled. But one never deceived 
them. Willingly the young girl lifted them as if to contemplate 
something on her head. Just then her mother and companions 
of the conservatory began to reproach her for inattention. Dur- 
ing these moments, her pupil was no longer noticed, whose moth- 
er-of-pearl whiteness turned blue, placing between the long bend- 
ing lashes the same moist milky tint as that with which her 
teeth studded the ruby garnet of her lips. The forehead was 
narrow and prematurely furrowed. 

It would have spoiled the appearance of the whole had not the 
hair, cunningly rumpled and brought down over the forehead 
nearly to the eyebrows, concealed her poor homeliness. The 
fat ear had no rim. The lobe hung down too far. The skin, even 
unequally tinted, seemed to be grained. As to the feet and hands, 



g MEMOIRS OF SABAH BABNUM. 

they were too chubby and out of proportion to the slimness of the 
body. 

Sarah was busy hiding her forehead under a clever spreading of 
curls when the bell was rung. Her mother soon appeared on the 
arm of an old gentleman who was joyously received by the whole 
household. The young lady herself, after a commanding glance 
from Madame Barnum, threw herself on the bosom of the new- 
comer, 

The good Monsieur Eiges ! 

She cajoled him with coaxing manners, through which a tinge 
of sarcasm occasionally ran. The old man, at the contact of these 
little hands caressing his soft cheeks, wagged his head, half closed 
his eyes, throwing on his little friend at the same time burning 
glances, warmed by desire ; his pale and hanging lower lip shook 
and watered. But he finally let Sarah go, when the youngest girl 
pulled his sleeve. 

She was his god-daughter. He moreover seemed to adore her. 
He immediately took her upon his knees. "Here you are, my 
little princess !" 

And he stuffed her with the bonbons his pockets were always 
full of. 

Night had fallen. Aunt Eosette, who always made herself use- 
ful when visiting her sister, lit the candles of the chandelier. An 
instant later she announced that dinner was on the table. The 
family entered the dining room. The mother had taken M. 
Eiges' arm and the two closed the procession, whispering to- 
gether. 

The Jewess was reproaching the old man. Disagreeable words 
fell from her lips, but not a wrinkle appeared on her virgin coun- 
tenance. She called him "dirty old man," and reproached him 
with deceiving her, that he did not come any more, that he was 
becoming a miser, that he was forgetting their long "love-affair." 
The name of Eeine was pronounced twice. M. Eiges, out of coun- 
tenance, his eye completely dull, was continually stammering, 
"No, Esther, I assure you." .... 

As they were stopping at the dining-room, to conclude their ex- 
planation, Sarah became impatient, sat down and took the cover 
off the soup-tureen. Then, calling them : 

"Say over there, you can quarrel to-morrow; everything is get' 
ting cold." 



must stjsps. g 

She looked at them without astonishment with her cold eye. 
In the small dining-room, where the glasses clinked when knocked 
together by the two girls, the sonorous, harmonious and carress- 
ing voice of the young artist was heard in perfect accord with the 
crystalline vibrations. The party finally sat down to the table. 

The theatre was the constant topic ; M. Riges was very moral : 
" dramatic literature was becoming as disreputable as the other. 
Honest people would not dare go to the theatre pretty soon, just 
as they already dared not read a novel." At dessert he blamed 
the Emperor's indulgence and the toleration of the censor. But 
when coffee was served children became the subject of the con^ 
versation, and he complimented Esther upon the manner in which 
she brought up hers. 

The Jewess, however, was pushing Sarah's elbow. After pre- 
tending not to understand, the young girl received a kick under 
the table with a no less persuasive glance, whereupon she had to 
get up and kiss their " good friend." 

The old man's eyes immediately became as radiant as a half- 
dead cinder upon which a puff of oxygen is playing. The come- 
dian, awed by the maternal glances fixed upon her, allowed her- 
self to be caressed and concealed her repugnance, though she 
shivered every time M. Kiges, cold lips were roaming around her 
neck or were fixed on her fine chin. 

Her docility was rewarded by the gift of a bank-note as a 
recompense of her success at the competition. On this Madame 
Barnum's face lightened up, but emboldened by this generosity, 
which he knew to be expected, the old man made Sarah sit on his 
knees. With his left hand he was holding her waist, with the 
other he smoothed her dress with a slow and trickling friction, 
apparently very chaste, which stretching the silk and crushing 
the high plaits of her dress was feeling her lovingly, and warming 
himself with the heat which filtered through the silk from this 
youthful body. 

The young girl, apparently resigned, remained silent, but 
her contracted nostrils and her set lips fully showed her impa- 
tience and disgust. She even had to control herself in order not 
to give a cry and a motion of relief when, at 10 o'clock, M. Riges 
concluded to leave her and to go. She was not free yet, however. 
The door was not closed on the guest when her mother sat down 
again to the table, took the bank-note from herj commenced a 



10 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

long discussion. Sarah had cost her so much, she had made this 
and that sacrifice for her; then, when the enumeration was made, 
and a long one it was, Esther concluded by declaring that all 
this being at an end, her daughter must henceforth make her own 
path in lif e and take care of herself. The Aunt echoed an appro- 
val and the reason she came to Rue Saint Honore was solely to 
support her mother. And on that evening the two sisters did 
nothing but question her, and answer briefly, wink and gesticu- 
late almost continually, seemingly having made a plan to settle 
matters this evening. 

"You are pretty, you are talented, you should succeed. In 
your position a girl always can get support. But you must not 
be sentimental, and whenever any one tries to do you a good turn, 
look at the color of his hair and see how old he is. We believe 
you are grateful ; your mother has worked hard enough; you must 
do all you can for her." 

Sarah heard all this with ill-concealed impatience. Finally, 
when they reproached her in a blunt and cruel manner for not 
having known enough to get twice as much out of M. Riges, who 
would have given two bills instead of one, if she " had only put 
on a pleasant face," she grew angry. 

" Why," she cried, "I cannot mingle with your crowd." 

Mother Barnum stood up furious and with a threatening gesture. 
Aunt Rosette here interposed and the visit ended. Annette and 
Reine were led out perfectly unconcerned, rolling little bread pills 
in their fingers, and listened gravely, without saying a word to 
what their mother and sister were saying. Half an hour later the 
' ' small fry " were in bed. 

But Sarah did not sleep. Her great eyes, though in darkness, 
still followed her triumphs in a day dream. Marvellous successes 
in the theatres and all Paris at her feet. Already she wanted a 
charming Prince, so that she might prepare for her triumphs. He 
was to be young, titled, rich, very rich, immensely rich and hand- 
some, for she wanted to satisfy her ambitions; yet at times 
they were so violent and so fierce that she was fearful of her 
very self. So she tossed and turned for hours, feverish, with 
burning skin, and her heart beating at a furious gallop. Where 
could she find what she wanted ? 

Plans that could never be realized rose in her mind, and the 
forms and faces of people whom she had seen here and there — at 



FIRST STEPS. IX 

the theatre, at concerts, at the races — passed and repassed through 
her head. Then mechanically, from her elevation and castles in the 
air, she fell into the depths of memory. She reviewed her whole 
life, the ups and downs of her mother's life— ups and downs of 
which she had felt the consequences even when a little child — 
hours of luxury when she was dressed up like a little princess ; 
hours of gloom, when, dressed up like a little savage, she ate her 
dry crusts and gathered fagots. 

Finally came her entrance into the Versailles convent following 
the return of fortune to her mother's house. In the convent her 
mother's friend who took charge of her education made her go and 
be baptized. This was a victory for the good Sisters, and she, al- 
ready a sharp little piece, enjoyed immensely their talk so long as 
she was the ' ' spoiled child " and had a good deal of notice. 

One • day she was dismissed, because, they said, she corrupted 
her mates. Here she was astonished for the first time, and re- 
volted against the injustice of life. She had but repeated what 
she heard at her mother's, and yet they looked upon her as a 
monster. Little by little, as time went on, she became aware of 
how strange a being she was, and was horrified at what people 
said and did before her. 

However, she had yet no idea of bettering herself; no one had 
ever advised her ; she was perfectly contented, revelling with de- 
light and perversity in what was vicious. But now, knowing as a 
matter of form that the fault was that of her family, and recogniz- 
ing her own irresponsibility, she thought her own mental organism 
quite to her taste, regretted nothing, and, feeling herself bad by 
instinct, she became stronger in her conflict with life. Her review 
of her past life brought her to recent years, to her Conservatoire 
examination and to her present position. The latter was not joy- 
ous. Her mother had explained it to her succinctly : in the fu- 
ture she must work for everybody — her mamma was going to 
beat a retreat ! 

Sarah smiled at this idea, that the ever-increasing avarice of M. 
Riges would soon bring about a rupture with the Jewess. The 
old hulks bored her— her, Sarah Barnum; and for four months she 
gloated internally over the despair of her mother, who forced her 
always to be gracious to the old fellow, — whose purse often passed 
into the pockets of "his little friend,"— while inwardly she was 
mad with jealous rage. 



12 MEMOIRS OF, SARAH BARNUM. 

From these thoughts, and with disgust for the present state of 
affairs, she took refuge once more in the marvellous dreams 
which she hugged in her fancies. A long interval of silence 
ensued, lasting several minutes, and she was cradled in imagina- 
tion. But suddenly a dread fear shook her very vitals. A rat- 
tling cab filled the Eue Saint Honore with sounds of ringing iron. 
The young girl raised herself upon her elbow, glad of the noise 
and din without. The rattle of the cab grew fainter and fainter, 
finally died out, and she heard nothing but the faint hum that 
reached her from the Eue Royale. There all was busy and active, 
but the macadamized roads smothered the sounds, and the. steady 
roll of carriages sent to her room a little hum that seemed to 
breathe luxury and hint softly of the rich part of the city. 

Then the girl took up her beloved revery, lulled by this echo 
of Paris, resembling the monotonous hum of an army of wheels 
running on well-oiled axles. 



HER FIRST APPEARANCE. 13 



n. 

HER FIRST APPEARANCE. 

That evening Sarah was in a frightful temper. In fact all her 
bright expectations were too cruelly upset. She was returning 
from the Theatre Corneille, where she had made her first appear- 
ance a few days before, and where her afternoons were now taken 
up by rehearsals. On coming in she had pitched her hat and 
gloves together on the drawing-room floor, and threw herself on a 
sofa. 

She was cursing freely. Such a lif e as this was not to be borne ! 
The stage manager had again just insulted her before every one ; no 
one could bear her. They kept chaffing her about her airs and 
graces, her make-up, her gait, everything. . . . The women thought 
her ugly, the men called her skin and bone. Every one charged her 
with her conceit, her poses, and her bad character. What a bar- 
rack that theatre was! After all, the members of the Com£die 
Francaise were a pretty lot, all mighty famous people, and in love 
with themselves! Because they were known and applauded 
they thought a lot of themselves. They walked " on stilts." But 
she had,bef ore this pulled some of them down— some of them in par- 
ticular. Because they were put well before the public they all 
believed they had sprung from Jupiter's thigh. Well, then ! As if 
she did not know their history! It was like that Savard!— a 
woman who made a good thing of it in more senses than 
one. 

But the delight of taking vengeance, and now of abusing all her 
enemies, did not satisfy her. The cause of her annoyance was 
deeper, as it was not mere spite that made her tear to pieces her 
broad muslin neck-tie with fierce finger-nails. The ill-nature of 
her comrades and the injustice of the manager would have been 
nothing to her if her pride as an artist had not bled at the hu- 
miliation of her first appearance. 

She had had a place in Iphigenia, in a part in which she ought 
to have shone ; but people seemed to have set to work to crush 



14 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

her. She had made her appearance without eclat, and, a thing 
which maddened her, with only half the press represented there, 
before an audience of country folks passing through town, and 
some schoolmasters brought to Paris by some society meeting. 
And " these jades of the press" had scarcely mentioned the 
event. Only one, the fat critic Narssey, had given her two lines 
of notice. Still worse, he used them to heap abuse on her. She 
had not been to see him, and she thought he was punishing her 
for it. From that, besides, came the keenest of her regrets. 
Since she loved the stage, she should have sacrificed all her pride 
and not have wished to owe everything to her talent, but should 
have availed herself of every seductive art which, by gaining for 
her praises and applause, would have exalted her too. Still, this 
failure was not everything. Undoubtedly she already knew 
enough of her profession, had enough practical understanding of 
the stage, to be aware how hard the beginning is, and by 
what a number of pricks to self-satisfaction the right of appear- 
ing in any but very small parts is bought. In her passion for 
glory, in her mad ambition, she was resigning herself to experi- 
ence the worst. But her mother tortured her. Every day, 
or rather twenty times a day, she dinned the same tune into 
her ears : " How is this ? For more than a monthyou have been 
engaged, and you have not yet found the means of doing us any 
good!" .... 

And then there followed the string of cruel reproaches, of insult- 
ing chaff, enough to drive her mad. 

In God's name, she asked no more but that no one should pay 
any regard to her, — not a soul ! It was to be feared that she was 
frightening people away. However, she could not grasp people by 
their sleeves. No, no ; that state of things could not last. 

As she kept on shouting more loudly, and in a fury was tear- 
ing holes in the repp covering of the old sofa to pull out handfuls 
of hair with which she was cutting her fingers, her aunt Eosette, 
who, perfectly calm, had let the storm rage to the bitter end, 
raised her head and gently interrupted the actress. 

" Little one," said she, "it never does the slightest good to cry 
out, and to throw the handle after the hatchet. You must seek 
in order to find, and it is not by sprawling on a sofa, which, 
by the bye, you are ruining--or by tearing up your necktie 
—-when you haven't a farthing to buy a new one— it is not by 



HER FIRST APPEARANCE. 15 

doing and saying stupid things that you will succeed. Quails, 
you see, never fall roasted on the plate. You have to hunt for 
them, lie in wait, take your opportunities. That's what I do, 
and I get on all right. You have one of these opportunities this 
evening. Your mother has just gone to ask for seats at the 
Varieties. If she gets them, come with us. The "Varieties' 1 is 
much frequented and if you do not cast your net there, you are 
not smart." 

And Aunt Rosette, always pretty, always elegantly dressed, 
smiled sweetly at herself in the glass, continuing to shuffle her 
pack of cards. 

In the midst of her exultation, and in spite of her eighteen years, 
Sarah was essentially a practical person, among those in whom 
baptism had not destroyed the commercial intelligence inherent 
in her race. She composed herself while listening to this little 
speech. Rosette seemed to her to speak with the old sagacity, 
and with her common promptitude of resolution, the young 
"artiste," appreciating the advice, immediately resolved to fol- 
low it. 

With two jumps she was in her room. She remained there two 
hours, embellishing herself, making up her mind to conquer, in- 
venting finery and conceiving irresistible flirtations. When she 
went out she was radiant. 

Upon arriving, Esther ate little, quickly dressed herself the 
same as her sister, and the children having been put to bed, the 
three women set out for the Variety. 

Sarah could never afterwards remember what had been played 
on that evening. While her mother and her aunt were seated 
together behind her in the box, constantly laughing at each joke 
of Leonie, she, serious, remained in front in a studied attitude, in 
order to ogle one by one all the men she saw in the hall. She 
made her choice. 

In the mean time the swells in the middle of the orchestra had 
noticed the strange girl with large, beautiful eyes. Her eccentric 
head-dress, with its light-colored bonnet emphasizing the yellow, 
drew forth from the men expressions of cordial approval. Be- 
tween the acts many little dudes ogled her. Their surprising 
persistence arose especially from the fact that, recognizing Esther 
and Rosette, they were angry at themselves at not knowing who 
the new-comer, their companion, was. 



10 MEMOIBS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

In the mean time, Sarah remained passive, throwing around 
curious, quiet glances, although they were always cold. During 
the second act her glances became fixed and her face suddenly 
relaxed ; it seemed as if an emotion, an inward joy, softened her 
features and expression. She became pretty at once. She had 
found him. 

During the next interval between the acts the same dudes who 
had ogled her perceived this change. 

"Upon my word, she isn't bad at all," said several. 

And the opera-glasses were pointed anew. Sarah did not see 
them. Her large eyes were fastened upon a young man almost 
under her, in next to the last row. This young man, moreover, 
eloquently reciprocated her glances ; and she suddenly blushing, 
half smiled, lighting her eyes with the color of old gold. Her 
heart beat as on the day of her debut in the Rue Vivienne; and 
the music of the orchestra, the actors' songs, the thousand noises 
in the hall and lobbies, the cries of the venders of opera-glasses 
and programmes mingled in her head with a feverish and joyful 
confusion. 

At the close, when Esther and Aunt Rosette had taken their 
cloaks in the vestibule, they did not see her. They went away 
alone. They had no anxiety ; they even smiled, and their smiles 
meant, "It was not too soon." 

When they had reached the Rue Vivienne, Sarah joined them. 

" I lost you in the crowd," gasped she, out of breath. 

The two women were dying to question her ; nevertheless they 
sacrificed themselves, being happy and reassured by the exultant 
air of the young girl. Besides, as the latter kept turning around, 
Rosette cast a stealthy glance behind her, and saw a young man 
following them about, twenty feet away. It was the same one 
whom she had surprised in the act of looking at Sarah just before 
in the theatre. In a low voice she quickly communicated her 
discovery to Esther, but preventing her from looking around. 
The two women then began to plot how to set the young girl free. 
They chattered arm in arm, as if forgetful of her presence ; they 
tried to separate themselves from her in the crowd, or even stopped 
short without warning her. At heart, besides the joy at seeing 
their pupil set herself to win a man, they felt a thrilling emotion, 
a rejuvenation of their own beginnings. Still active and buoy- 
ant, especially Rosette, in the midst of genteel life, they did not 



HER FIRST APPEARANCE. If 

the less feel the inward and delicious sensations with which the 
beginnings of a dear pupil fill the heart of tender parents, but they 
were also veterans outside of the competition in the business 
which concerned their charge. 

They arrived at the .end of the Eue St. Honore. The young man, 
in whom the invitation of Sarah's beautiful eyes had awakened 
decided enthusiasm, kept his distance, seeming to be an indifferent 
stroller, and only betraying his infatuation by the frequent light- 
ing of his cigar. 

The two sisters, who as they neared the house had gone in ad- 
vance, entered first very quickly to allow Sarah to exchange a 
few words with her lover. They were already on the landing 
when the young girl joined them. That evening, for the first 
time in many long months, the two women kissed her on re- 
tiring. 

The mother sighed. 

1 'Well, you are a good girl!" 

And Aunt Rosette, really softened, accompanied her niece to 
the threshold of her room. Meanwhile she came every day to 
the Rue Saint Honore. That evening she slept there. Unable to 
contain herself any longer, her eyes bright, all excited by the 
event, she gave way, and kissing the artist on the forehead, she 
whispered : " Receive my compliments : you have good taste ; that 
is very well. Meanwhile it is necessary to act carefully." Sarah 
gave the smile of a sphinx. Then, as her aunt was going, she 
called her back, seized suddenly with doubts, or wanting to con- 
fide. " My good Rose," she murmured, throwing herself on the 
neck of the matron, " I need your advice. There are two who 
have noticed me— a young man and an old man. The young 
man suits me well, but the old man seems to be the richest. He 
had a carriage at the door, which he sent back, in order to follow 
me. He would have come as far as here had he not noticed that 
the other was getting ahead of him. But I have his card, and I 

will find him again when it suits me. ... I am in doubt 

Let us see — which one shall I take?" Rosette looked at her niece. 
The young girl, tender and caressing, had wound her arms round 
her neck and was kissing her. 

The wretch was moved. This romance of the events was 
making her decidedly younger. She kissed Sarah on the eyes, 
thought for a moment ; then getting nearer to her niece, as if fear- 



18 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNTTM. 

ing to be overheard by Esther, she let fall in her ears, slowly, 
with the gravity of an aphorism, the advice which she craved. 
"Do you see, my dear, — but this between us, — in your place I 
would prefer the younger one." The young girl burst out laugh- 
ing, and locked herself up in her room. She was impatient to be 
alone, and to think over the events of that night. With her scent 
of the experienced veteran, Eosette was not mistaken. The debut- 
ante held a lucky hand, and instinctively she had very cleverly 
opened the game. Charles Veranne was really a good-looking 
fellow of thirty, elegant and well-mannered. Lieutenant of a 
ship, he owed to high connections the favor of being assigned to 
the Ministry of the Navy in Paris, where, as long as he showed 
his uniform on stated days at the official receptions, he possessed a 
liberty which he could use and abuse. Thrown on high life, he 
gave the style to a world of y oung high-livers, who willingly 
acknowledged him as chief, with the involuntary deference which 
the dudes of the time paid to the gay fellows scattered among 
them. 

In that artificial society among the India rubber dolls which he 
met in the club, in society or in other places, he brought the gist 
of intelligent insanity, of spiritual corruption, and of original de- 
bauchery, which the Grammont Caderousse had, for a while, 
made the style among the clubmen of the times. He brought, 
however, better than that — his strength, his real superiority of the 
man who had labored and suffered. When, with La Barucci, Anna 
Desloins, Margot Bellange, and Cora Pearl around him, he was 
king of the parlors of a stylish drinking house, and wisely directed 
a high-toned orgie, one could detect under his slang of a vicious 
and amusing Parisian gamin, as well as under his seriousness of a 
cavalier of the Gardenia officiating with a glass of champagne, the 
brave and daring officer who had fought courageously, had his 
complexion bronzed by the suns of all latitudes, and who now 
met j^irls with smart words, with the same elegant calmness, the 
same high bearing, the same ironical and cold intrepidity with 
which he had met balls and blows. By that trait as much as by 
his caustic and sharp wit, he was distinguished from the crowd of 
his companions. Withal, a handsome fellow, of a type which 
made him physically as well as morally different from his friends. 
A man to speak truly, whose traits had been refined with- 
out losing anything of their correctness and their energy. The 



HER FIRST APPEARANCE. 19 

sweetness of his mouth, of a delicate profile, corrected what a too 
high forehead, too full a nose, nostrils too easily palpitating, put in 
the bearing of his head, of rude virility and of fierceness. His eyes, 
blue, deep and large, were full now of deep resolution, and now of 
tenderness. Short whiskers left the neck uncovered, notwith- 
standing the then reigning style. His neck showed muscles that 
projected and indicated strength. His face was that of a sailor, 
a man of the world ; as much at his ease domineering in the 
Grand Seize of the Cafe Anglais as at the quarter-deck of his ar- 
mored ship. 

The above observations were made by Sarah the very day fol- 
lowing in the small apartments occupied by the officer on the 
lower floor in the Eue St. Arnaud. For it had not taken them 
long to come to an understanding. Since the previous night they 
had met in a gallery of the Palais Royal, fronting on the square, 
and the young girl hurried there after leaving the theatre. There, 
after having, in making this short distance, exchanged the hack- 
neyed phrases which are passed between the most intellectual 
people under similar circumstances, the sailor persuaded his new 
conquest to step into a carriage and to accompany him. 

Did he love Sarah? It seemed so. At any rate, he admired her 
ardently. To tell the truth, libertine though he was, he experi- 
enced the joy of a Columbus discovering a new world. This 
young girl, who had just barely entered the theatre, captivated 
him by the strange mingling of corruption and ingenuousness 
which he found in her. She was that undiscoverable myth 
which is the dream of the men wearied with pleasure. As to her, 
although De Yeranne as a man pleased her thoroughly, by com- 
parison certainly, she did not love him, being one of those who 
can never love. 

Two hours afterwards, when recalling at the side of this girl 
the strong passions of his younger years, she loved him still less, 
experiencing a vague disgust, in which she felt the rancor of hav- 
ing her illusions destroyed. What? was this love? And^she had 
preferred this young man to the old and richer one ! This un- 
seemly service, did this represent the triumphal dawn, the glori- 
ous union of two beings, of which she had dreamed ! 

Ah ! no ! Were it not for material profits derived from it, love 
was not worth to be thought about ! And a vague respect, a con- 



20 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

fused admiration for her mother and her aunt, took possession of 
her. Often, in those ungrateful hours, when study became un- 
bearable, and filled her heart with a horror of the work which 
might perhaps prove useless, had she thrown away from her the 
sheet from which she learned her part, and dreamed with a de- 
spising envy of the quiet existence, the comfortable idleness which 
Esther and Eosette derived from the barter of their kisses. To- 
day she no more envied them, and ceased to despise them. Un- 
fortunate ones ! How dearly they had to pay for their luxury, 
and how little they could enjoy it, remembering the disheartening 
caresses which they had to give in return. 

However, by degrees she became calm; as Eosette said, she 
reasoned with herself. Man as against man, De Veranne was the 
least repugnant of the two which she could have chosen. Thus 
she thought to herself,, in looking at his large blue eyes, which 
were now as hard as the reflection from the blade of a knife ; and 
yet she could not recover her serenity. The destruction of her 
illusions seemed to her harder to bear and more cruel tnan her 
disgust. Long since expert, and thoroughly acquainted with 
everything in relation to love affairs, she recalled to her mind the 
first experiences of her old friends. All had not felt these heart- 
pangs, which wore heavy upon her at this hour. She remem- 
bered having heard them and barely understood them. Most of 
them had their eyes illumined by intense joy. This had filled 
their bodies with a fever, and had caused their hearts to beat 
with ecstasies of which she knew as yet nothing. Then she was 
seized by anger. "Why was she not made the same as such and 
such of her friends in the Conservatoire, who were taunted be- 
cause of their drawn eyes, their ungainly and lascivious appear- 
ance? 

Her experience was incomplete, and a sense of shame came over 
her. Would she have been weaker if she had just before felt 
some sort of pleasure in having captured a lover ? Then she 
thought, with her rage of combat, with her passion for success in 
spite of obstacles, that she had henceforth two aims instead of 
one : to find in the generosities of man something to provide for 
her needs and for his demands ; then to find a being, man of the 
world or strolling player, who could caress as she hoped to be 
caressed. She wanted to be a loved woman like others. For the 



HER FIRST APPEARANCE. 21 

moment she had the first ; cost what it may she would obtain the 
second. 

When the hour for her departure struck, when Veranne, who 
had mildly taunted her about her poor dress, gave her to under- 
stand the necessity of her metamorphosis from chrysalis to the 
brilliant butterfly, she consequently played her part as an accom- 
plished comedienne. The young man could believe himself loved 
for himself only, and to owe to persuasion only the favor which 
he obtained of making himself loved. 

While he alone upon his sofa enjoyed the delights of his good 
fortune, Sarah, in the corner of the carriage which took her home, 
reflected upon the event which had just transformed her life. 
Physically she experienced only a boundless weariness, and the 
need of refreshment to stimulate her body. Morally she re- 
mained cold. She wanted to be sad, to sbed tears and lament 
her lost freedom, like certain heroines of her roles, with the ges- 
tures and tragic airs of condemned Iphigenia. Above all, she 
suffered from the personal uselessness of her sacrifice. She had 
played the role of a machine ! This discouraged her, and caused 
her to think of the small compensation which she had received 
for her trouble. 

A little real love would have doubled the value of the silky 
papers that she handled caressingly in her pocket. But no; she 
had stored up only regrets ! Nevertheless, further on, a witticism 
of Dejazet that was going the rounds of the petty papers of the 
day came into her head. After all, for a woman it was a proof of 
superiority only, to make people happy at will. Whereupon she 
drew from her pocket the bank-notes, threw herself into contem- 
plation of their blue vignettes, losing herself in this dilemma— to 
find out whether by this way of acting money would be very hard 
to gain, or very easy. 

Arrived at the house she threw the greater part of her gains on 
her mother's table, starting to write to the for some days invisible 
M. Riges; and, the desire to satisfy her old enmities provoking 
her, she cried, " I hope now you will no longer worry me." 

The Jewess was indignant. She worry her daughter? She 
wished only her good, and, with her experience of fife, she 
had shown her the road. She was the signalman who puts un- 
certain travellers in the right way. Young people who are igno- 
rant comprehend anything with difficulty, and you have to repeat 



22 ■ MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

to them, often and loudly, the good advice they will not take at 
once. This does not hinder us from adoring these little deaf ones, 
who dream of having their own way. 

The conversation, begun in this tone, ended in embraces, Sarah 
having a heart heavy with her disillusion on love matters, and 
Esther wishing to know everything. After which Madame Bar- 
num declared that she had suddenly conceived a plan of making 
existence easy to her— of making her as free as possible. For this 
purpose that very morning she had hired, in an entirely fresh 
neighborhood on the Boulevard Malesherbes, a large set of rooms, 
where Sarah should have a chamber of her own, furnished coquet- 
tishly and opening directly on the stairway. The actress should 
enjoy the pleasures and advantages of an economical family life 
while having her complete liberty. The artiste was obliged to em- 
brace and thank her dear mamma. At the end of the week the 
whole caravan folded its tents and went to install itself in its new 
abode. 

This change of residence changed nothing else in the family's 
way of living. If Sarah went out oftener, the isolation ox her room 
had nothing to do with it, and the secret of her absence was not 
the less respected, despite the vaunted door opening on the stair- 
way. At breakfast, her sister Annette, encouraged by the moth- 
er's preference for herself, twitted her. Or perhaps it was reflec- 
tions of this kind: "You should put on another cloak. You 
look cold like one who is frozen." 

Sarah laughed in a bilious way, bursting with desire to stifle 
her sister, and finding her family too large. Her worrying began 
again. Veranne was not rich, but he was very kind to her. Un- 
happily, his liberality did not suffice. The house was more 
than ever insatiable. At every tradesman that clamored — 
and from morn to eve they followed one another — there were 
scenes. One day, pushed to extremity, she thought of an old man 
of the Varices Theatre who had slipped his card into her hand at 
the exit. She got as far as the street, but there stopped, seized 
with fear and disgust. Before the house of the old debauchee 
there was straw laid to deaden the rumbling of carriages. 
Doubtless the old beau was dying, and expiating his debauchery 
of former times. Sarah turned away, her heart in her mouth, 
without asking after the old man's health. 

That very day she was bold enough to ask Veranne to advance 



HER FIRST APPEARANCE. 33 

" her month." It made her ill. The sailor was of a savage dis- 
position, having glutted himself with a tremendous steak the night 
before at his club. Three months previously the Emperor had 
again paid his debts ; he no longer counted on the generosity of 
an aunt for a legacy. The miserly old woman would be pitiless, 
and he was lost if he committed any new act of folly. He would 
be given the command of an imperial yacht— and adieu to Paris ! 
Sarah hardly listened to the end of his doleful tale. She rushed 
out, making the doors bang. After all, what luck ! Charles had 
just made her lose six months, and had neither taught her to 
enjoy herself nor enriched her. She had had enough of it ! 

From the lodging of her lover she descended carelessly to the 
Tuileries. It was a gloomy, gray day ; the garden was almost 
deserted. She did not notice it ; all her reflections were on the 
need of money, and how once for all to escape her position of in- 
feriority. Soon tired of wandering about the lonely walks, she 
sat down mechanically, gazing at the ground and absently tracing 
figures in the sand with her parasol. 

The young girl was near the end of the pier, beside the road 
leading from the Seine to the Rue de Rivoli. Straggling passers-by 
cast their shadows on the sand she was scratching ; clerks 
hastened to their offices ; officers came from the Chancellerie de la 
Legion d'Honneur or from the War Office ; wardens pompously 
paraded their medal-bedecked breasts, and surveyed what might 
be going on about them. Now and then a gentleman walked 
down from the Faubourg St. Germain, and sauntered indifferently 
through the garden. But Sarah saw nobody, being absorbed in 
plans as impracticable as they were complicated, and in peevish re- 
criminations. Those u dogs of journalists" insisted on ignoring 
her. Howattain fortune thus ? A thirst for applause haunted her 
as closely as her thirst for money, and with parched mouth, bowed 
down in her chair, she thought of the means to satisfy both. 
Suddenly her eyes, fixed on the ground, perceived the continual 
passing to and fro of a persistent shadow. She raised her head, 
and saw a man of elegant figure and aristocratic appearance 
ogling her with his eye-glass. At first she was angry at 
being thus stared at. Then, her romantic nature awakening, 
"she thought that perhaps the stranger might be the char mi ng 
prince of her dreams, the magician whose golden wand was to 
transform her life. Her countenance changed. Her lips were 



24 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

wreathed in a wise half -smile ; her eyes became engaging. Five 
minutes afterwards, the unknown had obtained permission to sit 
beside her, and half an hour later they parted company good 
friends. The actress exulted. The conquest she had just made 
was the Prince de Dygne, an odd swell priding himself on his 
originality in love, and showing his gallantry in every clime. In 
her pride, Sarah lost her head. She forgot her projects, her 
Machiavelian plans, all the accomplished coquetries and shy- 
nesses by the aid of which she hoped to draw into her net once 
for all a rich prey. And like a grisette, whom she resembled 
in this common garden, she yielded at once. Veranne had just 
announced to her that he was setting out on a journey: she was 
free. A convenient dinner was proposed and accepted, and the 
promenadress of the Tuileries only left the prince on the following 
morning* at ten. On entering the Boulevard Malesherbes she 
began to comprehend her want of address. In that way she would 
never have an earnest lover, or, if she ferreted out one, she would 
never keep him. Therein was the eternal delusion. De Dygne 
had treated her as a child, everything in him showing an ardor to 
which Veranne had not accustomed her ; but she, in his company, 
had only felt the sensations of a being anaesthetized by love. Three 
or four times a month she met the prince. While in her presence 
he was gallant and lordly, paying for her society with the most 
exquisite delicacy. She liked him very much, and that made her 
very eagei-to divine in what manner he looked upon their transi- 
tory and intermittent relations. But one day all her chagrins, 
all her delusions, were effaced before a sudden and frightful dis- 
covery. As soon as she was certain of this discovery, she ran, all 
in tears, to the author of her ill. The prince that evening 
was in a very gay humor: surrounded by friends (especially 
lady-friends) he was giving a house- warming in his new mansion in 
the Avenue d'Eylau. On receiving Sarah's card, he immediately 
went out to meet her in a little room adjacent to the diinng-room. 
A cheerful clatter of dishes, a musical clink of glasses, and bursts 
of laughter came through the door. The prince, with an animated 
eye, welcomed his visitress with that politeness common to a man 
of the world whom a woman can never disturb. He even chaff ed 
her on her sombre appearance and melodramatic toilette. But 
when the young woman, with gestures which still smacked 
too much of the Conservatoire, had broached her heavy subject, 



HER FIRST APPEARANCE. 25 

the young man, master of himself as he was, could not keep from 
frowning. He was certainly accustomed to feminine scenes, but 
this one irritated him, coming from the little sprite of the side- 
scenes. Besides, it was a disagreeable dessert. One likes to 
digest in another fashion. Her accusations provoked a burst of 
laughter from him. Decidedly it was not in the Eue Vivienne, 
but at the Beaumarchais Theatre, that this little Jewess ought to 
have been engaged. But she continued recalling the imprecations 
of her mother and her aunt, and, in spite of her finesse, not ob- 
serving that she compromised her cause and the success of her 
venture by acting the lover's parts of Bouchardy. 

Finally, the prince could no longer contain himself : his polite- 
ness savored of irony and harshness. 

"My dear young friend," said he at length, "since you are at 
the theatre, pray ask Augustine Brohan to guide you with her 
counsels. That very agreeable lady, when she gives you rules 
for conduct, will utter one of her witty mots, and say, ' When 
seated on a bundle of thorns one cannot tell just which one is 
sticking into him.' " 

Thereupon, and with another laugh, he took his departure, 
excusing himself on the plea that his guests would be growing 
impatient. 



MW0IM8 OF SARAH BABNUM. 



in. 

KICKS AND CUFFS 

Cuffs and blows, and the frequent annoyances and incessant 
miseries of the sort which now made Sarah's home intolerable 
and rendered her existence almost insupportable, did not lessen 
the anxiety she had to endure in the theatre nor the innumerable 
vexations she had to put up with. 

Among the members in the Rue Vivienne you would have ob- 
served a unanimity of opinion on the ' ' Barnum" subject such as 
the house of Corneille had not often furnished an example of. 

Sarah had succeeded in turning her back on the world. Proud 
and disobliging, she had from the very first offended and shocked 
the whole company. She had been exacting, and had succeeded 
in accomplishing this by her pretensions as well as by her tongue. 
Antipathy to her had succeeded indifference, and ill-will had fol- 
lowed antipathy. 

In fine, her manner of publicly dressing out or perhaps of 
stripping her companions, her mania of telling tales about them, 
and her habit of putting her finger in the pie on all occasions, in 
such a way that its contents were squirted in people's faces — in 
a word, the whole of her proceedings, disgusted her companions 
and rendered her situation difficult. Taking new reprisals for 
what she styled injustice or provocation, she finally found that 
her position was no longer tenable. A final scene which she pro- 
voked through her arrogance with Natalie, one of the queens of the 
house, caused her cup to run over, the manager requesting her to 
tender her resignation. She had been engaged for a year; he had 
stood her eight months, and could not tolerate her any longer. 
Sarah was furious, and resigned, but not before she had relieved 
her heart by uttering spiteful and childish insults. 

"It was likely that she would stay any longer in such a box, in 
such a barrack !" and she gave it out that it was she who had given 
notice. However, everybody was cold, The public ignored her. 



KICKS AND CUFFS. 27 

The newspapers either omitted mention, or, considering the 
matter of no importance, did not say anything about it, and 
Madame Barnum despised them all the more for it. 

Although she was very desirous of being puffed by the papers, 
she professed contempt for the people who did the puffing, and on 
this occasion she exhibited even an insolent contempt. 

However, while the newspapers failed her this time, she had 
made for herself some useful connections with the aid of Veranne 
and the few familiar friends of the family. She used these con- 
nections now, kept besieging the people for weeks, and succeeded, 
through her perseverance, in entering the Lyc€e Dramatique, 
which was then a brilliant theatre managed by Montilly. Sarah 
accomplished here her first success in the Pere de la Danseuse. 

