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Full text of "My Double Life: Memoirs of Sarah Bernhardt"

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^BT JilS.'/JS.i 




■ ^ 

H HARVARD 
^1 COLLEGE 
^1 LIBRARY 





SAk,\H BEUNHAKOT AS ADBIENNE LECOLVRKl IC 



Mr -DOU-BLE LIFE 



.MEMOIRS 



5ARAH BERNHARDT 



WITH MANY PORTRAITS AND 
ILLUSTRATIONS 




LONDON 

WILLIAM HEINEMANN 

1907 



^U -^^^S -1.1 5.x 



v^^ 



HARVARD 

UNIVERSITY 
LIBRARY 
MAV ö 2962 



Qtrrigit L m i m l^oj tf WUUmm Hantaumm, 
and WaMmglm, USjt^ D. AffUtoH and Cemfanr 




n. il BOAaoiSfi SCHOOL 
HI COKVmT LlTK . 

IT, K* Dtorr . 
T. Tbb Suldier'8 Sb&xo 

Tl. Tm FuflLT COtmOIL ÄSD KT FlAST VISIT TO A THKATRK 

T1L Nr Cabkkb — FiBST Lbbboks 
TIIL TH( Cosskrvatoike . 

AHlASIAOE PSOPOSAI. «ITD BZAMtHATIOKB— Thb COKSEBVA' 

T01BI 

I Xt Pis«t E 

»XI. Ut DkBCT AT Tai HODSB or Moli^bb, ahd mi Fhut 
Depabtuse tbebbfrou 

XU. AT TBK OnSABK IsmATak— A. IBIP TO SrAUi 

Xni. Fboii thi Pom St. UAwn» TBBAXBa to tbb ODtoM . 
HT. ■' Li Pamaxt "— At thi Tnuuun— Fibb m mt Flat . 
^. Tn JtAxoo-ruumiAti Wab 

XTL BaJUH BKXMRAJtllT'a AlIBUI.AX<m AT TBZ OotOV TBBATBB . 

XVll. fakb Bokbab^bo 

Zna A Bold Jovuibt thbouoh thb Obrkab Lowb 
ZU. Ht Barun to Fabm— Trb Oommom b AT St. Obbmais- 

KB-I^TB 

XI. TlOMtt HtMM 

XXL A 1IEIIOBABI.B SDPPBB 

XXIL AT THB COllftDtB TEAM9AIBB ASAIB— SOOLPTVBB . 
XZm. A DBBOBBT DtTO THB EXTBB DO FlAeoBP— Hx FiBST 
ArrsABABOB AB PsiD»— TBB DBOOBATIOB OV KT NBV 

Maxkob 



ä 



vi CONTENTS 

OHAF. PAGE 

XXIV. ALKXAITDBB DüX 1»— " L'STBAHQilUI "— Mt SCULPTUBS 

AT THK SALOH 272 

XXV. '* HsniAin "—A Trip m A Ballooh .... 280 

XXVX Ths CoMfon ooss to Lohdoh 391 

XXYIL Lohdoh Lifb^Mt Fan Phbfoemahoh at thh Oaiett 

Thratbh SOS 

XXYIIl. Mt Phrvoemahov m Lohdoh — Mt Bzhibitioh— Mt 
Wild Amimals — ^Tboublh with thh OomIbdib 

fbah9aibh s09 

XXIX. Tbk CoMiDiB FBAH9AI8B bbtubhs to Pabib-— Sabab 

BBBNBABDT'8 COMMBHT8 OH AOTOBS AHD AOTBBSSXS OV 
TBB DAT S26 

XXX. Mt Dbpabtubb fbom tbb OomAdib Fbah^aibb— Pbb- 

PABATIOHS FOB MT FIBBT AMBBIOAN TOUB— ANOTBBB 

Vibit TO Lohdoh SSI 

XXXI. A TOUB DI DBHBüLBK— BOTAL FAMII1B8— TBB " TWENTT- 

BlOBT DaTB " OV SABAH BBBWHABDT . . . . S42 

XXXII. BXPBBIBHOBB AND RBFLBOTIOHS OH BOABD SBIP FBOM 

Havbb to New Yobk S52 

• 

XXXIIL Abbival nr Nbw Tobk — Ambbioah Rbpobtfbb Thb 
Gustom Houbb— Pbbfobmakobb nr Nbw Tobk— A 
Vibit to Bdiboh at Mbhlo Pabk S6l 

XXXrv. AT BoBTOH— Stobt of thb Whalb 380 

XXXV. Mohtbbal'b Obahd Rbcbftioh— Thb Pobt FbAohbttb 

—Ah Eboapadb on thb St. Lawbbhob Biybb . . S88 

XXXVI. Sfbihqfibld— Bai/timobb — Philadelphia — Ohioago— 
Adybhtubbs bbtwbbh St. Louib and Cihgihhati— 
Capital Puhibhmbht 398 

XXXVII. Nbw Oblbahs ahd othbb Ambbioah Citibb— A Visit to 

thb FALLB OF NlAOABA 4U 

XXXVIIL Thb Rbtubh to Fbahob— Thb Wbloomb at Havbb . 433 
INDEX 443 




LIST OF PLATES 

pat* 
hnih Bernhardt m Adrieno« Lcoonvienr Frantiij^tea 

fenh Banhkrdt uid her Hother 4 

Ibi6ta»d CbampCODTeDt, Irom the Garden 18 

Li CVmim imluirc Nation«! de Mnaiqne et de D^lamatlon, PmU . 94 

Bmb BffRbatdt In tbe Haod« ol ber CoiSear, before going to tbe 

COiuer*>toire EianiiD&tloD 82 

Stob Btnbardt on Leaving tbe ContKiratoire SO 

Aa IkIt Portnüt at Sarah Bernhardt ; Sarah Berahardl In La Ftmma 

fmmIrM , Sarah Bemhacdt ai tbe Dao de Richelieu 100 

Sinb Bernhardt in Fra'K^tit U diam^ 129 

8nah B«rBh»rdt in a Faooj Contnme IM 

teah Banüuudt. Fron tke Portrait in tha Thmn iVonfnii . 

Skcll in Sarah Bvnbatdi's Llbraij-, witb Äutograpb Versei bj Victor 

Hogo 

Sarah Bernhardt at a Fanox-dreaa Ball 

Becah Benhaidt at Work on her jr*M( 

Beiah Bernhardt PalotlDg (1S7S-9) 

Barah Banhardt In her Cofin 

A OKnar of Um Idfani7 

Uhrarj in Sarah Banhardt'e Hone* 

Sarah Benhardt at Home. Aoe* UU Paintimg ty W^Utr BpimiUr . 

Bush Bernhardt ae Dofia Sei in Stmmti 

A Coraer of tbe HaU, with a FalBtlng bj Obartran of Sarah Bernhardt aa 






i 



Sarah Bernhardt in Bidiag OcMtoma . . . . . 
'Opitdia." Soolptnra bj Sarah Bernhardt . . . . 
Svah Bamhardt. FfimtU Portrait If MOa.LtmiatAVbmm . 



9 

viü LIST OF PLATES 

Tbybot 
page 

Sarah Bernhardt. From the PoHrait hy /u2et Bastim-Lepage . 824 

Sarah Bernhardt (1879) 884 

Sarah Bernhardt as Andromaqne 888 

Sarah Bernhardt in Travelling Ooitnme (1880) 842 

Sarah Bernhardt and Memben of her Oompany out Shooting 400 

Bnat of Viotorien Satdon, by Saxah Bemh»dt 440 

Vaoalmile of Sarah Bernhardt*! Handwriting 442 



•i ♦* / * *j T O f ♦• ^ • 






CHIIJ>HOO]> 

Ib Bodier was üoiid of teavelliiig : sbe wmild go ficom Spain to 
m^lfmi, fimn Londcn» to Paris, from Paris to Berlhi, and 
km thope to Christiaiiia ; then she would c<»iie bade, embraoe 
mtf aad sei out again for Hoüaiid, her naüve country • She 
wd to send my nane dothing fer hendf aad eakes for ma* 
Ds one of my aants die would write : ^ Looip; after little Sarah; 
I lUl retom in a monthli time.^ A moiith kter she wocdd 
«rite to another of her dsten: *'Go and see the diild at h«r 
Hne^s ; I diaO be badL in a ooQ^e of weeks.^ 

My Bother*s age was nineteen ; I was three yeais old, and my 
taeaimts were seventeen and twenty years nf age; another aunt 
«si fifteen, and the eldest was twenty-eight ; bat the last one 
IiTed at Martinique, and was the mother of six children. My 
gnndiDother was blind, my grandfather dead, and my father 
bid been in China for the last two years. I have no idea why 
be hsd gone there. 

Mj youthfiil aunts always promised to come to see me, but 
nrely kept their word. My nurse hailed from Brittony, and 
lifed oear Quimperle, in a little white house with a low thatched 
toot^ on which wild gilly-flowers grew. That was the first flower 
vhidi charmed my eyes as a child, and I have loved it ever 
äooe. Its leaves are heavy and sad-Iooking, and its petals are 
nsde of the setting sun. 

Brittany is a long way off, even in our epoch of velocity ! In 
those days it was the end of the world. Fortunately my nurse 
vas, it appears, a good, kind woman, and, as her own child had 
died, she had only me to love. But she loved after the manner 
of poor people, when she had time. 

One day, as her husbcmd was ill, she went into the field to 

A 



't 



>: 



t 



2 SARAH BERNHARDT 

help gather in potatoes ; the over-damp soil was rotting them, 
and Üiere was no time to be lost. She left me in charge of her 
husband, who was lying on his Breton bedstead suffering from a 
bad attack of lumbago. The good woman had placed me in my 
high chair, and had been careful to put in the wooden peg which 
supported the narrow table for my toys. She threw a faggot 
in Üie grate, and said to me in Breton language (until the age 
of four I only understood Breton), ^*Be a good girl, Milk 
Blossom.*** That was my only name at the time. When she 
had gone, I tried to witiidraw the wooden peg which she had 
taken so much trouble to put in place. Finally I succeeded in 
pushing aside the little rampart I wanted to reach the groimd, 
but — poor little me ! — I feil into the fire, which was buming 
joyfully. 

The screams of my foster-father, who could not move, brought 
in some neighbours. I was thrown, all smoking, into a large 
pail of fresh milk. My aunts were informed of what had 
happened : they communicated the news to my mother, and 
for the next four days that quiet part of the country was 
ploughed by stage-coaches which arrived in rapid succession. 
My aunts came from all parts of the world, and my mother, in 
the greatest alarm, hastened from Brüssels, with Baron Larrey, 
one of her friends, who was a young doctor, just beginning to 
acquire celebrity, and a house surgeon whom Baron I^arrey had 
brought with him. I have been told since that nothing was 
so painfiil to witness and yet so charming as my mother^s 
despair. The doctor approved of the " mask of butter," which 
was changed every two hours. 

Dear Baron Larrey ! I oflen saw him afterwards, and now 
and again we shall meet him in the pages of my Memoirs. He 
used to teil me in such charming fashion how those kind folkg 
loved Milk Blossom. And he could never refrain from laughing 
at the thought of that butter. There was butter everywhere, 
he used to say : on the bedsteads, on the cupboards, on the 
chairs, on the tables, hanging up on nails in bladders. All 
the neighbours used to bring butter to make masks for 
Milk Blossom. 

Mother, adorably beautifiil, looked like a Madonna, with her 
golden hair and her eyes fringed with such long lashes that they 
made a shadow on her cheeks when she looked down. 



CHILDHOOD ^M . 

e dtttributed money on all aides, She would liave given her 
goiAat hftir, her slender white fiogers, her üay feet, her life itaelf, 
» Order to «ive her child. And she was as sincere in her despair 
■ad her love as io her unconsciDus forgetfulness. Baron Larrey 
Rtomed to Paris, leaving my mother, Aunt Rosine, and the 
wuLuu with me. Forty-two days later, mother took back in 
tntmpb to Paris the iiurse, tbe fostei'-father, and me, and 
'M^T1*^ lu in a little hoiise at Neuilly, on the banks of the 
Snne. I bad not even a scar, it appears. My skin was i-ather 
loQ bn|;^t a pink, but that was all. My mother, happy and 
boitfui oitce more, began to travel again, leaving me in care 
t( ny aunts. 

T*o year> wer« xpeiit in the little garden at Nenilly, which 
«as füll of homble dahlias growing close together and coloured 
Ske woudcn balls. My aunts never came there. My mother 
iHcd to wikI money, bon-bons, and toys. The foster-fatberdied, 
and my nunc marricd a concierge, who used to pull open the 

Karat 65 Rue de Provence. 
Not knowing where to find my mother, and not being ablc to 
ilc, my nurse — without telling any of my friends — took me 
■ith b>^ to her new abode. ■ 

The chiuige delighted me. I was fiveyears old at the tim^fl 
■■d I nmembcr the day aa if it men yesterday. My ntme't 
abode was just over tbe doorway of the bouK, and the window 
«u framed in tbe beavy and monumental door. J^m outside 
I tboo^t it was beautiful, and I began to clap my bands od * 
mcfaing the bouie. It was towards iive o*clock in tbe eveniog, 
ia tbe month of November, wben everytbing looks grey. I was 
pat to bed, and no doubt I went to sleep at once, for there end 
■7 rcM^lectioDs of that day. 

Tbe next moming there was terrible grief in störe for me. 
llieie was no window in tbe little room in wbicb I slept, and I 
began to cry, tuid escaped from tbe arms of my nurse, who was 
drosing me, so that I could go into tbe adjoining room. I ran 
to tbe round window, wbicb was an immense " bull^s-eye " above 
the ckMRway. I presaed my stubbom brow again^t tbe glaas, uid 
\xffA to Bcicam with rage on seeing oo treea, no boz-weed, no 
leaves &lling, notbing, notbing but stone— cold, grey, ugly 
stooe — and panes of glass opposite me. ** I want to go away ! 
I fkM)\ want to stay boe ! It is oll black, black ! it is uglj [ 



r 



L 



4 SARAH BERNHARDT 

I want to see the ceiling of the street !" and I burst into tears, 
My poor nurse took me up in her arms, and, folding ine in a 
rüg, took me down into the courtyard. " Lift up your head, 
Milk Blossom, and look ! See — tbere is the ceiling of the 
street ! " 

It comforted me souiewhat to see that there was sotne sky in 
this ugly place, but my little soul was very sad. I could 
not eat, aiid I grew pale and becanie ana^mic, and should 
certainly have died of coosumptton if it had not been for 
a niere chance, a most uiiexpectcd incident. One day I was 
playing in the courtyard with a little girl, called Titine, who 
lived on the secoud Hoor, aud whose face or real name I 
cannot rccall, when I saw my nursc's husband Walking across 
the courtyard with two ladies, one of wboni was most fashion- 
ably attired. I could only see thcir backs, but the voice of 
the fashionably nttireil lady caiLscd niy heart to stop beating. 
Mv poor little body trembied with ncrvous excitement. 

"Doany of the Windows look on to the courtyai-d ? " she asked. 

" Yes, Madame, those four," he replied, pointing to four open 
ones OH the first floor. 

The lady turned to look at them, and I uttered a cry of joy. 

" Aunt Hosine! Aunt Rosine!" I exciaiined, dinging to 
tlie skirts of the pretty visitor. I buried my face in her fürs, 
stamping, «obbing, laughing, and tearing her widc lace sleeves 
in my frenzy of delight. She took me in her arms and tried to 
calni me, and t{uestioning the concierge, she stammered out to 
lier friend : " I can't undersland what it all means ! Thi» 
JB littlo Sarali ! My sister Youle'a child ! " 

The noise I raade had attracted attention, and people opened 
their windows, My aunt dccided to take refuge in the 
concierge's lodge, in ordcr to come to an explanation. My 
poor uurae told her about all that had taken place, her 
busband's death, and her second marriagc. I do not rcuiember 
what she said to excuse henelf. I clung to iiiy aunt, who was 
delictously perfumed, and I would not let go of her. She 
proroised to come the following day to fctth me, bot I did not 
want to stay any langer in that dark place. I askcd to start «t 
once with my nurse, My aunt stroked iny hair gently, and 
spokc to her frimd in n Innguage I did not undenstand. She 
tried in vaiu to explain somcthing to me ; I do not kuow what 



CHILDHOOD *l 

u ras, but I in&iste<l thnt I wanted to go away with 
Id « gcntle, teader, caresaing voice, but withou 
iStctiaa, she Said all kinds of pretty thinga, strok 
lier gtovcd hands, patted my frork, wbich was tun 
osde any amount of charming, frivolous little gi stures, 
ill «nthout any real feeling, She then went nway, at her fiiend 
ntrcftty, after emptying her purse in my nurse's handü. I rushe 
(o*afda tbe door, but tfae husband of my nurse, who had open< 
it fiir hiT, now closed it again. My nurse was crying, a 
takiag idc in her arms, she opened the window, saving to im 
" Doo't cry. Milk Blossom. Look at your pretty aunt ; she wi 
coaw bock again, and then you can go &vay with hcv." Gr^ 
tct» rolkd down her calm, round, handsome face. I could 
oothing but tbe dark, black hole wbich remained therc ii 
mutable bchind me, and in a fit of despair I nished out to m. 
■ant, »bo was just getting into a carriage. After that 1 knei 
nothiog more ; c^e^ything seemed dark, there was a noi 
in tbe dixtancc. I could bear voicca far, far away. I hat 
maitaged to escape from my poor nurse, and had fallen down i 
the paveroent in front of my aunt. I had broken my arm ui 
l»o placvs, and injured my left knee-cap. I only came to 
ny wir agxin a few bours later, to find that 1 was in a bcautifui) 
Wide bed whidi smelt very nice. It atood in the middle of 
■ taige room, with two lovely windows, wbich made me ver; 
joyful, for I could see the ceiling of the street through them. 

My mothcT, who had been sent for immediately, came to take 
an of me, and I saw the rest of my family, my aunts and my 
cDosins. My poor little brain could not understand why all these 
people should suddenly be so fond of me, wben I had passed 
Kt msny days and nigbts only cared for by one single person. 

Aa I was weakly, and my bones small and friable, I was two 
jtmn iccovering from this terrible fall, and during that time 
*aa nearly «Iways carried about I will pass over these two 
years of my Hfe, wbich have left me only a vague memory of 
bang petted and of a chronic state of torpor. 



8 SARAH BERNHARDT 

face flushed as red as a cockscorob. She asked me several 
questions, but I refused to reply. They all gathered round me. 

" Speak, child Come, Sai*ah, be a good girl Oh, the 

naughty little child ! ^ 

It was all in vain. I remained perfectly mute. The customary 
round was theu made, to the bed-rooms, the dining-hall, ihe 
class-rooms, and the usual exaggerated compliments were paid. 
" How beautifully it is all kept ! How spotlessly clean every- 
thing is ! ^ and a hundred stupidities of this kind about the 
comfort of these prisons for children. My mother went aside 
with Madame Fressard, and I clung to her knees so that she 
could not walk. " This is the doctor''8 prescription,^ she said, 
and then followed a long list of things that were to be done 
for me. 

Madame Fi'essard smiled rather ironically. ^ You know, 
Madame,^ she said to my mother, ^^ we shall not be able to curl 
her hair like that.*" 

" And you certainly will not be able to uncurl it,*" replied my 
mother, stroking my head with her gloved hands. ^^ Ifs a regulär 
wig, and they must never attempt to comb it until it has been 
well brushed. They could not possibly get the knots out other- 
wise, and it would hurt her too much. What do you give the 
children at four oVlock ? " she asked, changing the subject. 

" Oh, a slice of bread and just what the parents leave for them.*" 

" There are twelve pots of different kinds of jam,*" said my 
mother, *^ but she must have jam one day, and chocolate 
another, as she has not a good appetite, and requires change 
of food. I have brought six pounds of chocolate."^ Madame 
Fressard smiled in a good-natured but rather ironical way. 
She picked up a packet of the chocolate and looked at the 
name of the maker. 

" Ah ! from Marquis'^s ! What a spoiled little girl it is ! *" She 
patted my cheek with her white fingers, and then as her eyes 
feil on a large jar she looked surprised. " Thaf*s cold cream,^ 
said my mother. ^^ I make it myself, and I should like my little 
girFs face and hands to be rubbed with it every night when she 
goes to bed.^ 

" But ^ began Madame Fressard. 

^ Oh, ril pay double laundry expenses for the sheets,^ in- 
terrupted my mother impatiently. (Ah, my poor mother! 



i::'-.. *.' 




AT BOABJDIVe nCMQßlß • 

ifdi/dH* WKf dmte ww» ifij%ndl. mim ^ 

iBOMMit ^esiM «fc lüt» and OTitjrone fg/AenA 
«dl iBs% «iKiied har «<^ after • fTOflft 4^ «f 
«ilh dU luiiii <tf oooioiiiig wonk. «"Itwittl» 
is jiot iriiat Ae oeedi— yoall find hat 
ynn Me Iwr «gaui *— d». fte. 
Um CiCMnly wlio was very fond <tf Bie»'pieked oie iqp ki 
Ui anw «od toand me in tlw aur. 

'Taai litila dut»* lie laad; ^tlMgr «re putthig yoa into 
and jooV kava ta miad yoor lidiaTioiir 1 ^ 

i^K ai ibm dnotlon cf Madaa^e Frcward, wbo had a al^^ 
aMBlacha^ ^ Yon auMta^ do that to tte küdy, you Ium»w ! ** 

Xj aant langhad heartily^ and my nu^lier gave aiitüe stüed 
tiia «iKila ivoop went off in a x<qp]lar whirlwind 
af naffi^g dkirla aod jbiewellsy wJiilat I was takan away to the 
mgtmtmml ww to ba Inypriaoiied. 

lapoift two yaan at tUs penaiop, I was taoglit laadun^ 
wäStif^mAwmkamog, I also kamt ahniidiadnewgamas. I 
iianal te mag nmäemm and to embraider handkerdiieb for 
aiy sMirtMy. I was rdati^y happy thMre, as we always went 
wA somewhere on Thursdays and Sundays, and this gave me 
the S ensa tion of liberty. The very ground in the street seemed 
to me quite different firom the ground of the large garden 
brianging to the pension. Besides, there were little festivities 
st Madame YreBsax^^ which used to send me into raptures. 
MUe. Stella Colas, who had just made her debut at the Theätre 
ftanyais, came sometimes on Thursdays and recited poetry to 
OS. I oonld never sleep a wink the night before, and in the 
Borrnng I osed to comb my hair carefully and get ready, 
lay beart beating fast with excitement, in order to listen to 
iomething I did not understand at all, but which nevertheless 
kft me q)ell-bound. Then, too, there was quite a legend 
sttached to this pretty girl. She had flung herseif almost 
tbe borses'* feet as the Emperor was driving along, in 
to attmct bis attention and obtain the pardon of her 
bffotber, wbo bad conspired against his sovereign. 

MUe Stella Colas had a sister at Madame Fressard'^s, and this 
Qotbilde, is now the wife of M. Pierre Merlou, Under 




SARAH BERNHARDT 

Secretary of State in the Treasury Department. Stella 
slight and fair, with blue eyes that were rather hard but 
expressive, She had a deep voice, and wlien this ])ale, A'agile 
giil began to recite Athalie's Dream,it thrilled me through and 
through. How many times, seated on my child's bed, did 
I practise saying in a low voice, " Tremble, filU digne de 
moi " — I used to twist my head on my Shoulders, sweil out mj 
cbecks, and commence : 

" Tremble — trem-bk — trem-em-ble " 

But it always ended badly, and I would begin again very 
quietly, in a stifled voice, and then unconsciously speak louder ; 
and my companions, roused by the noise, were aniused at my 
attenipts, and roared witli laughter. I would then rush about 
to the right and left, giving them kicks and blows, which they 
return ed with inte res t. 

Madame Fressard's adopted daughter, Mlle. Caroline {whom 
I chaiiced to mcet a long time after, married to the celebrated 
arti&t, Yvon), woul I then appear on the scene. Angry and 
implacable, she would give us all ktuds of punishments for the 
following day, As for me, 1 used to get locked up for three 
days : that was followed by my bcing detaincd on the first day 
we were allowed out. And in addition I would receive live 
strokes with a ruler on my fingers. Ah ! those ruier strokes of 
Mlle, Caroline's ! I reproached her about them when I met her 
again twenty-five years later. She used to niake us put all 
our fingers round the thumb and hold our hands straight out 
to her, and then bang came her wide ebony ruler. She used to 
give US a uruelly hard,sharp b!ow which made the teai-s spurt to 
our eyes. I took a dislike to Mlle, Caroline, She was bcautifui, 
but with tlie kind of beauty I did not care for. She had a very 
white complexion, and very blark hair, which she wore in waved 
bandeaux. When I saw her a long time afterwards, one of my 
relatives brought her to my house and said, " I am sure you 
will not recognise this lady, and yet you know her very well." I 
waa leaning against tho large mantclpiecc in the hall, and I saw 
this tall woman, still heautifut, but rather provincial-looking, 
Coming through the first drawing-room. As she descended 
the three steps into the hall the Hght feti on her protrud- 
ing forehead, framed on each side with the hard, waved 
handeaux. 



J 



^^■L^T BOARDING SCHOO "* 

"MjuIcnioiseDe Caroline!" I exclaim(?(I, and wi rtive. 

diQdisfa movemeDt I hid my two hands behind back. 1 

•e»eT saw her again, for the gnidge I had owed her from my 
(hildbood must have been apparent under my politeness as 
kwtes^ 

A» I s«id before, I was not unhappy at Madame Fiessaixl's, 
«ad il rnnifd quite a»tunU to me ÜÜit 1 sbould «t«jr Uwte uatil 
' I *M qaHe a gnnm-np giil. ' Hj onde, Fflix Fkore, iriw 
hM cBtaedi ti» Cuthniian monatto^, bad itipaktad tlwt bk 
«ü^Hjmo&er^tttter, duMild oflentake me out He faadft 
«07 fiac coantiy place st) Nenill/, with a itrMm nnmiiig 
ttmgh Ae poond^ aad I ued to Üi fhete fiir hoori) togeUwr 
«itt HJ two eottniis, « bc^ and giri. 

- Thtm twD jean of mj Ufo pund peuelbl^» «itlioat atrjr 
etter crcnti Üiaa my tcnrrifale fita of tonper, wbieh npaet tibe 
«hole ptariBo utd atwaji left me in Sie inflnnaiy Cor two or 
tkce dsj«. Urne .ODtbnnts <d temper were like «ttacks of 

tee dqr Annt Rönne amTed raddeoly to take me amj 
■W^ilhtii. Ify Ifttber had mitten ginng (»den as to whem 
I «ae to be {daeed, «ad theae orden wen imperatiTe. Hy 
midier mts bsveHing, so she lud sent vord to tny aimt, who 
had hmried off at once, between two dances, to carry out the 
instiuctirais she had received. 

The idea that I waa to be ordered about, without any regard 
to my own wishes or inclinations, put me into an indescribable 
nge. I rolled about on the ground, uttering the most heart- 
rendinj; cries. I yelled out all kinds of reproaches, blaming 
mamma, my aunts, and Madame Fressard for not finding some 
waj to keep me with her. The strudle lasted two hours, and 
wÜle I was being dressed I escaped twice into the garden and 
attempted to climb the trees and to throw myself into the 
pond, in which there was more mud than water. 

flnally, when I waa completely exfaausted and subdued, I was 
taken off, sobbing, in my aunfs carriage. 

I stayed three days at her house, as I was so feverish that my 
Hfe was soid to be in danger. 

My &tber lued to come to my aunt Rosine's, who was then 

Unng at 6 Rue de la Chauasäe d'Äntin. He was on friendly 

- tenns witb Bonini, who lived at No. 4 in the same street. He 



SARAH BERNHARDT ^M 

often bi'ought him in, and llosaini niEule me laugh with his clever 
stories and coniic grimacea. 

My father was as " handsome as a god," and I used to look at 
him with pride. I did not know him well, aa I saw him so rarely, 
but I loved him fov his seductive voice and his slow, gentle gea- 
tures. He commanded a certain respeit, and I noticed that 
even my exuberaiit aunt calmed down in his presence. 

I had recovercd, and Dr. Monod, who was attending me, said 
that I could now be movcd without any fear of ill eft'eots. 

We had becn waiting for my mother, but she was ill at 
Haarlem. My aunt oR'ercd to at^company us if my father woaU 
take me to the convent, but he refused, and I can hear him nov 
with his gentle voice saying : 

" No ; her mother will take her to the convent. I have writtea 
to the Fam-es, and the child is to atay there a fortingbt." 

My aunt was about to pi-otest, but my fathev replied : 

" It'a quieter there, my dear Kosine, and the child needs 
tranquillity more than anylhing eise," 

I went that very eveniiig to my aunt Faure^s. I did not care 
much for her, as she was cold and affected, but I adored my 
uncle. He was so gentle and so calm, and there was an iiiBnite 
charm in his smile. His son was as turbulent as [ was myself. 
adventurous and rather hare-brained, so that we always liked 
being together. His sister, an adurable, Greuze-like girl, was 
reserved, and always afraid of soiling her f'rocks and even her 
piiiafores. The poor child married Baron Cerise.and died during 
her continenient, in the very flower of youth and beauty, because 
her tünidity, her reserve, and narrow education had made her 
refuse to see a doctor when the iutervention of a medical man 
was absolutely necessary. I was very fond of her, and her death 
was a great grief to me. At present I nevcr see the faintest n»j? 
of mooDJight withoul its evoking a pale vision of her. 

I stayed tliree weeks at my uncle's, roamiiig about with my 
Cousin and spending hours lying down dat, fishing for cray-fish 
in the little stream that ran thi-ough the park. This park was 
immense, and surrounded by a wide ditch. How niany times I 
used to have bets with my cousins tliat I would jump that 
ditch! The bet was sometimes three .sheets of paper, or five 
pios, or perhaps my two pancakes, for we used to have pancakes 
every Tueaday. And after the bet I jumped, uiore often tlian 



AT BOARDING SCHOOL = W 

Bot CiUiDg iuto the ditchandsplashin^about in the green water, 
«Tewning because I was afiaid of the frogs, and yelüng with 
lonr irficii niy cousins pretended to nish away. 

Wben I retumed to the house my aunt was always watching 
■ uiwa Jy «t the top of the stone steps for our arrivwl. What a 
'licbm I bad, and what a cold look. 

"Go upstairs and change your clothes, Mademoiselle," she 
iMnld say, "and then stay in your room. Your dinner will be 
ntt to you there without any dessert." 

Ab I paased the big glass in the hall I caGght sight of my 
Mf, looking )ike a rotten tree stump, and I saw my cousin 
■iking signs, by putting his hand to bis mouth, that he would 
hing me some dessert. 

Hia sister used to go to hia mother, who fondled her and 
■Moed to say, "Thank Heaven you are not like that litÜe 
Bthemian ! " This was ray aunt'a stinging epithet for me in 
■pmentfi of anger. I used to go up to my room with a heavy 
hvrt, thoTooghly ashamed and vexed, vowiog to myself that I 
Wdld never agnin jump the ditch, but on reaching my room I 
I wtd to find the gardener's daughter there, a big, awkward, 
■ tt r y girl, »ho used to wait on me. 

"Oh, how Comic Mademoiselle looks Üke that!" she would 
«y, laughtiig M> bcartily that I was proud of looking comic, and 
I dtdded that wben I jumped the ditch again I would get weed« 
■ad mud all over me. Wben I had undressed and washed I 
aMd to put on a flaunel gown and wait in my room utitil my 
diDDer came. Soup was sent up, and then meat, bread, and 
nter. I detested meat then, just as I do now, and threw it 
(xrt of the Window aftcr cutting off the fat, which I put on the 
na of my piate, as my sunt used to come up unexpectedly. 

** HaTG you eaten your dinner, Mademoiselle P " she would 
■ik. 

" Ye», Aunt," I replied. 

"Are you still hungry?* 

•*No, Aunt" 

'*Write out *0or Father' and the 'Creed' three times, you 
Uttk heatben." Tbis was because I had not been baptized. A 
qoBrter of an bour Ister roy uncle would come upstairs. 

" Have you had enough dinner P " be would ask. 

" Ye», Uack," I repUed, 



14 SARAH BERNHARDT ^H 

** Did jou eat your ineat P " 

" No ; I threw it out of the window. I don't like ineat" 

*' You told your aunt an untvuth, then." 

" No ; she asked me if I had eaten niy dinner, and I answered 
that 1 had, but I did not say that I had eatcn my nieat." 

" What puniKhment has ahe fjiven you ? " 

" I am to write out ' Our Fathet ' and the ' Creed ' threc 
times before (joing to bcd." 

"Do you know them by heart?" 

" No, not very well ; I make mistakes always." 

And the adorahle man would then dictate to nie " Our 
Father " and the " Creed," and I copied it in the most devoted 
way, as he used to dictate with deep feeling and emotion. He 
was religious. very religious indeed, thia uncle of mine, and 
after the death of my aunt he became a Carthusian monk. As 
I write these lines, ill and aged as he is, and bent with pain, 
I know he is digging his own grave, weak with the wcight of 
the spade, imploring God to take hini, and thinking sometimes 
of nie, of his littie Bohemian. Ah, the dear, good man, it is 
to him that I owe all that is best in mc. I love him devotedly 
and have the greatest respect for him. How many times in 
the difficult phases of my life I have thought of him and con- 
sulted his idea^, for I never saw him again, as my aunt 
quairelled puiposely with my niother and nie. He was always 
fond of me, thuugh, and ha.s told his friends to assure me of 
this. Occasionally, too, he has sent me bis advice, which has 
always been very straigbtforward and füll of iudulgence and 
common sense. 

Recently I went to the country where the Carthusians have 
taken refuge. A friend of mine went to see my uncle, and I 
wept on hearing the words he had dictated to be repeated to 
tne. 

To retum to my story. After my uncle's visit, Marie, the 
gardener's daughter, caine to my room, looking quite indifferent, 
but with her pockets stufTed with apples, bistuiti, raisios, and 
nuts. My cousin had sent me some dessert, but she, the good- 
faearted girl, had cleared all the dessert dishes. I told her to 
sit down and crack the nuts, and I would eat them wheu I had 
(inished my "Lord's Player" and "Creed," She sat down od 
thi- floor, so that she rould hide everything quickly under the 



AT BOARDING SCH( 

table iD cue my auat retumed. But my aunt >• 

ibe and her daughter used to spend th ; 
litt piano, whiUt my uncle taught bis son mathemu 

flnaJly, my tnoÜier wrote to say that she wascoming, There 

a grB^t cxcitement in my uncle's housc, and my little trunk 
■» packed in readiness. 

1^ Grand-Cbamps Convent, which I was about to enter, 
hid s fHfcMTibed uniform, and my cousin, who lovcd sewing, 
■vfctd all my things with tbe initiale S. B. in red cottoti. My 
adagave me a silver spoon, fork, aiid goblet, and these were 
•0 aMffccd 33, whicb wa« the number under which I was 
t ibere. Marie gave me a thick woollen muffler in 
■ of violet, which she had been knitting for nie in secret 
fcf wvcnl days. My aunt put round my neck a little scapulary 
«Ucb had bi-cu blessed, and when my mother and father arrivfid 
tmything was ready. 

A (arewfll dinner was given, to which two of my mothei's 
friend-s Aunt Bosine, and four othcr membera »f th« family 
•er« invited. 

f feit Tcry importuit I was neithersad nor gay, but had 
jort thi» fcriingnf impnrtance which was quite enoiigh forme. 
£xaj out ai table tolked obout me ; my imde impt strokiug 
■j Iiair> and my couran from her end of the table threw me 
kkca. Suddenly my father's musical voice made me tum 



** Listen to me, Sarah," he said. " If you are v^ry good at the 
conrcnt, I will come in four yean and fetch you away, and you 
AmlX travel with me and see some beautiful countries.^ 

" (Hl, I will he good ! " I exclaimed ; " I^ he as good as Aunt 
Beniiette!" 

This was my aunt Faure. Everybody smiled. 

AAer dinner, the weather being very fioe, we all went out to 
stroU in tbe park. My father took me with him, and talked 
to ote vei^ seriously. He told me thiags that were sad, which 
I had Derer heard before. I undeistood, although I was so 
yom^, and my eyes filled with tears. He was sitting on an 
old bencfa and I was on bis knee, with my head resting on bis 
dtooldcr. I listened to all he said and cried silently, my 
i niind disturbed by his words. Poor father! I was 
r, never to aee him again. 



m 

CONTENT LIFE 

I DiD not sleep well that night, and the foUowing morniiig 
at eight o''clock we started by diligence for Versailles. I can 
see Marie now, great big girl as she then was, in tears. All 
the members of the family were assembled at the top of the 
stone Steps. There was my little trunk, and then a wooden 
case of games which my mother had brought, and a kite that 
my cousin had made, which he gave me at the last moment, 
just as the caiTiage was starting. I can still see the large white 
house, which seemed to get smaller and smaller the farther we 
drove away from it. I stood up, with my father holding me, 
and waved his blue silk muffler which I had taken from his 
neck. After this I sat down in the carriage and feil asleep, 
only rousing up again when we were at the heavy-looking door 
of the Grand-Champs Convent. I rubbed my eyes and tried 
to collect my thoughts. I then jumped down from the 
diligence and looked curiously around me. The paving-stones 
of the street were round and small, with grass growing every- 
where. There was a wall, and then a great gateway surmounted 
by a cross, and nothing behind it, nothing whatever to be seen. 
To the left there was a house, and to the right the Satory 
barracks. Not a sound 'to be heard — ^not a footfall, not even 
an echo. 

** Oh, Mamma,^ I exclaimed, ^^ is it inside there I am to go ? 
Oh no ! I would rather go back to Madame Fressard^s ! ^ 

My mother shrugged her Shoulders and pointed to my father, 
thus explaining that she was not responsible for this step. I 
rushed to him, and he took me by the band as he rang the 
bell. The door opened, and he led me gently in, followed by 
my mother and Aunt Rosine. 



♦^^ 



comrEjrT lifb^ ir 




11» c ma t lymiA «m lugft mrI drettiy-lookii^» littt' thew were 
Uiqgi te be ün» «ad winibiri fron nAiic^ diildMal'ii fims 
cmiwi i iy «fc na M y firtiwr aaid MtteUiii^ to ihe 
ibrwac^ aad A» todc ui' into the piffloiir. Ulis 
wkme» wüh •poiMhedioWy flBdwaB dividedbruf entttMoas 
MwfcyBliii^ wJriAianthgididftlgngÜi ot the toiwn, Ibere 
wlie» eovend witib red irdvet bf the wall^ aad a fe«r 
od rnndiatn neur the gnrting; Od tht walk weie a( 
pHhttfc of Pias IX^ a (oH kngÜi OM of St Augogtiiie^ aad <^ 
dr Hom V. M j toeth duMoedt Ibr it seemed to im that I 
MMndMfcd iwdKng in tcmie book the daacription of a pr^^ 
^ itttitvMJiHtfikethia. I kolrad at m j jGrilier and my inotber» 
«dbipai te dklnvk them. I had io often beatd Uiat I wm 

aasnafek^ ttni I needed an inm band to nde me» and tiiat I 
^be dgffl inramate in a ddld^ Ifj annt Fame liad so often 
^TImA dilld wiU eome to a bad end» die has sodi niad 
ÜM^TAa.Aa <*Fiiia,pi^riBiidd^yGriedoiit,8eiaedwith 
p^Ihm^ ^I«oai?f gotopnaoflu This is a pnaon, I am siiie. I 
aMf4|PiiMd---«i^ I aai so ftil^tened 1 * 

<hi 4a atfMT dde ef the gnting a door had JQst opened, aad 
Idip|iidtoaHliHb0waaoooiii^. A little roimd» dwrt woman 
arib her appaaiame and came up to the gimting. Her bladi 
^ wae knrered as far as her mouth, so that I could scarcely see 
aojdui^ of her face. She recognised my father, .whom she had 
probably aeen before, when matters were being arranged. She 
opened a door in the grating, and we all went through to the 
otfer äde ci the room. On seeing me pale and my terrified 
c^ fall of tears, she gentiy took my band in hers and, tuming 
her back to my father, raised her veiL I then saw the sweetest 
•ad l o e i Ai c st face imaginable, with large child-like blue eyes, a 
tnm-op noee, a laughing mouth with fiill lips and beautiful, 
Strang, whito teeth. She looked so kind, so energetic, and so 
happy that I flung myself at onee into her arms. It was Mother 
St Sophie, the Superior of the Grand-Champs Convent. 

^Ah, we are friends now, you see,^ she said to my father, 
kywcring her Tdl again. What secret instinct could have told 
thb wotnan, who was not coquettish, who had no looking-glass 
and nerer troubled about beauty, that her face was fascinating 
and that her bri^t amile could enliven the gloom of the 
oonfcnt? 



f 



18 SARAH BERNHARDT 

" We will now go and see the house," fixe sücL 

We at ODce »tarted, the and my father eacb holding one of ■ 
my bandst. Two other nuns accompanied as, one of wban was 
Ute Motber Prefect, a tall, cold woman witb thin lips, and the 
othcT Sirt«- S-raphine, who was as white and supple as a spray 
of lily of the valley. We ent«red the building, and came 
firrt to the large class-room in which all the pupils meti 
on 'lliursdays at the lectures, which were nearly alway» given 
by Motber St. Sophie. Most of thetn did needlevrork all day 
long; Rome worked at tapestry, othere embroidery, and still 
othera decalcography. 

The room was vcry large, and on St. Catherine's Day and 
other holi<Uys we used to dance there. It was in this room, 
too, tliat once a year the Mother Superior gave to eacb of the 
flistern the mni which represented her annual ineoine. The walls 
were adorned witb religious engravings and with a fcw oil paint- 
ing» done hy the pupits. The place of honour, though. belonged 
to St. Auguitine. A magntficent large engraving dcpicted tha 
converoion of this saint, and oh, how often I have looked at 
that engraving. St. Augustine haa certainly caused nie very 
much emotion and greatly diaturbed mychildish heart, Mamma 
otlmircd the cleanliness of the refectory. She asked to sec wbicb 
WDuld be my seat at table, and when this was shown to her she 
objected Ntnmgly to my having tbat place- 

" No," she Boid ; "the cbild has not a strong ehest, and she 
would alway« be in n draught. I will not let her sit there." 

My fnther agreed with my mother, and insisted on a change 
being madc. It wivi thercfore decided that I sboiild sit at the 
end of the room, and the promise given was faithfully kept. 

When mamina »aw the wide staircase leading to the dormi- 
toriwi »he wua aghaat, It wajt very, very wide, and the steps 
were low and easy to moiint, biit there were so many of them 
before ono rcacbed tlie first floor. For a few seconds mamma 
hesitatcd and Htooc] there ganng at them, her arms hanging 
down in dcipair. 

"Stay down here, Youle," said my aunt, "and I will go ap." 

" No, no," replicd my mother in a sorrowful voice. " I must 
Boe wbere the cbild is to «leep— she is so delicate," 

My falber hvlped her, and indoeti almont carried her up, aad 
we then went iikto one of the immense dormitories. It was veiy 



CONVJINT LIFE 

■od) like thc dofmitory at Madame FressanTs bot 4i 
irga, and tbere was a tiled floor witbout any c 
"Oh, this is quite it]ipossible!''exclaiin«d i 
(tild cannot sleep here ; it is too co)d ; it vould kill 1 

Ute Motfa«r Superior, St. Sophie, gave mj motb« a 
ud tri«d to scMtfae her. She was pale, for her nean 'ir, 
ilnadT rery mach affecUd. ^ 

*■ Wc will put your liltle giri in this donnitorr, MadaiDe,'^ 
»id, opening a door tiiat led into a room witfa eigbt beds. 1 
Soor waa of polished wood, aad this room, adjoiniiig the in- 
finauj, waa tfae one in which delicate oi coar&Ieaccnt chUdran 
^fpL Mamma was reassured od seing this, aad we tben went 
dovn and inspected the grouods. Ther« were three woods, Üw 
" Utile Wood," tbe " Middle Wood," and tfae « Big Wood," an 
tltm there was an orcbard that stretched along as f ar a» the i 
«Kid V«. In tbU orchard was the buildtog where the p 
childrm lived, They were taoght gratis, and enry w«A tk 
helprd with the laimdry for the convent. 

Tbc sigbt of these immense wood^ «ith Swings, hammodu, 
•wi a gymnosium, delighted me, for I tbought I »hould be ahje 
U nMin about at pleaaure there. Motlter St. Sophie explained 
In 1» that the Little Wood was reserred for the older pupils, 
ud tiie MiddJe Wood for tfae little ones, whilrt tfae Big Wood 
*a> for tfae whole convent on faolidaya. Tben after telliog tu 
■Wt the collecting of the chestnats and the gatbering of the 
■ooi, Uother St. Sophie informed na that everj diild oonld 
ban I small garden, and that aometimea two or three of tbem 
W«UrgCT ooe. i 

"Oh, can I bave a gaiden oi my own?" I exclaimed — ^"a 
ptdaaU tomyselfi"' 
" Y«, one of yoor own." 

IV Mother Superior calied the gardener, P^ Larcher, the 
"aj man, witfa tfae exception of the cbaplain, who waa on tfae 
«arintitaff 

"fat Larcfaer," aaid the kind woman, ** here is a little girl 
■ho «ants a beautiful garden. find a nice place for it.'' 

"V'oy good, Reverend Motfaer," anawered the honest fellow, 
■ad 1 MW my fatber slip a coin into bis band, for wfaicfa tfae 
•n tbanked him in an embatraned way. 
It waa getting Ute, aod we faad to a^Mrate. I remembcr 



20 SARAH BERNHARDT 

quite well that I did not fed any grief, as I was thinking of 
nothlDg but m V garden. The OMiTeiit no longer aeemed to me 
like a prison, bat like paradise. I kiased my mother and my 
aimt. Papa drew me to him and held me a moment in a close 
embraoe. ^Vhen I looked at him I saw that his eyes were füll 
of tears. I did not feel at all indined to cry, and I gave him a 
hearty kiss and whispered, ^ I am going to be very, very good 
and woriL well, so that I can go with von at the end of foor 
yeais.^ I then went towards my mother, who was giving 
Mother St. Sophie the same instnictions she had given to 
Madame Fressard about cold cream, chooolate. jam, &c. &c. 
Mother St. Sophie wrote down all these instructions, and it is 
only fair to say that she carried them out aflerwards most 
scmpulously. 

When my parents had gone I feit indined to cry, but the 
Mother Superior took me by the band and, leading me to the 
Middle Wood, showed me where my garden would be. That 
was quite enough to distract my thoughts, for we found Pere 
Larcher there marking out my piece of ground in a comer of 
the wood. There was a young birch tree against the walL The 
comer was fonned by the joining of two walls, one of which 
bounded the railway line on the left bank of the river which cuta 
the Satory woods in two. The other wall was that of the 
cemetery. All the woods of the convent were part of the 
beautiful Satory forest. 

They had all. given me money, my father, my mother, and my 
aunt. I had altogether about forty or fifty francs, and I wanted 
to give all to Pere Larcher for buying seed. The Mother 
Superior smiled, and sent for the Mother Treasurer and Mother 
St. Appoline. I had to band all my money over to the former, 
with the exception of twenty sous which she left me, saying, 
^^ Whcn that is all gone, little girl, come and get some more 
from me." 

Mother St. Appoline, who taught botany, then asked me what 
kind of flowers I wanted. What kind of flowers ! ^Vhy, I wanted 
every sort that grew. She at once proceeded to give me a 
botany lesson by explaining that all flowers did not grow at the 
same season. She then asked the Mother Treasurer for some of 
my money, which she gave to Pere Larcher, telling him to buy 
me a spade, a rake, a hoe, and a watering-can, some seeds 



CONVENT LIFE 21 

lod A few plant«, the names of which she wrote down for bim. 

f wBf delighted, and I then went with Mother St. Sophie to 

tk lefectory to have dinner. On entering the immense room 

I stood still for a second, amazed and confused. More than 

a hmidred girls were assembled there, standing up for the 

benediction to be pronounced. When the Mother Superior 

Mppeäxedy every one bowed respectfuUy, and then all eyes were 

tuned on me. Mother St. Sophie took me to the seat which 

hsd been chosen for me at the end of the room, and then 

retumed to the middle of the refectory. She stood still, made 

the sign of the cross, and in an audible voice pronounced the 

benediction. As she left the room every one bowed again, 

aod I then found myself alone, quite alone, in this cage of 

little wild animals. I was seated between two little girls of 

from ten to twelve years old, both as dusky as two young 

moles. Tbey were twins from Jamaica, and their names were 

Dolores and Pepa CardaJios. They had only been in the 

conTent two months,and appeared to be as timid as I was. The 

dinner was composed of soup made of everything, and of veal 

with haricot beans. I detested soup, and I have always had 

a horror of veal. I tumed my plate over when the soup was 

handed round, but the nun who waited on us tumed it round 

a^ain and {x>ured the hot soup in, regardless of sealding me. 

*• Vou must eat your soup,*" whispered my right band neigh- 
bour« whose name was Pepa, 

•* I don't like that sort and I don^t want anv,'*'' I said aloud. 
l'he inspectress was passing by just at that moment. 

"• You must eat your soup, Mademoiselle,''^ she said. 

•* No, I don^t like that sort of soup," I answered. 

She smiled, and said in a gentle voice, " We must like 
even'thing. I shall be coming round again just now. Be 
a eood girl and take your soup.*" 

I was getting into a rage, but Dolores gave me her empty 
platc and ate up the soup for me. When the inspectress came 
round again she expressed her satisfaction. I was furious, and 
put my tongue out, and this made all the table laugh. She 
turned round, and the pupil who sat at the end of the table 
and was appointed to watch over us, because she was the eklest, 
said to her in a low voice, " Ifs the new girl making grimaces.*" 
The inspectress moved away again, and when the veal was 



k 



'SARAH BERNHARD 

cerved my portion found its way to the plate of Dolores. I 
wanted to keep the haricot bc^ans, though, and we alinost came 
to a quarrel over them. She gave way linally, but with the veal 
ahe dragged away a few beana which I tried to keep on my 
plate. 

Ad hour later we had evening prayers, and afterwards all 
went up to bed. My bed was placed against the wall, in which 
there was a niche for the statue of the Virgin Mary. A lamp 
was always kept burning in the niche, and the oil for it was 
provided by the chÜdren who had been ill and were grateful for 
their recovery. Two tiny Howei^pots were placed at the foot of 
the little statue. The pots were of terra-eotta and the flowers 
at paper. I made paper flowers very well, and I at oncc decided 
that I would make all the flowers for the Virgin Mary. I feil 
aaleep, to dream of garlandü of flowers, of haricot beans, and of 
distant countries, for the twins from Jamaica had made an Im- 
pression on my inind. 

The awakening was cruel. I was not accustotned to get up 
80 early. Daylight was scarcely visible through the opaque 
window-panes. I grunibled as I dressed, for we were allowed a 
quarter of an hour, and it always took me a good haif-hour to 
comb my hair. Sister Marie, seeing that I was not ready, came 
towards me, and befoi'e I knew what she was going to do 
snatched the comb violently out of my band. 

" Come, come," she said ; *' you must not dawdie like this." 
She then planted the comb in my mop of batr and tore out a. 
handful of it. Pain, and anger at seeing myself trcated in tbia 
way, threw me immediately into one of my iits of rage which 
always terrified those who witnessed them. I flung myself upon 
the unfortunate sister, and with fect, teeth, hands, elbuws, headi 
and indeed all my poor little body, I hitand thumped, yelling 
at the same time. All the pupils, all the sisters, and indeed 
every one, came running to see what was the matter. The 
sisters made the sign of the cross, but did not venture to 
approach me. The Mother Prefect threw some holy water over 
me to exorcise the evil spirit. Finally the Mother öuperior 
arrived on the scene. My father had told her of niy fits of wild 
fury, which were my oiily serious fault, and my state uf health was 
quite as much responsible for thein as the viotence of my dispo- 
sition. She approached me as I was still clutchiug Sister Marie, 



CONVENT LIFE 38 



«ho^ aMhooi^ tdl and ttrong» onty triad to wud off my blows 
wiäimA — f^*^"gj aadMTOiiriiv to hoU fint my ieet «ad tiben 
■fkndL 

I kokad np qo Iwaring MoUier St Sot^ue^i mioe. My eyas 
«■• Inihad m taan» bot nafqi fa a lflM I iaw sodi an ezpraaion 
«f pify an har aweat free tiiaty wifhoot ahogeUier ktting gOyl 
anad i^iting fiv« aaoond» and aU iiambling and adiamad, add 
faij i|BcUy, ^ Sha aommoioad it Sha snatchäd the comb oift 
«f ay band Bka a wkkad woman, and tore oat my bair. Sha 
aaa mii|^ and bnrt ma» Sba i» a widted, wicked womaa.** I 
tta bont JBto aob% and my bands looMd tbair boU. Thenezt 
ttiigl k na w waa tbat Hbond myidf lying on my littlobed» with 
Holber 8L Sophie'^i band oo my fordiaad and bar kind, deep 
«oiea betniiiig ma g«ntly. All tbe otibars bad gone, and I was 
fBMe alona wifb bor and tba Holy Viigin in the nidia. From 
fInt di^ fbrtb Motber SL SopUa bad an immenae infloenoe 
Evoy monung I woit to bar, and Sirter Marie» wboae 
I bad ben ofaliged to aak befoie tba wbole oonvent, 
aaabed my bair oot in bar prmenoe. Seated on a little atool, I 
irimed to tba book tbat tbe Motber Superior read to me or to 
fhe instmctiTe atory she told me. Ah, what an adorable 
womau she was, and how I love to recall her to my memory ! 

I adored her aa a child adores the being who has entirely won 

iti beert, without knowing, without reasoning, without even 

being aware tbat it was so, but I was simply under the spell of 

•a infinito fascination. Since then, however, I have understood 

•ad admired her, realising how imique and radiant a soul was 

iaipriaoned under the thick-set exterior and happy face of that 

boly woman. I have loved her ever sinoe for all that she 

Avakened within me of nobleness. I love her for the letters 

vfaidi she wrote to me, letters that I often read over and over 

•gain. I love her also because, imperfect as I am, it seems to 

mt that I sbould have been one hundred times more so had I 

aot known and loved that pure creature. 

Qnoe only did I see her severe and feit that she was suddenly 
aagiy. In the little room used as a parlour, leading intp her 
cell, tbere was a portrait of a young man, whose handsome face 
atamped with a oertain nobility. 
la tbat tbe Emperor?'' I asked her, 



24 SARAH BERNHARDT 

^^ No,''^ she answered, turning quickly towards me ; *Mt is the 
Eang ; it is Henri V/' 

It was only later on that I understood the meaning of her 
emotion« All the convent was royalist, and Henri V. was their 
recognised sovereign. They all had the most utter contempt for 
Napoleon lU., and on the day when the Prinoe Imperial was 
baptized there was no distribution of bon-bons for us, and we 
were not allowed the holiday that was accorded to all the 
Colleges, boarding-schools, and convents. Politics were a dead 
letter to me, and I was happy at the convent, thanks to Mother 
St. Sophie. 

Then, too, I was a favourite with my schoolfellows, who 
frequently did my compositions for me. I did not care for any 
studies, except geography and drawing. Arithmetic drove me 
wild, spelling plagued my life out, and I thoroughly despised 
the piano. I was very timid, and quite lost my head when 
questioned unexpectedly. 

I had a passion for animals of all kinds. I used to carry 

about with me, in small cardboard boxes or cages that 

I manufactured myself, adders, of which our woods were füll, 

crickets that I found on the leaves of the tiger lilies, and 

lia^rds. The latter nearly always had their tails broken, as, in 

Order to see if they were eating, I used to lift the lid of the box 

a little, and on seeing this the lizards rushed to the opening. 

I shut the box very quickly, red with surprise at such assuranoe, 

and crac! in a twinkling, either at right or left, there was 

nearly always a tail caught. This used to grieve me for hours, 

and whilst one of the sisters was explaining to us, by figures on 

the blackboard, the metric System, I was wondering, with my 

lizard^s tail in my band, how I could fasten it on again. I had 

some toc-marteau (death watches) in a little box, and five spiders 

in a cage that Pere Larcher had made for me with some wire 

netting. I used, very cruelly, to give flies to my spiders, and 

they, fat and well fed, would spin their webe. Very often 

during recreation a whole group of us, ten or twelve little girls, 

would stand round, with a cage on a bench or tree stump, and 

watch the wonderful work of these little creatures. If one of 

my schoolfellows cut herseif I used to go at once to her, feeling 

very proud and important: "Come at once,'' I would say, 

^^ I have some fresh spider-web, and I will wrap your fin^ 



mg hij nüf iitym MW* biigm jo«r wock Mgßäa^ jvod, «ettw 

the ipiden bonii thfiir ipiiiiiiiig cinee 




lodked itpoii as a liitle anthoriiir, and was made mnpiie 

Ümt liad to be dedded, I uaed to reoeiTe cxrdera 

§m iJMhiiHiahlin tromseanz, made of paper, for dolls. It was 

Ott caajr tUiig tcft mein thote days to make long ennine 

villi fiir tippeta and nraff, and this fiUed my little 

fiqfMkm wifh adidntion. I diarged for my irousieauWf 

auumdimg te iheir importanoe^ two pendb, üre iäe-^e-mori 

mb^ 0r m coufim ci sheets of white paper* In short, I became 

Mfeaamäitff and tiiat soAoed for my ehildtah pride. I didnot 

kam anytiiiiig» aad I laeeiTed no dktinctions. My name was 

snfy mMot Oll the hmoor Hst, and that was not as a stndious 

p^Qt bot for a comageoiis deed. I had fished a little girl out 

rflhebi|fpooL She had £edkn in whikt trying to catch fin^ 

Um pool was in the laige i»chaid, on the poor diildren^s side of 

Ihegmimds. Aa a pnmdinient for some misdeed, which I do 

Bit lanembcr, I had been sent away for two days among 

tibs poor diildren. This was supposed to be a ponishment, but 

I delighted in it. In the first place, I was looked upon by them as a 

*^Toung lady.*" Then I used to give the day pupils a few sous 

to bring me, on the sly, a little meist sugar. During recreation 

1 heard some heartrending shrieks, and, rushing to the pool 

from whence they came, I jumped into the water without 

reflecting. There was so much mud that we both sank in it. 

Tbe little girl was only four years old, and so small that she 

kept disappearing. I was over ten at that time. I do not 

know how I managed to rescue her, but I dragged her out of 

the water with her mouth, nose, ears, and eyes all filled with 

mud. I was told afterawrds that it was a long time before 

die was restored to consciousness. As for me, I was carried 

away with my teeth chattering, nervous and half fainting. 

I was Tery feverish afterwards, and M other St. Sophie herseif 

aat up with me. I overheard her words to the doctor : 

^ This child,**^ she said, ^ is one of the best we have here, 
She will be perfect when once she bas reeeived the holy 
hrism* 



2C SARAH BERNHARDT 

This Speech made such an impression on me that from that 
day forth mysticism had great hold on me. I had a very vivid 
imagination and was extremely sensitive, and the Christian 
legend took possession of me, heart and soul. The Son of God 
became the object of my worship and the Mother of the Seven 
Sorrows my ideal. 




MT DfeBOT 



Ax event, very simple ia itself, was destined to disturb 
Öloce of our sccluded life and to attach me more than ever % 
Bj convent, where I wanted to remain for ever. 

Tite Arcbbishop of Paris, Monseigneur äibour, was paying 
nrand of visiU to some of tbe commuDities, and ours was amonj 
tfat duHeD onea. The news was told us by Mother St. Alexis, 
Ütdojffne, the most aged luembcr of tbe comniunity, who was 
»0 UU, so thin, and so old that I never looked uj»on her as a 
bumsn being or as a liviDg being. It always seenied to nie as 
thoug^ *he were stulfcd, and as though slic moved hy iiiachiuery. 
Sbc frigbtened me, and I never coDsented to go neav her uattl 
■fUr her death. 

He were aU assembled in Uie iai^ room which we uaed od 
lluindayB. Motber SL Alexis, supported hy two lay sistera, 
itood on tbe little platform, and in avoice tbat sounded far, far 
of uiDoanced to us the approaching visit of Monseigneur. He 
■Mtocome on St Catberine's Day, just a fortoight after the 
tfteA of the Beverend Mother. 

Onr pesceful convent was from thenceforth like a bee-hive into 
■bich a homet had entered- Our lesson hours were curtailed, so 
tlitt ve might have time to make festoons of rosea and lilies. 
Tit «ide, tall ann-chair of carved wood was uncusbioned, so 
tbtt it might be vamished aad polished. We made lamp-bhades 
conred with crystalline. The grass was pulled up in thecourt- 
jud — and I cannot teil what was not done in bonour of 
tbii viätor. 

Two dajs afler the announcement made by Mother St. Alexis, 
the prognunme of the /ifte was communicated to us by Mother 
St St^ihie. Ülie youngest of the nuns was to read a fe« words 
pf welcome to Monieigneur. This was tbe delightful Sister 



1 



28 SARAH BERNHARDT 

Seraphine. After that Marie Buguet was to play a pianoforte 
solo by Henri Herz. Marie de Lacour was to sing a song by 
Louise Fuget, and then a little play in three scenes was to be 
given, entitled Tobii Recovermg his Eyesight. It had been 
written by Mother St. Th^rese. I have now before me the little 
manuscript, all yellow with age and tom, and I can only just 
make out the sense of it and a few of the phrases. Scene L 
Tobiases farewell to his blind father. He vows to bring back 
to him the ten talents lent to Gabael, one of his relatives. 
Scene II. Tobias, asleep on the banks of the Tigris, is being 
watched over by the Angel Raphael. Struggle with a 
monster fish which had attacked Tobias whilst he slept. When 
the fish is killed the angel advises Tobias to take its heart, its 
liver, and its gall, and to preserve these religiously. Scene III. 
Tobiases retum to his blind father. The angel teils him to rub 
the old man''s eyes with the entrails of the fish. The father*s 
eyesight is lestored, and when Tobit begs the Angel Raphael to 
accept some reward, the latter makes himself known, and, in a 
song to the glory of God, vanishes to heaven. 

The little play was read to us by Mother St. Th^rese, one 
Thursday, in the large &ssembly rooni. We were all in tears at 
the end, and Mother St. Therese was obliged to make a great 
effort in order to avoid committing, if only for a second, the sin 
of pride. 

I wondered anxiously what part I should take in this religious 
comedy, for, considering that I was now treated as a little per- 
sonage, I had no doubt that some role would be given to me. 
The very thought of it made me tremble befoi-ehand. I began 
to get quite nervous ; my hands became quite cold, my heart 
beat furiously, and my temples throbbed. I did not approach, 
but remained sulkily seated on my stool when Mother St. Th^r^ 
Said in her calm voice : 

** Young ladies, please pay attention, and listen to your 
names and the diflerent parts : 

Totnl EüOENiR Chabmel 

ToduM Amelie Plüohb 

Oobod Ren&e d'Abville 

The Ajüfid Raphael . Louise Büouet 

TMai^tmoihtr .... EüLALiE Lacroix 

ToKot'ffMter .... VlBGINIK Depaxtl," 



MY DEBÜT nr 

I ,1 Ud beert lieteDing, although pretending Dot to, uri I VM 

^^fepcfinUADiued, and furious. Mother St, ThäitettiMiwUid. 

"Her« are your manuscHpts, young ladies,* mj m MnMM'ipt ot 

Um ttttle pUy WAS Imndtd to eai-h pupil choMotoiakiBpuiin it. 

Louine Buguet was my favourite playmat^ «od I weat up to 
Ivaad a»ked her to let rae see her manuMript» wliidi I read' 
ifKr euthu:>ia»tically. 

"Yon'U maJte me rchearse, when I kaow mj pari, mmH 
JH?" At asked, and I answered, " Yes, cartvnlj.'* 

"tßtt Wv frightened I shall be ! " she saUL 

ftt hui been choseu for the angel, I suppoM^ baeaase «be was 
m pale and sweet aa a mooDbcam. She had a loft, timid nrioe, 
■d BMDctiines wc used to make her cry, u ahe was so prefcfy 
An. The tean tised to flow limpid and pesH-like tnm ba 
^if, «iMatkniing eyes. 

ghabagBii at ancc to leam herpart,aRd IwasükaariMphard^ 
i^ gaiag fivm one to another among the diosen OBCa. It had 
mBj nothiDg to do with me, but I wanted to be **im HS* "Dm 
HDtiwT Superior passed by, and as we all cortseyed to her Am 
patttid my cheek. 

-" Wk tfaoBgiit ot jou, tiUh giri," sbe nid, " bat ;oa ai« k> 
tand wben yoa an aaked anytfaing.* 

** Ob, tbat's when it is history ot arithmetic," I said. "This 
ii Dot tbe same thiDg, and I should not have been afraid." 

She smiled distnistfuUy and moved on. Therewere rehearsalg 
dming tbe nezt week. I asked to be allowed to take the part 
of the moDster, aa I wanted to have some röle in the play at any 
cort. It was decided, though, that Cesar, the convent dog, 
iboald be tbe fish monoter. 

A compedtion was opened for the fish costume. I went to 
an eodkss amount of trouble cutttng out scales from cardboard 
that I had painted, and sewing them together afterwards. I 
nade some enonnous gills, which were to be glued on to C4b&t, 
My costume waa not chosen ; it was passed over for that of a 
ttupid, big girl whose name I canoot remember. She had made 
a hnge tail of kid and a mask with big eyes and gills, but there 
were no scales, and we should have to see C^r's sha^y coat. 
I nerertfaele« turoed my attention to Louise Buguet's costume, 
aad worked at it with two of the lay sisters, Sister St Cecile and 
Siftcr St. Jeanne, wbo had charge of tbe lineu room. 



80 SARAH BERNHARDT 

At the rehearsals not a word could be extorted from the 
Angel RaphaeL She stood there stapefied on the Utile plat- 
form, tears dimming her beautiful eyes. She brought the whole 
play to a standstill, and kept appealing to me in a weeping 
▼oice. I prompted her, and, getting up, rushed to her, kissed 
her, and whispered her whole speech to her. I was b^inning 
to be " in it " myself at last 

flnally, two days before the great solemnity, there was a dress 
rehearsal. The angel looked lovely, but, immediately on entering, 
she sank down on a bench, sobbing out in an imploring voioe : 

" Oh no ; I shall never be able to do it, never ! " 

** Quite true, she never will be able to,^ sighed Mother St 
Sophie. 

Forgetting for the moment my little friend^s grief, and wild 
with joy, pride, and assurance, I ran up to the platform and 
bounded on to the form on which the Angel Raphael had sunk 
down weeping. 

** Oh, Mother, I know her part. Shall I take her place for the 
rehearsal ? ^ 

Yes, yes ! ^ exclaimed voices from all sides. 
Oh yes, you know it so well,^ said Louise Buguet, and she 
wanted to put her band on my head. 

** No, let me rehearse as I am, first,^ I answered. 

They began the second scene again, and I came in carrying a 
long branch of willow. 

"Fear nothing, Tobias,*" I commenced. " I will be your guide. 
I will remove from your path all thoms and stones. You are 
overwhelmed with fatigue. Lie down and rest, for I will watch 
over you.*" 

Whereupon Tobias, wom out, lay down by the side of a strip 
of blue muslin, about five yards of which, stretched out and 
winding about, represented the Tigris. 

I then continued with a prayer to God whilst Tobias feil 
asleep. Cesar next appeared as the Monster Fish, and the audience 
trembled with fear. C^r had been well taught by the gardener. 
P^re Larcher, and he advanced slowly from under the blue muslin. 
He was" wearing his mask, representing the head of a fish. Two 
enormous nut-shells for his eyes had been painted white, and a 
hole pierced through them, so that the dog could see. The 
mask was fastened with wire to his coUar, which also supported 






MY D"£BUT ^B 

t«o gÜU Ks large as pnlm leaves. Ccsar, snifliii ^^ t 

toorUd Bild ^ruirled, and then leaped wildly on 1 *. 

•ith hU cudg«! sie« the moDster at ono blow. T ■ , 

Iw back with hU four paws in the air, and then rolled over on 
to hü *klc. prvtending to be dead. 

Tbere was wild delight in the house, and the audiencc 
d^iped and stamped. The younger pupils stood up on their 
ttmle aod shouted, " Good CVsar! Clever Ccsar ! Oh, goo 
dog. good dcig!" The sisters, touched by the efforts of ti 
pwdian of the convent, shook their heads with emotion. 
Ai fbr nie, t qnite forgot that I was the Angel Raphae), and I 
■tooped down and atroked Ccsar affectionately. " Ah, how well 
k has «ctvd bis port ! " I .<»id, kissing bim and taking one paw 
■od tben the other in my band, wbilst the dog, motionlesü, 
emtiinied to be dcad. 

The Utile bell was ning to call us to order. I stood up again, 
■d, «coompanicd by the piano, we burst into a hymn of praise, 
■ duet to the glory of God, who had just saved Tobias from 
tkc frarful monster. 

AArr ihis the little green serge curtain was drawn, and I 

•nrrounded, petted, and praised. Mother St. Sophie came 

an to the platTorm and kissed me aß'ectioiiately. As tu 

ftiguet, ihe was now jojful again and her angelic face 



k: 



** Oh, how well yoa knew the part ! " she said, " And then, too, 
ncry one can hear what you say. Oh, thank you so much ! ^ 
Sbe kkaed me and I hu^ed her with all my might At last I 
nainit! 

Tlie third scene began. The action took place in Father 
Tofait''a hoiue. Gabael, the Angel, and young Tobias were hold- 
iag the entzails of the fish in their hands and looking at them, 
TWe Angel explained how they must be used for mbbing 
the bUod fatfaerV eye«. I feit rather sick, for I was holding in 
mj band a skate*s lirer and the heart and gizzard of a fowl. 
I had Derer touched auch things before, and every now 
and then the naurca orercame me aad the tears rose to my 

fnaHy the blind father came in, led by Tobias''s siater. 
Gabael knelt down befoie the old man and gave him the ten 
dver talenta» tdling hi^^ in a long reätal, of Tobias''« exploits in 



32 SARAH BERNHARDT 

M<Hfa>. After tim Tabiat aänaeeä, ealmal Iiit fiidwr, and 

K/Ji^niie Chmnuti mmit a griipace:. bot aficr vipb^ her ejtB 
ffcfae eicluimHJ: 

"^Icuiefc, lern««. Oh! God of gqodneas God of mavf ! 
I CM) ftce, I can Mse!** 

f^ aune fortrsrd whh ootrtreldied anos» her cjci cpen, in 
M 4^Utic attitude, and tbe vfaole fittle asRmUT, so smple- 
mitultd and loving, wept. 

All Üie acton rscept old Tobit and the Angel sank on tfacir 
krj€!«» and gave praue to God« and at tbe close of this thanks- 
giving the public, moved hy religious sentiment and disäpline 
reficaU^, Amen ! 

Tohukh» motber theo approacbed the Angel and said« ** Oh, 
noiile »iranger, take up your abode finom henoeforth with nt. 
You f»liall be our guest, our son, our brother ! ^ 

I advanced, and in a long speech of at least thirty linet 
mailc known that I was the messenger of God, that I was the 
Angel HaphaeL I then gathered up quickly the pale blue 
tarlatan, which was being conoealed for a final efiect, and veiled 
myself in cloudy tissue which was intended to simulate my 
fliglit hcavcnwards. The little green seige curtain was then 
clofM;(l on this apotheosis. 

Kinally the »olemn day arrived. 

I was HO fcveriüh with expectation that I could not sleep the 
loMt three nights. 

'Vhv. (Iri'SHJng Ik'11 was rung for us earlier than usual, bat 
I wiiH already up and trying to smooth my rebellious ludr, 
which I bniHhed with a wet brush by way of making it behave 

lH*tt<T. 

MouM'igncur was to arrive at eleven o'clock in the moming. 
Wc Ihcn'fore lunched at ten, and were then drawn up in the 
princi{>al courtyard. Only Mother St Alexis, the eldest of the 
uuns, waH in front, and Mother St. Sophie just behind her. The 
rhaplain waM a little distance away from the two Superiors. 
Then canic the other nuns, and behind them the girls, and then 
all tlie little childrcn. llic lay sisters and the servants were 
also then». Wc were all dressed in white, with the respective 
(*olouni of our various classes. 

Ulie bell rang out a peal. The laige carriage entered the 




MY DEBUT 

falt coart jard. The gute of the principal courtyard was theo 
Cpened, and Monseigiieur appeared on the csj-riage steps which 
Ike feotman lowered for him, Mother St. Alexis advaiiced and, 
bendingdovD, kissed tbeepiscopal ring. Mother St. Sophie, the 
äupcrior, who was younger, knelt down to kiss the ring. The 
dgul was then given to us, and we all knelt to receive the 
benediction of Monseigoeur. When we looked up again the big 
pie was closed, and Monseigneur had disappeared, conducted 
liyÜw Mother Superior. Mother St Alexis was exhauated, and 
nat back to her cell 

lo ohedieace to the signal given we all rose from our knees. 
Wt Uien went to the chapel, where ashort Mass was celebrated, 
■ftcT which we had an bour's recreation. 'llie concert was to 
muBvoce at hKlf'past one. The recreation hour was devoted 
to pnparing the large rooin and to getting ready to appear 
htfore Monseigneur. t wore the angel's long robe, with a blue 
aali round my w&ist and two paper wings fastened on with 
HROW blue straps that axissed over each other in front. 
Boond tny bead was a band of gold braid fastening behind- I 
kapt nombling tny " part.' for in those days we dtd not know 
the wonl röU. Feopte are inorc familiär with the stage now- 
■dajm but at the convcnt we always said "pavt," and years 
»fterward* I was surprised, the first time I played in England, 
to bau* ft joimg English girl say, " Oh, what a fine pari you 



ne Toom looked beautifiil, oh, so beautiful ! There were 
ftatnam ot green leaTe§, with paper flowers at intervals, every- 
wfacfc^ IhfOi there were little lustres htmg about with gotd 
flOid. A Wide pieoe of red velret carpet was laid down from 
tte doot to Monseigneur^ ann-chair, upon which were two 
a/kiaam of red velvet with gold fringe. 

I thoDgbt all these faorror« very fine, very beautifid ! 