On this occasion, again, nobody noticed her. The press— shabby 
monster ! — ignored her arrival at the Boulevard, just as it had ig- 
nored her departure from the Eue Vivienne. Madame Barnum had 
a fit of the jaundice in consequence ; she attributed this, however, 
to some other cause. Aunt Rosette now came rarely, since money 
was scarce in the Boulevard Malesherbes. Not because she had 
formerly profited by the wealth of the family, but because, being 
refined, it was repugnant to her to see mother and daughter fling- 
ing insults at one another's heads. 

The Jewess went so far that Sarah lost her patience. She had 
fallen out with Veranne, who had left Paris for the time being. The 
unfortunate woman found herself at this period alone, abandoned 
and very low. She was thinking of something extraordinary, of 
some impossible fortune, of something miraculous. 

One evening Montilly received a letter on arriving at the Lyc£e 
Dramatique, just before the curtain was raised. 

It was short ; it was one ot those notes such as they used to read 
on the stage in the third act. It commenced with the traditional 
words "I leave," and it finished with the request, "Pardon a 
poor girl !" 

Montilly cursed and swore at first. 

"Did I not tell you she was mad?" he cried to the manager. 

The latter philosophically used this for advertising purposes. 

For the first time Sarah was talked about in the papers, but it 
was in an explanatory note sent by the management and inserted 
upon the fourth page. Nevertheless the actress was not envious ; 
in imagination she lived in Spain ! 



28 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

Why in Spain rather than in Italy, in Belgium, or in England, 
no one could ever find out, and she herself never knew. 

A fortnight after this escapade, Yeranne received a disconsolate 
letter from Madrid — one of those letters which hold out their en- 
velope, just as some people hold out their hats. Veranne forgiv- 
ingly took pity upon the said hat, which belonged to the Madrid 
turban species, and an hour later at the club, Halim Pasha hav- 
ing broken the bank, he blindly risked his last five louis. His 
picture passed eleven times in succession; so on the morrow 
Sarah received a subsidy. 

"If you are not yet an eminent artiste," Veranne said to her, 
" you are nevertheless quite prominent." 

In fact, Sarah was, as always, a little sharp. But this did not 
call down storms on her, and she began, before taking to bed, a 
sadly tiresome life of Bohemianism and expedients. 

Leaving her creditors the door, she enjoyed delicious repose, 
the first she had had since leaving the Conservatoire. 

Everything went well ; accustomed to play minor parts about 
town as well as on the stage, she now had the pleasure of a fresh 
and natural creation. 

It was in the year 1863, and Russian names were in vogue, so 
Barnum's baby was called Loris. 

"Loris Barnum," repeated Rosette, the learned aunt, "sounds 
well. It is very euphonious and not common." 

The good Rosette had reason beside that for adoring her nephew. 
He had just cut his first tooth when he was presented with his 
first plaything, a mechanical theatre. But the baby, who pre- 
ferred the more natural occupations of his age, did not take to his 
functions as manager. With his little hands he demolished the 
actors one after the other, and the theatre, soon empty and aban- 
doned, took refuge in a melancholy obscure corner. 

Sarah had hardly regained her feet when she recommenced her 
adventurous career. She chased after men and engagements 
with frantic ardor. Veranne, notwithstanding the reconciliation 
which followed the return from Spain, remained the same. At 
heart he was a little tired of his lady-love, still generous towards 
her during the times of his good fortune, but showing her a little 
less indulgence at the too frequent periods when iie had lost 
money. The comedienne herself became more wilful, egotistical 
and capricious. Her lover had long ere this perceived her lack of 



KICKS AND CUFFS. 29 

moral sense, but with his aristocratic and refined nature he 
could not pardon certain coarse ways of speaking and looking, 
of which the artiste, in spite of her counsels, could not free herself. 

And indeed the officer would have needed the patience of an 
angel to longer tolerate the pleasant farces with which she at present 
sought to enliven their friendship. ' ' Farces fit for a common sea- 
man!" said he. She had brought a number of large plants, 
which Veranne, who believed in the contagiousness of example, 
advised her to place in her apartment. The delicate child placed 
the plants in a flower-stand, but so arbitrary was her nature that 
the plants were forced to yield. They dwindled away. 

In the mean time she met one of her former companions in the 
Conservatoire. At her house Sarah met and recognized George 
Lanceaux, the son of a rich military contractor. She might then 
have freed herself finally from her Bohemian entanglements, but, 
strange creature 1 she was "but imperfectly furnished in her moral 
nature, and seemed to be condemned forever to mediocrity in 
her love-affairs. Endowed with talent — a young, ill-balanced 
talent— comparatively pretty, quite unscrupulous, without any 
sense, she seemed at first sight most thoroughly armed for all 
amorous adventures, and destined to succeed as well in public life 
as on the stage. Unfortunately, these appearances did not long 
deceive any one who approached her. 

Madame Barnum possessed to the full the characteristic of her 
race — the love of money, but without the skill to obtain it. She 
presented a mixture of romanic anO. pr-sitivistic ideas — a curious 
study, willingly imagining, for example, that at the theatre it was 
sufficient for her to create the smallest role to be universally cele- 
brated the next day, and in life to play "the bored " in order to 
make the millions flow into her coffers. 

With men she behaved strangely, astonishing and repulsing 
some by moneyed extortions which, showing themselves too 
early, made her look like a girl exacting her wages. It was 
always before the most sceptical that she made a show of modesty. 
It was always the sharpest that she tried to .persuade she loved. 
It was thus that, thinking herself clever and hoping to double 
the sum, she sent back to George Lanceaux the twenty-five louis 
which he had slipped into her hand two hours after their first 
"interview." That very day, it is true, finding, on coming home, 
only a plate of sausages for luncheon, she hied to one of those hos- 



30 MEMOIRS OF SABAR BABNVM. 

pitable houses where passing strangers seek those pleasures taxed 
by the hour, like the cabs which convey them thither. It was there 
she was introduced to Sebastian Koll, one of those journalists of 
whom, in her thirst for advertising, she had dreamed. All Paris 
has known and knows Sebastian Koll, that man full of heart and 
wit, who would have invented the monocle, the dog, and the 
hand-organ if he had not found them in the world when he came 
into it. The j ournalist began by chaffing his new acquaintance, and 
gave utterance to a string of witty teasing that would have driven 
Villemessant, that enemy of gossip, to distraction. But on that 
score Koll was very rich, and Sarah kept her temper, in the sweet 
hope that he would pay her in a good notice for the offer which 
the journalist made her of a paste to sharpen razors, at the same 
time inviting her to dinner. 

That dinner, in which the cook surpassed the wit, was the real 
entry of the artiste into the world. She found herself a woman, 
like La Barucci and the little Pigeonnier whom Veuillot had made 
.famous. As to men, the company was a little mixed. There 
were the Duke of Arcole ; Philippe de Cassa, officer and dramatic 
author for private theatricals, who was dreaming of the coming of 
a Republic, so as to act at the Franchise ; the Prince Roubleskoy, 
the romancer Delayrac, the Duke of Genoa, Pommier the dram- 
atist, the Prince Muray, and some other friends of the Tuileries. 
If not in social position, then through his stomach, a certain Koege 
held the first place among them. A strange fellow, that Koege ! 
Usurer by trade, he willingly forgot his Hebrew origin to mix 
among men of letters. He was towards certain of his contempo- 
raries an ignoble Gobsek ; towards others — artists, for example — a 
good-natured fellow. He loaned to the first at from three to four 
hundred per cent, to the others at thirty per cent only, making 
up the difference with good dinners, with flattering hand-shak- 
ings, with theatre tickets, with diawings, with gifts of new 
books and first editions. All men coming from the Imperial 
Court, like most of the writers of that time, were under obliga- 
tions to him at different rates. So that, on this occasion, among 
the invited of the uglier sex there was not one whose note he 
had not discounted in the course of affairs. Sarah, although in 
transports of joy at approaching these glories of Court and letters, 
behaved like a sensible woman. It was to Koege that she threw 
the glove. The next day they came to a mutual understanding. 



KICKS AND CUFFS. 31 

She had not as yet confided her conversion to that son of Shem, 
and the old Jew had guaranteed her a monthly stipend. It 
would have been misery for the actress— a veritable abyss in 
which her family doubled their capacity of absorption— if Koege, 
happy and proud of his conquest, had not presented to her sev- 
eral friends. 

Friends, to the Jew, meant clients. 

The first was Moulet, a young libertine, an amiable young man 
to the residents. Then came Lanat, a manufacturer of cognac, 
deputy to the Legislature from the district of Fine-Champagne. 
The latter had a reputation foreign to his alcoholic productions. 
A short time after his election he had been invited to a ball at 
the Tuileries, and he went — in leather breeches ! His servant had 
told him that the hosts of their majesties wore knee-breeches at 
soirees ! Lanat owed to this innovation— an innovation which, by 
the way, remained without imitators— a short celebrity, by which 
the sale of his cognac was materially benefited. It was well before 
the affair of M. Darimon. 

With these three men in hand Barnum ought to have been 
happy, but it may be in her spite with them she could not feel 
as before that happiness she so much craved. She had not im- 
proved her position, and from that time it became one of neces- 
sity—a position she could never get out of. Head-strong and 
incapable of following advice, the artiste refused to listen to the 
sage advice of Aunt Eosette, which, if she had followed, would 
have assured her future. 

A lover, she told her, is a lord and master; he is a yoke. You 
must have none ! 

And, unable to get any one man of those courting her to sup- 
port her, she preferred having only friends. Such was the 
maxim upon which she arranged a plan of existence from which 
she was never to deviate, and which gave her command of innu- 
merable partners. 

In the beginning this worked well enough. But then came the 
ups and downs. The people got tired after having been amiable 
dupes. This girl revolted at her most corrupt debaucheries, 
and only kept them up by the contrast of her own originality. 
She tried to persuade all of them that they were loved for their 
own sakes. To the new-comers she said each time, under the 
languishing effect of the good-night kisses, which saluted the rosy 



32 MEMOIRS OF SAB AH BABNUM. 

morning, "You are the first whom I ever loved." But some 
indelicate beings discovered the trick, and at a supper at BrSbant 
the actress was joked about: That she had made a journalist, 
not a . . . , but a hard case. 

The word was taken up. And still it did not prevent Chalyl-Bey 
from paying his respects to Sarah, who received him in her ac- 
customed manner. 

Chalyl-Bey was the Ambassador from Morocco to Paris, and 
p.t this time still possessed a fortune, which, by giving royal enter- 
tainments, enabled him to keep up his reputation as a nabob in 
high life. 

In courting the lean comedienne, the original Oriental wished 
perhaps to protest against the love of his compatriots for the obese 
Turkish slaves. 

Unfortunately, Barnum was not able to utilize his favors, just 
as she had been unable to take advantage of her former good 
fortune, although when this generous Turk was presented to her 
she had been warned. 

Twenty-four hours after his first visit, as no jewelry has yet 
been sent to her by the Ambassador, she loses patience. At 
once she writes to his Excellency of the fez, tells him of her mis- 
ery, and receives the same evening .... 100 louis. As to Chalyl, 
he never returned. All her life, Sarah committed the same blun- 
der. In consequence of this, she wished to console herself for the 
loss of her lovers by passing them over to her sisters in order to 
modify the charges made against her — charges that by reason of 
her ferocious egotism she was unable to refute. "But do not 
let us anticipate events," as George Prodel says. We must 
return to the continued extravagance of our heroine, and to her 
persecutors— that is to say, the sheriffs— whom in the course of 
these memoirs we shall run across at every step. 

In spite of the advice of the famous Alexandre Dumas, the co- 
medienne, from the time of her leaving the LycSe Dramatique, 
had continual love affairs. 

Love affairs in fact; the only durable ones Sarah ever con- 
tracted ! 

These affairs commenced in the Boulevard Malesherbes. The 
partnership worked badly. She was sold out. Her mother cried 
bitterly, as M. Eiges had just assured her a small annual in- 
come, She carried her grief to a house further up the street. As 



KICKS AND CtTFM 33 

fco Sarah, counting on her guiding star, she broke loose and en- 
gaged large apartments, in the Eue Lafayette. 

This done, she meditated, when she was alone, .on what had hap- 
pened. 

What was to become of her? She possessed for furniture a 
large bed, the only piece of furniture that was left her by the law. 
A bed it was. Well, but what would grave economists say? 
The Useful is not everything, and the poor comedienne passed 
through a period of idleness. 

And then she addressed herself to her friends. She had a great 
many. She had too many. 

To do them justice they quickly responded, and not one arrived 
with empty hands. One might say it was a picnic of uphol- 
sterers. Each one brought a piece of furniture — one a lounge, 
another a table, another a clock and candles. Lanat presented 
himself last, towards the evening. On the staircase they heard a 
well-meaning voice, but very false, trying to sing the ' ' Postilion of 
Langjumeau," and suddenly the spirit-merchant burst into the 
salon, and sat down on a curious but familiar seat. He put 
his foot on the ground before Sarah. "Ella," he cried to the 
assistants, "you did not think of that guitar without strings. 
But I was there. The superfluous is so necessary." 

The mistress of ceremonies was dying of laughter. When she was 
calmed they paid a visit to the dressing-room. With its furni- 
ture of different styles it looked like a bric-a-brac shop. The 
pieces were immense, and in some of them the seats could not be 
seen; the place now, at least, was tenantable. They kept their 
new location very ill, it must be added, for a real daughter of 
Israel. Barnum was dirty. Her unprovised furniture very 
soon had a dirty look. Moulet, when he found orange-skins on 
the sofas and lounges, exclaimed that Moses had been exceedingly 
far-sighted in introducing a pork-butcher to the people of his race ; 
but the young girl did not become any more careful or clean. 
And they were full of indulgence for her. They held their sides 
when they were told that the comedienne put linseed-meal poul- 
tices on her stomach on going to bed. 

' ' You understand, " said the narrator, " it is very funny there are 
times when it goes slip-slop." This slip-slop amused the crowd im- 
mensely. De Yeranne, who from time to time came to spend five 
minutes in the salon, allowed himself to laugh auietlv: and if 



34 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

Sarah excused herself for her disorder and for her Oriental laisser 
faire, he would say, " No, my poor girl, you are not badly brought 
up; you are not brought up at all: it is very simple." But in 
spite of all this, creditors and sheriff's officers would not show pity. 
The chambermaid, the cook, the nurse of little Loris, did not allow 
them to enter. Wishing to escape from the crash, Sarah, the day 
before they were again to seize her, induced the three women 
to bribe the door-keeper, no one knows how, and to move the con- 
tents of the apartments surreptitiously. 

They transferred everything to a little cottage at Auteuil ; and lif e 
at this happy juncture began in the same old way, with the fear 
of more creditors and the bearers of stamped paper who were 
scouring Paris for their prey. 

Truly, however small were the resources of the fugitive, how- 
ever discouraged her friends were, she would have been able to 
get out of her trouble. But gossip and dirt reigned at her home. 
Now she abandoned her house for two or three days at a time, 
found that Auteuil was too far, and complained that the cab-men 
refused to carry her after the theatres closed. She asked for 
hospitality of each friend. One day, on coming back from one of 
her trips, she met with a peculiar surprise. Unpaid, and without 
money to buy food, her servants had disappeared. 

The funny part of the trick was that they had profited by the 
lesson that their mistress had taught them in the Eue Lafayette. 
They had taken everything ; they had cleaned the house ! Sarah 
found only the nurse. She and little Loris had taken refuge 
with Madame Barnum. The comedienne naturally left her there. 
As for making a complaint, she did not dare, on account of her 
creditors, from whom she fled more than ever, and who were still 
ignorant of her residence in Auteuil. 

This incident did not change her life in the least ; it only dimin- 
ished the number of her friends, and hastened her downfall. 
The artiste was in despair. It was in vain that she tried to make 
for herself what she called "serious acquaintances." Her nets 
held but small fish. Sorrow performed this miracle : it made her 
grow thin. Her lymphatic temperament, overcome by misfor- 
tune, gave way. In certain circles, when one was seen drinking a 
glass of orgeat, he would be asked, laughingly, "Are you, then, 
one of Sarah's friends?" 



INFLUENCE OF WANT UPON FAMILY RELATIONS. 35 



IV. 

OF THE INFLUENCE OF WANT UPON FAMILY 
RELATIONS. 

We remember having read once, we cannot now tell where t 
che serio-comic history of a family of the Bue St. Denis, which, 
spending the summer on the sea-shore, got lost along the cliffs and 
was surprised by the rising tide. The facetious reporter who 
related the adventure of these brave bourgeois had arranged it in 
ballad form. He described the frights of this little pruoVhom- 
mesque family group, and ended every stanza with the refrain, 
"And the sea was always rising !" 

As we advance in the history of La Barnum, we are ever 
haunted by this recollection. There is, in fact, a refrain which 
we must ourselves have recourse to at the end of every page of 
these memoirs. It is this : ' ' And want always lasted." 

This was not at all surprising, as Sarah invariably failed to be ac- 
cepted seriously by a permanent lover. Like the slender- waist ed 
bees that she resembled, the poor girl was plundered ; but she used 
to knock the skin off and to bruise her feelers without gathering 
anything with which to sweeten her miserable existence. As to 
her hive, it was not with honey that she used to line her cells, but 
with stamped paper. And so, at this time, her hive was a lodg- 
ing-house. She did not know where to rest through fear of her 
creditors. It would have been nothing had she been alone ; but 
Madame— mother, who had lost her jointure, would worry her 
every day, M, Eiges having played his lady-love the poor trick of 
dying before he changed the allowance he gave her into a steady 
income. Life has such hard blows as these. Thus the come- 
dienne in partibus found herself with a nurse upon her hands, 
with a child, and with the heavy expenses of a family of three 
persons. Being a fatalist, she still believed in her star, and ex- 
pected, but with a strong mixture of impatience, the arrival 
of the nabob who was to make her wealthy. To kill time, 
she frequented places of vulgar amusement. She was seen at 



36 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

Cora Pearl's and elsewhere. Still, these relations were of but 
little use to her. Her notoriety was null; her beauty had noth- 
ing attractive, and she did not know how to set it off. She 
only looked well in a high dress, and did not know it, as she did not 
know how, when she made up her coiffure, to "underline" the 
charm of her eyes and mouth. As to her toilet, it was composed 
of eccentricities, the adoption of which as the fashion afterwards 
made a fortune, but which at that epoch simply made their 
creator ridiculous. She looked again for an engagement, tried a 
thousand fruitless proceedings, and was soon disheartened, tired 
of being humiliated and refused everywhere. Then it was that, 
pressed by want, she fell so low as to appear, under a false name, 
in a fairy piece at the Porte Saint-Martin ! 

Poorly paid, as one may suppose, she had only consented 
to this supreme fall in the fallacious hope of fishing out an adorer 
to match the color of her dress. She played the Princess Souci, 
and, as this part demanded a dress open at the sides, she expected 
to triumph, thanks to her flesh-colored tights. Alas ! a theatrical 
career is paved with disillusions ! La Barnum experienced them 
most cruelly. Against every expectation, she was detected among 
the fifty or sixty figurantes as lightly dressed as herself, but 
only to be laughed at. She moved the risibilities of the good young 
men of the orchestra when she came on the stage, showing her 
thin shanks, her clownish knees, in a disguise which underlined the 
hollows and showed the bones to advantage. As sincere histo- 
rians, we must acknowledge that Sarah, in the Princess Souci, mar- 
vellously resembled a peculiar spider. They even talked of in- 
serting for her in the play a ' ' March of Insects. " She had not the 
patience to wait for the execution of this project intended to put 
her on show, and, having found that such exhibition of her 
form would always drive away the audience, she gave up the 
Porte Saint-Martin, after fifteen days of profitless performances. 

It was at this moment that she made the acquaintance of Mme. 
de Sablon. This noble lady had become rich, thanks to her activ- 
ity ; but, charitable by temperament, she still liked to do some- 
thing for the young friends who were attracted by her amiable 
manners. As obliging, on the other hand, towards men as she 
was towards women, she was the providence of young men whose 
purses had been lightened by races, clubs, and so forth, and who 
no longer could obtain from selfish or too austere parents the means 



INFLUENCE OF WANT UPON FAMILY RELATIONS. 37 

of continuing their mode of life. At a time when, with the assist- 
ance of science, the longevity of owners of inheritances increased 
continually, Madame de Sablon could always get for those who, 
on good security, implored her for loans, the confidence of the 
clerical attaches of M. Octave Feuillet's theatre. 

This amiable little blue cloak, hired out at so much per cent, 
could not fail to pity the misfortune of Princess Souci. 

The charitable woman, therefore, took an interest in her welfare. 
In two visits an understanding was made, and one fine morning 
the comedienne found herself installed anew in the Boulevard 
Malesherbes, not far from the maternal residence, in a pretty 
first-floor elegantly furnished apartment. 

La Barnum, in ecstasy, thanked her saviour in petticoats, who 
did everything decidedly well, for the very same day, at dinner, 
she introduced to her new friend M. Roger Trimont, a rich man- 
ufacturer of champagne, whose conquest the young Jewess imme- 
diately made. 

A less precarious life then commenced, for our heroine, taught 
by experience and tired of want, resolved not to allow her prey 
to escape her. To attain this end what must be done? 

Sarah was asking herself this question aloud, two days later, in 
her little cream-colored satin sitting-room. She had risen and 
was standing before a mirror, her height seemingly increased by 
a wrap with an extravagant trail, her physiognomy made tragic 
by the powder on her cheeks, the strange scaffolding of her hair, 
and the infatuation of her pale face in the multiplied turns of 
her muslin cravat with its exaggerated bow ; the serpentine and 
flowing lines of her body, reflected in the mirror, took the fleet- 
ing indecision of spectral shadows. She addressed herself, this 
lean pythoness, like Don Carlos soliloquizing in the fourth act of 
Hernani. 

And, like Don Carlos, she received a reply. 

As in the antique romance of the "Talking Well," a mysterious 
voice answered her — " Love !" It was equal to the " Clemency !" 
of the poet. And, again like Don Carlos, she followed the advice. 

Desired to follow would be more correct. Like hell, the first- 
floor apartment of the Boulevard Malesherbes was paved with 
good intentions. Sarah's complex and ill-balanced nature must 
have been stranger than ever at this time, in that she dreamed 
of being sincere in order to play her character all the better 



38 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. . 

whilst obeying her friendly oracle. She seriously endeavored to 
love Trimont, then to believe that she loved him. On looking 
deeply into the matter, it might be that she was merely obeying 
her secret and constant desire to taste the real joys so sweet to 
her friends, and of which ill luck had left her in ignorance. 

She worked so arduously at the task, was so far convinced of 
ber loyal attempt, that if she did not really love the amiable 
champagne-merchant, she was at least capable of persuading him 
that she admired him. 

Sarah resembled one of those boasting men of the south of 
France who, in the fourth or fifth edition of their lies, suddenly, 
in the middle of their anecdote, come to believe that they no 
longer lie, that their story is true, and that they are sufficiently 
sincere to humiliate the Alceste who hears them. 

Was this illusion on the part of our heroine a sign of her per- 
vading talent ? Perhaps it was. In any case, only great artists 
can thus throw themselves into the parts they take. 

When Sarah said, "Come! come to me, my Roger!" — when, 
nestling down in her rocking-chair, her eyes artificially bright, 
she called the young man to her, stretching forth her arms — when 
she uttered those three syllables, "My Roger," with all the cap- 
tivating music of her mellifluous voice, one would have been 
tempted, on hearing her and considering her leanness, to pre- 
scribe for her a treatment of cold water and bromide of potassium. 

But no one was there to witness the love-making of the two ; 
and Sarah, who was decidedly destined to remain an imperfect 
woman, was risking nothing in bestowing her most charming 
smiles upon the man she was endeavoring to love. 

And yet it would be dragging Truth into a pitfall — a pitfall in 
no way disagreeable to the relater of the story, Dame Truth 
being very lightly clad — to affirm, as we have just done, the 
perfect solitude of our heroine during those amorous interviews. 
In reality, the amelioration of her position, and especially the 
close neighborhood, had brought her nearer to her family. 
Madame Barnum was beginning to exact payment for what she 
had done for her eldest daughter; and Annette, next in age to 
the artiste — a precocious child who carried her thirteen years as 
well as her comrades did their sixteen summers — was nearly 
always at the house of the artiste, whether M. Trimont was there 
or not. 



INFLUENCE OF WANT UPON FAMILY RELATIONS. $9 

Peculiar creature, this girl ! More precocious than any, as vi- 
cious as . . . a few, she was certainly more fully developed, in every 
sense of the word, than Sarah had been at the same age. This was 
due less, perhaps, to her inferior education than to the surround- 
ings to which, from her infancy, her mother had accustomed 
her, for she was the favorite child— than to her recent dancing edu- 
cation in the Eue Eicher, where they obtained their first drilling. 

She had learned everything except dancing, disliking the hard 
work, and thinking herself too fully developed to acquire the nec- 
essary agility required to be perfect. Eeine, her young sister, 
had continued alone the studies which they had commenced 
together, and Annette, whom Madame Barnum had never opposed 
or scolded, had become a regular visitor at Sarah's apartments. She 
did not trouble herself. Her elder sister, who, if not successful 
in giving herself that peculiar appearance that leads one on, had 
not acquired a moral sense. Before the girl she was unconstrained, 
drying her cheek after Eoger's loving kisses with a shamelessness 
which her infidelity did not palliate. She often kept Annette to 
dine with her, being frightened at the shadows and loneliness, and 
sometimes even kept her all night. 

For he, naturally grave and serious notwithstanding his youth, 
was married, and, although held in check-strings, managed to 
elude them. In order to see his sweetheart of an evening he had 
to make excuses, or put on somebody else's shoulders the respon- 
sibility of his late hours. Madly in love with Sarah Barnum, 
whose commands were law, she had by deg.rees convinced him he 
was loved for himself alone, and enslaved him. He tried every 
way, with an obstinacy worthy of an Apache Indian, to free him- 
self, to invent a pretext for leaving his wife at the ball, theatre, 
or evening party, thence to fly to the arms of his dearly beloved, 
although perhaps she could not devote more than half an hour to 
kim. Often did he call only to find Annette staying with Sarah, 
the latter expecting no callers. Naturally he did not double his 
monthly allowance to the actress, and distress reappeared in the 
house in consequence of the Jewess's disorderly living. After- 
wards Madame Barnum, under pretext that she had the nurse and 
young Loris on her hands, and that her younger daughters were 
rapidly growing, became insatiable. The everlasting misery 
reigned again. 

Its reappearance worried everybody, and very naturally one 



40 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNZTM. 

morning the idea struck the tribe to utilize Annette, who, brought 
up in the way we have just described, was bitterly complaining 
of remaining idle. The girl was disgusted that her debut was 
so long delayed on account of her youth. 

The semi-poverty winch again appeared at the house of her 
mother and sister made her decide to try her luck. She was four- 
teen years old. But how should she obtain her introduction to 
the life she wished for? She smirked at those who frequently 
visited Sarah, but all in vain. Every one feigned not to under- 
stand her ; they were perhaps scrupulous, or perhaps they feared 
the consequences of so youthful an infatuation. 

Eeduced to that, Annette addressed herself to Griffeport, the 
story-teller, vdio, so to speak, sent her back to her doll. 

The distress becoming very pressing, she walked the street 
as many foolish girls do. 

One day she had the joy of seeing herself followed by Thremer, 
an old jeweller, very rich, but extremely close, and who by his 
silly propensities was often led into trouble. 

The debutante, being well aware how this had for a time made 
the Jew very careful, and warned moreover by her previous ex- 
perience, was very cautious this time not to own her innocence. 

But it was not without cruel suffering that the poor girl feigned 
an experience she had not had. 

Like the young and stoical Spartan who, according to a very 
improbable story, allowed a fox hidden under his dress to gnaw 
at his vitals rather than confess his theft, she quietly endured 
the martyrdom, and by her heroic Jewishness succeeded in ex- 
torting a salary from the old Don Juan. % 

This De Sade of jewellers, after ignobly bargaining, gave her 
five louis. 

Her sister's friends had taken an interest in the gamine, and 
loved her greatly. One of them had even tried to put her on the 
stage, and had her engaged at the Fantaisies, where the debutante 
was now playing Cerisette in Carambole ; and it was due to her 
experience on the stage that she had acquired her unparalleled 
" cheek." They tried to console her, but her mother, a very prac- 
tical woman, found something worth more than mere sympathy. 

She induced her favorite daughter to send a note to Chalyl-Bey, 
Sarah's old friend. She only needed to say to the good Turk, 



INFLUENCE OF WANT UPON FAMILY RELATIONS. 41 

"Come and see me then, Excellency. I play in Carambole, and 
they say I am lovely in it. ..." 

Chalyl came in fact, and found that Annette had not deceived 
him. 

As she played in the first act only, she took her supper after 
the curtain went down. At the table she amused him so much 
by her lively and wicked wit, that the Oriental ended by longing 
for what he had at first accepted only out of curiosity's sake or in 
idleness. 

So much so, that this experienced diplomat, who boasted that 
he thoroughly knew woman, and all the women, was duped by a 
mere child. 

The little girl wanted to take her revenge for the failure with 
the jeweller ; and in order to do so she persuaded the good Chalyl 
that he was her first lover. 

The gamine related her triumph everywhere, as she had related 
her misfortune. She was exultant. 

The young Barnum's enthusiasm subsided when, after three or 
four interviews, Chalyl slipped out of her hands. 

Annette already knew the miseries attendant upon a light purse, 
which had so reduced her elder sister. She thought Sarah 
owed her support and counsel according to the laws of nature, and 
she went to solicit aid from her. 

To do this she had to make the acquaintance and conquest of 
Lanat, the heavy drinker, the man with the skin trousers — the same 
" dear Eoger," manufacturer of Champagne, who had said to the 
tragedienne "My dear, we will revel in liquor." Lanat, with- 
out having broken off his relations with his former friend, had 
ceased for some time to visit her. A story, perhaps having some 
basis, may explain his anger. It was due, perhaps, to the fact 
that the member of the Chamber of Deputies had been the first to 
perceive in the reverses and failures of La Barnum the contempt 
she felt for his lymphatic temperament. 

The state of Annette's health doubtlessly reassured him, admit- 
ting that her rapid convalescence had not completely obliterated 
the memory of her unfortunate accident, for he immediately de- 
clared his love to her. 

Too well bred to receive him with disdain, the young girl re- 
sisted a little, but so very little that before she knew it she had 
ample cause to regret it, 



42 MEM0IB8 OF SARAH BABNUM. 

How could she, in fact, have found the time to reflect upon 
the danger of her course? Lanat sufficed for her no more 
than for her sister, and she gave him assistants, all industrious 
and charming gentlemen. She met one of them, a rich Cuban, 
Count Fernanda, at the house of one of Sarah's friends, whom he 
visited so often that he laid himself open to the suspicion of being 
the lady's favored lover. Sarah would never have committed the 
imprudence of leaving one of her friends alone in her room with 
the Count, but she didn't dream of distrusting the girl, and one 
day left her alone with the noble foreigner. The innocent child 
took advantage of this to make an appointment Avith the Cuban 
at the house of a friend of hers. One appointment followed an- 
other. This went on for months without her confiding friend 
knowing anything about it, the latter even telling her grateful 
young friend of her secret conquest. The appointments were 
so brief, and the gentleman was so reserved in certain places, 
that her little friend did not yet know who the man was whose 
caresses she received ! 

For Annette, as for Sarah, nothing but check-books and a 
weh-nlled purse had any value. It was about this time that the 
new debutante was seized with a ferocious jealousy at seeing 
Reine, her young sister, developing more and more each day, and 
becoming beautiful to look upon. The preparatory dancing lessons 
aided in prematurely forming the young girl. She looked now 
like a little woman in spite of the exquisite gracefulness of her 
form — like a little woman with the face of a child. From her 
mother she inherited an Hebraical purity of countenance, whose 
classic severity was relieved by her smile and her big eyes — the 
smile and eyes of M. Riges. But what enhanced her neauty 
most was her hair, which was thick, heavy, very long, and of a 
golden color. As no one ever paid any attention to her, although 
her dresses lengthened every month, her hair was her only 
coquetry, lasting her for years. She cared for her locks lovingly ; 
she combed them in a scientific and precocious way; she was 
proud of them ; she adored them. 

However, it was not their beauty, it wasn't the grace of the 
child, which in the Rue Richer, as well as in Sarah's parlor, made 
the little Reine the favorite and pet of every one. The friends of 
the house adored her above all for the contrast she formed with 
her two elder sisters. 



INFLUENCE OF WANT UPON FAMILY BEL AT10N& 43 

Nevertheless she wasn't an angel. Brought up like her sisters, 
as prematurely steeped in vice as they, the little Reine only dif- 
fered from them through her happy character and her native 
fidelity. Always neglected, often maltreated, she had suffered 
more especially since the death of M. Eiges, a death which made 
her indeed an orphan. 

The bad treatment she had since received from her mother and 
Annette did not make her any worse than their former antipathy 
had embittered her. A precocious resignation came to her which 
softened her graceful ways, brought a pallor to her face, and Med 
her eyes with a more tender regard. But when, on growing up 
and becoming a woman without ceasing to be a child, she excited 
the jealous rage of her sister, the life of the poor little one was 
made a veritable martyrdom, which the egotistic Sarah did not 
deign to perceive. 

One morning when she was feeling very sad, and when her eyes 
were red with weeping (her mother having whipped her for no 
reason at all), Annette suddenly entered the room and found her 
looking in the glass. The child had left her hair hanging over her 
shoulders and was softly brushing the golden waves in the sun. 
Thus, sitting in the light by the window in front of the narrow 
glass, nearly dark, which reflected the sweet milk-whiteness of 
her half -naked neck, she was so very beautiful that Annette felt 
jealousy biting her heart furiously. The actress remained motion- 
less at the entrance of the room, remembering certain hints, cer- 
tain phrases, from her friends concerning Sarah, especially certain 
looks which they exchanged. If she were able she would have 
taken away all Sarah's adorers. Pale with anger, her lips white, 
the young girl resolved to go to Mother Barnum, of whom she was 
always the pet child. 

Suddenly she threw herself upon Madame Barnum's neck, ca* 
ressed her, confided to her her fears and despair. 

The mother did not think of resisting or of calling her guilty. 

"You little savage!" said she, "you annoy me greatly with 
your long hair. You only think of fixing it instead of going to 
work. I am going to cut it at once." 

Had the ceiling fallen, it would not have had a more crush- 
ing effect on the poor little unfortunate. She cried, threw her- 
self at her mother's feet, and asked for mercy. 

It was in vain. Annette, impassible, was warming her feet in 



44 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARFUM. 

front of the fire, now and then looking at her sister with an evil 
eye. 

The scissors glistened. Seine fought and tried to escape. 

The matron slapped her face and laid her across her knee before 
her, gripped her with her feet so that she could not move, and 
seized her silky hair. The steel bit. It snapped. During five 
minutes the cutting of curls too thick for the scissors could dis- 
tinctly be heard. The victim was crying incessantly, kneeling 
among golden hair which brightened the floor around her. 

On her shoulders, caught by the woolly thread of her dark 
dress, other curls were rolled together in bunches, and it 
seemed, in looking at these sunny spangles, that the infant, in 
childish glee, lolled among straw in some attic. When, at the 
end, the Jewess, rising, moved back a few steps and contemplated 
her work, Annette also approached, and bantered her, happy to 
be avenged. 

Eeine, her strength gone, her spirit broken, was still kneeling. 
Great tears rolled down her cheeks. 

She resembled a poor shorn, shivering lamb whose feet were be- 
numbed from long pressure of the shearer. 

Between her sobs her body shook, and so the scissors cut ir- 
regularly. 

Close-shaven, her head looked like a pair of stairs. She was 
very near ugliness. 

And from that day a terrible life of vexatious humiliations, 
wounds, and insults began for the wretched Cinderella. 



LOVE DOES NOT KILL. 45 



v. 

LOVE DOES NOT KILL. 

Oh, the terrible things they write about nowadays ! Speaking 
of our heroine's young sisters, we have, in accordance with our 
promise, anticipated events. Our first chapters have perhaps 
been premature. We trust our readers will forgive us in consid- 
eration of the example we set before evil-doers. 

Now it is to Sarah that we come. Three years have passed 
since she left the Theatre Corneille. Her ambitions are more defi- 
nite, without growing less ; she knows life, and is sorry to have 
suffered from men and other things ; she is always dreaming of 
an engagement. But the engagement does not come ! 

The actress becomes disheartened. Luckily, Providence, which 
always has a regard for tenacity of purpose, weak or strong, 
finds at last that the artist-stage had awaited sufficiently long. 

Overruling Providence manifests itself usually for small rea- 
sons, but produces the grandest effects. 

Here is the history of that intervention and the events that pro- 
duced it. 

A certain banker with an aquatic but Spanish name had a love- 
affair that he wished to get rid of, the lady having fallen in love 
with a very clever and talented fellow, a future lawyer, who had 
dissipated his fortune in trying to lead a fast life. Wishing to 
make himself agreeable to the lady, but not knowing by what 
supreme and gracious act he could renew their old love, he had 
the bright inspiration of rendering a service to his successor. 
To accomplish this it need not be said that he remained anony- 
mous, and that De Chesnel— the lawyer— did not know in what 
way the windfall came about. 

In fact, one morning the director of the Fantaisies found him- 
self announced as director of the Parthenon, a subsidized theatre, 
and came to propose that Chesnel should be his partner. As 
might be supposed, the lawyer accepted ; Eilley being one of his 



46 MEMOIRS OF SAUAB BABNVM. 

friends, lie did not doubt at all that the man of the theatre, while 
asking him to become his associate, merely obeyed the orders of 
his commander, the financier. 

The Parthenon, under this new direction, entered a new era of 
prosperity. Now it was to Rilley, the incarnation of that Provi- 
dence to which we alluded a minute ago, that Sarah came and 
offered her aid. 

And this monster of a Rilley had his ears pulled, as it were. 
The stupid fellow found the artiste too thin. But luckily De 
Chesnel had a better scent for genius. He foretold the future of 
the young woman, and insisted that they should engage her, 
which was done. 

La Barnum found herself at the height of her ambition. 
Understand that they gave her one hundred and fifty francs a 
month, besides the prospect of playing for years. The essential 
thing was that she should return to the theatre. As for her own 
small affairs, they went on pretty well. The management kept up 
the system with vigor, and the number of those that took part in 
it ended some days by filling out their own wardrobes, — for the 
richest of men became misers with him, — so that once in the 
grooves Sarah at once devised her way of operation. 

"What is most curious," said she, " is that the band goes like 
a single man, and that the eight together make an excellent 
family. Each one has his day, and never a quarrel ! They adore 
one another ; and I think, on my word, that even if I left they 
would continue to reunite in my salon !" 

And she added, "Do you know how I call my club? My 
menagerie !" 

This was doubly right, because amongst the leaders they 
noticed Messrs. Mouton, Basset, Leboeuf, Renard, and several 
others with names as much like those of animals, whose station 
in life we could not, without entirely taking away the pictur- 
esque element, describe as we have done for the four preceding 
ones. 

Notwithstanding that the first enthusiasm passed, the actress 
found her condition too humble, and to Chesnel she said so. "My 
girl," said he, "do not despair! Play any part. The most es- 
sential thing is that you play, that every one may always see 
your name on the posters. The theatre is a public affair. Do 
like the chocolate manufacturer X . By reading on all the 



LOVE DOES NOT KILL. 47 

walls of Paris that it is the best of all, people become convinced 
and buy." This then is what Sarah took for her motto, " Despite 
Everything." And with her natural instinct and connection with 
theatres she concluded she was an excellent adviser, and per- 
severed to the end. In spite of sceptics, it appears that devotion 
— that is, the devotion to the art of which we speak— finds some- 
times its recompense. The recompense of La Barnum was at the 
end of eighteen months in a short role suiting exactly her nature 
and well adapted to her physical defects. She created it in the 
King (Edipus. 

This was a real success. Paris did not fall under the weight of 
her success, but from this date on did justice to the new artiste. 
At length she knew the joys of a successful actress. 

In the mean time she had the good fortune to get on the right 
side of some of the journalists. 

At length the puff so much coveted came. The said puff was 
not valuable to her self-love alone. Sarah gave private entertain- 
ments, which were a means of increasing the number of her ad- 
mirers. Nevertheless she had to struggle with some of her com- 
rades who were brave enough to try to oppose her recruiting 
operations. 

One evening, while acting at Mme. Millet's with Antoinette, who 
had obtained a real success at the Gaiete, she noticed a young 
club man of the name of Terson, who captivated her at once. Our 
heroine was certainly smitten. Antoinette had remarked this 
eligible party, and was as anxious as her comrade to make his 
acquaintance. Very soon the two actresses guessed by their 
glances that they were rivals, and determined to try hard which 
could win the prize. The question was who could first secure a 
presentation to the fortunate young man. 

They manoeuvred to effect this. At first Antoinette appeared 
likely to carry the day, but when her companion saw herself on 
the point of being distanced she conceived a brilliant idea. 

She fainted. Terson, of course, made haste to give her his 
assistance. 

In an instant he had taken in his arms the interesting ailing one, 
and carried the precious but light burden to a sofa in the next room. 
There he was most prodigal in his attentions. The comedienne, 
rosy with pleasure at having conquered her rival and satisfied her 
caprice, opened her beautiful eyes, and very soon recovered, 



48 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

The next day her saviour took a place in her menagerie. 

The story was known at the Parthenon, and all were very 
much amused with it. Besides, La Barnum trumpeted her good 
fortunes, and imagined she had more than was actually the case. 
Even her own stories were more exaggerated in proportion as 
others made more fuss over the affair. For the falling off began 
to make itself manifest in spite of the number of the faithful. 
One of her most amusing inventions was to interest her good 
friends with the letters which she said were addressed to her by 
her lovers as rich as they were deeply in love. 

In this way she was cruel to many of these unfortunates, who 
lost their heads and thought about suicide. One of them con- 
tinued to follow her carriage, and she was afraid of seeing him 
throw himself under the horses. As she referred so often to this 
story, they began to believe there must be some truth in 
it, and resolved to ascertain the fact. One. of the party was 
charged to look into it. He foimd in reality a man who ran 
behind Sarah's carriage, gesticulating and crying with all 
his might. But, deception ! this was one unfortunate to whom 
the comedienne had ordered her door to be shut in his face, and 
who followed her everywhere, claiming the amount of his bill. 
The unknown lover was a creditor. How the Parthenon rang 
with laughter when this was told ! But the debutante was not 
discouraged, more especially as an unhoped-for success suddenly 
brought her to the front. They gave at a benefit the first repre- 
sentation of an act in verse— " The Voyager," the work of a youth. 
The celebrated Hagel, charged by the author to create one of the 
roles of the piece, asked and obtained that Sarah should play the 
other part, that of a young Italian troubadour. It happened 
that this act, a little masterpiece on which no one counted, suc- 
ceeded marvellously. Next day La Barnum was finally well 
known in Paris. It is easy to guess her joy. However, this 
triumph did not satisfy her pride. Her friends little by little be- 
gan to grow cold, less weary of hearing her say invariably, ' ' You 
are the second," or "I love only you," than of seeing themselves 
mocked. Truly, the beautiful one was taking it too easy, drew 
the long bow too much ; and the hosts of the menagerie soured 
little by little, ceasing to be agreeable to each other, and had some 
jealous quarrels. That brought disaffection. The discomfort 
became misery at the lodging of the artiste. 



LOVE DOES NOT KILL. 49 

Aunt Rosette, our old acquaintance, had little by little resumed 
her visits, there, but each time the distresses of her niece rent 
her heart. Then she lost patience. Sarah truly was charming to 
her only when she made the morning present of a nicknack or 
a piece of finery to "her good little aunt." She seldom failed, in 
the evening, to send and borrow of her five louis, which half of 
the time she forgot to return. Rosette ended by finding that these 
presents cost her too dear. She did not abandon her young rela- 
tive on that account, who would have done quite otherwise in her 
place ? The sons and daughters of Shem have the family instinct, 
and always press their elbows close together. 

Bat resolving to get ' ' the little one" for once out of trouble, she 
decided — the heroism of aunts! — to ingratiate herself with her 
friends and acquaintances in favor of the unhappy girl. Very 
soon she found her " quite fashionable." At tins time the oblig- 
ing woman lived in the same house with Anna Deslions, whose 
present protector was Marasky, the richest banker in Odessa, who 
had made himself a reputation in high society by his generous 
gifts and his love-affairs. 

People told the most fantastic stories about his generous habits, 
which made the debutantes open their eyes. 

Rosette thought if she could harness such a personage to the 
chariot of her niece she would make a masterly move. This 
thought had no sooner come to her than she betook herself to the 
country. 

"Just think," said she to Sarah, "a man on Anna's birthday 
sent her a penny bouquet 01 violets containing a check for fifty 
thousand francs !" 

The two women at tins looked at each other with gleaming 



The success of the comedienne in Le Voyageur facilitated mat- 
ters. Marasky was presented to her, and paid her court. Sarah 
remained cruel only long enough to allow the banker to become 
inflamed. Then began an amusing comedy. 

First La Barnum made, as she said, a sweeping stroke. The 
stock company was broken up and the doors of the menagerie 
opened. 

She was eager to get the banker in the toils, to let him believe 
that he was the only one received, alone loved beyond every- 
thing; in short, it suited her purpose to play with him this 



50 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

comedy of love and disinterestedness, in which this young 
woman was at her best. However, at the last moment she made 
an exception for two of her animals— those of Terson. To these 
she did not shut her doors. After this she commenced to draw 
around Marasky the tightest of nets. 

" dear angel ! how I love you !" And she even refused his pres- 
ents ! Did he think she would sell herself ! Ah ! the verses of her 
role there at the Parthenon had been made for her. She was 
the grasshopper, the wandering and tender bard who knows only 
how to love and to sing. 

Marasky looked at her without a laugh from his cold and 
piercing little eye. 

As usual the artiste had entered into the soul of her part, 
" pinching her bones" occasionally to wake herself up, and asking 
herself if she did not really like- her Eussian from telling it him 
so often. No more than his predecessors did the noble stranger 
regard Sarah as a woman like the rest. And that enraged the 
actress. So, a fortnight or three weeks after having cleaned the 
house out, she came back to her old friends. Her waiting-maid, 
a sharp little person, rendered her on this occasion a thousand 
services, helping her escapades, and managing that "Monsieur" 
should always find " Madame" alone. 

Then, besides, the actress had the theatre as a pretext and an 
asylum. Her box permitted her to receive whomever she saw 
fit. 

Thanks to her, the actors of the house alternated with the 
managers. 

Meanwhile, the Parthenon gave the first representation of "The 
Natural Child of Mauronde." Our heroine created in it a role not 
without fame. But the success passed away quickly ; always fan- 
tastic, always aping originality, she soon became tired of the 
monotony of the theatre. 

She had lately invented a new method of rendering herself in- 
teresting. It was to make herself the embodiment of the con- 
sumptives, a thing which had been abused by an old-fashioned 
litterateur. 

At every moment she fainted from habit, at the end of which 
she levied real imposts. 

Little by little her old friends understood the trick ; but with 
the new-comers, from whom she had not yet levied enough to 



LOVB DOES NOT KILL. 51 

tire them, the trick would take. But appetite comes in eating. 
Sarah tired of having spells only in her own room before the rais- 
ing of the curtain or between the acts. She resolved, then, one 
day when Marasky had been, according to her, too mean, to try 
a great stroke. 

That evening it was in the midst of the acting that she became 
ill. The curtain was lowered, and Angel, who was on the stage 
with her, rushed to her aid. Stronger yet than De Tirson, the 
actor seized his comrade, laid her on his extended arms, and thus 
took her to her room. 

Although the actress was aware of her lightness, she admired 
the muscle of her saviour, and reproached herself on the way for 
not having noticed it sooner. A tender feeling came to her, when, 
with her eyes half closed, very pale, fainting, and letting herself go, 
she was being carried thus. Now she remembered. He was very 
nice, that Angel, and it was necessary to be, like her, without 
leisure not to have appreciated that fine fellow. And once in her 
room, when he had administered the smelling-salts, when she 
reopened her eyes, she had not the strength, poor thing, to detach 
her arms, hysterically knotted round the neck of the actor. No, 
she had not the strength; "that muscle" had killed her will. 
Angel, without wiping the white powder from his face, embraced 
her as tightly. Neither Marasky nor the " commanditaires" 
were aware of the new fancy. At any rate, the artist was ex- 
emplarily discreet, outside of his comrades in the Parthenon at 
least. 

It was thus that on a certain evening, when there was no play, 
burning to meet his adored one; but fearing that a meeting in a 
stylish restaurant would compromise her, he asked her to supper 
at the restaurant of "Madrid." Le Bois de Boulogne, on that 
freezing November, must certainly be less frequented than similar 
establishments on the Boulevard. 

No sooner said than done. Hiring a cab, the Bois is reached. 
The place is found closed. They knock. One waiter, two waiters 
— " rari nantes" — appear. 

"Madeira? Port? Sherry?" 

"No! A room!" 

A room, at half -past seven in the evening, five degrees below 
zero ! The two functionaries were in a quandary. 

" Go ahead ! quick !" exclaimed Angel, helping his companion, all 



52 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNTTM. 

wrapped up, to leave the carriage. "Between you two fellows you 
will be well able to serve us a supper. But first make a fire !" And 
the couple entered a dark passage, full of solitude- and neglect, 
where the past gayeties of by-gone parties had left but dust and 
sadness on the naked walls. A door opened before them and they 
found themselves in the customary " buen retiro," with the look- 
ing-glass full of names, and the soiled sofa. 

By the yellow color of the candle which the waiter was hold- 
ing, the place vested with a sad horror, it was a melancholy spot, 
smelling more of mould than of the atrocious remembrance of 
loves whose ephemerous vulgarity it had sheltered. 

The man tried to light the gas, but the burners had not been 
used for two months, and the dry, half -strangled whistling which 
those brass mouths gave vent to taint the air, without giving 
any light. Great shadows projected from the candles fell on the 
walls, and made of the looking-glass, where their tumultuous 
battles ended, a dark lake, round which a tarnished varnish 
bordered the inky darkness. Angel was grumbling. 

The waiter, as yet stupefied from surprise, was trying to get 
the gas burning, and, little by little reminded of his professional 
duties by his unnatural visit, was mechanically saying, with his 
nose on the fixtures, 

" Pea-soup— bisque— soup a la CrScy— lobster, American style — 
Bordeaux crawfish." 

" Shut up! 1 ' exclaimed Sarah, who was up in the classics. 

The waiter was unmoved. ' ' Asparagus, " he sighed ; adding, as if 
coming out of a dream : " If Madame would have the extreme kind- 
ness to lend me a pin, perhaps I could succeed in freeing the 
burner." The tragedienne handed him a hair-pin. The man opened 
the narrow opening closed by the dust, applied his candle, and a 
clear fight, lively, yellow, blue, came out, filling the shadows of 
the room with its warm rays. Then the cold was felt the more 
by contrast. 

" Make a fire immediately ! A fire before all !" 

It was lighted. Naturally it did not burn. Sarah repeated the 
words of Cambronne. This made the fire-place no brighter. 

"Madame will excuse me," said the waiter, "but no one ever 
comes here in winter, and the fire-place is only there for orna- 
ment any way." 

Then he blew the coals, kneeling before the rusty grate, even 



LOVE DOES NOT KILL. 53 

pushing his mustache between the bars. Sparks reddened the 
black mass, and a sharp, thick, and heavy smoke penetrated into 
the room. 

" Then shall we say pot age bisque ?" 

"Whatever you choose," said Angel, impatiently, who, amply 
furnished with that caloric peculiar to young people in love, did 
not feel the cold creeping into his bones. The dinner was fright- 
ful. However, the two lovers did not notice this at first, being 
entirely occupied in wiping their eyes, for they wept and coughed 
continually, strangled, suffocated, by the victorious smoke. A 
time came when this was no longer endurable. Sarah, whose fine 
eyes seemed by reason of weeping to be "bordered with an- 
chovies," following her motto, left and ran to the window, 
which she opened. The smoke struggled against this invasion of 
cold air. It became thick, formed itself into an opaque cloud, 
then gathered about the gas-burner, and finally rose towards the 
ceiling. Breathing became possible. For a minute this was a 
keen enjoyment for the two diners. But soon, struck with the 
cold, the young woman's teeth chattered. Angel rushed to the 
window and shut it, but the smoke came down again all at once, 
and the chimney began to belch forth fresh torrents. He was 
forced to open the window again ; then, discouraged, he went and 
sat down by Sarah's side. 

' ' I shiver, dear love, " said the comedienne ; \ ' hand me your over- 
coat." 

He obeyed. Then she took from the dish before her a shrimp, 
which she sucked daintily. At the end of a minute she stopped 
eating, and again her teeth chattered. Angel, whose love killed 
his appetite, had meanwhile fallen on his knees and clasped her in 
his arms. 

"Dear angel! dear treasure! do you love me ?" said he. 

"How cold I am !" she returned. " You have nothing more to 
put on me ?" 

He took off his jacket and covered her limbs with it. She took 
another shrimp. 

" Do you love me ?" he repeated, still on his knees. 

" Do I love you!" and she raised her glass to her lips, but with- 
out tasting it she set it down. ' ' On my word, I am freezing, 
my love! My feet are benumbed." 



54 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNTTM. 

He took off her shoes and wrapped her ankles in his vest, 
then he continued : 

" Do you love me truly, really, my Sarah ?" 

" Can you ask me ?" 

And she gave a little shiver, ensconced herself in the angle of 
the wall, and trembled again. He tried to find something which 
he could still strip from himself, but could find nothing better than 
to make a collar for her of his arms. 

She condescended to smile. 

1 ' Then, you mean it, you " 

He did not finish. A sudden attack of sneezing tickled his head 
and irritated his nostrils. 

1 k God bless you !" piped his companion, discovering a new dish. 

But Angel was unwilling to feel the cold which crept into his 
shoulders and back. Dismayed, stopping his nose with his hand- 
kerchief, he remained in shirt-sleeves and in the same place, em- 
bracing his adored one beneath his overcoat : 

"How madly in love I am !" and the sneezing continued. 

Sarah was no longer cold. She kept on eating in good humor, 
and shaking with a funny laugh whenever Angel sneezed. The 
poor fellow meanwhile spoke through the nose and shivered with 
red eyes. 

"My Sarah! Atchi. . . . My beautiful Sarah! I adore . . . . 
Atchi! . . . ." 

The comedienne spent an hour at supper. Romeo paid for it by 
a cold in the head. They kept up their loving talk. Why should 
she trouble herself ? Marasky continued blind and deaf. 

The pearl of lovers, this Eussian! He believed everything; dis- 
cussed nothing. Not the shadow of a quarrel with him ! She had 
only to allege the necessity of a visit to her aunt, or a double num- 
ber of rehearsals, in order to find herself free. 

At bottom she would have desired to see him jealous. She even 
reproached him with not being so, being again seized with her de- 
sire to captivate him completely, to inspire a true passion. 

"And still I adore you, and still I love you; and you are the 
only man who has taught me and made me share its ecstasies; the 
only one who has touched my heart !" 

He used to listen, quite calmly, to the music of her voice, to lend 
himself to her cat-like clinging. But his eye remained cold, or 
rather lit up with a sudden and fleeting gleam in which she tried 



LOVE DOES NOT KILL. 55 

in vain to distinguish a thought ; trembling, sometimes, when she 
believed she discovered there disbelief and irony, or, at other 
times, radiant when she thought she read there mingled joy and 
pride. 

Now one morning, Marasky, having put down the envelope con- 
taining his monthly six hundred louis on the corner of the table, 
took his hat and his leave. 

The same evening, in a note of two lines, he stated that he 
would come back no more. 

Such was the catastrophe. However, astonishment daied up Sa- 
rah's fierce despair. Why this flight? She begged an explanation. 

Aunt Eosette, sent into the country, returned heart-broken. 
The banker did not like the "strolling actor," as he called him. 
He had tolerated other people of his own class, but this prejudiced 
man refused to share with Angel. La Barnum was crushed: he 
knew all, then ! And he said not a word, the hypocrite ! This, 
then, was what his vague sphinx-like look meant ! 

But what next? 

The inquiry was begun, and well carried on. And the actress 
learned, to her indescribable astonishment, rage, and despair, that 
her trusted one, namely her maid, had betrayed her. It was not, 
moreover, one of those common and ugly acts of treachery com- 
mon with unpaid or ill-treated servants. It was the involuntary 
treachery of a worthy girl, but one less ... hardened than Sarah. 
She was in love, poor girl, and told her lover all! 

And who was the happy man she told? The banker's own body- 
servant ! 

The baron every morning used to learn from the zealous but 
talkative lackey the goings on and movements of Sarah during 
the previous day. 

On what, after all, do the destinies of empires and the fortunes 
of pretty women hang ! If Sarah had taken a maid made of ice, 
or if the Eussian's valet had not been so good-looking, the actress 
could have carried on her arrangements for a long time. But, 
alas ! no one can foresee the future. The Napoleons have their 
Grouchy ; women their stupid or indiscreet maid, and both meet 
their Waterloo. However, the former alone abdicate and believe 
that their star, which is only veiled, is extinguished. Woman, 
like the Old Guard, never surrenders. Sarah was from this 
point of view a woman ten times over. So she struggled pu, 



56 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNJJM. 

Her plan was soon made. Being unable to deny them, she saw 
that her relations with the managers were owing to her want of 
money, which through delicacy she did not dare to mention to 
the chosen of her heart. 

As to the actor, she said she had been maligned; she would 
swear he was to her simply a brother in art. This style of defence 
was easy for her, for Angel had never set foot in her house. 

And by Jove, Marasky knew u La Dame aux Camellias." He 
would pardon in his needy friend infidelities to which she was 
driven, which left, right in the depth of the heart of the poor girl, 
her overpowering love whole and pure. Had she not always sung 
to him her romantic refrain, ' l You are the first man whom . . . 
the first man who ..." (well-known air) ? Only, to succeed in 
winning him back, to make her assertions clear beyond dispute, 
she had to give the fugitive love some all-convincing proof. 

And Sarah poisoned herself! Ah, what an abominable stage- 
scene that was ! How splendidly it was worked ! A letter of ex- 
planation and farewell— a letter dignified, brief, and towards the 
signature overflowing with a tenderness to which the traces of 
tear-drops bore witness— drops from a bunch of violets on the 
paper ruffled beforehand— sent to Marasky 's club at the hour 
when, every evening, he sat down to play cards. After which the 
household were sent away, the house set in order, and dressed up 
as if there was a death ; but not a door was bolted. Then the 
actress put on again her troubadour dress in Le Voyageur, let her 
hair hang down her shoulders, stopped the clocks, lighted all the 
candles, strewed her couch with camelias and roses, and at last 
took to her bed. On a table at the head of the bed was a sheet 
of paper on which she had written this line from her part: " He 
who follows the birds to heaven, and who passes away." 

Below this a trembling hand had traced some words : 

" I die loving you ; to live without you is to me impossible. I 
forgive you. Let me be buried with flowers and music." 

Then came her signature, the date and the hour. At the side of 
the paper an enormous flask, tlie largest the druggist at the corner 
could find, reflected the pale light of the torches, and its label— a 
small printed one, evidently taken from a smaller bottle — read 
thus : ' ' Sydenham's Laudanum. " Marasky would not have been a 
man if, on reading Sarah's letter, he had not naively believed "it 
had come." and to his great chagrin, nay, even to his despair, 



LOVE DOES NOT KILL. 5t 

properly feeling a trifle vain, he found time to impart the news to 
his friends at the club en passant. It had the effect of a train of 
powder. The comedienne had become a celebrity within six 
months. The Boulevard echoed her fame, and it was a question 
whether Le Chante-clair should not issue a second edition. 

In the mean time, Marasky reaches his victim's house. One^ 
two, then three, five, ten physicians follow him. Marasky begins 
by imploring them to save her, and then gradually smells a rat, 
but remains silent, his masculine pride rejoicing at the flattering 
reputation he will gain by the suicide of the celebrated Florentine 
singer, the adored star, dead because of love for him. In the 
mean time,' the doctors are doing their utmost. Sarah, who has 
only swallowed a few drops of laudanum, bravely allows herself 
to be drugged, and towards three o'clock in the morning the con- 
clave of doctors pronounce her out of danger. Marasky, got rid of 
— once is not forever ! — promises to procure from his ambassador 
a ribbon for the disciple of Esculapius first on the spot. The other 
doctors make wry faces, and depart. The pair remain alone. 

The next day there was a sensation. The newspapers dwelt 
only on the suicide of "poor Sarah." On the Exchange business 
was almost at a standstill, and around the basket was fastened an 
inscription. Le Chante-clair excused itself in its local column for 
not issuing a supplement, on the ground of an accident to its ma- 
chinery ; and if De Villemessant found that it was " a good one," 
he would refrain from publishing it in the Figaro. In short, it 
was one of those nine days' wonders that Jarrett and all the other 
American managers had never yet obtained. Of course the Par- 
thenon was closed. 

Marasky was beaming. That morning his valet was more gos- 
sipy than usual ; the Eussiandid not visit Sarah again until evening. 

However, he hesitated. The comedy was known to him at pre- 
sent : what was he going to do ? His eye, in looking at the patient 
— now really ill from the antidotes she had taken-— resumed its 
cold severity. But the noise about the pretended suicide continu- 
ing, he determined to wait before deciding on his course of action. 
Besides, the actress was charming in her dying role, and he would 
have weakened even if his vanity had not been flattered by the 
noise of the event of which he was the cause. How endearing, 
loving, and affectionate she was ! He would never find a lady-love 
like her. 



58 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNTTM. 

He resolved to wait. Sarah waited also. What ! her lover re- 
main cold and sceptical ! Having taken all these emetics, was it 
possible that this mean fellow felt no emotion for her ? Why did 
he not try to hasten her recovery by one of those famous bouquets 
of violets which in former times he was wont to rain upon Anna 
Deslions? Ah, well ! Anger seized her after discouragement, 
but her anger was assuaged by the tender dew of the affecting 
newspaper articles of which she was the subject. Twenty-four 
hours' confinement in bed was enough. She longed and thought 
only of her reappearance on the boards. 

De Rilly came to tell her that the box-office was besieged, and, 
pleased at reinstating the Russian in her favor, she arose. 

Forty-eight hours after her poisoning, she made her reappear- 
ance in Le Voyageur. On the fall of the curtain, her head was fairly 
turned with cheers and applause. She supped with Angel. 

Marasky did not forgive her for this speedy return to the stage, 
which dissipated all his doubts, if any remained, and cut short — 
too short, in fact — his fame. A despatch from the Russian Em- 
bassy altered his plans. Providence had furnished him with the 
means of revenge. 

Two weeks after the recovery of the tragedienne the financier 
set sail from Marseilles. A letter explained to Sarah the cause of 
the disappearance of her protector. She found at the same time 
that the ingrate had left without leaving her a cent, or even pay- 
ing the rent for the month already commenced. 

"No one would treat a cab-driver so shamefully," she cried. 
" The miserable scampi" 



INFLUENCE OF A FIRE ON THEATRE FIRES. 59 



VI. 

RELATING TO THE INFLUENCE OF A FIRE ON THE- 
AIRE FIRES, AND ON THOSE OF THE SPECTATORS. 

If in these memoirs the historian of Sarah Barnum is com- 
pelled to fatally violate the sacred rule of the three unities, there 
is no reason why he should neglect certain little points in the life 
of our heroine. 

Like boys let loose in a toy-shop, we have among our documents 
and our souvenirs but the difficulty of choice. Until now we 
have taken them by the armful, at random, but giving, like the 
boys just mentioned, the preference to the most showy at- 
tractions. Certain episodes have been developed in a manner 
that people of art will not fail to find exaggerated, but we hope- 
it costs nothing to hope — that we will be pardoned by the good- 
natured reader. 

It would be the moment now perhaps to make a parenthesis^ in 
order to study certain details, for example, the development of 
the artistic tastes in our ex-poisoned friend. No one speaks? 
The parenthesis is opened. 

It will be a short one, however. 

It was the day after the success of the Voyageur. Sarah 
received a small statuette, which, although it was not a chef- 
d'oeuvre, was nevertheless cunning, as a bourgeois would say, 
" Chat noir style" (name of an inn of Louis XIII. 's time, and also 
of a comic journal). The said statuette represented the artiste 
in her romantic costume of a Neapolitan troubadour. It was 
signed Moulin Mathias. Although Mile. Barnum found no resem- 
blance to herself, she could do no less than thank the author. 

And the tragedienne, instead of simply sending her card, 
wished to go in person and express to him her gratitude. When 
it is known that M. Mathias lived on the Boulevard Eochechouart, 
that is to say, quite a distance from the Odeon, her attention will 
\>e considered all the more courteous. This visit to Montmartre 



gO MEMOIRS OF SABAH BABNVM. 

was an event. It is still spoken of at the " Chat noir,"— we mean 
the Cabaret and not the journal this time,— when Henri Pille is 
weary of teazing Rollinat under the white eye of that exquisite 
and original artist whose name is Willete. 

In those staid times, to tell the truth, there had never been seen 
in the studios situated between Le Cirque Fernande and l'Elys6e 
Montmartre other than vulgar models and figurantes, from the 
Theatre des Batignolles. Hence, the arrival of the actress of the 
day produced a sensation. 

She was charming, it must be admitted, this comedienne. Al- 
ready dreaming at this period of harnessing artists to her chariot, 
she wanted to make a conquest, and consequently had made her- 
self irresistable. Dressed with art, she seemed plump. As origi- 
nal as she was handsome, she was at this time bringing out her 
house costumes, whose silky nervousness, — pardon the metaphor 
—and ultra-Parisian cuteness, was soon to revolutionize the femi- 
nine toilet and the paintings of the day. But as nature will out, 
Sarah Barnum spoiled the effect of her costumes and the grace 
of her demeanor by these words : 

"It is I whom you meant to represent, Monsieur. Ah, really! 
that is sculpture, is it ? Well, I will try my hand at it, then ; I 
I will not do worse anyhow !" 

From that day forth she became the pupil of Moulen. She had 
her studio at Les Batignolles. 

Let us now return to our heroine whom we left, freed by Mar- 
asky, lamenting like Agar driven to the desert. 

" Vengeance !" cried she, when she had sufficiently soaked with 
her tears the bundle of effects at the pawn-shop which for the 
moment composed her only fortune. 

To avenge one's self, one must possess some of that gold wrongly 
called sinews of war, because we are obliged to fight with all our 
might to get it, and because, being necessary for the day of battle, 
it is indispensable in time of peace. 

Sarah understood this, and called upon the ancient hostesses of 
her household whom her pseudo-suicide had brought back. They 
agreed and she left for Baden. 

Received in the land of the Youlette by her friend Pigeonnier, 
Barnum put herself in search of a handsome young man named 
Basileus, who was the intimate friend and the compatriot of the 
runaway banker. To make this foreign gentleman fall in love 
with her was an easy task. Northerners are warmer-blooded 



INFLUENCE OF A FIRE ON THEATRE FIRES. 61 

than people of the South. Some people are unmoved by any 
warmth ; others have incessant need of increasing it. 

Basileus had so much of it that he would have frozen any other 
woman. 

But the sweet revenge, although it appeased Sarah, did not en- 
rich her; and, as the intimate friend of Marasky had often in- 
formed all Odessa of her good fortune, she dreamed of getting 
something else out of her trip to Baden. 

As it chanced, a great deal was being said about the arrival in 
that merry abode of certain French princes, who, exiled from 
their mother country, and therefore dear to the enemies of the im- 
perial rule, went about everywhere carrying all their fortune with 
them, like the ancient sages. 

The actress, who had always liked the navy, chose the old sea- 
wolf of this royal band, the Prince of J. . . 

But, as bad luck would have it, the prince was drawn to Matilda 
Eohan, an artiste whose inexhaustible wit to-day still feeds a 
host of men about town. 

Thus it was that Sarah could not carry the opposition. Many 
political allegiances have a similar cause, at which the people are 
amazed. 

Without doubt, in order to forget her repulse, and the other 
prince being monopolized, the actress commenced a riotous life, 
which the Kursaal was not the only hotel troubled. They ex- 
perienced something of it at the Hotel Stephanie, where she 
brought so noisy a troupe that they had to beg her to leave. 

This made a scandal. The culprit knew it, and in order not to 
confuse her sending back, she set out for France to find a more 
hospitable caravansary. 

It was not brilliant, this return of the troubadour of the traveller. 
Her expenses were fearful and each day increased them. And no 
way of running again to her old partners. They were all away at 
the watering places ; Paris was empty. Sarah could no longer do 
anything but dream. The officers informed her of the sale of her 
furniture. 

Then, one fine morning, the papers published the following: 

"Mile. Sarah Barnum, upon returning yesterday to her home, 
had the unpleasant surprise of seeing her lodgings invaded by the 
firemen. In her absence, a fire, whose cause remains unknown, 
but which is probably to be attributed to the awkwardness of a 



62 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNTTM. 

servant, had started in the apartments of the actress; and,. before 
help could be organized, had destroyed the furniture. 

"The only thing for the firemen to do was to save the other 
floors and to deluge the charred carpets with water. The damages 
are placed at a sum of ... . but are haply covered by the insur- 
ance. 

"The despair of Miss Barnum at this disaster cannot be ex- 
pressed." 

The next day, the same papers announced that the insurance 
company refused to pay the policy, it having expired on the day 
before the disaster. Sarah thus learned that one cannot be too 
early in renewing a policy. 

. To heap up misfortune, the owner of the house claimed an in- 
demnity ; and, instead of pitying her lot, her creditors were clam- 
oring for their money. 

The unfortunate woman took refuge in a lodging-house, and 
this time lost courage. Without money, worried on every side, 
her only resource was to telegraph her losses to her friend Pigeon- 
nier, who was still at Baden. 

Pigeonnier was deeply grieved. Her luck at play had not been 
good, but her heart was moved at the idea of what her comrade 
was suffering, and she unhesitatingly took the train for Paris. 
Scarcely had she arrived than she hurried to the Mont-de Piet& 
pawned her jewels, and Sarah was saved. 

This did not restore her Bohemian gayety, her sneering heed- 
lessness of former times. Impatience possessed her. It was too 
stupid never to get to the end of her misery, or of a condition of 
inferior fame perhaps even more intolerable. 

The young woman, who, while recognizing talent in no one, tol- 
erated the success of her comrades at their various theatres, felt 
herself mad with jealousy at seeing the same comrade fortunate 
in the homage of their admirers. It was not enough that they 
gained some applause, those friends whom she judged scarcely wor- 
thy to act as her substitute ; yet they may without trouble attain 
to that luxury, comfort, that high life, the object of all her vain 
wishes ! 

To have so much talent, to be known, to have such beauty and 
to stop half-way — it was idiotic ! 

As she meditated on these things, De Chesnel came to cheer her 
mind. 



INFLUENCE OF A FIRE ON THEATRE FIRES. 63 

He loved his boarder deeply, very deeply, this good De Chesnel ! 
At first he was imperious. He called her "his star," reminding 
her that it was he who had discovered her, and that seeing in her 
a great artist of the future, he had forced Killy to engage her. 

Then this model manager, grieved at his idol's misfortune, came 
to offer her a benefit performance, which put her afloat again. He 
would work up the press and organize a performance such as had 
never yet been seen. 

Of course Sarah accepted, and immediately commenced prepa- 
tions to get up an unequalled exhibition. De Chesnel, on his 
part, gave all his attention, ran. all over Paris, omitted no steps, 
and succeeded in issuing a marvellous programme. 

The hit of the evening was a piece sung by Ratty, the incompar- 
able singer, who until then had never consented to appear at any 
benefit performance, and still less to utter her wonderful notes on 
a dramatic stage. 

It was therefore quite an event. The habitues of the boulevard 
were wondering by what charm Sarah had obtained this assistance, 
a favor no one could have expected to obtain. The story was a 
simple one: 

The diva had married the Marquis of Maulx, who had formerly 
been one of the silent partners of the comedian, but had quit the 
menagerie in a cynical manner without paying his share of the 
expense. The victim of this proceeding had at the time thought 
of publishing it, just as in clubs : but on further reflection she post- 
poned her revenge. 

For her benefit she remembered the debt in good season, and 
served notice on the marquis to pay the debt, by prevailing on his 
wife to come and warble at the Parthenon. 

The marquis recognized that he was guilty, gave way, and de- 
cided his better half; which inspired the following mot to the 
beneficiary : 

"I have made them both sing!" 

De Chesnel did not forget a single thing. In order that the 
creditors might not make any opposition to the receipts, no price 
was marked on the tickets. Each spectator paid as much as he 
wanted for them. It was a kind of public subscription. 

And the work of selling the tickets began, assisted by an enor- 
mous advertisement. Every one was repeating: 

1 * That poor Barnum ! The fire left nothing ; nothing whatever 1" 



B4 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

Sensitive souls even dropped a little tear, and it was decided that 
the calamity in the Eue Berlioz had devoured a fortune. The 
tickets were all sold, and very dearly. 

A rich Peruvian, Mr. Lope de Vega, took three boxes, for which 
he gave three thousand francs. Consequently, on the eventful 
day, not a bracket-seat even was left, and Sarah had pocketed a 
then unprecedented sum : thirty-three thousand francs ! 

The performance was splendid. At Eatty's side all the theatrical 
celebrities appeared, and the heroine of the festival was received 
with cheers. Her happiness was complete. But what gladdened 
her heart the most was to see all her former faithful adherents, 
all her old friends, reunited for this occasion. The good silent 
partners, full of remorse at the remembrance of the manner in 
which they had abandoned her, and of their avariciousness, and of 
pity on seeing the distress of their ex-tamer, fought for seats. 
The rank and file of this army occupied a large part of the hall ; 
they applauded unanimously like a single man, highly flattered 
inwardly at the success of their former hostess. 

La Barnum amused herself exceedingly at looking at and 
counting them through the holes in the curtain. 

She remarked to a comrade, ' ' They are all there ! If they think 
they are paying their debt they are greatly mistaken ! But just 
look at them! Eh? If I have loads of creditors, I have a still 
greater number of debtors !" 

To which the friend replied, 

"An orchestra of rabbits!" 

The bad luck was now dispelled, for a time at least. Moreover, 
Sarah had made a fine capture. 

The banker Jacques Consterney declared himself to be her 
adorer, and the comedian had engaged in the Rue d'ltalie a fine 
apartment, prudently hired in the name of her second aunt. She 
would now be able to quit her furnished rooms ! 

Yet if she had been less forgetful, less haunted by ambitious 
dreams, she would have regretted a little this humble abode, be- 
cause, after the first moment of vexation was past, the Bohemian 
girl had past some merry hours there. 

Angel, though, did not forget. And for a good reason. One of 
the most interesting remembrances he took away was this : 

The banker Consterney, afraid of Barnum's appetite and of the 
projects she was making for her installation in the Eue d'ltalie, 



INFLUENCE OF A FIRE ON THEATRE FIRES, 65 

had felt his Jewish instincts cooling his love. His heart had soft- 
ened. He would wait, thought he, to penetrate into the heart of 
the citadel and to establish himself there until the benefit per- 
formance had taken place, because its receipts, employed by the 
artiste for her fancies, would lighten by that much the expenses 
he would have to meet, and which he expected would be very 
heavy. 