TWcMwert b^an, and it aeemed to me that cverything went 
«ojwdL Moueigneor, howerer, could not help srailiug at the 
■^ of C^iar,atid it was he who led the applausewfaen the dog 
Smi. It was C^sar, in fact, who made the greatest aucceas, but 
VC wo« sevtrtbelea sent for to appear before Monseigneur 
SboiK. He was oertainly the kindest and most charming of 
[■listlt, «imI an thia occasion he gave to each of us a consecrated 



M SARAH BEKXHARDT 



Cft 



b 






«^Sfae k to k iMpdBd tksi|ni«r»idaelloÜKr 



and lf^M*«*igii*Mg tboi aid afev w«nk toeachoUierm 
a Tcrj lov miee. 

""VerrveU; if I cu^IwOlaiiiieagainfQr tlieceRBai7,'*attd 
ifae Arcfabuhop «loaiL I ms tremfalnig with emotioa and 
pride ai I kitted the old man's ring. I tboi raa away to tlia 
dormitorT and cried for a long timt^ I vas fiomid tbere later 
0O9 fast asksep from exhaostioo. 

From that da j forth I was a better diild, moie studioua and 
less violent. In mv fits of anger I «as calmed faj the me&tioii 
of MoDseigneiir Sibour s name, and reminded a£ his pioinise to 
oome for my baptism. 

Alas! I vas not destinedtohave that greatjoy. OnenHMrning 
in January, when we vere all assembled in the chapel for liassi 
I was fturprised and had a foreboding of Coming evil as I saw 
the Abbe Lethurgi go up into the pulpit before commencing the 
Mass. He was very pale, and I tumed instincti vely to look ai the 
Mother Superior. She was seated in her r^ular place. The 
alrnoner then began, in a voice broken with emotion, to teil us 
of the murdcr of Monseigneur Sibour. 

Murdered ! A thrill of horror went through us, and a hun- 
dred Htiflcd cries, forming one great sob, drowned for an instant 
the priest^s voice. Murdered ! The word seemed to sting me 
IKTHoually cven more than the others. Had I not been, for one 
inntant, the favourite of the kind old man ? It was as though the 
mtirclcrer, Verger, had Struck at me too, in my gratefiil love for 
the prulate, in my little fame, of which he had now robbed me. 
I bumt into sobs, and the organ, accompanying the prayer Uxt 
the dead, increased my gricf, which became so intense that I 
fainted. It was from tbis moment that I was taken with an 
ardeiit love for mysticism. It was fortified by the religious 
exerciscs, the dramatic eficct of our worship, and the gentle 
encouragcment, both fervent and sincere, of those who were 
vducating me. Thcy were very fond of me, and I adored tbtni 



MY DEBÜT 85 



10 tluit even now the very memory of them, fiEiscinating and 
istful as it is, thrills me with affection. 

The time appointed for my baptism drew near, and I grew 
■Mve and more excitable. My nervous attacks were more and 
Bore fiequent — fits of tears for no reason at all, and fits of 
taror without any cause. Everythiiig seemed to take stränge 
p ro porli ons as far as I was concemed. One day one of my 
little friends dropped a doli that I had lent her (for I played 
«ith dolls until I was over thirteen). I b^an to tremble all 
ofcr, as I adored that doli, which had been given to me by my 
iither. 

^YoQ haye faroken my doU^s head, you naughty girl!^ 
I exclaimed. ^^ You have hurt my father ! ^ 

I would not eat any thing afterwards, and in the night I woke 
ip in a great Perspiration, with haggard eyes, sobbing, ^ Papa 
»dcad! Papa is dead ! "^ 

Three days later my mother came. She asked to see me 
in the parlour, and, making me stand in front of her, she said, 
** My poor little girl, I have something to teil you that will 
taxbie jou great sorrow. Papa is dead.^ 

^ I know,"" I Said, ^ I know ^ ; and the expression in my eyes, 
my mother frequenüy told me afterwards, was such that she 
treoibled a long tinie for my reason. 

I was very sad and not at all well. I refused to leam 
Anything, except catechism and scripture, and I wanted to be 
a nun. 

My mother had succeeded in ananging that my two sisters 
should be baptized with me — Jeanne, who was then six years 
o!d, and Regina, who was not three, but who had been taken 
a< a boarder at the convent with the idea that her presence 
might cheer me up a little. 

I was isolated for a week before my baptism and for a week 
afterwards, as I was to be confirmed one week after the 
event, 

My mother, Aunt Rosine Berendt and Aunt Henriette 
Faure, my godfather Regis, Monsieur Meydieu, Jeanne's 
godfather, and General Polhes, Regina's godfather, the god- 
mothen» of mv two sisters and niv various cousins, all came, 
and revolutionised the convent My mother and my aunts 
were in iashionable mouming attire. Aunt Rosine had put 



86 SARAH BERNHARDT 

a spray of lilac in her bonnet, " to enliven her mouming,'' at 
she Said. It was a stränge cxpreasion, but I have certainly 
heard it since used by other pcople besides her. 

I had never before feit so far away from all these people 
who had come there on my account. I adored my mother, but 
witb a toiiching and fcwent dcsire to leave her, never to see 
her again, to sacrifice her lo God. As to the others, I did not 
see them. I was very grave aiid rather moody. A short time 
previously a mm had taken the veil at the convent, and I could 
think of nothing eise. 

This baptismal ceremony was the prelude to my dream. 
I could see myself like the novice who had just been adtnitted 
as a nun. I pictured myaelf lying down on the ground covered 
over with the heavy black cloth with its white cross, and four 
massive candlesticks placed at the four comers of the cloth, and 
1 planned to die under this cloth. How I was to do this I do 
not know. I did not think of killing niyself, as I knew that 
would be a crime. But I made up my mind to die like this, 
and my ideas yallopetl aloiii;, so that I aaw in my Imagination 
the horror of the sisters and heard the cries of the pupila, and 
was delighted at the emotion which I had caused. 

After the baptismal ceremony my mother wished to take me 
away with her. She had renteil a small house with a garden 
in the Boulevard de la Reine, at Versailles, for my holidays, and 
she had decorated it with Howei-s for Üihföe day, as she wanted 
to celebrate the baptism of her tliree children. She was very 
gently told that, as I was to hc conlirmed in a week's time, 
I was now to be isolatcd until then. My mother cried, and 
I can remember now, to my sorrow, that it did not niake me 
Bad to aee her tears, but qiiite the contrary. 

When every one had gone and I went into the little cell io 
which I had been hving for the last week and wher«in I was to 
live for another week, I feil on my knees in a state of ezalta- 
tion and offered up to God my mother'a sorrow. " You saw, 
O Lord God, that mamraa cried, and that it did not atTect 
me!** Poor child that I was, I imagined in my wild exaggera- 
tion of everything that what was expected from me was the 
renunciation of all aflection, devotion, and pity. 

The following day Mother St. Sophie lectured me genÜy 
about my wrong comprehensioa of religious duties, and she told 



MY DEBÜT 

ow tliat wben once I was condmied sbe should give me a 
fatnight'e holiday, to go and make my mother forget her 
nmw and disappointnient. 

My coafirmaüon toolc place with the same pompous 

flBvmonütl. All the pupils, dresscd in white, cairied wax 

tipen. For the whole week I had refused to eat. I was pale 

I atd had growD thinner, and my eyes looked larger from tny 

\ fapetaal tninsports, for I went to extremes in everything. 

Baron I,4rrey, who c-ame with my mother to my confirmation, 
aiktd for a month's holiday for me to recriiit, and this was 
paoted. 

Acciirdingly we started, my mother, Madame Guerard, her son 
£rn»t, my *ister Jeanne, and I, for Cauterets in the Pyreniies. 

The movement, the packing of tlie Iruiiks, parcels, and 
packagcs, the railway, the diligence, the scenery, tlie crowJs 
tnd the general dia-turbance cured me of my nerves and my 
mysticism. I clapped my hands, laughed aloud, flung myself 
CO Buunma and ncarly »tißed her with kjsses. 1 sang hymns at 
Qw top of my vuice ; I was bungry and thirsty, so I ate, drank, 
■od in a Word, lived. 



A 



THE SOLDIEB'8 SHAKO 

Cautbrets at that time was not what it is now. Tt was an 
abominable but charming litüe hole of a place, with plentjr of 
verdure, very few bouses, fiuid a great many huts belonging to 
the mountain people. There were plenty of donkeys to be 
hired, that took us up the mountains by extraordinaiy paths. 

I adore the sea and the piain, but I neithor care for mountains 
nor for forests. Mountains seem to crush me and forests to 
stifle me. I must, at any cost, have the horizon stretching out 
as far as the eye can see and skies to dream about. 

I wanted to go up the mountains, so that they should lose 
their crushing efFect. And consequently we went up always 
higher and higher. 

Mamma used to stay at home with her sweet friend, Madame 
Guerard. She used to read novels whilst Madame Gu^rard em- 
broidered. They would sit there together without speaking, 
each dreaming her own dream, seeing it fade away, and bqpn- 
ning it over again. The old servant, Marguerite, was the only 
domestic mamma had brought with her, and she used to accom- 
pany us. Gay and daring, she always knew how to make the 
men laugh with her prattle, the sense and crudeness of which I did 
not understand until much later. She was the life oi the party 
always. As she had been with us from the time we were bom, 
she was very familiär, and sometimes objectionably so ; but I 
would not let her have her own way with me, though, and I 
used to answer her back in most cutting fashion. She took her 
revenge in the evening by giving us a dish of sweets for dinner 
that I did not like. 

I began to look better for the change, and although still very 
religious, my mysticism was growing calmer. As I could not 



V 

THE SOLDIEKS SHAK'O W 



H «zist, homever, withnut a passion of sonie Und, I h tf t a io 'gtk 
H Kn foiMi of goats, and I asked mamma qoite Rrioo^ wimthat 
H I night become a goat-berd. 

H " I «oald rather you were that than a □ii]),"liieN{tyed;<Ml 
■ Ihni tbe added, " We will Ulk about it laAer an." 
P Ereijday I broaght down with me from tiw ttoOBteia anollMr 
r £ttle ktd. We had seven of thetn, v/hea taj mether iBterfend 
md put a stop to my z«al. 

IFlnallv, it was time to return to the omrent. My holid«^ 
■■» ciT«r, aj)d I was quite well agaiu. 
I w«x to go back to work oiice inore. I Kccepted the rita»- 
Um «fliig^, 4d fte gmt •■oi'priBe of nwmiDa, irlio lonA 
taMMa^ bot ^ rt ertad the aetoal mevii^ from «ne ;^aoe t» 

I w Al%^*id rt Ob Um of the vfr-puking <tf the pH«b 
^J^f^^dffcrtngited in tUnga that noved almig, crf aeeiiig 
apfa «i Ab viHagee, townt, pet^e, ead traee, which ehanged 
■■ Um «Ha I «arted to Ute wj gpite with me, txit «7 

*T«aaM«idl"Ae«wliAned. « flenn ga«ti in «tniDaaci 
{■•«MrieB*! Wkn eoidd yoa pat -Aem ? No^Bhandrad 

flbe ftidly oomented to ny taking two of ihera and a blackbird 
thkt one €tt the moontaineen had giTcn me. And so we retunied 
tothe conroit. 

I was rcceivedthere with such rincerejoy that I fett vety happ; 
Bgam immediately. I was allowed to keep my two goats there, 
■od to have them out at playtiiue. We had great fuu with 
them : they owd to batt us aud we used to butt them, and we 
laa^ied, fiöli^ed, and were very foolish. And yet I was nearly 
fenrte en at this time ; but I was very puuy and childisb. 

I itayed at the convent anotber ten montha witbout leaming 
aBything mon, The idea of becoming a nun always haunted 
■e, but I was 00 longer mystic. 

IM y godfather lookedupoa meastbegreatest dunceofachild, 
I woffced, though, duiing the holidays, and I used to have 
letKMU with Sophie Croizette, who lived near to our country 
bonse. This gave a sligbt Impetus ;to me in my studies, but it 
wu only sligbt. Sophie was Tery gay, and what we liked best 
was to go to tfae Bausenn, where her sister Pauline, who was later 



40 SARAH BERNHARDT 

on to become Madame Carcilus Diu-an, was copj'itig picture« hy 
the great masters. 

Fauline was as cold and calm as Sophie was charming 
talkative, and noisy. Pauline Croizette was beautiful, but I 
liked Sophie better- — she was raore gracious and pretty. Madame 
Croizette, their mother, always seetned sad and resigned, She 
had given up her cai-eer very early. She had been a dancer at 
the opera in St. Petersburg, and had been very mueb adored and 
flattered and spoiled. I fancy it was the birth of Sophie tbat 
had compelled her to leave the stage. Her money had then been 
injudiciously invested, and she had been ruined. She was veiy 
distingiiished-looking ; her face had a kind expression ; there was 
an inßnite melancholy about her, and people were instinctively 
drawn towards her. Mamma and she had made eacb other's 
acquaintance while Hstening to the music in the park at Ver- 
sailles, and for some time we saw a great deal of one another- 

Sophie and I had some fine games in that magnificent park. 
Oiu- greatest joy, though, was to go to Madame Masson's in the 
Ruc de la Gare. Madame Masson had a curiosity shop. Her 
daughter Ceeile was a perfect little beauty. We three used to 
delight in changing the tickets on the vases, snulT-boxes, fans, and 
jewels, and then when poor M. Masson came back with a rieh 
customer — for Masson the antiquary enjoyed a world-wide 
reputation — Sophie and I used to hi<le so that we ahould see his 
fury. Ceeile, with an innocent air, wonld be helping her mother, 
and glancing slyly at us from time to time. 

The whirt of life separatod me briisqiiely from all these people 
whom I loved, and an inddent, trivial in itself, caused me to 
leave the convent earlier than my mother wished. 

It was a.föe day, and we had two houi-s for recreation, We 
were marching in procession along the wall which skirts the 
railway on the left bank of the Seine, and aa we were burying 
my pet lizard we were chanting the " De Profundis," About 
twenty of my little playfellows were foUowing me, when suddenly 
a soldier's shako feil at my feet. 

" What's that ? " called out one of the girla. 

" A aoldier s slmko." 

" Did it come from over the wall ? " 

" Yes, yes. Listen. There's a quarret going o 

We were suddenly silent, listeaing with all our 




THE SOLDIERS SHAKO 

"DoBt be stupid! It's idiotic! lA « 



"How mat I to get mv sbako back ? " 
Tiieae wen tbe words wc overheard, and 00* m 
■Idmlj- ftppeared sstride on our wkH. Üiem v«a alirieki froa 
ÜB tmified cbildren and angr)- esclamatians bnm the diuni 
h B «wood «e were &I1 about twentj jaidi mway fimi Aa 
nll, like s gnnip of frightencM] spornim flyb^ off to lutd a 
Eule farther airay, inquisitive, and ren- madi on the «krt 

** Hmrc TOI] Seen mv shako, young ladkaP" caUed oot A« 
an/iorrtunate loldier, in a beseeching tone. 

" No, DO ! " I cried, hJding it behind loy ba^ 

** Ofa DO ! " echoed the othcr girls. »ith pealt flf langhter, and 

fa tti MMMt tf— f***'"g, nMoknt, jaering way we contütoed 

Aaal^g " Na^ HD I " nrnning backwüds all ÜK time in obedieaoe 

to tti ■faten^ «Iw^ mkd and hiddoi bdünd the tzeea, mze in • 

W« wm9 onlj a ttm yazda firam the hoge gjrmnanum. I 
dhifciA ^ twthiw at fullipeed, and readwd tibe «ide plank 
Atih» tSf ; «hn thoe I nnfastened the n^ ladder, but, aa I 
mM. Bot niae tlie woodcn ladder, by whidi I had aacended, 
ip to mm, I an&stened the rings. Tbe wood^i ladder feil 
aad Imle, making a great noise. I then stood up wickedly 
tritnnpbant on the plänk, calling out, " Here is your shako, 
bot 70a won't get it no« ! " I put it on my head and walked 
np and down, aa no one could get to me there, for I had 
pnUed op the rope ladder. I suppose my iirst idea had just 
been to haTe a little fun, but tbe girls had laughed and 
dapped, and my streagth had held out better than I had hoped, 
■o tfaat my head was turoed, and nothing could stop me then. 

Tbe young soldier was furious. He jumped down from the 
wall and nished in my direction, pushiog the girls out of hia 
vay. Ilie sistera, beside themselves, ran to the house calling 
for belp. Hie chaplain, the Motber Superior, Father I^rcher, 
aad erery one eise came ninning out. I believe the soldier 
ivore like a trooper, and it was really quite excusable. Mother 
St. Sc^thie from helow besought me to come down and to 
give up tbe shako. 

The soldier faried to get up to me by means of the trapeze 
and the gymnanum rope. 



42 SARAH BERNHARDT 

His osde» efforts ddigfated all tbe popOs» wfaoni the liste» 
had in Tain tried to send avav. Finallj the sister wlio waa 
door-keeper sounded the alarm heüj and St« minntes later the 
floldien finom the Satorj bamcks arriTed, thinking that a fire 
had broken ooL When the officer in oommand was tM wliat 
^as the matter, he sent back his men and asked to aee tiie 
Mather Superior. He was broogfat to Mother SL Sophie, 
whom he foimd under the gymnasiam, erring with shame and 
impotence. He ordered the soldier to retom immediately to 
the barracks. He obeyed after clenching his fist at me, bat on 
looking up he could not help laaghing. His shako came down 
to my eye», and was only prevented by my ean, which were 
bent over, from covering my face. 

I was furious and wildly excited with the tum my joke had 
taken. 

^Therc it is, your shako!" I calied out, and I flung it 
violently over the wall which skirted the gymnasium and 
formed the boundary to the cemetery. 

^ Oh, the young plague ! ^ muttered the officer, and then, 
apologiHing to the nuns, he saluted them and went away, 
accoinpanied by Father Larcher. 

Aft for mc, I feit like a fox with its tail cut. 

I refuHcd to come down immediately. 

^' I Hhall come down when every one has gone away,** I 
exclaimed. 

All the classcs received punishments. 

I was Icft alone. The sun had set. The silence in the 
c<*nietery terrified me. The dark trees took moumful or 
throatciiing nhapes. The moisture from the wood feil like a 
inaiillc over my Shoulders, and seemeij to get heavier every 
iiionieiit. I feit abandoned by every one, and I began to cry. 

I was angry with mysclf, with the soldier, with Mother 
8t. Sophie, with Uie pupils who had excited me by their 
lauglitiT, with the officer who had humiliated me, and with the 
sinlvr who had souiidcd the alarm bell. 

Then I l>egaii to tliink about getting down the rope ladder 
which I had pulled up on to the plank. Very clumsily, 
tnMubliiig with fear at the least sound, listeuing eagerly all the 
tim<s Mid with eyes looking to the right and left, I was an 
enormous time, and was very much afraid of unhooking the 



THE SOLDIER'S SHAKO 48 

mg^ tbaHj I managed to imroll it, aod I was jurt abooi to 
pot mr fbot oa tfae first step when the barking et Cimx 
•kmed me. He was tearing along from the wood. Hie 
^|kt of the dark shadow on the gymnasium appeared to tfae 
Uttfid dcig to bode no good. He was forioasy and b^an to 
•ostch tlie thick wooden posts. 

* Whj, Cdsar, doD^t you know yoox friend ? *" I said rery 
goitly. He growled in reply, and in a louder rcnce I aaid, 
''Fie, Cesar, bad Cdsar; you ought to be ashamed ! Faacy 
bnkiog at your friend ! ^ 

He DOW bcgan to howl, and I was seized with teiror. I 
poDed the ladder up again, and sat down at the top. C6mr lay 
down ander the gymnasium, his tail straight outyhiseani ^miJktA 
np, his ooat bristling, growling in a suUen way. I appealed to 
the Holy Viigin to help me. I prayed fervently, rowcsd to tay 
three supplementary Aves^ three Credos j and three Patern erery 
da?. 

When I was a little calmer I called out in a sabdoed roice, 

*C^sar ! my dear Cesar, my beautiful C^sar ! You know I 

am the Angel Baphael ! ^ Ah, much C^sar cared tar him. 

He oonsidered my presence, alone, at so late an liour in ttie 

girden and on the gymnasium quite incompreheninble. Why 

▼as I not in the refectory ? Poor Cesar, he wr^ut nn growHnjf, 

uid I was getting verv hungrj', and began t/j think thiu^ wen: 

fflojt unjust. It was true that I had bcen t/> blÄrne for tuking 

the soldier^s shako, but after all, he had cainmencr-rl. Why ha/J 

hethrown his shako over the wall ? Mv imainTMÜnn no* r-arne 

to my aid, and in the end I lx;gan to IfKjk tjpjn m\>*-lf an 

amartyr. I had boen left to the dog, and he would r^t me. I 

*as terrified at the dead people behind me, and everv one knew 

Iwa» very nenrous. My ehest too was delif:ate, and there I was, 

eipo^ to the biting cold n-ith no |/rot>jr:tJon whatf:rver. I 

began to think about Mother St. S<>|ihie, who rvidently no 

longer cared for me, as she was deserting me wfj cnielly. I lay 

»ith my faoe downwards on the plank, and gave myscrlf np to 

the wildest despair, calling my mother, my fathcr, anrl Mother 

St Sophie, sobbing, wishing I could die there and tlien 

Between my sobs I suddenly heard my name pronounced by a 
Toice, I got up, and, peering through the gloom, caught a 
glimpse of my beloved Mother St. Sophie. She was there, the dear 



44 SARAH BERNHARDT 

Saint, and had never left berrebellious diild. Conoealed behind 
the Statue of St. Augustine, she had been praying whilst awaitp 
ing the end of this crisis, which in her simplidty she had 
believed might prove fatal to my reason and peihapa to my 
salvation. She had sent every one away and remained there 
alone, and she too had not dined. I came down and threw 
myself, repentant and wretched, into her motherly anns. She 
did not say a word to me about the horrible inddent, bat took 
me quickly back to the convent. I was all damp with the icy 
evening dew, my cheeks were feverish, and my hands and feet 
frozen. 

I had an attack of pleurisy after this, and was twenty-thxee 
days between life and death. Mother St. Sophie never left 
me an instant. The sweet Mother blamed herseif for my 
illness, declaring as she beat her breast that she had left me 
outside too long. 

^ It's my fault ! If^s my fault ! "" she kept ezdaiming. 

My aunt Faure came to see me nearly every day. My mother 
was in Scotland, and came back by short stages. My aunt Rosine 
was at Baden-Baden, ruining the whole family with a new 
** System.^ ^^ I am coming. I am Coming,'*'* she kept saying, when 
she wrote to ask how I was. Dr. Despagne and Dr. Monod, 
who had been calied in for a consultation, did not think there was 
any hope. Baron Larrey, who was very fond of me, came often. 
He had a certain influence over me, and I willingly obeyed him. 
My mother arrived a short time before my convalescence, and 
did not leave me again. As soon as I could be moved she 
took me to Paris, promising to send me back to the convent 
when I was quite well. 

It was for ever, though, that I had left my dear convent, but 
it was not for ever that I left Mother St. Sophie. I seemed 
to take somcthing of her away with me. For a long time 
she was part of my life, and even to-day, when she has 
been ^dead for years, she haunts my mind, bringing back to 
me the simple thoughts of former days and making the simple 
ilowers of yore bloom again. 

Life for me thcn commeuced in eamest. 

The cloister life is a life for every one. There may bc 
a hundrcd or a thousand individuals thei*e, but every one lives a 
life which is the same and the only life for all. The rumour of 



THE SOLDIER'S SHAKO . 



^^HBpdv World dies anay at the hesvy doJrter gate. The 

^^PIBbHoD is to 8tng more loudly thati the othm at Tt^m^ 

I ittake s littte more of the form, to be at Öte «od <rf the taUa» 
ts be oa tfae Iht of honour. When I was ttäd that I mi not 
to go b«ck to the convent, it was to me u Iboq^ I mi to 

Ht tfannra into the sea wheD I could not swim. 

Bl beaooght mj godfather to let me go bl^ to tlw eonvcnt. 

Wbt dowry left to nie by my father was ample enoogjt for the 
aamTj of a nun. I wantcd to take the fdL '*Vay weU," 
RpliM] my godfather ; " you can take the vdl in two Jtmti^ 
tnoe. bot not before. In the meantime leam all Ihat yoD do 

iM yet knoiT (and that meaas everything) ftom the goreme« 

^■or mother bas cliosen for you.*" 

^ That very day an elderly unmarricd lodj, wfth eoft, 8*^* 
gatle eycs, came and took poss«'sslon of my lift^ mj nÜDCl, 
mi my MMeriwpe tat cight hoon vncy dMj. Hfr nanw mm 
lÜK. da 'BahtAt, «ad abe hed edocatad a gnud ducbeu 
fa Ki^L 8ho liad a nreefc vok^ an ananooos ludy 
mmi/taA»,ai jpatmpm ncw^ bot a waj of Walking, of eipic e- 
fk^immH maA cf bo^ii^ iMih nmply oomnunded defermoe. 
■JltBvBd at tiM eonnot in the Rtw VÖin Dune da Cbarapi, 
tmi 4fa «M lAy, fai ipite of my iiiotlief*8 entreaties, ihe re- 
ftaed to eome aod remain with us. 

She 1000 won my afiectton, and I leamt quite easily 
«ith her enrything that she waoted me to leam. I worked 
a^c^, (or my dieam was to retum to the coovent, not u 
a fnfäf bat u a teadiiog sister. 



VI 

THK FAMILr OOÜKCIL AND MT FIBST VISIT 

TO A TflSATRB 



AEJOSB one September moming, my heart leaping with rame 
remote joy. It was eight o'^clock. I pressed my forehead againat 
the window-panes and gazed out, looking at I know not what. I 
had been roused with a start in the midst of some fine dieam, 
and I had rushed towards the light in the hope of finding in the 
infinite space of the grey sky the luminous point that would 
explain my anxious and blissful expectation. Expectation of 
what ? I could not have answered that question then, any more 
than I can now after much reilection. I was on the eve of my 
fifteenth birthday, and I was in a state of expectation as to the 
future of my life. That particular moming seemed to me to 
be the precursor of a new era. I was not mistaken, for on that 
September day my fate was settled for me. 

Hypnotised by what was taking place in my mind, I remained 
with my forehead pressed against the window-pane, gazing 
through the halo of vapour formed by my breath at houses, 
palaces, carriages, jewels, and pearls passing along in front of 
me — oh, what a number of pearls there were! There were 
princes and kings, too ; yes, I could even see kings ! Oh ! how 
fast one^s imagination travels, and its enemy, reason, always 
allows it to roam on alone. In my fancy I proudly rejected the 
princes, I rejected the kings, refused the pearls and the palaoes, 
and declared that I was going to be a nun, for in the infinite 
grey sky I had caught a glimpse of the convent of Grand- 
Champs, of my white bed-room, and of the small lamp that 
swung to and fro above the little Virgin all decorated with 
flowers by us. The king ofiered me a throne, but I preferred 
the throne of our Mother Superior, and I entertained a vagne 



THE FAMILY COUNCIL 47 

labitioD to oocupy it some üi-off day in the distant fiiture ; the 

kii^ was heart-broken and dying of despair. Yes, man Dieu! 

I preferred to the pearls that were offered me by prinoes the 

pemrls of the roeary I was telling with my fingers; and no 

ooftume could compete in my mind with the black bar^ge veil 

tfaat feU like a soft shadow over the snowy-white cambric that 

cacirded the beloved faces at the nans of Grand-Champs. I do 

not know how long I had been dreaniing thus when I heard my 

mother^'s Toice asking our old servant Marguerite if I were 

swake. With one bound I was back in bed, and I buried my 

het imder the sheet. Mamma half opened the door very gently, 

Süd I pretended to wake up. 

^ How lazy you are to-day ! "" she said. I kissed her, and 
ered in a ooazing tone, *^ It is Thursday, and I have no 

losic Icnon.'" 

^ And are you glad ? ^ she asked. 

**Oh yes," I replied promptly. 

My mother frowned ; she adored music, and I hated the piano. 
«8 so fond of music that although she was then nearly 
tUrty, she took lessons herseif in order to encourage me to 
fneÜBt. What horriUe torture it was ! I used, very wickedly, 
to do my utmost to set my mother and my music mistress at 
▼arianoe. They were both of them as short-sighted as possible. 
When my mother had practised a new piece three or four days, 
&he kncw it by heart and played it fairly well, to the astonish- 
ment of Mlle. Clarisiie, my insufferable old teacher, who held 
the music in her hand and rea<l every note with her nose nearly 
touching the page. One day I heard, with joy, a quarre! 
b^nning between manima and this disagreeable Mlle. Ciarisse. 

*• There, that's a quaver ! ^ 

*• No, there's no quaver ! '' 

**Thisisaflat!'' 

** No, you forget the sharp ! How absurd you are, Made- 
Doiselle ! '' added my mother, perfectly furious. 

A few minutes later my mother went to her room, and Mlle. 
Clarissc departed, muttering as she Icft. 

As for me, I was choking with laughter in niy bed-room, for 
ooe of my cousins, who was a good nmsician, had helped me to 
•dd Sharps, flats, and quavcrs,and we had done it with such care 
that even a trained eye would have had diüiculty in disceming 



SARAH BERNHARDT 

Ihe fmud immediately. Aa Mlle. Ciarisse had been sent off, 1 
heid no lesson that day. Mamma gazed at nie a long time with 
her mysteiious eyes, the niost beautifui eyes I have ever seen in 
my life, and theo she said, speaking verv slowly : 

" After luncheon there is to be a family Council." 

I feit myself tuming pale. 

"All right," I answered. "What frock am I to piit on, 
Mamma p " I said this merely for the sake of saying something, 
and to keep myself from crying. 

" Put your blue silk on ; you look raore staid in that," 

Just at this momcnt niy sister Jeanne opened the door boi»- 
teroualy, and with a burst of laughter jumped on to my bed and, 
slipping uuder the sheets, calied out, " Fm there ! " 

Margueritc hod followed her into the room, panting and 
scolding. 1'he child had escaped from her just as she wasabout 
to bathe her, and had announced, " Vm going into my sister^ 
bed." 

Jeanne's mirth at this moment, which I feit was a very serioiu 
one forme, made me burst out crying and sobbing. My mother, 
not undcrstanding the reason of this grief, shrugged her Shoul- 
ders, told Marguerite to fetch Jeanne's slippers, and taking the 
little bare feet in her liands, kissed them tenderly. 

I sohbod more bitterly than ever. It was very evident that 
mamma loved my sister more than me, and this preference, 
which did not trouhle me in an ordinary way, hurt rae sorely now. 

Mamma went away quite out of patience with me. I feil 
asleep in order to forget, and was roused by Marguerite, who 
helped me to dress, as otherwise I should bave been late for 
luncheon. The guesta that day were Aunt Rosine, Mlle. de 
Brabcnder, my govemeas (a charming creature, whom I have 
always regretted), my godfather, and the Duc de Morny, a 
great friend of my godfather and of my mother. The luncheon 
was a moumful meal for me. as I was thinking all the time 
about the family Council. Mlle, de Brabender, in her gentle 
way and with her affeetionate words, insisted on my eating. 
My sister burst out laughing when she looked at me. 

" Your eyes are as little as that," she said, putting her sm&Il 
thumb on the tip of her forefinger; "and it servea you right, 
because you've been crying, and Mamma doesn't like any one to 
ay. Do you, Mamma ? " 



I • 

THE FAMILY COUNCIL 49 

''What have you been crying about?^ asked the Duc de 
Monij. I did not answer, in spite of the friendly nudge MUe. 
de Brmbender gave me with her sharp elbow. The Duc de 
Mornj always awed me a little. He was gentle and kind, but 
lie vas a great quiz. I knew, too, that he occupied a high place 
et eonrt, and that my family considered his friendship a great 



I told her that after luncheon there was to be a 
fiunily Council on her behalf,^ said my mother, speaking slowly. 
^ At times it seems to me that she is quite idiotic. She quite 
disbeartens me.^ 

^Come, come,^ exciaimed my godfather, and Aunt Rosine 
«id something in English to the Duc de Momy which made 
him smile shrewdly under his thin moustache. Mlle. die Brabender 
KoUed me in a low voice, and her scoldings were like words 
from heaven. When at last luncheon was over, mamma told 
ne, as she passed, to pour out the cofTee. M arguerite helped me 
to arrange the cups, and I went into the drawing-room. Maitre 

C y the notary from Havre, whom I detested, was already 

there. He represented the family of my father, who had died at 
Kaa in a way which had never been explained, but which seemed 
ovsterious. My childish hatrcd was instinctive, and I learnt 
later on that this man had been my father's bitter enemy. He 
was very, very ugly, this notary ; his whole face scenied to have 
moved up higher. It was as though he had been hanging by 
his hair for a long time, and his eyes, his mouth, his cheeks, and 
hi» nose luid got into the habit of trying to reach the back of 
his head. He ought to have had a joyful expression, as so many 
of his features turned up, but instead of this his face was sniooth 
and sinister-looking. He had red hair planted in his head like 
couch grass, and on his nose he wore a pair of gold-rimnied 
spectacles. Oh, the horrible man ! VVhat a torturing night- 
m&re the very memory of him is, for he was the evil genius of 
my father, and his hatred now pui-sued nie. My poor grand- 
mother, since the death of my father, never went out, but spcnt 
her tirae mouming the loss of her beloved son who had died so 
young. She had absolute faith in this man, who besides was 
the executor of mv father's will. He had the contiol of the 
monev that mv dear father had left me. I was not to receive 
it untii the day of my man'iage, but my mother was to use tlie 

D 



9 
50 SARAH BERNHARDT 

ist^»7«f:: for sj ^fr-rarMi- M j TTirte^ Fäxx FAme, wai aho 
"iu^^e. ixAZiigi zuAT 'jstt frwidcc. bund in ab ann-chair, IL 
M^j'iieri yir.rd vzz hi» ▼azdi ia. & qoemloas wmj. He was aa 
oLc: fr^Qii 'it dbe cunflj. azui hi± al vajs caUed me na JU» iriiiA . 
«ntuOTcd BK 27«&cIt. u (Ld hf:» LuniliArttT. He eonsidered ma 
fttiipüi. aiStfi vben I hajitiwi ihin kfs cotfcc he said in a jeering 
Xf*Tjfz : * Aijd it i± for joa. rcz t'I. tjiat so manj honest peopk ^ 
h&ve becn hindered in their «ork. We haTe picnty ctf otfaer 
thin^n to attend to. I can aäsore voo, than to dixosa the ftte 
of a Ixttle brat ixke toq. Ah. if it had been her sister there 
woLiId have been no ditScuIcv.*' and with his benombed fingen 
he patted Jeacne'» htsA a§ »he remained on the floor plaitnig 
the fringe of the aofa apon which he was seated. 

When the coffee had been dmnlu the cnps canied away and 
mv »ister aUo, there was a short silence. 

The Duc de Momy rose to take his leaTe, but my mother 
beggtd him to sta\. ^You will be able to adviae ns,'^ she 
urged, and the Duc took his seat again near my aunt, with 
whom it seemed to me he was carrvinir on a slifffat flirtatian. 

Mamma had moved nearer to the window, her embradeiy 
framc in front of her, and her beautifiil clear-cut profile showing 
to arlvanta^ against the light. She looked as though she had 
nothin^ to do with what was about to be discussed. 

The hideoiLs notary had risen. 

My uncle had drawn me near to him. My godfather B^[i8 
ftcemcd to l)e the exact counterpart of M. Meydieu. They both 
of thcm had the same bourgeois mind, and were equally stubbom 
and obstinate. They were both devoted to whist and good 
winc, and they both agreed that I was thin enough for a scaie- 
crow. The door opened, and a pale, dark-haired woman enteredy 
u nioHt |M>etical-looking and charming creature. It was Madame 
(lUi'rard, ^' the lady of the upstairs flat,'*^ as Marguerite always 
called her. My mother had made friends with her in rather a 
[Mitronising way certainly, but Madame Gueraid was devoted 
tci nu*, und endurcd the little slights to which she was treated 
vc*ry piitiently for my sake. She was tall and slender as a lath, 
very conipliant find demure. She lived in the flat above, and 
hfui conie down without a hat ; she was wearing an indoor gown 
of indienne with a de^ign of little brown leaves. 

M. Meydieu muttered something, I did not catch what. The 



THE FAMILY COUNCIL 51 

dboannaUe notiory made a verj cort bow to Madame Guerard. 
The Duc de Momy was very gracious, for the new-comer was so 
pcttj« My godfatber merely bent his head, as Madame Guerard 
was Bothing to him. Aunt Rosine glanced at her from head to 
IboL Mlle. de Brabender shook himds cordially with her, for 
}fmAmmm^ Guenutl was fond of me. 
My ande, Felix Faure, gave her a chair, and asked her to sit 
, and then inqnired in a kindly way about her husband, a 
with whom my micle collaborated sometimes for his 
book, <" Tlie Life of St Louis."* 

liaiwmjr fasd merely glanced across the room without raising 
her head, for Madame Guerard did not prefer my sister to me. 

*^ Well, as we have come here on account of this child,^ said 
my godfatber, looking at his watch, ^* we must b^n and discuss 
what is to be done with her/ 

I began to tremble, and drew closer to man petU Dame (as 
I had always called Madame Guerard from my infancy) and to 
MUe. de Brabender. They each took my band by way of en- 
eonragiiig me. 

** Yes,^ oontinued M. Meydieu, with a laugh ; ^^ it appears you 
vMt to be a nun.^ 
** Ah, indeed,^ said the Duc de Momy to Aunt Rosine. 
**Sh ! "" she retorted, with a laugh. Mamma sighed, and held 
her woois up close to her eyes to match them. 

*• You have to be rieh, though, to enter a convent,"*' grunted 
the Havre notary, " and you have not a sou." I leaned towards 
Mlle. de Brabender and whispered, " I have the money that 
papa lefb.*" 
The horrid man overheard. 

•* Your father left sonie money to get you married,'*' he said. 
** Well, then, TU marry the bo7i Dieu^'' I answered, and my 
voice was quite resolute now. I tumed very red, and for the 
«lecond time in my life I feit a dcsire and a streng indination to 
tight for my5ielf. I had no more fear, as every one had gone too 
£ar and provoked me too much. I slipped away from my two 
kind friends, and advanced towards the othcr group. 

^' I will be a nun, I will ! *" I exclainied. " I know that papa 
jcfl me some money so that I should be niarried, and I know 
that the nuns marry the Saviour. Mamma savs she does not 
care, it is all the same to her, so that it won't be vexing her 



52 SARAH BERNHARDT 

at all, and Ihey love me better at the convent than you do 

" My dear child," said my uncle, drawing me towards him, 
" your religious vocation appears to me to be more a wiah to 

" And to be loved," murmured Madame Gueitird in a veiy 
low voice. 

Every one glanced at mamma, who shrugged her shoulden 
lightly. It seemed to me as though the glance they all gave 
her was a reproachfui one, aiid I feit a pang of remorse at once. 
I wcnt across to her, and, throwing my aiiiis rouad her Deck, 
said : 

" You don't mind my being a mm, do you ? It won't make 
you unhappy, will it ? " 

Mamma stroked my hair, of which she was very proud. 

" Yes, it would make me unhappy. You know very well that, 
after your sistcr, I love you better thon any one eise in the 
World." 

She said this very slowly in a gentle voice. It was like tha 
sound of a little waterfall as it flows down, babbling and clear, 
from the mouiitain, dragging with it the gravel, and gradually 
increasing in volume with the thawed Gnow until it sweepa 
along rocka and trtes in its course. This was the effect my 
mother s clear drawling voice had upon me at that nioment. 
rushed back impulsively to the others, who were all speechless at 
this unexpected and spontaneous bm-st of eloquence, I went 
from one to the other,exp[aining my decision,and giving reasona 
which were certainly no reaaons at all. 1 did my utmost to get 
some one to support me in the matter. Finally the Duc de 
Momy was bored, and rose to go. 

" Do you know whatyou ought to do with this child?" he said. 
" You ought to send her to the Conservatoire," He then pattal 
my cheek, kissed my aunt's haud, and bowed to all the otben. 
As he bent over my mother's haiid I heard him say to her, "You 
would have made a bad diplomatist; but follow my advice 
and send her to the Conservatoire." 

He then took bis departure, and I gazed at evcry one in 
perfect anguish. 

The Conservatoire ! What was it ? What did it meao ? 
I weot up to my govemess, MlJe. de Brabcnder. Her lipi 



THE FAMILY COUNCIL 53 

«cre firmly presaed together, and she lookcd shocked. joit m 
ibe did sometimes when my godfather told some storr that she 
£d not approve at table. My uncle, Felix Farne, vas gazine 
at the fl<XMr in an absent-minded way ; the notanr had a ^tefbl 
look in his eyes, my aunt was holding forth in a Tcnr exdted 
■■nnrr, and M. Meydieu kept shaking his head and mnttenng, 
*Perhaps — ^yes — whoknows? — hum — hom!*' Madame Goermrd 
«aa ▼eiy pale and sad, and ahe looked at me with infinite 



What oould this Conservatoire fae? The word uttered so 
caielesBly seemed to have entirely distmrbed the eqoanimity of 
tu present- Each one of them seemed to me to have a different 
ni p r tja ion about it, bat none looked pleased. Suddenly in the 
nidst of the general embarrassment my godfather exdaimed 
bmtally : 

^She 18 too thin to make an actress.'^ 

^ I won't be an actress ! ^ I exclaimed. 

** Yoo don't know what an actress is,*" said my aunt. 

** Oh yes, I do. Rachel is an actress.'" 

** You know Rachel ?^ asked mamma, getting up. 

'^Oh yes: she came to the convent once to see little Adele 
Sirooy. She went all over the convent and into the garden, 
and she had to sit down because she could not get her breath. 
Thev fetched her something to bring her round, and she was 
50 pale« ch, so pale. I was \er\ sorry for her, and Sister 
St Appoline told me what she did was killing her, for she was 
an actress ; and so I won^t be an actress — I won^t ! *" 

I had said all this in a breath, with my cheeks on fire and my 
Toice hard. 

I remerobered all that Sister St. Appoline had told me, and 
Mother St. Sophie, too. I remembered also that when 
Rachel had gone out of the garden, looking very pale, and 
holding a lady's arm for support, a little girl had put her 
tongue out at her. I did not want people to put out their 
tongues at me when I was grown up. 

Conservatoire ! That word alarmed me. He wanted nie to 
be an actress, and he had now gone away, so that I could not talk 
things over with him. He went away smiling and tranquil, after 
caressing me in the usual friendly way. He had gone, caring 
little about the scraggy child whose future had been discussed. 



54 SARAH BERNHARDT 

^^ Send her to the Conservatoiie ! ^ 

And ihiit sentenoe, uttered cardeasly, had come like « bonb 
into my life. 

I, the dreamy child, who that moming was ready to repal» 
prinoes and kings ; I, whose tiembling fingen had thmt moraing 
told over chaplets of dreams, who only a few houn ago had 
feit my heart beating with emotion hitherto unknown to me ; 
I, who had got up expecting some great event to take p laco 
was to See everything disappear, thanks to thmt phraae as hmy 
as lead and as deadly as a bullet. 

** Send her to the Conservatoiie ! ^ 

And I divined that this phrase was to be the sign-post of my 
life. All those people had gathered together at the tunung 
of the cross roads. ^ Send her to the Conservatoire ! ^ I wa&ted 
to be a nun, and this was considered absurd, idiotic, mi- 
reasonable. ^ Send her to the Conservatoire ! ^ had opened out 
a field for discussion, the horizon of a future. My unde FdKx 
Faure and Mlle. Brabender were the only ones against this 
idea. They tried in vain to make my mother understand that 
with the 100,000 francs that my fatiier had left me I mig^t 
marry. But mother replied that I had declared I had a hoiror 
of marriage, and that I should wait until I was of age to go 
into a convent. 

" Under these conditions,'" she said, " Sarah will never havc 
her father^s money." 

" No, certainly not,*" put in the notary. 

" Then," coutinued my mother, ** she would enter the convent 
as a servant, and I will not have that ! My money is an annuity, 
so that I cannot leave anything to my children. I therefore 
want them to have a career of their own." 

My mother was now exhausted with so much talking, and lay 
back in an arm-chair. I got very much excited, and my mother 
asked me to go away. 

Mlle. de Brabender and Madame Gu^rard were arguing 
in a low voice, and I thought of the aristocratic man who had 
] ust left US. I was very angry with him, for this idea of the 
Conservatoire was his. 

Mlle. de Brabender tried to console me. Madame Gu^rard 
said that this career had its advantages. Mlle. de Brabender 
considered that the convent would have a great fascination for 



THE FAMILY COUNCIL 55 

m dmmj a nature as mine. The latter was very religious and 
a great church-goer, num peiU Dame was a pagan in the 
pmert aooeptation of that word, and yet the two women got 
OQ Tefj well together, thanks to their affectionate devotion 
tome. 

Guärard adored the proud rebelliousness of my 
my pretty face, and the slendemess of my figure ; Mlle. 
de Brabender was touched by my delicate health. She 
codeaToured to comfort me when I was jealous at not being 
lored as mach as my sister, but what she liked best about me 
my TDioe. She always declared that my voice was 
nlated for prayers, and my delight in the convent appeared 
to ber quite natural. She loved me with a gentle pious afl'ection, 
and Ifadame Guerard loved me with bursts of paganism. 
TheK two women, whose memory is still dear to me, shared me 
b e taeca them, and made the best of my good qualities and 
my faults. I certainly owe to both of them this study of 
■yself and the vision I have of myself. 

The day was destined to end in the strängest of fashions. 
M^äimwnä^ Guerard had gone back to her apartment upstairs, 
and I was lying back on a little cane arm-chair which was the 
most omamental piece of fumiture in my room. I feit very 
irowsy'j and was holding Mlle. de Brabender's band in mine, 
when the door opened and my aunt entered, followed by my 
mother. I can see them now, my aunt in her dress of puce 
silk trimmed with für, her brown velvet hat tied under her 
chin with long, wide strings, and mamma, who had taken 
off her dress and put on a white woollen dressing-gown. She 
alwavs detested keeping on her dress in the house, and I 
understood by her change of costume that every one had gone 
and that my aunt was ready to leave. I got up from my arm- 
chair, but mamma made me sit down again. 

*• Rest yourself thoroughly,'" she said, " for we are going to 
take vou to the theatre this evening, to the Fran^ais.*" I feit 
surc that this was just a bait, and I would not show any sign of 
pleasure, although in my heart I was delighted at the idea 
of going to the Fran^ais. The only theatre I knew anjthing of 
was the Robert Houdin, to which I was taken sometimes with 
mv sister, and I fancy that it was for her benefit we went, as 
I was really too old to care for that kind of performance. 



56 SARAH BERNHARDT 

^Will voa come witfa os?^ imunmii aaid, timiing to MUe. 
d6 Bnbender. 

^Willingly, 3^Iadame,'' leplied this dear Creatore. ^I will 
go home and change my dress.*" 

My aunt laugbed at my suUen looks. 

^ LJttle fraud,^ she said, as she went away ; ^'yoii are hiding 
your delight. Ah weil, you will see some actresses to-nig^t.^ 

^* Is Rachel going to act ? ^ I asked. 

** Oh no ; »he i» ilL" 

My aunt ki»ed me and went away, saying she should see me 
again later on, and my mother followed her out of the room. 
Mlle. de Brabender then hurriedly prepared to leave me. She 
ha^l to go home to dress and to say that she would not be 
in until quite late, for in her convent special permission had to 
be obtained when one wished to be out later than ten at night. 
When I was alone I swung myself backwards and forwaids in 
tny arm-chair, which, by the way, was anything but a rocking- 
chair. I began to think, and for the first time in my life 
my critical comprehension came to my aid. And so all these 
MtriotiH [x*ople had been inconvenienced, the notary fetched from 
I lavre, my unclc dragged away from working at his book, the 
old l)a(:hclor M. Meydieu disturbed in his habits and customs, 
my g(Mlfathcr kept away from the Stock Exchange, and that 
ariNtocnitic and sceptical Duc de Momy cramped up for 
Iwo liourH in the midst of our bowrgeois surroundings, and 
all to ciid in this dccision, She shcdl be taken to the theatre. I do 
nol know what part my uncle had played in this burlesque 
plan, htit I (loubt whether it was to his taste. All the same, 
I was glad to go to the theatre ; it made me feel more important. 
That morning on waking up I was quite a child, and now 
ovonts had takcn place which had transformed me into a young 
girl. I had bccn discusscd by every one, and I had expressed 
my wishes, without any result, certainly, but all the same I had 
oxp^>^wc^^ thcm, and now it was deemed necessary to humour 
nnd indulgc me in onler to win me over. They could not foroe 
luv into agreoing to what they wanted me to do. My consent 
wa« netHWsary, and I feit so joyful and so proud about it that I 
was quite touchcd and almost rcady to yield. I said to myself 
that it would be better to hold my own and let them ask 
me again. 



' THE FAMILY COUNC 

After dinner ** all squeezed into a cah, mamina, m' 
fiUher, Mlle. de Brabeoder. and I. My godfather ra&de 
preKot of M>me wbite glovps. 

Od mounting the steps at the Theatre Fran9ais I trod Ok 
A Udj's dress. She turned round and calied me a "atup' 
düld." I mov«d back hastily, and came into collisioo wi' 
a TCTT stoat old gentleman, who gave me a rough ptna 
(brwkrd. 

When once we were all installed in a box facing the stag%'. 
mamnut tuid I in the first row, with Mlle. de BrabendeV 
behtnd ine, I feit inore rea.=FSured. I «as dose against the 
partition of the box, and I could feel Mlle. de Brabender's 
fhaqi kneed through the velvet of my chair. This gave nie 
ooofideDoe, and I leancd agaJn^t the back of the chair purposely 
tu fe«I the *upport of those t»o knees. 

Wben the curtain slowly rose I thoiight I should havo 
binted. It was as though the curtain of my fntnre life were 
bong miscd. ITiese columns (Britaiitiicus was being played) 
wtre to bc my palace*, the borders above were to be my skies. 
■od tho«e boärds were to bend under my frail weight. I heard 
nothiof; of BrUarmints, for I was far, far away, at Gnind-Champ^ 
in IDT (lonnitory there. 

"Well, what do you think of if?" asked my godfather 
■hol the curtain feil. I did not anawer, and he läid his band 
« Bj kead and turned my face round towards him. I was 
aytDgt and Ing tean were rolling slowly down my cheeks, those 
tcän that come witbout any sobs and without any hope of ever 

Mj god&tim ihrugged bis Shoulders, and getting up, left 
tte hoE^ banging the door sfter him, Mamma, losing all 
ftia>re with me, j»oceeded to review the house through her 

MUcl de Brabender passed me her handkerchief, for I had 
dnpped mine and dared not pick it up. 



Tlie curtain had beeo raised for the second piece, Amphytriont 
wd I made an effort to listen, for the sake of pleasing my 
pnenMSS, who was so gentle and conciliatiag. I can only 
TtT***— ' ooe thing, and that is that Alcm^e seemed to be so 



58 SARAH BERNHARDT 

mihappy that I bunt inio loud tofai^ and thmt tlie wliole lunue, 
▼erj mudi amnwdy looked at oor box. My mother, gieaüy 
annoyed, took me oat, and Mlle. de BiBbender went with us. 
My god&ther was farioos, and mattered, ^She ought to be 
•bot up in a convent and left tboe. Good beavens, wbat a 
Uttle idiot tfae cbild isr Tbis was tbe dUmi of my artistic 



9 






vn 

MT GABBXS— FIB8T tVBBOJfB 



l I wm l ir giimii (g to tUoik, tiiMis^ of my aev ottwr. Bookt 
wre Mufc ta me firom all quartas : Badiic^ CkmeiUe, Molik% 



UdMigne, iK. I opened tiieBi« Imt, m I ^äd Bot 
finnihMrid them at all, I quickly doted tihen a()Bm» and raad 
■j EtUe La^Diitaiiie, wbJdi I ]of€d paflttooatdy • Iknewallids 
Mim, and one of ny dd^^ was to make a bet witib my god- 
Uhor ar witti IL Maydiaa» our kamed and taiaooie ftiend» 
I «nd to bat «bat ti^y wodd not laeognise all the iM» if I 
h^gM witli ^kt last iwne and wont backwaids to the fiivt on% 
anl oAm wob tiia ort« 
A fine fron ny annt arrivod one day, täÜBg my mothw that 
f IL Aobcr, wlio was tben diieetor of the Conservatoire, was 
expecting us the next day at nine in the moming. I was 
tboot to put my foot in the stimip. My mather sent me with 
Ibdame Guerard. M. Auber received us very affably, as the 
Dqc de Momy had spoken to him of me. I was very much 
impressed by him, with his refined face and white hair, his ivory 
eomplexion and magnificent black eyes, his fragile and dis- 
tinguiahed look, his melodious voice and the celebrity of his 
name. I scarcely dared answer his quesüons. He spoke to me 
▼cry gently, and told me to sit down. 
^ Yoo are very fond of the stage ? ^ he began. 
** CHl, no, Monsieur,^ I answered. 

This unezpected reply amazed him« He looked at Madame 
Goerard from under his heavy eyelids, and she at once said : 
** No, she does not caie for the stage ; but she does not want to 
many, and consequently she will have no money, as her father 
kft her a hnndred thousand francs which she can only get on 
her wedding-day« Her mother, therefore, wants her to have 



60 SARAH BERNHARDT 

some profession, for Madame Bernhardt has only an annoity, a 
fairly good one, but it is only an annuity, and so ehe will not 
be able to leave her daughters anything. On that aocount she 
wants Sarah to become independent. She would like to enter a 
convent.'' 

'^But that is not an independent career, my child/* said 
Auber slowly. " How old is she ? " he asked. 

" Fourteen and a half,"' replied Madame Gu^rard. 

" No,'' I exclaimed, " I am nearly fifteen." 

The kind old man smiled. 

"In twenty years from now," he said, "you will insist less 
upon the exact figures,'' and, evidently thinking the visit bad 
lasted long enough, he rose. 

" It appears,"" he said to Madame Guerard, " that this little 
girPs mother is very beautiful ? " 

" Oh, very beautiful,^' she replied. 

" You will please express my regret to her that I have not scen 
her, and my thanks for her having been so charmingly replaoed.^ 
He thereupon kissed Madame Gu^rard's band, and die ooloured 
slightly. This conversation remained engraved on my mind, 
I remember every word of it, every movement and every 
gesture of M. Auber'^s, for this little man, so charming and so 
gentle, held my future in bis transparent-looking band. He 
opened the door for us and, touching me on my Shoulder, said: 
" Come, courage, little girl. Believe me, you will thank your 
mother some day for driving you to it. Don't look so sad. Life 
is well worth beginning seriously, but gaily.*" 

I stammered out a few words of thanks, and just as I was 
making my exit a fine-looking woman knocked against me* 
She was heavy and extremely bustling, though, and M. Anber 
bent bis head towards me and said quietly : 

" Above all things, don't let yourself get stout like this singer. 
Stoutness is the enemy of a woman and of an artist.^ 

The man-servant was now holding the door open for us, and 
as M. Auber retumed to bis visitor I heard him say : 

" Well, most ideal of women ? " 

I went away rather astounded, and did not say a word in the 
carriage. Madame Gudrard told my mother about our interview, 
but she did not even let her finish, and only said, " Good, good ; 
thank you."*^ 



MT CAKEIja-FIRST LESSOXS 61 

Ai Um eMmadmAm ww» to take phce a monäi afler iliis 
wt» it IneuM meevaiy to prqMoe for it. My molher did not 
tawur any ttwitiicil pe^Jft. My godfiiÜMradfitedmetolemi 
ilUn^ buk MDe. de Bnbender objeetody as the fhoog^ ik 
a fittle oÜBBovCy and icAued to hdp me if I dioae tliaL 
ILlfqfAeo» ourold fiiiend, wantedme to wark at Chimine in 
U Cidf buk fett he dedand that I dendied my teeth too modi 
fcr iL It waa qnite troe that I did not inake the o open 
mw^ and did not loU tlie r snfficiently cither. He wrote a 
Sttk Dole-book Cor me» which I am copying teztnally, as my poor 
daar Goimd idigiondy kept eToytibing ooooetning me^and ahe 
Bftva^jH^ latcr on, a quantity of papen which aie naefal now. 

Um idlowing is oor odions firiend^a work : 

•Bvwf aoralBf InftMdoC d» «. ri ..«<.. • pnottte «t.« dt.« dt.^ 
to kvB to vibratai • • . 



tovOntollMr. 
4ltmmm nv9UiaitfttmBiCUUmmidmmtmim»^9 Cut $^ 

«« ils aHM<Monf^/ in ocd« to tan not to wUb Um «. 
AI Bi^ «Im goiag to btd, npeii twntj tioM : MImi «N% 4»^ ifo 



•1^ tmoty tlBMs: liirbupttUptipm,p§iap^pttap€f9,p§iU n^ 
Op« tho mootli aiaive for ihe d tnd poat for the ji." 

He gave this piece of work qaite seriously to MUe. de 
Bmbender, who quite seriously wanted me to practise it. My 
goremesB was charming, and I was very fond of her, but I could 
not help yelling with laughter when, after making me go througfa 
fhe ie de de exercise, which went fairly well, and then the trie 
gro» mij &C., she started on the Jtauciuon (sausages) ! Ah, no. 
Tbcre was a cacophony of hisses in her toothless mouth, enough 
to make all the dogs in Paris howl. And when she began with 
the INdofi, acoompanied by the plus peiU papa, I thought 
my dear govemess was losing her reason. She half closed her 
eyes, her tace was red, her moustache bristied up, she put on a 
sentcntious, hurried manner ; her mouth widened out and looked 
Uke tbe slit in a money-box, or eise it was creased up into 
a Httk ring, and she purred and hissed and chirped and fooled 
witbout ceasing. I flung myself exhausted into my wicker 
chnir, choking with lauster, and great tears poured from 
my cyea. I stamped on the floor, flung my arms out right and 



«2 SARAH BERNHARDT 

left until they were tired, and rocked myself badLwaids and 
fcMTwaids, pealing with lai^hter. 

My mother, attracted by the noise I was making, half opened 
tbe door. Mlle. de Brabender explained to her very gravely 
that she was showing me M. Meydieu'^s method« My mother 
expostulated with me, but I would not listen to anything, as 
I was nearly beside myself with laughter. She then took 
Mlle. de Brabender away and left me alone, for she feared that I 
should fimsh with hysterics. When once I was by myself I 
b^an to calm down« I dosed my eyes and thought of my 
(xmvent again. The te de de got mixed up in my enervated 
brain with the '^ Our Father,^ which I used to have to repeat 
some days fifteen or twenty times as a punishment. Finally I 
came to myself again, got up, and after bathing my face in cold 
water went to my mother, whom I found playing whist 
with my govemess and godfather. I kissed Mlle. de Brabender, 
and she retumed my kiss with such indulgent kindness that 
I feit quite embarrassed by it. 

Ten days passed by, and I did none of M. Meydieu^s exercises, 
ezcept the te de de iA, the piano. My mother came and woke 
me every moming for this, and it drove me wild. My godfather 
made me leam Arick^ but I understood nothing of what he 
told me about the verses. He considered, and explained to me, 
that poetry must be said with an intonation, and that all the 
value of it rcsided in the rhyme. His theories were boring to 
listen to and inipossible to execute. Then I could not imder- 
stand Aricie's character, for it did not seem to me that she 
loved Hippolyte at all, and she appeared to me to be a 
scheming flirt My godfather explained to nie that in olden 
times this was the way people loved each other, and when 
I remarked that Phedre appeared to love in a better way than 
that, he took me by the chin and said : '^ Just look at this 
naughty child. She is pretending not to understand, and would 
like US explain to her. . . ^ 

This was simply idiotic I did not understand, and had not 
asked anything, but this man had a bourgeoia mind, and was sly 
and lewd. He did not like me bccause I was thin, but he was 
interested in me because I was going to be an actress. That 
Word evoked for him the weak side of our art. He did not see 
the beauty, the nobleness of it, nor yet its beneficial power. 



MY CAREEB— FIRST LESSONS 68 

I oould not jEstthom all this at that time, but I did not fed at 
eaae with this man, whom I had seen trom my childhood and 
who waa almort like a fisither to me. I did not want to continue 
leaming Aride. In the first place, I could not talk about it 
with my governess, as ehe would not discuss the piece at all. 

I ihen leamt VEcole des Femmee^ and MUe. de Brabender 
explamed Agn^ to me. The dear, good lady did not see mach 
in it, for the w^iole story appeared to her of childlike sim* 
plidty, and when I said the lines, ^^He has taken from me, 
he has taken from me the ribbon you gave me,^ she smiled in 
all oonfidence when Meydieu and my godfather laughed heartily. 



i 



vni 

THE CONSERVATOIRB 

FiKALLY the examination day arrived. Every one had giyen 
me advice, but no one any real helpful counseL It had not 
occurred to any one that I ought to have had a professional to 
prepare me for my examination. I got up in the moming with 
a heavy heart and an anxious mind. My mother had had a black 
silk dress made for me. It was slightly low-necked, and was 
finished with a gathered berthe. The frock was rather short, 
and showed my drawers. These were trimmed with embroidery, 
and came down to my brown kid boots. A white guimpe 
emerged from my black bodice and was fastened round my 
throat, which was too slender. My hair was parted on my fore- 
head and then feil as it liked, for it was not held by pins or 
ribbons. I wore a large straw hat, although the season was 
rather advanced. Every one came to inspect my dress, and I 
was tumed round and round twenty times at least. I had to 
make my curtsey for every one to see. Finally I seemed to give 
general satisfaction. Mon petit Dame came downstairs, with her 
grave husband, and kissed me. She was deeply affected. Onr 
old Marguerite made me sit down, and put before me a cup of 
cold beef tea, which she had simmered so carefully for a long 
time that it was then a delicious jelly ; I swallowed it in a second« 
I was in a great hurry to start. On rising from my chair, I 
moved so brusquely that my dress caught on to an invisible 
splinter of wood, and was tom. My mother tumed to a visitor» 
who had arrived about five minutes before and had remained in 
contemplative admiration ever since. 

^^ There,^ she said to him in a vexed tone, ^^ that is a proof 
of what I told you. All your silks tear with the slightert 
movement.^ 



THE CONSERVATOIRE 65 

'^Oh Do^^ replied our Tisitor quickly ; *^ I told you that tbis 

coe wis not well dressed, and let you have it at a low price on 
ämt accoont" 

He who spoke was a young Jew, not ugly. He was a Dutch- 
mu — ihy, tenadous, but never violent. I bad known bim from 
Bjcfaildhood. His fatber, wbo was a friend of my grandfatber^s 
OD my mother's side, was a rieb tradesman and the fatber of a 
tribe of children. He gave eacb of bis sons a small sum of 
monqr, and sent them out to make tbeir fortune wbere tbey 
UkaL Jacques, the one of wbom I am speaking, came to Paris. 
He hid oommenced by selling Passover cakes, and as a boy bad 
oAcn hrooght me some of tbem to tbe convent, togetber witb 
die danities that my mother sent me. Later on. my surprise 
vat great on seeing bim ofier my motber rolls of oil-clotb such 
M 11 med for tableclotbs for early breakfast. I remember one 
of thoae doths tbe border of wbicb was formed of medallions 
icpietenting the Freneb kings. It was from tbat oil-clotb that 
I kuned my bistory best. For the last month he bad owned 
fnte an elegant Tehicle, and he sold ^^ silks tbat were not well 
ihftdL^ At present he is one of tbe leading jewellers of Paris. 

Hie slit in my dress was soon mended, and, knowing now 
Alt tbe silk was not well dressed, I treated it witb respect, 
Wdl, finally we started, Mlle. de Brabender, Madame Guerard, 
iod I, in a carriage tbat was only intended for two persons ; and 
I was glad tbat it was so small, for I was dose to two people 
»ho were fond of me, and my silk frock was spread carefully 
over thcir knees. 

When I entered tbe waiting-room that leads into the recital 
hiD of the Conservatoire, there were about fifteen young men 
•od twenty girls there. All these girls were accompanied by 
thetr mother, fatber, aunt, brother, or sister. There was an 
odour of pomade and vanilla that made me feel sick. 

When we were shown into this room I feit that every one 
wis looking at me, and I blushed to the back of my head. 
Madame Guerard drew me gently along, and I turncd to take 
Mlle. de Brabender''s band. She came shyly forward, blushing 
more and still more confused than I was. Every one looked 
ftt her, and I saw the girls nudge eacb other and nod in her 
directioo. 

One of them got suddenly up and moved across to her 

E 



L 



6« SARAH BERNHARDT 

mcther. " Oh, mercy, look at that old sight ! "^ ahe said. 
My poor govemess feit niost uncomfortablc, and I «as fiirious, 
I thoiight she was a thotisaad times nicer thaii all those (at, 
dressed-up, common-looking mothers. C«rtainly she wa« 
difTerent from othcr fieopte in her appearancc, for Mlle, de 
Brahender was wearing a salmon-coloured dres» and an Indian 
shawl, drawn tightly across her Shoulders and fastened with a 
very Sarge cameo brooch. Her bonnet was trimaied with 
ruches, so close together that it looked like a nun'a head-gear. 
She certainly was not at all like these dreadful people in whose 
societv we found ourselves, and among whom there were not 
more than ten esceptions. The young men were standlng in 
compact groups near the Windows, They were laugbing ftßd, 
I expect, making remarks in doubtüil taste. 

The door opened and a girl with a red face, and a young 
man perfectly scarlet, canie back after acting their scene. They 
each went to their respective friends and then chattered away, 

I Unding fault with each other. A name was calied out: 

Mlle. Dica Petit, and I saw a tall, fair, distinguished-Iooking 
girl move forward withoiit any enibarrassment. She stopped 
on her way to kiss a pretty woman, stout, with a pink and white 
complexion, and very rauch dressed up. 

" Don't be airaid, tnother dear," she said, and then she added 
a few words in Dutch befure disappearing, followed by a young 
man and a very thin girl who were to perform with her, 

Thia was explaiued to me by Leautaud, who called o««" the 
names of the pupils and took down the names of those who were 
up to pass their examination and those who were to act with 
them and give them the ciies. I knew notliing of all thi«, tuid 
wondered who was to give me the cues for Agaös, He 
mentioned several young men, biit I interrupted him. 

^ " Oh no," I said ; " I will not a^k any one. I do not know 

k> any of them, and I will not ask." 

) "Well, then, what will you recite, Mademoiscile ? " asked 

► L^utaud, with the mo^tfouchtre accent possible. 

1"! will recite a fable," I replied. 
He burst out laiiglnng a» he wrote down my name and the 
title, Dmx P^oh*. which I gave him, I heard him still laugh- 
ing under his heavy moustache as he continued his round. He 
then went back into the Conservatoire, and I began to get 



J 



THE CONSERVATOIRE 

noMh with crciU-ment, so much so that Madame Guerard wa» 

maäooM about me. as my health unfortunately was verv dciicate. 

Sk made me sit down, and tlieQ she put a few drops of eau-de- 

Oriof^ behind my ears. 
"Then. that will teach you to wink like that!" were the 

«■b I laddjenly beard, and a girl with the prettiest face 

^■l^llle had her ears boxed soundly. Nathalie Mauvoy's 
■lÄv «M currecting her daughter. I sprang up, tremMing 
in& fr^t und Indignation ; I was aa ai^_y rs a yfxaag . 

[tolEjr-aML I wanted to go and Iwx tiie hocfible wohwb'*' 
a ictufB, anl tbcn to kiM tiie pretty giri who had bera 

[Mted in tliH waj, bot I was faeld bade final; bj m; two 



Uea Petit now tetaraed, and thia catind a diverrioa ia the 
Mäm^ miiai She waa mdiaat and qnita aatiifted with hend£ 
lO^mywdl Mtiafied ndeedt Her fiithsr bdd out a litU* 
; lak to hs im whidi waa some kind nX cordial, and I ahoold 
; Ibk Qked aoiae of it too, tot my mooth was dt7 and buming. 
HETBoHia' theo put a little wooDen aqnare or«r her chöt 
Wr firtTr'"g her ooat ftv her, and then all three of then 
«at away. SererU othv girli and young men were calied 
hfae My tarn oame. 

Yami,\j the call of my came made me jump as a sardine 
dod wböi punued by a big fish. I tosaed ny faead to sbake 
■Tfaair back, and mon petit Dame stroked mybodly dressed silk. 
MUc de habender teminded me about the o and the o, 
tfe r, the p, and the t, and I then went alone into the hall. 
I had nerer been alone an hour in my life. As a little child I 
wu always dinging to the skirts of my nune ; at the convent I 
«M alway« with one of my friends or oiie of the sisters ; at 
booie either with Mlle. de Brabender or Madame Guerard, or if 
tlwy were Dot there in the kitchen with Marguerite. And now 
thm I wa> alcme in that stnuge-looking room, with a platform 
>t the endf a large table in the niddle, and, seated round this 
tifale, men who either grumbled, growled, or jeered. "niere was 
aly oae wootan present, and she had a loud voice. She was 
Uding an eyeglass, and as I entered she dropped it uid 
boked at me throngh her opera-glass. I feit every one's gaze 
« ay back aa I dimbed up the few steps on to the platform. 
T^wiagd iHot fbrwani and whiapered, "Make yonr bow ^A 



68 SARAH BERNHARDT 



oommence, and theo stop wben the chaimian rings.*** I looked 
at the chairman, and saw that it was M. Anber. I had for- 
gotten that he was director of the G>nsenratoire, just as I 
had forgotten everjthing eise. I at once made my bow and 
b^an: 

X'«» d'eux ^enMMffamt . . . 

A low, gnimbling sound was heard, and then a ^ ventriloquist ^ 
muttered, **• It isn'^t an elocution class here. What an idea to 
come here reciting fables ! "^ 

It was Beauvallet, the deafening tragedian of the Comddie 
Franfaise. I stopped short, my heart beating wildly. 

^ Go on, my child,^ said a man with silveiy hair. This was 
Provost. 

^ Yes, it won'^t be as long as a scene from a play,^ exdaimed 
Augustine Brohan, the one woman present. 

I b^an again : 

Deux frigeam ^aimaitnt d'awumr tendre, 
L'um d'eux s'emwyaiU au logii 
Ful asuz . . . 

^ Louder, my child, louder,^ said a little man with curly white 
hair, in a kindly tone. This was Samsou. 

I stopped again, confused and frightened, seized suddenly 
with such a foolish fit of ner\'ousness that I could have shouted 
or howled. Samson saw this, and said to me, ^ Come, come ; we 
are not ogres ! ^ He had just been talking in a low voice with 
Auber. 

" Come now, begin again,^ he said, " and speak up."** 

^^ Ah no,*" put in Augustine Brohan, *^ if she is to begin again 
it will be longer than a scene ! ^ This speech made all the table 
laugh, and that gave me time to recover myself. I thougfat all 
these people unkind to laugh like this at the expense of a poor 
little trembling creature who had been delivered over to them, 
bound band and foot. 

I feit, without exactly defining it, a slight contempt for these 
pitiless judges. Since then I have very often thought of that 
trial of mine, and I have come to the conclusion that individuals 
who are kind, intelligent, and compassionate become less estim- 
aU^ when they are together. The feeling of personal irrespon- 



THE COHrSERVATOIRE 69 

abOity arouses their evil instincts, and the fear of ridicule chases 
awmy their good ones. 

When I had reoovered my will power I began my fable again, 
detemiiiied not to mind what happened. Äfy voice was more 
liquid OD aocount of the emotion, and the desire to make 
■iTielf heaid caused it to be more resonant. 

There was silence, and before I had finished my fable the 
Kttle bell rang. I bowed and came down the few steps from 
the platform, thoroughly exhausted. M. Auber stopped me as 
I was passing by the table. 

"Well, little girl,'' he said, "that was very good indeed. 
IL Provost and M. Beauvallet both want you in their class.*" 

I recoiled slightly when he told me which was M . Beauvallet, 
&r he was the *^ ventriloquist ''^ who had given me such a 
ingfat 

** Well, which of these two gentlemen should you prefer ? ^ he 
itked 
I did not utter a word, but pointed to M. Provost 
**niat^s all right Get your handkerchief out, my poor 
Beauvallet, and I shall entrust this child to you, my dear 
iVoTosL'' 

I onderstood, and, wild with joy, I exclaimed, "Then I 
hare passed ? ^ 

" Ves, you have passed ; and there is only one thing I regret, 
tnd that is that such a pretty voice should not be for music.''' 

I did not hear anything eise, for I was beside myself with 
joy. I did not stay to thank any one, but bounded to the 
door. 

^Jfonpetit Dame ! Madenioiselle, I have passed ["^ I exclaimed, 
and when they shook hands and asked me no end of questions I 
could only reply, " Oh, it's quite true. I have passed, I have 
passed ! ^ 

l was surrounded and questioned. 

** How do you know that you have passed ? No one knows 
beforehand.'" 

** Yes, yes ; I know, though. Monsieur Auber told me. I 
am to go into Monsieur Provos^s class. Monsieur Beauvallet 
vanted me, but his voice is too loud for me ! ^ 

A disagreeable girl exclaimed, " Can't you stop that? And 
IG they all want you ! ^ A pretty girl, who was too dark. 



70 SARAH BERNHARDT 

though, for my taste, came nearer and asked me gNitly what I 
had recited. 

""The fable of the <Two Pigeons,'^ I replied. 

She was surprised, and so was every one ; while, as far me^ 
I was wildly delighted to surprise them alL I toased my hat 
on my head, shook my frock out, and, dragghig my two friends 
along, ran away dancing. Tbey wanted to take me to the 
confectioner^s to have something, but I lefiised. We got into a 
cab, and I should have liked to push that cab along myseUl 
I fancied I saw the words, ^^ I have passed,"" written up over all 
the shops. 

When, on accomit of the crowded streets, the cab had to 
stop, it seemed to me that the people stared at me, and I 
caught myself tossing my head, as though telling them all that 
it was quite true I had passed my examination. I never 
thought any more about liie convent, and only experieneed 
a feeling of pride at having succeeded in my first venturesome 
enterprise. Venturesome, but the suocess had only depended 
on me. It seemed to me as though the cabman would never 
arrive at 265 Rue St. Honore. I kept putting my head oat 
of the window, and saying, " Faster, cabby, faster, please ! ^ 

At last we reached the house, and I sprang out of the cab 
and hurried along to teil the good news to my mother. On the 
way I was stopped by the daughter of the hall-porter. She 
was a corset-maker, and worked in a little room on the top 
floor of the house which was opposite our dining-room, where 
I used to do my lessons with my govemess, so that I could not 
help seeing her ruddy, wide-awake face constantly, I had 
never spoken to her, but I knew who she was. 

^^ Well, Mademoiselle Sarah, are you satisfiedP^shecalled out. 

^' Oh yes, I have passed,^^ I answered, and I could not resist 
stopping a minute in order to enjoy the astonishment of the 
hall-porter family. I then hurried on, but on reaching the 
courtyard came to a dead stand, anger and grief taking 
possession of nie, for there I beheld my petU damcy her two 
hands forming a trumpet, her head thrown back, shouting to my 
mother, who was leaning out of the window, ^' Yes, yes ; she 
has passed ! ^ 

I gave her a thump with my clenched hand and began to ciy 
with rage, for I had prepared a little story for my mother. 



THE CONSERVATOIH 



^^^^Hnp irith tlic joyfui surprise. I had intended puttit i 

^PPHR^^ uji luok Oll arriving at the door, and pretcnding Injj 

I Dt broitcn-hearted and asliaraed. I feit eure shc would say, 

"Uh, I am not surprised, lay poor child, you are so foolish ! " 

•ad ÜKti I should tave thrown my arnis round her neck and 

I tüit " It isn't tnic, it ian't truc ; I have pa^aed ! "" I had 

to inyself her face brighteniug up, and then otd 

rite and vay godfatber laugbing beartily and ray äisters 

; wilb joy, and bere wa« Madame Gutirard souuding ber 

büßtet and spoiling all the cftects that I bad prepared so well. 

Inustsay tbat tlie kind woman continued os long as she 

Üiod, tbat is the greater part of my life, to spuil all my effects. 

It <mn* all in vain that I made ßcenes ; she could not help 

Ivnelf. Whcnever I related an adventure and wanted it to be 

fsj eSccUve, she would invariably burst into fits of laugbter 

bfim tbe end of it. If I toid a ^tory witb a very lamentable 

odiiigt whicb was to be a surpri^, she would sigb, roll her 

qKa, and murmur, "Uh dear, oh dear ! " so that I always 

ÜHsd the elfect I was counting on. All this used to 

cxaspecate me to such a degree that betöre beginning a story 

or a gamc* I used to ask her to go out of the room, and she 

«oold ^t up and gOj laughing at the idea of the blunder 

A)e would mäke if there. 

Abuwng Gu^Fud, I went upstairs to my motber, wbom I found 
at the open dtxir. She kiased me aßectionately, and oo seeing 
Bj mlky &ce asked if I was not satisfied. 

** Ves," I rq>lied; "but I am furious witb Guerard. £e nice, 
■amma, and pretend you don't know. Shut the door, and I 
will riog-^ 

She did tbia, and I rang the bell. Marguerite opened the 
door, and my motJber came and pretended to be astonisbed. My 
Rfteta, too, arrived, and my godfatber and my aunt When I 
fciwed m; mother, exclaiming, *' I bave passed!" every one shouted 
wiüi joy, and I was gay again. I had made my eßect, anyhow. 
It was "tbe career" taking poesession of me unawares. My 
ütcr R^pna, wbom tbe sisters would not have in the conveot, 
and so had sent home, began to dance a jig. She bad leamt 
thia in the country when she had been put out to nurse, and 
opon erery occasion she danced it, 6nisbiDg always with this 



72 SARAH BERNHARDT 

Mon p'tü venir^ äjouü toi 

Tout ee te gogn* ett fou* toi . . . 

Nothing could be more comic than this chubby child, with 
her serious air. R^na never laughed, and only a suspicion of 
a smile ever played over her thin lips and her mouth, which 
was too small. Nothing could be more comic than to see her, 
looking grave and rough, dancing the jig. 

She was fimnier than ever that day, as she was exdted by the 
general joy. She was four years old, and nothing ever embar- 
rassed her. She was both timid and bold. She detested society 
and people generally, and when she was made to go into the 
dining-room she embarrassed people by her crade remarks, which 
were most odd, by her rough answers, and her kicks and blows. 
She was a terrible child, with silvery hair, dark complezion, Uue 
eyes, too large for her face, and thick lashes which made a shadow 
on her cheeks when she lowered the lids and joined her eyebrows 
when her eyes were open. She would be four or five houn 
sometimes without uttering a word, without answering any 
question she was asked, and then she would jump up from her 
little chair, begin to sing as loud as she could, and danoe the 
jig. On this day she was in a good temper, for she kissed me 
affectionately and opened her thin lips to smile. My sister 
Jeanne kissed me and made me teil her about my examination. 
My godfather gave me a hundred francs, and Meydieu, who 
had just arrived to find out the result, promised to take me the 
next day to Barbedienne's to choose a clock for my room, as that 
was one of my dreams. 



f 

i 



A lUBBUOB PBOPOfiAL AKD SXAMIKATIOKft- 

TBB CX>irUBTATOIBB 

Mm wiiiüuu todk pfaM in me from fhat day. F<»r xatlier 
•Jag liMt sy tmd iwiaiiied duIdJ]^ 
llkMVi dBittMify. lAHtheneedofcxeatii^apenoiiaUtyf« 
, ^gtit Ikit VW tiw fint awftkmi^g of niy wilL Iwantedto 
iß.mmm €Mu lllla de Bmbeodear dedaxed to me thet Üus 
«ifvUiL it teiBiBd io me thet it was not qmte that, bot 
\imit aot tiim define wliak the Mutiment was whidi impoied 
ifraUiaBme. I did not midefsiand untU a finr months later 
«% I «iAad to be eome one. 

4 ftiwiJ et my godfirtber^s made me an offinr of mamage. 
lÜiiaan was arich tamier and irery kind, bot so dark and witb 
aKb long bair and such a beard that he disgusted me. I refused ^ 
Üb» and my godfinther then asked to speak to me alone. He 
■ide me sit down in my mother^s boudoir, and said to me : ^^ My 

poor cbild, it is pure foUy to refuse Monsieur Bed . He has 

üxty tbcHisand financs a year and expectations.^ It was the first 
taae I bad beard this use of the word, and when the meaning 
«as exjJained to me I wondered if that was the right thing to 
my on sncb an oocasion. 

•*Wby, yes,** replied my godfather; "you are idiotic witb 
yoor romantic ideas. Marriage is a business affair, and must be 
eoosidered as such. Your future father- and mother-in-law will 
kire to die, just as we shall, and it is by no means disagreeable 
ta know that they will leave two million francs to their son, and 
eoBseqoently to you, if you marry bim.^ 
^ I sball not marry him, though.^ 
••Wby?'* 
* Bccäuae I do not love him.^ 



74 SARAH BERNHARDT 

^Bot Too Derer iove jour hiwiMnJ befcire * icplied wkj 

pnctkal adfiscr. ^ Yoa can lo^e him after.* 

•• After what?" 

^ Alk Tour mcrtlier. Bot listen to me nov. Cor it is not a 
qacstko of that. Yoo most mazTr. Ycmot mcvthcr has a nnaD 
iDoome whidi Toor fatlier ieft her* bot tlib inoome oomes firoM 
the profits of the mannfartonr, whidi beloiigs to jour grand* 
motber, and sbe cannot bear jour mother, who vill t h aefine 
lofe that inconie, and then she will hare nothing, and tiiree 
diildren on her hands. It is that aoconed lawrer who is 
arrangiiig all this. The whjs aod whq efo ies would take too 
long to ezplain. Your father maiiaged his business affidrs toj 
badljr. You most marry, therefore, if not for vour own aake, tor 
the sake of your mother aod sisters. You can then give jour 
motber the hundred thousand fiancs vour father Ieft yoo, 

which no one eise can tauch. Monsieur Bed will aettle three 

hundred tboasand francs on you. I have arranged evei^ythiiigt 
so that you can give this to your mother if you like, and with 
four hundred thonsand francs she will be able to live verj 
well.^ 

I cried and sobbed, and asked to have time to think it over. 
I found my mother in the dining-room. 

** Ha« your godfather told you ? ^ she asked gentlj, in rather 
a timid way. 

^ Yes, mother, yes ; he has told me. Let me think it over, 
will you ? ^ I Said, sobbing; as I kissed her neck lingeringly. I 
then lockcd myself in my bedroom, and for the first time for 
many days I regretted my convent. All my childhood rose up 
before me, and I cried more and more, and feit so unhappy that 
I wished I could die. Gradually, however, I began to get calm 
again, and rcalised what had happened and what my godfather*s 
words meant. Mast decidedly I did not want to marry this man. 
Since I had been at the Conservatoire I had leamt a few things 
vagtiely, very vaguely, for I was never alone, but I understood 
enough to niake me not want to marry without being in love. 
I was, however, destined to be attacked in a quarter from which 
I should not have expected it Madame Guerard asked me to 
go up to her room to see the embroidery she was doing on a 
frame for my mother^s birthday. 

My astonishment was great to find M. Bed there. He 




AGE PROPOi 



e to change my mind. Hg mwle me very wreti-h 
I witb tear» in his eycs. 
" Do TO« want a lai^r marriage settleraent ? " he asked. * 
•ould makc it five hundred thousand francs.^ '^ 

Bot it waa Dot tbat at all, and I said in a very low voice, ' 
io D(jt loTe you, Monsieur." 

" 1/ you do nut marry nie, Mademoiselle," he said, " I shall 
dir uf gricf. 

I louktd at hini, and repcated to my^elf the words "die 
af pKC I was eoibairassed und desperate, but at the sanie tiuie 
^igbtvd, for he loved me ju»t ks a man does in a play. Phrase:« 
tfaat I hftd read ot heard canie to niy niind vagueiy, and I 
npeatcd them without any real conviction, »iid then left; 
bim «ithuut the slighteat coquetry. 

M. Bed did not die. He is still living, and has a very 

inportuit finaocial position. Ke ia much nieer dow than uhen 
hc woa so black, for at preaent he is quite white. 

Well, I had just pa&sed my first examination with remarkable 
«KCBti^ particularly in tragedy. 

M. Pro»o»t, mv professor, had not wanted me to coni- 
p* iB a^ bot I bMl ioMtcd. I Ofoi^ that tea» 
«i& ZaSn and ho- brother NCrfatan very fine, and it niited me. 
Bot when Zaüe, overwbelmed with her brother's reproaches, 
&lk <m her knees at hia feet, Provost wanted me to say the 
woida, " Strike, I teil you ! I love him ! " with violence, and 1 
■sated to aay them gently, perfectly resigned to a death that 
VW alinoct certain. I ai^ed about it for a long time with my 
{■iAmii, and finally I appeared to give in to him during the 
liMiwi Bot oo tbe day of the corapetition I feil on my knees 
Um* N^rfetao with a sob so real, my arms outstretched, oSer- 
ng mj bewt,ao füll of love, to the deadly blow that I expected, 
lad I ■mrmnred with auch tendemess, " Strike, I teil you ! I 
love him \ " that the whole house burst ioto applauae and 
Hjuattd tbe ontburat twice over. 

Ute aecood prize for tragedy was awarded me, to the 
gnat dtaaatisfaction of the public, as it wa^ thought that 
I oB^it to bave bod tbe first prize. And yet it was only juat 
tfaat I abould have tbe second, oa account of my age and 
&e ibart time I had been studying. I had a &at acoessit 
W eamtdj in Lafamut Jgni»- 



r 



L 



76 SARAH BERNHARDT 

I feit, therefore, that I had the right to refiise. My future kf 
open before me, and consequentty niy mother would not be in 
want if she sfaould lose her present income. A few day» later 
M. Regnier, professor at the Conservatoire and secretary of the 
Comedie Fran<;aise, came to ask my mother whether she would 
allow me to play in a piece of hia at the Vaudeville. The piece 
was Gcrmaine, and the managers would give me twenty-five 
francs for each performance. I was amazcd at the ^um. Seven 
hiindred and fifty francs a moath for my lii-stappeanuice ! I was 
wild witb joy. I besought my mother to accept the oiFer made 
by the Vaudeville, and she told me to do as I liked in 
the matter. 

I asived M. Camille Doucet, dii-ector of the Fine Arti 
Deparhiient, to be so good as to reccive me, and, as my motber 
always refused to accompany me, Madame Gueraitl went with 
me. My iittle sister Regina begged me to take her, and very 
unwisely I consented. We had not becn in the director's Office 
more thaii five minutes before my sisler, who was only six years 
oid, began to climb on to tlie fumiture. She junijKd on to 
a stool, and finally sat down on the floor, pulüng towards her 
the paper basket, which was under the desk, and proceeded to 
spread about all the torn papcre which it contained. On seeing 
thia Camille Doucet mildly observed that she was not a 
very good little girl. My sister, with her head in the basket, 
answered in her husky voice, "If you bother me, Monsieur, I 
shall teil every one that you are there to give out holy water 
that is poison. My aunt says so." My face turned purplc with 
shame, and I stammered out, "Please do not believe that, 
Monsieur Doucet. My little sister ia telling an untnith." 

Regina sprang to lierfect,andclenching her little lists,rushed 
at me like a little fury, " Aunt Rosine never said that ? " she 
exclaimed. " You are telling an untruth. Why, she said it to 
Monsieur de Moray, and he answered " 

I had forgotten this, and I havc forgottcn what the Duc de 
Momy answered, but, beside myself with anger, I put my band 
over my sister's mouth and took her quickly away. She howled 
like a polecat, and we rushed like a huriicane througb the 
waiting-ruom, which was füll of people. 

I then gave way to onc of those violent (itsof temper to which 
I had been subject in my childhood. I sprang into the ürst cab 



THE CONSERVATOIRE 77 

tluit pa»ed the door, and, when once in the cab, Struck my sister 

with such fiury that Madame Gu^rard was alarmed, and protected 

lier with her own body, receiving all the blows I gave with my 

hndy arms, and feet, for in my anger, grief, and shame I flung 

■jself about to right and left. My grief was all the more pro- 

fiiand from the fact that I was very fond of Camille Doucet. 

He was gentle and charming, afFable and kind-hearted. He had 

rrfbsed my aunt something she had asked for, and, miaccustomed 

to being refused anything, she had a spite against him. This 

had nothing to do with me, though, and I wondered what 

Camille Douoet would think. And then, too, I had not asked 

him about the Vaudeville. 

All my fine dreams had come to nothing. And it was this 
little monster, who looked as fair and as white as a seraph, 
who had just shattered my first hopes. Huddled up in the cab, 
an expression of fear on her self-willed looking face and her thin 
Upscompressed, she was gazing at me under her long lashes with 
half-dofied eyes. 

On reaching home I told my mother all that had happened, 
and she declared that my little sister should have no dessert for 
two days. R^na was greedy, but her pride was greater than 
her greediness. She tumed round on her little heels and, dancing 
her jig, began to sing, " My little stomach isn''t at all pleased/' 
nntil I wanted to rush at her and shake her. 

A few days later, during my lessons, I was told that the 
Ministrv refused to allow me to perform at the Vaudeville. 

M. Regnicr told me how sorry he was, but he added in a 
kindlv tone : 

*• Oh, but, my dear child, the Conservatoire thinks a lot of 
you. Therefore you need not worry too much.*" 

^ I am sure that Camille Doucet is at the bottom of it,*" I 
Said. 

** No, he certainly is not,^ answered M. Regnier. " Camille 
Doucet was your wärmest advocate ; but the Minister will not 
upon any account hear of anything that might be detrimental 
to vour d^but next vear.*" 

I at once feit most (jrateful to Camille Doucet for his kindness 
in bearing no ill-will after my little sister s stupid bchaviour. I 
began to work again with the greatest zeal, and did not miss a 
Single lesson. Every moming I went to the Conservatoire with 



78 SARAH BERNHARDT" 

my govemess. We started earl v, as I preferred Walking to taking 
the Omnibus, and I kopt the franc which my motber gave me 
every moming, sixty Centimes of which was for tbe omnibus, 
and forty for cakes, We were to walk home always, btlt CTCTy 
other dav we toak a eab with the two francs I had saved for this 
purpoic My motber never knew about this little scheme, bitt 
it was not witboat remorse that my kind Brabender consented 
to be my accomplice. 

As I Said before, I did not miss a lesson, and I even went 
to the deportment class, at which poor old M. Elie, duly 
curled, powdered, and odomed with lace frills, presided. This 
was the most amusing lesson imaginable. Veri' few of us 
attendcd this class, and M. Elie avenged himself on us for the 
abstentioQ of the others. At every lesson each one of us was 
called forward. He addressed us by the familiär term of Mou, 
and considered us as his property. There were only five or six 
nf US, but we all had to go on the stage. He always stood ap 
with his little black stick in his hand. No one kuew why he 
had this stick. 

" Now, young ladies," he would Kay, " the body thrown back, 
the head up, on tip-toes. That's it. PerPect! One, two, 
three, march ! ^ 

Aiid we marched along on tip-toes with beads up and eyelida 
drawn over our eyes as we tried to look down in order to see 
where we were Walking. We inarched atong like this with all 
the stateliness and solemnity of cameis ! He then taught us to 
raake our exit with indifference, dignity, or fury, and it was 
amusing to see us going towaids the doors either with a lagging 
Step, or in an animated or hui-ried way, according to the mood 
in which we were supposed to be, Then we heard " Knough ! 
Go ! Not a Word ! " For M. Elie would not allow us to 
murmur a Single Word. " Everything," he usod to say, "is in 
the look, the gesture, the attitudc ! " Then there was what he 
called "fowirfte,'" whiehmeant the way to sit down inadignificd 
manner, toletone's seif fall into aseat wearily, or the "nOTtcMf," 
which meant " I am listening, Monsieur ; say what you wish." 
Ah, that was distractingly complicated, that way of tiitting 
down. We had to put everything into it : the desire to know 
wtiat was going to be said to us, the fear of hearing it, tbc 
determination to go away, the will to st&y. Oh, the tears that 



THE CONSERVATOIRE 



79 



this ^ aanette'" cost me. Poor old M. EÜe! I do not 
besr him any itl-will, but I did tnv utinost later on to forget 
cverytbing be had tuught nie, tbr nothiiig could have beeo moi« 
'a* than those deportment les.'iüiis. Every human being 

e« &baut according to bis or her proportions. ^Vomen wbo 
«re too tall take long strides, tbotse wbo stoop walk like the 
Kast«m women ; stout womeu vraXk like ducks, short-legged 
onn trot; very small women )ikip alotig, and the gawky ones 
watlc like cranes. Nothing caa be changed.and the deportment 
cUm \mt very wisely been abolished. The gesture must depict 
the thougfit, and it is harmonioiisor stupid aceordingtowhetber 
tbr mtist is intelligent or dulL On the stage one needs long 

a; it is better to have them too long than too short. An 

artiste with short arms can iie^-cr, never make a fine gestiire. 

It wKs all in vain tbat poor Elie tolcl us tbis or that We were 

«lira^ itupid and nwkward, whilnt Le was alu-ays comic, oh, fio 

ttüc, poor old man ! 

I also took fcncing-Iessons. Aunt Rosine put this idea into 
mv motht-r's hcad. I had a lesson oncc a week from the famous 
Puoi. Oh, what a terrible man he was ! Brutal, rüde, and 
BJWBv^ tcasiiig ; he wa» an iiicomparable feiiciiig-master, but he 
diklikod giving Jessens to "brats" like us, as he called us. He 
*M not rieh, thoughi and I belie^■e, but am not sure of it, that 
lliM cid» bftd been orgnnised for hiin by a di.stingutished patroa 
of bi«. He olwayit kept bis hat on, and tlii.s borriüed Mlle. de 
küimder. He smoked hia cigar, too, all the time, and this 

e bis pupiU cough, as they were ali-eady out of breath frora 
ÜK fenring exercise. What torturc those lessons were ! He 
mnetimes brought with him friends of his, who delighted in oor 
avkwardness. This gave rise to a scaiidal, as one day one of 
llne gay spectators made a most violcnt remark about one of 
tbe msJe pupib named Cbätelain, ojid the latter tunied round 
y^oickly and gave him a blow in the face. A skirmii^h immediately 
aoe ur r t -d, «uid Pon», on ciideavouring to intervene, rcL-eived a 
blsw or two btmwlf. Thi» made a great atir, and from that day 
fartb vi.titora were not allowed to be present at the lesaon. I 
tbtained my mother's autborisntion to discontinue attending the 
da», «nd this was a gi-eat relict' to nie. 

I very much preferreil Regnier's lessons to any others. He 
*ti gvntle, had nice manucrs, and taught us tu be natural in 



F 



80 SARAH BERNHARD1 

what we rectted, but I certainly owe aj] that I know to tLe 
variety of Instruction which I had, and which I followed ap in 
the most devotcd way. 

Provost taught a broad style, with diction somewhat pompous 
but Bustained. He specially emphasised frecdom of gesture and 
inflexion. Beauvallet, in my opinion, did not teach anything 
that was any good. He had a deep, effective voice, but tiiat lie 
could not give to any oiie. It was an admirable instrument, but 
it did not give him any talent. He was awk ward in bis gestures; 
bis arnis wcre too short and bis face common, I detested bim 
as a professor. 

Samson was just tbe opposite. His voice was not strong, but 
piercing. He had a certain acquired distinction, but was very 
correct. His method was siniplicity. Provost emphasised 
breadtb, Samson exactitude, and he was very partieular about 
the finals. He would not allow us to drop the voice at the end 
of the phrase. Coquclin, who is one of Regnier's pupib, I 
believe, has a great dcal of Samson's style, althougb he has 
retained the essentials of bis firat master's teacbing, As for mc, 
I reinember my three professors, Rögnier, Provost, and Samson, 
as thougb I had beard them only yesterday. 

The year passed by without any great change in my life,but two 
months before my second examination I had the misfortime to 
have to change my professor. Provost was taken ill, and I went 
into Samson's class, Hc counted very much on rae, but he was 
autboritative and persistent He gave me two very bad parts in 
two very bad pieces : Hortense in L'Ecole des Viellardf, by Casimir 
DeIavigne,for cotnedy.and Im Fiile du Cid for tragedy. This piece 
was also by Casimir Deift\-igne. I did not feel at all in my element 
in these two röle*, both of which were written in hard, emphatic 
laaguage, The examtnation day arrived, and I did not look at 
all nice. My mother had insisted on my having my hair done 
by her hairdresser, and I had cried and sobbed on seeing 
this "Figaro" make partings all over my bead in order to 
separate my rebellions mane. Idiot that he was, he had 
suggested this style to niy mother, and my head was in bis 
3tupi<l hands for more than bour and a half, for he never before 
had to deal with a mane like niine. He kept mopping his fore- 
heod every ßve minutcs and muttering, " What hair ! Good 
Hcavdu, it b borrible ; just like tow ! It might he the hair of « 



THE CONSERVATOIRE 81 

^te u cgr c» ! ^ Tuming to my mother, he suggested that 
my liead should be entirely shaved and the hair then trained as 
it grew agaiiu " I wiU think about it,^ replied my mother in an 
abent-niinded way. I tumed my head so abruptly to look 
tt her when she said this that the curling irons bumt my forehead. 
Tbe man was using the irons to uncurl my hair. He considered 
thtt it curled naturally in such a disordered style that he must 
get tbe natural curl out of it and then wave it, as this would be 
more becoming to the face. 

*^ )lAdenioiselle''8 hair is stopped in its growth by this extreme 
cnrlinessL All the Tangier girls and negrcsses have hair like this. 
As Mademoiselle is going on to the stage, she would look better 
if she had hair like Madame,^ he said, bowing with respectful 
admirmtion to my mother, who certainly had the most beautiful 
hair imaginable. It was fair, and so long that when standing up 
she oould tread on it and bend her head forward. It is only fair 
to say, though, that my mother was very short. 

Finallv I was out of the hands of this wretched man, and was 
nearly dead with fatigue after an hour and a halfs brushing, 
combing, curling, hair-pinning, with my head tumed from left 
to right and from right to left, &c. &c. I was completely 
disfigured at the end of it all, and did not recognise myself. My 
liair wa'* drawn tightly back from niy temples, my ears were 
vcr\ vi>ible and stood out, looking positively bold in their 
barvness, whil>t on the top of my head was a parcel of little 
sau^>ag("«i arranged near each other to imitatc the ancient 
diadem. 

I l4X>ked perfectly hidcous. My forehead, which I always 
AAw more or less covered with a golden fluft' of hair, seemed to 
me immense, implaeable. 

I did not recognise niy eyes, accustonied as I was to see them 
^haiiuweti by my hair. My head weighed two or three pounds. 
I was acx-ustonied to faxten niv hair as I still do, with two hair- 
pin**, and this man had put tive or six packets in it, and all this 

was heavv for my jKK)r head. 

I wa-i late, and so I had to dress very quickly. I cried with 
aneer, and mv eyes l(H)ked smaller, iny nose larger, and my veins 
swelled. The climax was when I had to put my hat on. It 
would not ^o on the pmket of saus'iges, and niy mother wrap|)ed 
mv heail up in a lace scarf and hurrietl me to the door. 



82 SARAH BERNHAR 

On arriving at thc Conservatoiro, I hurricd willi matt peU 
Dame to the waiting-room, whilst my niothcr weut (lirwrt to tb 
theatrc. I tore oft' the Ute which covered my hair, and, seat«! 
on a bench, after relating the Odyssey of my hair-dressing, , 
gave my head up to my companiotis. All of them adored an 
envied my hair, because it was go soft and light and goldei 
They were all sorry for me in my niisery, and were toucht-d b 
my ugiiness. Their mothers, however, were brimming ovf) 
with joy in their own fat. 

The girls began to take out my hair-pins, and one of thetn 
Marie Lloyd, whom I liked best, took my head in her hands am 
kissed it affectionately. • 

"Oh. your beautiful hair, what have they done to it ?^ sb 
exciaimcd, pulling out the last of the hair-pins. This sympatlq 
madc me once raore burst into tears. 

Finally I stood up, triumpbant, withont any hair-pins and 
without any sausages. But my poor hair was very beavy with 
the pomade the wretched man had put on it, and it was füll ei 
the partings he had niade for the crtation of the sausages. It 
feil now in moumful-looking, greasy flakea round my face. 

I shook my head for five minutes in mad rage. I then suo- 
ceeded in making the hair raore loose, and I put it up w w«ll ai 
I eould with a couple uf hair-pins. 

The competition had commenced, and I was the tenth ob 
the list. I could not remember what I had to say, Madaim 
Gücrard moistened my temples with cold water, and IVllle. At 
Brabender, who had only just arrived, did not recognise me, and 
looked about for me everywhere. She had broken her leg nearly 
tbrce months before, and had to hobble about on a cnitcb- 
stick, but she had resolved to come. 

Madame Guerard was just beginning to teil her about thi 
drama of the hair when my name echoed through the room ! 
" Mademoiselie Chara Bernhardt ! " It was Leautaud, who lat«* 
on was prompter at the Comedie Francj-aise, and who had a strong 
acceiit peculiar to the natives of Auvergne. " Mademoisell« 
Chara Bernhardt ! " 1 heard again. and then I sprang up with- 
out an idca in my mind and without uttering a word. I looked) 
round for my partner who was to givc uie my cues, and] 
together we made our entry. 

I was surprised at the sound of my voice, which I did not; 





THE CONSERVATOnW 

1 had a-'icd so niucb tbat it bad affected iir 
I ifoke tbrough iiiy nose. 
I beud tt woman's voice saj, " Foor child ; she oiight Dot ttf ^ 
kte hwn allowed to compcte. She has an atrocious cold, 
MR u rnnruDg and her face is swoUen/' 
I liiiwhvd iny scene, made my bow, and went away in tha 
id&t of very feebU and spiritless applause. I walkcd like a 
'ist, and on reaching Modaiuc Guerard and Mlle. 6e ' 
Cainted away in tbeir arms. Some une went to tbe ' 
UI in M!arch of a doctor, and the rumonr tbat *' tbe litUe 
Smhanit bad fainted " reacbed my niotlier. Sbe was eittii^ 
k bock in a hta, feebng bored to deatb. Wbeu I cauie to 
■nelf again I opened my eyes and eaw my motlier's pretty face, 
nä) tean hanging od her long lasbes. I laid my bead against 
hn and med quietly, but tbis time the tears were refreshing, 
Wi mit oncH that bumt my eyelids. 

I«toad up, ahook out my dress, and looked at myself in tbe 
pemish mirror. I was certainly less ugly now, for my face 
m Rsted, my hair was once more soft aiid fliifiy, and altogether 
ttoc was a general improvement in my appearance, 

&> tiagedy competition was over, and tbe prizcs had been 

■nAb^ I bad nothing at all, but niention was made of my 

lüt jcar's Kcond prize. I feit confiued, but it did not cause 

BM tDy disappointment, as I quite espected tbings to be like 

tW Several persons had prot«sted in my favour- Camille 

Dogeet, who wasaraetnberof the jury, had pleaded a long time. 

H( noted me to have a firat prize in spitc of my bad recitation. 

Be asid that my examination results ougbt to be taken into 

«count, and they were excellent ; and then, too, I bad the best 

d»« reports. Notbing, however, could overcome the bad effect 

produced tbat day by my nasal voice, my swoUen face, and my 

Wry fiakes of bair. After half an hour's iaterval, during which 

I dnnk a gtass of port wine and ate cakes, the signal was given 

tat the oomedy competition. I was fourteenth on the list for 

this, lo tbat I had ample time to recover. My fighting instinct 

low began to take possession of me, and a sen»e of injustice 

made me feel rebellious. I had not deserved my prize that day, 

bat it seemed to me that I ougbt to have received it never- 

tbele». 

I made up my mind that I would have the firat prize for 



84 SARAH BERNHARDT 

Gomedj, and with the exaggeration that I have alwajs pat into 
ererything I began to get excited» and I said to myaelf that if I 
did not get the first prize I must give up the idea of the stage 
as a career. Mj mystic love and weakness for the ccmvent came 
back to me more strongly than ever. I dedded that I would 
enter the convent if I did not get the first prise. And the 
most foolish illogical strife imaginable was waged in my weak 
girPs brain. I feit a genuine vocation for the convent when 
distressed about losing the prize, and a genuine vocation for the 
theatre when I was hopefiil about winning the prixe. 

With a verj natural partiality, I discovered in myself the gift 
of absolute self-sacrifice, renundation, and devotion of every 
kind^-qualities which would win for me easily the post of 
Mother Superior in the Grand-Champs Convent. Tlien with 
the most indulgent generosity I attributed to myself all the 
necessary gifts for the fulfiment of my other dream, namely, to 
become the first, the most oelebrated, and the most envied of 
actresses. I told ofF on my fingers all my qualities: graoe^ 
charm, distinction, beauty, mystery, piquancy. 

Oh yes, I found I had all these, and when my reason and my 
honesty raised any doubt or suggested a ** but *" to this fabulous 
inventory of my qualities, my combative and paradoxical ego 
at once found a piain, decisive answer which admitted of no 
further argument. 

It was under these special conditions and in this frame of 
mind that I went on to the stage when my tum came. Tlie 
choice of my roh for this competition was a very stupid one. I 
had to represent a married woman who was *^ reasonable ^ and 
very much inclined to argue, and I was a mere child, and looked 
much younger than my years. In spite of this I was very 
brilliant ; I argued well, was very gay, and made an immense 
success. I was transfigured with joy and wildly excited, so sure 
I feit of a first prize. 

I never doubted for a moment but that it would be awarded 
to me imanimously. When the competition was over, the com- 
mittee met to discuss the awards, and in the mecmtime I asked 
for something to eat. A cutlet was brought from the pastry- 
cook^s patronised by the Conservatoire, and I devoured it, to the 
grcat joy of Madame Guerard and Mlle. de Brabender, for I 
detestcd meat, and always refiised to cat it. 




THE CONSERVATOIRE 85 

of the eommittee «t last went to tüieir places in 

AtJBgtbaSyOidflMrainMiQeiioein tfaefhefttre. Tbeyouiig 

odled fitit OD the stage. Tliere was no fint priie 

tDHienL Fuloiira'» name was called finr the aeocxnd priie 

Fuloiini IS known to-day as M. Faul Poiei, 

of the VandefiUe Theatie and B^jane^s husband After 

die tam et the girla. 

IB die doomajy xeady to nish ap to the stage. Tbe 
'^ Fbat priae ftr ocxmedy * were uttered, and I made asiq» 
fc iMiJ , p^kii^ aside a gixl who was a head taller than I was. 
"^Ifasl priK tat oomedy awarded nnanimoudy to Mademoi- 
Maxie IJoyd.* Tbe tall girl I had pnshed aside now went 
slcnder and nMÜiant, towaids the stage. 
wcre « few protestations, bat her beanty, her dis- 
and her modest chann won the day with eveiy one, 
Marie Lloyd was cbeered. Shepaased meonherretQm,apd 
aftetionately. We were great fnends, and I Uked her 
bot I emsidered her a nnllity as a pupiL I do not 
rhether she had leodTed any priae the previous year» 
bat eertainly no one ezpected her to have one now. I was 
dbmptj petrified with amaaement. 

* Seoond priae finr oomedy: Bfademoiaelle Bernhardt.^ I had 
not heard, and was pushed forward by my companions. On 
leaching thestagel bowed, and all the time I could seehundreds 
of Marie Lloyds dancing before me. Seme of them were making 
grimaces at me, others were throwing me kisses ; some were 
^mniiig themselves, and others bowing. They were very tall, 
all tbcäe Marie Lloyds, too tall for the ceiling, and they walked 
Ofcr the heads of all the people and came towards me, stifling 
flie, cmshing me, so that I could not breathe. My face, it seems, 
«BS whiter than my dress. 

On ksaTing the stage I went and sat down on the bench with- 
out nttering a word, and looked at Marie Lloyd, who was being 
madr mudi of, and who was greatly complimented by every one. 
She was wearing a pale blue tarlatan dress, with a bunch of 
fixget-me-nots in the bodioe and another in her black hair« 
She waa very tall, and her delicate white Shoulders emeiged 
Dodestly from her dress, which was cut very low . . . but in her 
case this was without danger. Her refined face, with its some- 
what prond expression, was charming and very beautiful- 




L 



■«ARAH BERNHARDT 

Altbough very young, she had more of a woman's fssdnation 
than&ny of us. Her large brown eves shone with dJlftting puptb; 
her small round moutli gave « sly little smile at the comer», 
and her wonderfully shaped nose had quivering nostrils. The 
oval of her beautiful face wa^s intercepted by two little pcarly, 
transpai-ent eara of the most exquisite sbape. She had a long, 
flexible ivhite neck, and the pose of her head was charming. It 
was a beauty prize that tlie Jury had conscientiously awarded to 
Marie Lloyd. 

She had come on to the stage gay and fascinating in her rī 
of Celiraene, and in spite of the monotony of her delivery, the 
carelessness of her elocution, the im personal ily of her acting, she 
had carricd ofl' all the votts because she was the very personifica- 
tion of Celimene, that cotjuette of twenty years of age who was 
so unconsciously cruel. 

She had realised for every one the ideal dreamed of by Moliere. 
All these thoughts shaped themselves later on in iny brain, and 
this first lesson, which was so painful at the time, was of gteat 
ser\ice to me in my carcer. I ncver forgot Marie Lloyd's prize, 
and every time that I have had a nUe to crcate, the persanage 
always appears before me dressed froni head to foot, Walking, 
bowing, sitting down, getting up. 

But that is but the vision of a second ; my mind has been 
thinking of the soul that is to govcm this pctmnage. When 
listening to an author reading his work, I try to define the In- 
tention of bis idea, in my desire to idcntify myself with that 
Intention. I have never ptayed an author false with rcgard to 
bis idea. And I have alwavs tried to represent tbe personage 
according to history, whenever it is a historical p>ersonage, aiid 
as the novelist describes it if an invented personagc. 

I have sometimcs trieil to fotnpel the public to retum to 
the truth and to destroy the legendary side of certain person- 
ages whom history, with all its docunients, now represents to 
Ut as thcy were in reality, but tbe public never followed me. I 
soon realised that legend rcnmins victorious in spite of history. 
And this is peihaps an advantage for Ihe mind of the people. 
Jesus, Joan of Are, Shakesiieare, the Virgin Mary, Mahomet, and 
Napoleon I. have all entered into legend. 

It is impossible now tbr our brain to picture Jesus and the 
Virgin MaryaccoinpHshin"; humiliating human functions, They 



THE CONSERVATOIRE 87 

Sita tbe Ufe that we are living. Death chillcd their sjured 
limf«, and it is aot without rebellion and griet' that we accept 
Uct. We Start off in pursuit of thcm in an ethercal heaveii, 
m the iufinite of our dreams. We cast aside all the failings of 
bonanity in ordcr to Icave tbem, clothed in the ideal, seated 
aoa throne of love. We do not like Joan of Are to be the 
nstic. bold peasAnt girl, repuLsing i-ioleiitly the hardy soldier who 
«anl« to joke with her, the girl sitting astride her big Fercheron 
bonv Lke a man, laaghing readilj at the coarse jokes of the 
mlifim, sabmitting to the levrd promisciiities of the baibarom 
qwcb tu «hich sbe lived, and having on that at-count all the 
mar« imTit in reniaining the heroic virgin. 

We (k> oot care foT such uaeless truths. In the legend she is a 
bagile wonum guidcd by a divine soul. Her girlisb arm whick 
faold» thr beavy banner i» supported by an innsible angel. In 
W cbiUitJi eyes there h something from another world, and it 
ii froiD this Ihat all the warriors drew strength and eounige. 
It w thiu that we wisb it to be, and ho the legend remaina 



MY FIBST ENGAGEMENT AT THE COMEDIE 

FRANCAISE 

BuT to retum to the Conservatoire. Nearly all the pupils had 
gone away, and I remained quiet and embarrassed on my bencL 
Marie Lloyd came and sat down by me. 

" Are you unhappy ? "" she asked. 

" Yes,'' I answered. " I wanted the first prize, and you have 
it. It is not fair.'' 

" I do not know whether it is fair or not,^ answered Marie 
Lloyd, " but I assure you that it is not my fault,^ 

I could not help laughing at this. 

" Shall I come home with you to luncheon ?^ she asked, and 
her beautiful eyes grew moist and beseeching. She was an 
orphan and unhappy, and on this day of triumph she feit the 
need of a family. My heart began to melt with pity and'affec- 
tion. I threw my arms round her neck, and we all four went away 
together — Marie Lloyd, Madame Guerard, Mlle. de Brabender, 
and I. My mother had sent me word that she had gone on 
home. 

In the cab my " don'*t care *" character won the day once more, 
and we chattered about every one. " Oh, how ridiculous such 
and such a person was ! "" " Did you see her mother^s bonnet ?^ 
" And old Estebenet ; did you see his white gloves ? He must 
have stolen them from some policeman ! ^' And hereupon we 
laughed like idiots, and then began again. ^^ And that poor 
Chätelain had had his hair curled ! "' said Marie Lloyd. " Did 
you see his head ? " 

I did not laugh any more, though, for this reminded me of 
how my own hair had been uncurled, and it was thanks to that 
I had not won the first prize for tragedy. 



MY FIRST ENGAGEMENT 89 

On reaching home we found my mother, my aunt, my god- 
über, our old iriend Meydieu, Madame Gu^raid^s husband, 
ind my sister Jeanne with her hair all curled. This gave me 
t pang, for she had straight hair and it had been curled to 
make her prettier, although she was charming without that, 
ind the curl had been taken out of my hair, so that I had 
looked uglier. 

My mother spoke to Marie Lloyd with that charming and 

distinguished indifierence peculiar to her. My godfather made 

t great fiiss of her, for success was everything to this bourgeois. 

He had seen my young friend a hundred times before, and had 

not been Struck by her beauty nor yet touched by her poverty, 

but on this particular day he assurcd us that he had for a long 

time predicted Marie Lloyd^s triumph. He then came to me, 

put faüs two hands on my Shoulders, and held me facing him. 

" Well, you were a failure,*" he said. " Why persist now in going 

OD the stage? You are thin and small, your face is pretty 

enough when near, but ugly in the distance, and your voice does 

not carry!" 

**Yes, my dear girl,^ put in M. Meydieu, "your god- 
&ther is right, You had better marry the milier who 
proposed, or that imbecile of a Spanish tanner who lost his 
brainless head for the sake of your pretty eyes. You will never 
do an\'thing on the stage ! You\l better marry.*" 

M. Guerard came and shook hands with me. He was a man 
of nearlv sixtv vears of age, and Madame Guerard was under 
thirtv. He was melancholy, gentle, and timid : he had been 
awarded the red ribbon of the Legion of Honour, and he wore a 
long, shabby frock coat, used aristocratic gestures, and was 
private secretary to M. de la Tour Desmoulins, a prominent 
deputv at the time. M. Guerard was a well of science, and I 
owe much to his kindness. My sister Jeanne whispered to me, 
** Si>ter's godfather said when he came in that you looked as 
uglv as possible.^ Jeanne always spoke of my godfather in this 
wav. I pushed her away, and we sat down to table. All 
through the meal my one wish was to go back to the convent. 
I did not eat much, and directly afler luncheon was so tired 
that I had to go to bed. 

When once I was alone in mv rooni between the sheets, with 
tired limbs, my head heavy, and my heart opprcssed with 



90 



SARAH BERNHARDT 



keeping back my sighs, I tried to consider my wretehed 
aituatioD ; but sleep, the great restorer, came to the rescue, and 
I was very somi sluinberiag peacefully. Wlien I woke I could 
not collect, my tboughts at first. I wondered whot time it was, 
and lookcd at my watch. It was jtist t<;n, aiid I bad beea 
asiecp since three o'clock in the aftemoon. I listened for a few 
niinutcs, but everything was silent in the house. Od a table 
near my bed was a small tray on wbich were a cup of chocolate 
and a cake. A sheet of writing paper was placcd upright 
egainst the cup. I trembled as I took it up, for I nei-er 
received any letttrs, With great difficulty, by my night-light, 
I managed to read the following words, written by Madame 
Guerard : " Wlien you had gone to sieep the Duc de Momy sent 
Word to yoiu- mother that Camille Doucet had just asaured bim 
that you were to be engagod at the Comedic Fran^aise. Do not 
worry aiiy more, therefore, my dear child, but have faith in the 
ftiture. — Your pettt Dame,'" 

I pinched myself to makc sure that I was reallyawake. I got 
üp and rushed to the window, I looked out, and the »ky was 
black. Yes, it was black to everj- one eise, but starry to me. 
The stars were shining, and I looked for my own special one, and 
chose the largest and brightest. 

I went back towards my bed and amused myself with Jumping 
on to it, Holding ray feet together. Eacli time I missed I laughed 
like a lunatic. I then drank my chocolate, and nearly choked 
myself devouring niy cake. 

Standing up on my bolster, I then made a long speecb to the 
Virgin Mary at the head of my bed. 1 adored the Virgin Mary, 
and I explained to her my reasons for not being ahic to take the 
veil, in spite of my vocation, I tried to charm and persuade 
her, and I kissed her very gently on her foot, which was crushing 
the serpent. Then in the darkncss I tried to find my raother's 
Portrait. I could Bcarcciy see this, but I threw kisses to it. 
I then took up again the lettcr frora mon petit Dame, &nd 
went to sleep with it clasped in my band. I do not remember 
what my dreanis were. 

The next day every one was very kind to me. My godfather, 
who arrived carly, nodded bis head in a contcnted way. 

" She must have some fresh air," he said. " I will treat you 
to a Landau." 



MY FIRST ENGAGEMENT Ol 

Tk drive aeemed to me deliciouB, fbr I ooold dreun to 117 
kvt'i content, «s my mother disliked talking when in • 



Tvodajv later oor old aervant Bfaignerite, fareatUe« 
odiaiwBtybroa^t mealetter. On theoorner of theenvelope 
tkre «M « laige stamp, aioond which stood the magic woxds 
*Coiii61ie nnui9a]8e.^ I glanced at my mother^and ahe nodded 
aingn tliat I migfat open the letter, after blaming Maiguerite 
ftrhiiidnig it to me befoie obtaining her permiarion to do sa 

" It is fbr to-mcnrrow, to-moROw ! ^ I exclainied. ^'lamtogo 
tim to-morrow ! Look — read it ! ^ 

My sisters came nuhing to me and aeized my hands. I danoed 
nxmd with them, einging, ^ It^s for to-morrow ! It^s for to- 
■orrov ! ^ My yoonger sister was eigfat years old, but I was 
odIj fix that day. I went üpstairB to the flat above to teil 
Uadame Guerard. She was just soaping her childrrai^s white 
ftodu and pinaibres. She todi my fiioe in her hands and kissed 
■e tflectioDately. Her two hands were corered with a soc^ 
likber, and left a mowy patch on each side of my head. I 
niriied down-stain again like this, and woit noisily into the 
<inwiDg-n>om. My godfather, M. M^dieu, my aunt, and my 
nwther were jost b^nning a game of whist. I kissed each of 
tbem, lea^äng a patch of soap-suds on their faces, at which I 
lau/rfied heartily. But I was allowed to do anything that day, 
for I had bccome a persona^. 

The ncxt day, Tuesday, I was to go to the Theätre Fran^ais 
at one oVlock to see M. Thieny, who was then director. 

TVhat was I to wear? That was the great question. My 

mother had sent for the milliner, who arrivcd with various hats. 

I chow a white one trimmed with pale blue, a white bavolet and 

Uue strings. Aunt Rosine had sent one of her dresses for me, 

for my mother thought all my frocks were too childish. Oh, 

that dress ! I shall see it all my life. It was hideous, cabbage- 

green, with black velvet put on in a Grecian pattem. I looked 

like a monkey in that dress. But I was oblig^ to wear it. For- 

tunately, it was eovered by a mantle of black gros-grain stitched 

all round with white. It was thought better for me to be 

dnsäed like a grown-up person, and all my clothes were only 

«uitable for a school-girl. Mlle. de Brabendcr gave me a hand- 

kerchief that she had embroidered, and Madame Guerard a 



92 SARAH BERNHARDT 

sunshade. My mother gave me a very pretty tuiquoise 
ring. 

Dressed up in this way, looking pretty in my white hat, un- 
comfortable in my green dress, but comforted by my mantle, I 
went, the foUowing day, with Madame Gu^rard to M. Thierry^s« 
My aunt lent me her carriage for the occasion, as she thoug^t 
it would look better to arrive in a private carriage. Later on I 
heard that this arrival in my own carriage, with a footman, 
made a very bad impression. What all the theatre people 
thought I never cared to consider, and it seems to me that my 
extreme youth must really have protected me from all suspicion. 

M. Thierry received me very kindly, and made a little non- 
sensical speech. He then unfolded a paper which he handed to 
Madame Gu^rard, asking her to read it and then to sign it. 
This paper was my contract, and mon petit Dame explained 
that she was not my mother. 

" Ah,'' Said M. Thierry, getting up, " then will you take it 
with you and have it signed by Mademoiselle's mother ? "^ 

He then took my band. I feit an instinctive horror at his, 
for it was ilabby, and there was no life or sincerity in its grasp. 
I quickly took mine away and looked at him. He was piain, 
with a red face and eyes that avoided one's ga2se. As I was 
going away I met Coquclin, who, hearing I was there, had 
waited to see me. He had made his dibui a year before with 
great success. 

" Well, it's settled then ! "" he said gaily. 

I showed him the contract and shook hands with him. I 
went quickly down the stairs, and just as I was leaving the 
theatre found myself in the midst of a group in the doorway. 

" Are you satisfied ? '^ asked a gentle voice which I recognised 
as M. Doucet's. 

" Oh yes, Monsieur ; thank you so much,'' I answered. 

"But my dear child, I have nothing to do with it,** he 
Said. 

" Your competition was not at all good, but nevertheless 
we feel sure of you,'' put in M. R6gnier, and then tuming to 
Camille Doucet he asked, " What do you say, Excellency ? " 

" I think that this child will be a very great artist," he 
replied. 

There was a silence for a moment 



MY FIRST ENGAGEMENT 98 

''Well, you have got a fine carriage ! ^ exclaimed Beauvallet 
rodelj. He was the first tragedian of the Com^die, and the 
most imoouth man in France or anjrwhere eise. 

''Ulis carriage belongs to Mademoiselle^s aunt,^ remarked 

Cunille Doncet, shaking hands with me gently. 

/Ob — ^wdl« I am glad to hear that,^ answered the tragedian. 

I tben stepped into the ccuriage which had caused such 

aiensation at the theatre, and drove away. On reaching home I 

took tbe contract to my mother. She signed it without 

Riding it. 

I made my mind resolutely to be some one guand-mSme. 

A few days after my engagement at the Com^die Franfaise 

■j aont gave a dinner-party. Among her guests were the 

Dqc de Momy, Camille Doucet and the Minister of Fine Arts, 

IL de Walewski, Rossini, my mother, Mlle. de Brabender, 

tnd L During the evening a great many other people came« 

My mother had dressed me very elegantly, and it was the 

frst time I had wom a really low dress. Oh, how imcomfortable 

I was ! Every one paid me great attention. Rossini asked me 

to redte some poetry, and I consented willingly, glad and proud 

to be of some little importance. I chose Casimir Delavigne^s 

poem, ** VAme du Purgaioirey " That should be spoken with 

music as an accompaniment,^' exclaimed Uossini when I came 

to an end. Every one approved this idea, and Walewski said : 

^ Mademoi seile will begin again, and you could improvise, 

chtr maitreJ^ 

ITiere was great excitement, and I at once began again. 
Rossini improvised the most delightfui harmony, which filled me 
with emotion. My tears flowed freely without my being con- 
scious of them, and at the end my mother kissed me, saying : 
** This is the first time that you have rcally moved me.*" 

As a matter of fact, she adored music, and it was Rossini^s 
improvisation that had moved her. 

The Comte de Keratry, an elegant young hussar, was also 
present. He paid me great compliments, and invited nie to go 
and recite some poetry at his niother^s house. 

Mv aunt then sang asong which was very much in vogue, and 
made a great success. She was coquettish and channing, and just 
a trifle jealous of this insignificant nic»ce who hat! taken up 
the attention of her adorers for a few ininutes. 



94 • SARAH BERNHARDT 

When I retumed home I was quite another being. I sat 
down, dresscd as I was, on my bed, and remained for a long time 
deep in thought. Hitherto all I had known of life had been 
through ni y family and iny work. I had now just had a glimpse 
of it through society, and I was Struck by the hypocrisy of some 
of the people and the conceit of others. I began to wonder un- 
easily what I should do, shy and frank as I was. I thought of 
my mother. She did not do anjrthing, though she was in- 
difierent to everything. I thought of my aunt Rosine, who, on 
the contrary, liked to mix in everything. 

I remained therc looking down on the ground, my head in a 
whirl, and feeling very anxious, and I did not go to bed until I 
was thoroughly chilled. 

The next few days passed by without any particular events. I 
was working hard at Iphigenie, as M. Thierry had told me that 
I was to make my debut in that röle. 

At the cnd of August I received a notice requesting me to 
attend the rehearsal of Iphigenie. Oh, that first notice, how it 
made my heart beat. I could not sleep at night, and daylight did 
not come quickly enough for me. I kept getting up to look at 
the time. It seemed to me that the clock had stopped. I had 
dozed, and I fancied it was the same time as before. Finally a 
streak of light coming through my window-panes was, I thought, 
the triumphant sun illuminating my room. I got up at 
once, pulled back the curtains, and mumbled my rok while 
dressing. 

I thought of my rehearsing with Madame Devoyod, the leading 

tragedienne of the Comedie Fran<^aise, with Maubant, with 

I trenibled as I thought of all this, for Madame Devoyod was 
Said to be anything but indulgent. I arrived for the rehearsal 
an hour before the time. The stage manager, Davenne, smiled 
and asked me whether I knew my rok, " Oh yes,'' I exclaimed 
with conviction. " Come and rehearse it. Would you like 
to ? "^ and he took me to the sta^e. 

I went with him through the long corridor of busts which 
leads from the green-room to the stage. He told me the names 
of the celebrities represented by these busts. I stood still a 
moment before that of Adrienne Lecouvreur. 

" I love that artiste,"" I said. 

" Do you know her story ? ^ he asked. 



■ MT FIRST ENGAGEMENT 

H *• Yo; I have read all that has been written about her," 

K "That'» right, aiy chJld,^ said the worthy man. " Vouought 

Bife read all that conceriis yoai art. I will lend you some in- 

^ Uc tuuk lue towartU the stage. The niysterious glooin, the 
aeeoaj reved up like Tortifications, the bareness of the Hooi-, the 
«wdlew niunbcr of weights, ropps, trecs, borders, battens overhead, 
Ük yawning house cooipletely dark, the HÜeiice, broken bv the 
owkiog of the door. and the vault-like chill that oue feit— all 
Um taffBÜMT mmi m». It did tut mJn to m m if I wm 
«iMHIff A* kffiant ranks of Unag «rticte idw encyn^^t 
mm tkm af/lmam «f Ae bouae hy ihair loetrinMnt or thdr wlw. 
IbH I Mt M-dMi«^ X iMn in the tonb of dewl glod«, «od the 
rfigB iMmd te VM to ba getting crowded inüt the iUiutriotN 
Aade«« «f Aon «hoai <the il^i^n iimii^i Iwiljiiil miiiliiiiiiil 
Witt aif hj^iif ■tiuK nerret, mj imi^naÜon, «jiidi «u 
r nw ämn adnnee 'towardi me 
Tbeee qwctres wanted \p teke me 
IfKAmj hüdi omrin; eyee end «tood etilL 
• «AnyaawtwvaP" edtidllDKfame. * 

"QkymtAt^jaai it wesjiutalittlegiddmeai." 
<BBif^mm hed ciüiaad eway the ^ectns, and I opened mj eye« 
■■d paid «ttentioD to the worthy man's advice. Book in hknd, 
fae ex{daiDed to me where I was to stand, and my cbanges of 
plarr, &c He was rather pleased witb my way of reciting, and 
he tmof^t me a few of the traditions. At the line, 

Xurgiatg ä Taifftl, mnduUa la viatine, 

he wd, ** Hademoüelle Eavart was very effective Uiere." 

Tlie artistea gradiuJly b^an to arrive, gnimbling more or 
hm, Tbey g^anced at me, aud then rehearsed their scencs with- 
oat takiDg any notice of me at all. 

I fielt inclined to cry, but I was more vexed than anything 
dae. 1 beard three coarse worda used by one or another of the 
artütes. I was not accustomed to this somewhat brutal 
langitagy At home every one was rather timorous. At my 
aimt*a p«^)e were a trifle afTected, whilst at the convent, it is 
tnoeoeaaary to say, I bad never heard a word that was out of 
pbce. It ü txne that I had been throuKb the Conservatoire, 
bot I had not cultiTated aoy of the pupils witb the exception 



^ 



96 SARAH BERNHARDT 

of Marie IJoyd and Rose Baretta, the eider sister of Blancbe 
Baretta, who is now a Societaire of the Comedie Fran^aise, 

When the rehearsal was over it was derided that there diould 
be another one at the same hour the following day in the pablic 
foyer. 

The costume-maker came in search of me, as she wanted to 
try on roy costume. Mlle. de Brabender, who had arri^ed 
during the rehearsal, went up with me to ihe costome-rooin. 
She wanted my arms to be covered, bat the costume-maker idd 
her gently that this was impossible in tragedy. 

A dress of white woollen material was tried on me. It was 
very ugly, and the veil was so stifT that I refiised it. A wreath 
of roses was tried on, but this too was so tmsightly that I re- 
fiised to wear it. 

*^ Well, then, Mademoiselle,^ said the costume-maker diyly, 
^ you will have to get these things and pay for them yourself) 
as this is the costume supplied by the Com^e.*^ 

" Very well," I answered, blushing ; ** I will get them myself.^ 

On retuming home I told my mother my troubles, and, as she 
was always very generous, she promptly bought me a veil of 
white bar^ge that feil in beautiful, large, soft folds, and a wreath 
of hedge roses which at night looked very soft and white. She 
also ordered me buskins irom the shoemaker employed by the 
Comedie. 

The next thing to think about was the makc-up box. For 
this my mother had recourse to the mother of Dica Petit, my 
fellow Student at the Conscrvatoire. I went with Madame 
Dica Petit to M. Massin, a manufacturer of these make-up 
boxcs. He was the father of Leontine Massin, another 
Conscrvatoire pupiL 

We went up to the sixth floor of a house in the Rue Riaumur, 
and on a plain-looking door read the words MoMw^y manufacturer 
of tnake-up boxes. I knocked, and a little hunchback girl opened 
the door. I recognised I^utine''s sister, as she had comeseveral 
times to the Conser\'atoire. 

** Oh,"" she exclaimed, " what a surprise for us ! Titine,^ she 
then called out, ** here is Mademoiselle Sarah ! " 

L^ntine Massin came running out of the next room. She 
was a pretty girl, very gentle and calm in demeanour. She 
threw her arms round me, exclaiming, *^ How glad I am to see 



MY FIRST ENGAGEMENT 97 

joq! And so you are going toimake your debut at the 
Omedie. I aaw it in the papers.^ 
I Umlied np to my ears at the idea of being mentioned in the 



«* I am cngiged at the Vari^tes,**^ she said, and then she talked 
avay at sath a rate that I was bewildered. Madame Petit did 
not enter into aU this, and tried in vain to separate us. She 
had repUed fay a nod and an indifferent ^* Thanks ^ to Leontine^s 
inquiiies about her daughter^s health. FinaUy, when the young 
girl had finishfd saying aU she had to say, Madame Petit 



" Yoa must order your box. We have come here for that, you 
koowr 

^ Oh you will find my father in his Workshop at the end of 
tbe paMage, and if you are not very long I shall still be here. 
I am going to reheräal at the Varietes later on."" 

Madame Petit was furious, for she did not like Leontine 



** Doo^t wait, Mademoiselle,^ she said ; ** it will be impossible 
lor US to stay afterwards.^ 

L&mtine was annoyed, and, shrugging her Shoulders, tumed 
her back on my coropanion. She tiien put her hat on, kissed 
me^ and bowing gravely to Madame Petit, said : "I ho{)e, 
Madame *Gros-tas,^ I shall never see you again."^ She then 
ran off, laughing merrily. I heard Madame Petit matter a 
few disagreeable words in Dutch, but the nieaning of them 
was only explained to me later on. We then went to the Work- 
shop, and found old Massin at his bench, planing some small 
planks of white wood. His hunch-back daughter kept Coming 
in and out, humming gaily all the time. The father was glum 
and harsh, and had an anxious look. As soon as we had ordered 
the box we took our leave. Madame Petit went out first ; 
Lrontine^'s sister held me back by the band and said quietly, 
•* Father is not very polite, but it is because he is jealous. 
Hc wanted my sister to be at the Theatre Franpais.*" 

I was rather disturbed by this confidencc, and I had a vague 
idea of the painful drama which was acting so difterently on 
the various mcmbers of this humble home. 



MY DäfiOT AT THE HOUSE OF HOLIERE, AND MT 
FIBST DEPABTUBE THEBEFBOM 

On September 1, 1862, the day I was to make my dAu^, I 
was in the Rue Duphot looking at the theatrical posters. They 
used to be put up then at the comer of the Rue Duphot 
and the Rue St. Honorc. On the poster of the Comtik 
Fran9aise I read the words '' D0mt of Müe. Sarah Bernhardi.^ 
I have no idea how long I stood there, £ascinated by the lettos 
of my name, but I remember that it seemed to me as thou^ 
every person who stopped to read the poster looked at me 
afterwards, and I blushed to the very roots of my hair. 

At five o^clock I went to the theatre. I hod a dressiDg-room 
on the top floor which I shared with MUe. Coblentz. This 
room was on the other side of the Rue de Richelieu, in a house 
rented by the Comedie Fran^aise. A small covered bridge 
over the street served as a passage and means of communicatimi 
for US to reach the Comedie. 

I was a tremendously long time dressing, and did not know 
whether I looked nice or not. Mon peiit Dame thought I was 
too pale, and Mlle. de Brabender considered that I had too 
much colour. My mother was to go direct to her seat in the 
theatre, and Aunt Rosine was away in the country. 

When the call-boy announced that the play was about to 
begin, I broke into a cold Perspiration from head to foot, and 
feit ready to faint. I went downstairs trembling, tottering, 
and my teeth chattering. When I arrived on the stage tbe 
curtain was rising. That curtain which was being niised 
so slowly and solemnly was to me like the veil being tom 
which was to let me have a glimpse of my future. A deep 
gentle voice made me tum round. It was Frovost, my first 



DÄBUT AT THE FRANCAISE 99 

profenor, who had come to encourage me. I greeted him 
^"^"^Jv so glad was I to aee him again. Samsou was there, 
too ; I believe that he was playing that night in one of Moliere^s 
comedies. The two men were very different. Provost was tall, 
his Sil very hair was blown about, and he had a droU face. 
SuDson was small, precise, dainty ; his shiny white hair curled 
friDly and dcsely round his head. Both men had been moved 
br the same sentiment of protection for the poor, fragile, 
DOTous girl, who was nevertheless so füll of hope. Both 
of them knew my zeal for work, my obstinate will, which was 
tlways struggling for victory over my physical weakness. They 
knew that my motto ^^ Quand-m^me ^ had not been adopted by 
me merely by chance, but that it was the outcome of a 
detiberate exercise of will power on my part. My mother had 
told tbem how I had chosen this motto at the age of nine,after 
afiMmidable leap overaditch which no one could jump and 
vfaicli my young cousin had dared me to attempt. I had hurt 
my face, bioken my wrist, and was in pain all over. Whilst 
I was being carried home I exclaimed furiously, ^^ Yes, 
I wonld do it again, quand-mSmey if any one dared me again. 
And I will always do what I want to do all my life."" In the 
evcniDg of that day my aunt, who was grieved to see me in 
«och pain, asked me what would give me any pleasure. My 
poor little body was all bandaged, but I jumped with joy at 
thi&, and quite consoled, I whispered in a coaxing way, 
- I ftfaould like to have some writing-paper with a motto of my 
own."" 

My mother asked me rather slyly what niy motto was. I did 
Dot answer for a minute, and then, as they were all waiting 
quifetly, I uttered such a furious " Quaiid-mctnc "" that niy Aunt 
Fanre started back exdainiing, " What a temble child ! '" 

Samson and Provost reminded me of this story in order to give 
me ootirage, but my ears were buzzing so that I could not listen 
to tbem. Provost heard my " cue "^ on the stage, and pushed 
me gently forward. I made my entry and hurried towards 
Agamemnon^ my father. I did not want to leave him «igain, as 
I feit I must have some one to hold on to. I then rashed to niy 
mother, Clytemnestra ... I stammered . . . and on leaving 
the stage I rushed up to my rooni and began to undress. 
Madame Gucrard was terrified, and asked me if I wa» mad. 



100 SARAH BERNHAR 

I bad only played one act, and there w»e fbur 
realued tben that it woultl realljr be dangerots to gin wb^ ta 
my nerves. I had recourse to my own mottu, aod, -**TT'fi"g in 
front of tbe glass gazing into mjr omi eres, I ordimd m^ndf ta 
be i-alm and to coaquer tnyself, and my nerres, in a state of ob- 
fusion, yielded to my brain. I got throngh tbe pUy, bat «M 
vcry imtigntficant in my part. 

Tbe next moming my motber sent for me early. Sbv faftd 
been looking at Sarcey's articie in L'Opmion NationaUy and 
she now read me tbe follornng lines ; " MUe. Bemhaidt -mim 
inade her dibid yesterday in the röle of Iphigenie, U « taU, 
pretty girl witb a elender (igure and a very plea^ng expnfxtan ; 
the Upper pari of ber face {& remarkably beaiitifuL Her 
carriage is ezcellent, and her cnunciatton is perfectiy clear. 
Tbis iK all tbat can be said for ber at present.' 

"Tbe man is an idiot,'" said my motber, drawing tne to Im 
" You were charming." 

Sbe then prepared a little cup of colTee for me, and nnde H 
witb Cream. I was happy, but not t-ompletely so. 

When my godfatber arrived in tbe aftcmoon be excUnicd, 
" Good heavenü ! My poor cbild, what tbin arms you bave ! " 

As a matter of fact, people had laugbed, and I bad hetfd 
tbem, when stretching out my arms towards Eurybate. I h«d 
said the famous liiie in which Favart had made her " effect " that 
wa£ now a tradition. I certainly had made no "effect," unle» 
the smiles caii»ed by my long, thin arms can be reckoned assucb. 
My second appearance was in VaUrie, wben I did make aoiM 
alight Buccfess. 

My third appearance at the Comedic r«sulted in the foUowing 
boutade ^om the pen of the sanie Sarcey : 

VOpimon Nationale, September 1% : " The sEime e\'eniiig Lt» 
Femmea Savanlex was given. l'his wai Mlle. Bemhardt'a tflM 
dfbut, and she assumed the röU of Henriette. Sbe was jutt 
as pretty and insignificant in this at. in that of Jiinie [he bad 
made a mistake, as it was Iphig<^nje I had played J and of \aiiae. 
both of which rölfx had been entrust«! to her pre^iously. TTü» 
Performance was a very poor afl'air, and gives nse to refl«eti(Hi* 
by uo meaiis gay. That Mlle. Bernhardt should be injägnificut 
does not much matter. Sbe is a debfitante, and among tbe 
number prescnted tu us it h only natural tbat «ome ahoold be 



tfi 



DÄBUT AT THE FRANCAISE 101 

fcfluRs. Tlie pitiful pari is, tfaough, that the comedians playing 
wjth her were not mucb better than she was, and they are 
Sori^taires of the Tb6&tre Fran9ais. All that they had more 
thao their yoong comrade was a greater familiarity with the 
boarda. T1^ are just as MUe. Bernhardt may be in twenty 
yein^ time, if she stays at the Com^ie Fran9aise.^ 

I did not stay there, though, for one of those nothings which 
dumge a whole life changed mine. I had entered the Com^e 
expecting to remain there always. I had heard my godfather 
ezplain to my mother all about the various stages of my caieen 

^Tlie child will have so much during the first five years,^ he 
ttid, ^ and so much afterwards, and then at the end of thirty 
jean she will have the pension given to Soci^taires — ^that is, if 
die erer becomes a Soci^taire.*" He appeared to have his doubts 
aboQtthat. 

Mj sister R^na was the cause (though quite involuntarily 
this time) of the drama which made me leave the Com^e. It 
was Moli^re^s anniversary, and all the artistes of the Franfais 
«late the bust of the great writer, according to the tradition 
of tbe tbeatie. It was to be my first appearance at a ^^ ceremony,^ 
•admy little sister, on hearing me teil about it at home, besought 

Be to take her to it. 
My mother gave me permission to do so, and our old Mar- 

goerite was to accompany us. All the mcmbers of the Com^ie 

were assembled in the foyer. The men and women, dressed in 

diferent costumes, all wore the famous doctor^s cloak. The 
Signal was given that the ceremony was about to commence, and 
^^erv one hurried along the corridor of the busts. I was 
Ittlding my little sister^s band, and just in front of us was the 
^eiT fat and very solemn Madame Nathalie. She was a Societaire 
of the Comedie, old, spiteful, and surly. 

R^na, in trying to avoid the train of Marie Roger^s cloak, 
^pped on to Nathalie''s, and the latter tumed round and gave 
the child such a violent push that she was knocked against a 
column on which was a bust Regina screamed out, and as she 
toroed back to me I saw that her pretty face was bleeding. 

"^ You miserable creature ! ^ I called out to the fat woman, 
aod as she tumed round to reply I slapped her in the face. 
Sbe proceeded to faint ; there was a great tumult, and an uproar 
of indignation, approval, stifled laughter, satisfied revenge, pity 



102 



SARAH BERNHARDT 



for the poor chüd from those artistes vrho were mothers, Ute Ste. 
Two groups were fonned, one around the wretched Nathalie, «rtu» 
was still in her swoon, and tlie other arouod little Regina. And 
the different aspect of these two groups was rather stränge. 
Around Nathalie were cold, soletnn-looking mcn aod women, 
fanning the fat, helpless lump with their handkercbiefs or fans. 
A young but severe-looking Societaire was spnnkliug her with 
drops of water. Nathalie, 011 feeling this, roused up suddenly, 
put her hands over her face, and muttered in a far-away voice, 
" How stupid ! You'll spoil my make-up ! ■" 

The younger men were stooping over Regina, washing her 
pretty face, and the child was saying in her broken voice, " I did 
not do it on pui-pose, sister, I am certain I didn't. She's an old 
cow, and she just kicked for nothing at all!'' Regina was a 
fair-haired Beraph, who might have made the angels enviotis, for 
she had the most ideal and poetical heauty— but her laiiguage 
was by no means choi(.-e, and nothing in the world could chonge 
it. Her coarse speech made the friendly group burst out 
laughing, while all the members of the enemy's camp shru^ed 
their Shoulders. Bressant, who was the most channing of the 
comedians and a general favourite, came up to me and said : 

" We must arrange this little matter, dear Mademoiselle, for 
Nathalie's ahort arms are really very long. Between ourselvcs, 
you were a tritle hasty, but I like that, and then that cbUd 
is so droll and so pretty,^ he added, pointing to my little 
sister. 

The house was stamping (vith impatience, for this little scene 
had caused twenty iniiiutes' delay, and we were obltged to go on 
tö the stage at once. Marie Roger kissed me, saying, " You 
are a plucky little comrade!" Rose Baretta drew me to her, 
murmuring, " How dared you do it ! She is a Societaire !" 

As for me, I was not very conscious as to what I had done, 
but my instinct wamed me that 1 should pay dearly for it. 

The following day I received a letter froni the manager 
asking me to call at the Comedie at ont oVIock, aboiit a matter 
conceming me privately. I had been crying all night long, 
more through nervous excitemcnt than from remorse, and I was 
particularly annoyed at the idea of the attat-ks I «hould have to 
endure from my own fiunily. I did not let mv niother see the 
letter, for frum the day that I had entered the Comedie I had 



DÄBUT AT THE FRANCAISE 108 

• 

btm emandpated. I received my letters now direct, without 
herraperrisiaii, and I went about alone. 

At one o^dodc precisely I was shown into the raanager^s 
cCoe. M. Thieny, his nose more congested than ever, and 
iui eyes more crafty, preached me a deadly sermon, blamed my 
waot of discipline, absence of respect, and scandalous conduct, 
and finiabed his pitiful harangue by advising me to beg Madame 
Nithalie'*« pardon. 

**! have asked her to come,"" he added, **and you must 
apolqgiae to her before three Societaires, members of the com- 
iitttee. If she consents to forgive you, the committee will then 
ooDsider whether to fine you or to caneel your engagement.**^ 

I did not reply for a few minutes. I thought of my mother 
in distress, my godfather laughing in his bourgeois way, 
lud my Aunt Faure triumphant, with her usual phrase, ^^ That 
diild is terrible ! ^ I thought too of my beloved Brabender, 
with her hands dasped, her moustache drooping sadly, her small 
ejci füll of tears, so touching in their mute supplication. I 
oonld hear my gentle, timid Madame Gu^rard arguing with 
tfwf one, so courageous was she always in her confidence in my 
fatore. 
"Well, Mademoiselle ?** said M. Thierry curtly. 
I looked at him without speaking, and he began to get 
impatient. 

"^ I will go and ask Madame Nathalie to come here,*" he said, 
"and I beg you will do your part as quickly as possible, for I 
have other things to attend to than to put your blunders 
right'' 

** Oh no, do not fetch Madame Nathalie,"*'* I said at last. " I 
shail not apologise to her. I will leave ; I will caneel my 
engagement at once.*" 

He was stupefied, and his arrogance melted away in pity for 
the ungovemable, wilful child, who was about to min her whole 
future for the sake of a question of self-esteeni. He was at 
ODce gentler and more polite. He asked me to sit down, which 
he had not hitherto done, and he sat down hiniself opposite to 
me, and spoke to me gently about the advantages of the 
Comedie, and of the danger that there would be for me in 
leanng that illustrious theatre, which had done nie the honour 
of admitting me. He gave me a hundred other very good, wise 



w 



104 SARAH BEKNHARDT 

reosons wliitli softeiied nie. Wheii lie saw the eHect he hiul 
iiiade he wantcd to send for Mndamc Nathalie, but I roused up 
then like a little wild animal. 

*' Oh, don't let her coine hure ; I should box her ears agaiii ! " 
I exciaiined. 

" Well then, I must aak yoiir mother to come," he said. 
My mother would never come," I said. 

"ITien I will go and call on her,'" he remarifed. 

"It will be quite useless," I persisted. " My mother has 
emancipated me, and I am quite fi-ee to Icad my own life. 
I alone am ivsponsible for all that I do." 

"Well then, Mademoiselle, I will think it over," he said, 
rUing, to show me that the interview was at an end. I went 
back home, determined to Ray nothtng to my mother; but my 
little sister when questioiied about her wound had told cvery- 
thing in her own way, exaggerating, if possible, the brutality of 
Madame Nathalie and the audacity of what I had done. Rose 
Baretta, too, had been to see me, and had burat into tears, 
assuring my mother that my engagement woulii be caneelled. 
The whole famüy was very much escited and distressed when I 
arrived, and when they began to argue with nie it nmde me still 
more nervous. I did not take calmly the repi'oaches which one 
and another of them addressed to me, and I was not at all 
willing to follow their advice. I went to my room and locked 
mysetf in. 

The following day no one spokc to me, and I went up to 
Madame GuA-ard to be comforted and consoied. 

Several days passed by, and I had nothing to do at the 
theatre. Fiually one morning I received a notice requesting 
me to be present at the readiug of a play, — Doloria, by 
M. Bouilhet. This was the first time I had been asked 
to attend the rcading of a new piece. I was evidently to have 
a rök to "create." All my soitows were at once dispersed 
like a cloud of butteriliea. I told my raothef of my joy, 
and she naturally concloded that as I was asked to attend a 
reading my engagement was not to he caneelled, and I was not 
to be asked again to apologise to Madame Nathalie. 

I went to the theatre, and to my utter surprise I received 
from M. Davennes the röle of Dolores, the chief part in Bouil- 
het's play. I knew that Favart, who should have had this rofe, 



DfiBÜT AT THE FRANCAISE 105 

not well ; but there were other artistes, and I could not 
fet orer my joy and suiprise. Nevertheless, I feit somewhat 
■Mtfjr. A terrible presentiment has always warned me of any 
tnmUes about to come upon me. 