But the cunning fly divined his plan, and, wishing to have the 
banker bound hand and foot, she carried him to that one of her 
friends who had rendered her the greatest service— that is to her 
and her friends— naturally, her lord and master, the Duke Nino 
Fernandez, rich hidalgo and diplomatist. After this she em- 
ployed with the banker ordinary stratagems, pretended to sacrifice 
the duke — and the worn-out man of business yielded. 

Some days were yet to elapse, and during that time the Spaniard 
came every evening to present his homage to Sarah. Unfortu- 
nately the affair moved a trifle slowly, and the poor Angel was 
growing desperate. During the visits of the diplomat he remained 
silent, impatient^ and mortified, in the little room near by where 
slept Heine, who more and more abused at her mother's house, 
had taken refuge with her elder sister. The retreat had for fur- 
niture only one bed, and the poor boy was obliged to sleep stand- 
ing. 

One night that he was there, and tired with standing had seated 
himself on the foot of the cot and hardly dared breathe, poor lit- 
tle Eeine, head leaning on shoulder, profited by the moonlight 
and regarded the young man, not without pleasure. He did not 
notice it, furious at waiting longer than usual. 

Time flew without Sarah appearing. What was she doing? 
Would the duke never leave her? Still she was cunning enough 
to get rid of him quickly, if she would give herself the trouble ! 
He raged. 

Minute followed minute, hour followed hour, and yet the door 
remained closed. They did not hear the duke go, and never did. 
Heine ceased looking at her companion. 

A noise of chairs moved and shutting of doors soon reached the 
ante-room, but the prisoner was afraid, and remained motionless, 
Sarah having ordered him to wait until she called him. 

The little maid herself failed to understand. 

*' It is odd !" she chuckled. 



66 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

" Yes, very funny indeed," growled the comedian. 

Then, as three o'clock struck, Eeine yielded to pity. 

" It is not possible," said she; "something must have happened. 
Would you like to have me go and see? I will make some excuse 
to go in— say that I am thirsty, and can find neither matches nor 
water pitcher"— 

He consented, quite happy. 

And she got up, blushing to be seen en dishabille by this hand- 
some fellow, whose eyes troubled her. Quickly she glided into her 
sister's room: "Sarah! say, Sarah! have you any matches in 
your room?" 

Sarah did not answer ; the room was black as an oven. 

The little maid was afraid, then, becoming courageous, she went 
to the bed, feeling her way, found her sister's body under the bed- 
clothes and touched her. 

"How? What? What's the matter ?" 

And the comedienne awaked, threw off the clothes, took a box 
from the table, and struck a match. 

Eeine uttered a cry. The glare blinded her. 

"Well, what is the matter with you ?" said the Barnum. " Go 
to bed at once. You might have come in without awakening me. " 
She made her a place beside her in the bed. 

But the young girl, speechless, stupefied, remained motionless. 

" And the duke ? " she stammered. 

"The duke? the duke? You thought that he was here yet? No 
indeed ! He cleared out three hours ago. Come, hop in, go to bed 
and let me put out the light !" 

The young girl uttered a new cry— of indignation this time. 
" And Angel?" 

Sarah jumped like a fish: "Ah! how good she is! how good 
she is !" 

Then she began to laugh wildly, rolling over in bed in a fit of 
gayety which seemed as if it would never finish. And when she 
could speak, panting still from her laugh — " Oh, how good she 
is!" she cried; " I had forgotten." 

Her fit of mirth became stronger than ever. She was laughing 
still at the forgotten, disconcerted Angel; she laughed, not able 
to do anything else. 

And during this time, Reine returned to her little bed, hid her 
head in the pillows, thinking how handsome Angel was, how she 



INFLUENCE OF A FIRE ON THEATRE FIRES. 67 

loved him, and how he was her sister's — her sister's, who, having 
the happiness of possessing him, forgot him ! 

We come now to a calmer period of our heroine's life. Installed 
in the Rue d'ltalie, but not in the luxury that with her comrades 
she always dreamed of and longed for, the tragic actress remained 
the same fantastic creature, selfish, proud, and cold. More than 
ever thirsting for notoriety, she continually begs for it with per- 
sistent ardor. For all she has caprices, but she is satisfied with 
none. Strangely complex in nature she is judged in ten different 
ways ; she does not even know herself well. A continual uneasi- 
ness, due less to her whims than to her want of order, renders 
her disposition more capricious than ever. She is coldly corrupt, 
vicious by habit, naughty by liking, eager for gain by instinct, 
sensational through idleness and a wish to throw dust in every 
one's eyes, envious by temperament, but she is still an artist, and, 
loving nothing in the world, she adores her profession. Finally, 
to paint her as she is at this time, she is an artificial woman, a 
clear-headed, very clear-headed, creature ; and the striking trait 
of her character is her joyous scepticism. She don't care a snap 
for anything. Without taking thought about it, she derives that 
power from her cool contempt of men and things. She rails at 
whoever approaches, and her raillery is terrible, sparing friends 
as little as enemies— perhaps less. She quarrels with the whole 
world, but is so charming, so entrancing, that her house is »ever 
empty ; she is praised to the skies as well as detested ; and her 
fierce egotism, her bad tricks, which ought to ruin her, make her 
dangerous, hence powerful. 

Jealousy, of all bad feminine feelings, was the most deeply seat- 
ed with her. She proved herself jealous of all her comrades — 
jealous even .of her sisters. 

Some time after her benefit performance she met at the house 
of a friend that rich Peruvian, Lope de Vega, who had paid three 
thousand francs for three boxes. 

This exotic millionaire was commonly called "The man who 
was shot." He owed this nickname to a scar to be seen on his 
forehead, supposed to have been made by a ball from a revolver. 
This gentleman was a great gambler, and one day, it is said, a 
better, who found his display of eights and nines at baccarat too 
common had thus marked him — in order to know him in future 
in all the gambling hells. 



68 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

We need not say that this affair, the authenticity of which was 
not, and is not yet, well established, took place on the other side 
of the Atlantic. 

" The man who was shot" used to visit the Barnums, saw Heine 
there, was pleased by her, and wanted to gain her affection. 
The young girl was then fourteen or fifteen years of age, and 
though corrupted at bottom by the examples which had always 
surrounded her, had yet remained loving and kind, charming, 
too. The Spanish- American dreamed of being the first lover of 
the charming child. 

Sarah actually jumped up and down in her mad jealousy. She 
would willingly have strangled Lope, who between the famous 
actress and the child chose the latter, when by a stroke of the pen 
he might have enriched the other, and have got out of it at least 
notoriety. 

And, in her wrath, she threw her sister into the arms of Charis- 
son, a man of the wo^ld, outside "society," a brute, moreover. 
Terrible tales were told about this man. It was this Tunisian of 
the Champs-Elysees who got hold of the poor little darling ; it was 
this person of indescribable manners who captivated the poor 
little Heine ! 

Her bright sunny locks had grown again, longer and silkier, 
but never again would flower the bud Illusion, that in the days of 
her most deathly sadness Cindeisella had believed she would see 
come forth on that dunghill which had always been for her, Life. 

Having quarrelled with her mother, no longer being able to- stay 
under her sister's roof, the young girl, only fifteen years of age, 
but whom grief rather than the precocity of her race had already 
made a woman, fled with her few poor possessions. 

A furnished room in the Rue Neuve des Mathurins housed this 
insulted child, this crushed heart, this poor soul without a con- 
science. What could she do but weep bitterly as others had done 
before her? The ignoble Charisson had not paid her for being the 
slaughtered lamb, but now free, she would doubtlessly be happier. 
Had not her sisters succeeded? Had not Jeanne found at her age 
the means of subsisting? 

Necessity, as well as that absence of all moral feeling which 
characterized all the Barnums, did not admit of hesitation. And 
she tried it, her pretty face, pale from suffering, not sensible to a 
blush. Poor little one ! She did what she had been taught to do. 



INFLUENCE OF A FIRE ON THEATRE FIRES. 69 

A day came when, desperate, dying of hunger, she gave up the 
struggle. Her little heart broke; she sobbed continually; then 
the reaction, a gloomy resignation, came. She wished to make 
an end of her sorrows, to go far away to see if there wasn't a 
world where little girls could be happy, never receive any more 
kicks and insults; where they could play in big gardens with 
comrades with angels' eyes who would embrace their little friends, 
without insulting them or doing them harm. Life was too sad ; 
it were far better to be dead ! She bought a pistol, laid herself 
down on the bed wet with her tears, unbuttoned her corsage and 
sought the place where her heart was. Her hand shook, and 
across the little Childish form the weapon fell, its cold contact 
making her tremble. She shuddered, tried to think, before firing, 
fco whom she should address a mental farewell, and not knowing 
of any one, her sobs burst out afresh. Her flesh recoiled, instinc- 
tively clinging to lif e ; a natural fear overcame her. She began to 
consider, covering her face with her hands, as in the days when 
her mother caught her in her uplifted arms — then pressed the 
trigger. 

At the sound of the pistol the neighbors ran in. Happily Cin- 
derella wasn't dead. The ball, badly aimed, had deviated, and 
passed above her shoulder into her left hand. 

Sarah was notified. This attempt at suicide having created 
some noise among her associates, she took her sister once more 
to her house. Self-love and kindness combined, soon cured little 
Heine. 

Two days after no one in the Rue d'ltalie thought any more of 
the affair, Sarah least of all. They had other things to think of, 
if it was only to laugh. For they led a gay life. The Barnum 
was no longer the young girl of the preceding chapters, so easy to 
beat. Sneering at everything, she was even more of an actress 
off than on the stage. Her guests were her victims ; we won't 
say anything of her regular followers. 

Nevertheless Jacques Consterney remained faithful to her, con- 
soling himself with making no answer when she tapped him on 
the cheeks, exclaiming in her rich, harmonious voice : 

"Who is Sarah's darling?— Jacquot!" 

This had no effect upon the banker, who remained obdurate as 
regards money. 

Having given two hundred louis monthly for board, he declined 



70 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNVM. 

to give any more. This gave the imagination of the actress full 
play. She composed a part and played it admirably. Her last 
creation was that of a consumptive in the last stages. Up till 
then she only had fainting fits, feigned indispositions, simulating 
every form of disease, without any positive illness. Jacquot re- 
maining obdurate, she went further. One day, a friend of hers, 
coming to pay her a visit, found her stretched on her back on a 
sofa. The Barnum was shivering, and held a handkerchief spot- 
ted with blood to her lips. Near her sat Consterney trying to 
console her, but her contracted face showed that the banker for 
once did not belie his name. The new-comer was, like him, as- 
tonished at the scene before her. "Good heavens! What ails 
you?" she ejaculated in her terror. " What's the matter?" " I am 
losV sighed Sarah in a feeble voice like a mere breath. " Look — 
see." She extended her bloody handkerchief with a gesture like 
Camille. 

The banker tried to console her once more, promising to pay 
the debt which tormented her. Then he left, the illness of his 
charmer not being able to make him forget his business at the 
Stock Exchange. 

No sooner had the door closed behind him than the following 
transformation took place : the Barnum gathered herself up as if 
on springs, jumped up in the air, quivered like crape beneath a 
pall, and fell— this time forward instead of backward. And she 
laughed! and she laughed! and her eternal "Oh! what a good 
one !" only interrupted those laughing spells. 

"Will you explain this to me?" said her astonished friend. 

" Look here!" said the actress; and she then showed her in the 
middle of the ball which her handkerchief formed a fine pin with 
which she was cutting her gums. "You see," she added, "it is 
very simple. You draw your breath so, and in a few moments 
there is enough blood in the mouth to spit into the handkerchief. 
It is not very hard !" and her laugh sounded sharper. However, 
to own up, for his stupidity Consterney deserved to be fooled thus. 
He was " useful." One afternoon, when he was making an eter- 
nal stay, Sarah, who was burning to be at liberty, whispered in 
the ear of a comrade seated at her side, " You shall see how I will 
get rid of him." On this she turned towards the banker and saya 
" Say, Jack, aren't you soon going to break up camp?" 



INFLUENCE OF A FIRE ON THEATRE FIRES. 71 

" Are you then in a hurry to see me go?" answered the banker. 
"What have I done?" 

"Oh! nothing, my darling, only I have an engagement. I 
fancy I ought to have started an hour ago ! There, you are strok- 
ing your whiskers, making me lose my time, and you don't have 
suspicion that there is at this moment in a cab, at the corner of 
the Boulevard Haussman, a fine young fellow who adores me, and 
is waiting for me. And what if he lost patience? If he is gone? 
And I am dying to embrace him ! Go, Jack, go quick. Here I 
am with my hat and gloves on." 

Consterney rose, laughing heartily. He kissed the hands of 
his sybil, and saluted his friend, saying: "What a funny girl, 
eh?" and he winked, pointing to Sarah with the heavy laugh of a 
happy man. He then went. Meanwhile the friend, won over by 
the gayety of that contented lover, was laughing heartily. 

But the actress took her by the hand : 

"Come on quick!" 

She pulled her outside. . At the corner of the boulevard she 
showed her a cab, at the door of which was the fine young fellow 
she had mentioned, Charles Rochey, who was making signs to her. 
" Well," exclaimed the artist, " have I lied?" Every day it was a 
story just as funny. The constant stream of friends, of courtiers, 
furnished the actress a thousand pretexts for foolishness, at which 
the victims laughed, but less heartily than Consterney. Sarah 
wanted a target, and she wanted one every fifteen minutes'. The 
last one invited, on his departure from the parlor, always seemed 
the most unwelcome, Barnum, who accompanied him, going so far 
as to make faces behind his back, making believe to kick him. As 
to the others, when their turn came, they suffered more, and one 
after the other provided fun to the others after having had theirs. 
On certain evenings none dared to go, thinking of the fun which 
would follow his departure. 

And then it was the theatre which more than all fed the 
wicked vein of Sarah. She held there by her noise, more than 
by her success, an enormous place, very little in keeping with 
her thin person, and she was ever recurring to it in her conversa- 
tion, and in her current life. As all true artists, she loved it for 
its own sake ; for the ugliness of its under life, for the vulgarity 
behind the scenes, as much as for the brightness of her triumph. 
She brought the theatre everywhere. It was the style, towards 



72 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BA&NUM. 

the end of the empire, for private performances, for improvised 
scenes, for a universal capering. When Sarah was not engaged 
by the ' ' Parthenon " she was almost always invited to come and 
recite poetry or play the " Traveller " in parlors. These perform- 
ances before these stiff and select audiences did not give her any 
less fun than the others. One of them was marked by a comical 
event which amused people for a long time. 

It was at Arsene Houssaye's, the ex-director of the"Com€die 
Frangaise," a man of wit and a fine writer, who, from painting 
and lovingly studying his dear eighteenth century, has resuscita- 
ted from it the exquisite politeness, the gossip as elegant as witty 
and has made young again the powdered grace of that incompar- 
able time. Sarah, late as usual, quickly dons her costume of a 
Neapolitan troubadour, and takes a cab with her friend Pigeon- 
nier, the Sylvia of the "Traveller." 

The two artists arrive, come on the scene each in her turn, and 
hardly reunited in exchanging their answers, signify to each 
other by looks, then- surprise ; the audience in the first rows 
laugh quietly, laugh while they clap behind their fans, their 
handkerchiefs, the discreet laugh of fashionable people ; but they 
laugh. Sarah gets mad, her pride revolts, she bites her lips, she 
frowns. But pretty soon it is the audience's turn to get irritated, 
for now it is the troubadour who is laughing and none the less 
quietly on account of her role. Sylvie does not understand it any 
more. Is it that her dear friend, profiting by the want of a 
prompter, wishes to cause her a lapse of memory? She watches 
herself, and succeeds in not spoiling her effects and her answers ; 
but once in the parlor set apart as "behind the scenes," she takes 
Barnum severely to task. 

The latter, whom nothing restrains any longer, laughs harder, 
very much at her ease, and at last says to her astonished com- 
rade: 

"Look here!" 

She shows her left leg. Horror! She dressed herself in too 
great a hurry, put out of place by the shakings of the cab, the 
false calf got turned and spread its rotundity on the front of her leg. 

The actress has the appearance of having a swelling of the tibia. 

" You understand," she says, in her cunning way, which mocks 
everything, "the ridiculous situation, when I saw all those peo- 
ple laughing, I took advantage of your monologue to follow the 



INFLUENCE OF A FIUE ON THEATRE FIRES. 73 

direction of their looks, and find out what amused them so much. 
I lowered my eyes, and I spied that ! For a time I could hardly 
keep serious. A little more, and I would have burst out on the 
stage. I was choking not to be able to laugh as I wanted to." 
And with her two hands she put back into its place the fractuous 
false calf which gave her something like a leg. "And though I 
always wear them," she added, "it did not prevent their making 
fun of my poor marrowbones. What would it be if it were not 
for my false calves ?" 

At that time Sarah spoke willingly of her lankness. Her artis- 
tic studies, which we mentioned further back, had not yet devel- 
oped in her the feeling of plastic beauty. So, in her apartment 
in the Rue d'ltalie, her cronies had free admittance to her dress- 
ing-room, and surprised her in all apparels, and even without any 
apparel, without her taking umbrage. She had the pride of being 
taken for what she was, and in her jealous disdain of other 
women, she affected a great disdain for the mystery with which 
they surrounded their toilet. Also, to tell everything, in her per- 
fect vanity she believed herself, even physically, a being incom- 
parably perfect, undeniably superior. At the theatre her dress- 
ing-room was constantly open, and all, even to the firemen on 
duty, could see her dress her head, and even with a touching in- 
nocence, occupy herself with more delicate cares, such as her false 
calves! They were a concession to the Oriental tastes of the vul- 
gar herd. She was well as she was. Only to do as everybody, 
she made herself "rotund." It was thus that in dressing herself 
before her "menagerie," she borrowed from each his handker- 
chief, to raise up her poor neck, or rather to fill up the fold of 
her skin, underlining her appearance wherever nature had made 
it possible. Later, as will be seen further in these "Memoirs," 
our heroine acquired at last the knowledge of plastic beauty, 
and was thus made aware of her imperfections. She understood 
that special science which forces a woman to put in relief the 
beauties and to lessen or hide the defects of her form. From 
that time she was not seen any more running, half-naked, before 
everybody, through her apartments, or across her dressing-room; 
and her toilet-room became an inviolable sanctuary. Loves from 
a poet too much given to illusions, it appears, gave returned pru- 
dence to Marion Delorme ; art and a true pride gave back modesty 
to Sarah Barnum. 



74 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNVM. 



vn. 

ON THE INFLUENCE OF SUCCESS ON MANAGERS. 

Although we have had to stop very often to recount the anec- 
dotes of which this recital is full — anecdotes that are very 
often typical — and have had to relate by the way, years have 
passed nevertheless, and Sarah Barnum has changed with them. 
In fact, to be strictly exact, we should close the chapter with a 
new portrait, and it would be better, perhaps, to devote a chap- 
ter to each of these periods of the life of the comedienne. 

But to follow a regular system is not always the best way to be 
amusing. So, fie on regular plans and pretentious methods ! To 
run away from school is always tempting. We have no ambition 
to draw a picture, the less so as by the multitude of our sketches 
we shall compose a kind of mosaic that, although it may be less 
learned and of inferior merit, will find indulgence from the reader 
by the variety of its colors and the intentional confusion of its 
lines. 

The Empire was trembling. War had broken loose — a fearful 
war. Paris was invested. We find our tragedienne once more — 
or, if you prefer it, our comedienne, Sarah — if it were only from 
her way of living in the city— following the two professions at the 
head of one of the ambulances which the besieged capital had es- 
tablished in every public building that could be spared. The Par- 
thenon was transformed into a hospital, and the death-rattle was 
heard instead of the sweet and musical verses. 

As usual, La Barnum took her role very seriously, and became 
perfectly identified with her new impersonation. You should 
nave seen her walking up and down the floor among {fne beds of 
the sick, assuming every emotion, going about in an agitated 
manner, to make the spectators fully understand the multiplicity 
of her natural gifts ! But there was one thing that marred the 
joy that she felt in the exercise of her new functions and the dis- 
play of her authority. Were the ambulances made, yes or no, for 
the reception of the wounded? Yes. they were. Well, in this 



ON THE INFLUENCE OF SUCCESS ON MANAGERS, 75 

case, wh;y should she, an ambulance attendant by vocation, be a 
plain and simple nurse? The Parthenon should only take in such 
soldiers as were picked up on the battle-fields, and not fever cases 
or convalescents, young militia-men dying with consumption, in- 
satiable appetite, or dysentery. That a theatre should be turned 
into an ambulance was something grand and noble, but to change 
it into a hospital was something disgusting. Ugh ! 

And so the artist walked up and down on the balcony, looking 
out like Sister Anne to see if anybody was in view. How she 
would have blessed the vehicle with the Geneva red cross that 
would bring her some wounded soldier, a real wounded, crippled, 
and interesting soldier, who would have to have his wounds 
dressed with lint, and be operated on with nice shining instru- 
ments, and not one of those pale men with fever that must be 
drowned with quinine and subnitrate of bismuth ! 

It would not take much to make her go into ambuscade near the 
fortifications and manufacture some real wounded men — all for 
herself. She would take such good care of them afterward ! Let 
us state at once, however, that although she wished to have gen- 
uine wounded — a desire inspired by the generous emulation that 
existed between the different ambulances — the actress showed her 
patients that tender care and devotion which was a characteristic 
of every Parisian woman during the horrible siege. 

La Barnum was not, however, alone in the theatre. Her friend 
Pigeonnier* seconded her as well as she could, at the same time 
making less noise about it. But our heroine, who even in this 
task of self-denial and sacrifice still believed herself on the boards, 
showed her love of appearing and acting in all her manners, and 
her childish jealousy toward anybody that attracted the slightest 
attention. 

An ex-midwife, whose pseudo-medical knowledge procured her 
employment as a sick-nurse, contributed in no slight degree to en- 
courage such unnatural sentiments. This " little angel-maker," 
who was exceedingly cunning, thought she could make a good 
position for herself by the assistance of La Barnum, and to this 
purpose flattered her vanity and encouraged her revengeful ideas. 
Every morning she had her lying gossip, but in order to succeed 
it was necessary for the hag to get Pigeonnier into disgrace. 

At this she worked incessantly, and this is how she succeeded. 

Pigeonnier, who was then well off. used to supply the hospital 



76 MEMOIRS Of SARAH BARNUM. 

with provisions from her own money, but the time came when 
every resource failed and the charitable public would have to be 
applied to. The Barnum then wrote to some millionaire bankers 
and some well-known people imploring them for help. But her 
correspondents, thinking that she might trouble herself to come 
and see them, did not make her any reply. 

It was then that Pigeonnier commenced, with the Baron de 
Eaps and at the house of the same persons, a turn which, at the 
end of two days, had before yielded several thousand francs. 

The reader who has been willing to follow us thus far, if he 
recollects what we have said concerning the character of Barnum, 
will comprehend what a thing jealousy is. The adroit woman 
carefully revived this jealousy, and the storm broke out one fine 
morning, immediately following a deplorable incident. 

In the absence of Sarah, as her duties did not hinder her ab- 
senting herself from her slight business, some soldier receives a 
severe attack of sickness. Pigeonnier hears of it and learns from 
the doctor that the soldier betrays symptoms of typhoid fever, or 
more probably small-pox, so that in either case the malady is 
contagious. But the doctor dares not take upon himself the re- 
sponsibility of ordering his removal to Bic§tre ; such removal, 
owing to the severe cold which existed, would risk his life. The 
artist responds that she fears nothing for herself, having already 
cared for relations who were attacked by these two maladies, and 
that besides there were prepared certain retreats for the reception 
of sick persons afflicted with contagious diseases. Whereupon 
she causes the soldier to be received in one of the aforesaid retreats 
and promises to bear the expense. 

Sarah returns, learns the fact, and immediately flies into a pas- 
sion. This is going to contaminate the ambulance, infect the 
household, destroy the world, propagate an epidemic! — never! 
.This is not because she is inhuman. Like all her companions, we 
repeat it, she performs her duty valiantly. Only she likes to 
make her authority felt, loves to contradict to be contrary to her 
rival, never thinking that her childishness can become a homicide. 
At her order-the soldier is taken to Bic§tre. He dies there on 
arriving! This causes some excitement. Pigeonnier naturaHy 
reproaches her friend for this murder. There follows a scene. 
The Barnum unveils her true character — envious, proud, and 
spiteful. Her discourse was such, her insults so horrible, that a 



ON TEE INFLUENCE OF SUCCESS ON MANAGERS. 7? 

journalist present at the explanation, chronicler to the orchestra 
to the Barbier, the spiritual Mantier, was indignant, and cried out 
to Pigeonnier, on his pointing out to him the female tragedienne 
pale with rage : " I do not know whether you will pardon her, but 
I shall never forget it ! ..." 

Pigeonnier ought to have given her pardon, as we shall see from 
what follows, but at the moment she departed, refusing on 
account of the homicide committed by Sarah to make the 
report that authority required of her. She went to offer her ser- 
vices to what seemed the least in view, namely, the ambulances, 
that of the Chaussee Clignancourt, where she had the honor of 
caring for the wounded till the end of the siege, and of being the 
only artiste, the only lay woman mixed with the nuns. 

The death of the poor small-pox patient was soon forgotten, and 
the Barnum, henceforth disencumbered of her rival, employed 
her functions in abusing Consterney, for living at the Parthenon 
according to his fancy, and there leading an all but melancholic 
life. 

It is on this wise that she there received the Marquis de Rog6, 
an ex-lover of Anna Deslions. Not content with receiving him 
in her own abode, she goes to see him at his own house. One 
time she nearly froze there. The next day the stock of fire- wood 
belonging to the ambulance experienced a drain, thanks to which 
the Marquis's house became less glacial. The dear De Roge* was 
to her, it seems, only an indifferent acquaintance. 

A friend asked him for his impressions of Sarah: "Surely, 
friend," he responded gravely, "I cannot but tell. . . . When 
she comes I have felt an inspiration. I have heard the noise of 
knuckle bones knocking against each other. It was a soul that 
was passing." 

The siege completed, Paris is revictualed, but the Commune 
breaks out. Consterney removes his charmer to Saint Germain, 
to await the end of the crisis, under cover of chances. There the 
life is the same as at the Parthenon. Jacquot remains blind to what 
is going on. After some hesitation, Sarah's choice, guided once 
more by her incurable jealousy, fixes itself upon a young club- 
man, Armand O'Konil, a grand musician. This noble Irishman, 
of princely blood, was in fact at the moment a worshipper in chief 
to Peine. 

Barnum could not but envy the happiness of her sister and 



78 MEMOIRS OF 8ARAH BARNUM. 

destroy it. That the ex-Cinderella should have for a lover an 
agreeable gentleman, with so fine a figure and so excellent a po- 
sition ! Well, then ! This can never be ! She will enter a cam- 
paign, conquer, and the honors of Armand O'Konil go from Reine 
to the comedienne. Her sister will weep,— but she has got used 
to that. 

However, the new comer, from a simple visitor on his first 
appearance, gradually fell in love. Quarrels took place, and he 
becomes jealous, being able no longer to endure Consterney, and 
revolting with all his proud nature when he reflected on the false- 
ness of his role. Being a lover of such a woman did not match 
well with a royal blason. So, resolving to end it, when, on his 
return to Paris, he had the chance to gather in fifty thousand 
francs in two hours, he hastened to Sarah. 

"My angel," said he, waving his pocket-book, "I have a fine 
collection of banknotes. You will do me the pleasure to put your 
banker out of doors, and love me at my own convenience. Eh ?" 

He received as answer neither " Yes" nor "No," but, on the mor- 
row, Consterney, being alone in the artist's boudoir, the waiting- 
maid entered with a bill, which she said required immediate pay- 
ment. "My dear," sighed Barnum, "give me ten louis to pay 
this bill." The financier turned a deaf ear. He even remained 
immovable at the "My good Jacks" which were showered upon 
him. He was not miserly, but really he could do no more. 
He had already paid her bills three months in advance. He 
would not relinquish a cent. "Ah! Is it so?" she cried, "but you 
do not know that it was purely through love that I ask you for 
money? Why, there is O'Konil who offers me fifty thousand 
francs to leave you. In fact, I am very foolish, having only one 
word to give." She did not finish, believing that Jack was about 
to yield, as usual ; but the banker retained his happy smile, and 
looked at her without the least emotion, while caressing his whis- 
kers. " Ah !" said he, at last, " I thought you were an intelligent 
woman, my poor Sarah. How ! O'Konil offers you fifty thousand 
francs, and you hesitate ? Why, accept, accept ; I will be your 
lover for love alone." Sarah, nonplussed for a moment, clapped 
her hands, and began to laugh, like a " little whale"— that was her 
word. Good! good! how droll her "Jack" was! Decidedly, he 
was the man she wanted! And when she had laughed to her 
heart's content, they arranged the matter. What had been pro- 



ON THE INFLUENCE OF SUCCESS ON MANAGERS. 79 

posed was done. O'Konil gave his fifty banknotes, and from 
" auxilliary , " or "extra," became principal. He had the honor 
of being on guard, and thenceforward carried his head boldly. 
As for that excellent philosopher, Consterney, he was unaware of 
the scruples of the young man, his predecessor. He rubbed his 
hands, having discovered as a business man that he was doing a 
good trade. 

Every Sunday, in fact, she went to breakfast with him, and 
always found "twenty-five louis under the napkin. In this way he 
got out of it at the expense of two thousand francs a month. 
One hundred louis instead of the two hundred he had been 
accustomed to pay up to this time— that made a difference of 
one hundred louis beyond doubt; those beautiful hundred louis 
that the banker, an orderly man, charged regularly under the 
head of " general freight " in his private books. And, as a mem- 
orandum, he put down also this economy of his ; the cessation of 
drafts on his private account, of those drafts that used to be 
changed into ruinous presents. 

Everything passes, everything goes to pieces, everything fa- 
tigues. One fine day O'Konil, French by naturalization, was 
obliged to join the regiment in which he was an officer. With 
him Sarah had had some hours of good luck, but their irregularity 
annulled their benefit, which went off as rapidly as they came in. 

The young man gone, she wanted to go back to Consterney. 
She attacked him with pressing demands, but she always met a 
formal refusal. She found out at last that she had let the sub- 
stance go for its shadow, when the banker, asked by her to take 
again his old role and his original place, obstinately refused, as he 
did not want to become the responsible manager of the Barnum 
partnership, and finally broke off. 

The crowd of creditors necessarily increased ; like a kennel of 
hounds, barked louder, and scratched at her doors. Misery came 
again, but Sarah lost neither her serenity, nor her good humor; 
these are the two sides of her character, either of which prevailed 
according to the nature of her audience. As always, she laughed 
at everything, and, providing her self-love was safe, she scorned 
all the mishaps of life. 

If the servants, not being paid, and not being able to feed 
themselves, tried to demand wages, she left for some weeks, 



80 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNXTM. 

spending her time at the Theater, at her studio, at Batignolles, 
and with the favorite of the day. 

Only one thing succeeded in exasperating her ; the frequent re- 
turn home of her son Loris, now a boy who went to all the schools 
of Paris and of the precincts, one after the other, and was always 
sent back for non-payment of his board-bill. 

This little matter, however, found Sarah as well armed as she 
had been against all the other misfortunes of her life. She had 
something else to think of! M. Perrinet, the director of the 
Theatre Corneille, the first dramatic stage in Europe as well as 
the best subsidized, came to offer her an engagement. To re-enter 
as an officiating priestess in the Temple, where she had first ap- 
peared like the future great priests, who initiate themselves in the 
beauties of a religious life under the cheap surplice of a chorister, 
it was her dearest dream ; she gladly accepted. 

Unfortunately, Du Chesnel, upon hearing the defeat of " his 
star," got very angry. 

There was a very hot discussion on the subject. The man and 
the director had high words together. The latter went so far as 
to begin a law-suit. 

They pleaded, but the justice considering that if Sarah was the 
star of the Parthenon, she was nevertheless the receiver of the 
ridiculous salary of three hundred francs a month, sentenced the 
fugitive to pay an equally ridiculous fine— Six thousand francs.— 
At that time, as on the occasion of the first appearance of Barnum, 
when she had just left the Conservatoire, the celebrated Savard was 
at the head of the Theatre Corneille, holding at least all the best 
roles. Her influence was tottering; the new director, Perrinet, 
couldn't bear her for this single and natural reason, that the artist 
had been the favorite«of his predecessor, but she could not be re- 
placed ; her talent and her reputation kept her in her proper posi- 
tion. At that time, furthermore, a talented but long-haired come- 
dian the— handsome Money, of whom Sarah had been a companion 
at the Parthenon, without noticing him, because of the different 
grade of parts they played, never playing together, and of the 
small place he was holding there, began to make for himself a 
good reputation. 

La Savard admired the young comedian very much, and to him 
she advanced money without concealing it. 

Here, then, is Barnum, installed in surroundings that she no 



ON THE INFLUENCE OF SUCCESS ON MANAGERS. 81 

longer recognizes, but where her last successes give her a cer- 
tain prominence that her ambition and her intrigue increases very 
rapidly. She appears first in an old play by a modern author, 
and proves a'f ailure ; but she loves her art and doesn't get dis- 
couraged. Upon that, they get up a superb drama, the work of a 
talented poet, whom politics have for a long time kept away from 
the theatre. It is a new triumph for Savard, and Money gets his 
small share of it. Sarah now first begins to notice him. Always 
a female Don Juan, always spurred by the desire of finding at last 
the man that shall teach her happiness, the new Diogenes whom 
she seeks in vain. She thinks that it would be sweet and piquant 
at the same time to take the comedian in her toils. Ambition also 
excites her, and her money matters, still very bad, always at the 
worst, show her the necessity of a profitable protector. It would 
be very amusing to take away from the queen of the house both the 
man she wants and her roles. This idea intoxicates her, and she 
puts it into execution quickly. 

Money, infatuated, flies into a passion. He loves Barnum truly 
— he loves her so much that he becomes immensely jealous, 
to the amusement of the company of the theatre. She, more than 
ever, becomes wraoped up in her role and becomes bewitching. 
Notoriety, her or.xy love, does not suffer. She plays with the 
affections of the artist and his jealousy, as she plays with every- 
thing, and with their aid she keeps in order the managers who 
would have left her. 

That trick is not always easy, but she laughs at ill fortune. For a 
whole year she will abuse the honest young man who worships her 
— for a whole year she will make him believe that she lives only 
for him. 

Sometimes, but seldom, he refuses to believe her, and then they 
quarrel frightfully. One day they quarrel in a cab bringing them 
back home. Pushed to the last resort, full of anger, knowing no 
longer what to do, Money, who in order not to strangle his com- 
panion, looks instinctively for something he can destroy, smashes 
the glasses, and with a kick breaks in the front of the hack ; the 
driver shouts, stops the vehicle; thence scandal, a crowd. Sarah 
has already jumped from a side door. She is not moved; she 
smiles all the time. But while she goes away the comedian is 
fighting with the driver and a policeman. It is at the police-ser- 
geant's office that this adventure ends. He pays ten Louis to the 



82 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

driver, and, ashamed of his anger, but grieved at Sarah's behavior, 
he goes to join his syren. He finds her sleeping. A good 
many people are astonished at the continuance of these two 
old favorites. They even spoke of a marriage. The habituSs 
of the theatre announced it several times. Sarah gave some- 
thing for this kind of rumors. Preferring to be believed 
crazy rather than have it found out that she was abandoned, 
she concealed the distress of her position under color of a blind 
attachment to her lover. She lived alone in a garret, five or 
six floors high, horribly near the roof, and never left it un- 
less to go to her studio. But she never quitted her "At Home." 
Only, considering the number of creditors who were always 
at her heels, she never retired until it was very late in the night. 

Poor creditors, they kept on whining. The entrance of their 
debtor at the Corneille Theatre seemed to them to prognosticate a 
return of some part of the money they had lost, and the disappoint- 
ment they experienced only served to increase their anger. One 
of them, a dressmaker, got tired of waiting and followed Barnum, 
tracked her in a way which would have done credit to a better 
cause. She would have taken possession, but the actress, as 
we have already stated, had rented her rooms in her aunt's name, 
"Mother Rouque," and she testified to the furniture being hers. 
Only a few of Sarah's personal effects were sold, only such as she 
had left behind. The droll side of the character of our heroine in 
these tormenting times lay in her self-possession. All her troubles, 
instead of crushing her, seemed but to stimulate her to fresh exer- 
tions. Her sharp repartees and cutting remarks were remembered 
long afterwards by the habituees of the Corneille Theatre. One 
day, in rehearsing Feuillantin's " Oracle," she surprised her friend 
and companion, Emilice Brozat, enveloped in a dressing gown and 
watching the scene. Brozat, a lodger in the house, in order to ob- 
tain a leading part, had to wait until one of the principals fell sick. 
It so happened that Sophie Croiset, the author of the " Oracle," 
was at that time indisposed, and did not come to the theatre oftener 
than she was obliged. Emily, therefore, never missed a rehearsal 
in the hope that Sophie would be unable to act and that her part 
would be assigned to Emily. This darling of the sailor boys, the 
abhorred by all the married and respectable women, played 
comedy as easily as she knitted stockings. 
Sarah had foreseen this result, having caught her spying and 



ON THE INFLUENCE OF SUCCESS ON MANAGERS. S3 

hailed her. ' ' What are you doing there ?" she cried. ' ' Have you 
come to my funeral? Too soon, youngster, there is no corpse yet !" 
This sally made all laugh. Brozat was not liked. The actor 
Biron, having one day seen him arrive at the theatre in a car- 
riage with a magnificent horse exclaimed, "What sense is there 
in seeing such a fine animal drawing such a jade." Occasionally, 
however, Sarah's sarcastic humor would savor of bile. She 
was nervous, fanciful and easily put into a passion. The non- 
success of her appearance on the stage had embittered her early 
days. She knew at that time, those discouraging hours in which 
an actress doubts her own powers, and anxious to be satisfied as to 
her abilities and to have an impartial opinion on her merits, she 
begged Pigeonnier to come and see her play, and give her advice. 
■ ' You are, " she wrote to her, ' ' the most honest person I know, and 
you will tell me what I am worth. " Pigeonnier had forgotten the 
history of the ambulance. She came, saw Sarah, applauded and 
comforted her. The Barnum reassured as to her future, being 
sincerely judged, studied hard, anxious to have her say in the 
" Oracle." Unfortunately, her temper got the best of her on sev- 
eral occasions, and things did not go so smoothly as she wished. 
The celebrated comedian MSnier, who introduced her, on leaving 
the stage in one of the acts, had displayed a little too much free- 
dom and caused a scandal. 