I had been rehearsing for five days, when one moming on 
going apstain I suddenly found myself face to face with 
Kithalie, seated under Gr^röme''s portrait of Rachel, known as 
^'thered pimento.^ I did not know whether to go downstairs 
apin or to paas by. My hesitation was noticed by tfae spitefiil 
lomaii. 

'^Qh, you can pass, Mademoiselle,^ she said. ^'I have for- 
pnn you, as I have avenged myself. The rSk that you like so 
■Qch 18 not going to be for you after all.^ 

I went by without uttering a word. I was thunderstruck by 
kr tpeeäi, which I guessed would prove true. 

I did not mention this incident to any one, but continued 

itiianing. It was on Tuesday that Nathalie had spoken to me, 

ttd on Friday I was disappointed to hear that Davennes was 

not there, and that there was to be no rehearsal. Just as I was 

gettbig into my cab the hall-porter ran out to give me a letter 

bon Davennes. The poor man had not ventured to come himself 

ttdgi?e me the news, which he was sure would be so painful to me. 

He explained to me in his letter that on account of my extreme 

youth — the importance of the röle — such responsibility for my 

young shouldei-s — and finally that as Madame Favart had 

ncovered from her illness, it was more prudent that, &c. SicJ*^ 

I finished reading the letter through blinding tears, but very 

won anger took the place of grief. I rushed back again and 

%Qt my name in to the manager^s office. He could not see 

me just then, but I said I would wait. After one hour, 

tfaoroughly impatient, taking no notice of the oflice-boy and 

the secretary, who wanted to prevent my entering, I opened 

the door of M. Thierry^'s office and walked in. All that 

despair, anger against injustice, and fury against falseness 

cotüd inspire me with I let him have, in a streani of 

eloquence only interrupted by my sobsä, The manager gazcd at 

me in bewilderment. He could not conceive of such daring and 

such ^-iolence in a girl so young. 

When at last, thoroughly exhausted^ I sank down in an arm- 
cfaair, he tried to calm me, but all in vain. 



106 SARAH BERNHARDT 

^ I will leave at onoe,^ I said. *^ Give me back my contnct 
and I will send you back mine.**^ 

Finally, tired of argument and persuasion, he called bis secre- 
tary and gave bim tbe necessary Orders, and the latter aoon 
farougbt in my contract. 

^^ Here is your motber's signature, Mademoiselle. I leave you 
finee to bring it me back vdthin forty-eight hours. After that 
time if I do not receive it I shall consider that you are no longer 
a member of the theatre. But believe me, you are acting 
unwisely. Think it over during the next forty-eight bours.^ 

I did not answer, but went out of bis office. That very evening 
I sent back to M. Thierry the contract bearing bis signature» 
and tore up the one with that of my mother. 

I had left Moli^'s Theatre, and was not to re-enter it until 
twelve years later. 



< 



XII 

AT THE GYMNASB THEATKB— A TRIP TO SPAIN 

This proceeding of mine was certainly violently decisive, and 
it completely upset my home life. I was not happy from this 
time forth amongst my own people, as I was continually being 
blamed for my violence. Irritating remarks with a double 
meaning were constantly being made by my aunt and my little 
sister. My godfather, whom I had once for all requested 
to mind his own business, no longer dared to attack me openly ; 
bat he influenced my mother against me. There was no longer 
any peace for me except at Madame Guerard^s, and so I was con- 
stantly with her. I enjoyed helping her in her domestic affairs. 
She taught me to make cakes, chocolate, and scrambled eggs. 
All this gave me something eise to think about, and I soon 
recovered my gaiety. 

One moming there was something very mysterious about my 
mother. She kept looking at the clock, and seemed uneasy 
because my godfather, who lunched and dined with us every 
day, had not arrived. 

'^If^s very stränge,'' my mother said, "for last night after 
whist he said he should be with us this moming before 
loncheon. It's very stränge indeed ! ^ 

She was usually calm, but she kept Coming in and out of the 
room, and when Marguerite put her head in at the door to ask 
whether she should serve the luncheon, my mother told her 
to waiL 

Finally the bell rang, staitling my mother and Jeanne. My 
little sister was evidently in the secret. 

** Well, ifs settled ! ^ exclaimed my godfather, shaking the 
snow from his hat. " Here, read that, you self-willed girl." 

He handed me a letter stamped with the words " Theätre du 



108 SARAH BERNHARDT 

G jmnaaer It was from SlontignTy the manager of the tliMtu, 
to M. de GerbcMs, a fricnd of mv godfitther s iriioiii I kne« 
rery welL Tlie letter was Tcry friendly, as fiv as M. de 
Gcrbois was conoemed, bot it finidicd with the foUowing wald^ 
^I will engage jour praUgte in order to be agreeaUe to 
yoa . . . bat she a|q)ears to me to have a Tile temper.^ 

I Uoshed as I read these lines, and I thought my g ünlhU i fr 
was wanting in tact, as he migfat have gi^en me real ddigfat «ad 
avoided hurting my feelings in this way, bot he was the 
dtunsiest-niinded man that ever lived. My mother aeeme d my 
much pleasedy so I kissed her pretty &oe and thanked my god- 
&ther. Oh, how I loved kissing that peariy face, wfaich was 
always so cool and always slightly dewy. When I was a littte 
child I used to ask her to play at butterfly on my dieeks widi 
her long lashes, and she would put her &oe close to mme aad 
open and shut her eyes, tickling my dieeks whilst I lay back 
Ineathless with delight 

The following day I went to the Gymnase. I was kept wait- 
ing for some little time, together with about fifty other giili. 
M. Monval, a cynical old man who was stage manager and 
almost geneial manager, then interviewed us. I liked him at 
first, because he was like M. Guerard, but I very soon disliked 
him. His way of looking at me, of speaking to me, and of 
taking stock of me generally roused my ire at once. I answered 
his questions curtly, and our conversation, which seemed likdy 
to take an aggressive tum, was cut short by the arrival of Bf. 
Montigny, the manager. 

*^ Which of you is Mademoiselle Sarah Bernhardt ? ^ he asked. 

I at once rose, and he continued, *^Will you come into 
my office, Mademoiselle ? ^ 

Montigny had been an actor, and was plump and good- 
humoured. He appeared to be somewhat infatuated with his 
own Personality, with his ^o, but that did not matter to me. 

After some friendly conversation, he preached a little to 
me about my outburst at the Comedie. and made me a great 
many promises about the roles I should have to play* He 
prepared my contract, and gave it me to take home for my 
mother^s signature and that of my family Council. 

** I am emancipated,^ I said to him, '^ so that my own 
signature is all that is required. 



AT THE GYMNASE THEATRE 109 

^Oh, werj good,^ he said; ^but what nonsense to have 
catDcipated a self-willed girL Your parents did not do you 
agood tum by that.^ 

I was just OD the point of repljring that what my parents 
diOK to do did not conoern him, but I held my peace, signed 
the cootract, and hurried home feeling very joyfüL 

Mootigny kept his word at first. He let me understudy 
Ticioria Lafontame, a young artist very much in vogue just 
theo, who bad the most delightful talent I played in La 
wmimm joiw etifaniSy and I took her role at a moment^s notice 
B Le dimon dujcu^ a piece which made a great success. I was 
üuriy good m both plays, but Montigny, in spite of my 
«treaiiea, never came to see me in them, and the spiteful stage 
played me no end of tricks. I used to feel a sullen 
stiiring within me, and I struggled with myself as much 
posnble to keep my nerves calm. 

One evening, on leaving the theatre, a notice was handed to 
ne requesting me to be present at the reading of a play the 
fbUowing day. Montigny had promised me a good part, and I 
m asieep that night luUed by fairies, who carried me off into 
the land of glory and success. On arriving at the theatre I 
fbond Blanche Pierson and Coline Montalant already there^ — 
two of the prettiest creatures that God has been pleased to 
creatc, the one as fair as the rising sun, and the other as dark 
as a starry night, for she was brilliant-Iooking in spite of her 
black hair. There were other women there, too— very, very 
pretty ones. 

The play to be read was entitled Un muri qui lance safemine^ 
and it was by Raymond Deslandes. I listened to it without 
any great pleasure, and I thought it stupid. I waited anxiously 
to we what role was to be given to me, and I discovered this 
oaly too soon. It was a certain Princess Dimchinka, a frivolou», 
feoli»h, laughing individual, who was always cating or daiicing. 
I did not like the part at all. I w&s very inexperienced on the 
stage, and my timidity made me rathcr awkwanl. Bosides, I had 
not worked for three years with such persistency and conviction 
io oider to create the role of an idiotic woinan in an imbecile 
play. I was in despair, and the wildest idea^i camc into my head. 
I wanted to give up the stage and go into businesH. I spoke 
of thia to our old family friend, Meydieu, who was so unbearablc. 



110 SARAH BERNHAHDT 

He approved of lay idea, and wanted tue to take a shop— a 
confectioner's — on the Boulevard des Italiens. Tliis became a 
fixed idea with the worthy man. He loved sweets himself, and 
he knew lots of recipes for various sorts of sweets that were not 
generally known, and which he wanted to introduce. I re- 
member one kind that he wanted to call " bmibon nfgrr." It 
was a mixture of choeolate and essence of coffee rolled into 
grilled licorice root. It was like blac'k pralin^, and was extreinely 
good. I was very pei'sistent in this idea at first, and went with 
Meydieu to look at a shop, but when he ahowed me the little 
flat over it where I shoiild have to live, it upset me so niuch 
that I gave up for ever the idea of bitsiiiess. 

I went every day to the rehearsal of the stupid piece, and 
was bad-tempered all the time. Finally the tirst perforroatice 
took place, and my part was neither a sviccess nor a failure. I 
simply was not noticed, andat night iny mother reinarked, **My 
poor child, you were rtdiculous in vour Kussian princess r6let 
and I was very rnuch grieved ! " 

I did not answer at all, but I should honestly have liked to 
kill myself. I slept very badly that night, and towards six in 
the morning I rushed up to Madame Gucrard. 1 askcd her to 
give rae some landanum, but she refused, Wben she saw that I 
really wanted it, the poor dear wonian undcrstood my dosign. 
" Well, then," I said, " swear by your children that you will nut 
teil any one what I am going to do. and then I will not kill 
myself." A sudden idea had just come into niy mind, and, 
without going further into it, I wanted to carry it out at once. 
She promised, and I then told her that I was going at once to 
Spain. as I had longed to see that country for a long time. 

" Go to Spain ! " she exciaimed. " With whom and wheu ? " 

"With the money I have saved," I anawered. "And Ihis 
very morning. Every one is aslcep at home. I shall go and 
pack my trank, and start at once with you ! " 

"No, no, I cannot go," exclainied Madame Gucrard. nearly 
beside herseif. "There i« my husband to think of, and my 
children." 

Her little girl was scarcely two years old at that time. 

" Well, then, www p^tit Davw, find me some one to go wiÜl 
me." 

" I do not know any one," »he answered, crying in her exctte- 



A TRIP TO SPAIN 111 

nent. ** My dear little Sarah give up such an idea, I beseech 
you. 

Bat bjr tliis time it was a fixed idea with me, and I was very 
determined about it. I went downstairs, packed my trunk, and 
theo retnmed to Madame Gu^rard. I had wrapped up a pewter 
ferfc in paper, and this I threw against one of the panes of glass 
in a Skylight window opposite. The window was opened 
«famptly, and the sleepy, angry face of a young woman appeared. 
I made a trumpet of my two hands and called out : 

^ Caroline, will you start with me at once for Spain ? ^ The 
bewildered expression on the woman^s face showed that she had 
not oomprehended, but she replied at once, ^^I am coming, 
Ifademoiselle.'** She then closed her window, and ten minutes 
iater Caioline was tapping at the door. Madame Gu^rard had 
sank down aghast in an arm-chair. 

M. Gu^rard had asked several times from his bedroom what 

m 

going on. 

Sarah is here,^ his wife had replied. ** I will teil you Iater 



Caroline did dressmaking by the day at Madame Gu^rard^s, and 
die had oflfered her Services to me as lady^s maid. She was 
agreeable and rather daring, and she now accepted my ofTer at 
onoc. But as it would not do to arousc the suspicions of the 
concicrge, it was decided that I should take her dresses in my 
tnmk, and that she should put her linen into a bag to be 
knt by mon peiit Dame. 

Poor dear Madame Guerard had given in. She was quite con- 
quered, and soon began to help in my preparations, which 
«ertainly did not take me long. 

But I did not know how to get to Spain. 

** You go through Bordeaux,"^ said Madame Guerard. 

**0h no,*' exclaimed Caroline ; "mybrother-in-lawisaskipper, 
ind he often goes to Spain by Marseilles." 

I had sa\'ed nine hundred francs, and Madame Guerard lent me 
HX hundred. It was perfectly mad, but I feit ready to conquer 
the universc, and nothing would have indueed me to abandon 
my plan. Then, too, it seemed to me as though I had been 
vtthing to see Spain for a long time. I had got it into my 
heid that my Fate willed it, that I must obey my star, and 
A kundred otlier ideas, eadi one morc foolish than the other. 



112 SARAH BERNHARDT 

ftxcBgtlieoed me in mj püui. I «ms iletli i iwl to act in this 
waj^I thmight- 

IveotdavnsUiisagun. The doorvas still lyar. WithCtfO- 
fine's hdp I canioi the emptr tzimk op to Madame Gnteid*!» 
and Caroline enqitied niTwudrobeanddravcrsandtlien padwd 
thetnmk. I Äall nerer folget that ddi^tfol moment. It 
■eemed to me as tiioiigh the woM vss about to be mine. I was 
going to Start off with a woman to vait an me. I was about to 
travel akme, with no one to ciitiGise what I derided to do» I 
should see an onknown ooantzr aboat which I had dreanied,and 
I fthould crosB the sea. Oh, how happj I was ! Twenty times 
I must have gone up and down tl^ staircase irfiidi sepaiwbed 
oor two flats. Etctj one was asieep in my mother^B flat, and 
the rooms were so disposed that not a sound of oor going in and 
out oould reach her. 

My tnink was at hist closed, Caroline^s valise &stened, and 
my little bag crammed füll. I was quite ready to start, biit the 
fingers of the cloek had moved along by this time, and to my 
horror I discovered that it was ei^t o'^dock. Maiguerite wouki 
be Coming down from her bedroom at the top of the house to 
prepare my mother s coffee, my diooolate, and bread and milk 
for my sisters. In a fit of despair and wild determination I 
kis^ed Madame Guerard with such violenoe as almost to stifle 
her, and rushed once more to my room to get my little Viigin 
Mary, which went with me everywhere. I threw a hundred 
kisses to my mother''s room, and then, with wet eyes and a joyful 
heart, went downstairs. Mon petU Dame had asked the man 
who polished the floors to take the trunk and the valise down, 
and Caroline had fetched a cab. I went like a whirlwind past 
the concierge*s door. She had her back tumed towards me and 
was sweeping the floor. I sprang into the cab, and the driver 
whipped up bis horse. I was on my way to Spain. I had written 
an affcctionate letter to my mother begging her to forgive me 
and not to be grieved. I had written a stupid letter of explana- 
tion to Montigny, the manager of the Gymnase Theatre. The 
letter did not explain anything, though. It was written by a 
child whose brain was certainly a little affected, and I finished 
up with these words : ^' Have pity on a poor, crazy girl ! ^ 

Sardou told me latcr on that he happened to be in Montigny^s 
office when hc received my letter. 



A TRIP TO SPAIN 118 

The c op v ctt ation was very animated, and when the door 
Montigny exclaimed in a fury, ^ I had given Orders 
ihafc I was not to be disturbed ! ^ He was somewhat appeased, 
% on aeeing old MonvaPs troubled lock, and he knew 
urgent was the matter. ^Oh, what^s happened 
?^ he asked, taking the letter that the old stage manager 
hdd out to him. On recognising my paper, with its grey 
botder» he laid, * Oh, it^s from that mad child ! Is she ill ?^ 
^*No^^ aaid Monval; ^she has gone to Spain."* 
^ *8lie ean go to the deuce ! ^ exclaimed Montigny. ^ Send for 
MatJune Dieodcmn^ to take her part. She has a good memory, 
nd iHdf the r^ must be cnt That will settle it' 
* * Any tnmble for to-night ? ** I asked Montigny. 
^'Ofa, Dothing,^ he answered ; ^it^sthat little Sarah Bernhardt 
^lo has deared off to Spain ! ^ 
** *T1iat girl from the Fran^ais who boxed Nathalie^s ears ? ^ 

^ * She^s rather amusing.^ 

*** Yes, but not for her managers,^ remarked Montigny, con- 
timm^ immediately afterwaids the conversation whidi had 
ben intermpted.^ 

Ulis 18 ezactly as Victorien Sardou related the incident. 

m • 4r 4r 4r 

On arriving at Marseilles, Caroline went to get information 
about the joiuney. The result was that we embarked on an 
abominable trading-boat, a dirty coaster,^ smelling of oil and 
fUle fish, a perfect horror. 

I had never been on the sea, so I fancied that all boats 
wtre like this one, and that it was no good complaining. 
After six days of rough sea we landed at Alicante. Oh, that 
Isnding, how well I remember it ! I had to jump from boat to 
boat, from plank to plank, with the risk of falling into the water 
s hnndred times over, for I am naturally inclined to dizziness, 
Süd the little gangways, without any rails, rope, or anything, 
thrown across from one boat to another^^and bending under 
my light weight seemed to me like mere ropes stretched across 



Exhausted with fatigue and hunger, I went to the first hotel 
to US. Oh, what a hotel it was ! The house itself 
built of stone, with low arcades. Booms on the first floor 

u 



114 SARAH BERNHARDT 

were given to me. Certainly the owners of these böte] people 
h&d never had two ladics in tlieir house before. The bcdroom 
was large, but with a low ceiling, By way of decoration there 
were enormous tish bones airanged in garlands caught up by the 
beads of fish. By half shutting one's eyes this decoration 
might be taken fov dehcate sculpture of ancient times. Id 
reality, however, it was merely composed of fish-bones. 

I had a bed put up for Caroline in this sio ister- looking room. 
We putied the fumiture across against the doors, and I did not 
undress, for I could not venture on those sheets. I was accua- 
tomed to fine aheets perfumed with iris, for my pretty little 
mother, like all Dutcb women, had a mania for linen and cleaa- 
liness, and sbe had inculcated nie with this hannless mania. 

It was about ßve in the moming when I opened my eyes, no 
doubt ißstinctively, as there had been no sound to rouse me. 
A door, leading I did not know where, opened, and a man 
looked in. I gave a shrill cry, seized my little Virgin Mary, 
and waved her about, wild with terror. 

Caroline roused up with a start, and courageously rushed to 
the window. She tbrew it up, screaming, " Fire ! Thieve« ! 
Help i " 

The man disappeared, and the house was soon invaded by the 
police. 1 leave it to be imagined what the poIice of Alicante 
forty years ago were like. I answered all the questions asked 
nie by a vice-consul, who was an Hungarian and spoke 
French. I had seen the man, and he had a silk handkerchief oo 
his head. Me had a beard, and on bis Shoulder a poitcho, but 
that was all I knew. The Hungarian vice-consul, whu, I 
believe, represented France, Austria, and Hungary, asked me 
the colour of the brigand's beard, silk handkerchief, aud ponclio. 
It had been too dark for me to distinguisb the colours exactiy. 
The worthy man was very much annoyed at my answer. After 
taking down a few notes he remained thoughtful for a moment 
and then gave orders for a message to be taken to his home. It 
was to ask his wife to send a carriage, aod to get a room ready 
in order to receive a young foreigner in distress. I prep&red to 
go with hini, and after paying my bill at the hotel we started 
oS* in the worthy Hungarian 's carriage, and I was welcomed by 
his wife with the most touching cordiahty. I drank the coStt 
with thick creant which sbe poured out for me, and during 



A TRIP TO SPAIN 115 

braaklSMt told her who I was and where I was going. She 
tlien told me in retum that her father was an important 
manufiictuier of cloth, that he was from Bohemia, and a great 
friend of my dther^'s. She took me to the room that had 
becn piepared for me, made me go to bed, and told me that 
wUle I was asleep she would write me some letters of intro- 
duction for Madrid. 

I siept for ten hours without waking, and when I roused up 
thoroughly rested in mind and body. I wanted to send a 
to my mother, but this was impossible, as there was no 
tekgraph at Alicante. I wrote a letter, therefore, to my poor 
dear mother, teUing her that I was in the house of friends 
of my ikther, &c &c. 

Tle following day 1 started for Madrid with a letter for the 
landlord of the Hötel de la Puerta del Sol. Nice rooms were 
giren to us, and I sent messengers with the letters from 
Madame Rudcowitz. I spent a fortnight in Madrid, and was 
made a great deal of and generally fcted. I went to all the 
buD-fights, and was infatuated with them. I had the honour 
of being invited to a great corrida given in honour of Victor 
Emmanuel, who was just then the guest of the Queen of Spain« 
I fiwgot Paris, my sorrows, disappointments, ambitions and 
everything eise, and I wanted to live in Spain. A telegram 
sent by Madame Guerard made me change all my plans. My 
mother was ver^' ill, the telegram informed me. I packed my 
trunk and wanted to start off at once, but when my hotel bill 
was paid I had not a sou to pay for the railway joumey. 
The landlord of the hotel took two tickets for me, prepared 
a basket of provisions, and gave me two hundred francs at the 
Station, telling me that he had received Orders from Madame 
Rudcowitz not to let me want for anything. She and her 
kusband were certainly most delightful people. 

My heart beat fast when I reached my mother^s house in 
Paris. Jtfbfi petU Dame w&s waiting for me downstairs in the con- 
cierge^s room. She was very excited to see me looking so well, 
•od kissed me with her eyes füll of tears of joy. The concierge 
and fiunily poured forth their compliments. Madame Guerard 
wcnt upstairs before me to inform my mother of my arrival, 
and I waited a moment in the kitchen and was hugged by 
our old servant Marguerite. 



^V 116 SARAH BERNHARDT ^^M 

' My sisters both came running in. Jemine kissed tne, llien 

tumed me round and t.'xamined me. Regina, with her band* 

I behind her back, leaned against thc stove gaztng at me Furiously. 

I "Well, won't you kiss me, Regina?" I asked, stooping down 

Ito her. 
" No, don't like you," she answered. *' You've wcnt off witboat 
me. Don't likc you now." Sbe tumed away bnuquely to avoid 
iny kiss, and knocked her head against tbe stove. 

\ Finally Madame Gu^rard appeared again, and I went witb ber. 

I Oh, how repentant I was, and how deeply alfected. I knocked 

gently at tbe door of the room, which was hung witb pale blue 
tep. My raotber looked very white, lying in her bed. Her face 
was thinner, but wonderfuUy beautiful. She stretched out her 

[ arms like two wings, and I rushed forward to this white, loving 

nest. My mother cried silently, as she always did, Then her 

I hands played with my hair, which sbe let down and corabed with 

I her long, taper fingers. Then we asked each other a hundred 

qtiestions. I wanted to know everything, and she did too, so 
that we had the most amusing duet of words, phrases, and kissea. 
I found that my mother had had a rather severe attack of 
pleuriay, that she was now getting better, but was not yet welL 
I therefore took up my abode again with ber, and for the time 
being went back to my old bed-room, Madame Gu^rard had 
told me in a letter that my grandmother on my father's side 
had at last agreed to the proposal made by my mother. My 
father had left a cei^tain sum of moncy which I was to have on 
my wedding-day. My mother, at my request, had asked my 
grandmother to let me have half this sum, and she had at last 
consented, saying that she should use the interest of the other 
half, but that this latter half would always be at my disposal if 
I changed my mind and conscnted to marry. 

I was therefore determined to live my life as I wished, to go 
away from home and be quite independent. 1 adored my 
mother, but our ideas were altogether different. Besides, my 
godfather was perfectly odious to me, and for years and yeart 
be had been in the habit of lunching and dining with us every 
day, and of playing whist every evening. He was alwaya 
hurting my fcelings in one way or another. He was a very 
rieh old bachelor, with no near relatives. He adored my 
mother, but ihe had always refused to marry him. She had 



A TRIP TO SPAIN 117 



put up with him at first, because he was a friend of my 
fktherV. After my Cftther^s death she had continued to put 
np with him, because she was then accustomed to him, until 
finaDy she quite missed him when he was ill or travelling. 
Bot, pladd as she was, my mother was authoritative, and 
eould not enduie any kind of constraint. She therefore rebelled 
•gunst the idea of another master. She was very gentle but deter- 
■uned, and this determination of hers ended sometimes in the 
▼ident anger. She used then to turn very pale, and violet 
woold come round her eyes, her lips would tremble, her 
tMth chatter, her beautiful eyes take a fixed gaze, the words 
wonld oome at intervals from her throat, all chopped up — hissing 
and hoane. After this she would faint ; and the veins of her 
tfaroat would swell, and her hands and feet tumed icy cold. 
Sonetimes she would be unconf^dous for hours, and the doctors 
told OS that she might die in one of these attacks, so that we did 
all m oor power to avoid these terrible accidents. My mother 
knew this, and rather took advantage of it, and, as I had in- 
hcrited this tendency to fits of rage from her, I could not and 
did not wish to live with her, As for me, I am not placid. I 
an active and always ready for fight, and what I want I always 
wHit inunediately. I have not the gentle obstinacy peculiar to 
my mother. The blood begins to boil under my temples before 
I have time to control it. Time has made nie wiser in this 
respect, but not sufficiently so. I am aware of this, and it causes 
me to suffer. 

I did not say anything about my plans to cur dear invalid, 
but I asked our old friend Meydieu to find me a Hat. The old 
man, who had tormented me so mach during my childhood, had 
been most kind to me ever since my dtbut at the Theätrc 
Fran9ais, and, in spite of my row with Nathalie, and my 
escapade when at the Gymnase, he wasnow ready to see the best 
in mc. When he came to see us the day after my retum home, 
1 remained talking with him for a time in the drawing-room, 
md confided my intentions to him. Hc quite approved, and 
Said that my intercourse with my mother would be aU the more 
agreeable because of this Separation. 



xm 

reOM THE POBTE ST. HABTIM THEATBB TO 

THE Od£ON 

I TOOK a flat in the Rue Dujdiai, quite near to my mother» 
and Madame Gueiaid undertook to have it fiiniished for me. Ab 
soon as my mothcr was well again, I talked to her about it, 
and I was not long in making her agree with me that it was 
Teally better I should live by myself and in my own way. When 
once she had aooepted the Situation everything went aloog 
satisfactorily. My sisters were present when we were talking 
about it Jeanne was close to my mother, and R^ina, who had 
refused to speak to me or look at me ever sinoe my retum three 
weeks ago, suddenly jumped on to my lap. 

^^ Take me with you this time ! ^ she exdaimed suddenly. ^ I 
will kiss you, if you will."" 

I glanced at my mother, rather embarrassed. 

" Oh, take her,'' she said, " for she is unbearable.'" 

Rigina jumped down again and began to dance a jig, mutter- 
ing the rudest, silliest things at the same time. She then nearly 
stifled me with kisses, sprang on to my mother's arm-chair, and 
kissed her hair, her eyes, her cheeks, saying : 

** You are glad I am going, aren't you P You can give every- 
thing to your Jenny ! *" 

My mother coloured slightly, but as her eyes feil on Jeanne 
her expressioD rhanged and a look of unspeakable affection 
came over her ilvce. She pushed Regina gently aside, and the 
child went on with her jig. 

** We two will stay together,'' said my mother, leaning her 
head back on Jcanne's Shoulder, and she said this quite un- 
consciously, just in the same way as she had gazed at my sister. 
I was perfectly stupeßed, and closcd my eyes so that I should not 



AT THE ODEON 119 

I ootild only hear my little sister dancing her jig and 

phariring every stamp on the floor with the words, ^ And we 
two as well ; we two, we two ! " 

It was a very painful little drama that was stirring our four 
beaits in this little bourgeois home, and the result of it was that 
I Kttled down finally with my little sister in the flat in the Rue 
Daphot. I kept Caroline with me, and engaged a cook. Man 
peüi Dame was with me nearly all day, and I dined every 
cvcning with my roother. 

I was still on good terms with an actor of the Porte Saint 
Maiün Theatre, who had been appointed stage manager there, 
Marc Foumier being at that time manager of the theatre. A 
pieoe entitled La biche ati bois was then being given. It 
was a spectacular play, and was having a great success. A 
deHgfatfiil actress trom the Odeon Theatre, MUe. Debay, had 
hecn engaged for the principal role. She played tragedy princesses 
most charmingly. I ofien had tickets for the Porte Saint 
Martin, and I thoroughly enjoyed La biche au bois. Madame 
Ulgade sang admirably in her rdle of the young prince, and 
amaaed me. Mariquita charmed me with her dancing. She 
was delightftil and so animated in her dances, so characteristic, 
and always so fiiU of distinction. Thanks to old Josse, I knew 
every one. 

But to my surprise and terror, one evening towards five 
oVIock, on arriving at the theatre to get the tickets for our 
aeats, he exclaimed on seeing me : 

^ Why here is our Princess, our little biche au bois. Here 
she is ! It is the Providence that watches over theatres who 
has sent her.'' 

I stru^led like an eel caught in a net, but it was all in vain. 
M. Marc Foumier, who could be very charming, gave me to 
imderstand that I should be rendering him a gieat Service and 
would " save ^ the receipts. Josse, who guessed what my scruples 
were, exclaimed : 

"But, my dear child, it will still be your high art, for 
Mademoiselle Debay from the Odeon Theatre plays this role 
of Princess, and Mademoiselle Debay is the first artiste at the 
Od^n and the Odeon is an imperial theati*e, so that it cannot 
be any disgrace after your studies.*" 

Mariquita, who had just arrived, also persuaded me, and 



120 



SARAH BERNHARDT 



Madame VHgade was sent for to rehearse the duos, fcH* I was ti> 
sing. Yes, and I was to sing with a veritable artiste, one who 
was considered to be the first artiste of the Opera Comique. 

There was but little tirae to spare, Josse made me rdiearae 
my röfc, which I almost knew, as I had seen the piece often and 
I had an extraordinary memory. The minutesflew.soon ninaing 
into quarters of an hour, and tbese quarters of an hour made 
half-bours, and then entire bours. I kept looking at the clock, 
the large clock in the manager's room, whcre Madame Ulgade 
was making me rehearse. She thought my voice was pretty» 
but I kept singing out of tune, and she helped me along and 
encouraged me all the time. 

I was di'essed up in Mlle. Debay's clothes, and the curtain 
was raised. Poor me ! I was more dead than alive, but ray 
couragc retumed after a triple burst of applause for the couplet 
which I sang on waking in very much the same way as I sfaould 
have murmured a series of RacineV lines. 

When the performauce was over Marc Foumier oiFered me. 
through Josse, a three years' engagement, but I asked to be 
allowed to think it over. Josse had Jntroduced me to a 
dramatic author, Lambert Thiboust, a charming man who was 
certainly not without talent. He thought I was just the ideal 
aclreas for his heroine in La bergerc d'Ivry, but M. Faille, an old 
actor, who had just become manager of the Ambigu Theatre, 
was not the onlj person to consult, for a certain M. de Chilly 
had some interest in the theatre. De Chilly had made bis name 
in the röle of Rodin in Le Juif errant, and after marrying s ' 
rather wealthy wife, had lefl the stage, and was now interested , 
in the business side of theatrical affairs. He had, I think, just i 
given the Ambigu up to Fnillc ] 

De Chilly was then helpingona charming girl named Laurence ) 
Gerai-d. She was gentle and very bourgeo'tse, rather pretty, but ) 
without any real beauty or grace. j 

Faille tolct I^ambert Thiboust that he was negotiating with 
Laurence Gcrard, but that he was ready to do as the author 
wished in the matter. The only thing he stipulated wao that 
he should hear me beforc deciding. I was wiiling to humour i 
the pnor fellow, who must have beeu as poor a manager os be 
had necn an artiste. I gave a short jxrformance for him at 
the Ambigu llieatre. The stage was only lighted by tho , 



AT THE ODEON 121 

viftcbed strvanie^ a little transportable lamp. About a jard 
m hoat of me I ooold see M. Faille balancing himself on bis 
duur, «me band on bis waistcoat and tbe fingers of tbe other 
bmd in bis enormous nostrils. Tbis disgusted me borribly. 
Ijuabert Tliiboast was seated near bim, bis bandsome face 
■dfing as be looked at me encouragingly. 

I bad selected On ne bödme pas avec tamour ; I did not want 
to ndte Tene, because I was to perform in a play in prose. I 
befieve I was perfectly cbarming, and Lambert Tbiboust 
thoo^t 90 too, but wben I bad finisbed poor Faille got up in 
I ^Aaaujj pretentious way, said sometbing in a low voice to tbe 
lotfaary and took me to bis oiBce. 

*My diild.^ lemarked tbe wortby but stupid manager, 
^ j«xi aie no good on tbe stage ! ^ 
I ittented tbis, but be continued : 

*0h DO, no good,^ and as tbe door tben opened be 
adied, pointing to tbe new-comer, ^*bere is M. de Cbilly, 
vi» was also listening to you, and be will say just tbe same as 
Imjr 
IL de Cbilly nodded and sbrugged bis sboulders. 
* Lambert Tbiboust is mad,**^ be remarked. *^ No one ever saw 
nch a tbin sbepberdess ! "^ 

He tben rang tbe bell and told tbe boy to sbow in Mlle. 
lAurenoe G^rard. I understood. and, without taking leave of 
the two boors, I left tbe room. 

My beart was beavy, thougb, as I went back to the foyer^ 

vhere I bad left my hat. There I found Laurence Gerard, 

bat sbe was fetched away the next moment. I was standing 

near ber, and as I looked in the glass I was Struck by tbe 

cootrast between us. She was plump, with a wide face and 

magnificent black eyes ; her nose was rather canailky her 

moutb beavy, and there was a very ordinary lock about her 

generally. I was fair, slight, and fraiMooking, like a reed, with 

a long, pale face, blue eyes, a rather sad mouth and a general 

look of distinction. Tbis basty vision consoled me for my 

fiuloie, and tben, too, I feit that this Faille was a nonentity 

and tbat de Cbilly was common.* 

I was destined to meet with them both again later in my 
life : Cbilly soon after, as nianager at the Odeon, and Faille 
twcnty years later, in such a wretched condition tbat the tears 



122 SARAH BERNHARDT 

came to my eyes when he appeared before me and begged me 
to play for his benefit. 

^ Oh, I beseech you,*^ said the poor man. ^ You will he Übe 
cmly attiaction at this perfonnanoe, and I have onlyyou to 
ooant on for thc reoeipts.'*" 

I ahook hands with him. I do not know idietlier he 
remembered our fint interview and my ^audition^ bat I who 
remembered it well only hupe that he did not. 

Five days later Mlle. Debay was well again, and took her 
r6le as usual. 

Before aooepting an engagement at the Porte Saint Martin, 
I wrote to Camille Doucet. The foliowing day I received a 
letter asking me to call at the Ministry. It was not withont 
some emotion that I went to see this kind man again. He 
was Standing up waiting for me when I was ushered into the 
room. He held out his hands to me, and drew me gently 
towards him. 

^* Oh, what a terrible child ! *" he said, giving me a chäir. 
^ Come now, you must be calmer. It will never do to waste all 
these admirable gifts in voyages, escapades, and boxing people^s 



ears." 



I was deeply moved by his kindness, and my eyes were fiill 
of regret as I looked at him. 

" Now, don^t cry, my dear child ; don'^t cry. Let us try and 
find out how we are to make up for all this folly.'^ 

He was silent for a moment, and theo, opening a drawer, he 
took out a letter. ^^ Here is something which will perhaps save 
US,*" he said. 

It was a letter from Duquesnel, who had just been appointed 
manager of the Odeon Theatre in conjunction with Chilly. 

" They ask me for sorae young artistes to make up the Odeon 
compcmy. Well, we niust attend to this.*" He got up, and^ 
accompanying me to the door, said as I went away, " We 
shall succeed.*" 

I went back home and began at once to rehearse all my role» 
in Racine^s plays. I waited very anxiously for several da3rs, 
consoled by Madame Guerard, who succeeded in restoring my 
confidence. Finally I received a letter, and went at once to the 
Ministry. Camille Doucet received me with a beaming ex- 
pression on his face. 



AT THE ODfiON 128 

^Ift settled,^ he said. **0h, but it has not been easy, 
ihoQf^k^ he added. ** You are very young, but veiy celebrated 
abcady tot yoor headstrong character. But I have pledged 
my wind that you will be as genüe as a young lamb.*** 

^ Yes, I will be gentle, I promise,^ I replied, ^* if only out of 
gntitude. But what am I to do ? "" 

^ Hcre is a letter for F^x Duquesnel,^ he replied ; ^ he is 
cxpectiiig you."* 

I thanked Camille Doucet heartily, and he then said, ^I 
diall Ke you again, less oificially, at your aunfs on Thursday. 
I haTe reoeiTed an invitation this moming to dine there, so 
you will be aUe to teil me what Duquesnel says.^ 

It was then half-past ten in the moming. I went home to 
put aome pretty clothes on. I chose a dress the underskirt of 
which was of canary yellow, the dress being of black silk with 
the skirt scalloped round, and a straw conical-shaped hat 
trimmed with com, and black ribbon velvet under the chin. It 
rnnrt have been delightfuUy mad looking. Arrayed in this 
ftjle, feeling very joyful and füll of confidence, I went to call 
on Felix DuquesneL I waited a few moments in a little room, 
fcry artistically fumished. A youug man appeared, looking 
▼ery el^;ant. He was smiling and altogether charming. 
I could not grasp the fact that this fair-haired, gay young 
man would be my manager. 

After a short conversation we agreed on every point we 
touched. 

" Come to the Odeon at two ©''elock,'" said Duquesnel, by way 
of leave-taking, " and I will introduce you to my partner. I 
ought to say it the other way round, accoi*ding to society 
etiquette,^ he added, laughing, "but we are talking theätre^ 
(Shop). 

He came a few steps down the staircase with me, and stayed 
there leaning over the balustrade to wish me good-bye. 

At two oVlock precisely I was at the Odöon, and had to wait 
an hour. I began to grind my teeth, and only the reniembrance 
of my promise to Camille Doucet prevented me from going 

Finally Duquesnel appeared and took me across to the 

anager^'s office. 

^ You will now see the other ogre/' he said, and I pictured to 



124 SARAH BERNHARDT 

myself tbe other ogre as charming as hia paxtner. I was thoe- 
fore greatly disappointed on seeing a very ugly litÜe man. whom 
I recognised as Chilly. 

He eyed me up and down most impolitely, and pretended not 
to recognise me. He signed to me to sit down, and witbout ft 
Word handed me a pcn and showed nie where to sign my naine 
on the paper before me. Madame Gu^rard interposed, Uyiog 
her hand on mine. 

" Do not sign without reading it." she said. 

" Are jou Mademoiselle's mother ? " he asked, lookjng 
up. 

" No," she said, " but it is j ust as though I were." 

" Well, yes, you are right. Read it quickly," he continued, 
" and then sign or leave it alone, but be quick," 

I feit the colour Coming into my face, for tbis man was odioiu. 
Duquesnel whispered to me, " There''a no ceremony about him, 
but he's a good fellow ; don't take offence." 

I signed my contract and handed it to his ugly partner. 

"You know." he remarked, "He is responsible for you. I 
should not upon any account bave engaged you." 

" Andifyouhad been alone, Monsieur," I answered, "I should 
not have signed, so we are quits." 

I went away at once, and hurried to my niother'a to teil her, 
for I knew this would be a great joy for her. 'ITien, that very 
day, J set off with mtm petit Dame to buy everything nectsMiy 
for fumisbing my dressing-room. 

The following day I went to the convent in the Rue Notre 
Dam e-des- Cham ps to see my dear govemess, MUe. de Brabeiider. 
She had bcen ill with acute rbeumatism in all her limbe for 
tlie last thirtecn months. She had suffered so much tliat »he 
looked like a different pcrsoti. She waa lying in her litÜe 
white bed, e little white cap covering her hair; her big nose 
was drawii with pain, her washed-out eyes secmed to have no 
colour in thcm. Her fonnidable moustache alone bristled up 
with constant i>pa»nis of paiu. Besides all tbis she was so 
Atrangely altcrcd that 1 woiidered what had caosed the 
change. I went ncarer, and, bending duwn, kissed her gently. 
I then gazed at her so inquisitively that she understood instino- 
tively. With her eyes she signed to me to look on the table 
neor her, and therc in a glass I saw all my dear otd &iend^ 



AT THE ODEON 125 

teellL I pat the three roses I had brought her in the glass, 
•od, kisnng her again, I asked her forgiveness for my impertinent 
coriority. I left the convent with a very heavy heart, for the 
Motlier Superior told me in the garden that my beloved 
lllle. de Blähender oould not live much longer. I therefore 
«cnt every day for a time to see my gentle old govemess, 
bot as soon as the rehearsals commenced at the Od^n my 
vintt had to be less frequent. 

One moming about seven o'^dock a message came from the 
eoDTcnt to fetch me in great haste, and I was present at the dear 
vornan*« death-agony. Her fietce lighted up at the supreme 
moment with such a holy look that I suddenly longed to die. I 
kiaed her hands, which were holding the crucifix, and they had 
alnady tumed cold. I asked to be allowed to be there when 
die was placed in her coifin. On arriving at the convent the 
Dext day, at the hour fized, I found the sisters in such a state of 
eoDstemation that I was alarmed. Whatcould have happened,! 
wondered? Tley pointed to the door of the cell, without utter- 
ing a Word. The nuns were standing roimd the bed, on which 
wu the most extraordinary looking being imaginable. My poor 
gOTemesB, lying rigid on her deathbed, had a man's faca Her 
moustache had grown longer, and she had a beard nearly 
half an inch long. Her moustache and beard were sandy, 
vhilst the long hair framing her face was white. Her mouth, 
without the support of the teeth, had sunk in so that her 
Dose feil on the sandy moustache. It was like a terrible and 
ridiculous-Iooking mask, instead of the swcet face of my friend. 
It was the mask of a man, whilst the little delicate hands were 
those of a woman. 

There was an awe-struck expression in the eyes of the nuns, 
in spite of the assurance of the nurse who had dressed the poor 
d«ad body, and had declared to them that the body was that of 
a woman. But the poor little sisters were trembling and cross- 
ing themselves all the time. 

llie day after this dismal cercmony I made my dSbut at the 
Odeon in Lejeu de ramour et du hasard. I was not suited 
for Sifarivaux''s plays, as they requirc a ccrtain coquettishness 
and an aflTectation which were not then and still are not among 
my qualities. Then, too, I was rather too slight, so that I made 
no success at all. Chilly happened to be passing along the 



12« SARAH BERNHARDT 



Fcorridor, just aa Duquesnel was talking to me and encouraging 
me. Chilly pointed to me and remarked : 

I" Une ßätt pour les gen» du monde, il ny a mimt pat 
de mit.'' 
I was furious at the man's insolence, and the blood ruabed 
to my face, but I saw through my half-closed eyes Cauiille 
Doucet's face, that face always so clean shaven and young-look- 
Iing under bis crown of white hair. I thought it was a vision of 
my mind, which was always on the alert, on account of the 
promise I had made. But no, it was he himself, and he came up 
to me. 

I" What a pretty voice you have ! " he said. ** Your aecond 
appearance will be such a pleasure for us ! " 
This man was always court^ous, but truthful. This dfbut of 
niine had not given him any pleasure, but be was counting 
oa my next appearance, and he had spokeii the trutfa. I had a 
pretty voice, and that was all that any one could say from my 
first trial. 

I remained at the Odeon, and worked very hard. I was 
ready to take any one's place at a moment's notice, for I knew 
all the röUs. I made some success, and the students had a pre- 
dilection for nie. When I came on to the stage I was always 
greeted by applause from these young men, A few old stickWi 
used to tum towards the pit and try and command silenoe, but 
k no one cared a straw for tbem. 

. Finally my day of trimnph dawned. Duquesoel had the 

happy idea of putting Äthalie on again, with Mendelssohn*« 
choruses. 

Beauvallet, who had been odious as a professor, was charmiog 
as a comrade. By special permission from the Mioistiy he was 
to play Joad. The röle of Zacharie was ossigned to me. Some 
of the Conservatoire pupils were to take the spoken choruses, 
and the female pupils who studied singing undertook the musical 
part. The rehearsals were so bad that Duquesnet and Chilly 
were in despair. 

Beauvallet, who was more agreeable now, but not choice 
in hts language, muttered some terrible words. We began over 
and over again, but it was all to no purpose. The spoken 
choruses were simply abomi nable. When suddenly Cbüly 
exclaimed : 



AT THE ODÄON 127 

Well, let the young one say all the spoken choruses. They 
be riglit enough with her pretty voioe ! ^ 

Daquesnel did not utter a word, but he pulled his moustache 
to hkle a smile. Chilly was Coming round to his protigie after 
alL He nodded his head in an indifferent way, in cuiswer to his 
paitner^s questioning look, and we began again, I reading 
all the spoken choruses. Eveiy one applauded, and the con- 
doctor of the orchestra was delighted, for the poor man had 
luffered enough. The first Performance was a veritable little 
triumph for me! Oh, quite a little one, but still füll of 
promise for my fiiture. The audience, charmed with the sweet- 
nes of my voice and its crystal purity, encored the part of 
the spoken choruses, and I was rewarded by three rounds of 
applAUse. 

At the end of the act Chilly came to me and said, ^^ Thou art 
•dormUe ! ^ His thou rather annoyed me, but I answered mis- 
chierously, using the same form of speech : 

*^ Thou findest me fatter ? "" 

He burst into a fit of laughter, and from that day forth we 
both oaed the familiär thou and became the best friends 
imaginable. 

Oh, that Od^n Theatre! It is the theatre I loved most. 
I was very sorry to leave it, for every one liked e€u:h other there, 
and everj* one was gay. The theatre is a little like the continua- 
tion of school. The young artistes came there, and Duquesnel was 
an intelligent manager,and very polite and young himself. During 
rehearsal we often went off, several of us together, to play ball 
in the Luxembourg, during the acts in which we were not " on.'' I 
used to think of my few months at the Comedie Fran<^*aise. The 
little World I had known there had been stiff, scandal-mongering, 
and jealous. I recalled my fow months at the Gymnase. 
Hats and dresses were always discussed there, and every one 
chattered about a hundred things that had nothing to do with 
art. 

At the Odeon I was happy. We thought of nothing but 
putting plays on, and we rehearsed morning, aftemoon, and at 
all hours, and I liked that very much. 

For the summer I had taken a little house in the Villa Mont- 
morency at Auteuil. I went to the theatre in a petit ducy 
vhich I drove myself. I liad two wonderful ponies that Aunt 



128 



SARAH BERNHARDT 



Kosine had given to mc becausc they had very nearly broken 
her neck hy taking fright at St. Cloud at a whtrligig of wooden 
hoTses. I used to drive at füll speed along the quays, and 
in spite of the atmosphere briltiant with the July sunshine, and 
the gftiety of everything outside, I always ran up the cold, 
cracked steps of the theatre with veritable joy, and rushed up to 
my dressing-room, wishing every one I passed good moming 
OD my way. When I had taken off my coat and gloves I went 
on to the stage, delighted to be once more in that infinite dark- 
ness with only a poor light (a servante hanging here and there 
on a tree, a turret, a wall, or placed on a bench) thrown on the 
faces of tlie artistes for a few seconds. 

There was nothing more vivifying for me than that atmo- 
sphere, fiiU of microbes, nothing more gay than that obacurity, 
and nothing more brilliant than that darkness. 

One day my mother had the curiosity to come behind the 
scenes. I thought she would have died with horrar and dienst. 
"Oh, you poor thild," ehe murnmred, "how can you live in 
that !" When once she was outside again she began to bi'eathe 
freely, taking long gasps several times. Oh yes, I could live 
in it, and I really only livod well in it. Since then I have 
changed a little, but I still have a great hking for that gloomy 
Workshop in which we joyous lapidaries of art cut the precious 
stones auppUed to us by the poets. 

The days passed by, carrying away with them all our little 
disappointed hopes, and fresh days dawned bringing fresh 
dreams, so that life seemed to me etemal happiness. I played 
in tum in Le Marquis de Villemer and Fran^ois le Ckampi. In 
the former I tüok the part of the fooHsh baroness, an expert 
woman of thirty-five years of age. I was scarcely twenty-one 
myself, and I iooked seventeen. In the second piece I played 
Mariette, and made a great success, 

Those rehearsala of the Marguü de Villemer and Fran^oii U 
Champi have remained in my memory as so many exquisite 
honrs. Madame George Sand was a sweet, charming creature, 
extremely timid. She did not talk niuch, but smoked «U the 
time. Her large eyes were always dreamy, and her moutfa, 
which was rather heavy and common, had the kindest expression. 
She had perhaps had a medium-sized figure, but she was no 
louger upright. I used to watch her with the most romantic 



AT THE ODl^ON 129 

aScctkm, for had she not been the heroine of a fine love 



I iised to Sit down by her, and when I took her hand in mine 
I beld it as long as poanble. Her voice, too, was gentle and 
fudnating. 

Prinoe Napoleon, commonly known as ^^ Plon-Plon,^ often 
ond to come to Greorge Sandys rehearsals. He was extremely 
fand of her. The first time I ever saw that man I tumed pale, 
and feit as though my heart had stx)pped beating. He looked 
•0 modi like Napoleon L that I disliked him for it. By 
resembling him it seemed to me that he made him seem less 
&r avay, and brought him nearer to eveiy one. 

Madame Sand introduced me to him, in spite of my wishes. 
He looked at me in an impertinent way : he displeased me. I 
tcutely replied to his compliments, and went doser to Greorge 
SiixL 
** Why, she is in love with you ! ^ he exdaimed, laughing. 
George Sand stroked my cheek gently. 

^She is my little Madonna,^ she answered ; *^ do not torment 
her.'' 

I ftayed with her, casting displeased and furtive glances at 
the Prince. Gradually, though, I began to enjoy listening 
to him, for his conversation was brilliant, serious, and at the 
iAme time witty. He sprinkled his discourses and his replies 
vith words that were a trifle crude, but all that he said was 
interesting and instructive. He was not very indulgent, though, 
and I have heard him say base, horrible thiugs about little 
Thiers which I believe had little truth in them. He drew such 
an amusing portrait one day of that agreeablc Louis Bouilhet 
that George Sand, who liked him, could not help laughing, 
although she called the Prince a bad man. He was very 
onoeremonious, too, but at the same time he did not like people 
to be wanting in respect to him. One day an artiste, named 
Paul Deshayes, who was playing in Franfois le Champiy came 
into the green-room. Prince Napoleon, Madame George Sand, 
the curator of the library, whose name I have forgotten, and 
mvself were there. This artiste was common, and something 
of an anarchist. He bowed to Madame Sand, and addressing 
the Prince, said : 
** You are sitting on my gloves, sir.'' 

I 



SARAH BERNHARDT 

The Priooe MWtdj moTed, pulled tfae gloTU out, mm), 
Uuorä^ them oa tfae Soor, reniarked, " I thoaght tbis sest ww 

Tlie ftctor coloored, picked ap tbe gloves, aod went away, 

mormuring »ome revoIuticmarT threat. 

I plftycd tlie part of Hortense io J> latam^rti de Cf'ar. 
by Girodot, and of Anna Danbv in Alexandre Duma^'s Kran. 

Ob tbe evening of tbe fint performance of the latter piece * 
tlie UMtience was most aggraratiag. Dumas ph^ was quite out 
of (aToar on aocount of a priTate matter that had notbing to da 
witb art. Politios for 3ome time past had been exciting every 
ODe, and the rehim of Victor Hugo irom exile was very milch 
desired. Wben Dumas entered bis box he was greeted by yelLs. 
Tlie stodents were tbere in füll force, and they began shouting 
for Rta/ Biaa. Dumas rose and asked to be allowed to speak, 
" My joung Iriends," he began, as soon as tbere was ailenea. 
"Weare quite willing to listen," calied out some one, "but yoU' 
must be alone in yoiir box." 

Dumas protested vebemently. Several |>ersons in the 
orcbestra took bis side, for be had invited a lady into bis 
box, and whoever that lady might be, no ODe had any right 
to Insult her in »o outrageous a manner. I had never yet 
witnessed a sceoe of tbis kiod. I looked through the hole in 
the curtain, and «ras very much iatere^ted and excited. l saw 
our great Dumas, pale witb anger, clenching bis 6sts, shouting, 
swearing, and storming. Theu suddenly tbere was a burst of 
applause. Tbe woman had disappeared from tbe box. She 
had taken advantage of the moment wheu Dumas, leaning well 
over the frout of the box, was answering, "No, no, tbis lady 
aball not Icave tbe box ! " 

Just at tbis moment she slipped away, and the whole bouse, 
delighted, shouted, "Bravo!" Dumas was theu allowed to 
cantinue, but only for a few seconds. Cries of " Rut/ Blot ! 
Rv.if Blas ! \'ictDr Hugo ! Hugo ! " could then be heaid again 
in the midst of au infernal uproar. We had been ready to 
commence tbe play for au hour, and I was greatly excited- 
Cbilly and Duquesoel then came to us on the stage. 

" Courage, mes enfants, for the house bas gone mad," they 
Said. " We will commence anyhow, let what will happea." 
1 Febniur IS, 1868. 



AT THE ODÄON 181 

^ Fm afmid I shall faint,^ I said to Duquesnel. My hands 
vere as cold as ice, and my heart was beating wildly. *' What 
am I io do^ I asked him, '' if I get too frightened P "" 

** Thcre's nothing to be done,'* he replied. ** Be frightened, 
but go on playing, and don^'t faint upon any account ! ^ 

The curtain was drawn up in the midst of a veritable tempest, 
bird cries, cat-calls, and a heavy rhythmical refrain of *^ Ruy 
Bios ! Ruy Blas ! Victor Hugo ! Victor Hugo ! '^ 

My tum came. Berton |7^, who was playing Kean, had 
been reeeived badly. I was wearing the eccentric costume of 
•n Englishwoman in the year 1820. As soon dA I appeared I 
heard a burst of laughter, and I stood still, rooted to the spot 
in the doorway. At the very same instant the cheers of my 
dear friends the students drowned the laughter of the aggra- 
Tators. This gave me courage, and I even feit a desire to 
figfat. But it was not necessary, for after the second endlessly 
long harangue, in which I give an idea of my love for Kean, 
the house was delighted, and gave me an ovation. 

** Ignotus^ wrote the foUowing paragraph in the Figaro : 

**Mlle. Sarah Bernhardt appeared weai*ing an eccentric costume 
whi^ increased the tumult, but her rieh voice, that astonishing 
Toiee of hers, appealed to the public, and she charmed them like 
a little Orpheus.'' 

After Kean I played in La loterie du mariage, When we 
were rehearsing the piece, Agar came up to me one day, in the 
comer where I usually sat. I had a little arm-chair there from 
my dressing-room, and put my feet up on a straw chair. I 
liked this place, because there was a little gas-burner there, and 
1 could work whilst waiting for my tiu-n to go on the »tage. I 
loved embroidery and tapestry work. I had a quantity of 
difTerent kinds of fancy work commenced, and could take up one 
or the other as I feit inclined. 

Madame Agar was an admirable creature. She had evidently 
been created for the joy of the eyes. She was a brünette, tallj 
pale, with large, dark, gentle eyes, a very small mouth with füll 
rounded ups, which went up at the corners with an imperccptible 
smile. She had exquisite teeth, and her head was covcred with 
thick, glossy hair. She was the living incarnation of one of the 
most beautiful types of ancient Greece. Her pretty hands were 
long and rather soft, whilst her slow and rather heavy walk 



F 



L 



132 SARAH BERNHARDT 



completetl the illosioD. Sh« was tbe great troffediatm of Ae 
Od^on The«tre, She approached me, with her measured tmd, 
followed by a jouog moo of froin twentj-four to twen^-ax 
yeanofage. 
I ** Well, my dear,'' sbe said, kissiag me, " there is a dunee far 

I Tou to tnake a poet happy!" She tben introduced Fnofob 

Coppee. I invited the joung man to sit down, and then I 
looked at him more tboroughly. His bandsonie face, emodated 
I and pale, was that of the itnmortal Bonaparte. A thrill of 

I emotion went through me, for I adore Napoleon 1. 

j " Are you a poet, Monsieur ? " I asked. 

" Yee, Mademoiselle." 

His voice, too, trembied, for he was still nior« tiinid thut I 
was. 

'^ I have written a little piece," he continued, ** asd Hlle. 
Agar is sure that you will play it with her," 

" Yes, my dear," put in Agar, '• you are going to play il for 
him. It is a little mastcrpiece, and I am sure you wiU nutke a 
gigantic success.'" 

" Ohi and you too. You will be so beautifiil in it ! " said Ük 
poet, gazing rapturously at Agar. 

I was c&lied on to the stage just at this moment, and aa 
i-etuming a few minutes later I found the young poet talkoig in 
a low voice to the beautiful tragedienne. I coughed, and Agar, 
who had taken my ariii-chair, wantcd to give it me back- On 
my refusing it she puUed nie down on to her lap. The young 
man drew up his chair and we chatted away tc^ether, our three 
heads alniost touching. It was decided that after reading the 
piece I should show it to Duquesnel, who aione was capable of 
judging poetry, and that we should then get permission from 
both managers to play it at R benefit that was to take place 
after our nest production. 

the young man was delighted, and his pale face lighted up 
with a grateful smile as beshook hands excitedly. Agarwalked 
away with him as far as the little landing which projccted over 
the stage. I watchedthem as they went, themagnificentstatue- 
like woman and the siender outline of the young writer. Agar 
was perhaps thirty-five at that time, She was certainly very 
l>enutiful, but to me there was no charm about her, and I oould 
not underatand why this poetical Bonapartc was in love with 



AT THE ODEON 188 

this matronlj woman. It was as dear as daylight thai he was, 
and she too appeared to be in love. This interested me infinitelj. 
I watched them dasp each other^s hands, and then, with an abrupt 
and almoat awkward movement, the young poet bent over the 
beautiful hazid he was holding and kissed it fervently. 

Agar came back to me with a faint colour in her eheeks. 
Ulis was rare with her, for she had a marble-like complexion. 
** Here is the manuscript ! ^ she said, giving me a little roll of 



The rehearsal was over, and I wished Agar good-bye, and on 
my way home read the piece. I was so delighted with it that I 
drove straight back to the theatre to give it to Duquesnel at 
onoe. I met him Coming downstairs. 

*^ Do come back again, please ! ^ I exclaimed. 

^'Good heavens, my dear girl, what is the matter?^ he 
asked. ^ You look as though you have won a big lottery 
prue. 

** Well, it is something like that,^ I said, and entering his 
office, I produced the manuscript. 

** Read this, please,^ I continued. 

•* ril take it with me,'' he said. 

^ Oh no, read it here at once ! '" I insisted. ^^ Shall I read it 
to you ? "" 

** No, no,'' he replied ; " your voice is treacherous. It makes 
charming poetry of the worst lines possible. Well, let me have 
it,"* he continued, sitting down in his arm-chair. He began to 
read whilst I looked at the newspapers. 

** It^s delicious ! ^ he soon exclaimed. " It's a perfect master- 
piece.*" 

I sprang to my feet in joy. 
And you will get Chilly to accept it ?" 
Oh yes, you can make your mind easy. Bat when do you 
want to play it ? "" 

** Well, the author seems to be in a great hurry," I said, " and 
Agar too."* 

** And you as well," he put in, laughing, " for this is a röie 
that just suits your fancy." 

" Yes, my dear * Duqy " I acknowledged. " I too want it put 
on at once. Do you want to be very nice ? ^ I added. " If 
ao, let US have it for the benefit of Madame in a fortnight 



M 

U 




SARAH BERNHARD 

from now, That would not niake any difference to other 
airangements, and our poet would be so happy." 

«Good !" Said Duquesnel. " I will settle it like that. Wtat i 
about the scenery, though ? " he muttered meditatively, biting 
bis nails, which werc then his favoui-ite meal when disttirbed in 
his miod. 

I had aircady thought that out, so I olTered to drive bim 
boine, and on tbe way I put my plan before bim. 

We migbt have tbe scenery aiJeanne de Ligneru^ a piecc that 
had been put od and taken oß' again immediatety, after being 
jeered at hy the pubiic. Tbe scenery consisted of a süperb 
Italian park, with tlowers, statues, and even a fligbt of steps. 
As to costumes, if we spoke of tbem to Cbilly, uo Diatt«r bow > 
little they might cost be would shriek, as be bad done in bis 
röle of Rodin. Agar and I would supply our own costumes. 

When larrivedat Duquesnel's bouse, be asked me toguinand 
discuss the costumes witb his wife. I accepted bis invitation, i 
and, after kissing the prettiest face one could possibly dream of, 
I told its owner about our plot. She approved of every- 
thing, and promised to begin at once to look out for pretty 
designf for our costumes. VVbilst she was talking I compared 
her with Agar, Oh, bow mucb I preferred that charming head, 
witb its fair hair, those large, limpid eyes, and the face, with 
its two little pink dimples. Her hair was soft and ligbt, 
and formed a balo round her forehoad. I admired, too, her 
delicate wiists, finishing with the loveliest hands iniaginable, 
bands that were later on quite famous. 

On leaving niy two friends I diove etraight to Agar'« to ] 
teil her what had happened. She kissed me over and over again, 1 
and a cousin of bers, a priest, wbo happened to be there. appeaicd 
to be very deüghted with my story. He scemed to know about 
everything. Presently there wai a timid ring at the bell, and 
Fran^ois Coppöe was announced. 

" I am just going away," I said to bim, as I met him in the 
doorway and shook handa. '^ Agar will teil you everythiug." 



XIV 

LB PASSAKT— AT THE TÜILEBIES— FIBE IN 

MY FLAT 

Ite rebearsals of Le Passant commenced very soon after 

Üiii^ lod were delightfui, for the timid young poet was a 

Boit ioteresting and intelligent talker. 
The fint Performance took place as arranged, and Le Passani 

«M « yeritable triumph. The whole house cheered over and 
over again, and Agar and myself had eight curtain calls. 
We tried in vain to bring the author forward, as the audience 
viilied to See him. Fran9oi8 Coppee was not to be found. The 
70011g poet, hitherto unknown, had become famous within a few 
ksun. His uame was on all Ups. As for Agar and myself, we 
»« rimply overwhelmed with praise, and Chilly wanted to pay 
for our costumes. We played this one-act piece more than a 
kundred times consecutively to füll houses. 

We were asked to give it at the Tuileries, and at the house 
of Princess Mathilde. 

Oh, that iSrst perfonnance at the Tuileries ! It is stamped 
OD my brain for ever, and with my eyes shut I can see every 
faail again even now. It had been arranged between 
Daqoesnel and the official sent from the Court that Agar and 
I »bould go to the Tuileries to see the room where we were 
to plav, in order to have it arranged according to the require- 
nent» of the piece. Count de Laferriere was to introduce me 
to the Emperor, who would then introduce me to the Empress 
Eugenie. Agar was to be introduced by Princess Mathilde, to 
vbom she was then sitting as Minerva. 

M. de I^ferriöre came for me at nine o'^clock in a state carriage, 
■od Madame Guerard accompanied me. 

M. de LAferriere was a very agreeable man, with rather stifl* 



ise SARAH BERNHARDT 



Ab we were tuming round the Bue Roysle the 
carriage had to draw up an instant, and General Fleury ap- 
proached us. I knew him, as he had been introduced to me by 
Morny. He spoke to us, and Comte de LAferriere explained 
where we were going. As he left us he said to me, " Good luck !" 
Just at that moinent a man who was passing by took up the 
words and called out, "Good luck, perhaps, but not for long, 
you crowd of good-for-nothings ! " 

Od arriving at the Palace we all three got out of the carriage> 
and were shown into a sniall yellow drawing-room on theground 
floor, 

"I will go and inform his Majesty that you are here," said 
M. de LAferriere, leaving ua, 

When alone with Madame Guerard I thought I would rehearse 
my three curtseys. 

" Mon petit Dame^'' I said, " teil me whether they are right." 

I made the curtseys, murmuring, " Sire . . . Sire ..." I 
began over again several times, looking down at my dress as 
I said " Sire ■ . ." when suddenly I heard a stifled laugh. 

I stood up quickly, furious with Madame Guerard, but 
I saw that she too was beut over in a half circle. I turned 
round quickly, and behind me — was the Eraperor. He 
was clapping his hands silently and laughing quietly, but still 
he jcas laughing. My face Hushed, and I was embaiTassed, for 
I wondered how long he had been there. I had been curtseying 
I do not know how many times, trj-ing to get my reverence 
right, and saying, " There . . . that's too low. . , There ; is 
that right, Guerard ? " 

" Good Heavens ! " I now said to myself. " Has he heard it 
all?" 

In spite of my confusion, I now made my curtsey again, but 
the Emperor said, smiling : 

" Oh ! no ; it could not be better than it was just now. 
Save them for the Empress, who is expecting you." 

Oh, that "just now," I wondered when it had been ? 

I could not question Madame Guerard, as she was following 
at some distancc with M. de Laferriere. The Empejror 
was at my side, talking to me of a hundred things, but I could 
only answer in an absent-minded way, on account of that "just 
now." 



SARAH BERNHARDT IN A FANCY COSTUME 

By Waltkr Spindler 



LE PASSANT 187 

I liked him much better thus, quite near, than in bis 
portnits. He had such fine eyes, which he half closed whilst 
looking through his long lashes. His smile was sad and rather 
mocking. His face was pale and his voice faint, but seductive. 

We found the Empress seated in a large arm-chair. Her 
bodv was sheathed in a grey dress, and seemed to have been 
moulded into the material. I thought her very beautifuL 
Sbe too was more beautiful than her portraits. I made my 
three curtseys under the laughing eyes of the Emperor. The 
Empress spoke, and the spell was then broken. That rough, 
Wd voice Coming from that brilliant woman gave me a 
shocL 

From that moment I feit ill at ease with her, in spite of her 
graciousness and her kindness. As soon as Agar arrived and 
bad been introduced, the Empress had us conducted to the 
lirge drawing-room, where the Performance was to take place. 
The measurements were taken for the platform, and there was 
to be the flight of steps where Agar had to pose as the un- 
Ittppy courtesan cursing mercenary love and longing for ideal 
kve. 

This flight of Steps was quite a probiem. They were 
sQpposed to represent the first three steps of a huge flight 
leading up to a Florentine palace, and had to be half hidden in 
some way. I asked for some shrubs, flowers and plants, which 
I arranged along the three steps. 

The Prince Imperial, who had come in, was then about 
thirteen years of age. He helped me to arrange the plants, and 
laughed wildly when Agar mounted the steps to try the efiect. 
He was delicious, with his magnificent eyes with heavy lids like 
tbose of his mother, and with his father's long eyelashes. He 
*as witty like the Emperor, whom people sumamed " Louis the 
Imbecile,"' and who certainly had the most refined, subtle, and 
at the same time the niost generous wit. 

We arranged everything as well as we could, and it was 
^ded that we should retum two days later for a rehearsal 
kefore their Majesties. 

How gracefully the Prince Imperial &sked permission to be 
present at the rehearsal ! His request was granted, and the 
Empress then took leave of us in the most charming manner, 
but her voice was very ugly. She told the two ladies who were 



188 



SARAH BERNHARDT! 



with her to give us wine and biscuit«, and to show us over the 
Palace if we wished to see it. I did not care much about this, 
but mon petit Dame and Agar seemed so delightcd at tlie offer 
that I gave in to them. 

I have rcgretted ever since that I did so, for nothing could 
have been uglier thau the private rooms, »ith the ezceptiou of 
t!ie Emperor's study and the staircases, This inspection of the 
Palare bored me terribly, A few of the pictures consoled me, 
1 and I stayed some time gazing at Winteihalter's portnut 
representing the Empress Eugf^nie. She looked beautifui, and 
I thanked Heaven that the portrait could not speak, for it 
flerved to cxplain and justifj the wonderful good luck of her 
Majesty. 

The rehearsal took place without any special incidtnt. Tfae 
young Prince did his utmost to prove to us his gratitude and 
delight, for we had made it a dress rehearsal on his account, 
as he was not to be present at the soirtc. He sketched my 
costume, and intended to have it copied for a bal drguisi which 
was to be given for the Imperial child. Our performance wa» 
in honour of the Queen of Holland, accompanied by the Priace 
of Orange, coiiimonly known in Paris as " Prince Citron." 

A rather anmsing incident occurred during the evcning, 'ITie 
Empress had remarkably sniall feet, and in ordcr to make them 
look still smaller she encased them in shocs that were too narrow, 
Shc looked «onderfully beautifui that night, with her pretty 
sloping Shoulders emerging from a dress of pale blue sattn 
cmbroidered with silver, On her lovely hair she was wearing a 
littlc diadem of turquoiscs and dianionds, and her small feet 
were on a cushion of silver brocade. All through Coppöe^ 
piece my eyes wandercd frequently to this cushion, and I saw 
the two little feet moving resttessly about. Finally I saw one 
of the sboes pashing xts little brother very, very gently, axA 
then I saw the heel of the Empress come out of its prison. I^e 
foot was then only covered at the toe, and 1 was very anzious to 
know how it would get back, for under such circunistanccs the 
foot swells, and cannot gu into a shoc that is too narrow. 
When the piece was over we were recalled twice, and as it was 
the Empress who started the applause, I thought she was 
puttiug ofl the moment for getting up, and I saw her pretty 
Uttlc sore foot tryiug in vain to gct back into its shoe. Hie 



LE PASSANT 189 

cortaiiis were drawn, and as I had told Agar about the cushion 
drmma, we watched tlirough them its various phases. 

Tbe Emperor rose, and every one followed bis example. He 

offered bis arm to the Queen of Holland, but sbe looked at tbe 

Empress, wbo bad not yet risen. Tbe Emperor'^s face ligbted 

op with tbat smile wbidi I bad already seen. He said a word 

to General Fleury, and immediately tbe generals and otber 

offioen on duty, wbo were seated bebind tbe sovereigns, formed 

t nunpart between tbe crowd and tbe Empress. Tbe Emperor 

and the Queen of Holland then passed on, without appearing to 

haTe notioed her Majesty^s distress, and tbe Prince of Orange, 

vith one knee on tbe ground, helped tbe beautiful sovereign to 

pat on her Cinderella-like slipper. I saw tbat tbe Empress 

ieaned more heavily on tbe Prince^s arm tban sbe would have 

liled, for her pretty foot was evidently ratber painful. 

We were tben sent for to be complimented, and we were 
suntHUided and ieted so much tbat we were deligbted witb our 
eTeoing. 

After Le Pa$8ant and tbe prodigioas success of tbat adorable 
pieoe, a success in which Agar and I bad our share, Cbilly 
thought more of me, and began to like me. He insisted on 
paying for our costumes, which was great extravagance for bim. 
I bad become the adored quecn of the students, and I used 
to receive little bouquets of violets, sonnets, and long, long 
pot»ms — too long to read. Sometimes on arriving at the 
theatre aa* I was getting out of my carriage I received a shower 
of flowers which siniply covered me, and I was deligbted, and 
mmA to thank my worshippers. The only thing was that their 
adiniration blinded them, so that when in some pieces I was not 
w good, and the house was rather chary of applause, my little 
anny of students would be indignant and would cheer wildly, 
without rhyme or reason. I can understand quite well that this 
u*«d to exasperate the regulär subscribers of the Odeon, wbo 
were very kindly disposed towards me nevertheless, as they too 
used to spoil me, but they would have liked me to be more 
humble and meek, and less headstrong. How many times one 
or anotber of these old subscribers would come and give me 
a Word of advice. " Mademoiselle, you were charming in Junie^* 
one of them ol>>erved ; " but you bite your lips, and the Roman 
women never did that ! ^ 




SARAH BERNHARD 

" My dear girl,"" another said, *'you were delicious in Fran^rna 
le Champi, but there is not a single Breton woman in the whole 
of Brittany with her hair curled." 

A Professor from the Sorbonne said to me one day ratLer 
curtly, " It ifl a want of respect, Mademoiselle, to tum youp 
back on the public ! " 

"But, Monsieur," I replied, "I was accompanying an old 
lady to a door at the back of the stage. I could not walk along 
with her backwards," 

"The artistes we had before you, Mademoiselle, who were 
quite OS talented as you, if not niore' so, had a way of going 
across the stage without turning their back on the public." 

And he tumed quickly on his heel and was going away, wben 
I Btopped him. 

" Monsieur, will you go to that door, through which you 
iutended to pass, without turning your back on nie ? " 

He Riade an attempt, and then, furious, tumed his back on 
nie and disappeared, slaniming the door after him. 

I Hved Gome time at 16 Rue Auber, in a tlat on the firat Soor, 
which was rather a nice one. I had fumished itwith old Dutch 
fumiture which my grandmother had sent me. My godfather 
advised me to insure against fire, as this fumiture, he told 
me, constituted a small fortune, I decided to foUow his advic«, 
and asked man petit Dame to take the necessary steps for me. A 
few days later she told me that some one would call about it 
on the 12th. 

On the day in question, towards two o'clock, a gentleman 
calied, but I was in an estretnely nervous condition, and said: 
" No, I must be left alone to-day. I do not wish to see any 
one." 

I had refuscd to be disturbed, and had shut myself up in my 
bedroom in a frightfully depressed state. 

That same evening I receivcd a letter from the fire insuraoce 
Company, La Fonciere, asking which day theii- agent might call 
to have the agreement signed. I replied that he might come 
on Saturday. 

On Friday I was so utterly wretched that I sent to ask my 
mother to come and lunch with me. I was not playing that 
day, as I never used to perform on Tuesdays and Fridays, days 
on which nipertotre playa only were given. As I was playing 



WM 



AT THE TUILERIES 141 

ereiy other day in new pieces, it was feared that I should be 
OTcr-tired. * 

Mv mother on aniving fhought I looked very pale. 
**Yes,'' I replied. "I do not know what is the matter with 
me, bat I am in a very nervous state and most depressed.^ 

The govemess came to fetch my little boy, to take him out 
fora walk, but I would not let him go. 

"Oh no!"" I exclaimed. "The child must not leave me 
t(Hiay. I am afraid of something happening.^ 

What happened was fortunately of a less serious nature than, 
with my love for my family, I was dreading. 

I had my grandmother living with me at that time, and she 
was blind. It was the grandmother who had given me most of 
my fumiture. She was a spectral-looking woman, and her 
beauty was of a cold, hard type. She was very tall indeed, six 
feet, but she looked like a giantess. She was thin cmd very 
upright, and her long arms were always stretched in front of 
her, feeling for all the objects in her way, so that she might 
not knock herseif, although she was always accompanied by the 
imrse whom I had engaged for her. Above this long body was 
her little fiuie, with two immense pale blue eyes, which were 
always open, even when asleep at night. She was generally 
diessed from head to foot in grey, and this neutral colour gave 
something unreal to her general appearance. 

My mother, after trying to com fort me, went away about two 
o'clock. My grandmother, seated opposite me in her large 
Voltaire armchair, questioned me : 

" \Miat are you afraid of ? "^ she asked. " Why are you so 
moumful ? I have not heard you laugh all day.^ 

I did not answer, but looked at my grandmother. It seemed 
to me that the trouble I was dreading would come through her. 
Are you not there ? ^ she insisted. 

Yes, I am here,"*^ I answered ; " but please do not talk to me.'^ 
She did not utter another word, but ^^ith her two hands on 
her lap sat there for hours. I sketched her stränge, fatidical 
face. 

It began to grow dusk, and I thought I would go and dress, 
aftei being present at the meal taken by my grandmother and 
the child. My friend Rose Baretta was dining with me that 
evening, and I had also invited a most charming and witty man, 



44 

44 



142 



SARAH BERNHARDT 



Charles Haas. Arthur Meyer came too. He was a young 
Journalist already verj- much in vogiie. I told thcm about my 
Forebodings with regard to that day, and begged tbem not to 
leave me before midnght. 

" After that," I sald, " Jt will not be to-day, and the wicked 
spiriis who are watthing me will have missed their chance." 

They agreed to hmnour my fancy, and Arthur Meyer, who 
was to have gone to some first night at one of the theatres, 
remained with us. Dinner was more animated than luncheon had 
been, and it was nine o'clock when we left the table. Rose Baretta 
sang US some deÜghtful old songs. I went away for a miDute to 
see that all was right in my grandmother's room. I found my 
maid with her bead wrapped up in cloths soaked in sedative 
water. I asked what was the matter, and sbe said that she bad 
a terrible beadache. I told her to prepare my bath and evecy- 
tbing for me for tbe night, and tben to go to bed. She thanked 
me, and obeyed. 

I »eut back to the drawing-room, and, sitting down to the 
piano, played " II Bacio," Mendelssohn's " Beils," and Weber'« 
" Last Thought." I had not come to the end of thia latt 
melody when I stopped, suddenly hearing in the street cries of 
"Fire! Fire!" 

" ' They are shouting ' Fire ! ' " exclaimed Arthur Meyer. 

" Tbat's all the same to me," I said, shrugging my Shoulder». 
"It is not niidnight yet, and I am expecting my own mis- 
fortune," 

Charles Haas had opened the drawing-room window to see 
where the shouts were coming fi'ora. He stepped out on to the 
balcony, and then came quickly in again. 

" Tbe fire is here ! " he exelaimed. " Look ! " 

I rushed to the window, and saw tbe flames coming frotn the 
two Windows of my bt-droom. I ran back through the drawing- 
room in to the carridor, and tben to tbe room where my child 
was sleeping with bis govemess and bis nurse. They were all 
fast asieep. Arthur Meyer opened the ball door, tbe bell of 
which was being rung violently, I loused the two women quickly, 
wrapped the sleeping child in bis blanket«, and rushed to the 
door with my precious bürden. I then ran downstairs, and, 
grossing the street, took him to Guadacelli's chocolate bbop 
opposite, jmt «t the comer of the Rue Caumartin. 



1^ 

FIRE IN MY FLAT 148 

Tbe kind man took my little slumberer in and let him lie on 
toouchy where the child continued his sleep without any break. 
I left him in charge of his govemess and his nurse, and went 
quickly back to the flaming house. The firemen, who had been 
ient for, had not yet arrived, and at all costs I was determined 
to rescue my poor grandmother. It was impossible to go back 
op the principal staircase, as it was filled with smoke. 

Charies Haas, bareheaded and in evening dress, a flower 
in his button-hole, started with me up the narrow back staircase. 
We were aoon on the first floor, but when once there my 
knees shook; it seemed as thought my heart had stopped, 
and I was aeized with despair. The kitchen door, at the top of 
the first flight of stairs, was locked with a triple tum of the key. 
My amiable companion was tall, slight, and elegant, but not 
ttrong. I besought him to go down and fetch a hammer, 
a hatchet, or something, but just at that moment a new- 
oomer wrenched the door open by a violent plunge with his 
Shoulder against it. This new arrival was no other than M. 
Sohegey a friend of mine. He was a most charming and excellent 
man, a broad-shouldered Alsatian, well known in Paris, very 
liTely and kind, and always ready to do any one a service. I 
took my friends to my grandmother's room. She was sitting up 
in bed, out of breath with calling Catherine, the ser\'ant who 
waited upon her. This maid was about twenty-fiveyears of age, 
a big, strapping girl from Burgundy, and she was now sleeping 
peacefully, in spite of the uproar in the street, the noise of the 
tire-engines, which had arrived at last, and the wild shrieks of 
the occupants of the house. Sohege shook the maid, whilst I 
explained to my grandmother the reason of the tumult and why 
we were in her room. 

** Very good,^ she said ; and then she added calmly, " Will 
you give me the box, Sarah, that you will find at the bottom of 
the wardrobe ? The key of it is here.*" 

" But, grandmother,"" I exciaimed, " the smoke is beginning to 
come in here. We have not any time to lose."" 

•* Well, do as you like. I shall not leave without my box ! ^* 

With the help of Charles Haas and of Arthur Meyer we put 
my grandmother on Sohege's back in spite of herseif. He was 
of medium height, and she was extremely tall, so that her long 
legs touched the ground, and I was afraid she might get them 



144 SARAH BERNHARDT 

injured. Sohege therefore took her in his arms, and Charies 
Haas carried her legs. We then sei off, b«t the snioke stiflwl 
US, and after descending about ten stairs I tbll down iu a faint. 

Wheii I came to myself I was in my mother's bed. My little 
boy was aslcep in my sister's room, and my grandinother was 
installed in a large armchair. She sat holt upright, frowniog, 
and with an angry expression on her Ups, She did not trouUe 
about anything but her bos, until at last my mother wasangry, 
and reproached her in Dutch with only caring for herseif. She 
answered eicitedly, and her neck, craned fonvard as thougb to 
belp her head to peer through the peipetual darkness which 
siUTOunded her. Her thin body, wrapped in an Indian shawl 
of many colours, the hissing of her strident words, which floWed 
freely, all contributed to make her resembiea serpent in some 
terrible nightmare. Mymother did not like this woraan, who 
had married my grandfather when he had six big children, Üie 
eldest of whom was sixteen and theyoungest, my uncle, fi»e 
years. This second wife had never had any children of her own, 
and had been indifferent, even harsli, towards those of her 
huslmnd ; and consequently she was not liked in the family, 
had taken chargc of her because small-pox had broken out in 
the family with whom she had been boarding. She had thm 
wished to slay with me, and I had not had courage enough to 
oppose her. 

On the oc'casion of the fii-e, though, I considered she behaved 
Bo badly that a strong dislike to her came over me, and I 
resolved not to keep her with nie. News of the fire 
brought to US. It eontinued to rage, and bumt everything in 
my flat, absolutely everything, even to the very last book in my 
library. My greatest sorruw was that I had lost a magnificent 
Portrait of my mother by Bassompierre Scverin, a pastelist veij 
niuch d la inode under the Empire ; an oil portrait of wy 
father, and a very pretty pastel of my sister Jeanne. I lud 
not much jewelleiy, and all that was found of the bracelet givoi 
to nie by the Emperor was a huge shapeless mass, which I still 
bave. I had a veiy pretty diadem, set with diamonds and 
pearls, given to me by Kalil Bey after a performance at hia 
house, The ashes of thi^ had to be sifted in order to 6nd tbc 
stones. The diamonds were there, but the pearls had meltect 

I was absolutely ruined, for tbc money that my father and Ui 



FIRE IN MY FLAT 145 

DOÜMT had left me I had spent in fiimiture, curiosities, and a 
bondied other uaeless things, which were the delight of my 
lue. I had, too, and I own it was absurd, a tortoise named 
Cbrngere. Its back was covered with a shcll of gold sct with 
WT small blue, pink, and yellow topazes. Oh, how beautifui 
it wiSy and how droll ! It used to wander round my nat, 
aonmpanied by a smaller tortoise named Zerbinette, which was 
iti lenrant, and I used to amuse myself for hours watching 
Chrysagcre, flashing with a hundred lights under the rays of the 
■OD or the moon. Both my tortoises died in this fire. 

Dnquesnel, who was very kind to me at that time, came to see 

ne a few weeks later, for he had just received a summons from 

La Fonciere, the fire insurance Company, whose papers I 

bad refused to sign the day before Üie catastrophe. The 

ocmpany claimed a heavy sum of money from me for damages 

doDe to the house itself. The second storey was almost entirely 

dertroycd, and for many months the whole building had to 

be propped up. I did not possess the 40,000 francs claimed. 

Duquesnel ofiered to give a benefit Performance for mc, which 

woold, he Said, free me from all difliculties. De Chilly was 

Tciy willing to agree to anjrthing that would be of ervice to me. 

The benefit was a wonderful success, thanks to the presence of 

Ihe adorable Adelina Patti. The young singer, who was then 

the Marquise de Caux, had never before sung at a benefit 

Performance, and it was Arthur Meyer who brought nie the 

news that " La Patti *" was going to sing for me. Her husband 

came during the aftemoon to teil me how glad she was of this 

opportunity of pro\'ing to me her sympathy. As soon as the 

•* fairy bird *" was announced, every seat in the house was promptly 

taken at prices which were higher than those originally fixed. 

Shc had no reason to regret her friendly action, for never was 

•nj triumph more complete. The students greeted her with 

three cheers as she came on the stage. She was a little surprised 

•t this noise of bravos in rhythm. I can see her now coming 

forward, her two little feet encased in pink satin. She was like a 

Imd besitating as to whether it would fly or remain on the 

ground. She looked so pretty, so smiling, and when she trilled 

out the gem-like notes of her wonderful voice the whole house 

«ift delirious with excitement. 

Every one sprang up, and the students stood on thcir seats. 



L 



«6 SAKAH BERNHAKDT 

waved their hat« and handkerchiefs, nodded their youiiR heads in 
their feverish enthusiasin for art, and "encoi-ed" with intona- 
tioDs ot' the most touching supplication. 

The divine singer then begaii again, and three times over she 
had to sing the Cavatina froin // Barbüre de SeviUe, " Una 
voce pocoja."" 

I thanked her afTectionatelj afterwards, and she left the 
theatre escorted by the students, who followed her carriage for 
a long way, shouting over and over again, " Ixing live Adelina 
Patti ! " Thanka to that evening's Performance I was able to 
pay the insurance Company. I was ruined all the same, or very 
nearly so. 

I stayed a few days with my mother, but we were so cramped 
for rooin there that I took a fumished flat in the Kue de 
TArcade. It was a dismal house, and the flat was dark. I 
was wondering how I should get out of my difficulties, when 

one moming M. C , my father's notary, was announced. 

This was the man I disliked so much, but 1 gave orders that he 
should be shown in. I was surprised that I had not seen him 
for so long a time. He told me that he had just retumed from 
Hamburg, that hc had seen in the newspaper an account of my 
misfortune, and had now come to put himself at my service. In 
spite of uiy distrust, I was touched by this, and I related to him 
the whole drama of my fire. I did not know how it had started, 
but I vagucly auspected iny maid Josephine of having placcd 
my lighted candle on the little table to the left of the head of 
my bed. I had frequently wamed her not to do this, but it waa 
on this little piece of fumiture that she alwayM placed my wat«r- 
bottle and glass, and a dessert dish with a couple of raw apples, 
for I ndorc eating apptcs when I wake in the night. On opening 
the door there was always a terrihle draught, as the Windows 
were left open until I went to bed. On closing the door afler 
her the lace bed-curtains had probably caught fire. I could not 
explain the catastrophe in any other way. I had several times 
seen the young servant do this stupid thing, and I supposcd 
that on the night in question she had been in a huny to go to 
bed on account of her bad headache. As a rule, when I was 
going to undress myself she prepared everything, and then came 
in and told me, but this time she had not done so. Uaually, 
toO) I just went into the nxHn myself to see tbat eveiytbing 



FIRE IN MY FLAT 147 

rig^t, and aeveral times I had been obliged to move the 
HUMOe. That day, however, was destined to bring me mis- 
rortime of some kind, though it was not a very great one. 
*^ "BatT Said the notaiy, ** you were not insured, then ? ^ 
** No ; I was to sign my policy the day after the event7 
*^ Ah ! "^ exclaimed the man of law, ^^ and to think that I have 
been told yoa sei the flat on fire yourself in oider to receive a 
laige sum of money ! ^ 

I shmgged my Shoulders, for I had seen insinuations to this 
efect in a newspaper. I was very young at this time, but I 
abeady had a certain disdain for tittle-tattle. 
^ Oh well, I must arrange matters for you if things are like 

diii,^ Said Biaitre C . ** You are really better off than you 

imagine as r^ards the money on your father^s side,^ he con- 
timied. ** As your grandmother leaves you an annuity, you 
ean get a good amount for this by agreeing to insure your 
life for 250,000 firancs for forty years, for the benefit of the 



I agreed to everything, and was only too delighted at such a 

windfalL Ulis man promised to send me two days after his 

ictom 120,000 francs, and he kept his word My reason for 

tfnog the details of this little episode, which after all belongs to 

my life, is to show how differently things tum out from what seems 

likely according to lo^c or according to our own expectations. 

It is quite certain that the accident which had just thcn hap- 

pened to me scattered to the winds the hopes and plans of my 

Kfe. I had arranged for myself a luxurious home with the 

money that my father and mother had left me. I had kept by 

me and invested a sufiicient amount of money so as to be sure to 

eomplete my monthly salary for the next two years : I reckoned 

ihat at the end of the two years I should be in a position 

to demand a very high salary. And all these arrangements had 

been upset by the carelessness of a domestic. I had rieh 

idatives and very rieh friends, but not one amongst them 

itretched out a band to help me out of the ditch into which 

I had fallen. My rieh relatives had not forgiven mc for going 

OD to the stage. And yet Heaven knows what tears it had cost 

■e to take up this career that had been forced upon me. My 

üocle Faure came to see me at my moiher''s house, but my aunt 

«onld not listen to a word about me. I used to sec my cousin 



148 SARAH BERNHARDT 

« 

secretly, and sometimes bis pretty aister. My rieh friends 
considered that I was wildly extravagant, and could not under- 
stand why I did not place the money I had inherited in good, 
sound Investments. 

I received a great deal of verse on the subject of my fire. 
Most of it was anonymous. I have kept it all, however, and I 
quote the following poem, whidh is rather nioe : 



Passant, te voilä sans abri : 

La flamme a ravagö ton gtte. 
Hier plus 16ger qu'nn oolibri ; 

Ton esprit aujonrd'hui s*agite, 
S'exhalant en g^missements 

Sur tont ce qne le fen d^vore. 
Ta pleores tee beaux diamanti ? . • . 

Non, tee grands yeux lee ont enoore 1 



Ne regrette pas ces colliers 

Qu*ont k leur con lee Hohes damee 1 
Ta trouveras dans lee halliers, 

Des tissus verts, aux finee trames 1 
Ta perle 7 . . Mais, c'est le jais uoir 

Qui sur Tenvers du fosad ponsse I 
Et le oadre de ton miroir 

Est une bordure de mousse 1 



Tes bracelets ? . . Mais, tes bras nus, 

Tu paraltras cent fois plus belle 1 
Sur les brae jolis de Y^nus, 

Aucnn cercle d'or n*6tincelle ! 
Garde ton charme si puissant I 

Ton parf um de plante sauvage 1 
Laisse les bijoux, Passant, 

A Celles que le tempe ravage I 



Avec ta guitare ä ton cou, 

Va, par la France et par TEspagne I 
Suis ton chemin ; je ne sais oüL . . . 

Par la plaine et par la montagne I 
Passe, comme la plume au vent I 

Comme le son de ta mandore I 
Comme un flot qui baise en rSvant, 

Les flaues d*une barque sonore t 

The proprietor of one of the hoteis now very much in 



FIRE IN MY FLAT 149 

1 

Togae sent me tfae foUowing letter, whicb I quote word for 



** Madame, — If you would consent to dine every evening for a 
montli in our laige dining-room, I would place at your service 
A suite of rooms on the first floor, consisting of two bedrooms, 
a large drawing-room, a small boudoir, and a bath-room. It is 
of course luiderstood that this suite of rooms would be yours 
free of charge if you would consent to do as I ask. — Yours, etc. 

"(P.S.) You would only have to pay for the fresh supplies 
of plants for your drawing-room.'" 



This was the extent of the man^s coarseness. I asked one of 
my friends to go and give the low. fellow his answer. 

I was in despair, though, for I feit that I could not live 
witbout comfort and luxury. 

I soon made up my mind as to what I must do, but not 
withoat sorrow. I had been ofTered a magnificent engagement 
in Russia, and I should have to accept it. Madame Gu^rard 
was my sole confidant, and I did not mention my plan to 
anj one eise. The idea of Russia terrified her, for at that 
time my ehest was very delicate, and cold was my most cruel 
enemy. It was just as I had made up my mind to this that the 
lanyer arrived. His avaricious and crafty mind had schemed 
out the clever and, for him, profitable combination which was 
to change my whole life once more. 

I took a pretty flat on the first floor of a house in the Rue de 
Rome. It was very sunny, and that delighted me more than 
anythiug eise. There were two drawing-rooms and a large 
dining-room. I arranged for my grandmother to live at a 
home kept by lay sisters and nuns. She was a Jewess, and carried 
out very strictly all the laws laid down by her religion. The 
house was very comfortable, and my grandmother took her own 
maid with her, the young girl from Burgundy, to whom she 
vas accustomed. 

When I went to see her she told me that she was much better 
off there than with me. " When I was with you,"" slie said, 
- 1 found your boy too noisy." I very rarely went to visit her 
there, for after seeing my mother tum pale at her unkind 
words I never cared any more for her. She was happy, and 
that was the essential thing. 



150 SARAH BERNHARDT 

I now played successfuUy in Le Bäiardj in which I had great 
success, in VAffranchij in VAutre by George Sand, and in 
Jean-Marie^ a little masterpiece by Andr^ Tbeuriet, which had 
the most brilliant success. Porel played the pari of Jean-Marie. 
He was at that time slender, and fuÜ of hope. Since then his 
slendemess has developed into plumpness and his hope into 
ceii;itude. 



XV 

THE FBANCO-FBUSSIAN WAR 

£viL dajs then came upon us. Paris began to get feverish 
iodexcited. The streets were black with groups of people, 
ducuasing and gesticulating. And all this noise was only 
the echo of far-distant groups gatbered together in Grerman 
itieets. These other groups were yelling, gesticulating, and 
discossing, but — they knew, whilst we did not know ! 

I could not keep calni, but was extremely excited, until 
fintlly I was ill. War was declared, and I hate war ! It 
exasperates me and makes me shudder from head to foot. At 
times I used to spring up terrified, upset by the distant cries of 
hnnan voices. 

Oh, war ! \Vhat infamy, shame, and sorrow ! War ! What 
theft and crime, abetted, forgiven, and glorified ! 

Recentlv, I visited a huge steel works. I will not say in what 
cotmtr}', for all countries have been hospi table to me, and I am 
oeither a spy nor a traitress. I only set forth things as I see 
tbem. Well, I visited one of these frightful manufactories, 
in which the most deadly w*eapons are made. The owner of it 
all, a multi-millionaire, was introduced to me. He was pleasant, 
but no good at conversation, and he had a dreamy, dissatisfied 
look. My Cicerone infonned me that this man had just lost 
A huge sum of money, nearly sixty million francs. 

** Good Heavens ! "^ I exclaimed ; " how has he lost it ?^ 
** Oh well, he has not exactly lost the money, but has just 
missed making the sum, so it amounts to the same thing/'* 

I looked perplexed, and he added, " Yes ; you remember that 
there was a great deal of talk about war between France 
and Germany with regard to the Morocco affair ? ^ 
"Ves." 



152 SARAH BERNHARDT 

^^ Welly this prinoe of the steel trade expected to seil cannons 
for ity and for a month his men were very busy in the fiictoiy, 
working day and night. He gave enormous bribes to influential 
members of the Government, and paid some of the paperg 
in France and Germany to stir up the people. Everything has 
fallen through, thanks to the Intervention of men who are wise 
and humanitarian. The consequenoe is that this millionaiie is in 
despair. He has lost sixty or perhaps a hundred millicm 
francs.'*' 

I looked at the wretched man with contempt, and I wished 
heartily that he could be suifocated with his millions, as 
remorse was no doubt utterly unknown to him. 

And how many others merit our contempt just as this man 
does ! Nearly all those who are known as ^^ supplicrs to the 
army,^ in evcry country in the world, are the most desperate 
propagators of war. 

Let every man be a soldier in the time of peril. Yes, a 
thousand times over, yes! Let every man be armed for the 
dcfence of his country, and let him kill in order to defend his 
family and himself. That is only reasonable. But that there 
should be, in our times, young men whose sole dream is to kiU in 
Order to make a position for themselves, that is inconceivable ! 

It is indisputable that wc must guard our frontiers and 
our colonies, but since all men are soldiers, why not take these 
guards and defenders from among " all men '^ ? We should only 
have schools for ofiicers then, and we should have no more 
of those horrible barracks which offend the eye. And when 
sovereigns visit each other and are invited to a review, would 
they not be much more edified as to the value of a nation if it 
could show a thousandth part of its effective force chosen hap- 
hazard among its soldiers, rather than the elegant evolutions 
of an army prepared for parade ? What magnificent reviews I 
have Seen in all the differetit countries I have visited ! But I 
know from history that such and such an army as was prandng 
about there so finely beforc us had taken ilight, without any 
great reason, before the enemy. 

On July 19 war was seriously declared, and Paris then became 
the theatre of the most touching and burlesque scenes. Excit- 
able and delicate as I was, I could not bear the sight of all these 
young men gone wild, who were yelling the " Mai-seillaise ^ and 



FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 158 

nnhing along the streets in dose file, shouting over and over 
again» <« To Berlin ! To Berlin ! '' 

Mj heait used to beat wildly, for I too thought that they 
were going to Berlin. I understood the fury they feit, for these 
people had provoked us without plausible reasons, but at the 
■une time it seemed to me that they were getting ready for this 
great deed without sufficient respect and dignity. My own 
inpotenoe made me feel rebellious, and when I saw all the 
HKvthers, with pale faces and eyes swollen with crjring, holding 
their boys in their arms and kissing them in despair, the most 
firightfiil anguish seemed to choke me. I eried, too, almost 
UDoeasingly, and I was wearing myself away with anxiety, but I 
did not foresee the horrible catastrophe that was to take place. 

The doctors decided that I must go to Eaux-Bonnes. I did 
not want to leave Paris, for I had caught the general fever of 
ezcitement. My weakness increased, though, day by day, and 
OD July 9H I was taken away in spite of myself. Madame 
Go^rard, my man-servant, and my maid accompauied me, and I 
alfo took my child with me. 

In all the railway stations there were posters everywhere, 
annoaiKring that the Emperor Napoleon had gone to Metz to 
tike command of the army. 

At Eaux-Bonnes I was compelled to remain in bed. My 
condition was considered very serious by Dr. Leudet, who told 
me aflerwards that he certainly thought I was going to die. I 
vomited blood, and had to have a piece of ice in my mouth all 
the time. At the end of about twelve days, however, I began 
to get up, and after this I soon recovered my strength and my 
calmness, and went for long rides on horseback. 

The war news led us to hope for victory. There was great 
joy and a certain emotion feit by evcry one on Hearing that the 
Toung Prince Imperial had received his baptism of fire at Saar- 
bruck, in the engagement commanded by General Frossard. 

Life seemed to me beautiful again, for I had great confidence 
in the issue of the war. I pitied the Germans for having eni- 
barked on such an ad venture. But, alas ! the fine, glorious 
progress which my brain had been so active in imagining was 
cnt short by the atrocious news from Saint-Privat. The political 
news was pK>sted up every day in the little garden of the Casino 
at Eaux-Bonnes. The public went there to get information. 



154 SARAH BERNHARDT 

Detesting, &s I did, tianquillily, I used to send iny niJUi-sfrrKot 
to copy the telefr^ms. Oh, how grievoua was that temble 
telegrem froro Saint-Privat, informing us laconically of the 
frightful butchery ; of the heroic defence of Marshai Canrobert ; 
and of Bazaioe's 6rst treachery ia not going to the rescue of b» 
coinrade. 

I knew Canrobert, and was very fond of hiuj, L^ter on he be- 
came one of my faithful friends, and I shall atwaj-s reniember the 
exquisite hours spent in listening to bis accounts of the bravoy 
of others — never of bis own. And what an abundanoe of 
anecdotes, what wit, what charm ! 

Thb news of the battle of Saint-Privat caused my feverishness 
to retum, My sleep was fiill of nightmares, and I had a relapse. 
The news was worse every day. After Saint-Privat, came Grave- 
lotte, where 36,000 men, French and German, were cut down in 
a few hours. Then came the sublime but powerless efIbrU of 
MacMahoQ, who was drivcn back as for &s Sedaii ; and finally 
Sedan. 

Sedan ! Ah. the horrible awakening ! The month of August 
had finisfaed the night before, amidst a tumult of weapons and 
dying groans. But the groans of the dying men were mingled 
still with hopeful cries. But the montli of September was 
cureed froni its very birth. Its first war-cry was stißed back 
by the brutal and cowardly band of Destiny. 

A hundred tbousand men ! A hundred thousand Frenchtnen 
compelled to capitulate, and the Emperor of France forced 
to hand bis sword over to the Eiiig of Prussia ! 

Ah ! that cry of grief, that cry of rage, uttered by the whole 
nation. It can never be forgotten ! 

On September 1, towards ten n'clock, Claude, my maji-servant, 
knocked at my door. I was not asieep, and he gave me a copy 
of the first telegrams ; 

" Battle of Sedan comnienced. MacMahon wounded," &c. &e. 

" Ah ! go back again," I said, " and as soon as a fresh tele- 
gram comes, bring me the news, I feel that something uitheard 
of, something great and quite difFerent, is going to bappen. 
We have su&ered so tcrribiy this last month, that thereean Cinly 
be something good now, äoniething fine, for God's scales mete 
out joy and sußering equally. Go at once, Claude," I odded, 
and then, füll of confideoce, I soon feil asieep again, and was ao 



FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 155 

tired that I slept until one o^dock. When I awoke, my maid 
Felicie, the most delightful girl imaginable, was seated near my 
bed. Her pretty face and her large dark eyes were so moumful 
that my heart stopped beating. I gazed at her fiaixiously, and 
sbe put into my hands the copy of the last telegram : 

**Tlie Emperor Napoleon has just handed over his sword. . ."" 
Blood nished to my head, and my lungs were too weak to 
eoDtrol its flow. I lay back on my pillow, and the blood escaped 
throu^ my lips with the groans of my whole being. 

For three days I was between life and death. Dr. Leudet 
Mnt for one of my father^s friends, a shipowner named M. 
ILumoir. He came at once, bringing with him bis young wife.^ 
She too was very ill, worse in reality than I was, in spite of her 
froh look, for she died six months later. Thanks to their care 
lod to tbe energetic treatment of Dr. Leudet, I came through 
iÜTe from this attack. 

I decided to retum at once to Paris, as the siege was about to 
be prodaimed, and I did not want my mother and my sisters to 
ifmftin in the capital. Independently of this, every one at Eaux- 
Bonnei was seized with adesire to get away, invalids and tourists 
•like. A post-chaise was found, the owner of which agrced, 
fcr an exorbitant price, to drive me to the nearest Station with- 
out delay. When once in it, we were niore or less comfortably 
Mted as far as Bordeaux, but it was imposäi))Ie to find five 
*ttla in the express from there. My man-servant was allowed 
to travel with the engine-driver. I do not know where Madame 
Gutlrard and my maid found room, hut in the compartment I 
entered, with my little boy, there were already nine persons. 
An ugly old man tried to push niy child out when I had put 
tim in, but I pushed him back again energetiailly in my turn. 

* So human force will make us get out of this carriage," I 
«ü " Do you hear that, you ugly old man ? We are here, 
tnd we shall stay."" 

A stout lady, who took up more room herseif than three 
onlinary persons, exclaimed : 

** Well ! that is lively, for we are suffbcated already. It's 
ihanieful to let eleven persons get into a compartment where 
there are only seats for eight ! ^ 

•* Will you get out, then ? "" I retorted, turning to her quickly, 
" for without you there would onlv be seven of us.*" 



L 



150 SARAH 

The stifled laughter of the ottier travellers showed me Üut I 
had won over my audience. Tfaree young men offered me Üaar 
places, but I refused, declaring that I was going to stand. tW- 
three young men had riseii, and they declared that they would 
also stand. The stout kdy called a railway ofticial. "Come 
here, please !" she began, 

The oificial stopped au instant at the door. 

" It is perfectly shamefu),'" she went on, "There are eieren 
in this compartraent, and it is impossible to move," 

" Don't you believe it,"" exclaimed one of the young a 
" Just look for jouiself. We are standing up, and there 
thi-ee seats empty. Send sonie more people in here." 

The ofGcial went away laughing and niuttering Komethiog 
about the woman who had complaincd. She tumed to the 
young man and began to talk abusively to him. He bowed verj 
respectfully in reply, and said 

'* Madatne, if you will calm down you shall he satisfted. We 
will seat scven on the other side, including the child, and then 
you will only be four on your side." 

The ugly old man was short and slight. He looked sideway 
at the stout lady and murmured, "Four! Four!" His look 
and tone showed that he considered the stout lady took up more 
than one seat. This look and tone were not lost on the young 
man, and before the ugly old man had comprehended he said to 
him, " Will you come over here and have this corner? All the 
thin people will be together then," he added, inviting a pladd, 
calm-looking young Engliahnian of eighteen to tweuty yean of 
age to take the old man's seat The Englishman had the tono 
of a prize-figliter, with a face like that of a fair-haii'ed baby. A 
very young woman, oppositc the stout one, laughed tili the tears 
came^ All six of us then found room on the thin people's side 
of the carriago. We were a little crushed, but had been con- 
siderablyenlivened by this little entertainnient,andwecertainly 
needed something to enliven us. The young man who had taken 
the matter in band in such a witty way was tall and nice-looking. 
He had blue eyes, and hia haiv was aintost white, and this gare 
to his face a most attractive freshness and youthfiilness. My 
boy was on his knee during the night. With the exccptioa of 
the child, the stout lady, and the young Englishman, no one went 
to sleep. The heat was ovorpowering, and the war was of 



^rfiäA 



FRANCO-PRÜSSIAN WAR 157 



After some hesitation, one of the young men told 
that I resembled MUe. Sarah Bernhardt. I answered that 
eveiy reason why I should resemble her. The young 
then introduced themselves. The one who had recognised 
was Albert Delpit, the second was a Dutchman, Baron van 
Zdem or von Zerlen, I do not remember exactly which, and the 
joung man with white hair was Felix Faure. He told me that 
he was from Havre, and that he knew my grandmother very 
welL I kept up a certain friendship with these three men after- 
wmrds, but later on Albert Delpit became my enemy. All three 
are now dead — Albert Delpit died a disappointed man, for he 
had tried everything and succeeded in nothing, the Dutch baron 
was killed in a railway accident, and Felix Faure was President 
of the French Republic. 

Hie young woman, on hearing my name, introduced hcrself 
in her tum. 

^ I think we are slightly related,^ she said. ** I am Madame 
Laroqoe.'^ 
" Of Bordeaux ? '^ I asked. 



My mother^s brother had married a Mllc. Laroque of Bordeaux, 
to that we were able to talk of our faniily. Altogether the 
joumey did not seem very long, in spite of the heat, the over- 
crowding, and our thirst. 

The airival in Paris was more gloomy. We shook hands 
warmly with each other. The stout lady's husband was awaiting 
her ; he handed her, in silence, a telegram. The unfortuiiate 
woman read it, and then, uttering a cry, burst into sobs and feil 
into his arms. I gazed at her, wondering what sorrow had come 
apon her. Poor woman, I could no longer see anything ridiculous 
about her ! I feit a pang of remorse at the thought that we had 
been laughing at her so much, when misfortune had already 
singled her out 

On reaching home I sent word to my mother that I should be 
with her some time during the day. She came at once, as she 
wanted to know how my health was. We then arranged about 
the departure of the whole family, with the exception of myself, 
as I wanted to stay in Paris during the siege. My mother, my 
little boy and his nurse, my sisters, my Aunt Annette, who kept 
for me, and my mother\s maid were all ready to start two 



r 



158 SARAH BERNHARDT 

days later. I had taken i-ooms at Frascati's, at Uä\Te, far the 
whole tribe. But the desire to leave Paris was one Ihinp, and 
the possibility of doing so anolher. The statioDs were invaded 
by families like mine, who thought it more pnident to emigrate. 
I sent my man-servant to engage a compartment, and he came 
back three hours later with his clotbes tom, after reoeiving 
no end of kicks and blows. 

" Madame cannot go into that crowd," he assured me ; " it is 
quite impossible, I should notbeableto protect her. Beides, 
Madame will not be alone ; there is Madame's inother, the other 
ladieK, and the children. It is really quite impossible." 

I sent at once for three of my friends, csplained my difliculty, 
and asked tbem to aecompany me. I told my steward to be 
ready, as well as my other man-servant and my mother's footman. 
He in his tum invited his younger brother, who was a priest, 
and who was very willing to go with us. We all set off in a 
railway omnibus. There were seventeen of us in all, but only 
nine who were really travelling. Our eight protectors were 
noiie too many, for those who were taking tickets were not 
human beings, but wild beaats haunted by fear and spurred on 
by a desire to escape, These brutes saw nothing but the Utile 
ticket otfice, the door leading to the train, and then the train 
which would ensure theiv escape. The prescnce of the youn|; 
priest was a great help to us, for his rcligious character made 
people refrain sonietimes from blows. 

When once all my people were instalied in the compartment 
which had been reserved for them, they waved their farewells, 
threw kisses, and the train started. A shuddcr of terror ran 
through me, for I suddenly feit so absolutely alone. It was the 
first time 1 had been separated from the little chüd who mu 
dearer to me than the whole world. 

Two arms were then thrown affectionately round me, aod a 
voice murmured, " My dear Sarah, why did you not go, too f 
Vou are so delicate. Will you be able to bear the soütude 
without the dear child ?" 

It was Madame Guerard, who had arrived too late to klB 
the boy, but was there now to comfort the mother. I gave way 
to my despair, regretting that I had let him go away. And yet, 
as I Said to myself, there might be fighting in Paris ! The idea 
never for an instant occurred to me that I might h&ve goM 



FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 159 

Awsy witk him. I thougfat that I might be of some use in 
Ftfü. Of some use, but in what way ? This I did not know. 
Tbe idea seemed stupid, but nevertheless that was my idea. 
It seemed to me that every one who was fit ought to remain in 
hris. In spite of my weakness, I feit that I was fit, and with 
reason, as I proved later on. I therefore remained, not knowing 
at all what I was going to do. 

For some days I was perfectly dazed, missing the life around 
and missing the affection. 



r 



i 



I 



XVI 

4 

SARAH BERNHABDT'S AHBULANCE AT THE \ 

J 

ODEON THKATRB ^ 

The defence, however, was being organised, and I dedded to 
use my strength and intelligence in tending the wounded. Thft 
question was, where could we instal an ambulance ? 

The Odeon Theatre had closed its doors, but I moved heaTOU 
and earth to get pennission to organise an ambulance in that 
theatre, and, thanks to Emile de Girardin and Duquesnel, mj 
wish was gratified. I went to the War Office and made mj 
declaration and my request, and my ofiers were accepted fbr a 
military ambulance. The next diificulty was that I waqted 
food. I wrote a line to the Prefect of Police. A military 
Courier arrived very soon, with a note from the Prefect containing 
the following lines : 

" Madame, — If you could possibly come at once, I would wait 
for you until six o'clock. If not I will receive you to-morrow 
moming at eight. Excuse the earliness of the hour, but I havc 
to be at the Chamber at nine in the moming, and, as your note 
seems to be urgent, I am anxious to do all I can to be of Service 
to you. 

" COMTE DE KeRATRY." 

I remembered a Comte de Keratry who had been introduced 
to me at my aunfs house, the evening I had recited poetnr 
accompanied by Rossini, but he was a young lieutenant, good- 
looking, witty, and lively. He had introduced me to bis 
mother. I had recited poetry at her soirtes, The young 
lieutenant had gone to Mexico, and for some time we had kept 
up a correspondence, but this had gradually ceased, and we had 
not met again. I asked Madame Gu^rard whether she thougbt 



THE ODEON AMBULANCE IM 1 



H^Ht the Prefect were a near relative oF my young fi*iend''a. 
* It may be so," she replied, and we discussed this in the carriage 
which was takiog ua at once to the Tuilcries Palace, where the 
Prefect had bis oflices. My heart was very heavy whon we 
came to the stone stepa. Only a few months prevjoiu^ly, ono' 
April moming, I bad been there with Madame Guei-ard. Then» 
■s now, a fuotman bad coiiie forward to open the door of m^ 
carnagc, but tbe April sunsbine Lud thcn lighted up the step^' 
caught tbe shining lanips of the State carriages, and setit 
rays in all directions. There bad been a busy, joyfid conitng 
ood going of the oflicers then, and elegant salutes had been 
exchanged. On this occasion the misty, crafty-looking 
NoTEoiber sun feil heavily on all it touched. Black, dirty- 
looking cabs drove up one after the other, knocking against the 
iroti gate, grazing the steps, advancing or mo\'ing back, accord- 
ing to the coarse shouts of their drivers. Instead of the elegant 
■ftlutattons I heard now such phrases as : " Well, how are you, 
old chap?" "Oh, la gueuU de Jüm ! " "Well, anynewsF" 
" Ye«, it'» the very deiice with us ! " &c. &c. 
Tbe Palace was no longer the sanie. 

The very atinospbcre had changed. The faint perfiune whicbl 
elegant women leave in the air as tbey pass was no longer there. 
A vague odour of tobacco, of gi-easy clotbes, of dirty hair, made 
tbe atroospbeie seem bea\y. Ab, the beautifui French Emprcss { 
I could see her again in her bliie dress embtoidered with silver, 
calltng to her aid Cinderella's good fairy to hei p her on again with 
her little slippcr. ITic delightfui young Prince Imperial, too ! 
I could lee him helping me to arrange the pot3 of verbena and 
margucrites, and hotding in bis arms, wbich were not strong 
enoogh for it, a huge pot of rbododendrons, behind which bis 
I bandMiiDC fiice conipletely disappeared. Tben, too, I could see 
' the Kmperor Napoleon III. witb bis balf-closed eyc8, clapping 

his hands at the rehearsal of the curtseys intendcd foi' biiu. 
^^^^pd the fair Emprcss, dressed in stränge clothes, had rushed 
^^^^■in the carriage of her American dcntist, for it was not even 
^^^^^picbman, but a foreigner, who had bad the courage to pro- 
pmPtlie unfortunate woman. And the gentle Utopjan Emperor 
lad tried in vain to be killed on the battic-field. Two horsea 
had bccti killed under him, and he had not received so umcli as 
And after thia be had given up bis sword. And wa . 



le 

m 
m 



4 



162 SARAH BERNHARDT 

at home had all wept with anger, shame, and grief at^this {^Ting 
up of the sword. And yet what courage it must have required 
for so brave a man to carry out such an act. He had wanted 
to save a hundred thousand men, to spare a hundred thounod 
lives, and to reassure a hundred thousand mothers. Our pooTi 
beloved Emperor! History will some day do him justiee^ 
for he was good, humane, and confiding. Alas, alas ! he was 
y too confiding ! 

I stopped a minute before entering the Prefecfs suite of nxHDi. 
I was obliged to wipe my eyes, and in order to change the current 
of my thoughts I said to mon petU Dame . 

^^ Teil me, should you think me pretty if you saw me now for 
the first time?" 

** Oh yes ! " she replied warmly. * 

** So much the better,^ I said, ^^ for I want this old Ptefect tO 
think me pretty. There are so raany things I must ask bim 
for!" 

On entering bis room, my surprise was great when I recog- 
nised in him the lieutenant I knew. He had become captain, and 
then Frefect of Police. When my name was announced by the 
usher, he sprang up from bis chair and came forward with hii ' 
face beaming and both hands stretched out. 

^' Ah, you had forgotten me ! ^ he said, and then he tumed to 
greet Madame Guerard in a friendly way. 

" But I never thought I was coming to see you ! *" I replied % 
" and I am delighted,"' I continued, " for you will let me have 
everything I ask for.'" 

" Ouly that ! '"* he remarked \i'ith a burst of laughter. " Well, 
will you give your orders, Madame ? " he continued. 

"Yes. I want bread, milk, mcat, vegetables, sugar, wine, 
brandy, potatoes, eggs, coffee,"" I said straight away. 

" Oh, let me get my breath ! '^ exclaimed the Count-Prefect 
" You speak so quickly that I am gasping." 

I was quiet for a moment, and then I continued : 

" I have started an ambulance at the Odeon, but as it is a 
military ambulance, the municipal authorities refusc me food. I 
have five wounded men already, and I can manage for them, bot 
other wounded mcn are being sent to me, and I shall have to 
give them fcod.*" 

** You shall be supplicd above and beyond aU your wisbesy*" 



THE ODfiON AMBULANCE 108 

■od ihe Frefect. ''There is food in the Falace which was being 
itecd bj the unfortunate Empress. She had prepared enough 
fcr months and montlis. I will have all you want sent to you, 
occpt meat, bread, and milk, and as regards these I will give 
orins that your ambulance shall be included in the municipal 
vnice, although it is a military one. Then I will give you an 
«der for salt and other things, which you will be able to get 
boD the Op^ra.^ 

^FVom the Op^ra?^ I repeated, looking at him incredulously. 
''Bat it is only being built, and there is nothing but scafiblding 
tfcoeyet" 

** Yes ; but you must go through the little doorway under the 
nfolding opposite the Rue Scribe ; you then go up the little 
finl staircase leading to the provision ofiice, and there you will 
beiupplied with what you want.^ 

* liiere is still something eise I want to ask,^ I said« 

** Go on ; I am quite resigned, and ready for your Orders,^ he 
icplied. 

* WdU I am very uneasy," I said, " for they have put a stock 
of |Rmder in the cellars under the Od^n. If Paris were to be 
hombuded and a shell should fidl on the building, we should 
ill be blown up, and that is not the aim and object of an 
uobulance.'^ 

••You are quite right,'' said the kind man, "and nothing 
xmld be more stupid than to störe powder there. I shall have 
Dorc difficulty about that, though," he continued, " for I shall 
lave to deal with a crowd of stubbom bourgeois who want to 
irganise the defence in their own way. You must try to get a 
xtition for me, signed by the most influential householders and 
tnulespeople in the neighbourhood. Now are you satisfied ? ^^ 
beasked. 

** Yes,"" I replied, shaking both his hands cordially. " You 
bftve been most kind and charming. Tliaiik you very znuch.'' 

I then moved towanis the door, but I stood still again 
nddenly, as though hypnotised by an overcoat hanging over a 
Jiair. Madame Gu^rard saw what had attracted my attention, 
lad she pulled my sleeve gently. 

•* My dear Sarah,*" she whispered, " do not do that."'' 

I looked beseechingly at the young Prefect, but he did not 
mderstand. 



164 SARAH BERNHARDT 

^* What can I do now to oblige you, beautifal Madonna?^ 
he asked* 

I pointed to the coat and tried to look as channing at 
possible. 

^ I am very sorry,^ he said, bewildered, ^ but I do not ander 
stand at all.^ 

I was still pomting to the coat. « 

" Give it me, will you ? " I said. 

**My overcoat?'* 

« Yes.'' 

" What do you want it for ? " 

** For my woiinded men when they are convalescent.^ 

He sank down on a chair in a fit of laughter. I was nthec 
vexed at this uncontrollable outburst, and I continued my 
explanation. 

** There is nothing so funny about it,^ I said. ^ I have apoor 
fellow, for instance, two of whose fingen have been taken oft 
He does not need to stay in bed for that, naturally, and Us 
soldier's cape is not warm enough. It is veiy difBcult to warn 
the big foyer of the Oddon sufficiently, and those who are wd 
enough have to be there. The man I teil you about is warm 
enough at present, because 1 took Henri Fould^s overcoat whoi 
he came to see me the other day. M y poor soldier is huge, and 
as Henri Fould is a giant I might never have had such an oppor- 
tunity again. I shall want a great many overcoats, though, and 
this looks like a very warm one." 

I stroked the furry lining of the coveted garment, and the 
young Prefeet, still choking with laughter, began to empty the 
pockets of his overcoat. He pulled out a magnificent white silk 
muffler from the largest pocket. 

" Will you allow me to keep my muffler P'^ he asked. 

I put on a resigned cxpression and nodded my consent. 

Cur host then rang, and when the usher appeared he handed 
him the overcoat, and said in a solemn voice, in spite of the 
laughter in his eyes : 

" Will you carry this to the carriage for these ladies P'^ 

I thanked him again, and went away feeling very happy. 

Twelve days later I retumed, taking with me a letter covered 
with the signatures of the householders and tradesmen resi« 
near the Oddon. 



THE ODfiON AMBULANCE 16« 

On eatering the Prefect'a rootn I was petrified to see him. 
instead of advancingto meet me, rush towarda a cupboanj, opea 
the door, and fling fiomething hastily inte it. After this he 
kaned agtdnst the door os though to prevent my opentng it 

" Excuse me,*' he said, in a witty, mocking tone, " but I caught 
a viotent cold after your first visit. I have just put my overcoat 
— oh, only an ugly old overcoat, not a warm one " he added 
qoickly," but still an overcoat — iuside there,aad there itnovis, 
and I will take the key out of the lock.'' 

He put the key carefiilly into his pocket, and then came 
forwaid and ofieräd me a chair. But our conversation Boon 
took a more seriom turn, for the news was very bad. For 
the last twelve days the ambulances had been crowded with 
waunded men. Everything was in a bad way, home politics as 
wdl as foreign politics. The Gennans were advancing on Paris. 
"ITie anny of the Loire was being fonned. Gambetta, Chan^, 
Bourbaki, and Trochu were organising a desperate defence. We 
talked for some time about all these sad thinga, and I told him 
about the painful impression I had had on my last visit to the 
INdkries, of my remembrance of every one, so brilliant, so con- 
nderate, and so happy formerly, and so deeply to be pitied at 
present. We were silent for a moment, and then I shook hands 
with him, told him I had received all he had sent, and retumed 
to my ambulance. 

The Prefect had sent me ten barreis of wine and two of 
brandy ; 90,000 ^gs, all packed in boxes with lime and bran ; 
B handred bags of coffee and boxes of tea, forty boxes of Albert 
biscoits, a thousand tins of preserves, and a quantity of other 
things. 

M. Mcnier, the great chocolate manufacturer, had sent me 
five hundred pounds of chocolate. One of my friends, a flour 
dealer, had made me a present of twenty sacks of flour, ten 
oF which were maize flour, This flour-dealer was che one who 
had ttsked me to be his wife when I was at the Conservatoire. 
Felix Potin, my neighhour when I was living at 11 Boulevard 
Maledierbes, had responded to my appeal by sending two barreis 
of raisins, a bundred boxes of sardines, three sacks of rice, two 
jacks of lentils, and twenty sugar-loaves. From M. de 
Rothschild I bad received two barreis of brandy and a hundred 
bottles of bis own wine for the convalescents. I also received r 



166 



SARAH BERNHARDT 



very luiexpected present. Leonie Dubourg, an old scbool- 
fellow of raine at the Grand-Champa ponvent, sent me fifty tia 
boxes each containing four pounds of sait butter. Sbe had 
niairied a very wealthy gcntleman farmcr, who cultivated bis 
own farms, whicb it scems were vory numerous. I was very 
much touched at her remcmbering me, for I had never seen her 
siiicc tbe old days at the convent. I bad also asked for oll the 
overcoats and slippers of my various friends, and I had bought 
up a Job lot of two hiindred flannel vests. My Auot Betsy, my 
blind grandmother'e sistcr, wbo is still linng in Holland, and is 
now ninely-tbree years of agc, raanaged to get for nie, tbrough 
the charming Ambassador for tbe Netberlandü, tbree hundred 
night-shirts of magnificcnt Duteh linen, and a hundred pairs of 
sheets. I reccived lint and bandages fi-om everycomer of Paris, 
but it was more particidarly from the Palais de l'Industrie that 
I used to get my provisions of lint and of linen for binding 
wounds. There was an adorable woman there, named Mlle. 
Hocquigny, who was at the head of all the ambulances. All 
that shc did was done with a cheerful gracefulness, and all tbat 
sbe was obliged to refUse sbe reiused sorrowftilly, but still in 
a gracious manner. She was at that time over tbirty years 
of age, and althougb unmarried she looked more like a very 
yonng married womon. She had large, blue, drcamy eyes, and 
a laughing mouth, a deliciously oval fa<'e, little dimples, and, 
crowning all this grace, tbis dreamy esprcssion, and ttiis 
coquettish, inviting mouth, a wide forebead like tbat of the 
Virgiiis painted by the early painters, rather prominent, encirded 
by hair wom in smooth, wide, flat bandeaux, separated by a 
faultless parting. Tbe forehead seemed like the protecting 
rampart of this delicious fat-e, MUe. Hocquigny was adored 
and made mucb of by every one, but she remained inviilncrable ' 
to all homage, She was bnppy in being beloved, but she would 
not allow any one to express afFection for her. 

At the Palais de Tlndustrie a remarkable number of celebrated 
doctors and surgeons were on duty, and they, as well as the con- 
valescents, were all more or less in lovc with MUc. Hocquigny. 
As she and I were great friends, she confided to nie ber obser- 
vatioQfi and ber sorrowfui disdain. Thanks to hex, I was ne\'er 
sbort of linen nor of lint. 1 had organised my ambulance with 
a very small stafT. My cook was installed in the public ß^er. 



THE ODlSON AMBULANCE 167 

I httd bought her an immense cooking ränge, so that she could 
Bake soups and herb-tea for fifty men« Her husband was chief 
attendant. I had given him two assistants, and Madame 
Go^ranl, Madame Lambquin, and I were the nurses. Two of 
n nt np at ni^t, so that we each went to bed one night in 
tfaree. I preferred this to taking on some woman whom I did not 
know. Madame Lambquin belonged to the Od^on, where she 
iited to take the part of the duennas. She was piain and had a 
eommon face, but she was veiy talented. She talked loud and 
was Terj plain-spoken. She called a spade a spade, and liked 
frankness and no under meaning to things. At times she was 
a trifle embarrassing with the crudeness of her words and her 
remarks, but she was kind, active, alei*t, and devoted. My various 
fijends who were on Service at the fortifications came to me in 
their free time to do my secretarial work. I had to keep a book, 
vfaicfa was ahown eveiy day to a sergcant who came from the 
Val-de-Graoe militaiy hospital, giving all details as to how 
ly men came into our ambulance, how many died, and how 
[j recovered and left. Paris was in a state of siege ; no one 
eonld go far outside the walls, and no news from outside could 
be received. The Germans were not, however, round the gates 
of the city. Baron Larrey came now and then to see me, and I 
had as head surgeon Dr. Duchesne, who gave up his whole time, 
ni^ht and day, to the care of my poor men during the five 
months that this truly frightfui nightmare lasted. 

I cannot recall those terrible days without the deepest emo- 
tion« It was no longer the country in danger that kept my 
nerves strung up, but the sufFerings of all her children. There 
were all those who were away fighting, those who were brought 
in to US wounded or dying ; the noble women of the people, who 
stood for hours and hours in the qiieiie to get the necessary dole 
of bread, meat, and milk fortheir poor littleones at home. Ah, 
those poor women ! I could see theni from the theatre windows, 
pressing up close to each other, blue with cold, and stamping 
their feet on the ground to keep them from freezing — for that 
winter was the most cruel one we had had for twenty years. Fre- 
quently one of thesc poor, silent heroines was brought in to me, 
either in a swoon from futigue or struck down suddenly with 
coogestion caused by cold. On Deceniber 20 three of these 
imfortunate women were brought into the ambulance. One of 



1Ö8 SARAH BERNHARDT 

them bftd her feet frozen, and she lost the big toe of her rigbt 
foDt. The second was an enonnousl}' stout woaian, wbo was 
suckling her child, and her poor breasts were harder than wood. 
She simply how]ed with pain. The youngest of the three wns s 
girl of sixteen to eighteen years of age. She died of cold, on 
the trestle on which I had had her placed to send her home. 
On December 24, there were fifteen degrees of cold. I often 
sent Guillaume, our attendant, out with a little brandy to wann 
the poor women. Oh ! the suffering they must have endured — 
those heart-broken mothcrs, those sisters and jSan*:*?« — in their 
tcrrible drcad. How escusable their rcbcllion seems during tbe 
Commune, and even their bloodthii-sty madness! 

My ambulance was füll. I had sixty beds, and was obl^ed 
to improvise ten more. The soldiers were instalied in the 
green-room and in the general foyer^ and the oßicers in a room 
which had been formerly the refreshment-room of the theatre. 

One day a young Breton, named Marie Le Gallec, was brouglit 
in. He had been Struck by a bullet in the ehest and anothcr 
in the wrist. Dr. Duchesne bound up his ehest firmly, and 
attended to his wrist. He then said to me very simply : 

"Let him have anythinghe likes — he is dying." 

I bent over his bed, and said to him : 

" Teil me what would give you pleasure, Marie Le Gallec* 

"Soup," he answered promptly, in the most comic way. 

Madame Guerard hurried away to the kitchen, and soon 
retumed with a bowl of broth and pieces of toast I placed 
the bowl on the little four-leggcd wooden shelf, which was so 
convenient for the meals of our poor sufferers. The wounded 
man looked up at me and said, " Barra." I did not understand, 
and he repeated, "Barra." His poor ehest caused him to bin 
out the word, and he made the greatest efibrts to repeat hi* 
emphatic request. 

I Gent immediatcly to the Marine Office, thinking that there 
would Burely be some Breton seamen there, and I explained my 
difficulty and my igiiorance of Ihe Breton dialect. 

I was informed that the word " barra " meant bread. I hurried 
«t once to Le Gallec with a large picce of bread. His face Hghted 
up, and taking it from me with his sound hand, he broke it up 
with his teeth and let the pieces fall in the bowl. He then 
plunged bis spoon into the middle of the broth, and filled it up 



J 



THE ODÄON AMBULANCE 169 

with favead ontil the spoon oould stand upright in it. When it 
stood ap withoat shaking about, the young soldier smiled. He 
was just preparing to eat this horrible concoction when the 
joung priest from St. Sulpice who had my ambulance in charge 
arriTed. I had sent for him on hearing Üie doctor^s sad verdict. 
He laid bis band gently on the young man^s Shoulder, thus 
skopping the movement of bis arm. The poor fellow looked 
op at the priest, who showed him the holy cup. 

*' Oh/* he Said simply, and then, placing bis coarse handker- 
diief <nrer the steaming soup, he put bis hands together. 

We had airanged the two screens which we used for isolating 
the dead or dying around bis bed. He was left alone with the 
priest wbilst I went on my rounds to calm those who were 
chaffing, or help the believers raise themselves for prayer. The 
Tocmg priest soon pushed aside the partition, and I then saw 
Marie Le Gallec, with a beaming face, eating bis abominable 
bead sop. He soon feil asleep but awoke before long and asked 
for something to drink, and then died in a sligbt fit of 
dM>king. Fortunately I did not lose many men out of the 
three hundred who came into my ambulance, for the death of the 
onfortunate ones completely upset me. 

I was very young at that time, only twenty-four years of age, 
but I could nevertheless see tbe cowardice of some of the men 
and the heroism of many of the others. A young Savoyard, 
eighteen years old, had had bis forefinger shot off. Baron 
Larrey was quite sure that he had done it himself with his 
own gun, but I could not believe that. I noticed, though, that, in 
spite of our nursing and care, the wound did not heal. I bound 
it up in a different way, and the following day I saw that 
tbe bandage had been altered. I mentioned this to Madame 
Lambquin, who was sitting up that night with Madame Guerard. 

** Good; I will keep my eye on him. You go to sieep, my child» 
and rely on me.*" 

TTie next day when I arrived she told nie that she had caught 
the young man scraping the wound on his finger with his knife. 
I called him, and told him that I should have to report this to 
tbe Val-de-Grace Hospital. 

He began to weep, and vowed to me that he would never do it 
•gain, and five days later hc was well. I signed the paper 
authorising him to leave the ambulance, and he was sent to the 



170 SARAH BERNHARDT 

annj of the defenoe. I often wondered what became of him. 
Another of our patients bewildered us toa £a<ii tinie that hif 
woand seemed to be just on the point of healing up, he had a 
violent attack of dysentery, which prevented him getting well. 
This seemed suspicious to Dr. Duchesne, and he asked me to 
watch the man. At the end of a considerable time we were 
conyinced that onr woimded man had thou^t ont the moit 
comical scheme. 

He slept next the wall, and therefoie had no neighbour od 
the one side. Duiing the night he managed to file the brasB of 
his bedstead. He put the fihngs in a little pot which had bMi 
osed for ointment of some kind« A few drops of water and some 
salt mixed with this powdered brass formed a poison whidi 
might have cost its inventor his life. I was furious at this 
stratagem. I ^Tote to the Val-de-Grace, and an ambulanoe 
conveyance was scnt to take this onpatriotie Frenchman away. 

But side by side with these despicable men what heroism we 
saw ! A young captain was brought in one day. He was a tall 
fellow, a regulär Hercules, with a süperb head and a fiank 
expression. On my book he was inscribed as Captain MenesBon. 
He had been struck by a bullet at the top of the arm, just at 
the Shoulder. With a nurse'^s assistance I was tiying as gently 
as possible to take ofF his cloak, when three bullcts feil from the 
hood which he had pulled over his head, and I counted sixteen 
bullet holes in the cloak. The young officer had stood upright 
for three hours, serving as a target himself, whilst covering the 
retreat of his men as they fired all the time on the enemy. This 
had taken place among the Champigny vines. He had been 
brought in unconscious, in an ambulance conveyance. He had 
lost a great deal of blood, and was half dead with fatigue and 
weakness. He was veiy gentle and charming, and thought him- 
self sufBcienlly well two days later to retum to the fight. The 
doctor, howcver, would not allow this, and his sister, who was a 
nun, besought him to wait until he was something like well 
again. 

" Oh, not quite well,'' she said, smiling, " but just well enough 
to have strcngth to fight.'' 

Soon after he came into the ambulance the Gross of the Legion 
of Honour was brought to him, and this was a moment of 
intense emotion for every one. The unfortunate wounded men 



THE OD^ON AMBULANCE 171 

wiio could not move tumed their suffering faces towards him, 
«od, with their eyes shiniDg throogh a mist of tears, gave him a 
fiatemal look. The stronger amongst them heid out their 
haiids to the young giant. 

It was Christmas-eve, and I had decorated the ambulance 
with festoons of green leaves. I had made pretty little chapels 
in front of the Virgin Mary, and the young priest from St. 
Solpice Game to take part in our poor but poetical Christmas 
•ervice. He repeated some beautiful prayers, and the wounded 
men, many of whom were from Brittany, sang some sad solemn 
•oiigs füll of charm. 

Porel^ the present manager of the Vaudeville Theatre, had 
been wounded on the Avron Plateau. He was thep convalescent 
and was one of my patients, togethcr with two ofHcers now 
icady to leave the ambulance. That Christmas supper is one of my 
most charming and at the same time most melancholy memories. 
It was served in the small room which we had made into a bed- 
roomu Oor three beds were covered with draperies and skins 
which I had had brought from home, and we used them as seats. 
Mlle. Hocquigny had sent me fi ve metres of boudin blanc (^^ white- 
paddiDg^'X ^^ famous Christmas dish, and all my poor soldiers 
who were well enough were delighted with this delicacy. One of 
my friends had had twenty large brioche cakes made for me, and 
I had ordercd some largo bowls of punch, the coloured flanies 
from which amused the grown-up sick children immensely. The 
young priest from St. Sulpice accepted a piecc of brioche^ and 
after taking a little white wine left us. Ah, how charming and 
good he was that poor young priest ! And how well he managed 
to make Fortin, the insupportable wounded fellow, cease talking. 
Gradually the latter began to get humanised, until finally he 
began to tliink the priest was a good sort of fellow. Poor 
young priest ! He was shot by the Communists. I crie<l for days 
and days over the murdcr of this young St. Sulpice priest. 



xvn 

PARIS BOMBABDED 

The month of January arrived. The army of the enemy heU 
Paris day by day in a still closer grip. Food was getting scaroe. 
Bitter cold enveloped the city, and poor soldiers who feil, some- 
times only slightly wounded, passed away gently in a sleep that 
was etemal, their brain numbed and their body half frozen. 

No more news could be received from outside, but thanks to 
the United States Minister, who had resolved to remain in Paris» 
a letter arrived from time to time. It was in this way that I re- 
ceived a thin slip of paper, as soft as a primrose petal, bring- 
ing me the foUowing message : ^* Every one well. Courage. A 
thousand kisses. — ^Your mother.^ This impalpable missive dated 
from seventeen days previously. 

And so my mother, my sisters, and my little boy were at TTie 
Hague all this time, and my mind, which had been continually 
travelling in their direction, had been wandering along the 
wrong route, towards Hävre, where I thought they were settled 
down quietly at the house of a cousin of my father's mother. 

Where were they, and with whom ? 

I had two aunts at The Hague, but the question was, 
were they there ? I no longer knew what to think, and from 
that moment I never ceased sufTering the most anxious and 
torturing mental distress. 

I was doing all in my power just then to procure some wood 
for fires. Comte de Keratry had sent me a large provision 
before his departure to the provinces in a balloon on October 9. 
My stock was growing very short, and I would not allow what we 
had in the cellars to be touched, so that in casc of an emergency we 
should not be absolutely without any. I had all the little foot- 
stools belonging to the theatre used for firewood, all the wooden 



PARIS BOMBARDED 178 

csaes in which the properties were kept, a good number of 
old Roman benches, arm-cbairs and cunile chairs, that were 
stowed away under the theatre, and indeed everything which 
came to hand. Finally, taking pity on my despair, pretty 
Iflle. Hocquigny sent me ten thonsand kilograms of wood, and 
tben I took courage again. 

I had been told about some new system of keeping meat, by 

which the meat lost neither its juice nor its nutritive quality. 

I sent Madame Gudrard to the Mairie in the neighbour- 

hood of the Od^n, where such provisions were distributed, 

bot some brüte answered her that when I had removed all 

the religious images from my ambulance I should receive 

the neoessary food« M. Herisson, the mayor, with some 

fuDctionaiy holding an influential post, had been to inspect my 

ambulance. The important personage had requested me to 

have the beautiful white Virgins which were on the mantel* 

pieces and tables taken away, as well as the Divine Crucified — 

one hanging on the wall of each room in which there were any 

of the wounded. I refused in a somewhat insolent and veiy 

decided way to act in accordance with the wish of my visitor, 

whereapon the famous Republican tumed his back on me 

and gave Orders that I should be refused everything at the 

Mairie. I was very determined, however, and I moved heaven 

and earth until I succceded in getting inscribed on the lists 

for distribution of food, in spite of the Orders of the chief. It is 

only fair to say that the nmyor was a charming man. Madame 

Gu^rard retumed, after her third visit, with a child pushing 

a hand-barrow containing ten enormous bottles of the miraculous 

meat. I received the precious consignment with infinite joy, for 

my men had been almost without meat for the last thi-ee days, 

and the beloved poUau-feu was an almost neoessary resource for 

the poor wounded fellows. On all the bottles were directions as 

to opening them : " Let the meat soak so' many hours,"" &c. &c. 

Madame Lambquin, Madame Guerard, and I, together with 

all the stafF of the infirmary, were soon grouped anxiously 

and inquisitivcly around thesc glass receptacles. 

I told the head attendant to open the largest of the bottles, 
in which through the thick glass we could see an enormous 
pieoe of beef siurounded bj thick, muddled-looking water. The 
ttring fastened round the rough paper which hid the cork was 



174 SARAH BERNHARDT 

cut, and then, just as the man was about to put the corluofew 
in, a deafening explosion was heard and a rank odour filled the 
room. Every one rushed away terrified. I called them all 
back, scared and disgusted as they were, and showed* them the 
foUowing words on the directions : ^^ Do not be alarmed at the 
bad odour on opening the bottle.'" Courageously and with 
resignation we resumed our work, though we feit sick all the 
time from the abominable exhalation. I took the beef cmt and 
placed it on a dish that had been brought for the purpose. 
Five minutes latcr this meat tumed blue and then bladc, and 
the stench from it was so unbearable that I decided to throw 
it away. Madame Lambquin was wiser, though, and moie 
reasonable. 

" No, oh no, my dear girl," she said ; " in these times it will 
not do to throw meat away, even though it may be rotten. 
Let US put it in the glass bottle again and send it back to the 
Mairie,'*' 

I followed her wise advice, and it was a very good thing Idid, 
for another ambulance, installed at Boulevard Medicis, on 
opening these bottles of meat had been as horrified as we were» 
and had thrown the Contents into the street. A few minutes 
after the crowd had gathcred round in a mob, and, refusing to 
listen to anything, had yelled out insults addressed to "the 
aristocrats,'^ " the clericals,'' and " the traitors,'' who were 
throwing good meat, intended for the sick, into the street, so 
that the dogs were enjoying it, while the people were starving 
with hunger, &c. &c. 

It was with the greatest difficulty that the wretched, mad 
people had been prevented from invading the ambulance, and 
when one of the unfortunate nurses had gone out, later on, she 
had been mobbed and beatcn until she was left half dead from 
fright and blows. She did not want to be carried back to her 
own ambulance, and the druggist begged me to take her in. 
I kept her for a few days, in one of the upper tier boxes of 
the theatre, and when she was better she asked if she might stay 
with me as a nurse. I grantcd her wish, and kept her with me 
afterwards as a maid. 

She was a fair-haired girl, gentle and timid, and was pre- 
destined for misfortune. She was found dead in the P^ 
Lachaise cemetery afler the skirmish between the.Communists 






PARIS BOMBARDED 175 

tod the Versailles troop. A stray bullet Struck her in the back 
of the neck as she was praying at the grave of her littlc sister, 
who had died two days before from small-pox. I had taken her 
vith me to St. Glennain, where I had gone to stay during the 
hoiTon of the Commune. Poor girl ! I had allowed her to go 
to Fuis veiy much against my own will. 

As we could not count on this preserved meat for cur food, 
I Bade a oontract with a knacker, who agreed to supply me, at 
nther a high prioe, with horse flesh, and until the end this was 
the only meat we had to eat. Well prepared and well seasoned, 
it was very good. 

Hope had now fled from all hearts, and we were living in the 
eKpedation of we knew not what. An atmosphere of misfortune 
Kemed to hang like lead over us, and it was a sort of relief when 
tbe bombardment commcnced on Deccmber 27. At last we 
feit that something new was happening! It was an era of 
fresh suffering. There was somc stir, at any rate. For the last 
fertnight the fact of not knowing anything had been killing us. 

On January 1, 1871, we lifted our glasses to the hcalth of the 
ahtent ones, to the repose of the dead, and the toast choked 
US with such a lump in our throats. 

Every night we used to hear the dismal cry of ^^ Ambulance ! 
.\mbulance ! ^ undemeath the Windows of the Odeon. We 
went down to meet the pitiful proccssion, and one, two, or 
»onietimes three conveyances would be therc, füll of our poor, 
«ounded soldiers. Tlierc would bc ten or twelvc rows of theni, 
Iving or sitting up on the straw. I said that I had rooni for one 
or two, and, lifting the lautem, I looked into the conveyance, 
and the faces would then tum slowly towards the lauip. Sonie of 
the men would close their eyes, as they wcre too wciik to boar 
evcfi that feeble light. With the hclp of the sergeant who 
accompanied the conveyance and our attendant, one of the 
unfortunates would with difficulty be lifted into the narrow 
litter on which he was to be carried up to the ambulance. 

Oh, what sorrowful anguish it was for nie when, on lifting the 
patient'a» head, I discovered that it was getting heavy, oh, so 
bea\y ! And when bending over that inert face I feit that there 
was uo longer any brcath ! The sergeant would tlien give the 
Order to take him back, and the poor dead man was put in Ins 
place and another wounded man was lifted out. 



SARAH BERNHARDT 



in ordtf 



Tbc olber dyiiig men would theo more back a little, in 
not to profane the dead. 

Ah, what grief it was when the sergeant said : " Do by to 
take ooe or two more ia ! It is a pity to drag tbese poor chapa 
about froin one ambulance to another. The Vai-de-Gräce ii 
füll." I 

" Very well, I will take two more," I would say, and ihoi 
I wondered where we should put them, We had to ^ve up oui 
own bcds, and in this way the poor fcllows wcre saved. Evet 
since Januaiy 1 we had all three been sieeping every night at the 
ambulance. We had some loose dressing-gowns of thick grej 
flannel, not unlike the soldiera' doaks, Tlie first of U3 who heard 
a cry or a groan sprang out of bed, and if necessary called th« 
otber two. 

On Janimry 10, Madame Guerard and I were sitting up al 
night, on one of the lomiges in the green-room, awaiting thi 
dismal cry of " Ambulance ! " There had been a üerce aSray al 
Clamart, and we knew there would be maiiy wounded. I wai 
t«lling her of my fear that the bombs which had already reached 
the Museum, the Sorbonne, the Salpetriere, the Val-de-Gtäc«, 
&c., would fall on the Odcon. 

" Oh, but, my dear Sarah," said the sweet woman, " tht 
ambulance Hag is wavJng so high above it that there could bc 
no niistake. If it were Struck it would bc piu-posely, and tbaJ 
would be abominable." 

" But, Guerard," I replied, " why should you expect these 
esecrable enemies of ours to be better than we are ounelvesf 
Did we not behave üke savages at Berlin in 1806 ? " 

" But at Paris there are such admirable public m<HiumeQts," 
she urged, 

"Well, aiid was not Moscow füll of masterpieoes ? Tlie 
Kremlin ia one of the fineat buildings in the world. That did 
not prevent us giving that admirable city up to pillage. Oh no, 
my poor peiit Dame, do not deceive yourself. Armiea may be 
Russiau, German, French, or Spanish, but they are armies — tiwt 
is, they are beings which form an imperaonal ' whole," a 
'whole' that is ferocious and irreaponsible. The Germans 
will bombard the whole of Paris if the possibility of doing so 
should be oSered them. You must make up your mind UiJ^^ 
my dear Guäurd " ^^H 



I 

I 



{ 



PARIS BOMBARDED 177 

Ibad not finisbed my sentence when a terrible detonation roused 
tib whole nei^bourhood from its slumbers. Madame Guerard 
ad I had been aeated c^posite each other. We found ourselves 
itiBding ap dooe together in the middle of the room, terrified. 
Mj poor oook, her face quite white, came to me for safety. The 
detooations continued rather fiequently. The bombarding had 
eoDunenoed from our aide that night. I went round to the 
vnmded men, but they did not seem to be much disturbed. 
Ohlj one, a boy of fifteen, whom we had sumamed ^^ pink baby,^ 
«v titting up in bed. When I went to him to soothe him he 
ibowed me his little medal of the Holy Virgin. 

** It is thanks to her that I was not killed,^ he said. ^^ If they 
«oaU put the Holy Virgin on the ramparts of Paris the bombs 
^wM not oome.^ 

He lay down again then, holding his little medal in his band, 
md the bombarding continued until six in the moming. 
''Anibiilanoe ! Ambulanoe!^ we then heard, and Madame 
GnÄard and I went down. ^^ Here,^ said the seigeant, ^ take 
Ui man. He is losing all his blood, and if I take him any 
hrtber he will not arrive living.^ The wounded man was put on 
the litter, but as he was German, I asked the sub-officer to take 
iO his papers and band them in at the Ministry. We gave the 
man the place of one of the convalescents, whom I installed else- 
^bere. I asked him his name, and he told me that it was Frantz 
lüajer, and that he was a soldier of the Silesian Landwehr. He 
thcD iainted from weakness caused by loss of blood. But he 
ioon came to himself again with our care, and I then asked him 
^ijether he wanted an)rthing, but he did not answer a word. I 
lupposc-d that he did not speak French, and, as there was no one 
tt the ambulance who spoke German, I waited until the next day 
to soid for some one who knew his language. I must own that the 
poor man was not welcomed by his dormitory companions. A 
loküer named Fortin, who was twenty-three years of age and a 
witaUe child of Paris, a comical fellow, mischievous, droll, and 
pxxl-natured, never ceased railing against the young German, 
»bo on his side never flinched. I went severaJ times to Fortin 
ad begged him to be quiet, but it was all in vain. Every fresh 
Nitbreak of his was greeted with wild laughter, and his success 
nt him into the gayest of humours, so that he continued, getting 
and more excited. The otbers were prevented from sleep- 




178 SARAH BERNHARDT 

ing, and he moved about wild]y in bis bed, burstiog <mt into 
abusive tanguage when too abrupt a movement intoisified Eiii 
sufPering. Tbc unfortunate fellow had bad bis sciatic oeire ton 
by a bullet, and he had to f?Tidure the most atrocious pain. 

After my tbird fniitless appeal for silence I ordered the two 
men attendants to carry him into a room where he would be 
alone. He sent for me, and when I went to him promiB«d to 
bebave well all night long. I thcrefore countermanded the 
Order I bad given, and be kept his word, The following d*j I 
had Frantz Mayer earried into a room where there was a young 
Breton wbo bad had his skull fractured by the bursting of ■ 
Shell, and therefore needed tbe utmost tranquillity. 

One of my friends, wbo spoke German very well, came to W 
wbether the Silesian wanted anything, Thewounded man^&tt 
ligbted up on hearing his own language, and then, tuming to 
me, he said : 

"I understand Frencb quite well, Madame, and if I listcntd 
calmly to tbe borrors poured forth by your French soldier it wu 
because I know tbat you cannot hold out two days longer, and I 
can understand his exasperation," 

" And why do you thlnk tbat we cannot hold out ? " 

*' Because I know that you are reduced to eating rats." 