As he made some observation, she fired up, added insult to in- 
sult, and so far forgot herself as to throw her part in face of one of 
the principal actors, at the same time, insulting him most unjusti- 
fiably. Menier went straight to the manager, and said if Sarah 
was not suspended he would immediately resign. This caused a 
great stir. The Barnum having recovered her composure, under- 
stood the extent of her fault, and, with her usual promptness and 
resolution, determined to stand her ground and take her chance 
of the consequences. Accordingly the artful creature at once 
saught the author of the play. 

Feuillantin was enslaved, and insisted that the young actress 
should keep her part. Menier had to swallow the affront. The 
guilty girl excused herself, and manifested the greatest deference 
and respect towards him. Before playing in Phedre she went and 
asked his advice. 

The introduction of Phedre was quite an event. Sarah had al- 
ready gained a brilliant reputation from the play Oracle, a tri- 



84 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

umph, not unrivalled, as she played with Sophia Croiset, who 
also achieved a triumph in it. But the part assigned to her in 
Phedre did not seem suitable, Savard being the title-role indicated 
by tradition of locality and previous surroundings. The new star 
obtained the position, however. 

One day the director, M. Perrinet, called her to his office and 
asked, point blank, "Do you know the play Phedre? " 

Astonished though unabashed, she replied, "Phedre? I rather 
think so. " The few hundred verses which constitute a good scholar's 
knowledge in the tragedienne class were nothing to her in the face 
of losing a good job. 

"Yes, sir," she replied boldly. 

" Then you are going to play it!" said the autocrat. 

Barnum was radiant. Five minutes afterward, La Savard, sent 
for in her turn, went in the other direction. 

"Madame," said M. Perrinet, "do you know that you are to 
play Phedre in three days ?" 

"What! Phedre!" cried the artist, "and in three days? But 
you cannot think it, sir! It is some years since I played that 
role, and you want me in three days to go all through it ! It is 
impossible." 

"But it must be," replied the director, " you must re-learn the 
role, and in three days." 

"But, sir—" . . . 

" It is like this, I tell you: first, this piece is announced ; Phedre 
will be played." 

"I shall not play it." 

"Just as you like." 

And the Savard, as she had promised, kept her service-tickets 
for nothing. She hoped that M. Perrinet would change his mind 
before her refusal ; he did nothing of the kind. The pachalick, 
hating the actress as much as her predecessor had liked her, 
tasted a too savory pleasure to dishearten the poor woman wholly, 
and at the day fixed, Sarah appeared in Phedre. 

If there was a broken heart for her elder and rival, it is super- 
fluous to say it, Savard cried with rage, and suffered as much, as 
Barnum had the most brilliant triumph. The ambitious young 
woman had accomplished the marvelous feat of learning her role 
in three days, helped in her lessons by the previous counsel of 
MSnier, the great comedian, whom the talent of his young pupil had 



ON THE INFLUENCE OF SUCCESS ON MANAGERS. 85 

enraptured, so much as to make him forget his old quarrels. The 
success had been as great as had been the effort. The critic even 
asked himself if a second Eachel had not been born, and pro- 
claimed her as a star of the first magnitude in the Oracle. 

Feuillantin's piece had only presented the dramatic qualities of 
the actress. She had, under the velvet, made them suspect her 
claws; but in PhSdre she brought them out plainly, and let 
the professional fury flow over the passion that henceforth 
would be the characteristic of her talent at the theatre, as its ab- 
sence had been the characteristic of her incompleted tempera- 
ment of woman. 

Only Savard, to whom that young star was condemnation, was 
not long in complaining. The new comer monopolized all, and 
did not let the ex-star play. She went and found Perrinet, and 
demanded a reappearance, in a dignified fashion, on the scenes of 
her late triumphs. 

The director heard her complaints without a word or gesture, 
but while she rolled out her melancholy chapter of recriminations, 
he fixed his hard eye on her. 

At last, the attitude of the old man tired the visitor. 

"But answer me, will you?" cried she, "say whatever you 
like." 

Sarah for the moment did not grow old. The success had beau- 
tified her, had made her exuberant. The Oracle, that she only 
spoke of as a fetich, had marked a new stage of her life. Every- 
thing smiled for her; everything she did succeeded. The " press" 
that she played to charm had permitted the constitution of a solid 
stock company this time; yet it was not only artistic ground 
that she entered victoriously. She sent to the Salon a work that 
every one remarked and spoke of highly. The great artist Gus- 
tave Dargent was friendly and it was also at this time that, 
executing an original caprice, she overcame the last degree and 
found herself a finished woman. It was one morning, she had 
just dismissed a rich railway builder who had come from Nice to 
present his respectful addresses. They announced Mr. V@stibul, a 
talented young architect, whose father-in-law, Menier, had recom- 
mended him to the tragedienne. "Why do you not have a man- 
sion built ?" asked the visitor. " It costs too much," replied Sarah. 
"Too dear! Go along! If you like I will produce a superb 
edifice. You will only have to pay the expenses of the deed 



86 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

and to have it registered on signing. They will give you tima 
for the rest and I will give you credit, Saperlotte. You have a 
fine future; do not to hesitate in taking engagements.' 1 The 
Barnum burst with laughter; but little by little the idea of 
having a mansion constructed, while she possessed the ten thousand 
francs of the builder, while she owed every shop in Paris, enticed 
her entirely. She would only take precautions to hinder the man- 
oeuvres of her creditors. The architect went with her consent ; and 
eight days afterwards Sarah was a proprietor, in the environs of 
Ponc-Monceau, of a pretty little piece of land, on which Mr. Yesti- 
bul installed an army of workmen, and, a rich person having 
placed himself at the head of her adorers, the actress sailed 
from them with full sails on the stream of prosperity (old style). 



ADVERTISEMENTS. 87 



VIII. 

ADVERTISEMENTS, ADVERTISEMENTS, AND NOTHING 
BUT ADVERTISEMENTS. 

Without consecrating several volumes to these memoirs, how 
shall I avoid forgetting here and there, as we drift leeward, as sail- 
ors say, the episodic personages to whom our attention was given 
in the first chapters? 

For those who have nothing to win our sympathy we cannot, 
and we do not regret, the speed of the recital which obliges us to 
leave them abruptly on the way, but there is one of them — little 
Eeine — whom we reproach ourselves with having seemed to neg- 
lect. For this always calm character does win our sympathy, and 
its sad grace attracts us. She is worthy of a place for herself alone 
— her individual romance, of which she can be the sad and tender 
heroine. A saddening heroine, alas, and who throughout the acts 
or chapters will always lead the same misery, the same grief. 
Moreover, we can in two words trace her life from the epoch when 
we saw her ask the dead man the secret of suffering no longer. 

Little Eeine had grown quite pretty, had become a woman, 
but had continued her oppressed life. Her sister's jealousy in 
taking O'Konil from her, condemned her. 

The young girl still knew, because of fleeing from her cruel 
sister, the sombre hours of despair which had inspired her with 
the desire for suicide, at the time of her first attempt at indepen- 
dence. In order to live, she went down, always down. It was 
biting. 

The poor child suffered all the consequences of her deplorable 
lif e ; all, all, all of them. The last and the worst was her connec- 
tion with an unknown whom little Kerne's handsome hair had 
ensnared one ball-night at the Opera. She accepted an invitation 
to sup with him, and when she left him, she had a little money 
in her pocket to live on for a few days. 

Shortly afterwards she felt ill. A physician came to see her, but 
when he had examined her, he gave her so frightful a diagnosis 
that she fell back and fainted. 



88 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNVM. 

"No! that was not possible! She would not believe it.'* 

But the atrocious conviction must come to her. 

The disease, the hideous disease, had fallen upon her young 
flesh. 

Her prostration before the evidence of it was such, that she did 
not think of death, she had not strength to do so. She took care 
of herself mechanically, because she was ordered to. She re- 
covered. 

But the blow was struck. Morally she was broken ; dead was 
her youth, dead her tender goodness of the olden time. An old age 
had fallen upon her, leaving her brow without wrinkles, but 
gnawing at her heart. Physically, she was undermined by a 
strange consumption. 

Her weak constitution had not been able to endure the energy 
of the treatment, and her weakened frame was checked in its 
developments. She coughed all winter. In the spring red spots 
marbled her cheeks, and from that time the consumption "gal- 
loped. " Unconscious at first of her condition, she owed it to Lancet, 
the liquor-seller, that she did not die of want. The ex-deputy 
courted the youngest sister, as he had done the two older ones. 

But she seemed to him so different from the others that he 
really loved her after having merely pitied her. 

He dreamed of curing her, made her pass the summer at Eaux- 
Bonnes and the winter at Pau. Yet all this barely checked the 
progress of the disease. 

When on her return to Paris, little Peine had to take to her 
bed all at once, when the gravity of her situation was known to 
all, Sarah took her to her own house, in the Rue d'ltalie. The 
tragedienne was much complimented for her good heart. At that 
time the Barnum, in default of other means of advertising herself, 
had invented all sorts of queer and odd things before which sim- 
ple people fainted. In Mathias Moulin's work-shop she had ac- 
quired a taste for death's heads and had beaten about all the 
environs of the School of Medicine to obtain a dozen, with which 
she adorned her room. 

Established to her taste by this display, which gave the room a 
false appearance of being a cemetery, she conceived the idea of 
having presented to her by her friend Terrier an ebony coffin, 
lined with silver and satin. 

The coffin she used as a bed. 



ADVERTISEMENTS. 89 

The first time she lay in it, those visitors who had not been 
forewarned stopped on the threshold, overcome by fright. The 
actress had lighted candles, put on a white robe, and, paler than 
ever, her head seemed livid on its cushions of white satin. She 
remained motionless, inwardly amused at the fright of her friends, 
and really appearing as if d ead. At last, not able to contain her- 
self, like Lazarus she came back to life only to burst out laughing. 

Altogether Sarah was not more successful in this scene than in 
her former love affairs ; she remained cold as the wood of her ec- 
centric furniture. Now, it was in this chamber, at the side of the 
bier, in the middle of skulls, that she installed the sick one. She 
had given up her bed to her, and as she was not going to sleep out, 
she passed the night in her coffin. 

The poor consumptive, in viewing this dismal furniture, suffered 
a veritable martyrdom. Horrible nightmares haunted her short 
and light sleep. She must awake her. Alone she would die of 
fear, and trembled almost as much when her sister lay down on 
her bier. It was soon certain that little Seine was lost. 

" You would do well to take away your box," the doctor said to 
Sarah one morning when she accompanied him ; " it is premature. 
.... Mademoiselle your sister will not require it for some days 
yet!" 

The box and the skeletons disappeared. Little Eeine intui- 
tively knew what their taking away meant. She did not cry, 
but revolted, and in her desire for life, clung to existence, drag- 
ging along her days which were numbered, with the energy of a 
drowning person who grasps at a straw. The terrible struggle 
lasted an excruciatingly keen eternity. How she fought, furious 
and half mad ! To die at eighteen J She rebelled at the idea, and 
raised herself from her bed, haggard — sometimes to repeat a prayer 
that nobody heard, sometimes to curse her unjust fate — unjust 
and cowardly! Die! Die! But she could not ! Once in terrible 
despair she had wished it ; but she was a child then ! She only 
felt the pain of her bruised knees at her first fall ! She did not 
remember and only saw about her suffering ! But now she was a 
woman ! In spite of her sad condition she still lived. She first 
loved Lanat. She had found much happiness with him. He 
was all she could desire, and in the presentiment of her coming 
end she cried, "Love !" Once, when Lanat arrived, the child had 
a singular attack. A transitory infatuation galvanized her ema- 



90 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARIUM. 

ciated body. It was a terrible scene. The weakness overcome, 
the dying girl, with affrighted eye, reviewed her tortured life, 
lived over again her early misery. Then she accounted for the 
beginning of her illness, recalled the opera, her sickness, the un- 
mentioned past. Her slender body would heave with passion. 
She clawed at Lanat, passed from jealousy to hate, or over- 
whelmed herself in imprecations against men. 

And she would come back to her horrible complaint: "It is of 
this that I am dying !" One day, broken down with sobs, she 
could not finish, and fell back on her pillows. Little Reine was 

dead ; Cinderella suffered no more The ebony and silver 

coffin, lined with white satin, would not do for her: it was too 
expensive. 

A bier of oak, the customary bier for people who are neither 
rich nor poor, received the child on its bed of sawdust, but even 
on a pillow of white satin the little one could not be prettier. 
Death had cured her, and now bathed her head in a halo of sweet 
serenity and infinite grace. Reine looked as formerly. She 
seemed to sleep, consoled at last. 

Sarah wore her mourning gayly. The good souls who wish to 
see reproduced in the novel the winner of the Montyon prize, and 
not such as we jostle every day in the street, will surely cry at 
the unlikely thing and tax us with odious exaggeration. Never 
mind, the Barnum that we wish to photograph in these pages was 
neither angel or demon. She was the production of a happy 
medium : she had a complex organization like everybody else — a 
little worse than the rest, if you choose, but in all she was what 
she ought to have been— the exaggerated impressions, the original 
predisposition, the instinctive egotism and all the exterior causes 
which had influenced her physical and physiological state, as the 
serious Reviews and Paul Bourget would say. Each man, Al- 
phonse Karr says, has three characters : The one he has ; the one 
he thinks he has ; the one he wishes to have or pretends to have. 

Our heroine Jierself possessed even in this reckoning five or six 
characters. We could double the figure if Sarah, a woman with 
a clear head and self-possession, had ever deceived herself as to 
her moral worth. She had a clear idea of what she really was, 
but what she wished to appear was not a settled matter or exactly 
marked out. Her borrowed character was in fact by no means 
an unchangeable one. It varied according to the places and 



ADVERTISEMENTS. 91 

witnesses, was not the same in town as at the theatre, and was 
shaped according to circumstances and people. Therefore, in order 
to close this parenthesis, which some will find useless, the actress 
at the death of her sister feigned the most intense grief. When 
her fountain of tears was exhausted, she thought about making 
profit of the situation. Inimitable actress as she was, she suc- 
ceeded without effort. Notoriety— always notoriety— was to be her 
plan. Paris was inundated with letters about her. The news- 
papers — good children as they had always been to her, inserted 
all the notes that Sarah sent, all the articles that she asked for. 
The burial was magnificent. 

Phedre there again found tears. Old M. Perrinet seeing her weep 
in torrents and attempting to conceal them beneath her crape veil, 
exclaimed "Certainly she is very brave!" and he was softened, 
and forgave readily this woman, at whose theatrical impersonation 
he was wonder-struck. In fact, never had any one of his pupils 
the pathetic accent, the expressive mimicry, which was found in 
Barnum, she thanking her friends for the "evidence of sym- 
pathy," "the proofs of devotion," which "had been given her" 
in the sad affair. 

All Paris was represented— critics, men of the world, and of 
society. Sarah profited by this to renew her acquaintances, and to 
keep up a good understanding by this hand-shaking. 

" This is not a burial," exclaimed one narrator; "it is a first or 
last representation." 

"Yes," replied another, "and, what is better, a representation 
disregarding authors' rights and the rights of the poor." 

Further, the two detractors were not behindhand in offering 
their encomiums. Sarah had an immense popularity, lasting a 
week. She would have buried all Israel to obtain a similar ad- 
vantage. 

As for the before-mentioned rights of author and of the poor, 
they were perceived all the same. 

The poor little Eeine had no longer need of anything but flowers. 
She got them, and Sarah, drying her eyelids, knew so well how 
to count up and recover the expenses which she incurred by 
the funeral of her sister that she got them paid for in suc- 
cession by the various guests of her new client&le. Here let us 
utter a protest against the apostles of "high art" and of sympa- 
thetic temperaments in romances. We fashion our heroine as we 



92 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARIUM. 

please, and upon "human writings," as the fashionable novelists 
say. The reader is at liberty to exclaim against what is unnatural 
or to imagine that we are delineating a monstrosity. Monstrosi- 
ties do not live — at least they can only exist swimming in spirit 
bottles, and we should do wrong to see in our model simply a 
marble figure — a type used up, a noodle, a vampire, or a money 
swallower. Should we, like the author of "Chariot s'amuse," 
select our subjects for a story from the hospitals, we would 
admit that in our eyes Sarah is a medical study rather than a 
philosophical one. 

Do we represent Sarah Barnum as the ideal money-getter? No, 
no indeed. As a bungler? Yes, but only as a selfish bungler, 
nothing else. As will be seen elsewhere, in what follows, our 
heroine had only the money which her talent, and especially her 
reputation, gained for her. The theatre furnished her lodgings, 
and if that only procured to her, sham woman that she was, a 
moderate amount of credit, it was not a bad tribute to the ad- 
dress of the artist and of her managers. 

Sarah — was she the type of originality marking an epoch, or 
even a school of acting ? She was neither; she was simply one 
who could divert. Before she came, nervous diseases were treated 
at the hospital, but on her arrival she threw both physicians and 
bromide of potassium out of the windows, from which, like a 
female Don Juan, she made new conquests. She had a nervous 
temperament, and drew from it an extraordinary line of action. 
Only her temperament, for the reason that it had lost all sense, 
never had anything terrible or tragic in it. 

If the actress had been brought up and managed differently, 
and had followed the logic of her inborn disease, the Barnum 
would not, at the SalpStriere, have needed douches nor the 
strait- jacket. She would have amused the attendants, so the 
nurses said, she would have delighted everybody, and morphine 
would have made her only silly. 

During life she used the misrule of her innervation as she 
abused everything, men and circumstances; as a knowing girl, 
somewhat in the manner of those learned men who, in order that 
no natural power should be lost, utilize the tides and await the 
time when they will be able to use the lava of Vesuvius as a motor ! 

Our heroine was a triumphant, exalted bunch of nerves, breath- 
ing its unhealthy intoxication over Paris. 



ADVERTISEMENTS. 93 

But she, using her temperament as does a juggler, or an ecstati- 
cal fakir, preserved the coldness of an idol, and never exhibited on 
the stage the passionate folly of her own nerves. In other words, 
her brain only was carried away ; the heart maintained its regular 
and rhythmic beating. 

Musset said to the dead Malibran: 

" Quelques bouquets de fleurs te rendaient — ils si vaine, 
Pour venir nous verser de vrais pleurs sur le sc&ne, 
Lorsque tant d'bistrions et d'artistes fameux 
Couronnes mille fois, n'en ont pas dans les yeux? 

Au lieu de ce delire 

Que ne t'occupais-tu de bien porter ta lyre? 
Las Pasta fait ainsi: que ne limitais-tu?" 

This was not written of the Barnum. 

Her pulse, like that of Pasta, never had one pulsation more than 
usual, even when she played Phedre or Camille. Her imper- 
sonations did not crush her. She never had a death-rattle after 
the fall of the curtain. A comedienne become tragedienne by the 
chances of the stage, by the crowd's favor, by her own freaks, she 
had talent, but no fire. She learned to die on the stage, and died 
marvellously, every night, for many years. But her death re- 
mained the reproduction of an hospital scene, and if she made the 
audience shudder, it was that shudder caused by a physiological 
experiment. 

She caught people by the nerves— that was her originality; 
everybody before her having worked, some on the heart, some on 
the senses of the public. She found the Achilles-heel of the crowd, 
the virgin corner, and took a good bite, and then maintained her 
hold. The bitten got used to her fangs and desired no others. 

The artificial was her allotment. She was beautifully artificial. 
Whoever visited her was conquered. On leaving her parlors, 
the caricaturist Grevin's women were thought natural : real, also, 
were considered the Parnassians contemplating them; and, it 
seemed that the undressed dolls of novelists of the " Gyp" type 
had just been visited. 

Because, being insensible, and knowing herself to be incapable 
of winning a single person, she had nothing to do but to endeavor 
to ensnare everybody, to make all her guests her slaves. She 
caught every being who approached her. Her smiles brought her 
impunity, and her enemies were her adversaries only in an inter- 



94 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

mittent manner, consoling themselves for the bad tricks she 
served them, finding her even more exquisite than when they 
first felt her claws. 

From her strange eyes she brought to bear, with royal bounty 
and universally, her strange power, which placed at her feet an 
array of slaves without being able to claim an isolated adorer. It 
is because of that feline power, that captivating suppleness, was 
not born in Sarah. She constituted, acquired a power, artificial 
like the rest, which the woman owed to experience. The charm 
of the Barnum was a reasoned charm, a calculated charm, a fixed 
idea. And what made her stronger was that she disdained noth- 
ing nor anybody. She would have been a great politician ; she 
would have inspired fanaticism like Bonaparte, devotion like Ma- 
ria Theresa, because, more expert than the Old Man of the Moun- 
tain, she distributed her haschisch to all, equally adored by her 
dressmaker and the ambassador in vogue, the errand man on the 
corner and the actor who plays with her. 

Unfortunately for her, she knew how to attract but not how to 
keep. Her violence, idiosyncrasies, her fantastic caprices, her 
cold wickedness, extinguished all fervor, all devotion. These were 
renewed or replaced by virtue of her charms, but her residence 
was never a house— it was a passage. 

After this picture, let us resume our narrative: 

Eeine is dead. Sarah has had a mansion built. She installs 
herself in it. A difficult installation. She uttered a frightened cry 
as she entered the vast empty apartments; how furnish all that? 
She was not accustomed to despair, and her ingenuity had con- 
quered other difficulties. Gradually, presents assisting purchases, 
the new residence became inhabitable. The nick-nacks arrived, 
and the artist, who, at first, had seemed still thinner in the mourn- 
fulness of the empty rooms, devised the ' 'set-off" which became 
her so well. 

It was not in vain that she had become a painter and sculptress ; 
it was not in vain that she had created a court of artists around 
her. 

After Dargent, Lerin became king of the court. He was 
only a friend, but he one day had the audacity to want to 
marry, and Sarah, jealous of everybody, had the caprice to pre- 
vent his marriage— as good a way as another of exhibiting her 
power. The means which she employed will not be mentioned. 



ADVERTISEMENTS. 95 

To console himself he painted the ceilings of his rooms. He 
heightened the commonplace subject chosen by the proprietor, 
The Rising of Aurora, by modernizing his personages, and making 
them lifelike especially. Sarah was represented under the feat- 
ures of Aurora so well that all beholders were enchanted. 

One of the first persons admitted to contemplate the work 
could not dissimulate a smile, however. 

"It is you," said he; " greatly like you." 

And the Aurora replied, rising for good: "Yes, it is I . . . 
but well supported." 

The ceiling, the Msecenas-like manners of the lady, the furnish- 
ing of the mansion, were, as may be supposed, new and excellent 
mediums of advertising. Sarah fell sick if the press passed a 
day without mentioning her. Life did not supply enough dogs 
for her to cut their tails ; she manufactured some. 

Her life was passed on a spring-board, and, possessing too much 
memory, she always recollected the words of Du Chesnel: " Let 
your name be always read. Reputation, you must know, is like 
chocolate," etc. 

What a chocolate-box the Barnum is ! 

In a word, she economized with ability on her advertising ex- 
penses. Her subscription-lists were never closed, and every one 
had to subscribe. 

"Small brooks make large rivers," said the artist; and every 
new arrival had to contribute, to enter the obligatory partner- 
ship. Unfortunately, it is unknown what a spongy soil drank up 
the river. 

This manner of operating was not a new one for our heroine ; 
we have seen her practising it in the preceding chapters. 

It is in this way that at the Parthenon she unmercifully bled 
one of her comrades, Berron Junior. One morning he arrived 
from the theatre, where he had received some twenty-five louis, 
his month's salary. Expected at home by his numerous family, 
to whom this money was the only resource, he rapidly entered his 
friend's house, where she kept him. Weeping, she said that she 
was on the eve of an important payment, the non-payment of 
which would bring in the sheriff. She implored the actor until 
he left his small earnings with her ; and the unfortunate man, 
whose children were about to starve, had not reached the door 
when the wretch exclaimed: 



96 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARMJM. 

" Eh ! every one his mite ! They all have to come down !" 

The proprietress of a mansion, the actress, far from abandoning 
her system of making everybody "come down," improved it. 

However, she always derived but little profit by it. Continually 
short of funds, her careless spoiling, and her laziness for the 
slightest calculation — an abnormal feature of her character— 
caused her to be always reduced to expedients. Yet no woman 
was ever less generous than she. 

She again had recourse to the expert matrons who are the 
providence of the unfortunates who are temporarily short of cash. 
But her youthful celebrity, her situation at the Theatre Corneille, 
necessitating a show of keeping up appearances, she found novel 
plans for making new friends. 

One of these plans was the selling of one of her latest works, a 
statuette representing "Madness." 

On the discreet advice of one of the above-mentioned matrons, 
the art amateurs went to the petticoated sculptress, examined, and 
offered a price. 

"Madness" was sold in this manner, God knows how many 
times. 

The last purchaser whose trace we have been able to find had 
offered a much better price, for he remained a long while in the 
artiste's studio. It happened that the Barnum, being afraid of cold, 
kept up an enormous fire in this studio. The dilettante, on leav- 
ing, the house, found the Avenue Monceau terribly cold, and ar- 
rived at home, went to bed ; an attack of pneumonia kept him there 
many months. When he recovered he had the impoliteness to send 
for the statuette, intending to offer it to the iEsculapius to whose 
good care he owed his life. Naturally it was refused. But how 
generous and frank are convalescents ! 

About this time, our Barnum, as a relief from her aesthetic labors, 
made numerous ascents in a captive balloon. Nevertheless, it did 
not satisfy this friend of versatility to be a comedienne, sculp- 
tress, painter, and aeronaut. Literature, the best way of adver- 
tising, tempted her, and it was these very aerial voyages which 
furnished her the means of dyeing her stockings blue : no pun 
intended. 

Descending again to earth, she published " Impressions of an 
Ascent." An Academy without taste and entirely devoted to the 
party of the Dukes forgot to crown the new work. 



ADVERTISEMENTS. 97 

The Institute has thus for all time recorded its contempt for play- 
actors. Sarah consoled herself by reading again the life of 
Moliere. 

Unhappily, the party of the Dukes kept the publishers in pay, 
and these made merry over the "Impressions." 

Perhaps in this fact may be found the explanation of our hero- 
ine's increasing nervousness at that time. She fell back to adver- 
tising herself as an invalid. The Theatre Corneille turned pale. 
So did the public. 

Each week the play would be changed, ofttimes omitted. 
The comedienne would send word to the manager at the last 
moment ; there would be hardly time to paste over the advertise- 
ments on the walls. And no room for doubts or anger. Did she 
not, when she constrained herself to play, have frequent hemor- 
rhages which frightened even the most sceptical of her comrades? 

A devoted legion of admirers was formed. Sarah, as a con- 
sumptive, became more interesting than ever. She was bewailed 
in romances with tears that were discrete but full of lamentation. 

The Society of the Santon Muses — an association- of poets of 
Sainton ge— published verses to the great artiste, in which, with- 
out mentioning her name, they deplored the fatal evil whicn 
ravaged those dear lungs. Apothecaries tormented her. 

It was the eve of her departure for London, where the troup of 
the Theatre Corneille, taking advantage of the spare time caused 
by repairs to the building, were going to give a series of repre- 
sentations. 

At London, our Barnum cast her eye on the Prince of Ireland. 
But how could she conquer this royal lover? She did not ap- 
proach sufficiently near to him to discharge her batteries. Then it 
was that, always fertile in expedients, she attacked the Prince's 
aide-de-camp. The officer capitulated at the first assault, and 
by his help she reached his master, who struck his flag almost as 
soon as his subordinate. 

Barnum's pride knew no bounds. Nevertheless, her triumphant 
joy was not unmixed. In fact, strange and horrible stories about 
the Prince were freely circulated. 

The whole Court, following the Prince, came to show her re- 
spect at a charity bazaar, at which she was the glorious queen. 

Such a success on the eve of her departure from London alone 
was enough to console her for her ill-luck at the theatre. She 



98 MEMOIRS OF SARAR BARNUM. 

had, however, attracted little attention and was in despair, and 
filled with jealous rage at the brilliant success of Sophia Croiset, 
who in The Oracle and La Duchesse de Trois Monts had filled all 
London with enthusiasm. 

How should she bring herself into notice? How attract the at- 
tention of the crowd? The Barnum conceived and executed a 
stratagem. 

She was to appear in a little act written for her and the English 
audience, in which she played a burlesque part. At the last mo- 
ment she gave up her part. Great scandal and confusion resulted ! 
A good "piece of advertising" also. The rebel was reasoned with 
and implored to yield, but she refused, and declared that she 
would rather leave the theatre; and the journals of Paris seizing 
upon the incident, and the affair being noised abroad, Sarah writes 
from London to the Barbie?* resigning her position. 

On returning to France her friends interpose. She must not be 
guilty of such a folly ! They certainly cannot allow her to com- 
mit it ! And one of them who had friendly relations with M. Per- 
rinet tries intercession with the director. The autocrat sends for 
the pouting lady, who, inwardly much amused, congratulates her- 
self at the success of her trick. 

" Come, come, naughty one; let us be reasonable. I am about 
to assemble the committee and have you made a full member." 

The Barnum was in fact elected a full member. 

She deigned to withdraw her resignation. 

She took up her old life, her company, her many labors. 

Her house at present was very much frequented, her dinners 
very largely attended. She reigned supreme. Each repast was a 
new exaltation for her egotistical authority and for her disdain for 
all the outside world. 

She had "her chair," her own chair, a kind of sacred seat re- 
served for her majesty. She had "her glass," "her wine," "her 
cognac, " different from those of the invited guests and put apart 
for her special use. 

Of her cognac she was especially fond, taking willingly one pony 
after another, laughing when she felt the flush coming to her 
cheek, and livening all her being. 

The siege of Paris had given birth to the fashion of liquors and 
Alcohol, and the Barnum at times, from constantly repeating it, 



ADVERTISEMENTS. 99 

had come to believe herself consumptive, and decided on adopt- 
ing this as a remedy. 

But one thing spoiled her joy: her studio, her parlors, were 
visited less by celebrities than by people who aspired to become 
known. As to her intimates, although her battalion was well 
composed, men of the world were wanting — men of the high world 
and of good society. An ambition possessed her to conquer a 
reputation in good society, to attach it to her chariot. She suc- 
ceeded in doing it, thus : One evening one of her chums arrived 
at her house on business — a benefit performance. The visitor was 
accompanied by Baron Kapnicki, the first secretary of the em- 
bassy of Poland. Sarah promised her assistance, and immediate- 
ly began to make herself agreeable to the diplomat. She showed 
him through her mansion, and while her friend was writing to 
the committee, whose delegate she was, to inform them of the 
success of her enterprise, the comedienne detained the baron in 
her studio. 

Eight days later the same chum called again, but alone this 
time. The Barnum hailed her laughingly with these words: 
"Ah! ah! you don't know Kapnicki!" 

"Well, what is it?" asked her friend with surprise. 

"Well, we understand each other!" 

" We understand each other" was understood. 

"But see here," said the visitor "You don't stand on 

ceremonies, do you? Before enlisting a person to whom I intro- 
duce you, you might at least ask me if I am at all attached to 
that person. For, after all, you did not know if the Baron was 
simply a friend of mine. " . . . . 

"What are you giving us?" answered the comedienne; "you 
know me too well. If he had been your lover you wouldn't have 
brought him here." 

This reasoning needed no reply. 

When all has been said, the actress found in her new conquest 
but a satisfaction to her self-love. 

The Pole adored her ; he thought her charming, witty, original, 
and said repeatedly : 

" Sarah is simply immense." 
. He did not find her domestics above a bribe. The bright 
foreigner was as generous with the chamber-maids as he was with 
their mistress. 



100 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

"In giving twenty-five louis from time to time to the waiting- 
maid, I am certain," thought he, "of being always well re- 
ceived ; but how many times will I be obliged to multiply that sum 
in order to obtain from the mistress herself a smile such as the 
chick bestows on me?" 

The Barnum, placed so high by the diplomat that he dared not 
offer any thing at her altar, had no need of this pretext to 
vary her attractions ad infinitum. 

Her studio had a private entrance on a side street, and it was 
through this door that the communications of the day arrived. 
(Day is here a euphemism.) " Ma tour de Nesle!" said she, speak- 
ing of that fortunate door. 

One night the young man was there. Sarah, like the moon, 
received him dressed in white, and invited him to sit at her side 
on a low sofa covered with cushions, that she called commonly 
her "tramway." 

"Now, handsome soldier," said she, with a tired air, " tell me 
one of the stories you tell so well." 

And she stretched herself with the pose of a sultana hearing 
Scheherazade. 

The officer, surprised but yet calm, related as best he could the 
first story that came to his mind. 

"Very funny," the sultana said, smiling. "You have some- 
thing more interesting. Tell me another !', 

O'Prinz frowned, scowled, but obeyed. This time she did not 
deign to smile. 

" It is very interesting without doubt," she said, "but it does 
not amuse me. Find me something more entertaining." 

At this, the captain stood up and took hold of Sarah in spite of 
her resistance. 

The Barnum screamed and scratched. 

One morning his paper, under the signature X . . . , related in 
quite a transparent way how he had courted the stubborn come- 
dienne. 

The Boulevard tasted the morsel with great relish and the hero of 
the recital became furious, as can well be imagined. 

All of a sudden she called upon the officer for the letters she had 
addressed to him. 

The ingrate refused to part with them. 

" By Jove !" cried the victim, gasping for revenge. 



ADVERTISEMENTS. 101 

And she called one of her guests, the little De Malgraine, a 
pleasant and cheerful debauchee. 

This one accepted the mission to go and ask the owner of the 
Fete Parisienne the name and author of the articles signed X . . . 

There, naturally, the question was not immediately answered. 
He waited. O'Prinz, informed at once, had to find a substitute, 
as, being an officer, he could not fight a duel simply for an article 
that his uniform did not allow him to write. 

To get clear he charged one of his friends, Karl des Foudrieres, 
to assume the responsibility of the thing. Karl consented, and 
ran to find the proxy of the Barnum, promising to himself on his 
way to settle the matter without the least trouble. 

"Sir, I am the author of the lines of which you complain. I 
have nothing to retract, nothing to rectify, and I am at your 
orders." And, pinking his man, all ends satisfactorily. 

Karl arrived in high spirits, and uttered an exclamation on see- 
ing De MalgrainS. 

"What, it is you?" 

"Myself." 

He held his sides, laughing at the joke that obliged them to 
fight, old and good friends as they were. But, after laughing, the 
meeting was understood. 

The agreement was that Karl would softly prick his adversary 
on the hand, and then a good dinner would settle the matter. 

This was done. Victor and the vanquished one having covered 
his scratch with court-plaster— enjoyed the champagne, and Mal- 
graing, having gotten himself up for the thing, called at the 
Avenue Monceau with his arm in a sling. He was received as a 
hero, as an avenger, as a god ! 

Delighted with this new mode of advertising, and satisfied in her 
vanity, Sarah refused to release this young man, bad him on ex- 
hibition a whole week, and forced him to keep his sling. Now, 
Kapnicki, seeing his rival feasted in such style, became extremely 
jealous, and, seized with emulation, he resolved to risk his skin in 
turn in honor of his fair one. 

A fete given at the Polish Embassy soon furnished him with an 
opportunity. O'Prinz, who was very effusive, was invited. He 
came in full uniform, and marched through the salons to find 
and salute the ambassador. This duty accomplished, he turned 
to the attaches and the secretaries, all of whom he knew, and sud- 



102 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

denly held out his hand to Kapnicki, The Pole pretended not to 
see his guest. O'Prinz, surprised, insisted, forcing the diplomat to 
look at him. But the latter in a haughty tone declared "that 
he would not shake hands with such a man as the officer I" 

This affront was followed by the necessary consequences. 
O'Prinz wanted to kill his insulter. He happily contented him- 
self with aiming at him a good sword-stroke, which cut the 
arm of the first secretary, and kept him in bed for two weeks. 
Still, the poor cripple was not repaid for his trouble by Sarah. 

He persisted in disturbing the priceless Barnum. She thanked 
him with her lips, while rejoicing prodigiously at this new pub- 
licity. 

The sympathies of the office and the solicitude of the actress' 
chamber-maids were but an imperfect consolation for the unfortu- 
nate Pole. 



* JOURNEYS &REAT AND SHALL. 103 



IX. 

JOURNEYS GREAT AND SMALL. 

The wisdom of nations has not fallen into its dotage (one swal- 
low does not make a summer) in declaring that one must not pursue 
two birds at once. 

The Barnum for fifteen years had pursued at once glory and 
fortune. Her original talent, aided by a system of advertising 
such as no woman of the stage had yet organized, had procured 
her the former, but the latter had always escaped her. Neither 
her tricks, nor her eclecticism in love, nor her various protectors 
had made, her rich. We have shown her at times attaining 
ease, but we have also shown her the next day falling into troubles, 
the persistence of which, more than her temperarment and her 
love of notoriety, explains her character, her headaches, her 
follies. 

And Heaven knows that she never failed to levy a contribution 
on whosoever approached. Begging from all comers, according 
to the phases of her life, from one to five, then from five to twenty, 
then from twenty to fifty louis, she had nevertheless always at 
her heels, driving her to the most singular extremities, an army 
of creditors, a catalogue of whom would have made Balzac, Mus- 
set, and the elder Dumas turn pale. 

With her there was an open gulf into which everything fell. 
And yet, if she had not bungled, she might have been rich long 
since, thanks to her sweet fashion of handing over her daily ex- 
penses to Peter and Paul. Did any one pay her a visit ? Behold ! 
here is a piece of furniture brought for which instant payment is 
demanded, or something of urgent necessity for which money 
must be sent in a hurry. 

"But I haven't a cent," she cries, laughing, and rolling herself 
along on her ' ' tramway. " 

The friend had to beg her " to accept this small service." 

The funniest thing, moreover, is that, not content with taxing 
men, she did not scruple to 'always win at play, to squeeze from 



104 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

Mother Girard, her factotum, the few sous that the worthy, pov- 
erty-stricken woman get from her mistress' friends. She then 
was forced to borrow from her friends. The debt contracted, 
instead of payment she laughed at her dupes. Another trait of 
her character was the intemperance of her tongue. To make 
use of people without making fun of them afterward would have 
seemed to her idiotic. She used cruel ribaldry, and spared no 
one, and preferred the chance of never being able to exact the 
second service of a person to losing the point of a joke. 

Her eternal laugh saved her from the consequences of her 
raillery. 

" What a top !" said every one ; and often the victims gave up to 
the contagion of her gayety. Sometimes the women rebuffed 
each other, as did Winter's little one. She one matinee accom- 
panied her illustrious friend to the rehearsal of a new piece 
in a theatre of the style in which Annette Bar num. played. 
The arrival of Sarah caused a sensation among those who 
pressed around her. The star, however, posed, as she always 
did in public, kindly or dignified, "with the airs of a queen, visit- 
ing her subjects. After the rehearsal, she thanked the members of 
her improvised court, and majestically returned from it. But there 
is a brave fellow of a janitor who had guided her in the dark 
passages and opened the stage-door for her. She must leave a 
generous fee to this slave of the bell-rope. Of course she has not 
a penny. "De Winter, "said she, " lend me 20 francs. " De Winter, 
who has forgotten his opera-glasses, has not the time to reflect, 
and does it at once. She pockets the piece as the porter buries 
himself in expectant thanks, and the two friends enter the car- 
riage together. But the coupe had hardly started, when the 
Barnum cried out in her habitual spirited language, . . . "You 
are not the least bit generous, you !" 

" How?" asked De Winter, choking with anger. 

1 ' Of course ! Twenty francs for a tip. Dry up ! You dress well. 
. . . For all that, my little spectacled snake, did you imagine 
that I intended to give it back to you?" 

Another friend who rebuffed her firmly was Martha Pigeonnier. 
Sarah, like her sisters, owing her a thousand obligations, did not 
mince matters with her. The remembrance of services rendered 
never by any chance troubled the tragedienne. If ingratitude 
means independence of heart, she had more than an easy con- 



JOURNEYS GREAT AND SMALL. 105 

science— so easy that it took an early flight and did not appear 
again. Without doubt it was stupid for this poor birdling to 
stay in an empty nest. 

"Bah!" said the Barnum to Martha when she had to excuse 
herself for a little meanness, "you are a calf, I declare!" 

" Take care," said the other; "even a calf may get mad." 

But hydrophobia does not make its appearance quickly, and 
the devoted friend of yore did her other favors. 

It was a loan which she made without begrudging it. For ex- 
ample, on the day when she was annoyed in her turn, she asked 
from Sarah assistance which would only have reimbursed her : she 
would wait for a good long time. This fact became apparent, 
among other things, in a comical manner while the two friends 
went to inaugurate the new theatre of Montefiore, one of the most 
frequented bathing and gambling places on the Mediterranean. 

Everything heretofore had been delightful on the trip. The 
evening before the start, the Barnum begged Martha not to 
trouble herself about anything to eat. She took charge of that 
matter. At 7 o'clock the next evening the two actresses got into 
a coups and started. Soon they got hungry. Then Sarah opens 
her travelling-bag, a little marvel which is at once a toilet-case, a 
provision-basket, a wine-cellar, and in short just what you need. 

Bravely she draws from it a parcel. 

" What have we to devour?" asked her companion. 

" Some garlic sausages. ..." 

" How disgusting!" 

" Yes, my dearest; I love it dearly. As I cannot eat any of it 
at home, so as not to poison people, I always take advantage of my 
little trips to gorge myself with it." 

"Very well; we are alone with this garlic sausage. I have 
some bread. ..." 

"What else?" 

"A bottle of champagne." 

"Well?" 

"A flask of champagne." 

"And after that?" 

" After?— but that is all." 

Martha was obliged to resign herself and try to make a meal on 
garlic sausage. But at the second slice her strength gave way and 
she swallowed her bread dry. Sarah, however, crammed herself 



106 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

so that one would imagine she had not eaten for a week. And as 
to the atmosphere of the car, it was unendurable. The first em- 
ployee who before Lyon endangered his life in endeavoring to 
collect the tickets fell asphyxiated on the road. 

They reached Marseilles. A long stop. The two travellers ran 
to the telegraph-office and annoimced their arrival to their re- 
spective friends at Montefiore, but Sarah was furious against the 
office. The ignorant employe who was at the gate— Oh, glory !— 
he did not recognize the grande artiste. He had requested her to 
write her signature which he read Barnieu, while that of Pigeon- 
nier was received with great salams by the scribblers. The come- 
dienne did not know that they had all applauded Martha, she 
having given some representations at the Marseilles, and that 
these gentlemen were allowed to enter the theatre at a reduced 
price. At the buffet her anger fell because she saw she was recog- 
nized. Then she assumed her society attitude. As her companion, 
dying with hunger, ordered a cold partridge, she cried loud enough 
to be heard by every one, "Oh, horror, meat! You eat meat!" 
and the delicate creature turned her nose with an air of supreme 
contempt. Then, stuffed with sausage and garlic, she bought a 
simple bunch of grapes and picked them like an ethereal creature 
living on dew and flowers. 

At Montefiore, great success ; after which Martha gave herself 
up to the pleasures of roulette whilst her friend went to Paris. 
Very soon with her pockets empty the player remembered that 
she had lent money to Sarah. Despatch after despatch. No 
answer came, and the actress had to content herself as best as she 
could. 

On her return she reproached the Barnum with her selfishness. 
n F or? » ghe sai^ " in a similar case I should have done what was 
almost impossible for you. We are too old friends for you not to 
do your best to help me out of my difficulties, even if you owed 
me nothing." 

"Bah!" said the other, "I knew that you would come out all 
right." She paid bacis: the money in question, however, after 
much dunning and in ridiculously small amounts. " I shall only 
give you so much at a time," she said, without laughing, " but it 
is to your interest. I know what a spendthrift you are. " 

The lady had the gift of ready replies and droll answers. The 
excellent and bald-headed Arthur Simon, a journalist and man of 



JOURNEYS GREAT AND SMALL. 107 

the world, who loved her well, and kept a standing advertisement 
in Le Chantclair, had reason to know her too well, for she paid 
him by boxing his ears. One afternoon he went to remind her 
that she had promised to dine with him. He found her laid on 
the couch in the work-room. At the first words she interrupted 
him. 

"Ah, poor dear," she groaned, "how unfortunate. I shall be 
obliged to fail in my engagement. In getting out of the carriage 
before the theatre I had the imprudence to jump down before the 
carriage stopped and sprained my ankle." 

And pretending to try to walk she got up and limped about 
with crys of pain. Her visitor was obliged to force her to lie 
down again, 

"What a misfortune," my poor friend, he said. "I have in- 
vited the men that you pointed out to me and your are the only 
woman. It would be a real calamity if you did not come. Come, 
my little Sarah, a sprain is not enough to stop a plucky one like 
you. You must oblige us even if we have to carry you. You 
must come this evening." 

He insisted so much that Sarah became furious, but was obliged 
to yield, and finished by promising to do what she could. 

Arthur Simon thanked her, shook hands with young Loris, who 
was present during the interview, without saying a word ; then he 
went out. 

He had no sooner turned his back than the Barnum burst out in 
anger. She avenged herself on Loris, who laughed, and in spite of 
his being sixteen years old threatened to box his ears. She did 
not limp any more, but walked the room and swore like a cab- 
man. 

"What is matter with them ?" she cried, " to annoy me in this 
way. It is just like that miserable Simon ! I was not *in a temper 
bad enough without him coming to finish it. Ah, the calf's-head." 
And with a mechanical gesture she pulled back the curtain cov- 
ering the door where Arthur Simon had just passed. But the 
same instant an exclamation of stupor escaped her, and she re- 
coiled. 

There in the half -open doorway the blockhead appeared. The 
bald journalist had returned for his cane, which he had forgotten ; 
he had understood the furious slang of the lady, and now standing 
in the doorway he regarded her with a comical air. 



108 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNVM. -j 

She stammered forth a few broken words. 

"Good! good! I am not angry with you, my dear, " laughed 
the journalist harshly. "Nevertheless, I rely on you to-night. 
Calf's head let it be, but bring the parsley. " 

The bald journalist vanished. And Sarah went to dine with 
him ! 

It was not, to be sure, the first time that, in order to escape from 
keeping a promise, the fair Barnum played amusing tricks, but it 
was the first time that all her witty inventions failed. 

One evening about seven o'clock, her lady friend De Winter, 
already mentioned, arrived and found her in a scolding humor. 

" What is it?" she cried " you seem decidedly out of sorts." 

"Why," replied the actress, "I must get dressed in time to 
dine in town, and that always makes me cross. Oh pshaw ! after 
all, I am not going. It will be comical. They expect me. Mine, 
des Lassez has invited a host of people to meet me. How fine 
they will look when they find I am not coming ! And the Baron- 
ess herself —what a look of disgust !" 

She burst into laughter over the anticipated disappointment of 
the hostess and of the invited guests. De Winter interrupted 
this hilarity : 

"Why, Sarah, my love, you are surely jesting. You would not 
break your promise, and thus insult Mine, des Lassez. Every 
one has enemies enough, believe me, without making additional 
ones. Besides, she is a most influential person, and, moreover, is 
the frieDd of Arthur Simon, who introduced her to you. ..." 

" Oh ! I am firm about it ! Stop ! he, Simon, will be at the din- 
ner. How he will scold ! Kapnicki will be there too ! There ! I 
am mad because I do not want to dine alone. I must, excusing 
myself, get him to come back here." 

And Sarah walked up and down the studio, gazing upwards, 
trying to find a way to accomplish her object. 

' ' See here, De Winter, I must find some new excuse, because 
indisposition is one that I have used and abused too often. I 
might really be laid up, and no one would believe it. You are 
right. .In inviting Kapnicki here, I want them to be convinced 
that it is really impossible for me to dine with the Baroness, for I 
do not wish her to be angry with me. Yes, but how? I will send 
Mother Girard to tell her. Now, to succeed, it is absolutely neces- 
sary for Mother Girard herself to be convinced that I cannot leave 



JOURNEYS GREAT AND SMALL. 109 

tliis spot. Ah ! quick ; close the doors ! I have an idea, but we must 
be -alone. Let no one enter." 

-De Winter stands guard at the door. In an inst .nt Sarah seizes 
the painter's ladder resting against the wall, lays it on the floor 
upon a heap of overturned chairs, then seizing her pallet, paints 
upon her knees and elsewhere large black and blue spots, striking 
imitations. She clashes a little red in her hair, and ties over these 
artificial drops of blood a band of English gauze. 

u Now," she cried to the stupefied De Winter, " I have only 
to put on an appearance suitable to the occasion, to smell salts, 
and wrap my head in a scarf. Give me the powder and the puff. 
There ! that's it ! Now I lie down on my ' tramway ;' I put on a 
dying look ; you make me a glass of sweetened water — without 
laughing — like a good comrade who trembles yet from the fright 
he has had— and Mother Girard enters. Tableau! I relate my 
accident, show her my wounds, and if the thing takes, as I hope 
it will, she runs down to the Baroness' house, swears by all that 
is holy that it is impossible for me to come to dinner, and then 
goes and fetches Kapnicki here. Ready ! Look serious, or I pinch 
you. And now for scene first !" 

In the mean time, Mme. Girard, hearing half -past seven strike, 
and Sarah not coming, down to dress, resolves to go up to the studio. 

Mme. Girard is the confidante, the housekeeper, the companion, 
and maid of all work for the fair Barnum, whom she has known 
from infancy, and whom she worships, forgiving her everything, 
happy in hearing the commedienne call her always ' ' Nursey, " with 
the baby talk of old. 

The worthy woman enters without ceremony, but recoils aghast 
at the scene before her. Her hair stands on end, and rushing to 
the couch, she cries in a terrified voice : 

" My Sarah! my Sarah! What has happened?" 

De Winter, making desperate efforts to restrain her laughter, 
causes the glass of sweetened water so to tremble, that she spills 
part of it over her hands. 

"Ah! my dear nurse !" groans the wounded Sarah, "a little 
more, and you would never have beheld your poor mistress alive. 
Just think of it ! I was trying to arrange the hangings up there. 
I fell — look ! see how I have bruised myself. Ah ! how it hurts !" 

Saying this, she displayed her wounds, ancl uncovered her con." 
fcusions. 



HO MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. j 

The good-natured Girard, heart-broken at the sight, began to 
cry, suggesting at the same time twenty remedies. She wanted 
to do this and that, but the Bamum interrupted her : 

"There are more pressing things. Little fool — run to Madame 
des Lassez, and above all bring that good fellow Kapnicki." 

The good woman immediately jumped into a carriage, though 
not forgetting to recommend the Barnum to the care of De Winter 
and the maid. 

"That is done," exclaimed the actress, cutting capers on the 
divan as soon as her messenger had disappeared. 

Let us follow the latter to the Baroness' house. 

Half-past seven, eight o'clock had struck. The actress not hav- 
appeared, the guests began to feel uneasy ; as to Simon and the 
hostess, they criticised the capricious absent one very strongly. 

Suddenly a carriage was heard at the door. Every one listened, 
full of awaked hope. 

The Baroness, not hearing any one announced, leaves the parlor, 
and— Oh ! deception !— finds mother Girard, who is trying to per- 
suade the valet to admit her. 

Madame des Lassez, not waiting for her to speak, furiously ex- 
claims : 

" Useless— useless ! Madame Barnum will not come. Do not 
make any excuses — that is sufficient !" 

But Kapnicki, who has recognized the voice of the messenger, 
runs into the corridor. 

Madame Girard, regaining courage, will not allow herself to be 
sent away. In spite of all, she wishes to do her duty and excuse 
her dear mistress. In short, while the diplomat and Madame 
des Lassez herself notice her pallor, her eyes filled with tears ; 
they remembered how much she loves Sarah, and they listen to 
her struck by her sincerity and the tone of her voice. 

The good woman swears by her own daughter that she is not 
lying. She relates in a voice still trembling with emotion, that 
on entering the room, she had found the actress stretched on the 
divan "in the act of sponging the blood which was flowing from a 
wound in the head, which she had covered with English gauze." 

The actress, while trying to arrange the draperies of her studio, 
and wishing to ascend to the top of a ladder, had slipped and she 
fell "a distance of nine feet !" 

"Ah! Madame— Oh! sir," repeated the good woman, trembling 



JOURNEYS GREAT AND SMALL. HI 

all over, " The wound in the head is nothing in that place; when 
it bleeds freely it heals right away. But if you saw her poor 
knees, her poor thighs " 

She joined both her hands, looking steadfastly at Kapnicki, 
wishing to convey the impression to him that he ought to hurry 
to the bedside of the victim. 

Everybody sent their condolence to the fair wounded one, and 
then went to supper. 

Madame des Lassez was terribly excited. Kapnicki, overcome 
with grief, was desirous of going post-haste to the actress' house. 
Arthur Simon, more knowing — and with good reason— shrugged 
his shoulders. When the Baroness spoke of the wounded knees 
of the Barnum, he could hardly refrain from laughing, when he 
thought of those meagre bones. 

"Confound Sarah," he said, in a low voice to his neighbor, 
"she respects no one; she is now cutting death's heads." 

Supper was gone through rapidly and almost sadly ; Madame 
des Lassez, more and more convinced by the undeniable tone of 
conviction of Mother Grirard, felt uneasy. Before the coffee had 
been served, the diplomat and the journalist had obtained per- 
mission to go to the Avenue Monceau. They would bring back 
the news. They reached Sarah's house, ran up to the studio, and 
found the victim in the attitude described : 

"What does this new folly mean," Simon immediately ex- 
claimed, in a brutally cynical voice. 

" Sir," replied Kapnicki indignantly, "you allow yourself great 
liberty in talking to Madame in such a tone ; don't you see in 
what a condition she is?" 

Pale, her head enveloped in a sling, which she lifts to show the 
band of English taffetas, and her hair reddened by clots of blood, 
La Barnum presents a horrible appearance. 

"My poor Sarah!" exclaims the Pole, throwing himself at her 
feet. 

" Hi ! hi ! hi !" sobs the good Girard, while De Winter weeps also 
— from having laughed before, and from need of laughing still. 

" What has happened to you?" asks the journalist. 

The Barnum, in a voice hardly above a whisper, related the story 
of her accident. Arthur Simon confesses very soon before such 
proofs that he believes the story, and reproaching himself for his 
scepticism, sends for a doctor and some arnica, and returns to 



112 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

Madame des Lassez to inform her of iihe sad accident. From 
there he went to his office to write it up for the next day's paper. 

Then Sarah thought of confessing her deceit to Kapnicki, and of 
placing herself at the table, but how to do it? Mother Girard did 
not cease to beg her to allow bandages to be applied to her thigh^ 
some ice upon her forehead, and some ointment on her knees. 
And, what was more cruel, the diplomat who had just dined, and 
who had certainly eaten a great deal, begged her to go to bed 
while waiting for the doctor ! Some, friends whom Simon had 
informed in passing, came and added their entreaties to those of 
the Pole. No imprudence must be committed. . . . She is fever- 
ish already. . . . She needed some rest. . . . etc., etc. 

Poor Barnum had wished to make a conquest, and had succeed- 
ed. She was compelled to let herself be carried into her room and 
put to bed without supper and a lord! In order to get rid of her 
friends, Girard and De Winter, who were hi accord with her ad- 
visers, and the doctor who was announced, she feigned sleep. 

The next day the farce was continued. There were many call- 
ers. For a few they placed a bulletin in the vestibule. Before 
the callers, tucking up her petticoats in the same way each time, 
Sarah showed the tattooing on her knees. But it miraculously 
came to pass that the said tattooing, when winter came, had gone 
from the left to the right leg. 

The first time she is alone an explanation is asked. 

Sarah, filled with laughter, rolls up on her couch. 

"This is how," said she. " This morning after bathing I made 
new tattooing, and made a mistake in the leg. Eight away Mme. 
de Lassez calls, and I show her the marks ; but, and this is the 
joke, on going away, she spoke to Simon about it, and they dis- 
puted as to the leg; Arthur saying that it was the left and she that 
it was the right ! . . . Finally I painted the left one. ... I can show 
both!" 

At last, from telling over and over again about her mishap, 
Barnum ended by believing that she had really fallen. 

At the end of a week her story had become stereotyped, and 
she recited it by heart with a serious conviction, even to her 
death that could not be contradicted. 

Moreover, about this time she had more than one adventure 
capable of troubling her memory. 

But in spite of that Barnum did not contradict herself once, not 



JOURNEYS GREAT AND SMALL. 113 

even in her quarrels with the young De Malgraine^ her former 
champion. 

De Malgraine* had taken too much advantage of the situation. 
Having fought and been wounded for the actress, he arrogated to 
himself a thousand privileges, and made the lady's life his own. 
The influence which this gallant hero won made his fellow-work- 
ers jealous. 

There was nothing for him but a grave ! It could not last. . . . 

Little by little he incurred the ill-will of those there, even of 
habitues who were only friends of hers, and so wearied Sarah. 
He went so far that Sarah dreamed of getting rid of this duelhstic 
nuisance. She had never suffered geniuses. 

So when the chamber of the actress began to be empty on ac- 
count of him, when she perceived— and one can imagine in what 
humor — that on account of him people were forgetting the way to 
her apartments, sho passed from dreaming to- action. This young 
blood was to be sacrificed. 

To get rid of him honestly was foreign to Barnum's methods, 
but Malgraine being a man who, being put out at the door, came in 
at the window, it was necessary to win him with kindness, to 
color his exile with a good excuse, to make it of advantage to 
him. 

Sarah entered the field, and used her friends. The genius being 
the son of a former diplomat, Kopnicki interfered, and they got 
the young man a consulship in northern Illyria. 

Only, as he was head over ears in debt, the Minister could not 
have his name appear in the "Official " till he had liquidated the 
amount. Barnum then interviewed another friend, who gave 
twenty thousand francs. The young man quickly settled with 
his creditors and went to his station. 

Unhappily he found out how and why his appointment had 
fallen to him so unexpectedly as if from the skies, and in his an- 
ger he stooped to unveil before Sarah's friend, the lender of the 
twenty thousand francs, all he knew of her private life, and he 
knew a good deal. 

The above-mentioned friend, a- nobleman, politely showed him 
out. 

"What you have told me, sir," he said, "may be true; but in 
any case you should be the last to tell it ... to me especially." 

Malgraine sailed the same evening. 



114 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNTTM. 

He had not failed to send a superb bouquet of roses to his bene- 
factress every morning. 

Now, this queer diplomat had scarcely arrived in Illyria when 
the florist from whom the flowers had been bought sent to the 
tragedienne for the amount of his bill— about eighteen hundred 
francs ! ! ! After much indignation at this unceremonious act, she 
could not help laughing. That saved her from being "fooled" 
—she who amused herself in deceiving everybody. 

" Oh! how good she is!" she cried. 

This extravagance would seem to indicate that our heroine was 
rolling in gold. A terrible mistake. Never, on the other hand, at 
least since she had become a celebrated actress, had she felt such 
embarrassment and struggled against such difficulties. 

So, as we have said above, the pecuniary embarrassment of the 
Barnum drove her into public view with blows, as it were. Then 
yet once more she committed a scandalous folly. 

She had just created the part of Chloris in ISAventure, and 
had not yet reaped the success she longed for. Inde irce, as they 
say in the new young ladies' schools ! 

The critics dared not declare her excellent— her, the great, the 
only, the incomparable Sarah! It was too much. Eage seized 
her. Willingly would she have strangled with her weak hands 
Narssey, Vitet, Eeiss, and Pommereynette ! 

At any other time this rage would have lasted eight days, but 
make allowance for the excitement of a penniless actress ! And 
again, her anxiety and her expense were not enough : it was nec- 
essary that she should be refused permission to play in London, 
that they should take away her last trump before it was drawn 
from the pack. It was too much ; she threw her resignation into 
the face of the director and societaires of the theatre of Corneille. 

This rupture was also a tremendous advertisement. As to her 
withdrawal, she ' ' finessed " a little, trusting in her star. 

Behold her then at London, after a trip of thirty performances 
in the provinces, which yielded her thirty thousand francs- a 
drop of water in the sea. This time she crossed the strait alone. 
Sophia Croizet stayed at Paris; no rival! She was enabled to 
choose her parts, and look after her fame as she pleased. More 
than that, as she was the only star and her manager was intelli- 
gent, she was sure of an unheard of publicity. 

She was not deceived, in point of fact. They kept her name 



JOURNEYS GREAT AND SMALL. 115 

before the public in a wonderful way, and her success became ex- 
traordinary. Always skilful, she renewed her friendship with 
the Prince of Ireland, the chief of the aristocracy, who i^ives tone 
to the intelligent mob, and who consequently made himself the 
most active agent of her success, and kindly pardoned him for 
having arrived too late, and not having been able to bring the 
actress into notice on her first journey. 

Sarah is in the seventh heaven, invited and sought for every- 
where. Among other acquaintances she made that of a Solicitor 
Brandy, who made himself her protector, hired for her a charm- 
ing little house near Hyde Park, and advanced money to her. 

But the Barnum, if she replaced her fine champagne with gin 
and particularly whiskey, limited the change of her habits to that 
alone. The English— very haughty people— are astonished and 
soon become vexed, especially the owner of her house, at seeing 
the actress organize forthwith her tour de Nesle, imitating that 
of the Avenue Monceau. There is, in truth, in the country 
house a continual procession, a never-ending round of gayety that 
might be forgiven if one did not see among the guests Loris, the 
young son of the Barnum. 

This son, besides, she took with her everywhere, as a new and 
original mode of advertising. On one occasion, being invited 
to supper and to recite some poetry at Lady Portogam's, the 
queen of London society, she even took the liberty of bringing 
him with her. 

Gravely the servant announced : 

"Mademoiselle Sarah Barnum! Mr. Loris Barnum!" 

The effect can be imagined. Anywhere else people would have 
simply smiled ; in London this proceeding condemned her. 

The "ill-bred Frenchwoman" was not invited again, inasmuch 
as her "pose," her pride, her authoritative manner, her inten- 
tional impoliteness, her continual delays, had already exas- 
perated everybody. 

A final act of rudeness broke down our heroine. 

Brandy had invited her to dine with him. Sarah having ac- 
cepted and formally promised, the solicitor invited several of his 
friends, distinguished persons, and announced this feast — the so- 
ciety " of the great actress," to whom he would present them. 

The hour for dinner arrives. No Sarah., Disappointment of 
the guests. Anger on the part of the host. 



116 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

At the last moment the tragedienne pronounced her " Zut ! they 
bore me," which is, to speak in the manner of the colleges for 
young ladies, the aleajacta est of her worst caprices. 

As Sarah's irregularity and her want of education are known, 
hope is still indulged in and patience used as best possible. 

Suddenly, a cab stops in front of the door. (See above the epi- 
sode of the dinner at the house of Madame des Lassez.) And Mrs. 
Grirard appears — naturally. Alas! although accustomed to er- 
rands of this kind, PHit dam does not succeed in convincing any 
one. The solicitor remains incredulous in regard to the blood- 
spitting urged as reason for her non-appearance ; he knows what 
to believe in regard to Sarah's consumption. 

Besides, the good woman is not convinced this time. 

Brandy dismisses her without being able to conceal his anger. 
1 ' Enough ! I know her, " he exclaims . ' ' This is sufficient. Only 
tell Madame Barnum that she has not only insulted me: she has 
committed an act of foolishness, and I can assure you that she 
will have to pay for it— and dearly." 

The man of law kept his word. At first he ceased giving secu- 
rity for the comedienne, then he claimed from her the sums ad- 
vanced by him. Moreover, as he made the matter public, an ava- 
lanche of creditors, English ones, rushed to the pavilion rented 
by the Frenchwoman. 

The proprietor, whose excessive Puritanism did not permit him 
to excuse his own error except from contempt of the prejudices 
of cant, had let, at a high price, to this lost sheep a shelter, and he 
profited by this occasion to expel her without a shade of reason. 
This was a return to poverty. 

The solicitor's vengeance may be considered ungentlemanly. 
In France a man does not revenge himself upon a woman, and 
certainly not by similar proceedings ; but Providence has not the 
refinements of our gentlemen, and for the execution of her plans, 
caring little for our puerile and honest codes of civility, takes the 
instruments ready to serve her. 

The Barnum left London therefore in a very pitiful manner. 
She had garnered a harvest of glory, had gained a prodigious no- 
toriety ,• she brought back a high opinion, not of the generosity of 
the Prince of Ireland, but of the cleverness of her physicians ; 
only she had gained there no sympathy, and if she made a great 



JOURNEYS GREAT AND SMALL. 117 

ileal of money she had spent it so quickly that she was more 
embarrassed than before. 

At the moment of sailing she reflected upon her position and 
took fright. The Corneille theatre was closed to her ; she had to 
give a heavy forfeit ; her house remained in good part unpaid, as 
did also the lands which she had bought at Saint Enveloppe near 
Nazaire ; in one day of caprice her creditors showed their teeth, 
she had been threatened with seizure, she had exhausted all sources 
ior a loan ; finally her wild pranks, discouraging everybody, had 
violated her last obligation. 

This was not cheerful. What could be done ? She would have 
preferred her former black misery to her present embarrassment, 
the chase for a five-louis bill to a pursuit for a bill of fifty. 

In this state of mind she was ready for anything to get out of 
the scrape, and when an impresario proposed to her an extended 
journey in South America on advantageous conditions, she leaped 
for joy and accepted. 

Start your fires, steamers 1 



llg MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 



X. 

TRIPS FOR PLEASURE AND HEALTH. 

On arriving at Paris the Barnum found the situation a great 
deal more complicated than she feared. Never, oh never had she 
found herself in such a scrape ! It was a real disaster — in fact, a 
worse than terrible wreck. Stamped papers everywhere, signs of 
a sheriff's sale falling from all sides worse than hail. Desertion 
by her friends that might discourage the most careless, the most 
philosophic of Bohemians— in fact, complete ruin. 

One might believe that in leaving the Theatre Corneille Sarah 
had lost her hold. Everything went to pieces at once— the tiles 
were falling from the roof, the chimneys were tumbling ! There 
was no armor that could resist such an attack. She reproached 
herself at having regretted her former degradation and the little 
miseries of the past life. 

Alas»! it was now even worse. She despised the vulgar poverty 
which forces humiliating compromises and the discomfiture of 
his lordship, cringing so as not to pay his bill when it is presented, 
or the bill of five hundred francs brought to him by his coach- 
maker or his horse dealer, with rigorous exactitude. The same 
day the actress had need for five thousand francs, and dined at 
eleven o'clock at night, because the fruit dealer had refused to 
credit her fifty centimes' worth of Brie cheese and the butcher 
two francs' worth of chops. 

Also, why did she not receive the Spanish- American impresario 
who came to offer her a tour in his country ? Oh, yes ; she would 
surely go. The Mexican, Chilian and Brazilian press, alone 
would bring her out of her trouble. And she engaged herself, 
eager to set out immediately ; always ready to pack her trunks 
that very evening. She simply forgot her former promise, her 
signature given to the impresario of London. Better still, she 
also forgot the American, as soon as the industrious Curey pre- 
sented himself in an affable mood. This one did not let anything 
trail along without result. A sheet of stamped paper securing 



TRIPS FOB PLEASURE AND HEALTH. 119 

two thousand five hundred francs for each performance to the 
star, and of all her expenses. A scratch of the pen— there it 
is ! She embarked in a month. 

The Barnum gave a vigorous scratch which tore the sheet of 
paper. Zut ! Her signature given. 

The expedition was organized, the troupe got together. An- 
nette, the sister of the star, was naturally given a place. After 
Sarah she was to be number one of the tourists. There was 
nothing to do now but to take the express for Saint Nazaire, and 
to embark on the packet La Fayette, to their destination Aspinwall 
(vulgo Colon). From there they would reach, by rail, Mexico, 
where they would redescend to Peru and Chili. It is very pretty, 
very fine— on paper. Very fine in the letters from Curey. At 
the desire of his colleagues, the manager made advance payments 
to all, except to the star. She had to travel and live at her own 
expense until the day of disembarking, or rather until the night 
of her first appearance. This is the way theatrical speculators 
do. 

Certainly, the tragedienne had little foreseen the circumstances, 
and was well pinched to procure the sum necessary ; but this ex- 
pense was nothing to those that her experiment rendered imme- 
diately obligatory. The costume and the jewels ! She had nothing 
left. The pawn-brokers had taken all. What sensations were 
hers one can guess. Alas ! trouble never comes alone. A com- 
bination of needs made itself known among the artist's creditors 
when they learned of her approaching departure. They put the 
bailiffs on her track, and a notice of a sale soiled the new walls of 
the Hotel de r Avenue Monceau. Another than Barnum would 
have thrown the handle after the hatchet, renounced the game, 
disembarked the best way she could, abandoning the mansion, furni- 
ture, and land, all the fruits of her many labors, to the rapacity 
of the vultures. Our heroine felt her courage increased, and per- 
severance grew larger as her danger grew greater. She held her 
own against the mob— as mob is the word consecrated to cre- 
ditors—sometimes also called vultures. O, violation of sacred 
and holy science of natural history! ... 

As to stamped paper — she answered them with stamped paper, 
suddenly seized at the hour of the crisis by that fierce love of 
property that makes threatened owners real heroes. 

She had forty days before her. Before forty days they could 



120 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

not sell. Good fortune ! forty days. She was saved. It was the 
delay that Christopher Columbus asked of his sailors. Here a 
parenthesis for the reader to be able to relish the exquisite justice 
of this last companion; was not Sarah going to discover America? 

Forty days. It was assured safety, before the expiration of 
this time, she would be at her destination, she would have played, 
encased with dollars, and if at the expiration of the truce, she, 
by hazard, had not the fifty thousand francs that was necessary 
for her to obtain her freedom, Curey then could not refuse 
her an advance, and, by submarine telegraph, she would remain 
deaf. The principal of the aforesaid having accepted this system 
of electric settlement, she rubbed her hands ; her joy was short. 

The question of costumes and jewels still remained. The 
products of the debts contracted in view of her retirement being 
spent, and her pocketbook containing only the amount required 
for her voyage, what was she to do? 

She was in despair when the Jew Abraham called Pon-lorgnett 
presented himself to her. 

The good merchant brought the Barnum a collection of jewels, 
valued by him at one hundred and twenty thousand francs — 
jewels specially made for the theatre, and which otherwise 
mounted and all real, would be worth a milhon, according to the 
figure at which the Jew estimated these stones. 

Brought is not just the word: Abraham offered to loan his col- 
lection to the comedienne, and naturally accompanied his offer 
with a demand for her signature. 

He had in his pocket a little deed drawn up. The voyaguese 
engaged herself, 1st, to restore the jewels that she could not steal 
without being followed for swindling; 2d, to pay for their loan 
in two-thirds of then- value, unless she kept them and gave one 
hundred and twenty thousand francs for them. 

Let us pay the little bills and other old guaranteed papers that 
the traveller signed at the same time with the lease. This was 
not all. The Israelite had calculated all the pos abilities of his risks 
by shipwreck, collisions or fire at sea, risks of assassination in 
America, explosions on the steamboat, accidents on the railroad. 
He had also had prepared an assurance policy on the life of the artist. 
According to the terms of the policy, he ought to get double his 
advanced money if any accident occurred to the assured. The 
Barnum consented to all that he wanted, grabbed the jewels and 



TRIPS FOR PLEASURE AND HEALTH. 121 

cried: " Ouf !" At last, she was at liberty, at last she had finished 
all. In three days she will embark. Alas ! there ! Alas ! a sorrow 
was to come upon her. Her sister Annette fell seriously ill. Her 
departure is delayed. It demands time to find some one that will 
consent to replace the patient for six or seven grand roles that 
must be learnt on the way. After rough imprecations, Sarah 
hunted among her friends. She found none. 

All at once, she pushed a vigorous " Eureka." She remembered 
.... Marthe was not there ; her dear Marthe that loved her not- 
withstanding all ! She would tell her. It was a question of life 
or death, and to save her Marthe would be. devoted once more. 

" My good Girard, quick! quick! Jump in a carriage, my little 
lady! You will find and bring me Pigonnier, cost what it will." 

Pigonnier arrived, let herself be convinced, fooled, gulled, and 
as they had not the time to demand by telegraph her accepta- 
tion by Curey (who then was at San Francisco), the innocent 
actress embarked without any engagements. 

"An agreement," the Barnum had said to her, " would be use- 
less ; since you replace my sister, you will have her roles, and her 
pay, which is six thousand francs a month." Marthe had not in- 
sisted. 

Had she not for three years refused Maurice G-rau's request to 
leave for the United States at fifteen thousand francs a month ! 
But to-day it means to save Sarah ! Save is not the right word, 
for the actress had declared she could not survive her ruin, and 
this would be ruin, the most humiliating fall not to leave on the 
day named, and not to be able to appease her creditors in the 
forty days and be forced to sell her hotel. 

Then, thanks to her friend, the actress is able to go. The pas- 
sage was not noteworthy. The seasickness would not cure Sarah 
of her intense pride. Her desire for posing in her rapid conver- 
sations showed her childish self-love, and her habital endeavor to 
tyrannize the world. 

One day, speaking of her influence of her "clan," she affirmed 
having had a vivifying action in all that approached her. 

"Every one," said she, without laughing, "warms himself in 
my rays. I am like the sun." 

"Yes, beautiful star," replied a friend, "you are like the sun* 
you dry up." 

They reach Mexico, The ambassador and agent of the State, 



122 MEMOIRS OF 8ARAH BARWUM. 

Chevellett, made monster claims, but the Barnum only appeared 
as a phenomenon. They went to see her out of curiosity. " My 
talent," said she, " passes almost unperceived; these people here 
are incapable of appreciating me ; but, what matters, the receipts 
are good !" 

Still, if by force of dollars the artist consoled herself for not 
being applauded according to her desire, she did not pardon her 
hosts for not admiring her as a woman. She had to resign her- 
self. The gin and whiskey aided her. She had the habits of the 
rum drinker, and was tipsy every night. The town and country 
moves without Barnum having conquered any one. Poor Sarah ! 
Poor sun ! As for the advertisements, they have counselled her to 
be exemplary ; but her wisdom weighed her down and she reposed 
near the "angel," seized again by her old caprice of the "Parthe- 
non." As for her friends, they are just as if they had never ex- 
isted, miserable inhabitants of an inferior sphere. She lolls in 
her sumptuous car, lives high life at the expense of the ambassa- 
dor and mocks her companions, who freeze in the omnibuses. 
Even in contempt of her promises, and that which she owes to 
that "servant" she completely forgot Pigonnier. The latter 
would have laughed if, at the expiration of the first fifteen repre- 
sentations, she had not suddenly discovered her imprudence, and 
the unheard of roughness and odious ingratitude of Sarah. 
Marthe demanded her money for the fifteen days and received 
fifteen hundred francs. She protested, saying she ought to have 
double, after what Barnum had said, and as she replaced Annette 
she had by right three hundred louis a month due her. 