Dr. Ducbesne had just arrived, and he waa dressing tbe 
horrible wound which the patient had in his thigh. 

" Well," be said, " my friend, as soon as your fever has de- 
creased you shall eat an excellent wing of chicken." The German 
shrugged bis Shoulders, and tbe doctor continued, " Meanwbile 
drink this, and teil me wbat you tbink of it." 

Dr. Ducbesne gave him a gla&s of water, witb a ültle of the 
excellent cognac whicb tbe Prefect had sent me. That was the 
only tisane that my soldiers took. The Silesian said no more, 
but he put on the reserved, circumspect manner of people who 
know and will not spcak. 

The bombardment continued, and tbe ambulance flag cert^nly 
scrved as a target for our onemies, for they fired witb suipriüi^ 
exactitude, and altered their firing directly a bomb feil any dis- 
tance fioxn tbe neighbourhood of the Luxembourg. llianks to 
this, we had more tban twelve bombs one night, These dismal 
Shells, wben they hurst in the air, were like the (ireworks at « 
ffit. He Bhining splinters then feil down, black and de«d]y. 



PARIS BOMBAKDED 179 

Georges Boyer, who at tliat time was a youDg Journalist, came 
to call OD me at the ambulaoce, and I told him about the 
terriQriog gplendours of the night. 

** Oh, how much I should like to see aU tbat ! '" he said. 

"Come this evening, towards nine or ten o'clock, and you will 
see," I replied. m 

We spent several hours at the little round window of my 
dressing-room, which looked out towards CbatiUon. It was ftom 
there that tbe Gennans fired the most. 

We listened, in the silence of the night, to the muffled Sounds 
Coming froin yonder ; there would be a light, a formidable noise 
in tbe distance, and tbe bomb arrived, falling in front of us or 
behind, bursting either in the air oronreaching its goai. Once 
we had only just time to draw baclc quickly, and even then the 
disturbance in the atmosphere afFected us so violently that for a 
■econd we were under the impression that we had been struclc. 

The shell had fallen just imdemeath my dressing-room. 
grazing the comice, which it dragged down in its fall to the 
ground, where it burst feebly. But what was our amazement to 
•ee a little crowd of children swoop down on the buming pieces, 
just like a lot of spaiTows on fresh manure when the carriage 
has passed ! The little vagabonds were quarrelling over the 
ddbris of these engines of warfare. I wondered what they could 
possibly do with them. 

" Oh, there is not much mystery about it," said Boyer ; " these 
ütUe starving urchins will seil them." 

ITiis proved to be true. One of the men attendants, whom I 
■ent to find out, brought back with him a child of about ten 
years old. 

" What are you going to do with that, my little man ?" I 
asked him, picking up the piece of shell, which was warm and 
still dangerous, on the edge where it had burst. 

" I am going to seil it," he replied. 

"What for?" 

"To buy my tum in the queue when the meat is being 
distributed." 

" But you risk your life, my poor child. Sometimes the shells 
come quickly, one after the other. Where were you when this 
onefellP" 

"Lying down on the stone of the wall that supports the iron 



SARAH BERNHARDT 

nilings." He pointed across to the Luxenibourg Gardens, 
opposite the stage entraiice to the Odeon. 

Wc boiight up all the debria that the child had, withoul 
attcmpting to give him advice which night have sounded wise. 
Wbat was the use of preaching wisdom to this poor litÜe 
creatuie, wbo heard^Saf nothing biit niassacres, ßre, revenge, 
retaliation, and all the rest of it, for tbe sake of honour, for the 
Kftke of veligion, for the sako of rigbt ? Bcsides, how was U 
possible to kcep out of the way ? AI] the people living in the 
Faubout^ St. Germaiii were liable to be blown to pieces, as the 
enemy very lucküy could only bombard Paris on that »ide, and 
not at cvery point. No ; we were ceiiainly in the most 
dangerous neigbbourbood. 

One day Baron I^arrey came to see Frantz Mayer, wbo was 
very ill. He wrote a prescription whicb a young errand hoj 
was told to wait for and bring back very, very quickly. As 
the boy was rather given to loitering, I went to the window. 
His name was \'ictor, but we called him "Toto." The 
druggist lived at the conier of the Place Mcdicis. It was 
then sis o'clock in the evcniiig. Toto looked up, and on 
seeing me he began to laiigh and jump as he hurried to the 
dniggist's. He had only five or six more yards to go, and as he 
himed round to look up at my window I clapped my hands 
and called out, " Good ! Be quick back ! " Alas ! Before the 
poor boy could open his mouth to reply he was cut in two by a 
Shell which had just fallen. It did not hurst, but bounccd a 
yai-d high, and then Struck poor Toto right in the middie of the 
ehest. I iittered such a shrick that evcry onc came rushing to 
me. I could not speak, but pushed cvcry one asido and rushed 
downstairs, beckoning for some one to come with me. " A 
litter " — " the boy " — " the druf^st" — I managed to articulate. 
Ab, wbat a hon-or, wbat an aw fiil horror ! When we reached 
the poor child his intestines wcrc all ovcr the ground, his ehest 
and his poor little red chubby face had the flesh entirely taken 
off. He had neither eyes, nose, nor mouth ; nothing, nothing 
but some hair at the end of a shapeless, bleeding mass, a vard 
away from his head. It was as though a tiger had tom open the 
body with its daws and eniptied it *-ith fury and a reßnement 
of cruelty, leaviug nothing but the poor little skeleton. 

Baron Larrey, who was the best of men, tumed aligbtly 



PARIS BOMBARDED 181 

pde at this right. He saw plenty such, certainly, but this 
poor little fellow was a quite useless holocaust. Ah, the in- 
jutioe, the infamy of wai-! Will the much dreamed of time 
■eter come wben wars are no longer possible ; when the 
Bonaich who wants war will bc dethroned and iniprisoned as a 
Btlefactor ? Will the time never come when there will be a 
connopolitan Council, wherc a wise man of every country will 
Rpiitut bis nation, and where the rights of humanity will be 
diaoused and respected ? So many men think as I do, so many 
«omen talk as I do, and yet nothing is done. The pusillanimity 
rf an Oriental, the ill-humour of a sovereign, may still bring 
thousands of men face to face. And there will still be men who 
ireiolearned,chemists who spcnd their time in dreaming about, 
wd inventing a powder to blow everything up, bombs that will 
vound twenty or thirty men, guns repeating their deadly task 
oatil the bullets fall, spent themselves, after having tom open 
tcQ or twelve human breasts. 

A man whom I liked very much was busy experimenting how 
to sieer balloons. To achieve that means a rcalisation of my 
dretm, namely, to fly in the air,i to approach the sky, and have 
ander one^s feet the moist, domi-like clouds. Ah, how interested 
I VIS in my friend''s rescarches ! One day, though, he came to 
Die very much excited with a new discovery. 

**I have discovered soniething about which I am wild with 
delightl'' he said. He then hegan to explain to nie that his 
btUoon would be able to carry inflammable matter without the 
least danger, thanks to this and thanks to that. 

**But what for?'' I a^ked, l)e\vil(lerc^l hy his cxplanations and 
hilf crazy with so many tedniical words. 

*'What for.'*'" he re[>eated; " why, for war ! ^ he roplied. 
"We »hall be able to fire and to throw terrible bombs to a distance 
rf A thousand, twelve hinKlrtKl, and cvcn fif't<.H.»n hundred yards, 
lad it would be im|X)ssi})le for us to bc hunncd at such a dis- 
tiDoe. My balloons, thanks to a substance whicli is my invention, 
with which the covering would Ix» coated, would have nothing to 
fctf firom fire nor yet from gas."'' 

**I do not want to know anytliing more about you or your 
invention,"^ I said, interrupting him bruscjuely. " I thought you 
a humane savant,an(I you are a wild Ixast. Your researches 
in connection with the most Ix'autiful maiiifestation of human 



182 SARAH BERNHARDT 

genhu, vtth tlxHe crcdutioiis in tfae skr whkh I loved so dearij. 
Yoa «sot Dov to tzansfiofm tliese into (»wardly attadu tnrned 
agaiDst the earth. Yoo honify me ! Do go ! * 

With Ulis I kft mj finend to himself and his cmel inventioD» 
ashamed for a momexiL His e&brts have not suoceeded, thoug^ 
aooocding to his «ishe&. 

The zenuins et tfae poor lad were pat inio a small ooflbi, and 
Madame Gueraid and I folloved the pauper*s hearse to thegiaTe. 
Tbe moming «as so co\d that the driver had to ftop and take a 
glass of hot wine, as othenrise he migfat have died of oongesticm. 
We weie alone in the carriage, for the boy had been broug^t up 
faj his grandmother, who could not walk at all, and who knitted 
Tests and stockingSw It was tlurough going to oider some vests 
and socks for m j men that I had made the acquaintance of Mite 
Tricottin, as she was called. At her request I had engaged her 
grandson, Victor Durieux, as an errand boy, and the poor old 
woman had been so grateful that I dared not go now to teil her 
of his death. 

Madame Gueiaid woit for me to the Rue de Vaugiiardt 
where the old woman lived. As soon as she arrived the poor 
grandmother could see bj her sad ÜEure that something had 
happened. 

" Bon Dieiij my dear Madame, is the poor Utile thin lady 
dead ? *" This refeiTed to me. Madame Guerard then told her,as 
gently as possible, the sad news. The old woman took off her 
spectacles, lookcd at her visitor, wiped thcm, aiid put them on 
her nose again. She tlien began to grumble violently about her 
8on, the father of the dead boy. He had taken up with some 
low girl, by whom he had had this child, and she had alwajs 
foreseen that misfortune would conie upon them through it. 

She continued in this strain, not sorrowing for the poor boy, 
but abusing her son, who was a soldier in the Army of the 
Loire. 

■ 

Although the grandmother seemed to feel so little grief, I 
went to see her after the funeral. 

" It is all over, Madame Durieux,"" I said. " But I have 
ecured the grave for a period of five years for the poor boy.* 

She tumed towards me, quite coinic in her vexation. 

" What madness ! ^ she exclaimed. " Now that he's with the 
bon Dieu he won^t want for anything. It would have been 



PARIS BOMBARDED 188 

better to have taken a bit of land that would have brought 
MMnething in. Dead folks don^'t make vegetables grow.'*^ 

This outburst was so terribly logical that, in spite of the 
odious brutality of it, I yielded to Mere Tricottin^s desire, and 
gare her the same present I had given to the boy. They should 
each have their bit of land. The child, who had had a right to 
a longer life, should sleep his etemal sleep in his, whilst the old 
vornan could wiest from hers the remainder of her life, for 
vhidi death was lying in wait. 

I retumed to Üie ambulance, sad and unnerved. A joyful 
lurprise was awaiting me. A friend of mine was there, holding 
m his hand a very small piece of tissue paper, on which wei*e the 
foUowing two lines in my mother^s handwriting : " We are all 
rerj well, and at Homburg.'* I was furious on reading this. At 
Hombuig ? All my family at Homburg, settling down tran- 
quilly in the enemy'^s country. I racked my brains to think by 
wfaat extraordinary combination my mother had gone to Hom- 
burg. I knew that my pretty Aant Rosine had a lady friend therc, 
vith whom she stayed every year, for she always spent two 
nxmths at Homburg, two at Baden-Baden, and one month 
tt Spa, as she was the greatest gambler that the bon Dieu ever 
created. Anyhow, those who were so dear to me were all well, 
tnd that was the important point. But I was nevertheless annoyed 
with my mother for going to Homburg. 

I heartily thanked the friend who had brought me the little 
ilip of paper. It was sent to me by the American Minister, who 
had put himself to no end of trouble in order to give help and 
consolation to the Parisians. I then gave hini a few lines for 
my mother, in case he might be able to send them to her. 

The bombardnient of Paris continued. One night the 
brothcrs from the Ecole Chretienne canie to ask us for convey- 
acces and help, in order to collect the dead on the Chatillon 
nateau. I let them have my two conveyances, and I weiit with 
them to the battle-field. Ah, what a terrible niemory ! It was 
hke a scene from Dante ! It was an icy-cold night, and we 
could j»carcely move along. Finally, by the light of torches and 
lantem», we .saw that we had arrived. I got out of the vehicle 
with the infirmary attendant and his assistant. We had to 
move slowly, as at every htep we trod upon the dying or the 
dead. We pa^sed along murmuring, "Ambulance ! Ambulance!'' 




SARAH BERNHARDT 

Wheo we heard a groan we tumed our steps in the direc- 
tion whence it caine. Ah, the first man that I found in tili« 
way ! He was Iialf lying down, his body supported by a heap 
of dead. I raised iiiy lantern to look at his face, and found tbst 
bis cur and part of his jaw had becn blown off. Great dots 
of blood, coagulated by the cold, liung froni his lowcr jftw, 
There was a wild look in his eyes. I took a wisp of stmw, 
dipped it in niy flask, drew up a few drops of brandy, and Uew 
tlieiii iiito the poor fellow's niouth betwotn his ti«th. I re- 
peated this three or four tiraes. A little life thcn came back to 
hini, and we took hiiu away in dhg of tbe vehicles. Tbe anat 
thing was done for the othcrs. Soine of them could drink &(Hn 
the tlask, which made our work shorter. One of these unfor- 
tunate men was frightful to look at. A shell had takc-n all the 
clothes from the upper part of his body, «ith the exception of 
two ragged sleeves, which hung from the aruis at tlie Shoulders. 
There was no traee of a wound, but his poor body was marked 
all over with great black patches, and the blood was ooaing 
slowly from the comers of his mouth. I went nearer to bim, tar 
it seemed to me that he was breathing. I had a few drops of 
the vivifying coi-dial given to hini, and he thcn half opened hi« 
eye« and said, " Thank you." He was lifted into the conveyaoce, 
but the poor fellow died from an attack of hsmorrhagc, cover- 
ing all the other wounded men with a sti'eam of dark blood. 

Daylight gi-adually began to appear, a misty, dull dawn. 
The lantems had bumt out, but we could now distinguish each 
otLer. There were about a hundred persons there : aiaten of 
charity, miütary aJid civil male hospital attendants, the brotben 
trom the Ecole Chreticnnc, other priests, and a few ladies wbo, 
like myself, had given themselves up beart and soul to the acarioe 
of the wounded. 

The sigbt was still more dismol by daylight, for all that the 
night had hidden in tl]e shadows appcared then in the tardy, 
wan light of that Jaiiuary nioniing. 

There were so maiiy wounded that it was impoasible lo 
transport them all, and I sobbed at the thought of ray helpl^- 
ness. Other vehicles kept arriviug, but there were so many 
womided, so very niauy. A number of those who had ooly 
slight wounds had died of cold. 

Od retuming to the ambulance I mct one uf my fi-iends at 



PARIS BOMBARDED 185 

Übe door. He was a naval officer, and he had brought me a 

Mik»r wfao had been wounded at the fort of Ivry. He had been 

diot bdow the right eye. He was entered as IMsire Bloas, 

boatswain^s mate, age 27. He was a xnagnificent fellow, very 

frank looking, and a man of few words. As soon as he was in 

bed, Dr. Ducfaesne sent for a barber to shave him, as his bushy 

whiskere had been ravaged by a bullet that had lodged itself in 

tfae aalivary gland, carrying with it hair and flesh into the 

woand. The surgeon took up his pincers to extract the pieces 

of fleah whidi had stopped up the opening of the wound. He 

then had to take some very fine pincers to extract the hairs 

iriiich had been forced in. AVhen the barber laid his razor 

werj gently near the wound, the unfortunate man tumed livid 

and an oath escaped his Ups. He immediately glanced at 

■le and muttered, ^ Pardon, Mademoiselle.*" I was very yoimg, 

bot I appeared much younger than my age ; I looked like a very 

joung girl, in fact. I was holding the poor fellow^s band in 

flune and trying to comfort him with the hundreds of con- 

nliDg woids that spring trom a woman^s heart to her lips 

wbcn she has to soothe moral or physical sufFering. 

^Ah, Mademoiselle,^ Said poor Bloas, when the wound was 
fiüillj dressed, "you gave me courage.'*' 

When he was more at his ease I asked him if he would like 
sotnething to eat 

** Yea,*" he replied. 

" Well, my boy, would you like checse, soup, or sweets ? ^ 
asked Madame Lambquin. 

** Sweets,*" replied the powerful-looking fc^llow, smiling. 

Desire Bloas often talked to nie about his mother, who Hved 
near Brest. He had a veri table adoration for this mother, but 
he seemed to have a terrible grudge against his father, for one 
day, when I asked him whether his fiither was still living, he 
looked up with his fearless eyes aiid appeared to fix them on a 
being only visible to hiinself, as thougli challenging hira, with 
an expression of the niost pitiful contempt. Alas ! the brave 
fellow was destined to a cruel end, but I will retuni to that 
later. 

Hie sufferings endured through the siege began to have their 
effect on the morale of the Parisians. Bread had just been 
rationed out : there werc to be SOO granimes for adults and 



r 



186 SARAH BERNHARDT 

150 grammes for children. A silent fiuy took possession of the 
people at tbis news. Women were tbe most courageotu, UM 
inen were escited. Quarrels grew bitter, tbr some wanted mr 
to the very death, and otbers wanted peace. 

One day when I entcred Frantz Mayers room to take him hv 
meal, he went into the most ridicuJous rage. He tbrew bis piett 
of chicken down on tbe groiuid, and dcciared tbat bc would not 
eat anything, nothing inore at all, for they bad deceived bim by 
telUng bim tbat the Parisians bad not enough food to last bro 
days before surrendering, and he bad been in tbe ambulaoec 
seventeeii days now, and was having chicken. What the poor 
fellow did not know was tbat I had bought about forty chickeu 
and six geese at the beginning of the siege, and 1 was feeding 
thera up in niy dressing-rooni in the Rue de Korne. Oh, mjf 
dressing-room was very pretty just tben ; but I let Frantz beliera 
that all Paris was fuU of diickens, ducks, geese, and oäiCT 
dornest ic bipeds. 

The bombardinent continued, and one night I bad to hav« all 
my patients trausported to the Odeon cellars, for when JMadanie 
Gudrard was belping one of tbe sick men to get back into bcd, & 
sbell feil on the bed itself, between ber and the officcr, It makes 
me shuddcr cven now to thiiik that three miuutes sooner the 
unfortunatc man would have been killed as he lay in bcd, although 
tbe sbell did not buTst. 

We oould not stay long in the cellara. The water was getting 
deeper in thcin, and rats tormented u». I thercfore decided that 
the anibulance niust be moved, and I had the worst of the 
patients coiivejed to the Val-de-Gräce HospitaL I kept about 
twenty men who were on the road to convalescence, I nmtcd iin 
immense empty flat for tbem at 58 Rue Taitbout, and it «•■ 
there tlrnt we awaited tlie amiistice. 

1 was half dead witli anxicty, as I bad had no newa from Wf 
own family for a long time. I could not sleep, and had becoBW 
the very sbadow of niy fornier seif. 

Jules Favre was entnisted with the negotiations with Bisraaicfc, 
Oh, tbose two days of prelirainarieä ! They were the moot ob- 
nerving daya of any for tbe bcsieged. Falsc reports were spmd. 
We were told of tbe maddcst and most citorbitant demanda an 
the part of the Germans, who certainly were not tender to Üit 
vanquished. 



PARIS BOMBARDED 187 

Urne was a moment of Stupor when we heard that we had 
to paj two hundred million francs in cash immediately, for our 
finances were in such a pitifiil state that we sbuddei*ed at the idea 
that we might not be able to make up the sum of two hundred 
■iillions. 

Baron Alphonse de Rothschild, who was shut up in Paris with 
his wife and brothers, gave bis signature for the two hundred 
oiillioDS. This fine deed was soon forgotten, and there are even 
people who gainsay it. 

Ah, the ingratitude of the masses is a disgrace to civilised 
humanitj ! ^ Ingratitude is the evil peculiar to the white races,^ 
Said a Bed-skin, and he was right. 

When we heard in Paris that the armistice was signed for 
twenty days, a frightful sadness took possession of us all, even 
of thoae who most ardently wished for peace. 

Eveiy Parisian feit on his cheek the band of the conqueror. 
It was the brand of shame, the blow given by the abominable 
treaty of peaoe. 

Oh, that Slst of January 1871 ! I remember so well that I 
was ansemic from privation, undermined by grief, tortured with 
aoxiety about my feunily, and I went out with Madame Guerard 
lud two frioids towards the Parc Monceau. Suddenly one of 
my friends, M. de Plancy, tumed as pale as death. I looked to 
Ke what was the matter, and noticed a soldier passing by. He 
had no weapons. Two othcrs passcd, and they also had iio 
veapons. And they were so pale too, these poor disarmed 
soldiers, thcse humble heroes ; there was such evident grief and 
bopelessness in their very gait ; and their eyes, as they looked at 
US women, seemed to say, " It is not our fault ! '^ It was all so 
pitiful, so touching. I burst out sobbing, and went back homc 
at once, for I did not want to meet any niore disarmed Frcnch 
soldiers. 

I decided to set ofF now as quickly as possible in scarch of my 
fkmily. I asked Paul de Remusat to get me an audicnce with 
XL Thiers, in order to obtain from him a passport for leaving 
Paris. But I could not go alone. I feit that the jouniey I was 
about to undertake was a very dangerous one. M. Thiers and 
Paul de R6musat had wamed me of this. I could sec, therefore, 
that I should be constantly in the society of my travelling 
companion, and on this account I decided not to takc a ser\'ant 



188 SARAH BERNHARDT 

with me, but a friend. I very naturally went at once to Madame 
Guerard. Her busband, gentle though he was, refused absolutely 
to let her go with me, as he considered this expedition mad and 
dangerous. Mad it certainly was, and dangerous too. 

I did not insist, but I sent for my son^s govemess, Mlle. 
Soubise. I asked her whether she would go with me, and did not 
attempt to conceal from her any of the dangers of the joumey. 
She jumped with joy, and said she would be ready within twelve 
hours. This girl is at present the wife of Commandant Monfik 
Chesneau. And how stränge life is, for she is now teaching the 
two daughters of my son, her former pupil. 

Mlle. Soubise was then very young, and in appearance like a 
Creole. She had very beautifiil dark eyes, with a gentle, timid 
expression, and the voice of a child. Her head, however, was 
fuU of adventure, romance, and day-dreams. In appearance we 
might both have been taken for quite yotmg girls, for, althou^ 
I was older than she was, my slendemess and my face made me 
look younger. It would have been absurd to try to take a tnmk 
with US, so I took a bag for us both. We only had achange of 
linen and some stockings. I had my revolver, and I ofFered ooe 
to Mlle. Soubise, but she refused it with horror, and showed me 
an enormous pair of scissors in an enormous case. 

" But what are you going to do with them ? '^ I asked. 

" I shall kill myself if we are attacked,'** she replied 

I was surprised at the difference in our characters. I was 
taking a revolver, determined to protect myself by killing others ; 
she was determined to protect herseif by killing herseif. 



xvm 

A BOLD JOÜBNEY THROUOH THE OEBMAN LINES 

Os FelHTiary 4 we started on this joumey, which was to have 
litted thiee days, and lasted eleven. At the first gate at which 
I presented myself for leaving Paris I was sent back in the most 
brätal fiuhion. Permissions to go outside the city had to be sub- 
Bitted for signature at the Grerman outposts. I went to another 
gite, but it was only at the postem gate of Poissonniers that I 
coiikl get my passport signed. 

We were taken into a little shed which had been transformed 
into an ofSce. A Prussian general was seated there. He looked 
ne ap and down, and then said . 

** Are you Sarah Bernhardt ? " 

" Yes," I answered. 

" And this young lady is with you ? " 

" Yes." 

** And you think you are going to cross easily ? " 

" I hope so."" 

" Well then, you are mistaken, and you would do better to 
stay inside Paris/' 

" No ; I want to leave. Fll see myself what will happen, 
but I want to leave."" 

He shrugged his Shoulders, called an officer, said something I 
did not understand in German, and then went out, leaving us 
alone without our passports. 

We had been there about a quarter of an hour when I sud- 
denly heard a voice I knew. It was that of one of my friends, 
Rene GrifTon, who had heard of my departure, and had come 
after me to try to dissuade nie. The trouble he had taken was 
all in vain, though, as I was determined to leave. The general 



190 SARAH BERNHARDT 

letxmied soon aller, and Griffim was anxioas to know wbait nd^t 
happen to us. 

^ ETerrthing ! ^ retumed tbe oflicer. ^And worae Üum 
evervliiTiig l ^ 

Griffon spoke Gennan, and had a short colloqi^ withtlie 
officer about us. This rather annoyed me, for, as I did not 
onderstand, I imagined that he was niging the genenl to 
preTent us firom starting. I nevertheless resisted all penuasioiiai 
supplications, and even thieats. A few minutes later a wd- 
appointed vehicle drew up at the door of the shed. 

^Theie you are'J"^ said the Grerman offioer rou^ily. **! 
am sending yoa to Gonesse, where you wUl find the proyisioD 
train which starts in an hour. I am lecommending you to the 
care of the station-master, the Commandant X. After that 
may God take care of you ! * 

I stepped into the general'^s carriage, and said farewell to my 
friend, who was in despair. We arrived at Gonesse, and got out 
at the Station, where we saw a little group of people talking in 
low Yoices. The coachman made me a militiuy salute, refosed 
what I wished to give him, and drove away at füll speed. I 
advanced towards the group, wondering to whom I ought to 
speak, when a friendly voice exclaimed, ^ What, you here ! 
Where have you come from ? "Where are you going ? ** It was 
Villaret, the tenor in vogue at the Opera. He was going to his 
young wife, I believe, of whom he had had no news for five months. 
He introduced one of his friends, who was travelling with him, 
and whose name I de not remember ; General Pelissier^s son, and 
a very old man, so pale, and so sad-looking and woeb^one, that 
I feit quite sorry for him. He was a M. Gerson, and was 
going to Belgium to take his grandson to his godmother^s. 
His two sons had becn killed during this pitiiul war. One of 
the sons was married, and his wife had died of sorrow and 
despair. He was taking the orphan boy to his godmother, and 
he hoped to die himself as soon as possible afterwards. 

Ah, the poor fellow, he was only fifly-nine then, and he was 
so cruelly ravaged by his grief that I took him for seventy. 

fiesides these five persons, there was an unbearable chatterer 
named Theodore Joussian, a wine dealer. Oh, he did not require 
any introduction. 

^* How do you do, Madame ? ^ he began. *^ How fortunate 



A BOLD JOURNEY 191 

that yoa are going to travel with us. Ah, the joumey will 
be a difScult one. Where are you going ? Two women alone ! 
It is not at all prudent, especially as all the routes are crowded 
with Gennan imd French sharpshooters, marauders, and thieves. 
Oh, haven^t I demolished some of those Grerman sharpshooters t 

Sb We must speak quietly, though ; these sly fellows are 

^eiy quick of hearing * ^ He then pointed to the German 
offioen who were Walking up and down. ^^ Ah, the rascals ! "^ he 
went on. ^If I had my uniform and my gun they would 
not walk so boldly in front of Theodore Joussian. I have no 
fewer than six helmets at home . . . ^ 

The man got on my nerves, and I tumed my back on him and 
kx>ked to see which of the men before me could be the station- 
mtster. 

A tall young Grerman, with his arm in a sling, came towards 
me with an open letter. It was the one which the general'^s 
«n^iff^M^ had handed to him, recommending me to his care. 
He hekl out his sound arm to me, but I refused it. He bowed 
and led the way, and I foUowed him, accompanied by MUe. 
Soubise. 

Qn arriving in his ofRce he gave us seats at a little table, 
opoo which knives and forks were placed for two persons. It 
was then three oVlock in the afternoon, and we had had nothing, 
Dot even a drop of water, since the evening before. I was very 
much touched by this though tfulness, and we did honour to 
the very simple but refreshing meal offercd us by the young 
officer. 

Whilst we lunched I looked at him when he was not noticing me. 
He was very young, and his face bore traces of recent sufFering. 
I feit a compassionate tendemess for this unfortunate man, who 
was crippled for life, and my hatred for war increased still 
more. 

He suddenly said to me, in rather bad French, " I think I can 
give you news of one of your friends.^^ 
" What is his name ? ''"' I asked. 
** Emmanuel Bocher."*' 

** Oh ycs, he is certainly a great friend of mine. How is he ? ^ 
** He is still a prisoner, but he is very well.'" 
** But I thought he had been released,*" I said. 
** Some of those who were taken with him were released, on 



192 SARAH BERNHARDT 

giving their woid never to take op am» agsinst nt agun, bot 
he refiued to give bis wonL*" 

** Oh, the brave soldier ! ^ I ezclaimed, in spite of mjwsit 

The young German looked at me with his clear sad eyet. 

^ Yes," he said simply, " the brave soldier ! ** 

When we had finished our luncheon I rose to retum to tfae 
other tiavellers. 

^ The oompartment reserved for yon will not be here for t«o 
hoars,"^ said the young ofiicer. ^ If you would like to rest, ladies, 
I will oome for you at the right time."" He went away, and 
before long I was sound asleep. I was nearly dead witib 
fatigue. 

MUe. Soubise touched me on the Shoulder to roose me. Hie 
train was ready to start, and the young ofiicer walked with me to 
it. I was a little amazed when I saw the carriage in whidi I was 
to travel. It had no roof, and was filled with coal. The offiotf 
had several empty sacks put in, one on the top of the other, to 
make our seats less hard. He sent for his officer*s doak, beggii^ 
me to take it with us and send it bim back, but I refuaed tfais 
odious disguise most energetically. It was a deadly cold day, but 
I preferred dying of cold to muffling up in a cloak belong^ng to 
the enemy. 

The whistle was blown, the wounded oflicer saluted, and th« 
train started. There were Prussian soldiers in the carriages. 
The subordinates, the employes, and the soldiers were just at 
brutish and rüde as the German officers were polite and 
courteous. 

The train stopped without any plausible reason, it started 
again to stop again, and it then stood still for an hour on this 
icy-cold night. On arriving at Creil, the stoker, the engine- 
driver, the soldiers, and every one eise got out I watched all 
these men, whistling, bawling to each other, spitting, and bursting 
into laughter as they pointed to us. Were they not the con- 
querors and we the conquered ? 

At Creil we stayed more than two hours. We could hear the 
distant sound of foreign music and the hurrahs of Germans who 
were making meiTy. All this hubbub came from a white house 
about five hundred yards away. We could distinguish the out- 
lincs of human beings lockcd in each other s arms, waltzing and 
tuming round and round in a giddy reveL 



A BüLD JOURNEY 198 

It began to get on my nerves, for it seemed likely to continue 
ntil daylight. 

I got out with Villaret, intending at any rate to stretch my 
fimbs. We went towards the white house, and then, as I did 
Bot want to teil him my plan, I asked him to wait there for me. 

Veiy fortunately, though, for me, I had not time to cross the 
tkreshold of this vile lodging-house, for an officer, smoking a 
f^giffttfi was just Coming out of a small door. He spoke to me 



* I am Frendi,^ I replied, and he then came up to me, speaking 
qr knguage, for they could all talk French. 

He asked me what I was doing there. My nerves were over- 
itrang. I told him feverishly of our lamentable Odyssey since 
•or departure from Gronesse, and finally of our waiting two hourg 
hk an icy-cold carriage while the stokers, engine-drivers, and 
cop Ju c t ors were all dancing in this house. 

** Bat I had no idea that there were passengers in those carriages» 
wad it was I who gave permission to these men to dance and 
drink. Hie guard of the train told me that he was taking cattle 
9aA goods, and that he did not need to arrive before eight in the 
■orning, and I believed him ^ 

''Well, Monsieur,^ I said, ^the only cattle in the train are 
the eight French passengers, and I should be very much 
obliged if you would give orders that the joumey should be 
continued.'^ 

''Make your mind easy about that, Madame,"" he replied. 
** Will you come in and rest ? I am here just now on a round of 
impection, and am staying for a few days in this inn. You shall 
hsve a cup of tea, and that Mrill refresh you/^ 

I told him that I had a friend waiting for me in the road and 
s Isdy in the railway carriage. 

** But that makes no difference,^ he said« '' Let us go and 
frtcfathem." 

A few minutes later we found poor Villaret seated on a mile- 
ftooe. His head was on bis knees, and he was asleep. I asked 
him to fetch Mlle. Soubise. 

** And if your other travelling companions will come and takc 
a cop <»f tea they will be welcome,^ said the officer. I went back 
him, and we entered by the little door through which I had 
come out. It was a fairly laige room which we entered, 

N 



r 



194 SAKAH BERNHARDT 

on a level with the meadow ; there were some mats on tbe floor, 
a very low bed, and an enormouB table, on which were two l&rge 
maps of France. One of these was studded over with pins and 
small flags. There was also a portrait of the Emperor William, 
mounted and fastened up with {out pins. All this belonged 
to the ufficer. 

On the chimney-piece, under an enormous glass shade, were 
a bride's wrcath, a military medal, and a plait of white hair. 
On each side of the glass shade was a china vase containiog 
a branch of box. All this, together with the table and the 
bed, belonged to the landlady, who had given up her room to 
the officer. 

There were Ave cane chairs round the table, a velvet ann- 
chair, and a woodcn beneb covered with books ag&inst the 
walL A sword and belt were lying on the table, and two borse- 
pistols. 

I was philosophising to inyself on all these heterogeneous 
objects, when the others arrived : Mlle. Soubise, Villaret, young 
Gerson, and that imbearable Theodore Joussian. (I hope he 
will forgive me if he is living now, poor man, but the thought 
of him still irritatea me.) 

The ofGcer had some boiling bot tea made for us, and 
it was a veritable treat, aa we were exbausted with huiiger and 
cold. 

When the door was opened for the tea to be brought in 
Theodore Joussian caught a glimpse of tbe throng of girls, 
Boldiers, and other people. 

*'Ab, my friends," he esciaimed, with a burst of laugbter, 
"we are at His Majesty William's ; there is a reception on, and 
it's chic — I can teil you that ! " With this he smacked his 
tongue twice. Villaret reminded him that we were the gucstä 
of a German, and that it was preferable to be quiet. 

"That'a enough, that's enough ! " he replied, lighting & 
cigarette. 

A frightful uproar of oattis aud shouts now took.the place of 
the deafening sound of the orchestra, and the incorrigible 
Southemer half opened the door, 

I could see the officer giving Orders to two sub-ofScers, who 
in tbeir turn separated tbe groups, seizing the stoker, the 
engine-driver, and the other inen belonging to the train, so 



A BOLD JOURNEY 



TOoghly that I was sorry for tbem. They were kicked in the 
bttck, they received blows with the flat of the sword on the 
Shoulder; a blow with the butt end of a gun knocked the 
guard of the train down. He was the ugliest brüte, though, 
that I have ever seen. All these people were aobered in a few 
second.s, and went back towards our caiTiage with & hang-dpg 
look and a threatening mien. 

We foltoned them, but I did not feel any too satisfied as 
what might happen to us on the way with this queer lot. T 
oflicer evidenÜy had a similar idea, for he ordered one of the 
aab-olTiccT5 to at^company us as far as Amien». This suh-ofücer 
got into our carriage, and we set off again. We arrivcd at 
Amiens at six in the moming. Daylight had not yet succeeded 
in Piercing through the night-clouds. Light rain was falling, 
whicb was hardencd by the cold, 'ITiere was not a carriage to be 
had, not evcD a porter. I wanted to go to the Hotel du 
Cbeval'Blanc, but a man wbo happened to be there said to me 
" It's no use, my Httle lady ; there''s no room there, even for a 
lath Itke you, Go to the house over there with a balconyU 
they CSU put some people up." 

With these words he tumed his back on me. Villaret 
gone off without saying a word. M. Gerson and hia 
gTKndMin had disappeared silently in a covered country cart 
hennctically closed. A stout, niddy, thick-set matronly woman 
was traiting for them, but the coachman looked as though he 
were in the service of well-to-do people. General Pelissier's 
ton, who had not uttered a word since we had left Gonesae, 
had disappeared like a ball from the hands of a conjurer. 

Theodore Joiissian politely offered to accompany us, 
I was K) weary that I accepted his offer. He picked up 
bag and began to walk at füll speed, so that we had difficulty 
io keeping up with him. He was so breathleas with the walk 
tfaat bc could not talk, which was a great reUef to me, 

PinaUy we airived at the house and entered, but my horror 
was great on seeing that the hall of the hotel had been trans- 
fcnmed into a dormitory. We could scarcely walk between the 
m&ttresses laid down on the ground, and the grumbling of the 
people was hy no means promi§ing. 
~ D once we were in the offiee a young girl in mouming 

l US that there was not a room vacant I sank down on 






few 

the ■ 
eer 
at 
)ed 

"S. 

be 

du 
me: 



esae,^^ 

our^H 




SARAH BERNHARDT 

chair, and Mlle. Soubise leaned against ihe wall with her anos 
hangiiig down, looking most dejected. 

I^e odious Joussian then yelled out that tliey could not let 
two women as young as we were be out in the strect all ni^ht 
He went to the proprietress of the hotel and said something 
quietly about me. I do not know wbat it was, but I heard mj 
name distinctly. The young woman in mouming then looked 
up with moist eyes. 

" My brother was a poet," she said. " He wrote a very pretty 
sonnet about you after seeing you play in Le Paasani more than 
ten times. He took nie, too, to see you, and I cnjoyed myself 
so miich that night. It is all over, though." She lifted her 
hands towards her hcad aod aobbed, trying to stifle bacJt her 
cries. " It"s all over ! " she repeated. " He is dead ! They 
have killed bim ! It is all over ! All over ! " 

I got up, moved to the depth of my being by this terriUe 
grief. I put my arms round her and kissed her, crying mycelf, 
and whiapering to her words of com fort and hopc. 

Calmed by my woiils and touched by my sisterliness, she wiped 
her eyes, and taking my band, led me geotly away. Soubise 
foUowed. I signed to Joussiao in an authoritative way to stay 
where he was, and we went up the two flights of stairs of the 
hotel in silence, At the end of a narrow comdor phe opened a 
door. We found ourselves in rather a. big room, reeklng wirf» 
the smell of tobacco. A smaU night-larap, placcd on a litÜe 
table by the bed, was the only light in this large room. 11» 
wheezing respiration of a human breast disturbed the sllenoe. 
I looked towards the bed, and by the faiut light from the littJe 
lamp I saw a man half seated, propped up by a heap of pillows. 
The man was aged-looking rather than really old. His beanl 
and hair were white, and his face bore traces of suffering. Tw) 
laige furrows were formed from the eyes to the comers of the 
mouth. What tears must have roUed down that poor enwcUtod 
fac«! 

The girl went quietly towards the bed, signed to us to OOON 
inside the room, and then ahut the door. We walked acro« V 
tiptoes to the fai- end of the room, our arms stretched oat to 
maintain our equilibrium. I sat down with precaution oa ft 
large Kmpire couch, and Soubise took a seat beside me, The 
man in bed half opened his eyes. 



A BOLD JOURNEY 197 

*< Wfaat 18 it, my child P "* he asked. 

** Nothing, father ; nothing serious,^ ahe replied. **' I wanted to 
teil yoo, so that yoa shoold not be surprised vfhen you woke 
op. I have just given hospitality in our room to two ladies who 



He tomed his head in an annoyed way, and tried to look at 
1K at the end ctt tfae loom. 

^llie lady with fair hair,^ continued the girl, ^*is Sarah 
Bernhardt, whom Lucien liked so much, you remember ? '*'* 

Tbe man sat up, and shading his eyes with his band peered at 
Ol. I went near to him. He gazed at me silently, and then 
made a gesture with his hand. His daughter understood the 
psture, and brought him an envelope from a small bureau. The 
aDhai^y father^s hands trembled as he took it. He drew out 
ilowly three sheets of paper and a photograph. He fixed his 
gue OQ me and then on the portrait. 

^ YeSy yes ; it oertainly is you, it certainly is you,^ he 
■urmuredi 

I reoognised my photograph, taken in Le Passant j smelling a 



^ Yoa see,^ said the poor man, his eyes veiled by tears, ^* you 
US child^s idoL These are the lines he wrote about you.^ 

He then read me, in his quavering voice, Mrith a slight Picar- 
dian acoent, a very pretty sonnet, which he refused to give me. 
He then unfolded a second paper, on which some verses to Sarah 
Bernhardt were scrawled. The third paper was a sort of trium- 
I^iant chant, celebrating all our victories over the enemy. 

**The poor fellow still hoped, until he was killed,^^ said the 
Cither. ^He has only been dead five weeks. He had three 
ibots in his head. The first shattered his jaw, but he did 
not fidl. He continued firing on the scoundrels like a man pos- 
The second took his ear ofT, and the third Struck him in 
ri^t eye. He feil then, never to rise again. His comrade 
told US all this. He was twenty-two years old. And now — it^s 
allorer!'' 

The unhappy man^s head feil back on the heap of pillows. 
His two inert hands had let the papers fall, and great tears 
itdled down his pale cheeks, in the furrows formed by grief. A 
ftifled groan burst from his lips. The girl had fallen on her 
knees, and buried her head in the bed-clothes, to deaden the 



198 SARAH BERNHARDT 

sound of her sobs. Soubiae and I were completely upaet Ah! 
those stifled sobs, those deadened groans seemed to bun in my 
ear8,and I feit eveiything giving way under me. I stretcbed mj 
hands oat into space and closed my eyes. 

Soon there was a distant rumbling noise, whidi increaaed and 
came neaier ; tben yella of pain, bones knocking againat eadi 
other, the duU aound of horaes* feet dashing out human fafaini; 
armed men passed by like a deatructive whiriwind, ahoating, 
*^ Vive 1a guerre ! ^ And women on their kneea, with outatretchad 
arms, crying out, ^ War is infamous ! In the name of our 
wombs which bore you, of our breasts which auckled you, in the 
name of our pain in childbirth, in the name of our anguiah OTcr 
your cradles, let thia ceaae ! ^ 

But the savage whirlwind pasaed by, riding over the women. 
I stretched my arma out in a aupreme eflTort which woke me aod- 
denly. I was lying in the girPa bed. MUe. Soubiae, who wai 
near me, was holding my band. A man whom I did not know, 
but whom some one called doctor, laid me gently down again oo 
the bed. I had aome difficulty in coUecting my thoughta. 

** How long have I been here P ^ I asked. 

*^ Since last night,"^ replied the gentle voice of Soubiae. ^ Yoa 
fainted, and the doctor told ua that you had an attack of fever. 
Oh, I have been very frightened ! " 

I tunicd my face to the doctor. 

** Vos. doar lady,^ he seid. " You must be very prudent now 
for tho »>oxt forty-eight hours, and then you mayset out again. 
Uut you h:i>v \\ak\ a great many shocks for one Mrith such delicate 
h«N^lU>. N o»< uui,tt take care.*" 

\ f,s\V f Ki" «imu^^ht that he was holding out to me, apologised 
\ys \\w ^s^uxwx of the house, who had just come in, and then 
lun^A^ ^n^uv^nI NSkth nw face to the walL I needed reat so very, 

^V>^ sU\x UtiT I left cur sad but kindly hosts. My 
^ Aw )<u\^ v\H\nvi4uions had all disappeared. When I went down- 
^ru\» ( Vv'j't iu».vting Prussians, for the unfortunate proprietor 
\\i\s\ \w\\ »u>^*iU\li\nupulsorily by the German army. He looked 
At «v»*vh »\Uvlu'i rtiul at every ofKcer, trying to find out whether he 
xxeiv iu»t lu |u\\si»ui»e of the one who had killed his poor boy. 
Ilo dul iu»t teil luo this, but it was iny idea. It seemed to me 
tliat feuvh >i^«u \m thuught and such the meaning of bis gase. 



A BOLD JOURNEY 



199 



In t]ie vehicie in which I drove to the statioD the kind man 
luul put a boäket of food. He also gave me a copy of the soonet 
and a tracing of liis son'a photograph. 

I left the desolate couple with tbe deepest emotion, and I 
küsed the girl on taking our departure. Soubise and I did not 
excfaange a word on our joumey to the railway Station, but we 
were both preoccupied with the. same distressing thougbts. 

At the Station we found that the Germans were niasters there 
too. I asked for a first-claas compartment to ourselves, or for a 
coupi, whatever they hked, provided we were alone. 

I could not make myself understood. 

I saw a man, oiHng the wheels of the carriages, who looked 
to me like a Frenchman. I was not mistaken. He was an old 
man who had been kept on, partly out of charity and partly 
becfiuse he knew every nook and comer, and, being Alsatian, 
spoke (lerman. This good man took me to the booking office, 
uid explained my wish to have a first-class compartment to 
Riyaelf. The man who had charge of tbe ticket office burat out 
laughing. There was neither first nor second class, he aaid. It 
was a German train, and I sbould have to travel like every one 
eise, 'l'he wheel-oiler tumed purplewith rage, which he quickly 
sapprctücd. (He had to keep bis place. His consumpttve wife 
wns nursing their son, who had just been sent honie from the 
bospital with his leg cut off and the wound not yet healed 
ttp. There were so many in the bospital.) All this he told me 
as be took me to the station-master. Tbe latter spoke French 
Tcry well, but he was not at all like the otlier German officers I 
had met. 

He Bcarcety aaluted me, and when I expressed my deaire be 
rvplted curtly : 

" It is impossible. Two places shall be reserved for you in the 
officer«' can-iage." 

** fiut that is whnt I want to avoid," I exclaimed. " I do not 
want to travel with German officers." 

" Well then, you shall be put with German soidiers," he 
growled angrily, and, putting on bis hat, he went out slaniniing 
tbe door. I remained there, amazed and confused by the inso- 
Unce of this ignoble brüte. I tumed so pale, it appear», and the 
Uue of my ej-es became so clear, that Soubise, who was acquaioted 
with my tita of anger, was very niuch alanned. 



SARAH BERNHARDT 

" Do be calni, Madame, I implore ! " she said, " We an; t*o 
women alone in the midst of hoatUe people. If they liked to 
barm us thej could, and we must accoraplisb the aim and objod 
of our joumey ; we must see little Maurice ag&in." 

She WB8 very clever, tbis charming MUe. Soubise, and her tittle 
Speech had thc desired eflect. To see the child agaiu was my 
aim and object. I calmed down, and vowed tbat I would not 
&Uow myself to get angry during this joumey, which promi«d 
to be fertile in incident«, and I almo§t kept my wonL I ieft tbe 
atatioti-moäter's ofiice, and found the poor Alsatian woiting at 
the door. I gave him a couple of louis, which he hid away 
quickly, and then shook my band as though he would sboke it 
off. " You oiigbt not to have tbat so visible, Madame," heitaid, 
poiiitiiij^ to the httle bog I had hanging at my dde ; " it ia \aj 
dangerous."" 

I thanked him, bat did not pay any attention to his adrice. 
As the train was about to start we entcred the only first-cloas 
compai'tment tbere was; in it were two young German offioen. 
They saluted, and I took this as a good onien. The tiain 
whistied, and I tbought wbat good luck we had, as no one eise 
would get iu ! Well, the wheels had not tumed round ten times 
when the door opened violently and five German offioen leaped 
into our cairiage. 

We wcre nine then, and what torture it was ! The Station- 
master wavcd a farcwell to one of the ofliceni, and both of thetn 
bunt out laughing as they looked at us. I glanced at the st&tion- 
master's fricnd. He was a surgeou- major, and was weanng the 
ambulance badge on his sleeve. His wide face was cange»tod, 
and a ring of saody busby beard surrounded thc luwer part of it 
Two little brigbt, ligbt-coloured eyes in perpctual movement ht 
up thiä ruddy face and gavc him a sly louk. He was broad- 
shotildei-ed and thick-set, and gave one the idea of baving 
sti-ength nithout neives. The horrid man was still laughing 
when the Station and its master were far away from us, but what 
the other one had said was evidently very droll. 

I was in a comer seat, with Soubise opposite me. A youDg 
German officer sat heside me, and tbe otber young ufliuer was 
next to my friend. ITiey were both verj- gentle and polite, 
and one of tbem was quite delightful in his youthful cbana. 

The surgeon-major took off his helmet He was very bald. 



^^^^ 



A BOLD JOURNEY 201 

tnd had a veiy small, stubbom-looking forehead. He began to 
Ulk in a loud voice to the other ofiicers. 

Oor two young bodyguards took very little pari in the con- 
▼eraation. Among the others was a tall, affected young man, 
whom they addressed as baron. He was slender, very elegant, and 
rerj atrong. When he saw that we did not understand Grerman 
he spoke to us in English. But Soubise was too timid to answer, 
and I ^>eak Engliah very badly. He therefore resigned himself 
regr etf ally to talking French. 

He was agreeable, too agreeable ; he certainly had not bad 
mannen, but he was deficient in tact. I made him imderstand 
this by tuming my face towards the scenery we were passing. 

We were very much absorbed in oiu* thoughts, and had been 
travelling for a long time, when I suddenly feit sufFocated by 
cmoke which was filling the carriage. I looked round, and saw 
that the surgeon-major had lighted his pipe, and, with bis eyes 
half dosed, was sending up pufis of smoke to the ceiling. 

My eyes were smarting, and I was choking with Indignation, 
10 much so that I was seized with a fit of coughing, which I 
exaggerated in order to attract the attention of the impolite 
man. The baron, however, slapped him on the knee and 
endeavoured to make him comprehend that the smoke incon- 
veoienced me. He answered by an insult which I did not under- 
itand, shrugged his Shoulders, and continued to smoke. Exas- 
perated by this, I lowered the window on my side. The intense 
cold made itself feit in the carriage, but I prefcrred that to the 
Dauiteous smoke of the pipe. Suddenly the surgeon-major 
got up, putting his band to his ear, which I then saw was 
filled with cotton-wool. He swore like an ox-driver, and, 
pushing past every one and stepping on my feet and on Soubise^s, 
be shut the window vielen tly, cursing and swearing all the time 
quite uselessly, for I did not understand him. He went back 
to his seat, continued his pipe, and sent out enormous clouds of 
smoke in the most insolent way. The baron and the two young 
Germans who had been the first in the carriage appeared to ask 
him something and then to remonsti'ate with him, but he 
evidently told them to mind their own busiiiess and began to 
abuse them. Very much calmer myself on seeing the increasing 
anger of the disagreeable man, and veiy much amused by his 
rhe, I again opened the window. He got up again, furious, 



202 



SARAH BERNHARDT 



showed me bis ear and his swollen cheek, and I caught tlie 
Word "Periostitis" in the explanation he gave me od ehutting 
the wiadow again aud threatening me. I tben made him 
uoderstand that I had a weak ehest, and tbat tbe smoke made 
me cough. 

The baron acted as my Interpreter, and explained this to him ; 
bat it was easy to see that he did not care a bit about that, and 
he once more took up his favourite attitude and his pipe, I left 
him in peac-e for five minutes, during wbich time he was able to | 
imagine himself triumphant, and then with a sudden jcrk of 
my elbow I broke the pane of glass. Stupefaction was depicted 
on the major's face, and he became livid. He got straight 
up, but the two young men rose at the same timc, whilst the 
baron burst out laughing in the most brutal manner. 

Tlie surgeon moved a step in our direetion, but he found a 
rampart before him; anothur officer had joined the two young 
men, and he was a strong, hardy-looking fellow, just cut out 
for an obstacle, I do not know what he said to the surgeon-major, 
but it wasaomethingclearanddecisive. The latter, not knowing 
how to expend his anger, turned on the baron, who was still 
laugbing, and abused him so violently that the latter calmed 
down suddenly and answgrcd in such a way that I quite under- 
stood the two men were calling each other out. That affected 
me but little, anyhow. They mtght very well kill each other, 
these two men, for they were equally ill-mannered. 

The carriage was now quiet and icy-cold, for the wind blew in 
wildly through the broken pane. llie sun had set. The sky was 
getting cloudy. It was about half-past five, and we were ap- 
proacbing Tergnier, 'l"he major had ehanged seats with bis 
friend, in order to sheltcr bis ear as much as possible. He kept 
moaning like a half-dcad cow. 

Suddenly the repeated wbistling of a distant locomotive made 
US listen attentively. Wethenheard two, three, and fourcracken 
bursting under our wheels. We could perfectly well feel the 
efforts the engine-driver was making to slacken speed, but before 
he could Bucceed we were thrown against each other by a fright- 
ful shock. liiere were cracks and creaks, tbe hiccougbs of tbe 
locomotive spitting out its smoke in irregulär üts, desperate 
cries, shouts, oathä, sudden downfalls, a lull, then a thick smoke, 
brokeo by tbe flamea ot a tire. Our cariiage was standit^ ap. 



A BOLD JOURNEY 208 

Kke a hone kicking up its bind \eg^ It was impossible to 
get our balanoe again. 

Wlio was wounded and who was not woundedP We were 
nine in the oompartment. For my pari, I fancied that all my 
bones were broken. I moved one leg and tben I tried the other. 
Tbra, deli^ted at finding them unbroken, I tried my arms in 
tfae same way. I had nothing broken, and neither had Soubise. 
She had bitten her tongue, and it was bleeding, and this had 
firi^tened me. She did not seem to understand anything. The 
tfemendoos shaking had made her dizzy, and she lost her memory 
for loine days. I had a rather deep Scratch between my eyes. I 
had not had time to stretch out my arms, and my forehead had 
knocked against the hilt of the sword which the ofBcer seated 
hj Soubise had been holding upright. 
Assistance arrived from all sides. 

For some time the door of om* compartment could not be 
opened. 

Darkness had come on when it finally yielded, and a lantem 
ikxie feebly on our poor broken-up carriage. 

I looked round for our one bag, but on finding it I let it go 
ifflmediately, for my band was red with blood« Whose blood 
vasit? 

Three men did not move, and one of them was the major. His 

fice looked to me livid. I closed my eyes, in order not to know, 

and I let the man who had come to our aid pull me out of the 

compartment. One of the young officers got out after me. He 

took Soubise, who was almost in a fainting condition, from his 

friend. The imbecile baron then got out ; his Shoulder was out 

of Joint. A doctor came forward among the rescuers. The 

baron held his ai*m out to him, telling him at the same time to 

pull it, which he did at once. The French doctor took ofF the 

officer^s cloak, told two of the railway-men to hold him, and 

then, pushing against him himself, pulled at the poor arm. The 

baron was very pale, and gave a low whistle. When the arm 

was back in its place, the doctor shook the baron^s othcr band. 

'^Cristü'^he Said, '*Imust have hurt you very much. You 

are most courageous."" The German saluted, and I helpcd him 

on again with his cloak. 

The doctor was then fetched away, and I saw that he was 
takeu back to our compartment. I shuddered in spite of myself. 



F 



201 SARAH BERNHAllDT 

We were now able to find out what had been the cause of our 
accident. A locomotive attached to two vans of coal had been 
shunting on to a side linc in order to let us pass, wben one 
of the vans got off the rails, and the locomotive tired its 
lungs with whisUIng the alarm, whilst men ran to nteet lu, 
scattering crackers. Everything had been in vaiti, and we bad 
run against the overtumed van. 

What were we to do ? The roadü, softcned by the recent wet 
weather, were all broken up by Ibe caunons. We were abouti 
four miles from Tergnier, and a thin peaetrating nun WM 
making our clothes stick to our bodies. 

There were four carriages, but thcy were for the wounded. 
Other carriages would come, but there were the dead to be 
carried away. An improviaed htter was just being bonie 
along by two workmen. The major was lying on it, so livid 
that I clenched my hands until niy nails entered the flesh. One 
of the otficers wanted to question the doctor who was fotlowiug, 

" Oh no [ " I exciainied. *' Please, please do not. I do Bot 
want to know. The poor fellow ! " 

I stopped my e&Ts, as though sonie one was about to shout 
out soniething hornble to nie, and I uever knew bis fate. 

We were obliged to resign ourselves to setting out on foot 
We went about two kilometres as bravely as possible, and then 
I stopped, quite exhaiisted. The mud which clung to our thoa 
made these very heavy. The effort we had to make at every 
Step to get our fcet out of the mire tired us out I sat down 
on a milestone, and declared that I woutd not go any farther. 

My sweet companiun wept; the two young German oflicen 
who had acted as bodyguards made a seat for me by crossing 
their hands, and so we went nearly another mite. My cott- 
panion could not walk any farther. 1 offered her my place, bot 
ahe refused iL 

" Well tben, let us wait here ! "^ l satd, and, quite at tbe eoA 
of our strength, we rested against a little broken tree. 

It was now night, and such a cold night ! 

Soubisc and 1 huddicd close together, trying to keep eaA 
other warm. 1 began to fall asleep, secing beforc my eyes tbe 
wounded men of Ch4tillon, wbo had died seated against the 
little shrubs, I did not want to move again, and the torpor 
seemed to me thorougbly delicious. 



A BOLD JOURNEY 205 

A eut paned by, however, on its way to Tei^ier. One of 
ihe joung men bailed it, and when a prioe was agreed upon I 
feit m jaelf picked up from the ground, lifted into the vehicle, and 
ouTJed along by the jerky, rolling movement of two loose 
wfaeels which dimbed the hüls, sank into the mire, and jumped 
Ofcr the heaps of stones, whilst the driver whipped up bis 
and urged them on with bis voice. He bad a ^^ don't 
let what will happen ^ way of driTing, which was character- 
ntic of those days. 

I was aware of all this in my semi-sleep, for I was not really 
asieep, but I did not want to answer any questions. I gave my- 
sdf ap to this prostration of my wbole being with a certain 
amoant of enjoyment. 

A rougfa jerk, bowever, indicated that we bad arrived at 
Tergnier. The cart bad drawn np at the botel, and we bad to get 
out I pietended to be still sleeping beavily. But it was no 
iBe; for I bad to wake up. The two young men helped me up 
to Toj room« 

I «flked Soubise to arrange about the payment of the cart 
bcfore the departure of our excellent yoimg companions, who 
«ere sorry to leave us. I signed for each of them a voucher, 
OD a sheet of the hotel paper, for a photograph. Only one of 
tkem ever claimed it. This was six years later, and I sent it 
to bim. 

The Tergnier hotel could only give us one room. I let Soubise 
go to bed, and I slept in an arm-chair, dressed as I was. 

The following moming I asked about a train for Cateau, but 
vas told that there was no train. 

We bad to work marvels to procure a vehicle, but finally Dr. 
Meunier, or Mesnier, agreed to lend us a two-wbeeled conveyance. 
That was something, but there was no borse. The poor doctor^s 
hone bad been requisitioned by the enemy. Awheelwright for 
an exorbitant price let me bave a colt that bad never been in 
the shafts, and which went wild when the bamess was put on. 
The poor little beast calmed down after being well lasbed, but 
bis wildness then changed into stubbomness. He stood still on 
bis four legs, which were trembling furiously, and refused to 
move. With bis neck stretched towards the ground, his eye 
fixed, and his nostrils dilating, be would not budge any more 
tban a stake in the earth. Two men then held the ligbt 




SARAH BERNHARDT ^M 

e back ; the haltcr wms taken off tbe colt's Deck ; be sbook 
Im htmd for an imlan t, and, thinting himself free and withoat 
Mtyii^edii^rt», lMyn tp«h»iioe. Tbe men were scarcely hold- 
ing tihe vehkle. He pm tvo litÜe kicks, aod then begao to 
trat. Oh* it waa onlj a voy riioit trat. A boy theo stoppvd 
bim, tome cairots w«re girai to bim, bis mane waa stroked, and 
tbe bailer «as pat od again. He stopped suddetüy, bat the boy, 
jnmptDg into tbe gig and bolding the reios lightly, spofce to 
him and enoouniged bim to more od. Tbecolttoot feelit^aay 
resista&ce, bcgsn to trot aloog for sboat a ({uiirter of an boor, 
and tfaen came back to ot at tbe door of tbe hoteL 

I bad to leare a deposit of foor bucdred (rancs wttb the 
ootary of tbe place, in case tbe colt sbuutd die. 

Afa, wbat a joumey thot was witb tbe boj, Soubiae, and me 
sitting close togetber in tbat little gig, tbe wbeels of wfaidi 
creaked «t every jolt! Tbe unhappy colt was steaming like 
a pat-au^nt wben tbe lid is raised. SVe started at eleven in 
the moming, and wben we bad to stop, because the poor beast 
ronJd not go anj farther, it was 6re in tbe aftemoon, ajid we 
bad not gone B^e miles. Oh, that poor colt, he was certainly 
to be pitied ! We were not very heavy, all three of us togetber, 
but we were too mucb for hiin. We were just a few yards away 
from a sordid-Iooking house. I knocked, and an old womao, 
enormous in size, opened the door. 

" What do you want?" she asked. 

" Hospitality for an hour and shelter for our horse." 

She louked out od to the road and saw our tum-out. 

" Hey, father ! ~ she calied out in a busky voice, " 
look here ! " 

A stout man, i^uite as stout as she was, but older, canie 
bling heavily along. She pointed to the gig, so oddly equipped, 
and he bursi out laughing and said to me in an insolent way : 

" Well, what do you want ? " 

I repeated my phra«e : " Hospitaüty for an hour," &c. && 

" Perbaps we can do it, but it'U want paying for." 

I sbowed him twenty francs. Tbe old woman gav« bi» 
a nudge. 

"Ob, but in tbese times, you know, it's well wortb tnaitj 
francs." 

" Very good," I said, " agreed ; forty francs." 




^^ 



A BOLD JOURNEY 207 

He then let me go inside the house with Mlle. Soubise, 
aod soit hiB 8on towards the boy, who was Coming along 
h<ddiiig the oolt by his mane. He had taken off the halter verv 
ooosiderately and thrown my mg over its steaming sides. On 
leaching the house the poor beasb was quickly unhamessed 
and taken into a little enclosure, at the far end of which a few 
badly-joined planks served as a stable for an old mule, which 
was aroused by the fat woman with kicks and turned out into 
the enclosure. The colt took its place, and when 1 asked for 
ioine oats for it she replied : 

** Perhaps we could get it some, but that isn^t included in 
the forty francs.*^ 

^ Very well,^ I said, and I gave our boy five francs to fetch 
the oats, but the old shrew took the money from him and 
handed it to her lad, saying : 

^ You go ; you know where to find them, and come back quick.*" 

Our boy remained with the colt, drying it and rubbing it 
down as well as he could. I went back to the house, where I 
Ibund my charming Soubise with her sleeves turned up and her 
delicate hands washing two glasses and two plates for us. 
I asked if it would be possible to have some eggs. 

** Yes, but ^ 

I intemipted our monstrous hostess. 

** Don't tire yourself, Madame, I beg,^ I said. " It is under- 
stood that the forty francs are your tip, and that I am to pay 
for everything eise.*" 

She was confused for a moment, shaking her head and trying 
to find words, but I asked her to give me the eggs. She brought 
me five eggs, and I began to make an omelette, as my culinary 
glory is an omelette. 

The water was nauseous, so we drank ciderr I sent for the 
boy and made them ser\*e him something to eat in our presence, 
for I was afraid that the ogress would give him too economical 
a meaL 

When I paid the fabulous bill of seventy-five francs, inclusive 
of course of the forty francs, the matron put on her spectacles, 
and taking one of the gold pieces, looked at it on one side, then 
on the other, made it ring on a plate and then on the ground. 
She did this with each of the three gold pieces. I could not 
hclp laughing. 



208 SARAH BERNHARDT 

" OI^ tfaereli BoÜiz^ to kztefa at,'' she gnmteiL "«For Übe 
kst Bx BODÜB ««'^ h^ Boüii^ bat thieres here.* 

^And joa knoT nii tliing dboot theft !*" I sud. 

She looked at mt, trrmg to make out whftt I meuit, but ilie 
langhing mm wimi in m\ eres took avaj her snspicions. TUi 
vns TCTT forhmaip, as thar vere people capable of doing m 
haim. I hai takcn the precantiony vhen ätting down to tabki 
of pntting mT RTidTcr near me. 

*^ Yoa knov hov to fiir that t^ asked the lame man. 

^ Oh jesy I shoot veiy veU,*" I answered, thoagfa it was not 



Oor steed was then put in again in a few seoonds, and we 
prooeeded on oor waj. The oolt appeaied to be quite joyfbL 
He stamped» kicked a little, and bcgan to go at a prett|r stesdj 



Oor disagreeable hosts had indicated the waj to St. Quentin, 
and we set off, after our poor oolt had made vanous attempts at 
Standing stilL I was dead tired and feil asleep, but after abont 
an hour the vehide stopped abniptlj and the wretched beait 
began to snort and pnt his back up, supporting himself on hii 
foor stiff, trembling l^s. 

It had been a gloomy dav, and a lowering sky fiiU of teus 
seemed to be faUing slowly over the earth. We had stopped in 
the middle of a field which had been ploughed up all over by 
the heav}' wheels of cannons. The rest of the ground had been 
tramplcd by horses' feet and the cold had hardened the little 
ridges of earth, lea^-ing icicles here and there, which glittered 
dismally in the thick atmosphere. 

We got down from the vehicle, to try to discover what was 
making our little animal tremble in this way. I gave a ciy of 
horror, for, only about five yards away, some dogs were pulling 
wildly at a dead body, half of which was still Underground. It 
was a soldier, and fortunately one of the enemy. I took the 
whip from our young driver and lashed the horrid animals as 
hard as I could. They moved away for a second, showing their 
teeth, and then retumed to their voracious and abominable work, 
growling sullenly at us. 

Our boy got down and led the snorting pony by the bridle. 
We went on with some difficulty, trying to find the road in these 
dcvastated plains. 



A BOLD JOURNEY 



209 



Darkness came over us, and it was icy cold. 
The tnoon feebly pusbed aside her veils and shone over the 
adscape wiÜi a wan, sad light. I was half dead with fright. 
i seemed to ine that the silence was broken by cries froiu under- 
Rnind, and everj little mound of earth appeared to me to be a 
ad. 

Mlle. Soubise was crying, with her face hidden in ber hands. 
kfter going along for half an hour, we saw in tbc distance a 
ttle group of people Cüming along carrying lantem». I went 
towards them, os I w&nted to (iod out wbich way to go, I was 
Emboirasaed on getting nearer to theni, for I could hear aobs. I 
■aw A poor wonum, who was very corpulent, being helpod along 
by a yoimg priest, The wbole of her body was sbaken by her 
fiU of grief, She was followed by two sub-officers and by three 
Dthcr persona. I let her pass by, and then questioned tbose who 
wen foUowing her. I was told tbat she was looking for the 
bodies of her husband aiKl son, who had both been killed a few 
dayä before un the St. Quentin plains. She came each day at 
dwkf in Order to avoid general curiosity, but übe hod not yet 
mcL with any success. It was hoped that she wouid find tbem 
Uns ttmc, as one of these sub-ofliccrs, who had just left the 
hotiHtal, was taking her to tbe spot where he hod soen tlie 
poor wooiaa's husband fall, mortally wounded. He had fallen 
Ifaere himaelf, and had bcen pjcked up by the ambulance 
mple. 

I tbaoked these persona, who showed me the Kad road we must 
ke, tbe he«t one thcre was, through the cemetery, which was 
m warm ander the ice. 

Wc could DOW distinguish groups of people searching about, 
|d it was all so horrible that it made me want to screani out. 
Suddenly the boy who was driving u^^ pulled my coat-sleeve. 
** Ob, Madame," he said, " look at that scoundrel stealing." 
I looked, and saw a man lying down fiiU length, with a large 
lg oear him. He had a dark lantem, wbicb be held towards 
IC ground. He then got up, looked round bim, for bis outline 
nid be wen distinctiy on the horizoo, and began his work 
[ain. 

\Vhen he caught sight of us hc put out bis lanip and crouched 
|wn on the ground. We walked on in silence straight towards 
bi. I took tbe coIt by the bridle, on the otber side, and tbe 



210 SARAH BERNHARDT 

boy no döubt underatood what I intended to do, for he let me 
lead the way. I walked straight towarda Ihe man, pretending 
not to know he was there, The colt backed, but we pulled hard 
and made it advance, We were so near to the man that I 
shuddered at the thought that the wretch would perhaps allow , 
himself to be trampted over by the animo] and the light vehiele ' 
rather than revea! his presence. Fortunately, I was mistakeo. , 
A Btifled voice murmared, "Takecare there! I am wounded. 
You will ruH over ine." I took the gig lantern down. We had I 
covered it with a jacket, as the moou lighted us better, and I . 
now tumed it on the face of this wretch. I was stupeüed to see 
a man of from sixty-five to seveiity years of age, with a hollow- 
looking face, framed with long, dirty white whiskers. He had 
a muffler round his neck, and was wearing a peasant's cloak of a 
dark colour. Around him, shown up by the moon, were sword 
belts. brass buttons, swomI hilts, and other objecto that the 
infamous old fellow had tom from the poor dead. 

"You are not wounded. You are & thief and a violator of 
tombs ! I shall call out and you will be killed. Do you hear 
that, you miserable wretch .'"' I exclaimcd, and I went so near 
to him that I could feel his breath suily mine. He crouched 
down on his knecs and, clasping his criminal hands, implored 
me in a trembling, tearfui voice. 

" Leave your bag there, then," I said, " and all those things. 
Empty your pockets ; leave everything and go. Run, for as , 
soon as you are out of sight I shall call one of those soldien J 
who are maktng searches, and give them your plunder. I know I 
I am doing wrong, though, in letting you go free." ] 

He emptied his pockets, groaning all the time, and was just 
going away when the lad whispered, " He's biding sonie boots 
under hts cloak." I was furious with rage with this vile thJef, 
and I pulled his big cloak oW. 

"Leave everything, you wretched man," I exclaimed, "or I 
will call the soldiers."' 

Six pairs of boots, taken from the corpses, feil noisily on to 
the hard ground. The man stooped down for his revolver, 
which he had taken out of his pocket at the same time as the 
Btolen objects. 

""Will you leave that, and get away quickly ?" Isaid. "Mj 
patience is at an end." 



A BOLD JOURNEY 211 

^* Bot if I am canght I shan^t be able to defend myself,^ he 
csdaimed, in a fit of desperate rage. 

*^ It will be because 6od willed it so/^ I answered. ^^ 60 at 
€Ooe» or I will calL^ The man then made off, abusing me as 
he weint. 

Our little driver then fetched a soldier, to whom I related the 
adventure, showing him the objects. 

^ Which way did the rascal go ? ^^ asked a sergeant who had 
eome with the soldier. 

*• I can't say,"* I replied 

** Oh well, I don^t care to ran afLer him,^ he said ; '^ there are 
aMNigfa dead men here.^ 

We oontinaed our way until we came to a place where several 
raads met, and it was then possible for us to take a route a little 
maae mitaUe for vehicles. 

After going through Busigny and a wood, where there were 
bogs in which we only just escaped being swallowed up, our 
painfal jouruey came to an end, and we arrived at Cateau in the 
■i^t, half dead with fatigue, fright, and despair. 

I waa obliged to take a day^s rest there, for I was prostrate 
with feverishness. We had two little rooms, roughly white- 
wathed bat quite dean. The floor was of red, shiny bricks, and 
there was a polished wood bed and white curtains. 

I sent for a doctor for my charming little Soubise, who, it 
leemed to me, was worse than I was. He thought we were both in 
a Tery bad state, though. A nervous feverishness had taken all 
the ose out of my limbs and made my head bum. She could 
not keep still, but kept seeing spectres and fires, hearing shouts 
and tuming round quickly, imagining that some one had touched 
her on the Shoulder. The good man gave us a soothing draught 
to OTercome our fatigue, and the next day a very hot bath 
farought back the suppleness to our limbs. It was then six days 
since we had left Paris, and it would take about twenty more 
hours to reach Homburg, for in those days trains went much 
Ic» quickly than at present. I took a train for Brüssels, 
where I was counting on buying a trunk and a few necessary 
things. 

From Cateau to Brüssels there was no hindrance to our joumey, 
and we were able to take the train again the same evening. 

I had replenished our wardrobe, which certainly necded it. 




«2 SARAH BERNHARD 

and we contmued our journey without much difficully lu br ai 
Cologne. But on atriving in that city we had a cruel du- 
appointment. The train had unly just entered the statioo, 
wben a i-ailway olticial, passing quickly in front of the carmgOi 
shouted sumething in German which I did not catch. Eto^ 
one scemed to be in a hurry, and men and women pusbed c 
other without any courtesy. 

I addressed another ofücial and showed bim our tickets. Hb 
took up my bag, very obligiugly, and hurried after the < 
We followed, but I did not understand the excitement until the 
man llung my bag into a compartment and signed to me to gtt 
in as quickly as possible. 

Soubise was already on the atep when she was piubed ■ 
violently by a i-ailway porter, who slammed the door, and b^ian 
I was fully aware of what had happened the train bad < 
appeared. My bag had gone, and our tnink also. The trade 
had been placed in a luggagg van that had been unhooked froB 
the train which had just arrived, and immediately fasteaedo 
to the express now departing. I began to crj with rage. An 
official took pity on us and led us to the Station -master. He 
was a very superior sort of man, wbo spoke French fairly * 
I sank down in bis great leather ami-cbair and told him my 
misad venture, sobbing nervously. He looked kind and i 
pathetic. He immediately telegraphed for my bag and tmnk to 
be given into the care of the Station -master at the first Station. 

" Vou will have them again to-morrow, towards mid-day," be 
Said. 

"Tben I cannot start this evening ?" I asked. 

" Oh no, that ia impossibfe," he repüed. " There is no truBi 
for the express that will take you to Homburg does »ot «tut 
before to-morrow moming." 

" Oh God, God ! '" I exclaimed, and I was seized witfa reritkUe 
despair, which soon affected MUe. Soubise too. 

The poor Station -master was rather embairassed, and triedto 
Boothe me. 

" Do you know any one here ? " be asked. 

" No, no one. I do not know any one in Cologne." 

" Well then, I will have you driven to the Hotel du Nord. 
My sister-in-law has been there for two days, and she will look 
ftfüer you." 



A BOLD JOURNEY 213 



EUf an honr later his carriage arrived, and he took us to the 
Hotel da Nord» after driving a long way round to show us the 
dty. But at that epoch I did not adndre anything belonging 
to the Gennans. 

Ob aniving at the Hotel du Nord, he introduced us to his 
Bster-in*law, a fair-haired young woman, pretty, but too tall 
ind too big for my taste. I must say, thougb, that she was veiy 
iweet and affable. She engaged two bedrooms for us near her 
Dfwn rooms. She had a flat on the ground floor, and she mvited 
De to dinner, which was served in her drawing-room. Her 
biotlicr-in-law joined us in the evening. The charming woman 
▼ery musicaL She played to us from Berlioz, Grounod, and 
Anber. I thorooghly appreciated the delicacy of this 
in only letiing us hear French composers. I asked her 
to plaj US something from Mozart and Wagner. At that name 
tuned to me and exclaimed, ^' Do you like Wagner ? ^ 

^ I like his music,^ I replied, ^^ but I detest the man.*^ 

Iflle. Soubise whispered to me, ^' Ask her to play Liszt.^ 

She overfaeaid, and complied with infinite graciousness. I 
admit that I spent a delightful evening there. 

At ten oVlock the station-master (whose name I have very 
itapidJy forgotten, and I cannot find it in any of my notes) told 
Die that he would call for us at eight the following morning, and 
he then took leave of us. I feil asieep, lulled by Mozart, 
Gounod, &C. 

At eight o^dock the next moming a servant came to teil me 
that the carriage was waiting for us. There was a gentle knock 
Mt my door, and our beautiful hostess of the previous evening 
tekl sweetly, ^^ Come, you must start ! ^ I was really very niuch 
toucfaed by the delicacy of the pretty German woman. 

It was such a fine day that I asked her if we should have timc 
to walk there, and on her reply in the affirmative we all three 
ttarted for the Station, which is not far from the hotel. A 
qwcial compartment had been reserved for us, and we installcd 
ounelves in it as comfortably as possible. The brother and 
sister shook hands with us, and wished us a pleasant joumey. 

^Vhen the train had started I discovered in one of the corners 
a bouquet of forget-me-nots with the sister^s cai*d and a box of 
diocolates from the station-master. 

I was at last about to arrive at my goal, and was in a state of 



SARAH BERNHARDT 

wild excitemeat at the idea of seeing ODce more all m^; beloved 
oses. I should have liked to bave gone to sleep. My eye», 
wliich had grown larger with anxiety, travelled tbrougl] spac« 
more rapidly tban the train went. I fumed eacb time it stoppcd, 
and envied the birds I saw flying along. I laughed with delight 
aa I thought of the surprised faces of tbose I was going to sec 
agaio, and then I began to tremble with auxiety. Wbst had 
bappened to them, and sbould I find tbem all ? I sbould if- 
ah, those " ifs," those *' becauses," and those " biits " ! My mind 
becatne füll of theni, they bristled with illnesses and accidents, 
and I began to weep. My poor little travelling companim 
began to weep too. 

Finally we came within sight of Homburg. Twenty mofe 
minutes of thia tuming of wheels and we sbould enter the statioo. 
But just as though all the sprites and devil§ from the infemit 
regions had concerted to torture my patience, we stopped short. 
All heads were out of the Windows. " What is it ?" " What's 
the matter ? " " Why are we not going on ? " There was a 
train in front of tis at a standstill, with a broken brake, and the 
line had to be cleared. I feil back on my seat, eleoching my 
teeth and hands, and looking up in the air to diatinguish the 
evil spirits which were so bcnt on tormenting me, and theo I 
resolutely closed my eyes, I muttered some invectives against 
the invisible sprites, and declared that, as I would not sufTer aaj 
more, I was now going to sieep. I then feil fast a&leep, for the 
power of aleeping when I wish is a precioua gift which God bas 
bestowed on me. In the most frightful circumstances and the 
most cruel moments of life, when I have feit that my reason wa» 
giving way under shocks that have been too great or too pain- 
ful, my will has laid hold of my reason, just as one holds a bad- 
tempered little dog that wants to bit€, and, subjugating it, my 
will bas said to my reason : "Enough. You can take up again 
to-mori-ow your suffering and your plana, your anxiety, your 
sorrow and your anguish. You have had enoiigh for to-day. 
You would give way altogetber under the weight of ao man; 
troubles, and you would drag me along with you. I will not 
have it ! We will forget everything for so many bours and go 
to sleep together!" And I have gone to slecp. This, I 
swear to. 

Mlle. Soubise roused rae as soon as the train entered the 



A BOLD JOURNEY 215 

itfttioa. I was refireshed and calmer. A minute later we were 
in a carruige and had given the address, 7 Ober Strasse. 

We were sooo there, and I found all my adored ones, big and 
fittle, and they were all very well. Ob, what happiness it was ! 
Hie blood pulsed in all my arteries. I had suffered so much 
that I borst ont into delicious laughter and sobs. 

Who can ever describe the infinite pleasure of tears of joy ! 
Döring the next two days the maddest things occurred, which 
I will not relate, so incredible would they sound. Among 
otfaersy fire broke out in the house ; we had to escape in our 
night clothes and camp out for six hours in five feet of snow, 
Ac &c 



XIX 

MT BBTÜBN TO PABIS— THB COMMUNB— AT 
ST. OEBMAIN-EN-LAYB 

EvE&YBODY being safe and sound, we sei out for Paris, but on 
arriving at St. Denis we found there were no more trains. It 
was four oVlock in the morning. The Grermans were mästen of 
all the suburbs of Paris, and trains only ran for their serrice. 
After an hour spent in runniiig about, in discussions and rebufi, 
I met with an ofScer of higher rank, who was better educated 
and more agreeable. He had a locomotive prepared to take me 
to the Gare du Hävre (Gare St Lazare). 

The joumey was very amusing. My mother, my amit, my 
sister Regina, M Ue. Soubise, the two maids, the children, and I 
all squeezed into a little Square space, in which there was a veiy 
small, naiTow bench, which I think was the place for the signal- 
man in those days. The engine went very slowly, as the rails 
were frequently obstructed by carts or railway carriages. 

We left at five in the morning and arrived at seven. At a 
place which I cannot locate our Grerman Conducton» were 
exchanged for French conductors. I questioned them, and 
leamt that revolutionary troubles were beginning in Paris. 

The stoker with whom I was talking was a very intelligent 
and very advanced individual. 

" You would do better to go somewhere eise, and not to 
Paris,*^ he said, " for before long they will come to blows there.' 

We had arrived. But as no train was expected in at that 
hour, it was impossible to find a carriage. I got down with my 
tribe from the locomotive, to the great amazement of the Station 
oiRcials. 

I was no longer very rieh, but I oSered twenty francs to one 



MY RETURN TO PARIS 217 

6t the men if he woald see to our six bags. We were to send 
fbr my tnmk and those belonging to my family later on. 

There was not a single carriage outside the Station. The 
children were very tired, but what was to be done ? I was then 
liTuig at No. 4 B^e de Home, and this was not far away, but my 
nother scaicdy ever walked, for she was delicate and had a weiJc 
The children, too, were very, very tired. Their eyes 
pa£fed up and scarcely open, and their little limbs were 
benumbed by the cold and immobility. I began to get desperate, 
bot a milk cart was just passing by, and I sent a porter to hail 
it. I offered twenty francs if the man would drive my mother 
and the two childroi to 4 Rue de Rome. 

^And yoQ too, if you like, young lady,^ said the milkman. 
^ Yoa aie thinner than a grasshopper, and you won^t make it 
aaj heavier.^ 

I did not want inviting twicejalthoughrather annoyed by the 

m's Speech. 

When once my mother was installed, in spite of her hesita- 
bj the side of the milkman, and the children and I were 
m amcagtt the fuU and empty milk-pails, I said to our driver, 
**Wookl you mind coming back to fetch the others?^ I 
pointed to the xemaining group, and added, ^^ You shall have 
twcDty £ranc8 more.^ 

** lU^t you are ! ^ said the worthy fellow. " A good day'^s 
werk ! Don^t you tire your legs, you others. VW be back for 
yoa directly ! ^ 

He then whipped up his horse and we started at a wild rate. 
Hie children rolled about and I held on. My mother set her 
taeth and did not utter a word, but from under her long 
liBihn she glanced at me with a displeased look. 

On arriving at my door the milkman drew up his horsc so 
sharply that I thought.my mother would have fallen out on to the 
aniinal'*« back. We had arrived, though, and we got out. The 
cart started off again at füll speed. My mother would not speak 
to me for about an hoiu-. Poor, pretty mother, it was not my 
fiudt 

I had gone away from Paris eleven days before, and had then 
left a sad city. The sadness had been painful, the result of a 
great and unexpected misfortune. No one had dared to look 
up, fearing to be blown upon by the same wind which was 



r 



318 SARAH BERNHARDT ^^ 

btowing the Gcmun flag floating yooder towards the Are de 
Triomphe. 

I now found Paris effei^'escent and grumUing. The wkUs 
were placarded with multi-coloured posters; and all these poeten 
contaiiied tlie wildest haraagues- Fine noble ideas were stdeby 
side with absurd threats. Workmen on their way to their 
daily toil stopped in front of these bills- One would read 
aloud, and the gathering crowd would begin to read over agsin- 

And all these human beings, who had just been sufTering lo 
much through this abominable war, now ecboed these appeaU 
for vengeance- They were very much to be exmsed. 

This war, alas ! had hollowed out under their very feeta galf 
of ruin and of mourning. Poverty had brought the women to 
rags, the privations of the siege had lowered the vitality of the 
children, and the shame of the defeat had discouraged the men- 

Well, these appeals to rebellJon, these anarchist shouts, these 
yells from the crowd, shiieking : " Down with thrones ! Down 
with the Republic ! Down with the rieh ! Down with tbe 
priests ! Down with the Jews ! Down with the army ! Down 
with the masters ! Down with thoae who work ! Down with 
everything ! " — all these cric» roused the bcnumbed hearen. 
The Germans, who fomented all these riots, rcodered us a real 
Service without intending it. Those who had given themsehe» 
up to resignation were stirred out of their torpor. Others, who 
demandcd revenge, found an aliaieot for their inactive forces. 
None of them agrecd. There were ten or t*t;nty different 
parties, devouring each other and thi'eatening each other. U 
was terrible. 

But it was the awakening. It was life after death. I had 
among my friends about ten of the leaders of different opiDiooii 
and all of them interested me, the maddest and the wisest of 
them. 

I often saw Gambetta at Girardin''s^ and it was a Joy to 
to listen to this admirable man. What he siüd was so wise, a» 
well-balanced, and so captivating. 

This man, with his heavy stomach, bis short arms, and huge 
head, had a halo of beauty round him when he spoke. 

Gambetta was never common, never ordinary. He tooJi 
snuiT, and the gesture of bis band when he bru^ed away tb» 
sti-ay grains was füll of grace. He sniokcd hug« cigar^ bot 



MY RETURN TO PARIS 219 

ooold smoke them without inconveniencing any one. When he 
VAS tired of politics and talked literature it was a real charm, 
for he knew everything and quoted poetry admirably. One 
eremng, after a dinner at Girardin^s, we played together the 
wholc soene of the first act of Hemani with Dona Sol. And if 
he was not as handsome as Mounet-Sully, he was just as admir- 
aUe in it. 

On another oocasion he recited the whole of ^^ Ruth and 
Boaiy^ oommencing with the last verse. 

But I pref e r red his political discussions, especially when he 
criticised the speech of some one who was of the opposite opinion 
to himaelf. Th^ eminent qualities of this politician^s talent 
were logic and weight, and his seductive force was his chauvinism. 
The early death of so great a thinker is a disconcerting chal- 
knge fluDg at htunan pride. 

I aometimes saw Rochefort, whose wit delighted me. I was 
not at ease with him, though, for he was the cause of the fall of 
tiie Empire, and, although I am very republican, I liked the 
E mp e ro r Ni^leon III. He had been too trustfiil, but very 
anfcHrttumte, and it seemed to me that Rochefoii; insulted him 
too moch alter his misfortune. 

I also firequently saw Paul de R^musat, the favourite of 
Thiers. He had great refinement of mind, broad ideas, and 
iaadnating manners. Some people accused bim of Orleanism. 
He was a Republican, and a much more advaneed Republican 
than Thiers. One must have known him very little to believe 
him to be anything eise but what he said he was. Paul de 
Remusat had a horror of untruth. He was sensitive, and had a 
▼ery straightforward, strong character. He took no active part 
in politics, except in private circles, and his ad vice always 
ptvailed, even in the Chamber and in the Senate. He would 
oevcr speak except when in committee. The Ministry of Fine 
Arts was ofiered to him a hundred times, but he refused it a 
ktindred times. Finally, after my repeated entreaties, he alniost 
«llowed himself to be appointed Minister of Fine Arts, but at 
the last moment he declined, and wi*ote me a delightf\il letter, 
6om which I quote a few passages. As the letter was not 
^tten for publication, I do not consider that I have a right 
to give the whole of it, but there seems to be no härm in 
pablishing these few lines : 



I SARAH BERNHARDT 

" Allow me, my charming friend, to remain in the shade. I 
can see betttr tbere than in the dazzling brillianey of hnnours. 
You are grateful to me sometimes for being attentive to the 
miseries you poiot out to me. Let me keep my independeace. 
It is more agreeable to me to have tbe right to relieve every one 
than to be obliged to relieve no matter whom. ... In matters 
of art I hflve made for myself an ideal of beauty, which woald 
naturally seem too partiaL . . ." 

It is a great pity that the scruples of this delicate-minded 
man did not allow him to accept this oifice. The reforma that 
he pointed out to me were, and still are, very necessiuy one^ 
Uowever, that cannot be helped. 

I also knew and frequently saw a mad sort of fellow, füll of 
dreams and Utopian folties. His name was Flourens, and he 
was tall and nice-looking. He wanted every one to be happy 
and every one to have money, and he shot down the soldlers 
without reflecting that he was comniencing by making one or 
more of them unhappy. Reasoning with him was impossible, 
but he was charming and brave. I saw him two days before his 
death. He came to see me with a very young giri who wanted 
to devote herseif to draroatic art. I promised him to help her. 
Two days later the poor child came to teil me of the h«Toic 
death of Flourens, He had refused to surrender, and, stretching 
out his arms, had shouted to the hesitating soldiers, " Shoot, 
shoot ! I should not have spared you ! " And their buUets 
had kilted him. 

Anuther man, not so tnteresting, whom I looked upon aa « 
dangerous madman, was a certaic Kaoul Rigault. For a shoit 
time he was Prefett of Police. He was very young and very 
daring, wildly amhitious, dctermined to do an\-thiug to succecd, 
and it seemed to him more easy to do härm than good. That 
man was a real danger. He bcloiigcd to a group of students 
who used to send me verses every day. I came across them 
everywhere, enthusiastic and mad. They had been nicknamed 
in Paris the üaradoteurt (Sara-dotards). One day he brought n 
a littlc one-act play. The piecc was so stupid and the verses •» 
so insipid that I sent it him back with a few words, which li 
doubt considered unkind. for he bore me malice for thei 
attempted to avenge himself in the following way. He i 



icxnamed 
ought me i 
erses wer« J 
lieh fa auB ] 
heii^^H 



THE COMMUNE 221 

on me one day, and Madame Gu^rard was there when he was 
thown in« 

^ Do joa know that I am all-powerful at present ? ^ he said. 

^In theM days there is nothing surprising in that,^ I replied. 

** I have come to see you, either to make peace or declare 
war,^ he oontinued. 

This way of talking did not suit me, and I sprang up. ** As 
I can fenacc that your conditions of peace would not suit me, 
dur Monsieur^ I will not give you time to declare war. You are 
one of the men one would prefer, no matter how spiteful they 
migfat be, as enemies rather tiian friends.'" With these words I 
lang for my footman to show the Prefect of Police to the door. 
Madame Gu^rard was in despair. ** That man will do us some 
kann, my dear Sarah, I assure you,^^ she said. 

She was not mistaken in her presentiment, ezcept that she 
thhiking of me and not of herseif, for his first vengeance 
iaken on her, by sending away one of her relatives, who was 
a pdioe commissioner, to an inferior and dangerous post. He 
then began to invent a hundred miseries for me. One day I 
reeei^ed an order to go at once to the Prefecture of Police on 
uigent business. I took no notice. The foUowing day a mounted 
coorier brooght me a note from Sire Raoul Rigault, threatening 
to send a prison van for me. I took no notice whatever of the 
tkreats of this wretch, who was shot shortly after and died with- 
out showing any courage. 

Life, however, was no longer possible in Paris, and I decided 
to go to St. Germain-en-Laye. I asked my mother to go with 
me, but she went to Switzerland with my youngest sister. 

The departure from Paris was not as easy as I had hoped. 
Communists with gun on Shoulder stopped the trains and 
aearched in all our bags and pockets, and even under the cushions 
rf the railway carriages. They were afraid that the passengers 
were taking newspapers to Versailles. This was monstrously 
Itapid. 

The installation at St. Germain was not an easy thing either. 
Nearly all Paris had taken refuge in this little place, which is as 
pretty as it is dull. From the height of the terrace, where the 
orowd remained moming and night, we could see the alarming 
progress of the Commune. 

Un all sides of Paris the flames rose, proud and destructive. 



222 



SARAH BERXHARI 



Tlie wind of^en brought ua bumt papen, wliich we took h> the 
«Council House. The Seine broaght qiuntities aJoag vith it,aiid 
the boatmen coltected tfaese in sacks. Some days — uid tbcM 
«rere the niost distressing of au — an opaqne veil of snioke 
enveloped Paris. There was no bneze to allow tbe flsroes to 
pierce through. 

l'he city then bumt stealthily, witboot our aazious eyes bäi^ 
able to discover tbe fresb buildings that tbese ftirioos nudmen 
had set alight. 

I weilt for a. ride every day in tbe forest. Sometimes I would 
go as far as N'ersailles, but this was not without danger. We 
often came across poor starving imtcbes in the forest, whom we 
joyfully helped, but of^en, too, there were prisoDers who bad 
escaped from Poissy, or Conununist sharpshooters tr^Hng to 
shoot a Versailles soldier. 

Oiie day, on tbe way back from Triel, wbere Captain CConnor 
and I bad been for a gallop orer tbe hüls, we entered tLe forest 
rather late in the evening, as it was a sborter way. A shot was 
fired from a neighbouring tbicket, wbich made my hone botmd 
so suddenly towards the left that I was tbrowu. Fortunatdy 
my horse was quiet. O'Connor burried to me, but I was abeady 
up and read^ to mount again. " Just a second,'" he said ; " I 
want to acarcb that tbicket." A sbort gallop soon brought him 
to tbe Spot, and I then heard a shot, some branches breaking 
under flying feet, then another shot not at all like tbe two former 
oues, and my fnend appeared again with a pistol in bb band. 

" You have not been hit ? " I asked. 

" Yes,tbe firat shot just touched my leg, but tbe feilowaimed 
too low, The sccond he fired haphazard. I fancy, though, that 
he bas a bullet from my revolver in bis body." 

" But I heard some one running away," I said. 

"Oh," replied the elegant captain, cbuckling, "he will not 
go far." 

" Poor wretch ! " I murmured. 

"Oh no," exciaimed OX^onnor, "do not pity them, I b^. 
They kill numbers of our meu every day; only yesterday five 
soldien from my regiment were found on the Versailles road, 
not only killed, but mutilated," and gnasbing bis teetb, he 
linished bis sentence with an oath. 

I tumed towards bim ratber surprised, but he took no uotice. 




AT ST. GERMAIN-EN-LAYE 228 

We oontinued our way, riding as quickly as the obstacles in the 
fiirest would allow U3. Suddenly, our horses stopped short, 
nortiiig and sniffing. O^Connor took bis revolver in bis hand« 
got off, and led his horse. A few yards from us there was a man 
lying <» the gioand. 

** That must be tbe wretcb wbo sbot at me,^ said my companion, 
and bending down over tbe man be spoke to bim. A moan was 
the ooly reply. O^Connor bad not seen bis man, so tbat be 
eonld not bave recognised bim. He lighted a matcb, and we 
taw that tbis one bad no gun. I bad dismounted, and was 
brjing to raise tbe unfortunate man^s bead, but I witbdrew my 
band, oovered witb blood. He bad opened bis eyes, and fixed 
them OD O^Connor. 

*^ Ah, it^s you, Versailles dog ! ^ be said. '^ It was you wbo 

ihot me ! I missed you, but ^ He tried to pull out tbe 

revolver from bis belt, but tbe effort was too great, and bis 
haod feil down inert. O^Connor on bis side bad cocked bis 
rerolver, but I placed myself in front of tbe man, and besougbt 
faim to leave tbe poor fellow in peace. I could scarcely recog- 
niie my firiend, for tbis bandsome, fair-baired man, so polite, 
tmther a snob, but very cbarming, seemed to bave tumed into a 
brate. Leaning towards tbe unfortunate man, bis under-jaw 
piotruded, be was muttering under bis teetb some inarticuiate 
words; bis denched band seemed to be grasping his anger, 
just as one does an anonymous letter before ilinging it away in 
disgust. 

^^ O^Connor, let this man alone, please ! '^ I said. 

He was as gallant a man as he was a good soldier. He gave 
way« and seemed to become aware of the Situation again. 
•* Good ! "** be said, helping me to mount once more. *' When I 
bave taken you back to your hotel, I will come back with some 
men to pick up this wretch.^^ 

Half an hour later we were back home, without having 
exchanged another word during our ride. 

I kept up my friendship with O'Connor, but I could never see 
bim again without thinking of that scene. Suddenly, when he 
was talking to me, the brute-like mask under which I had seen 
him for a second would fix itself again over his laughing face. 
Quite recently, in March 1905« General O'Connor, wbo was 
commanding in Algeria, came to see me one evening in my 



324 



SARAH BERNHARDT 




dreising-room at the theatre. He told me about hU difficulti« 
with some of the great Arab chiefs. 

"I iancy," he Said, laughing, "that we shall have a facnli 
together." 

Again I saw the captain's mask on the generalis face. 

I never saw him again, for he died six months afterwards. 

We were at last able to go back to Paris. The abominable 
and shamefui peace had been signed, the wretched Commune 
cnished. Everything was supposed to be iu oi-der again. But 
what blood and ashes ! What women in mouming ! Wiiat 
ruina ! 

In Paris, we inhaled the bit:ter odour of smoke. All tbat 
I touched at home lelt on my fingers a somewhat gnuMj 
and almost imperceptible coIduf. A general uneasiness beset 
France, and more especially Paris. The theatres, howeveri 
opened their doors once moie, and tbat was a general rclief. 

One moniing I received from the OdSon a notice of rebesraJ. 
I shook out my hair, stamped my feet, and snitfed the air like « 
young horse snoi-ting, 

The race-ground was to be opened for us again. We sbodd 
be able to gallop afresh through our dreams. The lists wcR 
ready. Thecontest was beginning. Life was coinniencing again. 
It is truly stränge that mau's mind should have made of Ufe i 
perpetual strife. When there is no longer war there is battle, 
'or there are a hundred thousand of us aiming for the same 
object. God has created the earth and man for fach other. The 
earth is vast. What ground there is uncultivated ! Miles upon 
miles, acres upon acres of new land waiting for arms tbat will 
take from its bosom the treasures of ineshaustible Nature. And 
we remain groupcd round each other, crowds of famishing peopl« 
watching other groups, which are also lying in wait. 

The Odeon opened its doors to the public with a repertoij 
Programme. Some new pieces were given us to study. One of 
these met with tremendous auccess. It was Andre Theurieft 
Jean-Marie, and was produced in October 1871. This otw- 
act play is a veritable masterpiece, and it took ita autliv 
straight to the Academy. Porel, who played the part of Jean- 
Marie, met with an enonnous success. He was at that tioK 
slender, nimble, and fuU of youthful ardour. He needed a little 
more poetry, but the joyous laughter of his thirty-two tecth 



AT ST. GERMAIN-EN-LAYE 225 

de up in aidour fofr what was waotmg in poetic desire. It 
( ^ery good, anyhow. 

ify röle of the young Breton girl, submissive to the elderly 
band foroed upon her, and Hving etemally with the memory 
the ßanbk who was absent, and perhaps dead, was pretty, 
itical, and touching by reason of the final sacrifice. There 
I even a oertam grandeur in the ooncluding part of the pieee. 
had, I must repeat, an immense success, and increased my 
«ring repntation. 

[ wasy however, awaiting the event which was to consecrate 
a star. I did not quite know what I was expecting, bat I 
!w that my Messiah had to oome. And it was the greatest 
et of the last Century who was to place on my head the crown 
Üiedect. 




VICTOR HDGO 



At the end of that year 1871, we were told, in rather a 
luysterious and solemn way, that we were going to play a [äece 
of Victor Hugo's. My mind at that time c^ my life was still 
closed to grcat ideos. I was liviiig in rather a bourgeint atmo- 
sphere, what with my somewhat cosmopolitan family, their rather 
siiobbish ac-quaiiitanoes and friend^, and the acquaintances and 
friends I had chosen in ray independent life as an artiste. 

I had heard Victor Hugo spoken of ever since my childhood 
as a rebel and a renegade, and his works, which I had read with 
passion, did not prevent my judging hino with very grest 
severity. And I blush to-day with anger and shame wbeo I 
think of all my absurd prejudices, fomented by the imbecile or 
insincere little court which flattered me. I had a great desite, 
nevertheless, to play in Rut/ Blas. The röle of the Queen seemed 
so charming to me, 

I mentioned my wish to Duquesnel, who said he had already 
thought of it. Jane Essler, an artiste then in voguc, but a tri6e 
vulgär, had great chances, though, against nie. She wa« od 
very amicable terms with Paul Meurice, Victor Hugo's intlnuiU 
friend and adviser. One of my friends brought Auguste VaoqDOK 
to my house. He was another friend, and even a relative^ of 
the " illustrious master." 

Auguste Vacquerie promised to speak to Victor Hugo, and 
two days later he came again. assurtng me that 1 had eyaj 
chance in my favour. Paul Meurice himself, a very straight- 
forward man, a delightful soul, had proposed me to the autbor. 
And GeflVoy, the admirable artiste who had retired froat tiie 
Com^ie Fraii^aise, and was now asked to play Don SalUuU, h») 
said, it appears, that he could only see one little Queen of Sptin 



VICTOR HUGO 227 

worthy to wear the crown, and I was that one. I did not know 
Geffroy; I did not know Paul Meurice; and was rather as- 
tooiflhed that they should know me. 

The play was to be read to the artistes at Victor Hugo^s, 
Deormber 6, 1871, at two o^clock. I was very much spoilt, and 
▼ery much praised and flattered, so that I feit hurt at the un- 
oeremonicusness of a man who did not condescend to disturb him- 
self, but asked women to go to bis house when there was neutral 
giomid, the theatre, for the reading of plays. I mentioned this 
unheaxd-of inddent at five o^clock to my little court, and men 
and women alike exclaimed : ** What ! That man who was only 
the other day an outlaw ! That man who has only just been 
paidoned! That nobody! — dares to ask the little Idol, the 
Queen of HeaHs^ the Fairy of Fairies, to put herseif to 
inooDvenience ! ^ 

AU my little sanctuary was in a tumult ; men and women alike 
oould not keep still. 

** She must not go,"" they said. " Write him this ^— « Write 
him that'" And they were composing impertinent, disdainful 
letters when Marshai Canrobert was announced. He belonged 
at that time to my little five o'^clock court, and he was soon 
posted on what had taken place by my turbulent visitors. He 
was furioasly angry at the imbecilities uttered against the great 
poei. 

" You must not go to Victor Hugo^s/' he said to me, " for it 
seems to me that he has no reason to deviate from the regulär 
custom. But say that you are suddenly unwell; follow my 
advice and show the respect for him that we owe to genius.*" 

I followed my great friend's couusel, and sent the following 
fetter to the poet : 

** MoKsiEUR, — The Queen has taken a chill, and her Camerara 
Mayor forbids her to go out. You know better than any one 
eise the etiquette of the Spanish Court. Pity your Queen, 
Monsieur."" 

I sent the letter, and the following was the poet's reply : 

♦* I am your valet, Madame. 

"Victor Hugo.'" 

The next day the play was recwl on the stage to the artistes. 



r 



228 SARAH BERNHARDT 

I believe that tlie readiDfir did not take place, or at least not 
entirely, at the Ma.ster's house. 

I then made the acquaintance of the tnonster. Ah, whnt a 
grudge I bad for a long time against all tbose eilly people 
who had prejudiced nie ! 

The monster was charming — so witty and refincd, and so 
gallant, with a gallanti-y that was a hoinage and not an insult 
He was so good, too, to the hiimble, and always so gay. He wa« 
not, certainly, the ideal of elegance, hat there was a moderation 
in his gestures, a gen tteness in his way ofspeaking, which savoured 
of the old French peer. He was quick at repartee, and bis 
observations were gentle but pertinent. He recited poetiy 
badly, but adored hearing it well recited. He often made 
Sketches during the rehearsals. 

He frequently Npoke in verse when he wisbed to reprimand an 
artiste. One day during a rehearsal be was trying to convince 
poor Talien about bis bad elocution. I was bored by the length 
of the colloquy, and aat down on the table swinging my I^s. 
He understood my impatience, and getting up from the middle 
of the orcbestra stalls, be exclaimed, 

" Une Reiju; ^Espagnt htmnite et respectahle 
iVe devrait pohä aiTWt a'wtseoir mr mit lable.^ 

I sprang up (Vom the table slightly embaiTassed, aod want«d 
to answer him in rathera piquant or witty way — but I could 
not find anything to say, aud reniained tliere confiised and in 
a bad teniper. 

One day, when the rebearsal was over an hour earlier than 
iisual, I was waiting, my forebead pressed against the window- 
pane, for the arrival of Madame Guerard. who was Coming to 
fetch me, I was gazing idly at tbe footpatb opposite. whicb is 
bounded by the Luxembourg railings. Victor Hugo had just 
crossed tbe rond. and was about to walk on. An old woman 
«ttracted bis attention. She bad just put a beavy bündle of 
linen down on the ground, and was wiping her forebead. on 
wbich were great beads of Perspiration. In spite of the cold, 
her tootbless mouth was half open, as she was panting. and her 
eyes had an expression of distressing ansiety as she looked at 
the Wide road abe bad to cross, with carriages and omnibus» 
pasaing each otber. Victor Hugo approachod her, and after a 



VICTOR HUGO 229 

short oonversation he drew a piece of money from his pocket, 
handed it to the old woman ; then, taking off his hat, he con- 
fided it to her, and with a quick movement and a laughing face 
lifted the bündle on to his Shoulder and crossed the road, foUowed 
hy tfae bewildered woman. I rushed downstairs to embmce him 
for it« bat by the time I had reached the passage I jostled 
agaiott de Cfadlly, who wanted to stop me, and when I descended 
the staircase Victor Hugo had disappeared« I could only see 
the old woman^s back, but it seemed to me that she hobbled 
aloDg now more briskly. 

The next day I told the poet that I had witnessed his 
delicate good deed. 

«^Oh,** Said Paul Meurice, his eyes wet with emotion, " every 
day that dawns is a day of kindness for him.'^ 

I embraoed Victor Hugo, and we went to the rehearsal. 

Ob, those rehearsals of Ruy Blas ! I shall never forget them, 
for there was such good grace and charm about everjrthing. 
When Victor Hugo arrived, eveiything brightened up. His 
two sateUites, Auguste Vacquerie and Paul Meurice, scarcely 
ever left him, and when the Master was absent they kept up 
the dirine fire. 

Gefl&oy, severe, sad, and distinguished, often gave me advice. 
During the intervals for rest I posed for him in various 
attitudes, for he was a painter. In the foyer of the Comedie 
Francaise thei*e are two picturcs by him, i*epresenting two 
generations of Societaires of both scxes. The pictures are not 
of very original composition, neither are they of beautiful 
odouring, but they are faithful likenesses, it appears, and rather 
happily grouped. 

Lafontaine, who was playing Ruy Blas, often had long dis- 
cuasions with the Master, in which Victor Hugo never yielded. 
And I must confess that he was always right. 

Lafontaine had conviction and self-assurance, but his elocu- 
tioD was very bad for poetry. He had lost his teeth, and they 
were replaced by a set of false ones. This gave a certain slow- 
uess to his delivery, and there was a little odd clacking sound 
between his real palate and his artificial rubber palate, which 
often distracted the ear listening attentively to catch the beauty 
of the poetry. 

As for poor Talien, who was playing Don Guritan, he made 



280 SARAH BERNHARDT 

a hash of it every minute. His comprehension of ihe r6le was 
quite erroneous. Victor Hugo explained it to him clearly 
and intelligently. Talien was a well-intentioned comedian, a 
hard worker, always conscientious, but as stupid as a goose. 
What he did not understand at first he never understood. As 
long as he lived he would never understand. But, as he was 
straightforward and loyal, he put himself into the hands of the 
author, and gave himself up then in complete abn^;ation. 
^^ That is not as I understood it,"^ he would say, *^ but I will do 
as you teil me.'" 

He would then rehearse, word by word and gesture by 
gestiu*e, with the inflexions and movements required. This got 
on my nerves in the most painful way, and was a cruel blow dealt 
at the solidarity of my artistic pride. I often took this 
poor Talien aside and tried to urge him on to rebellion, but it 
was all in vain« 

He was tall, and bis arms were too long, and his eyes tiied ; 
his nose was weary with having grown too long, and it sank 
over his lips in heartrending dejection. His forehead was 
oovered with thick hair, and his chin seemed to be running away 
in a hurry from his ill-built face. A great kindliness was 
di£Fused all over his being, and this kindliness was his very seif. 
Every one was therefore infinitely fond of him. 




A MEMOItABLK BUPPEE 



jAMtTARV 88, 1872, WM an artiatic pte for the Odton. Tlie 
Tbvt-Pari» of first nighU and the vibratiiigyounger element» 
ven to meet in the lai^, solenin, duEty theatre. Ah, what a 
spl«udifl, stirring performance it was ! What a triumph for 
Geffroy, pale, sinister, and severc-looking in his black costnme 
s£ Don Salluste. Melingue rather disappointed the public as 
Don Cesnr de Bazan, and the public was in the wrong. The 
roU of Don Ccsar de Baxan is a treacherously good röle, which 
always tcmpts artists by the bnlliancy oF the Hrst act ; but the 
fottrth act, which belongs entirely to him, ia distressingly heavy 
and tueless. It inight be taken out of the piece, jiBt Hke a 
periwinkle out of its shell, and the piece would be »one the Ics» 
eleu- and complete. 

TTiis S6th of January rent asuiider, though, fov me the thin Teil 
which still inade iny future hazy, and I feit that I was destined 
for celebrity. Uiitil thnt day I had reniaincd the students' little 
fairy. I became then the Elect of the public. 

Breathlesa, dazcd, and yet delighted by iny success, I did not 
know to whom to reply in the e\'er-changing streani of male and 
feniale admirers. Then, Kuddenly,! sawthecrowd separating and 
fonning two lines, and I caught a glimpse of Victor Hugo and 
Girardin cotning towards me. In a second all the stupid ideas 
I had had about thia iininen^ie genins flashed across me. I 
remembered my ßrst intennew, when I had been stiff and 
harely polite to tbis kind, indutgent man. \t that moment, 
when all my life wa» opening its wings, I should have liked 
to cry out to him my repentance and to teil him of my devout 
gratitude. 

Before I could speak, though, he was down on his knee. and 



r282 
Thanl 



SARAH BERNHARDT 

mured, "Thank jou! 



misiDg my two haads to his Ups, be 
Thank you ! " 

Aod so it was he who said " Thank yon." He, the great Victor 
Hugo, whose soul was so beautitul, whose universal genius filled 
the World ! He, whose generous hands fiung pardons like gern« 
to all his insulters. Ah, how small I feit, howash&medf andyet 
how happy ! He then rose, shook the hands that were beld out 
to him, finding Jbr every one the right word. 

He was so handsome that night, with his broad forehead, which 
seemed to retain the light, his tbick, silveiy fleeoe of hair, smi 
his laughing luminous eyes, 

Not daring to fling myself in Victor Hugo-s anns, I (dl into 
Girardin's, the sure fiiend of my tirst steps, and I butst int« 
tears. He took nie aside in my dressing-room. **Yaa mu«t 
not let yourself be intoxicated with this great success now," he 
said. " There must be no more risky junips, now that yoo are 
crowned with laureis. You will have to be more yielding, more 
docile, more sociable," 

" I feel that I shall never be yielding nor docile, my fiiend," 
I answered looking at him, " I u-ill try to be more sodable, 
but that is alt I can proinise. As to my crowii, I assure yt)u 
that in spite of my risky jumps, and I feel that I shall always 
be making some, the crown will not shake off." 

Paul Meurice, who had come up to us, overheard this et»- 
versation, and reminded me of it on the evening of the firrt 
Performance of Ati^lo at the Sarah Bernhardt Theatre, wi 
Febniary 7, 1905. 

On retuming home, I sat up a long time talking to Madame 
Guerard, and when she wanted to go I begged her to stav 
louger. I had become so rieh in hopes for the future that I was 
atraid of thieves. Mon petU Dame stayed on with me, and we 
talked tili daybreak. At seven oclock we took a cab aod I 
drove my dear friend home, and theu continued driving for 
another hour. I had already achieved a fair number of suc- 
cesses : Le Passant, Le Drame de la Rtie de la Paix, Amia 
Danby in Kean, and Jean-Marie, but I feit that the Ruff Blas 
succe.ss was greater than any of tlie others, and that this time 
I had become some one to be criticised, bnt not to be overiooked. 

I ofteu went in the morning to Victor Hugo's, and he was 
alwavs very charming and kind. 



IRAII IIKK.VIIAmi'TS 
JtV. W ITH AlTiMiKAfU 
i RV VirTOft IR'GU 




A MEMORABLE SUPPER 283 

^Vhe^ I was quite at luy ease with him, I spoke to bim about 
my Hnt inipressions, about all my stupid, nervous rebellion with 
regard to him, about all that I had been told aiid all that I bad 
believed in my naive ignoi-ance about political niatters. 

One morning the Master took great delight in myconversation. 
He sent for Madauie Drouet, the sweet sonl, the conipanion of 
his glorious and rebellious mind. He toid her, in a laughing but 
uieUncholy way, that the evil work of bod people is to sow 
error in every soil, wliether favourable or not, l'hat morning 
is engrfived for ever in my miod, for the great man talked a long 
time. Oh, it was not for me, but for what I represented in his 
eyes. Was I not, as a matter of fact, the young generation, in 
which a bourgems and clerical education had warped the intelli- 
gence byclosing the mind to every generous idea, to every tUght 
towarda the new ? 

When I left Victor Hugo that morning I feit myself more 
worthy of his friendship. 

I then went to Girardin's, as I wanted to talk to souie one 
who loved the poct, but he was out. 

I went next to Marshai Canrobert's, and there I had a great 
sorprise. Just aa I was getting out of the carriage, I nearly feil 
into the arms of the Marshai, who was coniing out of his houae. 

"What is it? What's the matter? la it postponed ?" he 
asked, laughing. 

I did not undcrstand, and gazed at hini rather bewildered. 

" Well, have you forgotten that you invited me to luncheon ?" 
be asked. 

I waa quite confused, for I had entirely forgotteu it. 

" Well, all the better ! " I said ; " I very much wanted to talk 
to you. Cotne ; I am going to take you with me now," 

I then related my visit to Victor Hugo, and repeated all the 
6ne thougbts he had uttered,^ foigetting that I was constantl y 
•aying things that were contraiy to the Marshal's ideas. This 
admimble man could odinire, thougb, and if he could not change 
his opinions, he approved the great ideas which were to bring 
about great changes. 

One dar, when he and Busnach were both at my house, there 
WM a political discussion which became rather vi ölen t. I 
WM afraid for a moment that things might take a. bad turn, 
as Bumach was the most witty and at the same time the rudest 



284 SARAH BERNHARDT 

man in France. It U only fair to say, thougb, that if 
Marshai Caarobert was a polite man and very well bred, he was 
not at all behind William Busnach in wit. The latter was 
worked up by the chafing speeches oF the Marshai. 

" I chatlenge you, Monsieur," he exclatmed, " to write about 
the odious Utopias that you have just been supporting ! '^ 

" Oh, Monsieur Busnach," replied Canrobert coldlvi ** we do 
not use the same ateel for writing history ! Yoii use s pen, and 
I a sword." 

The luncheon that I had so conipletely forgottm was never- 
theless a hincheon arranged several days previously. On resching 
home we found there Paul de Remusat,charming M lle. HocquignVt 
and M. de Monbel, a young altachi d'ambaxsade. I explained 
my lateness as well as I could, and that morning finished in the 
most delicious haniiony of ideas. 

I have never feit more than I did that day the inßutt« joy of 
listen ing. 

During a silence MUe. Hocquigny tumed to the Marsbai and 
Said: 

" Are yoQ not of the opinion that our young friend should 
enter the Comedie Fmn»;aise ? " 

" Ah, no, no ! '" I eiclaimed ; " I am so happy at the OAkm. 
I began at the Comedie, and the short time 1 remained there 
I was very unhappy." 

" You will be obliged to go back there, my dear fiiend — 
obliged. Believe me, it will be better early than late." 

" Well, do not spoil to-day's pleasure for me, for I have ncv« 
been happier ! " 

One momiog shortly after this my maid brought me B letter. 
The large round stamp, on which are the words " Cooi^dw 
Fran^aise " was on the corner of the envelope, 

t remembered that teii years previously, almost day for day, 
our old servant Marguerite had, with my mother's pcrrainioD, 
handed me a letter in the sanie kind of envelope. 

My face then had flushed with joy, but this time I feit a 
faint tinge of pallor touch my cheeks, 

When events occur which dJsturb my life, I always have a 
movement of recoil. I cling for a secoad to what is, and theo 
I fling myself headlong into what is to be. It is like a gymnast 
who clings (irst to hia trapeze bar in order to Hing bimaetf 



A MEMORABLE SUPPER 235 

afterH&rds with fuli force into space. In one second what now 
is becomes for nie what was, and I luve it with tender emotion 
AS eomething dead- But I adore what is to be without seeking 
even to kiiow about it, für what is to be is the unknowii, the 
mysterious attraction. I aJwaj's fancy tliat it will be something 
imbeard of, aiid I sbudder from head to loot in delicioua 
uneafiiiesM. I receive quantitie^ of letters, and it seems to m« 
tbai I never receive enongh. I wafcch tbent accuinulating just 
as I watch the wave» of the sea. What are tliey going to 
bring me, these inystei-ious envelopex, large, sinall, pink, blue, 
j-ellow, white? What are Üiey going to fling upon the rock, 
Ihese grcat wiki wavc», dark with seaweed f Wbat sailor-boy's 
corp«? What remainfl of a wreck? What are theae little 
bmk Wttves going tu leave on tbe beacb, these reflectiona of a 
bluf sky, httle laughing wavco ? What pink " Nea-star " ? 
What mauve Biie:iioiie ? ^Vbat pearly shell ? 

So I never open my letters immediately. I look at the 
envtflofM», try to m-ognise tho handwTiting and the seal ; and it 
is only when I am quite certain from wboin the letter comes that 
I opt-n it. 'Vhe others I leave niy secretary to open or a kind 
friend, Suzannc Seylor. My friends know this so well ihat they 
alwayn put their initials in tbe comer of their envelopeis. 

At that time I bad no secretary, but num petü Dame »erred 
mc HS such. 

I looked at the eiivelope a loug ttme, and gave it at last to 
Bladame Guifranl. 

** It i« a letttr from M. Perrin, director of the Comedie 
Fran^Ai»«,'' shc said. " He aaks if you canfix a time to see him 
on Tucndny ur Wednesday afternoon at the Coniedie Fran^aise 
or at yo(ir own housc," 

" Tiiaiikü. What ilay i» it to-day ? " I asked. 

" Munday," ^be ri-plied. 

1 then inHtalled Madauie Gui^rd at my desk, and asked her 
to reply that I would go there the foUowing day at three 
o'dodc. 

I was eaming very little at that time at the Odeon. I 
Uving un wliat my father had left me — that is, on tbe transsction 
nuulti by the Havre ntitary — and not mucb remained, I there- 
ion went to see Du<jU(.->nel and showed hiin tbe letter. 

** W«U, what are von going to dw f " be asked. 




k 



286 SARAH BERNHARDT 

" Nothing. I have come to aak your advict" 
" Oh well, I advise you to reniain at the Odeon. Besides, 
your engagement does not terminate for anotber year, and I 
aball not allow you leavft ! " 

" Well, raise my salary, theii," I said. " I am offered twdve 
thousand francs a year at Üie Comedie, Give me fifteen 
thousand here and I will stay, for I do not want to leave." 

"Listen to me," said the charming manager in a friendly 
way. " You know that I am not free to aet alone. I will do my 
best, 1 proniise you." And Duquesnel certainly kept bis word. 
" Come here to-morrow before going to the Comedie, and I 
will give you Chilly's reply. But take my advice, and if he 
obstinately refuses to increase your salary, do not leave ; we ahall 

find some way. ... And besides Anyhow, I cunnot say 

any more." 

I retumed the following day according to arrangement. 

I found Duqueanel and Chilly in the maiiogerial officc. CSdSf 
began at once somewhat roughly : 

*' And so you want to leave, Duquesnel teils me. \Vhere ue 
you going ? It ia most stupid, for your place is here. JwA 
consider, and think it over for yourself. At the Gymuase th^ 
only give modern pieccs, dressy plays, That is not your style. 
At the Vaudeville it b the same, At the Gaite you wwld 
spoilyour voice. You are too distinguished for the Ambiga" 

I looked at him without replying. I saw that his partner had 
not spoken to bim about tbe Comedie Fran^-aise. He feit 
awkward, and mumbled : 

" Well then, you are of my opinion ? " 

" No," I auswered ; " you have forgotten the Comedie." 

He was sitting in his big arm-cbair, and be bunt out 
laugbing. 

" Ah DO, my dear girl," he said, " you must not teil me Üai 
TheyVe bad euough of your queer character at the Comedifc I 
dined the other night with Manbant, and when some one mA 
that you ougbt to be engagcd at the Cotutidie Fran^uM it 
nearly cboked with rage. I can assure you the grcat trsgeäu 
did not show much affection for you." 

"Oh well, you ought to haxe taken my part," I exclainn 
irritated. "You know very well that I am a most writf 
member of your Company." 



^^ta^Hfe 



^ 



A MEMORABLE SUPPER 287 

^ But I did take your part,^ he said, ** and I added even that 
it would be a very fortunate thing for the Comedie if it could 
hare an aiüste with your will power, which perhaps might relieve 
the monotonous tone of the house ; and I only spoke as I thought, 
but the poor tragedian was beside himself. He does not consider 
that you have any talent. In the first plcu^e, he maintains that 
Ton do not know how to recite verse. He declares that you 
make all your a^s too broad. Finally, when he had no argumenta 
left he declared that as long ag he lives you will never enter the 
Com^e Fran^aise.^ 

I was silent for a moment, weighing the pros and cons of the 
pcobaUe result of my experiment. Finally coming to a deeision, 
I mmmured somewhat waveringly : 

** Well then, you will not give me a higher salary ? ^ 

" No, a thouMUid times no ! ^ yelled Chilly. " You will try 
to make me pay up when your engagement comes to an end, 
and then we shall see. But I have your signature until then, 
Yoa have mine, too, and I hold to our engagement. The 
Tliefttre Francs is the only one that would suit you beside 
and I am quite easy in my mind with regard to that 



''You make a mistake perhaps,^ I answered. He got up 
Inuquely and came and stood opposite me, his two hands in his 
pockets. He then said in an odious and familiär tone : 

** Ah, thaVs it, is it ? You think I am an idiot, then ? *" 

I got up too, and said coldly, pushing him gently back, ^^ I 
think you are a triple idiot."" I then hurried away towards the 
staircase, and all DuquesnePs shouting was in vain. I ran do^\ii 
the stairs two at a time. 

On arriving under the OdA)n arcade I was stopped by Paul 
Hearice, who was just going to invite Duquesnel and Chilly, on 
bdialf of Victor Hugo, to a supper to celebrate the one hun- 
dredth performance of Ruy Blas, 

** I have just come from your house,^ he said. " I have left 
jou a few lines from Victor Hugo."' 

*^6ood, good; that's all right,"^ I replied, getting into my 
carriage. ** I shall see you to-morrow then, my friend.'" 

^Good Heavens, what a hurry you are in ! '^ he said. 
•* Yes ! '^ I replied, and then, leaning out of the window, I 
ttid to my coachman, " Drive to the Comedie Franvaise."" 



288 SARAH BERNHARDT T 

I lookcd at Paul Meurice to wish him farevrdl. He was 
Standing stupefied oij the arcade steps. 

On avriving at the Comtklie I sent my canl to Perrin, and fiv« 
minutes later was ushered in to that icy niannikin. There wer« 
two verv distiiict personages in this man. The one was the 
he was himself, and the other the one be had crcated for the 
requirements of his profes-sion. Perrin himself was gaUant, 
pleasant, witty, and slightly tiniid ; the niannitiia was rold, and 
aomewhat given to poi^ing. 

I was fJTsi rei-eived by Perrin the mannikin. He was »tandtag 
up, his head bent, bowing to a woman, his arm outstretvhed to 
indicate the hospitable arm-chair. He waited with & certain 
aifectation mitil I was seated before sitting down himself. 
then picked up a paper-knife, in order to have sornething to At> 
with his handit, and in a rsther weak voice, the voice of tiw 
mannikin, he remarked : 

"Have you thought it over, Mademoiselle f " 

" Yes, Monsieur, and here I am to give my signature* 

Before he had time to give me any encouragement to dal^e 
with the things on his desk, I drew up my chair, picked upa 
pen, and prepared to sign the paper. I did not take enough 
ink at first, and I stretched my arm out across the whole widtli 
of the writing table, and dipped my pen this time raolutdT 
to the bottom of tlie ink-pot. I touk too much ink, howeweft 
this time, and du the retum journey a huge spot of it MI 
on the large sheet of ivhite paper in front of the mannikin. 

He bent his head, for he was slightly short-sightett, wi 
looked for a moment like a bird when it discovers a hcnip-s«d 
in its grain. He then proceeded to put aside the blotted sbwt 

" Wait a niinute, oh, wait a minute ! " I exclaimed, seizing Üu 
inky paper. " I want to see whether I am doing right or not to 
sign. If that is a butterily I am right, and if anytbing eise, na 
matter what, I am wrong." I took the sheet, doublcd it in the 
middte of the enormou,s blot, and presscd it finnly togctbtf- 
Emilc Perrin thereupon began to laugh, giving up hi» 
mannikin attitude entirely. He Icancd aver to examinc thr 
paper u-ith me, and we opened it very gestly just m OM 
ppens one's hand after imprisoning a fly. When the paper"» 
ipread open, in the midst of its whiteness r magnificcnt Uid> 
bütterfly with outspread wings was to be seen. 



L spread opei 

kl 



A MEMORABLE SUPPER 289 

Well fhen,^ said Perrin, with nothing of the mannikin left, 
ere quite right in signing.^ 

After tliis we talked for some time, like two friends who meet 
for this man was charming and very fciscinating, in spite 
ef his ug^ineaa. When I left him we were friends and delighted 
vitfa eachother. 

I was plajring in Ray Blas that night at the Odeon. Towards 
te& oVlock Duquesnel came to my dressing-room. 

**' Yoa were rather rough on that poor Chilly,^ he said. '^ And 
joa really were not nice. You ought to have come back when 
I called 3^011. Is it tnie, as Paul Meurice teils us, that you 
wcot fltraight to the Th^tre Fran9ais?^ 

^ Here, read for yourself,^ I said, handing him my engagement 
with the Comedie. 

Duquesnel took the paper and read it. 

•* Will you let me show it to Chilly ? " he asked. 

*^ Show it him, oertainly,^ I replied. 

He came nearer, and said in a grave, hurt tone : 

^ Yoa ought never to have done that without telling me first. 
il ahows a lack of confidence I do not deserve.^ 

He was right, but the thing was done. A moment later 
Chilly arrived, furious, gesticulating, shouting, stammering in 
hu anger. 

^ It is abominable ! ^ he said. '* It is treason, and you had not 
even the right to do it. I shall make you pay damages.*" 

As I feit in a bad humour, I turned my back on him, and 
apologised as feebly as possible to Duquesnel. He was hurt, 
ind I was a little ashamed, for this man had given me nothing 
but proofs of kindliness, and it was he who, in spite of Chilly 
and many other unwilling people, had held the door open for 
my future. 

ChiUy kept his word, and brought an action against me and 
the Comedie. I lost, and had to pay six thousand francs 
damages to the managers of the Odeon. 

A fcw weeks later Victor Hugo invited the artistes who per- 
fonned in Ray Blas to a big supper in honour of the onc hun- 
dredth Performance. This was a great delight to me, as I had 
never been present at a supper of this kind. 

I had scarcely spoken to Chilly since our last scene. On the 
night in question he was placed at my right, and we had to get 



240 SARAH BERNHARDT 

reconciled. I was seated to tbe right of Victor Hugo, snd to 
bis left was Madame Lambquin, who was plajing the Canieram 
MayoF,aDd Duquesnel was next to Kiadame Lambquin. Oppo- 
[ site the tUustrious poet was another poet, Tbik>phile Gautier, 

L with bis lion's liead on an dephanfs body. He had a. brilliant 

L mind, and said tbe choieest things with a borse laugb. Tbe 

■ flesh of his fat, flabby, «an face was pierced by two eyes veiled 

I by heavy iids. The expression of them was charming, but (kr 

W away. liiere was in tbiä man an Oriental nobility choked by 

f Western fashion and cu.stoms. I knew nearlyall bis poetry,and 

1 gazed at him with affection — tbe fond lover of tbe beautiful. 

It amused me to imagine bim dressed in süperb Oriental 
costumes. I could see him lying down on huge cusbJona, bis 
beautifiil hands playing with gcms of all colonrs ; and some of 
bis verses came in murmurs to my Ups. I was just setting off ■' 
with bim in a dream tbat was infiiiite, wben a word from my 
neighbour, Victor Hugo, made me tum towards him. 

Wbat a difference ! He was just himself, the great poet — tbe 

most ordinary of beings except for bis luminous forehead. He 

- ■- was heavy- looking, although very active. Bis nose was common, 

L his eyes lewd, and bis mouth without any beauty ; bis voice alone 

I hnd nobility and cbarm. I hked to listen to bim wbilst looking 

I at Theophile Gautier. 

' I was a little embarrassed, tbough, when I looked across the 

table, for at the side uf tbe poet was an odious individual. Faul 
de St. Victor. His cbeeks looked like two bladders firom whicts. 
the oil they contained was oozing out. His nose was sharp aadk. 
like a crow's beak, bis eyes evil-looking and bard ; his anu.:s 
were too sbort, and he was too stout. He looked like a. jaundic^. 
He had plenty of wit and talent, but he employed botih 
in saying and writing more barm than good. I knew tba.t 
this man hated me, and I promptly retumed him batred for 
hatred. 

In answer to tbe toast proposed by Victor Hugo thanking 
every one for such zealous belp on tbe renval of bis work, eacli 

Uperson raised bis glass and looked towards the poet, but tbe . 
illustrious master tumed towards me and continued, "As 10 ■ 
you, Madame " I 

Just at tbis nioment Paul de St Victor put bis glaaa dora I 
so violently on the table that it broke. liiere was an iitftiDt I 




ARAH BERNHARDT AT A (■■ANCV-DRKSS IIAI.L 

BV \V«I.TKK Sl'INI>1 



j 



■ . \ 



.■■■■\ 



•A ;j- ■ < 






I. .■ 



A MEMORABLE SUPPER 2« 

■tupor, and tlien I leaned ocroas the table «nd held my ginss 

t towards Paul de SL Victor. 
TflJce mine. Monsivur," I said, " aiid theii wHen you diink 
will know what my thoughts are in repljr to youra, which 
have j List expressed so clearly ! " 

The horrid man took my glaas, but witb what a look ! 

Victor Hugo finished bis Speech in the midst of applause and 
beers. Duquesnel then leaned back and spoke to me quietly. 
le asked me to teil Chilly to reply to Victor Hugo. I did as 
M^ested. But he gazed at me with a glassy look, and in a far- 
ny voice replied : 

V* Sonte one is holding my legs." 1 looked at bim more atten* 
nely, wbilst Duquesnel aaked for silence for M. de Cbilly's 
peecb. I saw that bis flngers were grasping a fork desperately ; 
lie tips of bis fingers were white, the rest of the band was violet. 

Ek bis band, and it was icy cold ; the other was hanging 
inert under the table. There was silence, and all eyes 
d towards Chilly. 
" Get up," I said, seized with teiror. He made a movement, 
jid bis head auddenly feil forward with bis face on his plate. 
rhere waa a muffled uproar, and the few women present sur- 
tmnded the poor man. Stupid, commonplace, indiHerent tbings 
rere uttered in the same way that one niutters familiär prayers, 
^s son was »ent for, and then two of the waiters came and 
Ried the hody away, living but inert, and placed it in a small 
ftwing-room. 

Duquesnel atayed with him, begging me, however, to go back 
I the poet's guests. I returned to the room where tbe «upper 
td taken place. Groups hod been fornied, and when I was 
m entering I was asked if he was still as ill. 
"The doctor has just orrived, and he cannot yet say," I 
plied. 

It is Indigestion," said Lafontaine (Ruy Bltu), tosaing off 
^aas of liqueur brandy, 

It is cerebral ancemia," pronounced Talien (Don Guntan), 
kitnsily, for he was always losing his memory. 
Victor Hugo approacbed and said very simply : 
** It is a beautiful kind of de&th.*" 

He then took my arm and led me away to the other end of 
e room. trying to cluue my thoughts away by gallant and 



242 SARAH BERNHARDT 

poetical whispers. Some little time passed with this glooni 
weigbing on iis, and then Duquesnel appearcd. He was paJe, 
but appeared as if nothing serious was thc matter. He wu 
ready to answer all questions. 

Oh yes ; he had just heen taken home. It would be nothing, 
U appeared. He only needed rest for a couple of days. I^ 
bably bis fect bad been cold during the incal. 

" Vea," put in one of the Ruy Blas guests, '* tbere certainly 
was a fine drauglit under the table." 

"Yes," Duquesnel was just replying to some one who 
worrying him, " yes ; no doubt tbere was too mucb beat for 
bis head." 

" Yes," added another of tbe guests, " our beads were nttäj 
on fire with that wretcbed gas." 

I could see tbe moment arriving when Victor Hugo wonldbc 
reproachod by all of bis guests for the cold, the heat, the faei, 
and the wine of bis banquet- All these imbecile remarks got 00 
Duquesners nerves. He sbrugged bis shouldera. and änwiBg 
roe away from the crowd. said : 

" It's all over witb him." 

I had had the presentiment of tbis, but tbe certitude of tt 
now caused me intense grief, 

*' I nant to go," I said to Duquesnel. *' Eindlj teil MO* 
one to ask for niy carriage." 

I moved towards the small drawing-room whicb serred u 
a cloak-room for our wraps, and tbere old Madame Lambqoia 
knocked up against me. Sligbtly intoxicated by the beat IUI 
tbe wine, she was waltzing with Talien. 

" Ab, I beg your pardon, little Madonna," sbe said ; " I necif 
knocked you over." 

I pulled her towards me, and witbout reflecting whiqMn^ 
to her, " Don't dance any more, Mamma Lambqutn ; Chü^Ü 
dying." Shc was purple, but her face tumed as white as ^llL 
Her teeth began to cbatter, but .she did not utter a word. 

" Oh, my dcar LamtKiuiu," I niumiured ; " I did not knB* l 
should make you so wretcbed." 

Sbe was not Hstening to me, thougb. any longo- ; sbe M 
putting on her cloak. 

" Are you leaving ? " she aaked me, 

" Yes," I replied. 



A MEMORABLE SUPPER 2*8 

** Will JKKI drire me home i I will theo t^ you 

Sbe wrapped a black fichu round her b«ad, «nd re both 
veot dovostain, afcompanied b^ Dtiquesnel and Paul Meurice, 
wbo aaw us into tbe earriage. 

Sbe Uved in the St. Germain quarter and I iQ thc Rae de 
Rotne. On the way tbe poor woman told me tbe following story. 

" You know, my dear," sbe b^an, '^ I have a mania for 
«omnainbulistä and fortune-tellers of all kinds. Well, last 
Friday (jdu :<€«, I only consult them on a Friday) a woman wbo 
teUs fortuoes by cards said to me, ' You will die a week after a 
nun wbo isdark aud not young, and wbose life ia connected witb 
yottt».' Well. Tay dear. I thought slie was just niaking game of 
me. for thcre is no man wbose life is connected witb niine, as I am 
awidüw and havc never had &ny UaUati. I therefore abused ber 
IbrtfaU, a* I pay herscven francs. Sliecharges ten francs to other 
people, but seven francs to artiates, Sbe was furious at niy not 
bdirring her, and shc seized my hands and said, 'It"s no good 
ydliog at me, for it ia as I say. And if you waiit nie to teil you 
tbe exact trutb, it is a man wbo supports you ; and, even to be 
more exact still, there are two men wbo support you, the one 
dark and tbe other fair ; it's a nicc tbing that ! ' She had not 
finühed ber speech before I bad given lier such a slap a» she had 
never had in ber life, I can assure you. Afterwards, though, 
I puzzled my head to find out what the wretched woman could 
bare meant. And all I i-ould find was that th« two men who 
■Dpport n«, theonedarkand the other fair,areour two managers, 

CÜIIy aud Duquesnel, And now you teil nie that Chilly " 

Sbe »lupped sbort, brcathless witb her story, and again 
■daed witb terror. " I feel stifled," sbe murmured^ and |in spitc 
of tbe freezing cotd we Iowered both the windows. On arnving 
I fadpcd her up ber four fligbts of Fitain, and afler telling the 
aiKifrge to look after her, and giving thewoninn a twenty-^anc 
piece to make sure that she would do eo, I went botne myself, 
m^ nuch upaet by all thtrse iiicid«ntit, an draniaÜü na they wvi« 
mw^wcted, in tbe middlc of njtte. 
Vnänx daya l&ter Cbilly died, wtthuut cver rvcoverJng con- 



\ 

4 

4 



IVdve days l*t«r poor Luabquiu di«L To tbe pri«*t wbo 
ffn her abaohttioa abe said, " I am dying brnmuM I Ustowd to 
aod Wieted tiwdenioa.*' 



AT THB COME'DIK FRANOAISE AOÄIN— 8CDLPTÜBB 

I LEFT the Odeon with very great r^-et, for I adored and still 
adore that theatre. It always seema as though in ifcself it ««re 
a little provincial town. lin lioapitable arcades, under whicb so 
inaay poor old savajits take fresh air aiid shelter thentaelve* 
ftota the sun i the large flag§tones all round, between tbe 
crevices of wliich microscopic yellow grass grows ; iU tall ptlUn, 
blackeiied by time, by hands, and by the dirt from the road ; Ük 
uninterruptcd noise going on all around, the departure of the 
omnibusas, like the departure of the old coaches, tJie fratemity 
of the people who meet there ; everything, even to the tCit 
railings of the Luxembourg, gives it a quite special aspect ID 
the niidst of Paris, Then too there is a kind of odour of Uk 
Colleges there — the very walls aro impi-egnated with youthfol 
hopes. People are not always talking thei^ of yesterday, as ÜM^ 
do in the other theatres, The young artistes who come thm 
talk of to-morraw. 

In short, niy raind never goes back to those few years of mj 
life without a childisb emotion, without thinking of Laugbtcr 
and without a dilation of the nostrib, inhaling ugain tbe ödonr 
of little ordinary buuquets, clumsily tied up, bouquets whicii 
had all the freshness of flowers that gi-ow in the open air, 
flowers that were the offerings of the hearts of twenty sumnien, 
little bouquets paid for out of the purses of students. 

I would not take anything away with me from the Od^on. 
I left the fumiture of my dressing-room to a youiig aitisle. 
I left my costumes, all the little toilette knjck-knacka— I 
divided theni and gave them away, I feit that my life of 
bopes and dreams was to cease there. I feit that the ground 
was now ready for tlie fruition of all the dreams, but that tbe 



* 



lAT THE FRANCAISE 



AGAIN 
and I divined 



nruggle with life was about to 
rightly. 

My fint experience at the Comedie Fran^aise had not beeu & 
Nucccsä. I knew that I was going into the lions" den. I counted 
fewr friends in this house, extept Laroche, CoquelJn, and 
Mounet-Sully — the first two niy friends of Üie Conservatoire 
and the latter of the Od&n. Among the women, Marie Uojd 
and Sophie Croi7*tte, Ijoth friends of niy chüdhood ; the dis>^ 
agreeable Jonassain, who was nice only to ine ; and the adorafale' 
Marie Brohau, whose kindness delighted the soul, whose wit 
chartaed tbe iniud, and whose indiSerence rebufied devotion. 

M. Perrin dedded that I shonld niake my d^but m Madc- 
vwlseüe de Belle- 1 sie, a^covAmg to Sarcey's wish. 

The rehearsals began in Üxe^oycr, which troubied me \ery 
much. MUe. Brohan was to pLay the part of the Marqnise 
de Prie. At this time she was so fat aa to he ahiiost unsightly, 
while 1 was so thin that the coinposers of populär and cotnic 
ventcs took my nieagre proportions aa thcir theme and the 
cartooiiists as a subject for their albums, 

It wa« therefore inipossible fiir the Duc de Richel: 
iniHtake the Marquise de Prie (Madeleine Brohan) for Modi 
moiaellc de Belie-Isle (Sarah Bernhardt) in the irreverent noo 
tumal readezvous given by the Marquise to the Duc, who 
thinks he enibraces the ehaate Madcmoiselle de Belle-Iale. 

At each rehearsal Bressant, who took the part of the Duc de 
Richelieu, wguld stop, saying, " No, it is too ridiculouij. 1 must 
play tlic Duc de Hichelieu witli both iny arma c-ut off! " And 
Madeleine left the rehearsal to go to the director's i-ooi 
Order to try and get rid of the rök. 

UTiis was exactly what Ferrin wanted ; he had froni 
i^arlieitt nioment thought of Croizette, but he wanted to have 
his band forced for private and underhand reasons which he 
knew and which othera gncssed. 

At last the change took place, and the serious rehearsals 
oommenced, 

Tbcn the first pei'foruiance was announced für November 6 
(I87S). 

I have always sufiered, and still suffer, terribly from »tage 
Ught, espeeitUly whcn I know that much is expccted of me, 
knew a long tiue belbrehand that every : 



4 



th^l 



SARAH BERNHARD 

house had been booked ; I koewthat the Press expected a gicat 
success, and that Perrin liiinself was reckonisg od a long wtks 
of big receipts. 

Alas ! cdl these hopes and predJctions went for notbing, and 
my re-dibut at the Com^ie Fran^aJse was only roodoately 
successfuL 

The following is an extract from Übe Tempa of November 11, 
1872. It was, «ritten by Francisque Sarcey, with whom I was 
not then acquainted, but who vas following my carecr witfa 
very great interest. " It was a very brilliant assembly, as thi* 
dilnä had attracted all tlieatre-Iovers. The fact in, beside the 
special merit of Mlle. Sarah Bernhardt, a whole crowd of tnie 
or false stories had been circulated about her personally, and all 
this had excited the curiosity of the Parisian public Her 
appearaiice was a disappointnient She had by her costunw 
exaggerated in a most ostentatious way a slendemess whli^ 
is el^ant under the veils and ample drapery of the Grecian 
and Koman heroines, but which is objectionable in modern 
dress. Then, too, either powdor does not suit her, or stage 
fright had made her terribly pale. The eRect of this long 
white face emerging from a long black sheath was oertainly 
unpleasant [I looked like an ant], particularly as the eyes 
had lost their brilliancy and all that relieved the face were the 
sparkling white teeth. She went through the first three act» 
with a convulsive tremor, and we only recognised the Sarah of 
Ruy Blas by two couplets which she gave in her encbEinting 
voice with the niost wondcrful grace, hut in all the niore 
powerfnl passages she was a failure. I doubt whether MUe. 
Sarah Bernhardt will ever, with her delicious voice, be able to 
render those deep thrilliiig notes, expressive of paroxysms of 
violent passion, which are capable of carrying away an audience. 
If only nature had endowed her with this gift she wonid be a 
perfect artiste, and there are none such on the stage, Rouscd 
by the coldness of her public, Mlle, Sarah Bernhardt was 
entirely herseif in the fifth act, ITiis was certainly our Sarah 
once more, the Sarah of Äwy Blas, whom we had admired ko 
much at the Odeon. . . ." 

As Sarcey said, I innde a completc fatlure of my dibut, My 
excuse, though, was not the " st«ge fright " to which he attri- 
buted it, but the terrible anxiety I feit on seeing my inotber 



AT THE FRANCAISE AGAIN 247 

hurriedly leave her aeat in the dress ciicle five minoies after my 
appearaooe on the stage. 

I had glanoed at her on entering, and had noticed her death- 
Hke pallor. When she went oat I feit that she was about to 
haTe one of thoBe attacks which endangered her lue, so that the 
fint act seemed to me interminable. I uttered one wcMid after 
anotber, stammering through my sentences hap-hazard, with 
ooly one idea in my head, a longing to know what had hap- 
pened. Oh, the public cannot conoeive of the tortures enduied 
hy the unfortunate comedians who are there before them in flesh 
aiid Uood on the stage, gesticulating and uttering pbrases, 
wfafle their heart, all tom with anguish, is with the beloved 
absent one who is suffering. As a rule, one can fling away 
the worries and anxieties of every-day life, put off one^s own 
Personality for a few bours, take on another, and, forgetting 
eveiything eise, enter as it were into another life. But that is 
impo6sible when our dear ones are suffering. Anxiety then lays 
hold of US, attenuating the bright side, magnifying the dark, 
maddening our brain, which is living two lives at onoe, and 
tormentiug our heart, which is beating as though it would 
Dimt. 

Tliefle were the sensations I experienced during the first act. 

•* Mamma ! What has happened to Mamma ?"" were my first 
words on leaving the stage. No one could teil me anything. 

Croizette came up to me and said, " Whafs the matter ? 
I hardly recognise you as you are, and you werenH yourself at 
all just now in the play."*^ 

In a few words I told her what I had seen and all that I had 
feit. Frederic Feb\Te sent at once to get news, and the doctor 
came hurrying to me. 

^' Your mother had a fainting fit, Mademoiselle,'*" he said, 
" but they have just taken her home.'" 

** It was her heart, wasn't it ? "" I asked, looking at him. 

** Yes," he replied ; " Madame^s heart is in a very agitated 
State."" 

** Oh, I know how ill she is,^ I said, and not being able to 
control myself any longer, I burst into sobs. Croizette hclped 
me back to my dressing-room. She was very kind ; we had 
known each other from childhood, and were very fond of each 
other. Notbing ever estranged us, iu spite of all the malicious 




218 SARAH BERNHARDT 

gossip of envious people and all the little misezies due to , 
vanity. 

My dear Madame Gu^rard took a cab and hurried away to my 
mother to get news for me. I put a little more powder un, but 
the public, not knowing what was taking place, were aoDoyed 
with me, thinking I was guilty of some fre&h caprice, and 
received me still more coldly than before. It waa all the same 
to me, as I was tliinking of sometlÜDg eise. I nent on saying 
Mlle. de Belle-Isle's words (a most stupid aud tiresomc t6U:\ but 
all the timc I, Sarah, was waiting for news about my mother. 
I was watching for the returo of man petU Dame. " Open the 
door on the O.P. side just a little way,*^ 1 had said to her, "and 
make a sign like this if Mamma is better, and like that if she is 
worsc." But I hod forgotten which of the eigns was to stand for 
better, and when, at the end of the third otA I saw Madame 
Guerard opening the door and nodding her head for ** ya^ I 
bccame quite idiotic. 

It was in the big scene of the third act, when Mlle. de Belle- 
Isle reproaches the Duc de Richelieu (Bressaut) with doing her 
such irreparable härm. The Duc replies, " Why did you not 
say that some one was listening, tbat some oue was hidden ? " 
I ezclaimed, " It's Guerard bringing me news ! " The public 
bad not tinie to understand, for Bressaut went on quickly, and so 
saved the Situation. 

Afler an unenthusiastic call I heard that my mother was 
better, but that she had had a very serious attack. Poor 
mamma, she had thought rae such a fright when I made my 
appearance on the stage that her süperb indifference bad given 
way to grievoua astonishment, and that in its tum to r^e on 
heaiing a lady seated ncar her say in a jeering tone, " Why, 
shes like a dried bone, this little Bemhai-dt ! " 

I was greatly relieved on gettiiig the ne»-s, and I played ny ' 
last act with confidence. The great success of the evening, 
tbough, was Croizette's, who was charming as the Marquise de 
Prie. My success, nevertheless, was assured in the pcrformances 
which foUowed, and it became so marked that I uas accused 
of paying for applause. I laughed lieartily at this, and never 
even contradicted the report, as I have u horror of uselew 
words, 

I ncxt appeared as Junie in Britannkiis, with Mounet-Sully, 





AT THE F R A N r A I S E A G A I N 2*9 

•rbo played admirsbly as Nero. In thiä delidous rok of Junie 
I obtAined an immense and incredible success. 

Then in 1873 I played Cht-rubin in Le Afariage de Figaro. 
Cruizeitc plnyed Susanne, and it was a real treat for the public 
to lee that delightful creature play a part so füll of gaicty and 

dULflR. 

Cbüiibin was for me the opportunity of a fresh success. 

la Üie montb of March 187^ Perrin took it into bis head to 
■tage DalUa, by Octave Feuillet. I was then talting the part of 
yoUDg girls, joung princcsses, or boys, My sligbt fiume. my 
pale läce. my delicate aspect marked me out for tbe time being 
Ibr Um röle of victim. Perrin, wbo thought that the victims 
«ttncted pity, and that it was for this reason I pleased my 
aodKnce«, awt tlie play niost ridiculously : he gave me the rök 
of Dahla, the awarthy, wicked, and ferocjous princeäs, and to 
Sophie Croizette lie gave the röU of the fair young dying girL 

Tbe piece, »itb thiü stränge cast, was destined to fail. I 
Ibrcnd my cbaracter in order to appear the baiighty and 
roiuptuou» siren ; I stufied my bodtce with wadding and Üie hips 
ander my skiris with borsc-bair ; but I kcpt my small, thin, sor- 
fOvrlVl] taix. Croizette was obliged to reprcss tbe advantnges of 
bcT bmt by bonds wbitrh oppressed and sußbcat«:^ her, but ahe 
k^ her prctty plump face with ita dimples. 