But Chevillett declared that he could do nothing. Sarah hid 
herself cowardly, and both of them sent Pigonnier to Curey. 

Curey could not speak French ! And also he knew nothing, did 
not understand what they wanted to speak to him about, and did 
not know Marthe. He engaged Annette, and was not held by 
contract with any but her. 

The victim of this proceeding is naturally furious, but there will 
presently be another story. The Barnum made her sister, who 
was nearly well, come from France, whither she was slow to send 
money, for Pigonnier having played well must not play any 
more. She leaves nothing. The tragedienne is enraged, and 
wants to make all the members of the troupe sign a protestation 
that they will publish urbi et orbi, and in which it will be shown 



TRIPS FOB PLEASURE AND HEALTH. 1^3 

that that flight was a decided desertion, so as to prevent the work 
and destroy the tour. -For she does not want Marthe to return; 
she wants her. Her sister is still suffering, and might fall ill 
again; they must always be able to replace her. The menace 
of our Machiaveli did not stop for friend, she became sweet 
again with her eternal promiser. Pigonnier continued only to 
get the hundred and fifty louis instead of three hundred, but 
Sarah did not forget the services rendered nor her words, and if 
the expedition succeeded, her own money would indemnify her, 
and Marthe, letting herself be enticed by this piece of sugar, 
stayed ! Her recompense was a series of small mean tricks that 
completely crowned the coward. The Barnum forgot her prom- 
ises, and even refused her companion a loan of 25 louis. Without 
a compatriot that Marthe met, and who advanced that sum, the 
actress could not have paid her hotel bill at Eio de Janeiro, and 
embarked on board the packet without abandoning her baggage. 
This time, at least, she was fixed, as for the Barnum, she reigned 
serene and triumphant, not being able to suppose that at length 
devotion would cease, and that the accumulation of revolts 
would make resentment deeper. When the traveller came to 
Monceau Avenue she was busily engaged in liquidating her debts. 
She had not awaited the expiration of the delay of forty days for 
forwarding from America by cable the fifty thousand francs 
which must save her mansion from being sold. During the re- 
mainder of the voyage, four hundred and fifty thousand francs 
more had followed this first invoice. However, it remained for 
her to have done with certain creditors. After which, the jewels 
of Samuel being paid for, she bought others of infinitely more 
value, and began to build a villa on the lands of Sainte-Enveloppe, 
previously encumbered. All this caused a fine drain on the hoard 
which the tragedienne was accumulating, and the continual ex- 
pense aiding, one month after her return she had no longer a 
cent. She gave herself comparatively little trouble on that ac- 
count, however. Had she not the means to make other journeys? 
and having acquired a relish for travel by her excursion across 
America, she was now contemplating to go through Europe. 
Only this time she would be her own manager. Chevelett, by 
means of his usual commission on the receipts, would organize the 
thing in the best maimer, and would play the advertisement with 
his ordinary ability. No sooner said than undertaken! The 



124 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNVM. 

boasting comedienne, besides, had prepared Paris for this new 
figure by spreading the report that she was ruined suddenly by 
the insolvency of one of her relations, charged with fructifying 
her grounds ! 

At first there was a voyage of experiment. The whole prov- 
ince was traveled over, and with the most lively success. Chev- 
ellet and his lieutenant, LSvy, Americanized the departments and 
raised theatrical advertisement to the dignity of an art. Their 
bills were poems, their methods the perfection of the Indian mail 
service. The press besides added to them a wonder, in sinc^ng 
all the praises of Sarah, in exalting her wonderful talent, and in 
magnifying her triumph abroad. 

It is at this epoch, a time of the great drum and the cymbals, 
that our heroine reached her zenith. It is at this epoch that the 
stereotype plate brought the "grande tragedienne" into cur- 
rent language. Chevellet and Levy had a manner of pronouncing 
it, causing the r to roll, which, by itself used to draw crowds to the 
ticket ofneo ! We say that the Barnum reached at that time the 
acme of her success, but the word is doubly true, since from all 
points of view, her glory was complete and fame in a hundred 
thousand newspapers sounded her praises everywhere. Voluptu- 
ously, she bathed in this unwonted good fortune. She recalled 
her debuts, her former misfortunes, her dream of yesterday was 
determined on the day of her examination, when, before the Col- 
umn Morris, sliming with many colored handbills, she had sworn 
to expose her name in letters so flaming that dazzled Paris 
should ring with her praise. Paris had not yet risen in applause, 
though always a good child, but her dazzled eyes were now begin- 
ning to twinkle. This dream had been realized like all the others, 
— all the others, save that of being at last a woman, and of feeling 
herself tremble on the arm of a dear being ! save that of finding, 
as so many others, a worshipper who would kill himself on her 
account, of draining a proud torrent, instead of being exhausted 
in the lowest sloughs. 

Her mental survey of the past should have made her good ; it 
developed only her egotism. She was glorious, envied, to all ap- 
pearance rich, possessed talent, had a passion for houses, but 
would live, strange creature that she was whose debuts we have 
related, coldly precise. Under the extra stylish bonnets of Vi- 
rots — artistic wonders, beneath the robes of Pingat, those poems 



TRIPS FOR PLEASURE AND HEALTH. Igg 

of feminine costume— she was in pride still more like to a little 
Jewess who dressed herself and curled her hair in shops of ready- 
made clothing. And, in the mean time, having nothing further 
to desire, she had no other object of worship than herself; she 
adored herself. Having become her own idol, and consecrating 
all her gains to the last penny to her new religion, the peevish 
thing sought and found the perfections of luxury and toilet which 
might avenge her past privations and humiliations. 

Nothing was fine or good enough for her. Her purveyors were 
those sovereigns who came to applaud her. Still she prescribes to 
them refinements. It is in this manner that she invented the 
Swedish gloves which come up to the shoulder. Their folds, form- 
ing in ringlets, conceal the leanne^" of her arm, and as she en- 
trusted their fabrication to the shops of the Louvre, those wonder- 
ful producers, the fashion of them takes furiously.- In the same 
way she stimulated Madame Lejune, her seamstress, and prevent- 
ed this x?ewly arrived artist from going to sleep on her successes 
by requiring of her new patterns, each more exquisite than the 
other. She obtained from her morning robes, sldrts, bathing 
apparel, to drive painters to despair by their white transparency, 
or by the charming originality of their tones and their design. 
For the Barnum was a complete artist, even to the end of her 
finger-nails. But, through her worship of fashion and delicate 
luxury, pierced it must, indeed, be said, her need of continually 
improving nature. Ill favored by this cruel mistress, she never- 
theless wished to be courted and admired. Her leanness thus 
seemed to disappear. It was the famous L6oty, her corset-maker, 
whom she asked to make her a new bodice. The latter fashioned 
her a kind of corset which entirely satisfied her, and which by its 
elegance and coyness was half sharer in our heroine's perfect 
shape. As to her complexion and her skin, she by no means 
neglected them. M. Legrand came to her rescue. She prayed 
him to velvet them as well as to perfume and soften them, and 
the crafty perfumer invented for his exacting customer that in- 
comparable cream called Oriza and that matchless essence termed 
Oriza of the white sun-flower. During her country voyage, how- 
ever, it was not only luxury and coquetry that kept our heroine 
free from the monotony inherent in all journeys of this kind; 
this journey was strewn with wild successes all along its course. 

Amid the band that surrounded her, she met with players who 



126 MEMOIRS OF SARAB BARNTJM. 

acted in the side-scenes when the curtain was down, and until all 
hours a comedy was played, in which she naturally held the first 
part. One of these, Angel, we know. He was no longer the valet 
of that gay Sarah. Her youthful first man, however, could not 
reasonably complain of her. He never lost an opportunity of 
being agreeably unfaithful to her. "While she was hostess of her 
car during her American voyage, he used to escape from the 
troupe and run wild through Spanish cities to court a pretty girl, 
whose good figure wrested his eye from the contemplation of his 
.osseous Barnum. 

This girl was merely a poser, and the actor called her his useful 
uselessness. Thus he remained during this voyage, the comrade 
of the "gr-r-r-eat tragedienne," no more refusing to play the part 
of her protector when required than would any loyal man who 
scrupulously f ulfils every clause of his engagement when well paid 
for it. Next comes Jack Madaly, an improvised actor, who felt a 
sacred inspiration one morning and hastened to Sarah to request 
an engagement. 

This Madaly was a handsome fellow — " a male" — said Barnum. 
He was a fine specimen of the fine Oriental type, but he only takes 
from his race the large velvety eyes, caressingly soft, tenderly 
dreamy or wildly passionate. He resembles his race only in its 
classic traits, its hot pallor, its blood-red lips ; he resembles it in 
its indolent and fatalistic character, and especially in its wonder- 
ful disdain of woman when away from her. It is only his purity 
of race that has remained. Morally, he is clownish, and has the 
qualities and defects of that tribe of Mediterranean mongrels who 
are alike Greek, Provincial (of Marseilles), Italian, Arabian, Jews, 
who are by fate bankers, merchants, or peddlers, when they are 
not navvies. Of course he was a comedian, but he had tried each 
one [of these professions. Nevertheless, his vocation was a true 
one. Madaly had naturally and to a high degree, that which so 
many actors seek in vain to obtain. Naturally, he was not in 
possession of that self-control and that experience which can only 
be acquired by practice in the Conservatoire but he supplied all 
this by sheer force of his nature, for he was instinctively an artist, 
and when on the boards, he showed that intelligence, that passion, 
and that intensity of life which was in him. His talent strength- 
ened each day and increased with each of his appearances. He 
was "somebody " 



TRIPS FOB PLEASURE AND HEALTH. 127 

Sarah singled him out, as one perhaps already known, and flir- 
tations followed close one upon the other at each halting-place. 

The young man was in love with Nelly, an ex-opera-singer who 
had lost her voice and was now playing comedy. She became 
one of the troupe when the European tour began, and the direc- 
tress naturally took her in hatred and led her a hard life, even 
after stealing her lover. Triumphs followed the new journey on 
all sides. Nevertheless, as the tragedienne was not satisfied with 
being called an artist, she had it spread on all sides that that she 
was engaged in several love scrapes. Princes and lords, men 
famous in art, in literature and in politics, the whole world was 
at her feet. In Holland, she claimed to have captivated a million- 
aire banker, Mynheer Chicmann, who was^madly in love with her 
and followed her everywhere like a little dog. The truth is, said 
Mynheer was a good fellow, but merely a clerk at the Exchange 
of Amsterdam, and whose great ambition was to be a dramatic 
author, and followed Sarah to familiarize himself with theatrical 
matters, and have a play of his own acted some day either in 
France or in his own country. This "love-sick millionaire" be- 
came the secretary of Chevellet. 

'Twas no matter ; the story had been well told, and it made its 
way. 

Chicmann, also, knew how to render himself useful ; it would 
have been difficult to find his equal in organizing a reception at a 
railroad terminus, or in front of a hotel, to unite, in fact, were it 
in a desert, the music of firemen, sappers and miners to spend a 
thousand dollars and to smother in flowers his management. 
From country to country, from town to town, at last they arrived 
at Bucharest. Once there Sarah commenced operations. She no 
longer held Nelly in hand. She hated him cordially and furious 
to see Madaly, her "favorite," return to his mistress at all times. 
The enchantress received her "good-bye at the door," and in spite 
of the Barnum owing her a balance, she never hesitated but left at 
once, thereby satisfying her jealousy. Nelly cried, the tragedian 
rubbed his hands and Madaly, all Oriental as he was, allowed 
himself to be petted. 

The rejected actress was replaced by Adele Belette, a pretty 
girl who had been picked up in Eussia. Sarah at first was dis- 
contented, having no one to tease, but it did not last long. Her 
fellow-companions and the new-comer determined to distract her 



128 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

attention. They came to Ulyria. Their stay was remarkable for 
numerous incidents, of which a few from their nature will bear 
being detailed. 

At Geneva one night Mme. Barnum, whom Angel and Madaly 
exchanged daily, quarrelled with both five minutes before the 
raising of the curtain. She was so mad that she could cry no 
longer and she refused to appear on the scene. Chevellett and 
Chicmann threw themselves on their knees before her, beseeching 
her to play her part. The house was as full as an egg. It would 
be a shame to disappoint them, besides she would spoil her repu- 
tation. Eventually the grand tragedienne allowed herself to be 
convinced and repaired to the dressing rooni to rearrange her toi- 
let. Bang, bang, bang!!! The curtain! As usual a triumph, 
applause and recall, till in the 3d act of the scene in which she 
takes the principal part, the artist rapidly slides from the sofa as 
she faces the audience and remains extended as the dead. A 
dread horror prevades the hall, the lifeless corpse vomits mouths- 
ful of black coagulated blood. The curtain falls ! The spectators 
are requested to retire, their'money will be returned to them, the 
crowd disperses cowed and dejected. But there is one who is 
most down-hearted of all, it is Chicmann, who was to receive' a 
good percentage of the gate money, and who goes with the crowd. 
Suddenly the Dutchman strikes his brow! he has conceived an 
idea? He dashes to the box office, already beseiged by the crowd, 
he climbs the desk and addressing those assembled in his stento- 
rian voice and rolling out his r's like a genuine Celt, says: "La- 
dies and Gentlemen : You came to hear the great Sarah Barnum, 
did you not? Well, you have seen her; she is dying. She kills 
herself by working too hard." 

Groans and lamentations ! 

"Now, what do you wish? Your money to be returned! All 
right, wait a few minutes, but allow me to make an observation, 
a simple observation; the people of Ulyria are proverbially 
generous." 

Murmurs of approbation! 

" You admire talent?" 

"Yes! Yes!" 

" You worship the artists?" 

"Yes! Yes! Bravo." 

* ' You are not like those Frenchmen who, having the happiness of 



TRIPS FOB PLEASURE AND HEALTH. 129 

possessing the great tragedienne, will leave her to perish of hunger 
and compel her to ruin her health in running about the world to 
obtain a living. Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, because our fav- 
orite actress has succumbed in trying to please you, are you, as 
admirers and lovers of the stage, going to treat her as one whc 
has failed in her engagements ?" 

"No! No! Never!" 

" It is a fact. You have the right to demand the return of your 
money, and I am ready to give it back to you. It is for you 
Illyrians to judge whether, at the moment when this grand 
actress may be dying, you would snatch from her her last gain." 

Then a universal shout arose of ' ' Never ! Never ! Long may 
Sarah live I" There were a few timid protestations, but they were 
drowned by the hurrahs. 

Chicmann, enjoying his triumph, remained perched on his 
balustrade. "Come along, ladies and gentlemen," cried this 
Mangin, bold just now; "let those among you who wish to be paid 
approach !" 

Nobody approached. "Well, I declare! The generous people 
of Illyria dunning the g-r-r-r-eat Sarah." That was good for the 
heroes of Magenta, those Frenchmen so saving of their blood and 
of their gold ! And the spectators passed out without going to the 
desk. 

What could the timid protesting ones do? To insist upon being 
paid would appear stingy, and at the same time it was acknow- 
ledging that they were not "lovers of art." And this before the 
best society of Geneva ! Never ! Eather death ! 

The doors once closed, Chicmann threw himself on the desk in 
order to laugh at his ease. Then Chevellette appeared, and, in 
his joy at seeing the receipts saved, allotted him on the spot a 
thousand francs indemnity. 

Even for this generosity he was violently reprimanded by 
Sarah. But he didn't spare words in his answer, so indignant was 
he at her avarice. " How !" said he, "there is a good fellow who 
has saved you fifteen thousand francs, and you beat him down ! 
Well! if I have to give it to him out of my own pocket, he 
shall have it." 

As we see, Sarah's fainting-fits and vomiting did not prevent 
her from paying attention to this little affair. 

Geneva all this time had no idea that its dear artiste was dis- 



130 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

cussing a money question with the closeness of a Jew. It. thought 
her dying and surrounded by doctors. The next day it believed, 
seeing her leave, that she was going to seek in her natal air, and 
in the ports along the Mediterranean, a slight relief from her 
incurable malady. 

Poor Geneva ! poor Genevese ! 

Forty-eight hours afterwards they learned that their idol had 
just made a tremendous hit at the grand theatre of Trieste. 

However, the details of her syncope and her hemoptysis whilst 
on the stage were making the rounds of the European press. The 
Paris papers particularly were full of it. Their descriptions, 
amplified and moistened with tears, appeared on the first editorial 
page, if you please ! They had foretold it. Sarah was killing 
herself. Already at the Theatre Corneille had she not been con- 
stantly ill? Did they not recall the constant changes of pro- 
gramme, the continual postponement, that weakness, that spitting 
of blood, etc., inflicted on the managers? 

And when she had sailed for America, had they not expressed 
the fear that they would never behold her more? If they could 
have spoken freely, they would have wondered at the miracle 
when they saw her return. They never imagined such a thing. 
A woman so slight, so thin, to expose herself to the dangers and 
the perils of a pilgrimage like this ! Had she not been already ill, 
this life of fatigues, this bird-on-the-wing existence, would have 
ruined her. 

Bosh and nonsense ! The Barbier principally distinguished it- 
self in this outcry. His description of the " agony 1 ' of the Bar- 
num, a masterpiece of realism, made you actually shiver. One 
could see the scene. Nothing was wanting: the swooning in the 
chair ; the spectral face turned toward the public ; the rigidity of 
the features and of the bust ; the frightful fixity of the large eyes, 
dilated and gazing into vacancy ; the horrifying contrast of the 
black blood flowing without effort from those pale lips againsi; her 
robe, white as a winding-sheet ! 

But all this prose annoyed a friend of the pseudo-consumptive, 
— such are friends, — who, having lived near Sarah, and being in 
her confidence, knew how much to believe of this yarn. She "let 
on" to an indiscreet journalist, who spread the news in his theat- 
rical notices. "The tragedienne was no more consumptive than 
he. Only some time ago she had had a surgical operation of no 



TRIPS FOB PLEASURE AND HEALTH. 131 

great consequence." This had cured her ; but since, a phenomenon 
had taken place in her organization which can be explained medi- 
cally and not otherwise — a phenomenon whose effects reappeared 
at regular intervals. 

The amusement that this revelation caused on the Boulevards 
cannot be realized. During a whole week the doctors were driven 
to their wits' end. All their patients ran to them: "Doctor, have 
you read the article of Ventreblanc in the Fait du JourV 

" Of course." 

"And really believe that transfusion is possible?" 

"Certainly." 

Upon which the curious ones returned home laughing until they 
cried. The Barnum never again vomited blood— in public. 



132 MEMOIR'. OF JSAMAM BAHJS'UM. 



XI. 

PUFFING IN PERFECTION. 

We left the Barnum at Trieste, plunged in the perusal of the 
Fait du Jour. Never had twenty-five lines of printed prose 
caused so much rage as that paragraph of Ventreblanc. 

' ' The dirty brute !" she shouted. ' ' Can't he advertise me with- 
out touching on my private affairs?" 

Thereupon she resolved to have nothing to do with any one but 
Angel. 

"A reminiscence!" said she, speaking of this new and passing 
return to her old love. 

In truth, Angel had her special favor for the moment. Verily 
he should never have let it go. On his return from America he 
hoped that his relations with Sarah would last forever, and that 
she would appoint him to take the management of a theatre of 
which she would be the bright particular star. Had it not been for 
the fiasco of the young walking gentleman, a very indifferent come- 
dian, she would have married him on her return; for at this time 
she was commencing to think of marriage as an original finale, and 
the only ingenious way of advertising that she had not as yet em- 
ployed. Angel was, according to her notion, the husband she 
needed. First of all he was dull, and jealous even of actors not of 
her sex. She did not wish her husband to shine in her presence. 
Then she would have managed him according to her own ideas. 
Without doubt she could have attempted to find a spouse in an- 
other class of society ; she could have hunted out somebody, if not 
illustrious, at least notorious : but she would have been obliged to 
abdicate her personality in such a union. She would have been 
"Madame Sarah X . . . " or "Madame Sarah Barnum X . . . ;" 
while her idea was to remain herself, and to make of 
her husband "Monsieur Sarah Barnum." Angel being ridicu- 
lous in consequence of his failures, she renounced the thought 
of this marriage. And still with what emotion had she not re 
peated in those days, "I want my son Loris to have a father" ! 

Therefore at Trieste, as well as during the whole trip, the ex- 






PUFFING IN PERFECTION. 133 

future was only a source of amusement. He played between the 
acts, as it were ; and if his reign was longer than the reign of his 
predecessors, it was only because of the length of the stay of 
the company in that city, and because of the coldness that existed 
between Sarah and Jack Madaly. Our abandoned Oriental ac- 
cepted neglect with his ordinary philosophy. 

•' Women being women, must needs be taken as we find 
them," said he. Had he said " to let one's self be taken by them," 
he would have been nearer the truth. But the "male animal" 
did not growl much. He had thrown the handkerchief to Adele 
Belette ; and so well that that pretty little thing had succeeded 
Nelly. 

We can well imagine this did not suit Barnum. Even had 
Madaly never been anything to her, she would nevertheless have 
considered this new love of the actor as treason, and consequently 
would have cordially detested the actress who had dared to let 
herself be loved by him. 

A woman allow herself to shine at her side ! A woman allow 
herself to have a success, no matter how slight, before her! Never 
would she suffer such an outrage! And immediately she gave 
herself up to jealousy. To reconquer Madaly became her only 
aim. 

Unfortunately, the happy artist seemed really smitten by Adele, 
and the hard-hearted wretch feigned not to understand the reac- 
tion which was taking place in our heroine. Still worse, this 
spoiled sultan had the courage to resist her when she provoked 
him directly. Cut to the quick, furious, she became obstinate, and 
wished to get back the prey that in a capricious or tired moment 
she had rejected, but whom, in her egotism, she would not aban- 
don to other lips. 

Perhaps she would have accepted the role of ' ' second fiddle" if 
she had overcome without trouble the resistance of the young 
man ; but the latter continuing to refuse to yield and remaining 
as cold as marble to all the deductions that she used toward 
him, the tragedienne became really in earnest. In fact, the 
second fiddle wanted to be first. One day the troupe took part in 
a fox-hunt, got up in her honor by some of her new admirers. 

Sarah was of the party, her admirers being with her — actors 
who had been transformed into gentlemen by force of circum- 



134 MEMOIRS OF SARABT BARNUM. 

Thus one may be a great artist and yet not know the equilibrium 
that is learned at Montmorency. The hunters proved this fact by 
falling one after another. Cheveliet and Chicmann themselves 1 
emptied their saddles. Happily nobody received any great injury 
and limping along all were enabled to regain the city. Madaly in 
his Eastern capacity was better mounted than his comrades, but 
his beast stumbled and threw him in turn. 

He had no trouble in raising himself. Barnum was at hand 
assisting him with her feeble arms, showering upon him a thous- 
and attentions, and truly superb in her role of guardian angel. 
With what solicitude she set him on his legs and supported him to 
the carriage the wounded man alone will ever be able to tell. 
When he was comfortably .installed in the coach, she seated her- 
self at his side. Making an ear-trumpet of her meagre chest she 
cried, " Coachman! to the hotel!" 

The road was .a lonely one, but she found it too short, so much 
was she occupied, "Are you suffering, *Jack?" softly and sweetly 
she asked, at the same time kissing the forehead of the wounded 
man. 

" No, it is nothing," answered Madaly. " I beg you not to give 
yourself so much uneasiness and trouble. Pshaw, I have often 
been there before." 

She did not weary of her attentions on that account, half lying 
upon her like a baby who is being cuddled, and she revealed her- 
self to the young man as an incomparable Sister of Charity. She 
would forcibly examine the bruises that he had sustained in his 
fall. She caressed him lightly with a delicate hand. 

" Do you suffer here !" asked the nurse, bending so close upon 
her patient, that her hair carressed his forehead. "Is it there? 
say!" "No, no," said he; "nothing troubles me but a general 
weakness that a night's repose will put an end to. Eeassure 
yourself. I swear to you that T do not suffer." 

Sarah continued to insist. " What I fear, you see, are internal 
injuries." She then continued to caress the happy victim, in 
spite of his protestations. 

The perfume that was thrown off from the body of the nurse 
gave the comedian a slight headache. He would have paid high 
to have had Adele in the place of Sarah. The hand of the Belette 
was still light and the ear-trumpet she furnished him would have 
capped the climax. But go and tell that to your directress. He 



PUFFING IN PERFECTION. 135 

was therefore constrained to let her alone at present ; he had a 
genuine sick headache, and in his back he felt the " little death's 
heads " of his companion penetrate more painfully at each jolt of 
the carriage, and this sensation helped to keep him rebellions to 
the caresses, and rebellious to that reconciliation which Sarah 
petitioned. The Oriental knew what women were, and was a 
proof against their wiles. He tasted a wicked pleasure in watch- 
ing them uselessly exerted. With this he revenged himself. He 
thought of the indifference with which he had been replaced at 
Trieste. To hold the sugar-plum beyond the reach of the capri- 
cious one would be fair enough in war. 

So he steeled himself to passively submit to her caresses, but 
had to struggle for success, as his charmer, desiring to triumph, 
used all her weapons, increasing the melody of her voice and the 
magnetic fire of her beautiful eyes. But at length he succeeded 
in mastering himself, and good as was the attitude of the hugging 
couple upon the route, scandalizing the good country people, as- 
tonished at French immodesty, Madaly, when the open carriage 
stopped in front of the hotel, had not surrendered. 

Let us follow her later in the evening to the theatre. She ar- 
rives musing upon her plight, seeking upon whom to vent her 
spleen. So what does she discover upon entering the "wings" at 
the second act, but Ad&le Belette, coquetting in the midst of a 
deputation from high lif e in Trieste, who have come for the pur- 
pose of complimenting Barnum ! 

Beautifully dressed and very pretty, her hated rival struts in the 
midst of black coats which hem her in, and which, she says, amuses 
the members of the deputation immensely, for they loudly laugh 
and seem to forget the cause of their invasion in the flies, and 
to take never more patiently the delay of the star to come to 
them or to receive them. 

At this spectacle the anger of the tragedienne knew no bounds. 
She landed upon the stupefied group and vigorously apostroph- 
ized her dependent. 

"Miss !" she went on in a rage, "dome the favor to go back to 
your room, and do not post yourself here till your part requires 
you. On my honor, your way of going on is indiscreet." 

As soon as addressed the young woman at once saw the secret 
of Sarah's rude and brutal outbreak. Wild at being humiliated 
before visitors, she hits back in the same style, and there an inter- 



136 MEMOIRS OF SARAH. BARNUM. 

change of compliments took place between the rivals, which is not 
fit to be repeated. 

•'Oh! yes, yes! Indecent," shrieked Adele. "Hear the 
wretch prattle about decency. Where is my watering-pot?" 

"Yes !" repeated Barnum, beside herself, " I will not let you use 
my dressing-room for your purposes. I open my theatre to ar- 
tists, not to frauds !" 

Beginning thus, the row was kept up. The Triestese were 
amused more than if they had stayed in the theatre. 

In the end the manageress who, since her American tour, had 
taken to gulping down whisky, and had that evening, in her bad 
temper, taken at 10 o'clock the dose which she usually took 
only at midnight, descended to the meanest insults. And Miss 
Belette no longer restrained herself, and, pulling herself together 
resolutely, and putting her thumb to her nose, she wriggled her 
fingers, and yelled : ' ' Fraud, well, perhaps so ! But, the worst fraud 
is you! Plague on you!" At these words and this act, Sarah 
choked, and with a strangling voice, bade the bold girl begone. 
From that evening Adele ceased to be a member of the company. 

But her rival, without letting Sarah finish, had disappeared. 
In two jumps she was in Madaly's room, and told him all. The 
Oriental, whom his fall had made more stolid than ever, was not 
surprised, and put off all explanation till the end of the play. But, 
as soon as the curtain fell, the scene between the star and her 
rival began anew, and the actors had to join in it rather unwill- 
ingly. 

"Do you understand," said Adele to him, grasping him in the 
passage, "do you understand that piece of vulgarity there? I 
want her to settle my account and let me go, and instead of 
counting out to me my 1000 francs, the gives me 15 louis wrapped 
up in a receipted bill for 700 francs, the bill of the robe maker, 
who made my dress for the second act. But by all that's holy, 
that account shall not be settled thus ! It is not a dress for my 
private wear, it is a theatrical dress needed for my part ! It is 
stage property." 

And Miss Belette, delighted at heart at having made Madaly in- 
terfere, kept shouting louder. 

It was a fact, even in the course of her jealous rage Sarah was 
still the Jewess, and while getting rid of her rival was tloioking 



PUFFING IN PERFECTION. 137 

of her own pocket. To her motto ("In spite of everything," she 
might have added, "Let nothing go." 

The coming in of the man who was causing all this disturbance 
did not help to calm it. The actor was then greeted in his turn 
by a string of insults. He was no longer "her good Jack" of the 
afternoon but "a fool," an "idiot," to quote only the least forcible 
of the epithets with which the actress assailed him. 

He let the storm pass without answering, and with tranquil 
air led off his lady- friend. 

Only next morning, when Barnum had him called, she learned 
that the "handsome man," having got paid, had sailed off with 
Adele. For what country they had steered no one knew. At this 
blow she got mad. What ! not content with humbugging her and 
assisting all her coquetry, not content with having her rage, he 
went off ? The brute ! 

And Sarah's caprice, born of self-conceit and her jealousy, 
changed into a mad desire, an absolutely wild passion. This 
coward who fled from her ! she would bring him back. Yes, but by 
what means ? She was ready for anything, but what plan could 
she form ? She contracted her brow trying to squeeze out an 
idea. 

Letters ? They would get to him too late ! and where was she 
to write to? Run after him? In what direction? Macaroni 
Stadt was covered with bills announcing the coming of her com- 
pany. What could she do with her artists ? 

No, neither of these ways would do. In the first place, she 
wanted to punish him even in buying him back. But then ? 

Suddenly the long sought for idea struck her. She hit upon the 
plan she had so much looked for. At once she hung on to the bell 
rope. 

' ' Quick, quick. I have been robbed ! Call the host at once. 'J 

The waiters ran headlong. In the twinkling of an eye the house 
is turned topsy-turvy, and the landlord, who arises late, hurriedly 
dresses to rush to the stair. 

" Sir," said the actress, "I have been robbed." 

" What ! you robbed?" said he, rubbing his eyes. 

" Yes, sir. Yesterday evening, when going to the theatre, I put 
17,000 francs in this drawer of the bureau, and this morning they 
are gone." 



138 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

The Ulyrian is in despair. However, he recovers his coolness, 
has the doors shut, and all the waiters brought in. 

" It is not the waiters I suspect," she cries out, "but it is one of 
my companions, M. Madaly, who went off this night with Miss 
Belette." 

However, the good landlord refuses to believe that two "art- 
ists"— two of those ' ' delightful French"— that ' ' pretty Miss Ad£le, " 
and that " so pleasant M. Madaly," were really the guilty parties. 
He worried himself while questioning his household. And Bar- 
num taps with her foot and becomes impatient. Thanks to all 
these delays, the fugitives will have time to clear the frontier be- 
fore they have set the telegraph to work. Oh, the joy of seeing 
him whom just at present she adores, brought back between two 
police officers; this joy for which she pants, shall she not taste of 
it? It would be so grand, so good, to have him there, at her 
mercy, humbled and wretched, and to go to see him in his prison, 
and after kissing him, as she thirsts to do, to say to him : 

"Go! You are free. Come and love me. The money which 
wretches said you had taken is found all right. " 

And then in the evening, in the lazy sweetness which follows 
the first caresses, in that discreetly exquisite shade of curtains 
close-drawn, which is tinged with blue and red by the gleam of a 
night-lamp, far off on the sill of the alcove, a gleam which makes 
Sarah look like other women, what bliss to avow to him the trick 
to which they owe then good fortune. 

At last that idiot of an Illyrian has ended his enquiry, the 
waiters are proved innocent, and the poor lover of the theatre and 
of artists, feeling her heart heavy with her lost illusions, decides 
to run to the authorities and to the telegraph office. 

In all directions they have wired the description of the fugi- 
tives, of the male fugitive especially, for she had charged him only, 
so that they might bring him back alone. Alas ! the day and the 
night pass without her hearing of his arrest. Next day, the 
police lieutenant tells her that Madaly has been recognized at the 
French frontier but that the order for his arrest got there after 
he had crossed. He had time to get to Montefiore, and Illyria had 
no extradition treaty with this small principality. Well on her 
guard in spite of everything, the actress said in reply to the 
officer, "That turns out wonderfully well, " and that the money, 
locked up elsewhere by a chamber-maid coming back at the 



PUFFING IN PERFECTION. 139 

moment, had just been found. Then, once she is alone, in her 
despair she gives vent to some hitherto unheard of oaths. If that 
does not console her, at least it arouses in her again more than 
ever her desire to succeed and her proud infatuation. Quick to 
telegraph ! 

To Mr. Madaly, 

Actor, 

At Montefiore, 

Principality of Montefiore. 

Come fcack at once. Most important. 

Sarah Barnum. 

The hours roll on. No answer ! She takes to swearing again, 
and sends this second message : 

Mr. Madaly, 

Actor, 

At Montefiore. 

Come back to me, Jack, I beg of you 

Sarah. 

No answer ! A second day rolls by. Barnum swears no longer, 
except through her teeth. Her voice is broken, but she can still 
write, and she scrawls this third telegram: 

To Madaly, 

At Montefiore. 

Ah, for God's sake, come back to me. 

Sarah. 

Nothing, nothing, still nothing from him. She does not swear 
at all now, the poor deserted woman. She lies on her couch 
utterly exhausted. Was there ever seen such an affront ! As she 
is in despair, and thinking of packing up to follow the ungrateful 
wretch, a telegram comes at last. 

Oh, that blessed piece of blue paper ! How she would press it to 
her heart— if she were not in such a hurry to read it ! And she 
reads : 

To Madame Sarah Barnum, 

At Trieste. 
Come back to you? What for? 

Jack Madaly, 



140 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

"What for?" she cries, crumpling the despatch in her hand. 
"What for? He asks that! ! ! Quick, my good Girard. Hurry 
up full speed, and send this telegram: 

"Madaly, Montefiore. 
Why? Because I love you. Sarah." 

And these words sent off, she waited with palpitating heart. 
Second telegram. Her hands trembled on opening it: 

Sarah Barnum, Trieste. 
Too late : so much the worse. 

Jack. 

Kun once more, little fool! Sarah doesn't give up yet. For 
proof of which read the following: 

Madaly, Montefiore. 
Eeturn, or I shall kill myself ! Sarah. 

This time Madaly softened. He replied : 

Sarah Barnum, Trieste. 

I ask delay. Impossible to return. Lost at play. Have need 
of 3000 francs. Jack. 

"At last !" exclaimed the actress, "at last he is mine!" And 
radiant with joy, she sent the three thousand francs. Nothing 
now remained for her but to wait, to kill time as best she could 
until the arrival of her lover. For by a psychological phenom- 
enon, very habitual in our heroine, she loved what she did not 
possess and what cost her some pains to conquer. Madaly be- 
longing to the category of not immediately tangible things, she 
necessarily desired to have him in her power. 

Yet this desire was the only form of adoration she was capable 
of. 

Unfortunately one cannot leave Montefiore as quickly as one en- 
ters it, and the dear fellow Jack remained there twenty-four hours 
after the receipt of the money. Finally the fugitive arrived at 
Macaronistadt, to which place the travelling star had brought her- 
self and her baggage from Trieste. He went to the Star Hotel 
on leaving the depot, and immediately asked the clerk to announce 
him. 

After a loving meeting Sarah said: 



PUFFING IN PERFECTION. 141 

" From now on, dear, it is over, and we can always live together, 
for it is settled we shall get married." 

He looked at her without showing his surprise, still a fatalist 
and still resigned. Yet he felt certain Sarah did not lie, but de- 
sired the union. The idea had taken possession of her the pre- 
ceding days. On reflecting upon her situation, her former dreams 
of conjugal life returned to her. Since she was really taken with 
"her Jack," it was necessary to utilize this folly. A marriage 
would be a new advertisement and make a great deal of noise. 
Besides, Jack was the man who pleased her best for a husband — 
sufficiently talented to be noticed and to serve her, and not enough 
to be a serious rival to her. And what a father he would be for 
Loris ! • 

"Look," said Sarah, showing him to Madaly, "you shall see 
how I shall get rid of Angel," said the Barnum. 

And going to the table the lady of the house wrote some words. 

" My dear friend," she said, rising, and handing the paper she 
had just covered with an unintelligible scrawl to Angel, "you 
can go. From now on you are free. Your contract still has six 
months to run, but on presentation of this order Chevellet will 
pay you your whole salary at once." Angel, without the slight- 
est trace of emotion, thanked her, complimented the young couple, 
and disappeared. One hour later, Chevillet, having cashed his 
order, went to the depot and took the first train home, delighted 
to have made such a good bargain. 

Left alone, the young couple conversed together. Where and 
how get married? Sarah knew something about Gretna Green. 
She proposed England. There were still some engagements not 
yet kept. They decided to cancel those in Illyria and postpone 
the opening at Montefiore. Thanks to these changes, the couple 
had a few days to themselves ; they took advantage of them to 
embark for the banks of the Thames. A mere nothing for such 
travellers ! 

While the two doves billed and cooed in the cars on the road to 
Calais, the company arrived by slow stages at the watering-place 
where they were to await the return of their manageress. Yet 
the latter, in having the opening at Montefiore postponed, had for- 
gotten that her dear L€rin, the gentle painter, and her son Loris 
awaited her there on the day originally fixed by her. Unfortu- 
nate neglect ! 



142 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNTJM. 

The company, which replaced the ancient chariot of Thespis by 
the most delicious sleeping-cars and most rapid steamboats, em- 
barked on one of the little steamers which run from Macaronis- 
tadt to Montefiore, stopping at different places along the route. 
It was in this way they stopped at Libreville, the principal port 
on the voyage. But whom should they find there? 

L§rin escorting Loris — or, if you prefer it, L6rin accompanied 
by Loris ! 

Both of them had become impatient. Why did Sarah remain 
so long in Illyria? And tired of asking themselves this question, 
they had embarked for Macaronistadt. Their steamer went in 
the opposite direction to that of the actors, but chance had brought 
the two steamers to the same port at the same time. 

" Sarah? Where's Sarah?" they exclaimed, stupefied at not find- 
ing our heroine in the midst of her companions. 

They looked at each other, laughing inwardly, but not knowing 
what to say. Chicmann, very much confused, replied that "the 
manageress was travelling." Loris became anxious, demanded an 
explanation, and wanted to know at all hazards. In the mean 
while LSrin buttonholed the travellers and severally interrogated 
them. Very soon the truth was unfolded to him. 

" Married ! she has married at this time of life ! O rage ! O de- 
spair ! And without saying anything to him— to him whose en- 
gagement she had broken ! And with Madaly ! It was too much ! 

Upon which, catching sight of the eyes of his young companion, 
he poured forth his rage and hate at him. 

The youngster snapped up. 

"It's that, is it!" he exclaimed. "Well, then, you shall see! 
Give me my Toledo sword !" 

And the sulky little fellow wrote his mother a scathing letter, 
of which the following, with the proper orthography, are the first 
lines: 
11 Mamma: 

" I will no longer eat the bread of shame ; I will work for my 
living!" .... 

Naturally, this letter was sent to the newspapers. 

A good dog chased from his race. In the Barnum family noth- 
ing could be done, not even a spoonful of castor-oil taken, with- 
out its being immediately noticed in the newspapers. The news- 
papers recorded the solemn rupture which had taken place be- 



PUFFING IN PERFECTION. 143 

fcween mother and son. The young Barnum, they announced, 
was going to Africa. They congratulated him. But while wait- 
ing for the steamer, the good young man, who had retraced his 
steps, and returned with the company to Montefiore, began to 
play roulette, and a little while afterwards a new sample of his 
prose travelled in the mail-cars of France and Great Britain: 
"Dear little Mamma : 

"If the charms of your conjugal life leave you some leisure 
time, you will be very kind to think of your poor Loris, who, 
completely squelched, was fairly mouldering away at Montefiore, 
and ready to die for the want of one hundred louis." . . . 

The Barnum sent the funds ; she was too happy to cherish any 
ill-will towards the dear child. Her marriage had really had the 
desired effect. Never had people talked so much of her. An over- 
powering advertisement, fit to set every other artist crazy. Con- 
fusion, scandal— everything was in it. 

In her joy she took her union seriously, and entered into the 
spirit of her role. Once more, "My husband" here, "my hus- 
band " there. Her mouth was full of it. 

Madaly was constrained to play his part, to pose as a model 
husband. There must be order in a house, repeated the tragedian ; 
and she exacted that the chief of the community should really ex- 
ercise his functions— before the world above all. Jack gave up, 
as usual. Then they came back from England, when, after the 
representations at Montefiore, his wife reinstated herself in her man- 
sion on the Avenue Monceau, he carrying the keys of the strong- 
box. And the word "strong-box" has here nothing metaphorical, 
Sarah having found in her incessant turns of the wheel of fortune 
what love had refused to her. That did not hinder her from find- 
ing out that she was at certain times pretty well exhausted. 

The leakage remained the same, and the strong box which she 
refilled so often was always eluding her. She would have fallen 
back into the most pressing need had she gone eight days without 
playing. Her husband was too Oriential to even try to put the 
house into that order, of which she had impressed upon him the 
necessity. There must be an honorary proprietor, and before visi- 
tors she affected to take his orders. He must, they being present, 
regulate their expenses and make up the accounts. It was to him 
that the servants addressed themselves. 



144 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

"Will Monsieur settle the bill of the hairdresser ?" " Has Mon- 
sieur the intention of paying the butcher's bill ?" 

This setting of the scene, this deference established, all this 
housekeeping had imposed the husband on those of the frequenters 
of the mansion who had not yet deserted. Now it must be im- 
posed upon Paris, and she declared that the oddity of her role 
gave a new zest to her passion for Jack. A benefit matinee fur- 
nished really the means for their trip. The bride and groom went 
there together, and as this was a first wonderful appearance it was 
a matter of great sensation. Madaly playing for the first time 
in Paris, and before an audience whose silent antipathy he guessed 
did not appear without emotion on the stage, but he recovered 
himself quickly, and from the second act his success drew him on 
to an acclamation in the fourth. The play was ' 'ISAmant dn Coeur. " 
The Barnum applauded less. She was very nervous, and had be- 
sides forgotten the flask of gin which she carried with her habit- 
ually at the theatre. 

Most people found her inferior to herself. At all events, this 
representation had not the results which its instigator expected. 
She had not made any impression, and being punished where she 
had sinned, she commenced to suffer from this abominable adver- 
tisement. She had opened the door of her alcove ; the reporters 
invited the crowd into it. 

She had put her lif e into the street ; the street entered into her 
life. She had uncovered herself publicly ; everyone wished to see 
what was in her. 

She wished people to talk of her ; they now did talk of her too 
much. Paris, which had been shamelessly provoked for years, 
commenced to revenge itself. And its vengeance was all-devour- 
ing. Sarah was given to it ; it took her and kept her, dissecting her 
with jeers. She was its thing, its doll; it amused itself with her. 

And later on, when finding that by this overcooking, the pub- 
licity bought at this price Madame Madaly wished to withdraw, 
the voice of the people, which is the voice of G od, said to her : 

"A tooth for tooth, eye for an eye. Equal rights do not exist 
for you any longer, and neither as a woman, nor a mother, nor a 
wife, nor as artist, can you protest as you yourself; oh, poor ner- 
vous creature, you have broken down your strong wall Guillontet, 
to throw the marrow-bones at our heads." 

The misfortune was that in posting up " her Jack " the Barnum 



PUFFING IN PERFECTION. 145 

did not shine alone. The comedian, notwithstanding his promises 
of talent, suffered all the consequences of his false situation. 

The day of his great success in the fourth act of UAmant du 
Coeur, by Chesnel, the old director of the Pantheon kept hold of 
the little bell that the caricaturists and the chroniclers were des- 
tined to keep ringing for so long. " Bravo! bravo!" cried he in 
the scenes. "It goes well; the balloon is rising. We will see 
how it flies." It went better than that. Others beside Jack 
shone "by counter stroke." The boulevard becoming impatient 
by this overpowering advertisement, which slandered it, a journal- 
ist made himself its mouth-piece, its echo. Only he augmented 
tenfold what he had heard, made a tempest of the murmurs, and 
perverted the sentiments of wha't he pretended to explain. This 
scribbler and puerile poser, who played at pamphlet writing, and 
who put on airs to the degree of considering himself a Rochef ort, 
for which he was baptized Rochef aible by Sebastian Koll, had the 
impudence to publish an article on the people of the theatre, 
which was as stupid as it was malicious. This prudent person, 
not daring to name anybody, spoke in general. 

The thing made a great stir. The comedians assembled, and, 
like overgrown children, after having decided to punish the inso- 
lent one, remained at making motions. The scribbler in question 
did not deserve to have any attention paid to his article. 

Still the Barnum, upon reading the article, jumped up. Bran- 
dishing the journal, she ran into her husband's room. 

"Jack! my friend . . . they are insulting us !" 

Jack, who was shaving, remained impassive. 

" You will fight this miserable journalist . . . Here, read it!" 

Madaly read the false article and shrugged his shoulders. 

" Bah !" he simply said. 

The tragedienne was frantic and indignant at her husband's 
indifference. "How, insult the corporation and he not take it 
up?" " But, my dear friend," repeated the actor, "lam not capa- 
ble of defending the corporation, I who have just entered it!" 
Useless protestations. First, Sarah had wanted for a long time 
that her husband should fight, and it enraged her to see him 
neglect such a good chance, to seek notoriety in a duel. And 
furious at not being able to influence him, she trampled the arti- 
cle under foot, swearing. 

"Very well!" she cried, " since the men are so cowardly as to 



146 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNXTM. 

allow themselves to be dragged through the mud, it is a weak 
woman, it is I, who will avenge their honor ! Where is he, the 
filthy scribbler. " 

She cried into space, defying an imaginary adversary, but sud- 
denly her arms fell, she remained immovable, like a statue 
of grief. " No," she said, " It is impossible. I am a mother!" 

At this moment our old friend Arthur Simon entered. 

"What is the matter?" he asked. "You can be heard crying 
in the street !" 

He was informed. It caused him to burst out laughimg. 

"Provoke that boy? Fight him? Go away; better invite him to 
dinner." 

The invitation was sent and accepted by the journalist ! ! ! 

Let us add, to finish the history of the Barnum marriage and 
the consequences here mentioned, that the noise made by the 
before-mentioned article did not interrupt the spiritual persecution 
of Paris against the husband of the Princess. 

"Pshaw!" cried Sebastien Koll, "he annoys us, this Mr. 
Madaly ! He imagines he has arrived ; but no, he is arriving ! he 



is arriving 



!" 



Paris was not tenantable any more. Sarah needed money. She 
left again ; her troup were under arms, Jack being the last man, 
and the comic novel reopened. 

We will not follow the different stages : that would require a 
second volume. Always the same history, our heroine remains 
the same interesting personage we have pictured. As her marriage 
had only inspired her with a new " pose," she played the honest 
woman, the bourgeoise, and that with the serenity of a Marion who 
had atoned for past errors. Her astonishing facility for forgetting 
rendered her role easy, her power of adaptation made her amusing. 
She cultivated graces at each change of state ; and always the 
woman commanding the position, no matter what that was, she 
celebrated without laughing the pleasures of Hymen. Alone she 
was honest, in spite of her fancies, and Sarah had not her equal in 
treating as Miss all the other women. 

Bah ! a girl ! 

And her lips curled in great disdain, and in this word " girl" she 
put all the contempt accumulated in the course of her existence. 
At heart she was annoyed, and the bad humor caused by the at- 
titude Paris had taken up regarding her trouble. It was killing to 



PUFFING IN PERFECTION. 147 

have to run the streets, and through poverty have to camp out 
constantly in different latitudes. 

Withal how amusing those voyages ! She loved best the style 
of living she had experienced during her tour in America. 

Over there they had not applauded her; she had cursed the 
natives, but now in her ennui she regretted all that. 

Over there, it was the manager who paid all the expenses ; these 
were charged to the advertising accounts. 

Often it happened that the great tragedian was boarded free of 
charge, not for the pleasure nor for the glory, but for the benefit 
of the advertisement. She even often travelled at the expense of 
a railroad company, which, in order to astonish its competitors, 
gave a special train to the star, and the next day trumpeted every- 
where that the artist, being well acquainted with railroad travel- 
ling, had entrusted her precious life to them ! 

Unfortunately the nomad priestess of art did not find these ad- 
vantages in old-fashioned Europe ; and as she wanted to lead there 
the same transoceanic life, it became very expensive. More vis- 
ionary, prouder than ever, she did not consider sufficiently elegant 
for her the apartments reserved for sovereigns. Naturally she 
was imposed upon most dreadfully. 

The price paid by the most illustrious prima donna was tripled 
for her. And as though these ruinous follies were not sufficient, 
her son Loris took part in them. 

The sweet juvenile led a high life, and to console himself for the 
companionship of livery-stable clerks, Jewish offspring of stock 
operators or of jockeys on vacation, he become " one of the boys" 
and fell into debt. Sarah was pursued by continual requests for 
money from her heir. She finally began to worry as to what she 
should do with him. This big boy, who did not know anything, 
and could not even write his petitions in good French, was impos- 
sible to place. She then resolved to buy him a theatre on her re- 
turn, which he would manage under the eye of a chosen guardian. 

She herself would take the management of another stage, her 
husband would have a third, and should it even be astounded by 
this new stroke, Paris would see all the Barnum dynasty taking 
possession of its amusements ! 

This fine project was made when she was in Iberia, where as 
everywhere she was welcomed witn enthusiasm. It was also in 



148 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNTTM. 

that country, at Castagnettos, that she had the disagreeable sur- 
prise of hearing herself freely judged by her own companions 

She had played we do not know what scurvy trick to Chicmann, 
and the young man, entered, furious, the room of Cheviliett to 
pour his woes into the bosom of his friend and patron. The Bar 4 
num, who possesses no scruples, recognizing the voice of the Hol- 
lander whilst crossing a passage of the hotel, put her ear to the 
keyhole. 

What a rare treat ! The two agents were giving vent to all their 
opinions! Chicmann related — with numerous epithets— a little 
misdeed of his manager, to which Cheviliett answered by another 
one ; the ridiculous traits of the star were described with an irony 
which spared nothing. And the relations continued, both bring- 
ing back to mind all they had been subjected to ; and the expres- 
sions increased in venom as ohe chapter of the bitterness of these 
truthful witnesses grew longer. 

Sarah's rage cannot be depicted. Yet she forgave Cheviliett 
his statements, which she knew to be too exact; but thi 
11 treason" of Chicmann made her indignant, wild, and put her 
a passion. In the first place she needed Cheviliett, and was willing 
to forgive anything to such an indispensable man, whose depar- 
ture would have compromised the success of the tour — but Chic- 
mann? — That one was not indispensable ! Would not she discharge 
him ! What a fine chance ! Ah ! you take the liberty of running,' 
down your patron ! Just wait a little. 

She returns to her room and sends for Cheviliett. 

"I know everything," cries she, as soon as he appeared. 

Astonishment of the old theatrical agent 1 

"I know everything !" 

She explains how she was "by chance" edified concerning the 
conversation of which she was the topic between her two auxil- 
iaries. 

Then the smiling appearance of her questioner forcing her to for- 
give immediately, she omits the scene she had inwardly prepared : 
the pardon granted with majestic indulgence. 

" Let us talk of this no more, my friend," said she, "only, I do 
not want that scoundrel to appear before me again ! Let him go 
immediately !" 

1 ' All right ! answered Cheviliett. ' ' Only, do not f orget that you 
have signed an agreement with him. According to your contract, 



£ 



PUFFING IN PERFECTION. 149 

Chicmann must remain five months longer with the com- 
pany." 

"Well! ItwilTnot prevent his going. Five months at three 
thousand francs make fifteen thousand francs. Pay him right 
away, that he may be gone in five minutes ! 
"I will pay him." 

And the agent went out laughing. A moment after he returned : 
"It is done, fine lady." 
"That is good, but is he gone?" 

"Not at all. On the way I reflected that if he was antipathetic 
fco you, he pleased me greatly, and that if you could do without 
him I could not. Moreover, feeling loath to see him without an 
occupation, I have found him one." 
"Which, if you please?" 
"The one that he had already." 
"How? You mock me, I suppose." 

"Heaven forbid! You would not have this brave boy in your 
service ; I have taken him into mine. He will be secretary of the 
company no longer ; he will be that of your humble servant and 
lo the same work, payed under the heading of advertising instead 
)f that of general expenses. It is, you see, as simple as possible." 
And here is the end of the story. That same evening at the 
jheatre Sarah met the Dutchman in the corridor. She could not 
orget his laugh. 

'* Ah! ah! my little Chicmann," she cried, offering her hand, " I 
lo not see you much now. Come and breakfast with me to-mor- 
•ow." 
The Barnum, however, had forgiven nothing. That was not her 
ustom. For proof think of the vengance that in this same town 
f Castagnettos she took against the Duke Nino Fernandez, her 
Id lover, who had failed to answer one of her demands for funds, 
nd who, willing to leave her a souvenir, had presented her with 
■ tea service. She refused to go the fete that he had organized on 
ler account, and to repeat her lines at his house, no matter what 
>rice he offered. This refusal was made emphatic besides by her 
•resence in another salon, that of Madame Chemino. 
This famous French lady, a princess by birth, had married one 
f the most remarkable political personages of Iberia, and was the 
ueen of the aristocracy of this country. Very beautiful, mar- 
elously gifted, a writer of talent, a charming poetess, this supe- 



roil 



150 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

rior woman was an artist to the end of her fingers. She wished to 
publicly honor art in the person of Sarah, and gave a grand fete 
for the purpose. Madame de Chemino, in her feminine delicacy, 
had invited Madaly. She showed the tragedienne's husband the 
most flattering attentions, and at table put the comedian at her 
right. Now the guest were ambassadors, ministers, and remark- 
able personages. To be gracious to the husband was to be doubly 
gracious to the wife ; the Barnum relished this triumph. She 
had need, alas ! of some satisfaction to console her for her disillu- 
sion. 

The marriage, not more than her innumerable love affairs, 
had failed to make a woman of her. She had simply hoped to 
taste as wife the sensations which she had vainly dreamt of. 
Something was still lacking to her. Lamentable phenomenon, she 
remained a being apart, a bird without cage, she confessed to her 
dressing-maid, "A piano out of tune, an Achilles reversed, vulner- 
able everywhere, but in her heart." And as the satisfaction of self- 
love became powerless to calm her discouragement, she indulged 
herself more and more, began to ask for alcohol, brandy, and 
whiskey, to forget her ill luck and gain courage to try again new 
experiences. Now she drinks recklessly, but like a well educated 
English lady, she waits until night before she gives herself swing. 
She "moistens her throat " between acts, and discreetly finishes 
a,t home. 

They return to Paris. There is coldness between them. The 
Barnum has ceased to sigh "my Jack." "He is no longer my 
ideal," she says. And the cold becomes Siberian arctic. 

A man appeared who was not likely to thaw out the situation. 
This man was her old acquaintance De Malgraine, whom Sarah 
had found again in Illyria, and with whom she was suddenly re- 
conciled. After the return to Paris he installed himself as con-i 
queror, and ruled the house. 

He had begun naturally by leading Madaly astray; thus he 
reigned without opposition. Even the servants treated him as 
master. Avenue Monceau, the blindest of observers, had under- 
stood the attitude of the servants. The creditors ceased to demand 
of the husband of the queen if he would pay the dressmaker's 
bill. They scarcely waited on him properly, acting as if they 
were vexed to see him there; and the poor Oriental sat at the 



PUFFING IN PERFECTION. 151 

end of the table, and had nothing but the leavings. Sarah had 
to interfere or he would not have had his plate changed. 

She reopened very soon the " Tour du Nesle." 

The rupture was complete. Jack took up again his bachelor 
life and his liberty. But this did not take place without quarrels, 
and naturally many letters in the newspapers. 

The Barnum had not pardoned him for deserting her because of 
the pleasantries of MalgrainS. She pursued him with her hate, 
and overwhelmed him with reproaches that the worst woman 
would not have dared to offer, more especially in public. She did 
not understand that she blackened herself in the eyes of all 
Paris. Madaly had the good sense to disappear for some time. 
When he believed the past sufficiently forgotten he reappeared at' 
the theater, where his growing talent secured him a good place. 
Very soon M. Perrinet engaged him, and Madame Sarah Barnum 
entered in triumph the Theatre Corneille, whence his wife wasex- 
iled. It seems that this success was the last stroke of bad luck 
for the Barnum. 

Her affairs, as we see, were in a poor state. Her house now 
was empty. Malgraine had hunted away those who would sub- 
mit to the presence of the husband, or those who had ventured in 
after his departure! But Malgrain6 having taken again his old 
position, the guests ceased to come. For the house had an host 
more wearisome than Madaly, more irritating than MalgrainS, 
Lorisl 



152 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 



XII. 
GREATNESS AND DOWNFALL. 

Sarah kept her word when she promised herself the satisfaction 
of a caprice, and therefore Paris saw the Barnum dynasty take 
possession of its theatres, and seized with managerial madness, 
seek those that it could lay hold of to practice on. Three theatres 
capitulated— the Grand Alcazar, which our heroine reserved for 
herself , the Fantaisies, which she turned over to her son ; and 
the Theatre Europeen, the property of Madaly. 

These various acquisitions were costly, although not payable in 
cash. Very soon they became embarrassing. The rupture of our 
heroine with her husband made that of the Theatre Europeen 
even useless. It was resold. A little later it became necessary to 
do likewise with the Fantaisies, which Loris had transformed as- 
tonishingly. This theatre had, under him, become a complete ter- 
ror for artists, a barracks for the public, anda gulf for the man- 
agers— Barnum and her friends. 

This epical gamin used the theatre, indeed, very much as he 
had treated the mechanical imp which his aunt Hosette had 
amused him with while he was still a babe. This young crab, 
who could not spell correctly, threatened to break the jaw of the 
journalists. This dirty, beardless boy and idiot, who traveling in 
the Mediterranean, boasted of having bought the thumb of the 
famous Colossus of Ehodes, repeatedly insulted authors. This lit- 
tle snob, whom a recruiting officer had refused to accept as a scul- 
lion, led comedians of talent and veterans of the stage around 
like conscripts. 

One of these last could not stand such proceedings. At the first 
insult of the young man he got angry. 

■ "At what hour do they put you to bed, little one ?" he ask- 
ed him, and publicly pulled his ears. 

The scandal which resulted from this lesson caused Barnum to 
send away her off -spring, if not to the nursery, at least to the 
Hippodrome. Loris being dismissed, went to join his duns of the 



GREATNESS AND DOWNFALL. 153 

Stock-Exchange and his Augustes of the circus, and did not leave 
them except to take fencing lessons a Vltalienne, while posessing 
ample impudence ; he has also had any amount of cunning, and 
imagined that among people whom he simply caused to shrug 
their shoulders somebody might be found who would consent to 
make himself ridiculous by accepting his challenge. 

Being left alone with the Grand Alcazar on her hands, Sarah 
disengaged herself at once, but she could not organize anything 
quietly, and she inveighed against Paris in trumpeting the amount 
of her receipts. Paris, which had pardoned, or rather forgotten 
her, again commenced to be angry. Then she impudently 
essayed the parts of Declee and Plessis, and transformed 
herself from the tragedienne which she had become into a come — 
dienne. It was too late to turn back on the road. Her real and 
fine talent lost its versatility. Excellent in the part of Phedre, she 
was ridiculous in Le Misanthrope. Very fine in the tragic work 
of Sardou, she seemed mediocre in that of Dumas, Meilhac, and of 
Halevy. When she created a character, success came. Domi- 
neeringly she persuaded authors that they had seen the heroine 
just as she had played it, and mesmerized the crowd by intoxicat- 
ing it with her vim. But when she assumed a part which had 
already been interpreted by a woman of talent, she was inferior 
to her predecessor. In reality she only seemed wonderful in the 
pieces written especially for her by clever dramatists, who, not 
limiting themselves to bring into play .her good qualities, also used 
her faults. 

Unfortunately her creations became more and more scarce. 
She wearied the authors as she had wearied the whole world. She 
even quarrelled with her critics, and made fools of even those 
with whom she had surrounded herself ever since her debut, and 
who, either admirers or simply friends, shielded her with their 
literary authority and their incontestable talent. Under their 
patronage, making use of them as screens, as bait, and as protec- 
tors at the same time, she committed all sorts of improprieties, 
and gratified her worst freaks. More intoxicated than ever by 
notoriety, and pushing her passion for publicity up to the point of 
mania, as well as her cursed itching for noise, she ruined all the 
theatres. Her life was nothing but a fever, and it seemed as 
though she wished to lull to sleep some remorse or to pacify some 
worming sorrow by means of noise. However, the unconscioua 



154 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

one never seemed to experience remorse. It was undoubtedly- 
some pain which she wished to lull with her triumphs of self-love 
and with the pride of occupying the minds of a whole nation. 
And this incurable grief even Came to her in her eternal want of 
success in her chase after happiness. She wished to be loved; 
she wished to love ; but in earnest, with a flame of passion which 
was no longer artificial : she wished to feel her senses thrill, and 
her flesh creep. 

Her notoriety was all very well, and her receipts were still bet- 
ter ; but she would have given her name, her glory, and the bank- 
notes which were turned over to her every evening for a kiss 
which would make her tremble and for a thrill of love. 

But the kiss never came. 

Under the satin, under the plush, whose contact with the skin 
is like an inanimate caress ; under the Genoa velvet, whose heavy 
folds breathe affectionate lassitude ; under the Japanese moires, 
which are worth fortunes, and which with their strange designs 
animate the walls and ceilings ; under all these things were con- 
ceived perverse refinements and deadly caresses; under these 
Pompadour silks, under these artistic fabrics, and under these 
colored linens and fantastic chintzes and Indian shawls^ a century 
old, which with their expensive simplicity and their half -faded 
colors whisper the tenderness of yesterday; under all these 
draperies, under all these hangings, under all these curtains, the 
chamber remained cold ; and it remained marble, this body whose 
inharmonious harshness was sheltered by this vain luxury, in the 
hackneyed light of an unchanging lamp. 

It was for this reason that wishing, if not to forget, at least to 
deaden herself, she become more crazily ambitious — the poor dis- 
tracted one. Nothing was beautiful enough for her, nothing up- 
roarious enough. Perhaps in perpetrating all these eccentricities, 
and keeping all Paris with bated breath in astonishment, she 
would make this Messiah, this unknown, this worker of miracles, 
rise. "Would, then, her pitiable life have been supportable with- 
out this ebullition. 

And like these enriched wretches, whose gold does not ex- 
tinguish their rankling bitterness, but who drown it in luxury, 
and cause fairy palaces to be built for them, and emblazon their 
misery to the sun, she dreamt of absorbing marvels and of wonder- 
ful treasures which might cause her to forget her ills. 



GREATNESS AND DOWNFALL. 155 

But the wings of her dreams were broken. Thanks to her 
squandering and to her ruinous habits, she had gathered in her 
wanderings several hundred thousand francs, where she should 
have found millions. What the Grand Alcazar brought her in, 
went she did not know where, fell into the fabled sieve. But she 
certainly had a hundred friends who had claims on her if she 
realized one of her vague projects and possibly one of her castles 
in Spain. 

Then, finding her theatre too small, too petty, too village-like 
for her, she dreamt of building for herself a place which should 
dazzle Paris. She labored furiously at this idea and realized it. 

Both outside as well as inside the Theatre Sarah Barnum was 
a palace. The greatest artists made the plans and decorated it. 

Built in the centre of the rectangle which the completion of the 
Boulevard Haussmann had made, and every niche of which Sarah 
had acquired at an absurd price, so as to isolate the building in the 
centre of a square, it was situated in the heart of Paris. Its front 
looked out on the Boulevard Montmartre, and its side on the Rue 
Lafayette. On the left the Boulevard Haussmann opened its tri- 
umphal perspective, and the Rue du Faubourg Montmartre opened 
out its straight course, bearing the river's murmurings almost to 
the balconies which it borders, its gigantic pulse of an enlarged 
artery beating under the arches. 

The inauguration was one of those fetes of which a century does 
not see two; but the day after this festival silence fell brusque- 
ly, so to speak. Such miracles had been promised, and so much 
had been said in the newspapers before this first performance, 
that it seemed like a deception, in presence of this heap of splen- 
dors; so that, like a spoiled and petted child, Paris cried, " Is that 
all?" and then it thought of other things. It had been blinded ; it 
had been made deaf ; it wished to see nor hear more. 

The crowd treated the movement itself as it treats new statues. 
Curious during the preliminary work, it stands before the bare 
pedestal, or with the eyes pierces the veil which covers the work, 
onjthe day of inauguration, when the bronze or marble emerges 
from this covering in the midst of music and shouts and speeches. 
But the next day the crowd had dissolved to an assemblage ; after 
that the assemblage had fallen off to scattered groups; twenty 
hours afterward, it appears to the passers-by that she had always 
been where they saw her, this statue that would be so new. And 



156 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

only the strangers and Provincials lift up their heads to look at the 
poor being. Barnuni was dejected by an equally rapid indiffer- 
ence. She raved that she would barn her work. Still, after the 
first fury had been spent, she tried to force the advertisement. 
She was taken with vertigo. She played masterpieces, and showed 
gross ignorance ; impoviseel monster magic-lantern shows ! 

The public came slowly, but even on the evenings of the repre- 
sentations, during the few weeks that crowds gathered at the 
ticket office, the directress scarcely took in an amount equivalent 
to her expenses. These were enormous. 

In order to find an artist who would play with her and put up 
with her caprices, becoming* worse as she noted her failure, Bar- 
nuni ought to have given the utility man the salary of a tenor or 
of an Italian prima donna. Comedians, by the way, if they had 
any reputation, hesitated to join her company for fear of having 
to play before empty benches, or before a public at reduced prices, 
by fear also of seeing their effects spoiled by their jealous com- 
panion, or their means paralyzed by the grandeur of the structure. 
From month to month, from day to day, the talk grew louder. 
They spoke openly of failure, and the company formed too late 
into a limited one, as the stock could no more find gullible pur- 
chasers at the Exchange. Sarah fought with the energy of despair. 
She played travesties, pantomimes, fairy scenes; her friends 
bought her pieces in which they had their parts. She, at the end 
of the drama, would mount her horse or give way to some eccen- 
tric exercise. She held conferences, related her history, she in- 
vented charitable works in order to organize sensational soirees ; 
she took children's parts, the part of an old woman ; she made use 
of every means, but she could not save her theatre. 

At least, she left it only when forced out by a sheriff's posse. 
At this time she was so desperate that she seriously thought of 
suicide, of a romantic suicide, a loud one, and one that, although 
dead, would be equal to her reputation. 

Her inborn cowardice prevented her from killing herself. Al- 
though having lust her freshness through care and the abuse of 
alcohol, she still cherished the secret hope of finding some one to 
love. 

And still this thing seemed mere difficult than ever. She was 
now without friends, without partisans, and even without a home. 
Her house and furniture were sold, her coffin of ebony and gilver 



GREATNESS AND DOWNFALL. 157 

was bought by Madame Tassaud, of London. Her complete fail- 
ure this time troubled her less than the fact that she had been 
entirely forgotten. 

Her work, the theatre, Sarah Barnum was rebaptized, and be- 
came the new Folies-Bergere, the old theatre having been bought 
by the State as a store-house for theatre decorations, and subsi- 
dized by the Government. And in their new quarters the Folies- 
Bergere realized marvelous sums, sums that our heroine had 
never dreamt of. 

However, to grieve did not advance her affairs; the ex-direc- 
tress must needs occupy herself in finding a new start, a new 
means of resuscitating her lost reputation. She asked to be ad- 
mitted into the Corneille company. M. Perrinet assembled the 
stockholders, and the question of admitting the foolish prodigy 
was laid before them. After the discussion a vote was taken. 
Minus one, the assembly was unanimous in refusing to open their 
doors to the fugitive for whom they could not find any extenua- 
tion. " . . . she having compromised the house of Corneille, 
paid no regard to art or the corporation." (Coquil, recording 
secretary.) 

The one vote in her favor was cast by Madaly. In four years 
it was the first opportunity he had to occupy himself about his 
alleged wife. 

She doubled her ordinary dose of whiskey, and lost nothing of 
her vanity. 

The next day she had, for better or for worse, united a com- 
pany and started on a grand tour. 

Her success increased with her absence. As she persisted in 
keeping up her former prices, and did not change her repertoire, 
as a traveller she did not even make her expenses. 

She returned. 

Now she begged for an engagement, but all the directors 
politely refused. 

In truth, she was not tempting any more to managers. In 
spite of her misfortunes, in spite of the whiskey and the cognac, 
she still had talent ; only she was out of fashion. 

Yes, out of fashion ! 

Good-by, glory and fortune ! Good-by, pleasures ! It was the 
first death, the apprenticeship of the tomb. 

During five years, since her failure, she travelled the provinces 



158 MEMOIRS OF SARAH BARNUM. 

and foreign countries; everywhere she was known. In Ulyria 
as in Russia, in Brazil as in Mexico, the poor thing had seen her 
day! The people did not stand before her advertisements any 
more, but shrugged their shoulders in disdain. 

Again this tiresome old thing 1 Old! She was old! Furiously 
she studied each morning the striped wrinkles that no powder 
could hide, nor ameliorate the livid redness, and looked with 
despair in her soul at the deep-set eyes, the corroding eyelashes, 
and her hair discolored at its extremities by drugs and dyes, but 
white at their roots and at the temples ; and still more grievous 
were her angular features. 

She drank as she had never drunk before. See reduced her 
alcoholic rations on the evenings when she played, but finished 
her drunk after the performance. However, she continued the 
man-hunt, perhaps as a matter of habit for the sake of a living; 
she consented to exhibit herself in the outskirts, and even de- 
scended to play the duenna. Her vanity, nevertheless, survived. 
She passed her life in the theatre-caf6s, then retailing a recita- 
tion of her former triumphs, in which recitations she was some- 
times interrupted by the second comedian or the manager. 

"Is she full, that Sarah Woman? Enough! We know her." 

But she listened to nothing. 

"Yes, sir. Yes Madame, It is ten years since I had horses and 
carriages. When I failed, I was on the road to forming a political 
club." Having accidently met her one day, Ventreblanc took 
pity on her, and organized a benefit for the sake of her past glory 
in a matinee at the Lyc§e Dramatique. Unfortunately, this turned 
out a failure, as Sarah had formerly done ; the most of the artists 
refused to play at the last moment. It is true that they accom- 
panied their letters of excuse with generous offers. The bene- 
ficiary appeared in two scenes. She took fright, and the public 
grieved at this failure, and recognized no longer the woman nor her 
voice, and they had not the strength to resuscitate her by means of a 
dole of "bravos." She pocketed some thousands of francs, and im- 
mediately went to find mother Rattirez, directress of the Theatres of 
Montmartre and the Batignolles. This one could do no more, and 
turned a deaf ear. By means of the half of a small annuity she 
gave up her two halls. Sarah luckily had the pleasure to see 
herself again a directress, and able to eke out a living. She again 



' GREATNESS AND DOWNFALL. 159 

became the artist thirsting for fame as we have seen. Her 
theatres were spoken of in the great newspapers. 

And roughly was the joy of the Barnum blotted out and 
annihilated before the most unheard-of, the most surprising of 
blessings— she loved. 

It was a [beautiful youth of twenty years, of dull complexion. 
His eyes were very large and very black, pretty as a barber's 
wax block ; a head which carried heart-breakers on its temples. 
His name was Louis, and he played leading juvenile parts. On 
the stage he was out at elbows and he had plebeian gestures, but 
his voice could shoot itself beyond the gallery. 

Montmartre was infatuated with him, and he was adored at the 
Batignolles. 

"That makes you squint, eh?" said he to Sarah on the evening 
of his dSbut, and he asked to have his salary raised before he 
took her home. The following day she adored the funny man, 
but she adored him sincerely with all her heart with a strange 
passion. How happy she was ! 

Being happy, she almost became pretty again in spite of her 
wrinkles and her gray hairs. At last she held the secret so long 
sought for, the fortune so long courted. She was like others — a 
woman. 

Her senses so long benumbed were again awakened — by love. 

That age which usually relegates women to quietude— to 
senility — in Sarah created more silly conduct than ever before ; 
perhaps a second childhood. 

How happy she was ! as she wept for joy under the cuffs of 
her Louis. 

But . . . this tardy happiness was sadly short ; the leading 
juvenile quickly deceived her with all the women of the two 
theatres, with all the girls of the two quarters, and our poor 
unfortunate suffered the most frightful martyrdom, the most 
intense tortures. The ungrateful fellow took her last louis to go 
to dinners. 

Money ! She mocked at it. She, the miserly Jewess, she would 
have given him everything — her last dress, her life itself— could 
she have been its sole possessor; but at the thought of parting, or 
when he bargained with her for his cold caresses, an inexpressible 
despair, an indescribable anger, transfixed her. 



160 MEMOIRS. OF SARAH BARNTJM. 



xm. 

One morning during the autumn of 18 — one might have read 
in the Chanteclair under the head of ' ' Events" the following squib : 

" Is it remembered that in this city of Paris, whose glories are as 
ephemeral as its fashions, the fete inaugurated some six years ago 
at the Folies Bergfcre, then the Grand Theatre Sarah Barnum? 

"We recalled at once that incomparable evening, when follow- 
ing to her last resting-place the poor yet great artiste that once 
was Sarah Barnum." 

Here followed some lines devoted to the life and success of the 
dear departed, and also to the various stages of her grand fizzle- 
out. 

One may say now that rumor, which is no respecter of persons, 
having overruled the true cause of her death. . . . Barnum 
has surely killed herself. Abandoned by the man she loved — a 
wicked man, we are assured — the poor woman sought oblivion in 
drink. Thursday last she made a final attempt upon her lover, 
but being unable to make him yield she returned home in despair. 

At her earnest appeal the doorkeeper went after a bottle of ab- 
sinthe for her. The woman informs us that Sarah's eyes were red, 
but she was calm. She gave her orders for the following day, 
then shut herself in her room. Friday the porteress not seeing 
her come down stairs ascended to the actress' room, but being un- 
able to open the door she became frightened and ran to summon 
the police. 

The lock was forced and poor Barnum found there lying at the 
foot of the bed, her forehead covered with blood, the bottle of 
absinthe being half empty and the bed mussed up. The physician 
called could, after an examination of the wound, describe the 
events as they actually happened. Sarah, dead drunk, had fallen 
from her bed, fracturing her skull in the fall by striking her head 
against the toilet table. 

What a wretched end I 



FINIS. 



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