I WBM obligtKl to put on a strong voicc, sbe to soften hers. 
lo liurt, it was absurd. Tbe picce was a drmi-aucccs. 

After that I created VJhsent, h prctty piece in vente, by 
Eugeue Manuel : Chez rAvocat, a very amming thing in verse, 
Igf Paol Ferner, iu whioh Coquelin and I ijuarrelled beautifuUy. 
Then, OD Augu>!t 22, I played witb immense success tho röle of 
Asdrovnaque. I fiball ncver foi^t the (irst performance, iti whicb 
Mounct'Sully obtained a delirious triuniph. Oh, how fine he 
va», Mounet-Sully, in his röle of Orestes ! His cntrance, hin fury. 
hia madiKH, and tbe plastic beauty of this niarvellous ortiste — 
Itcnr itwgaific«nt '. 

After Andromaqw I plnyed Aricie in PhMre, and in thb 
«nmdary r6U it wa.H I who really inade tbe success of the cvcning- 

I took such H ponition in a very short tirae at the Com^e 
that tonui of the artintat begaii to feel uoeasy, and tbe manage- 
ment «harcd tbcir anxiety. M. Perriit, au extremely intelligent 
wbom I have always remembcred with great afiection, was 



■^SARAH BERNHARDT 

hoiribly authoritative. I was alao, so tbat there was alvravs 
perpetual warfare between us. He wanted to impose his will on 
nie, and I would not submit to it. He was always ready tu 
laugh at my outbursts when they were agaimt the others, but 
he was furious when they were directed feinst biniself. A» for 
nie, I will own that to get Petrin in a Jury was onc of my 
delights. He stammered so when he tried to talk quickly, he 
who weighed every word on ordinarj ocxasions ; the espreHiun 
of bis eycs, whlch was geiierally wavcriug, grew irritated ud 
deceitfui, and his pale, d istin guished-looki Dg face bccame notded 
with patcbes of wine-dieg colour. 

His fury niade bim takc bis bat oft' and put it oti again 6fteai 
times in as niany niinutes, and bis extremely smooth balr Btood 
on end with this mad gallop of his head-gear. Altbough I hid 
certainly arrived at the age of discretion, I delight^d in mj 
wicked niiachicvousnesa, whicb I always regretted alter, but whkJi 
I was always ready to recommeuoe ; and even now, öfter all the 
days, weeks, months, and yeara that I have lived since tbai,tt 
still gives me infinite pleasure to play a joke on any one. 

All the saine, life at tbe Comedie begaii to affect niy aen^a. 

I wanted to play Camille in O» ne hadhit /rna avec PoMmri 
Ute röle was given to Croizette. I wauted to play Cdimöw: 
that röle was Croizette's. Pcrrin was veiy partial to Cnüzette. 
He admired her, and a-s she was very auibitious, she was most 
tliougbtful and docilc, whicb channed the autlioritative old maa. 
She always obtained cverything she waiit«d, and as Sc^lhie 
Croizette was frank and straight for ward, sbe uften said to tue 
wben I was grumbling, " Do as I do ; be nioic yielding. You po» 
your time in rebelling; I appear to be doiiig everj-tbinj^ that 
Perrin want^ me to do, but in realtty I make bim do all I «raot 
hira to. Try the same thing." I accordingly screwed up my 
oourage and went up to *ee Perrin, He nearly always sud to 
me when we met, " Ah, Iiow do you do, Madeinoiselle Reroltf 
Are you calm to-day ? " 

" Yes, very calm," I rcplied ; *' but be amiable and gnmt ok 
what I am going to ask you.'^ I tried to be {.-barming, and spoke 
in my prettiest way. He alitiuitt purred witb satisfaction, aod 
was witty (this was no efTort to bim, as be was natumlly ao\ «od 
we got on very well togcther for a »juarter of an bour. I thtn 
made my petition : 



bi 



md 



AT THE FRANCAISE AGAIN 251 

^ Lei me play Camille in Onne badine pas avec Famour.'" 
** Hiatus impooible, my dear child,"^ he replied ; ^^ Croizette is 
pkjring it" 
''Well then, well boih play it ; we^ll take it in tums.** 
^ Bat Bilademoiselle Croizette wouldn^t like that.*" 
^ Fre spoken to her about it, and she would not mind it.*" 
** Yoa ougfat not to have spoken to her about it.^ 
••Whynot?"» 

^ Becanae the management does the casting, not the artistes.*^ 
He didnH purr any more, he only growled. As for me, I was 
in a fiiiy, and a few minutes later I went out of the room, bang- 
ii^ the door after me. 

AU this preyed on my mind, though, and I used to cry all 
mfjbL, I then decided to take a studio and devote myself to 
•colptuie. Ab I was not able to use my intelligence and my 
cnetj^in creating rolesat thetheatre,as I wished, I gave myself 
ap to another art, and began working at sculpture with 
finmtic enthosiasm. I soon made great progress, and started on 
an enormous composition, Aßer the Storni. I was indifferent 
now to the theatre. Every moming at eight my horse was 
htoog h t round, and I went for a ride, and at ten I was back in 
ay studio, 11 Boulevard de Clichy. I was very delicate, and 
ny health suffercd from the double effbrt I was making. I used 
to Tomit blood in the most alarming way, and for hours together 
I was onconscious. I never went to the Comedie except when 
oUiged by my duties there. My friends were seriously concemed 
tbout me, and Pcrrin was informcd of what was going on. 
Fhially, incited by the Press and the Department of Finc Arts, 
he decided to give me a role to crcate in Octave Feuillet\s play 

TTie principal part was for (Croizette, but on hearing the play 
read I thought the part destined for nie charming, and I rcsolved 
that it should also be the principal rolc. Thcre would have to be 
two principal ones, that was all. The rchearsals went along 
▼ery smoothly at the start, but it soon becamc evident that my 
T6le was more important than hnd becn iniagine<i, and frictiou 
1000 began. 

Croixette herseif got nervous, Perrin was annoye<], and all 
this by-play had the eflect of calming me. Octave Feuillet, a 
ihrewd, chamiing man, extrcmely well-bred and slightly ironical, 



SARAH BERNHARDT 

tborouglily eiijoyed thc skirniishes that took place. War was 
doomed to break out, howcver, and the first bostUiU«s came 
froin Sophie Croizette. 

I always worc in my bodice tbree or fuur roses, wliit-b were tgX ta 
open under the influeiice of thc warmth, and some of Üw petaU 
naturally feil. One day Sophie Croizette slipjM.-d down fiill 
length on tlie »tage, and as shc was toll and not sUiii, siu: feil rmiitet 
unbecomingly,and got up again ungracefully. The stifled bnq^tcr 
of some of the subordinate persons present stung her to ihe qoick, 
and turning to nie she said, " It's your fault ; yoiir rxtwt fiJl 
and make every one aüp down." I began to laugb. 

"Tbree petäls of uiy roses have fallen," I ropUcd, "aadUitR 
they all tbree are by the ann-ehair ou the prompt .tidr-, lUid Jfon 
fei] on the O.P. side. It isn't my fault, therefore : it is jost jwm 
own awkwardness." The discussion continued, aiKi was imtbtf 
heated on both tiides. Two dans were foniicd. the *' CroUcttiit** 
and the " Bembardtists." War was declaivd, not betwt.'eti Sophie 

(and nie, but between our respective adniirers and detnctorv 
Tbe nnnour of these littie quarrcla spread in tbe woritl oubätk 
the theatre, and tbe public too began to form clana. Croiaettt 
had on her side all the bankers and all tJie peuple who *tn 
suffering from repletion, I had all the artists. the 8tIMlcnt^ 
dying folks, and the failures. ^Vhen unce war waa deduit) 
there was no drawing back from the atrife. Thc ürsl, tbe nixt 
fierce, and the definitive battle was fought over tlie »wan. 

We bad begun thc füll di-css iflicarsals. In the tbild icl 
the scene was laid in a forest glade. In tlie iniddlc of the riagc 
was a buge rock npon which was Blanche (Croizette) iämiaf 
Savigny (Delaunay), who was bupposed tu be niy bmbwd. 
I I (Berthe de Savigny) had to arrive by a littlt bridge uwr a 

stream uf water. Ilie glade wasbatbed in luoonligbt. Clviictte 
had juist played her part, and her kiss bad becii grcetcd vitil a 
burst uf applause. 'i'hiis was ratber daring in tlinse dftjft Ibr 
the Comedie Fran^aiäe. (But since tben wbat bavc thejaot 
given there ?) 

Suddeidy a. fresh burst of applause was heai-d- Amatr- 
tncnt could be read on some fac'cs, and Perrin stood up tcrrifi«!. 
I was Crossing over tbe bridge, niy pale face ravaged »iüi grieC. 
and the noiiK de bal which was intcnded t« cover my ahooldtn 
was dragging aloug, just hdd by my linip äugen; mj uw 

k J 



AT THE FRANCAISE AGAIN 253 

were hanging down aa though dcspair had takeii Üie use out of 
them. I was butlied in the white light of the uioon, and the 
.effect, it seem.s, was striking and deeply impressive. A nasal, 
aggressive voice t-ried out, " One moon effect is enough. Tum 
it oiF for Madenioisclle Bernhardt." 

I sprang forward to the front of the stage. " Excuse nie, 
Monsieur Perrin," I cxciaimed, " you have no right to take my 
moon ftway. The manuscript reads, Berthe advances, paü, 
tonvuUed with etnotion, the rays of the mooji falling on her. . . 
I am pale and I am convulsed. I must Iiave my moon." 

" It 18 impossible," roared Perrin. " Mademoiselle Croizette's 
words : ' You love me, then ! ' and her kiss must have thia moon- 
light. She is playing the Sphinx; that i» the chief part in the 
play, and we must leave her the principal effect." 

" Very well, then ; give Croizette a brilliant moon, and give 
me a less brilliant one. I don't mind that, bot I must have my 
moon." All the artistes and all the eTitployh of the theatre put 
their heads in at all the doorways and openings both on the 
ttage and in the house itself. The " Croizettists " and the 
"BemliardtisLj" began to comment oti the discussion. 

Octave Feuillct was appcaled to, and he got up in his tum. 

" I grant that Mademoiselle Croizette is very beautiful in her 
moon effect. Mademoiselle Sarah Bernhardt is ideal too, with her 
isy of moonlight. I want the moon therefore for both of them." 
I Perrin could not control his anger. There was a discussion 
between the author and the director, foUowed by others between 
Ihe artistes, and between the door-keeper and the joumalists 
who were questioning him. I'he rehearsal was inteirupted. I 
declnrett that I would not play the part if I did not have my 
moon. For the next two days I received no notice of aiiother 
Tebeontal, but through Croizette I heard that they were tryiiig 
my nJif of Berthe privately. They had given it to a young 
»Oman whom we had nicknamed " the Crocodile," because she 
JoUowed all the rehearsals just as that animal follows boats — 
^e was always hopiiig to snatch up some roU that niight happen 
tu be thrown overboard, Octave Feuillet refiised to aceept the 
«hange of artistes, and he came himself to fetch me, aocompanied 
by Udaunay, who had negotiated matters. 

' " haiids : " there will be a 



rbothof 



l my li 



you. 




i4 SARAH BERNHARDT 

The fintt night was a triuniph both Tor Croizette and (o 
me. 

The party strife between the two clans waxed warmer and 
wamier, and this added to our success and amused ms both 
immensely, for Croizette was always a delightful ßiend and > 
loyal conirade. She worked for her own ends, but never igaiit 
auy one elsa 

After Le Sphirtx I played a pretty piece in one act hy 
young pupil of the Ecole Polytechnique, Louis DenayroD^ 
I,a Beile Paule. This anthor has now becomc « reoo' 
scientific man, and has renounced poetry. 

I had begged Perrin to give nie a month's holiday, but he xtSoA 
energetirally, and coinpelled me to take pari in the reheaiMls 
Zaire during the trying nionths of June and July, and, in ^rite 
of my reluctance, announced the first perfomiance for Augoit 6> 
That year it was fearfUlly hot in Paris. I believe that Petröi 
who could not tarne nie alive, had, without really any W 
Intention, but by pure autocracy, the desire to tarne me deaiL 
Doctor Parrot went to aee hiin, and told hini that uij state 
weakness was such that it would be positively dangerous for IM 
to act during the trying heat. Perrin would hear nothing of 
Theo, furious at the ohstinacy of this intellectual bmtrguili 
I swore I would play on to the death. 

Often, when I was a child, I wished to kill myself io ordtf td 
vex others. I remember once having drunk the Contents ofl 
large ink-pot afler being conipelled by manima to swallow 
" panade," ' because she imagined that panades were good fiK 
the health. Our nurse had told her my distike to this fonn flt 
nourishment, adding tliat every moming I emptied the ponadc 
into the slop-pail. I bad, of course, a very bad stomach-«^ 
and screamed out in pain, I cried to matnma, " It is you «ho 
have killed me ! " and niy poor mother wept. She never knew 
the truth, but they never again niade me swallow anytiiii^ 
against my will. 

Well, after so many years I experienced the aame tntterawl 
childish sentiment. " I don't care,'^ I said ; " I shall certainly 
fall senseless voniiting blood, and perhaps I shall die ! And Jt 
will serve Perrin right. He will be furious ! " Yes, that i» »W 



AT THE FRANCAISE AGAIN 255 

I thought. I am at times very fnoliah. Why ? I dont know 
how to expLain it, but I admit it.. 

The Öth of August, therefore, I played, in tropica! heat, liie 
part of Zaire, The entire aiidience was bathed in Perspiration. 
I 9«w the spectators through a mist. The piece, badly ataged 
aa regarda scenery, but very well presented as regaids coatunie, 
was particularly well pläyed by Mounet-Sully (Orosmane), 
Laroche (N^restan), and myself (Zaire), and obtained an 
immense success. 

I was determined to faint, determined to vomit blood, deter- 
mined todie, in order toenrage Perrin. I played with theutmoat 
psuion. I had sobbed, I bad loved, I had suiTered, and I had been 
stabbed by the poignard of Orosmane, uttering a true cry of 
sufTering, for I had feit the steel penetrate my breast, Then, 
Falltug panting, dying, on the Oriental divan, I liad meant to die 
in reality, and dared scarcely move myarnis, convinced aa I was 
that I wai in my dcath agony, and somewhat afraid, I rauat 
admit, at having succeeded in playing such a nasty trick on 
Perrin. But mysurprisewasgreatwhen thecurtain feil at the close 
of the piece and I got up quickly to answer to the call and bow 
to the audience without languor, without fainting, feeling atrong 
enough to go through my part again if it had been neceasary. 

And I marked this Performance with a little white stone — for 
tliat day I leamed that my vital force was at the sei-vice of my 
intellectuftl force. I had desired to foUow the impulse of my 
brain. whose eonceptions seemed to nie to he too forcefiil for my 
phy>ical strength to caiTy out. And I found myaelf, after 
having giveii out all of which I was capable — and more — in 
perfect equilibriuni, 

'Dien I saw the possibility of the longed-for future. 

I had fancied, and up to this performance of Zdhr I had 
alwaya heard and read in the papers that my voice was pretty, 
but weak ; that my gestiires were gracious, but vague; that fny 
supple movcments lacked authority, and that my glance loet 
in heavenward contemptation could not tarne the wild beasts 
(the audience). I thought tbcn of all that 

I had received proof that I could rely on my physical 
atrcogth, for I had commenced the performance of ZoiVr in such 
a siMle of weakness that it was eaay to predict that I should not 
finiah the first act without fainting. 




H BERNHARDT 



L 



On the otlier haud, although tlie röle was easy, it required 
two or three sbrieks, which migtit Imve provoked tbe vomiÜng 
of blood that frequently troubled mc at that timc, 

That evening, therefore, I acquired the eertainty th«t I owld 
tonnt on the strength of my vocal cords, for 1 had uttcnd mj 
sbrieks witb real rage and suffering, hoping to bnaak »oinethmi;, 
in my wild desire to be revenged on Perrin. 

Tbus tbis little comedy tumcd to my profit. Belog utwUc 
to die at will, I changed my batteries and resolved to be Rtm^. 
vivacious, and active, to the great annoyance of sontc of mr 
fontemporaries, who had only put up with me because thei 
thought I should soon die, bot who begon to bäte ine a» soon w 
they acquired the conviction that I should perhaps live for a 
long tinie. I will only give one example, tvlat«! by AlexwulK 
Dumas ßU, who was present at the death of his intimatc 
friend Charles Narrey, and heard bis dying words : **! am 
content to die because I shall hear uo more of Sarah BernlMUiit 
and of the grand Franyais " (Ferdinand de Lesseps). 

But this revelation of my atrengtb rendcred more paiitfbl to 
me the sort aijumiente to which Petrin condemned nie. 

In fact, afler Zaire, I remained uionthä wjthout doing aar- 
thing of importance, playtng only iiow and again. PMCo Ül Mgtd 
and disgusted with the tbeatre, my passioii for sculptüK b- 
creased. After my moniing ride and a light meal I uaed to riKb 
to my studio, where I remained tili the evening. 

Friends came to see me, sat round me, playcd the pianä^mig; 
poUtics were di&cussed — for in thi.t mode.st studio I reedwd 
the most illustrious nien of all parties. Scveral ladies eane to 
take tea, which was abominable and bodly served, but I SiA 
not care about that. I was absorbed by this admmble ui 
I saw nothing, or, to apeak more truly, I would not see uy- 
thing. 

I was making the bust of an adorable young girt, SfUc 
Emmy de • • *. Her slow and mea-.nred conversation bul ■» 
in6nitc charm. Sbe was a foreigner, but spoke FVench m p«r 
fectiy that I was stupefied. 8he smoked a cigarette «U & 
time, and had a profound disdain for those who did not ttDiler- 
stand her. 

I made the sittings last as long as possible, for I feit thftt ftti 
delicate mind was inibuing me with her science of swing into 



SCULPTURE 



257 



U, and oflen in the serious steps of my Ute I have said 
*' What would Knuiiy bave done ? "Wlint would she 

»mewhat surprised one day by the visit of Adolphe de 
uld, who came to give nie an order for his bust. I 
Bed the work imiiiediately. But I fand not propei'ly 
' I this adniirable man — he had iiothing of tbe testhetic, 
Diitrary. I tried nevertbeless, and I brought all my 
r in Order to succeed in this first order, of which I was 
t, Twice I dashed the hast which I had cammenced oii 
lund, and after a tliird attenipt I definitely gave iip, 
nng idiotic exciises which apparently did not conviiice 
|(d> for he never retunied to nie. When we met in oiir 

Ede« he saluted me with a cold and lather severe bow, 
lis defeat I imdertook the bust of a heautiful child, 
>n, a deiightfal little American, whom later on I came 
D Denmark, married and the niother of a fauiily, but 
jretty «s cver. 

wxt bust was (hat of MIIl-. Hoccjuigny, that admirable 
nio waa keeper of the linen iii the- coRimissariat during 
■nd who had so powerfully helped me and my wounded 

■' undertook the bust of my yoiuig sistcr Regina, who 
R a weak cbeat. A niore perfect face was never made 
und of God ! Two leonine eyes shaded by long, long 
■lahes, a siender iioacwith delieate nostrils, a tiny mouth, 
cbin, and a pearly skin crowned by meehes of sunrays, for 
lever seen hair so blonde and so pale, so bright and so 
But this admirable face was without chajm ; the expres- 
■ bard and the mouth witliout a smile. I tried my best to 
ee this beautifui face in marble, but it needed a great 
id I was only a humble amateur. 
] I exhibited the bust of my little sister, it was five 

ter her death. which occurred afler a six months' ill- 
r false hopes, I had taken her to iny homc, No. 4 

tomc, to the little cnlrcsal which I had inhabitcd 
I terrible fire which had destroyed my funiiture, my 
pictures, and all my scant possessions. This Hat 

! de Rome was very sniull. My bedroom was quite 

c big bamboo bed took up all the room. In fiont of 




258 SARAH BERNHARDT 

the window was my coffin, where I frequently installed mysdf to 
study my parts. Therefore, when I took my sister to my home 
I found it quite natural to sleep every night in this little bed of 
white satin which was to be my last couch, and to put my sister 
in the big bamboo bed, under the laoe hangings. 

She herseif found it quite natural also, for I would not leave 
her at night, and it was impossible to put another bed in the 
little room. Besides, she was accustomed to my coffin. 

One day my manicurist came into the room to do my hands, 
and my sist^ asked her to enter quietly, because I was stau 
asleep. The woman tumed her head, believing that I was askq» 
in the arm-chair, but seeing me in my coffin she rushed away 
bhrieking wildly. From that moment all Paris knew that Islep^ 
in my coffin, and gossip with its thistle-down wings took flight 
in all directions. 

I was so accustomed to the turpitudes which were wiitten 
about me that I did not trouble about this. But at the dfittk 
of my poor little sister a tragi-comic incident happened. Wken 
the undertaker^s men came to the room to take away the bodf 
they found themselves confronted with two coffins, and \oaag bii 
wits, the master of ceremonies sent in haste for a seoond hesnei 
I was at that moment with my mother, who had lost ooDScioQi- 
ness, and I just got back in time to prevent the black-dothed 
men taking away my coffin. The second hearse was sent back, 
but the papers got hold of this incident. I was blamed, 
criticised, &c. 

It really was not my fault. 



XXIII 

A DBSCENT INTO THE ENFBB Du FLOGOFF—HT FIB8T 

AFPBABANCE AS FHIbDBE— THB DECOBATION 

OF MY NEW MANSION 

Afteb the death of my sister I feil seriously iU. I had 
tended her day and night, and this, in addition to the grief I 
ivaa suffeiing, made me anaemic I was ordered to the South for 
two months. I promised to go to Mentone, and I tumed 
immediately towards Brittany, the country of my dreams. 

I had with me my little boy, my stewiuxl and his wife. My 
poor Gu^rard, who had helped me to tend my sister, was in bed 
ill with Phlebitis. I would much have liked to have her with 

Oh, the lovely holiday that we had there ! Thirty-five years 
ago Brittany was wild, inhospitable, but as beautiful — ^perhaps 
more beautiful than at present, for it was not furrowed with 
roads ; its green slopes were not dotted with small white villas ; 
its inhabitants — ^the men — were not dressed in the abominable 
modern trousers, and the women did not wear miserable little hats 
with feathers. No ! The Bretons proudly displayed their well- 
shaped legs in gaiters or rough stockings, their feet shod with 
budded shoes; their long hair was brought down on the temples, 
hiding any awkward ears and giving to the face a nobility which 
the modern style does not admit of. The women, with their 
short skirts, which showed their slender ankles in black stock- 
ings, and with their small heads under the wings of the head- 
dress, resembled sea-guUs. I am not speaking, of course, of the 
inhabitants of Pont T^bbe or of Bourg de Batz, who have 
entirely difTerent aspects. 

I visited nearly the whole of Brittany, but made my chief stay 
at Finistere. The Pointe du Raz enchantwl me. I remained 



260 SARAH BERNHARDT 

twelve (iays at Audienie, in the house of Father Batifoule, < 
was so big and so Tat tbat they had been obliged to cut a p 
out of tbe table to let in bis immense abdomen. I set out e 
moming at ten oVIock. My steward Claude himself preparaJ 
luncb, which he packed up very cai-efully in three little bv 
then climbing into the comical vehiclc of Father Batifouk 
little boy driving, we set out for the Baie des Tnrpasses. 
that beautiful and mysterious shore, all briatling «"ith P 
The lighthou.se keeper would be looking out for nie, and ' 
t-ome to meet nie. Claude gavc him my provisions, with a 
sand recommeudations as to the manner of cooking the 
warming up the lentüs, and toa.^ting the bread. He carri 
everything, then retumed with two old sticks in which h 
stuck iiails to make them into picks, and we commeno 
terrifj-ing asceiit of the Pointe du Raz, a kind of lab 
füll of disagreeable surprises, of crevasses across which ' 
to jump over the gaping and roaring abyss, of archt 
tunnels thriiugh which we had to crawl on all fours,ha«r 
head — touching Us even — a rock which liad fallen tl 
unknown ages and was only held in equih'brium by 
inexplicable cause. Then all at once the path bec* 
narrow tbat it was impossible to walk straight forwai 
had to tum and put our backs against the cliff and 
with both arms spread out and fiugers holding od to I 
asperities of the rock, 

When I think of wbat I did in those raoments, I trem' 
t have always been, and still am, subject to dizziness: 
went OTer tbis path along a steep precipitous rock, 30 
high, in the midst of the infernal noise of the sea, at tU 
etemally furious, and which laged fearfuUy agaiust l 
destructible clilT. And I must have taken a mad pleasm 
for I ftccomplisbed this jouniey five times in eleven days. 

After this challenge thrown down to reason we des 
and inütalied ourselves in the Baie des Trepassea, Aftei 
we had luncb, and I pajnted tili sunset 

The first day there wa^ nobody there. ITic second dsy l! 
thüd came to look at ils. The third day about ten rhihboi 
stood around aaking for suus. I was foolish enough to gi\-e tbea 
some,and the foUowing day there werc twentyorthirtyboys,Mm 
of them from sixteeu to eighteen years old. Seeing neor mj maI' 



J 



THE ENFER DU PLOGOFF 261 

hing not particularly agreeable, I begged one of them to 

it away and throw it into the sea, and for that I gave, I 

fifty Centimes. When I came back the following day to 

my paintuig the whole population of the neighbouring 

had chosen this place to relieve their corporal necessities, 

m 80on as I arrived the same boys, but m increased 

98, ofiered, if properly paid, to take away what they had 



id the ugly band routed by Claude and the lighthouae 
.% and as they took to throwing stones at us, I pointed my 
t the little group. They fled howling. Only two boys, of six 
en years of age, remained there. We did not take any 

ot them, and I installed myself a little farther on, 
red by a rock which kept the wind away. The two boys 
0d* Claude and the keeper Lucas were on the look out to 
«t the band did not come back. 
j were stooping down over the extreme point of the rock 

was above our heads. They seemed peaoeful, when 
iljr my young maid jumped up : ^ Horrors ! Madame ! 

% ! They are throwing lice down on us ! ^ And in hct 

little good-for-nothings had been for the last hour 
Qg for all the vermin they could find on themselves, and 

g it on US. 

1 the two little beggars c^Cught, and they got a well- 
1 oorrection. 

3 was a crevasse which was caUed the ^^Enfer du 

^ I had a wild desire to go down this crevasse, but the 

1 dissuaded me, constantly giving as objections the 

of slipping, and his fear of responsibility in case of 

. I persisted nevertheless in my intention, and after a 

d promises, in addition to a certificate to testify that, 

itanding the supplications of the guardian and the 

/ of the danger Üiat I ran, I had persisted all the same, 

w.., after having made a small present of ten louis to the 

good feU(jW, I obtained facilities for descending the Enfer du 

Flogoff— -that is to say, a wide belt to which a strong rope was 

ÜMtrnpd, I buckled this belt round my waist, which was then 

to deiider — 48 centimetres — that it was necessary to make 

additional holes in order to fasten it. 

Then the guardian put on each of my hands a wooden tboe 



Sarah Bernhardt 

the sole of which was bordered with big nails juUing oiil t«i 
centimetres. I stared at lliese wooden shoes, and asked for an 
explanation before putting theoi on. 

" Well," Said the guardian Lucas, " when I let you down, u 
you are no fatter than a herring bone, you will get shakn 
about in the crevasse, and will risk brcaking your bones, viak 
if you have the ' sabots " on your hands you can protect your- 
self against the walls by putting out your aro]» to the right and 
the left, according as you are shaken up against thein, I doDOt 
say that you will not have a feiv bangs, but that ts your omi 
fault ; you will go. Now listen, my little lady. When you an 
at the bottoni, on the rock in the middle, mind you don't itip, 
for that is the niost dangerous of all ; if you fall in the water I 
will pull the rope, for sure, but I don't answer for anyÜiii^ 
In that cursed whirlpool of water you might be caugbt betmn 
two stones, aiid it would be no use for me to pull: I diOiiU 
break the rope, and that would be all." 

Then the man grew pale and made the sign of the crtm ; be 
leaned towards me, murmuring in a dreamy voice, " It ia tiie 
shipivrecked ones who are there under the stones, down fboe. 
It is they who dance in the moonlight on the ' shorc of ÜK 
dead.' It is they who put the shppery sea-weed on Ü« 
little rock down there, in order to make travellers slip, and thoi 
they drag theni to the bottoni of the sea." Then,looking mein 
the eyes, he said, " Will you go down all the same ? " 

"Yes, certainly, Pere Lucas ; I will go down at once," 

My little boy was building forts and Castles on the sand with 
F^icie. Only Claude was with me. He did not say a word, 
knowing my unbridied desire to meet danger. He looked to «e 
if the belt was properly fastened, and a.sked my permission to tie 
the tongue of the belt to the belt itself ; then he pas:sed a strong 
cord several tinies around to strengtheu the leather, and I was let 
down, suspended by the rope in the blackness of the crevasae, I 
extended my arms to the right and the left, bs the guardiui bid 
told me to do, and even then I got my elbows scraped. At flnt 
I thought that the noise I heard was the reverberation of He 
echo of the blows of the wooden shoes againi^t the et^es of ihe 
crevasse, but suddenly a frightfid din filled my ears : succesäve 
firingB of cannons, strident ringings, crackings af a wfatp^ 
plaintive howls, and repeated monotonous criea as of a 



^ ^ 




THE ENFER DU PLOGOFF 268 

hundrcd fishennen diawing np a nct fillcd witli fish, sen-weed, 
and pebbles. All the noises mingled under the inad violence of 
the wind. I became fiiriotis with myself, for 1 was really afraid. 

ITic Iower I went, the louder the howlings bccanie in my ears 
and my brain, and my heort beat the order of retreat, l'he 
wind wept through the naiTow tuniiel and blew in all directioDS 
round my legs, niy body, my neck. A horrible fear took poB- 
aession of ine. 

I descended alowly, and at each little »hock I feit that the 
four hands holding me above had come to n knot. I tried to 
remeniber the nuniber of knotti, for it seemed to me that I was 
making no progress. 

ITien I opened my moiith to caU out, " Draw me up ! " but 
the wind, which danccd in mad folly around me, filied my niouth 
and drove back the word», I was nearly suffocated. Then I 
»but my eyes and ceased to struggle, I would not everi put out 
my arms. A few instants after I pulled up my legs in unspeak- 
able terror. The sea had jast seized them in a brutal enibntce 
which had wet me through. However, I recovered courage, for 
now I could sce clearly. I stretched out my legs, and found myself 
upright on the little rock. It is tme it was very slipjjery. 

I took hold of a large ring fised in the vault which overhmig 
the rock, and I lookcd i-ound. The long and narrow crevas»e 
grfw Huddenly wider nt its base, and terminated in a large grotto 
which looked out over the open sea ; but the eiitrance of this 
grotto was protected by a (juantily of both large and small 
mck.-<, which could he »een for a dixtance of a league in tront 
im the surface of tlie water — which explains the terribie noise of 
the sea dashing into the labynnth mid the possibility of stand- 
ing upright on a stone, a» the Bretons say, with the wild dancc 
of the waves all around. 

However, I saw very plainly that a folse step might be fatal 
in the brutal whirl of waters, which caine rushiiig in (Vom afar 
with (liTxy spt-fed and broke against the in surmoun table ohstacle, 
snd in reccding dasbed against other waves which foUowed them. 
From this caiwe proceeded the pt-rpetual fusillade of waters 
which rushed into the crevasse withoLit danger of drowning me. 

It now begaii to grow dark, and I exporienced a fearful angui^h 
in discovering ou the crc§t of a Httle rock two enormous eyes, 
which luoked Hxcdly ut nie. Then h little fiu'ther, near a tuft of 




t 



2ß4 SARAH BERNHARD 

»eaweed, two iiiore of tliesc lixetl eyes. I üaw nc» Imdy to Uit?i<' 
beings — nothing biit tlie eyes. I tliought for r iiiinuie lliat I 
was loKing my senscs, and I bit niy tonguc tili tlie blo«! cainc ; 
tlien I pnlletl viulently at tho n>[>c', ns I hail agreeil to do in 
Order to give the signol for bcing drawn np, I feit the treiubliug 
joyof the fourfaandspulling ine, and uiy fct-t lost tlicirliul<] «s I 
was hauied up by my guardians. The eye» were lifttd up alao, 
uneasy at st^ciiig nie depai't. And while I inaunted tliruugb Uli: 
air I saw notbiiig but eyes everywhere — eyes thniwiiig out lang 
feelers to reaeh me. 

I had nevcr !>een an octoptis, and I did not evea know of ÜH 
existence of thesc borrible beasts. 

During the a.<ieent, vrhich ayipeared to me intcmiinable, 
I iinagined I saw theKe bca^t« along the wtdU, and my teeth 
were chattering when I was drawn out od to the green biUodi. 

I imniediately told the guardian the cause of uiy terror, UmI 
he crossed himself, saying, "Tliose are the eyes of the ship- 
wrecked ones. No one must stay tliere ! " 

I knew very well that they were not the eye« of shipwrocked 
ones, but I did not know wbat tiiey were. For I thought 1 had 
Seen some stiunge beasts that no one had ever seen beforc. 

It was only at the hotel with Pere Batifoul^ tliat I ietoA 
about the octopus. 

Only five more days' holiday were left to me, and 1 ptimti 
them at the Pointe du Raz, seated in a niche of rock vrbid) bu 
becn since nained " Sarah Bernhardt' s Arm-chojr." Maiiy touriib 
have 5at there since. 

After my holiday I retumed to Paria. But I waa «tili vary 
weak, and coidd only take up my work towards the month of 
November. I ptayed all the pieces of my rtpcrtoirc, and I «w 
annoyed at not haHng any new roU-x. 

One day Perrin canie to see rae in my sculptor's studio. He 
began to talk at first about my busta ; he told me thst I (Night 
to do his niedallion, and asked me incidentally if I knew tbc 
röle of Phedre, 1.1p to that tinie I had only played Ariele, and 
the part of PhMre seemed formidable to nie. I had, howenr, 
studied it für my own plea-ture. 

" Yes, I know tlie rote of PhWre. But I think if ever I luuJ 
to play it I sliould die of fright." 

He Uugheti with his silly little Inugh, and »lid to me. squeei- 



J 



»PEARANCE AS I' H E D K K M^ 

id (for he wa« very gRiInnt), " Work it iip. I think 
will play it" 
eight days after I was called to the tiiaiiager's oflice, 
md P«Tiii told nie thnt he Itad aimoiinced Phtdre for De- 
fcoibtr Sl, the /<<*<; of Racine, wjth Mlle. Sarah Bemhatdt in 
^ pmi of Pht-dre. I thought I should have fallen. 

Well, but what abmit Mademoiselle Uoiuweil ?" I aaked. 

Madenioiselle UousNeil uantN the ctimiiiittee tu promise Üiat 

aball bccoine a Soci^taire in the month af ■Tanuary, and the 

Bommittec, uhich will without douht apjjoint her, refuses to 

:e tbis promi.HC, and declares that her demand is like a threat. 

Bot perhapk Maden loi seile Rousseil will change her plans, and 

that ca»e you will play Ariele and 1 will change the bill," 

Coming out from Perrin's I ran up against AI, Regnier. 

I told him of niy conversatiun with the manager and of my 

Mo, no," s&id the great artttite to me, " you must not be 
Rfraid ! 1 *cc very well what you arc going to make of this rMe. 
fiut all JOH have to do is to be careful and not force your voioe. 
the r6le rather niure sorrowful than furious — it will be 
lietter for every one, cven Racine." 

Tben, joining my hands, I said, *' Dcar Monsieur Hegiiicr, 
WIp nie to work up Phitdrc, and I shall not be so much alraid ! " 
Ht! lookcd at me rather surprised, for in general I was neither 
docile [ior apt to be guidc-d by adviee. I own that I was u-rong. 
but I could not hclp it. But the responsibility which this put 
Bpon me inade me timid. Regnier acceptcd, and made an 
■ppointDient with me für the following inoming at nine o'clock. 
RtMcli« Roiuseil peminti-d in her deiiiand to the comniittee, 
■od Phidre was bllled for Deccmber Sl, with Mlle. Sarah 
Bemliardt for the first tinic in the rvte of Phedre. 

This caufied nuite a Sensation in the artistic world and in 
ibratrical cirelcw. That evening over twu hundred pcoplc were 
tamed away at the box office. Whcn I was informed of the 
Wt I bcgan to trcmblu a. gootl deal. 

Bluter comfortcd nie as best he could. saying, "Courage! 
Checr up! Are you not the spoilvd dnrling of the public? 
Tb^will takc into connideration your incxpencncc in impf>rtant 
bi£Bg {KTts," &c. 

llioe wer« tiie Wt words he should liave MÜd to me. I 




SARAH BERNHARI 

should Imve feit strongor it' I had knowii tiiat the public w 
come to oppose and not to encournjue me, 

I began to cry bitterly likc n child. Pcrrin was cnlled, aixl 
consoled me as well as he coiold ; thcn he made me laugh by 
putting powder on my face so awkivardly that I was blinded and 
sufTocated. 

Everybody on the stage knew about it, and stood at the door 
of mydressing-room wishing to comfort me. Mounet-Sully, who 
was playiiig Hippolyte, told me that he had dreamed 
playing Pheilre, and you were htsscd ; and my dreams alwayi« go 
by contraries — so," he t-ried, " we shall have a tremendous 



But wbat put me completely in a goud humoui- was the arrivil 
of the worthy Martel, who was plajing Theraraene, and who had 
come so quickly, believing me to be ill, that he had not had time 
to finish his noae. "nie sight of this grey face, with a »ide bar 
of red wax comniencing between the two eyebrows, Coming down 
to half a centimetre below his nose and leaving behind it the end 
of the nose with two large black nosh-ils — this face was in- 
describable! And everybody laughed irrepressibly. I knc* 
that Martel made up his nose, for I had already seen this poor 
nose change shape at the second Performance of Zaire, under the 
tropical depression of the atmosphere, but I had never realisal 
how much he lengthened it. This comical apparition restored 
all mygaiety.and from thenceforth I was in füll poitsessioo of 
my faculties. 

The evening was one long triumph for me. And the Press 
was unaniraous in praise, with the exceptiou of the article of 
Paul de St. Victor, who was on very good tenns with a sister of 
Kachel, and could not get over " my impertinent presumptiou in 
daring to mcasure myself with the great dcad artiBte." Tliesc 
are his own words addressed to Girardin, who immediately com- 
municated them to mc. How mistaken he was, poor St, Victor! 
I had never seen Rachel, but I worshipped her talent, for I hwl 
surrounded myself with lier most devoted admirers, and thcy littb 
thought of comparing me with their idol, 

A few days after thia performance of PhHre the new pneBdf 
Bornier was read to us — La Fiüe de Roland. The part of Berib 
was cotitided to me, and we immediately began the reheanaliaf 
thia fine piece, the verses of which were nevertheless a little fiit 




APPEARANCE AS PHfiDRE 267 

thoagh the pluv rang with patriotisni. There was in one act a 
tenible duel, not secn l»y the public, but related by Berthe, the 
dwBghter of Roland, while the mcidents happened under the eyes 
of the unhappy girl, who frmn a window of the Castle followed 
in anguish the fortunes of the encounter. This scene was the 
only iinportant one of my much-Hacrificed rök. 

The pUy waa ready to be peifomied, when Bomier asked that 
hia friend Emile Augier might attend the dresa rehearsal. 
niien this rehearsal was o^er Perrin came to me ; he had an 
wffectionate and constrained air. As to Bomier, he canie straight 
to me in a decided and quarrelsome manner. Emile Augier fol- 

Icnrcd him. " Well " he said to me. I looked straight at 

him. fcciing at the monient that he was my eneiiiy. He stopped 
dwrt and scratchcd his head, then tumed towards Augier and 

*• I beg you, eher mailrt, expUin to Madenioiselle yourself." 

Emile Augier was a broad man, with wide Shoulders and a 
nRnmon nppcarance, and was at that time rather stout. He was 
in *ery good rcpute at the l'heätre Franii-ais, of whicb he was 
■t tltat epoch the successful author. He came near me. 

•• You maiuigcd the part at the window vory well, Modemoiselle, 
bot it ü> ridiculous ; it is not your fault, but that of the author, 
«bo haa writtcn n moxt improbable scene. The public would 
langfa iiiiniodemtely. This scene must be taken out." 

I lumed towards Perrin, who was listening silently. " Are 
jrcMi of the same opinion, sir ? " 

"I talked it over a short time ago with these gentlemen, but 
the autbor is master to do as he pleases with his work." 

Tbcn, «ddressing myself to Bomier, I said, "Weil, my dear 
■otbor, what have you decided ? " 

Utile Bomier looked at big Emile Augier. There was in tlüa 
bnwediing and piteoux glance an expression of sorrow at having 
lo eat oot a scene which he prized, and of fear at vcxing an 
AadeniiciaD just at the time when he was hoping to become a 
nember of the Academy. 

** Cut it out, cut it uut — or you are done for ! " brutally replied 
Augier, and bc tunicd his bock. Ilieti poor Bomier, who 
raanblrd a Breton gnoinv, came up to me. He acratched 
knalf desperately, for the unfortunate man sufiered from n 
ifiltRMing xkin diaease. He did not «peak. Ik- lookc-d at i 



268 



SARAH BERNHARDT 



searchingly. Foignant anxicty was expressed on his face. PeiriD, 
who had ooine up to me, guessed the privtite littlc di-ama wbicb 
was taking place in the licart of the mild Boniier. 

"Refiwe energetically," murmured Ferrin to me, 

I undci-stood, and declared firmly to Boniier tbat if thts scene 
were cut out I should refuse the part, Then Bornier aÖMi 
both iny hands, wbich he kissed ardently, and nmaing up to 
Allgier hc csclainied, with couiic ernphasis : 

" But I cannot cut it ont — I canuot cut it out ! She will not 
play ! And the day after to-niorrow the play i« to be per- 
formed.^ Then, as Emile Augier made a gesturc aiid wauld 
bave spoken : " No ! No ! To put back tiiy plAy eight iU]f> 
would be to kill it! I cannot cut it out! Oh, luon Dieul' 
And he cried and gesticulated witb bis two long turms, aad be 
stampcd with his short legs. His large hairj' head went hm 
right to left. He was at the same time fuiuiy and pitJaUt 
Emile Augier was irritated, oud tumed oa me bkc m. hontid 
boar on a pursuing dog: 

"Will you take the responsibility, Mademoiselle, of tbe 
absurd window scene on the fii-st performancef " 

" Certainly, Monsieur ; and 1 even proniise to make of Uli* 
scene, which I find very beautiful, an enormous success ! " 

He shrugged his Shoulders rudely, muttering »oinvtliing 
very disagreeable between his teeth. 

Wheii I left the theatre 1 fouiid poor Bomier quit« transfiguml 
He thaiiked nie a thousand times, for he tbought very bi^ily of 
thiß scene, and he dared not thwart Emile Augier. Both Pnrin 
and myself had divinetl the legitimate emotions of thü paar 
poet, so gentle and so well bred, but a trifle Jesuitical. 

The play was an immense success, But the window soena OD 
the first night was a veritablc triumph. 

It was a short time after the terrible war of 1870- Tbe p||J 
contained frequent allusions to it, and owing to the patriotka 
of the public made an evcn greater success than it desezredMi 
play. I sent for Emile Augier. He came to my dnadag- 
room with a surly air, and said to me from the door : 

" So much tbe worse for the public ! It oiily provcs tlwl 
tbe public is idiotic to inake a success of auch vileneal' 
And he disappeared without having even cntered my dressiog- 



MY NEW MANSION 2 

S outburst niode nie Uugh, asd as the triumphaiit Bornier | 
bad pmbnw-ed me repeatedly, I scmUrhed myself all over. 

Two months later I played Gabrielle, by this saine Augier, J 
ftnd I had incessant quan-els with Iiim. I fuund thc verses of j 
this play execrable. Coquelin, who tuok the part of my 
hwiband, made a great success. As for me, I was as mediucre | 
SS the play itself, which is saying a great deal. 

I had been appointed a Socictairc in the moiith of Jaiiuary, 
and since tben it seemcd to mc that I was in prison, for I had 
undertakeD an engagetnpnt »ot to leave the House of MoHere 
for mtuiy yeara. This idea made me »ad. It was at Peirln h 
iiistigation that I had asked to become a Societaire, and now I 
r^rett«(l it very much. 

During all tbe latter part of the year I only played occasionally. i 

My tirae was then occupied in looking aftcr the biiildJng of a J 
prettylittle mansion which I washaving erected at the (.-omer of 1 
the Avenue de Villiers and the Rue Kortuny, A sister of my 
f^randmother had left me in her will a nice legacy, which I used 
to buy the ground. My great desii-e was to have a house that 
ithould be entirely my own, and I was then realtsing it. Tlie 
nou-in-law of M. Regnier, Felix Eacalier, a fashionable arcbl- | 
tcct, was building me a charmiag place. Nothing aniused 
me more than to go with him in th« niorning over the unfinished 
liouse. Afterwards ] mounted the movabte Ncaffolds. llien 
I wcnt on the roofe. I forgot my wonies of the theatre in this 
new occupation. The thing I must deaired just then was to 
become an architect. When the building was finisb»], the 
interior had to be thoiight of. I spent much tinie in helping 
my paintcr friends who wei-e decorating the ceilings in my bed- 
rooni, in my dining-ixwni, in niy hall : Georges Ciairin ; the 
srdütect Kscalier, who was also a talented paintx^r; Duez, 
PSeard, BatJii, Jadin, and Parrot. I was deeply interested. 
And I recolleet a joke which I play«d on nne uf my relatioiu. 

Myaunt Betjiy had come froni Holland, her native couiitry, 
in Order to spend a few days in Paris. Site was ntaying with niy I 
mother. 1 invited her to lunch in my new iintiniKhed habitatimi. 
Pive of my painter friends were working, some in one room, I 
Mime in another, and everywhere lofty scaffoidiiigs were «rected. 
Id Order to be able to climb the ladder» more easily I was 
Jgg^ig my sculptor's costunie. My aunt, soeiug me thiu i 



270 SARAH BERNHARDT 

amyed, was h<xrribly shocked, and told me so. But I was pre- 
paring yet another surprise for her. She thought tfaese yonng 
workers were ordinaiy house-painters, and considered I was too 
ÜEimiliar with them. But she nearly fainted when midday Game 
and I rushed to the piano to play ^' The Complaint of die 
Hungiy Stomachs.^ This wild melody had been improTised bjr 
the group of painters, but levised and corrected by poet frieods. 
Here it is : 

Oh I Peintres de la Dsm' jolie, 
De voe pinoeaox airötes la f olle I 
n fani desoendr' des eeoabeanx, 
YouB nettoyer et tous faire trte beaox I 

Digae. dingue, donne 1 

L*heare sonne. 

Digne, dingue, di . . . 

Cest midi I 



Sur les grils et dans les eaas'roles 
Sautent le veau, et les oeufB et les soles. 
Le bon yin ronge et l'Saint-Marceaoz 
Feront gaiment galoper nos pinoeaux 1 

Digue, dingne, donne I 

L'heure sonne. 

Digue, dingue, di . . • 

G'est midi I 



Voici vos peintreSf Dam' jolie 

Qu! vont pour vous d6biter lear folie. 

IIb ont tous lich6 Tescabeau 

Sont frais, sont flers, sont propres et trfes beaox ! 

Digue, dingue, donne 

L'heure sonne 

Digue, dingue, di . . . 

C'est midi. 

When the song was finished I went into my bedroom and m^ 
myself into a bette dame for lunch. 

My aunt had followed me. "But, my dear,^ said she, "yo« 
are mad to think I am going to eat with all these workmeii' 
Certainly in all Paris there is no one but yourself who would do 
such a thing.''^ 

" No, no, Aunt ; it is all right." 

And I dragged her ofF, when I was di-esscd, to the dining- 
room, which was the most habitable room of Üie house. Five 



MY NEW MANSION 271 

tng men solemnly bowed to my aunt, who did not recognise, 
m at fint, for they had chan^ged their working dothes and 
ked like five nice young soriety iswells. Madame Guäwrd 
ched with us. Suddenly in the middle of lunch my aunt 
id out, ^ But these are Üie workmen ! ^ The five young men 
eand bowed low. Then my poor aunt understood her mistake 
1 excuaed henelf in every possible manner, so confuaed was 



XXIV 

ALEXANDBE DÜMA&-.L'ETRANOiRB— MY SCÜLPTUBE 

AT THE SALON 

One day Alexandre Dumas, junior, was announoed. He came 
to bring me the good news that he had finished his play for the 
Comedie Fran9aise, VEirangh-e^ and that my nöfc, the Docbesse 
de Septmonts, had come out very welL '* You can,** he said to 
me, ^^ make a fine success out of it.^ I expressed my gratitade 
to him. 

A month after this visit we were requested to attend the 
reading of this piece at the Comedie. 

The reading was a great success, and I was delighted with my 
Tole^ Catherine de Septmonts. I also liked therdfe of Croiiettei 
Mrs. Clarkson. ? 

Gut gave US each copies of cur parts, and thinking that bc 
had made a mistake, I passed on to Croizette the ro/r of 
TEtraiigere which he had just given me, sajring to her, "Here, 
Got has made a mistake — ^here is your role^ 

" But he is not making any mistake. It is I who am to pUy 
the Duchesse de Septmonts."" 

I burst out into iiTcpressible laughter, which surprised eveiy- 
bbdy present, and when Perrin, aimoyed, asked me at whoin I 
was laughing like that, I exclaimed : 

" At all of you — ^you, Dumas, Got, Croizette, and all of you 
who are in the plot, and who are all a little afraid of the result 
of your cowardice. Well, you need not alarm yourselves. I 
was delighted to play the Duchesse de Septmonts, but I shall be 
ten times more delighted to play TEti^angere. And this time, 
my dear Sophie, Fll be quits with you ; no ceremony, I teil you; 
for you havc played nie a little trick which was quite unwoitiiy 
of our friendühip ! *' 



ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



278 



'ITie rehearsals were stramed on all sidcs. Perrin, who was a 
warm partisan of Croizette, bewailed the want of suppleiiess of 
her talent, so niucb so that one day Croizette, losing all patience, 
burst out : 

" Welt, Monsieur, you should bave lefl the röU to Sarah ; 
she woulc] have played it with the voice you wish in the love 
Ecenes : 1 cannot do aiiy better. You irritate me too much : I 
have Lad eiiough of it !" And she ran ofF, sobbing, into the 
little gvignol, where she had bd attock of hysteria. 

I followed ber and consoied her aä well as 1 could. And in 
the roidst of her tears she kissed me, murmuring, " It is trtie, It 
in they who instigated nie to play thia nasty trick, and now they 
are annoying me." Croizette used vulgär expressions, very vulg&r 
ones, and at times uttered many a Gallic joke. 

Tbftt day we made up our quarrel entirely. 

A week before the first Performance I received an anonymous 
Ictber infonning me tbat Perrin was trying bis very best to get 
Dumas to change tbe name of the play. He wished — it goes 
witbout saying — to have the pieve called La Duckesse de 
Septmonia. 

I rushed off to the theatre to find Perrin at once. 

At the entrance door I met Coquelin, who was plajing the 
part of tbe Duc de Septnionts, wbich he did man'ellously well. 
I tbowed bim tbe letter. He sbrugged bis Shoulders. " It is 
infamous ! But why do you take any notice of an anonymous 
letter ? It is not worthy of you ! " 

\Ve wei-e talking at the foot of the staircase when the mansger 
«rived. 

" Herc, sbow tbe letter to Perrin ! " And he took it from my 
hands m Order to sbow it to bim. Perrin blusbed slightly. 

" I know this writing," be aaid. " Some one from the theatre 
bas writt«n tbis letter." 

I snatcbed it back from bim. " Then it is some one who is 
wdl infonned, and what he says is perhaps truc. Is it not so ? 
Teil me. I have the rigbt to know." 

" Idetest anonymous letters. " And be went up the stairs, 
bowing slightly, but without saying anytbing further. 

" Ah, if it is true," said Coquelin, " it is too much. Would 
you like me to go and see Dumas, aod I will get to knaw at 



274 



SARAH BERNHARDT 



" No, thank you. But you have put an idea into iny hctd- 
I'U go there.^ And shaking hands with him, I went off to tn 
the younger Dumas. He was just going out. 

" Well, well ? What is the matter ? Your eyra »re 
blazing! '" 

I went with bim into the drawing-room and osked my quet- 
tion at once. He had kept bis hat on, and took it off to r«cova 
his self-posseasion. And beforc be could spcak a word I got 
furiously angry ; I feil into one of those rages whicb I Bometimt« 
bave, and whicb ave more like attacks of madness. Aod in fad, 
all that I feit of bitterness towards tbis man, towards Perm, 
towards all tbis theatrical world that sbould bave loved me and 
upbeld me, but wbicb betrayed me on every occasion — all the 
hot angerthat I badbeenaccuinulatingduringtherebearsals,the 
cries of revolt against tbe perpetual injustice of these two men. 
Perrin and Dumas — I burst out with everything in an avahmdit 
of stinging words wbicb were both furious and sincer& I 
reminded him of his promise made in former days ; of his nat 
to my hotel in tbe Avenue de Villiers; of the cowardly aod 
underhand manner in which he had sacrificed me, at Petrin'i 
request and on the wishea of tbe friends of Sophie; 1 
spoke vehemently, witbout allowing bim to edge in a sn^ 
word. And wben, wom out, I was forced to stop, I murtDORdt 
out of breatb with fatigue, "Wbat — what — wb&t bave ytn 
to say for yourself ? " 

"My dear child," be replied, mucb toucbed, "if I iti 
ezamined my own conscience I sbould bave said to myselT aD 
that you bave just said to me so eloquently ! But I can tmly 
say, in order to eicuse myself a little, that I really believed that 
you did not c&re at aÜ about tbe stage ; that you much 
prcfetred your sculpture, your painting, and your court. We 
bave seldom talked together, and people led me to beliew 
all that I was perbaps too ready to believe. Your grief Mid 
anger have toucbed me deeply. I give you my word tbat 
the play shall keep its title of L'Etrangire, Aud now embiue 
me with good grace, to show that you are no longer angiy 
with me." 

I embraced bim, and irom that day we were good firienda. 

That evening I told tbe wbole tale to Croizette, and I »« 
that she kaew notbing about this wicked scheme. I was voy 



L'ETRANGERE 275 

pkued to know that. The play was very successfuL Coquelin, 
Pebvre, and I carried off the laureis of the day. 

I had just commenced in my studio in the Avenue de CUchy 
i large groap, the inspiration for which I had gathered fix>m the 
ad histoiy of an old woman whom I often saw at nightfall in 
ht Baie des Tr^pass^ 

One day I went up to her, wishing to speak to her, but I was 
D terrified by her aspect of madness that I rushed off at once, 
md the guaidian told me her history. 

She was the mother of five sons, ijl sailors. Two had been 
dlkd by the Germans in 1870, and three had been drowned. 
9ie had brought up the little son of her youngest boy, always 
ceqnng him &r firom the sea and teaching him to hate the 
•atcr. Sbe had never left the little lad, but he became so sad 
tfaat he was really ill, and he said he was dying because he 
tnited to see the sea. ^ Well, make haste and get well,"" said 
ihe gmndmother tenderly, ^ and we will go to see it together.*" 

Two days later the child was better, and the grandmother left 
the Valley in the Company of her little grandson to go and see 
liie ocean, the grave of her three sons. 

It was a November day ; a low sky hung over the ocean, 
WROwing the horizon. Tlie child jumped with joy. He ran, 
junboUed, and sang for happiness when he saw all this living 
irater. 

The grandmother sat on the sand, and hid her tearful eyes in 
ler two trembling hands ; then suddenly, Struck by the silence, 
he looked up in terror. There in front of her she saw a boat 
bifking, and in the boat her boy, her little lad of eight years 
)ld, who was laughing right merrily, paddling as well as he could 
vith one oar that he could hardly hold, and crying out, ^^ I am 
jpnng to see what there is behind the mist, and I will come 
bMk." 

He never came back. And the following day they found the 
poor old woman talking low to the waves which came and 
^alhed her feet. She came every day to the water^s edge, 
throwing in the bread which kind folks gave her, and sayiug to 
iie waves, " You must carry that to the little lad.'' 

This touching narrative had remained in my memory. I can 
tili see the tall old woman, with her brown cape and hood. 

I worked feverishiy at this group. It seemed to me now that I 



276 SARAH BERNHARDT 

was deslined to bp a sculptor, aod I began to despise the sUgc- 
I only went to the theatre when I was compelled by my datiea, 
and I left as soon as possible. 

I had made several designs, Done of whicb pleased me. Just 
wben I was going to throw down the Last one in discountgcnent, 
the painter Georges Clairin, who came in just at that tnonwot 
to see me, begged me not to do so. And my good fiienct 
Mathieu Meusnier, who was a man of talent, also added hi< 
voice against the destruction ofmydesign. 

Excited by their encouragement, I decided to hurry on vitli tbe 
work and to make a large group. I asked Meusnier jf be kne« 
any tall, bony old woman, and he sent me two, neitber of wboiv 
suited nie. Then I asked all my painter and sculptor friendt, 
and dui'ing eight days all sorta of old and inflrm women came 
for my inspection. I fised at last on a charwoman wbo <nu 
about sixty years old. She was very tall, and had veiy sharp- 
cut features. AVhen shc came in I feit a slight sentixacot a( 
fear. The idea of remaining alone with this female gemäarnt 
for hours together made me feel uneasy. ßut when I beani lier 
speak I was more comfortable. Her timid, gentte Toice vkI 
frightened gestures, Itke a shy young girl, contrasted strangelt 
with the build of the poor woman. A¥hen 1 showed her tbe doH^ 
she was stupefied. " Do you want me to have my nedc ud 
Shoulders bare F I really cannot." 1 told her that nobody 
ever came in when I worked, and I asked to see her necl 
immediately. 

Oh, that neck ! I clapped my hands with joy when I ttw ü 
It was long, emaciated, tenible. Tbe bones literallj As^ 
out almost bare of 6esh ; the sterno-cleido-mastoid »1» 
remarkable — it was just what I wanted. I went up to hvind 
gently bared her Shoulder, What a treasure I had fbond! 
The Shoulder bone was visible under the skin, and she had two 
immense " salt-cellars " ! The woman was ideal for my woii. 
She seemed destined for it. She blushed when I told her sa I 
Bäked to see her feet, She took off her thick boots and ihowed 
a dirty foot whicb had no character. "No," I said, "tbcnk 
you. Your feet are too small ; I will take only your head aod 
Shoulders." 

After having fixed the price I engaged her for thr«e motitha 
At the idea of eaming so much money for three months the poor 



SCULPTURE AT THE SALON 277 

voman began to cry, and I feit so sorry for her that I told her 
she would not have to seek for work that winter, bet^use she 
had already told me that she generally spent sjx nionths of the 
year in the country, in Sologne, near her grandchildi-en. 
Havjng foimd the graiidraother, I now needed the cbild. 
I passed a review of a whole army of professional Italiaii 
modeis. There were some lovely chiJdren, real little Jupins. 
The mothers undressed their fhildren in a second, and the 
ehildren posed quite naturally and took attitudes which showed 
off their museles and the development of the torso. I chose a 
fine little boy of seven years old, but who looked more like nine, 
I had already had in the workmen, who had foUowed out my 
dcsign and put up the scafTolding necessary to make my work 
»ufficiently stable and to support the weight. Enornious iron 
Supports were fixed into the plaster by bolts and pillars of wood 
and iron wherever necessary. 'ITie skeleton of a large piet-e of 
sculpture looks like a giant trap put up to catch rats and niice 
by the thousand. 

I gave myself up to this enormous work with the courage of 
ignorance. Nothing discouraged me, 

OfUn I worked on tili midiiight, sometimes tili four o'clock in 
the morning. And as one humblc gas-bumer was totally 
insufficient to work by, I had a crown or rather a süver circlet 
made, each bud of which was a candlestick, and each had its 
rändle buming, and those of the back row were a little higher 
than those of the front. And with this help I was able to work 
almost without ceasing. I had no watch or clock in the room, 
as I wiflhed to ignore time altogether, except on the days I had 
to perform at the theatre. 'ITien my maid would come and call 
for me. How many times have I gone without lunch or dinner. 
Then I would perhaps faint, and so be compelled to tiend for 
■ometbing to eat to restore my strength. 

I had almost finished my group, but I had done neither the 
feet nor the bands of tiie grandmother. She was holding her 
little dead grandson on her knces, but her arnis had no hands 
ftnd her leg» haql no feet. I looked in vain for the bandä and 
feet of my ideal, large and bony, One day, when my friend 
Martel came to see mc at my studio and to look at this group, 
whtcb was much talked ot, I had an inupiration. Martel was big, 
■nd thin enough to make Ueatb jealous. I watched hiin walkiug 



J 




2T8 SARAH BERNHARD 

round my work. He was looking at it as a connoisictir. 
I was looking at him, Suddenly I said : 

" My dear Martel, I beg you — I beseecli you — to pose for 
the hands and feet of my grandmother ! " 

He burst out laughing, and with perfectiy good grace he took 
off bis shoes and took the place of iny niodel. 

He came ten days in succession, and gave me three homseadi 
day. 

Tbanka to him, I was able to lini&h my group, I hnä it 
moulded aiid sent to the Salon (1876), where it met with genuine 

Is there any need to say that I was accuscd of having got 
some one eise to make this group for me ? I sent a summon* to 
one critic. He was no other than Jules Claretie, who bai 
declared that thia work, which was very interesting, could DOt 
have been done by nie. Jules Claretie apologised very polttclj, 
and that was the end of it. 

llie Jury, after a fVdl investigation, awarded me in 
" honourable mention," and I was wild with joy. 

I was very much criticised, but also very much [»siaBi 
Nearly all the criticisms referrul to the neck of my old Brctn 
womaii, that neck on which I had worked with such eogcroen. 

The following is from an article by. Renti Delorme : 

" The work <if Mlle. Sarah Bernhardt deserves to be stodied 
in detail. The head of the grandmother, well worked out u to 
the profound wrinkles it bears, expresses that inten»e soriDw in 
which evetythiiig eise counts as nothing. 

" The only reproach I have to make against tliis artist is tlttt 
ehe has brougbt too nmcb into prominence the muscles of tl» 
neck of the old grandmother. This shows a lack of experieoob 
She is pleased with herrüelf for having studied anatomy so well, 
and ia not sorry for the opportunity of showing it. It is," Sec- 
&c. 

Certainly this gentleinan v/as rigbt. I had studied anatomy 
eagerly and in a very ainusing manner. I had bad lessons from 
Doctor Parrot, wbo was so good to uie. I had continually with 
me a book of anatoraical designs, and when I was at home I stood 
before the glass and said stiddenly to inyself, putting my fingcf | 
on Eome part of my body, " Now then, wbat is that ? " I bad U) i 
answer inunediately, without hesitation, and when I besttated I r 



SCULPTURE AT THE SALON 279 

compelled myself to leam by heart the tnuKles of the head or 
the arm, and did not sieep tili this was done. 

A inonth after the exhJbition there was a readJng of Parodi's 
play, Rome Vaincve, at the Come'die Fran^aise. I refused the rölc 
of the young veatal Opimia, which had been allotted to me, and 
energetieally demaiided that of Poathuniia, aii old, bUnd ßoman 
woinan with a supcrb and noble face. 

No doiibt there was aonie connection in my mind between my 
old Breton wecping over her grandson and the august patrician 
claiming forgiveness for her grand-daughter. 

Pcirin was at first astounded. Afterwards he acceded to my 
requcst But his order-Ioving mind and his taste for symmeby 
made him anxious about Mounet-Sully, who was also playing in 
tliB piece. He was accustomed to s«eing Mounet-Sully and me 
playing the two herocs, the two lovers, the two victims. How 
wa» he to arrange matters so that we should still be the two — 
something or othcr ? Eureka ! There was in the play an old 
idiot named Vestaepor, who was quite uiuieccssary for the action 
of the piece, but had been brought in to satisfy Perrin. 
" Eureka ! " cried the director of the Comedie ; " Mounet-Sully 
sball play Vestaepor ! "" Equilibriuni was restored. The god 
of the bouTgvoU was content. 

The piece, which was really qulte mediocre, obtained a great 
success at the first Performance (September 27, 1876), and per- 
■onally I was very succes&ful in the fourth act. 'Ihe public was 
deddedly in my f&vour, in spite of eveiything and everybody. 




HERNANI "— A TRIP IN A BALLOON 



Tue Performances of Hemani made me a still greater faTOurite 
with the public, 

I had already rehearsed with Victor Hugo, and it was a real 
pleasure to me to see tbe great poet almost each day. I had 
never discontinued my visita, but I was never able to have any 
conversation with him in his own house. There were aJways men 
in red ties gesticulating, or women in tears reciting. He wm 
very good ; he used to listen with half-closed eyes, and 1 thoti^t 
he was asleep. Then, roused by the silence, he would say a 
consoling word, for Victor Hugo could not promise witfaout 
kceping his word. He was not like me : I promise ererything 
with the firm intention of keeping my promises, and Iwo 
hours after I have forgotten all about them. If any one reminds 
me of what I have promised, I tear my hair, and to make up 
for my forgetfulness I say anytbing, I buy preseuts — in fact, I 
complicate uiy life with useless worries. It has always been 
thos, and always will be so. 

As was I grumbling one day to Victor Hugo that I never «mld 
have B chance of talking with him, he invited me to lunch, saytng 
thftt after lunch we could talk together alone. I was deligbted 
with this lunch, to which Paul Meurice, the poet I.eon Cladel, 
ilie Communard Dupuis, a Russian lady whose name I do not 
remember, and Gustave Dore were also invited. In firont of 
Victor Hugo sat Madame Drouet, the friend of his unlucky day». 

But what a horrible lunch we had ! It was really bad üd 
badly served. My feet were frozen by the draughts from Ü» 
three doors, which fitted badly, and one could positively htar 
the wind blowing under the table. Near nie was Mr. X-, • 
German socialist, who is to-day a very successful man. This 



"HERNANl" 281 

man had such dirty hands and ate in such a way that he made 
me feel sick. I met him afterwards at Berlin. He is now quite 
dean and proper, and, I believe, an imperialist. But the un- 
comfortable feeling this uncongenial neighbour inspired in me, 
the cold draughts blowing on my feet, mortal boredom — all 
this reduced me to a state of positive suffering, and I lost 
consciousness. 

When I recovered I found myself on a couch, my hand in that 
of Madame Drouet, and in fix>nt of me, sketching me, Gustave 

** Oh, don^t move," he exclaimed ; " you are so pretty like that !" 
These woids, though they were so inappropriate, pleased me 
neverthdess, and I complied with the wish of the great artist, 
who was one of my friends. 

I left the hoQse of Victor Hugo without saying good-bye to 
bim, a trifle ashamed of myself. 

Hie next day he came to see me. I told him some tale to 
aoooont for my illness, and I saw no more of him except at the 
rebeanals of Hemani. 

Hie first Performance of Hemani took place on November 21, 
18T7. It was a triumph alike for the author and the actors. 
Hemani had already been played ten years earlier, but Delaunay, 
who then took the part of Hemani, was the exact contrary of 
what this part should have been. He was neitber epic, romantic, 
Dor poetic. He had not the style of tbose grand epic poems. 
He was charming, graceful, and wore a perpetual smile; of 
middle height, with studied movements, he was ideal in Musset, 
perfect in Emile Augier, charming in M oli^re, but execrable in 
Victor Hugo. 

Bressant, who took the part of Charles Quint, was shockingly 
bad. His amiable and flabby style and bis weak and wandering 
cyes cffectively prevented all grandeur. His two enormous feet, 
gencndly half hidden under his trousers, assimied immense pro- 
portions. I could see nothing eise. They were very large, flat, 
and slightly tumed in at the toes. They were a nightmare ! 
But think of their possessor repeating the admirable couplet of 
Charles Quint to Üie shade of Charlemagne ! It was absurd ! 
The public coughed, wriggled, and showed that they found the 
whole thing painful and ridiculous. 

In our Performance it was Mounet-Sully, in all the 




tax dhi&i 1 



LRAH BERNHARD 

splendour of his talent, wbo played Ilerniuii. And it wu 
Worms, that adnilr&ble artiste, wbo played Charles Quint — and 
bow well he took tbe pari ! How he rolled oiit the Ime» 1 
What a splendid diction he had ! Thia perfonnance of Novem- 
ber 31, 1877, was a triumph. I canie in for a good share in 
tbe general success, I played Dona Sol. Victor Hugo aent in« 
tbe following letter : 

" Madame, — Yon bave been great and cbanning ; you haw 
moved me — me, the old conibatant — and at one mornent, whiU 
the public whom you had enchanted cheered you, 1 w^L 
This tcar which you caused me to shed is yours, aud J" 
myself at your feet. 

« ViCtOB I 

With this letter came a small box containing a fine t 
bmcelet, from which hung one diamond drop. I lost tkii 
bmcelet at tbe hotise of the rieb nabob. Alired Saasoon. He 
wauted to give me another, but I i-efused. He could tiot giTC 
me back the tear of Victor Hugo. 

My auccess at the Comedie was assured, and tbe public 
treated me as a spoiled child. My comrades wer« a little j«ak>Ui 
ofme. 

Perrin made trouble for me at every tum. He had a aort of 
fritaidship for me, but he would not believe that 1 could get on 
without hiiu, and as be alwaya refused to da as 1 wantedi I dkl 
not go to him for anything. I used to send a letter to the 
Ministry, and I alwayx won my cause. 

As I hod a contiaual thirst for what was new, I now tried my 
band at painting. I knew how to draw a little, and had ■ wcU- 
developed sense of colour. I first did two or three small 
pictures, then I undertook the portrait of my dear GuäanL 

Alfred Stevens tbought it was vigorously done, aad Georgea 
Ciairin encouraged me to continue with painting. Theo 1 
launcbed out courageoualy, boldly, I began a picture which 
was nearly two metres in size, The Vouiiff Girl atid Deatk. 

Tben came a cry of indignation against me. 

Why did I want to do anything eise but oct, since tb&t wu 
my career? 

Why did I always want to he before tlie public ? 

Perrin came to see me one day when I was very ill. Ue | 



A TRir IN A BALLOON 288 

to preach. " You are killing y«urself, rny dear child," he 
" Why do you go in for sculpture, painting, &c ? la it to pro' 
tfaat you can do it ? " 

»Uh, no, no," I answered ; " it is merely to create a nece&si' 
;tayitig here," 
I don't understand," said Petrin, listening very altentively. 
'* This is how it is. I have a wild desire to travel, to 
something eise, to breatbe onotber atr, and to see skies that 
higber tban ours and trees that are bigger — sometbing differenl 
in short. I have tberefore had to create for myself sonie tasl 
which will hold me to niy rhaine. If I did not do this, I fe 
tlutt my desire to sce other things in the world would win 
dAy< and 1 should do soniething foolisli." 

This conversation was destined to go against me some yt 
lAter, wheii the Com^die brought a law-suit against me. 
Knie Exhibition of 1878 put the finishing stroke to the state of 
^Ktpcration that Perrin and some of the artistes of the theatre 
fB conceived agaio^t me. They btamed me for everything — 
tot my painting, my sculpture, and my health. I had a tenible 
uxne with Perrin, and it was the last one, for from that time 
torth we did not speak to each other again ; a formal bow was 
^"fc most that we exchanged aflerwards. 

^le chmax was reacbed over my balloon ascension. I adored 
■ I still adore balloons. Every day I went up in M. Giflard^ 
ire baltoon. 'Xliis persistency had Struck the aavant, and h4 
il a mutual friend to introduce bim. 
FOh, Monsieur GiSard,^ I said, " how I should Uke to go up^ 
% balloon that is not captive ! '' 

pWelJ, Mademoiselle, you shall do so if you like," he replied 
f kindly. 

" When ? " I asked. 
" Any day you IJke." 
I should have liked to start immediately, but, as he pointed 

the would have to fit the balloon up, and it was a great 
Kisibility for him to undertake. We tberefore fixed upon 
following Tuesday, just a week from then. I asked 
U. GiSard to say notbing about it, for if tbe newspapers 
should gct hold of this piece of rews my terrified family would 
not allow me to go. M. Tissandier, who a little time öfter was 
Bpmed, poor fellow, to be killed in a balloon accident, promisedj 



SM SARAH BERNHARDT 

ti> BccompuT me. SmuHÜtiDg b^ipcned, I111W1.1U9 to pfcwt 
im going wiüi me^ azid it was yomig Gcidaid who the feDcnviiig 
week Bccompuikd me in the ^ Dona Sol,^ m, be Muüfu I onnge- 
coloured balloan Bpednllj prepcred tar ray expeditiao. Prinoe 
Jenune Napoleon (Flon-Flan), wbo was vith aw wfaen Gifiid 
was introducsecL nmwtBrl an going witli oa^ Bot he was beavj 
and rather dimwv^ and I did not care rnndi aboot hb c oufq» » 

mr 

tion, in spite af bis marveDoos wit, ibr be was spüefol, aoi 
xatber deligbted wben be oonld get a cbance to attack tbe 
Emperor Napolean IIL, wbom I Hked yerj nmcb. 

We started alone^ Geoiges Ckirin, Godaid, and L TIk 
nunour of oor jouraej bad fipread, bot too late fix- tbe IVes 
to get bold of tbe new&. I bad been np in tbe air aboot fire 

minuteswben one of nnr friends, Comte de M »met Perrinon 

tbe Saintf-Peres Bridge. 

** I saT,*^ be bcfian, ^loc^ xip in tbe skj. Tbere is yoor star 
fibooting awaj.'^ 

Perrin gaxed up, and» pointing to tbe ballooo wbicb was rismg, 
be asd^ed« *• Wbo is in tbat ?"" 

^Sarab Bembaitlt^*" repiHed mj fricDd. Perrin, it i^ppesn, 
tomed purple, and, dendiing bis teetb, be munnored, ^lliafs 
another of her freaks, bat she will pay for tbis.*^ 

He hurrit^d awar witbout even saying good-bye to my yomig 
frieiid, wbo stocxi tbere stupefied at this unreasonable burst of 
anger. 

And if he bad suspected my infinite joy at tbus travelling 
through the air, Perrin would bave suffered still more. 

-\h ! cur departure ! It was balf-past fiva I sbook hands 
with a few friends. My family, wbom I bad kept in tbe most 
profound ignorance, was not tbere. I feit my beart tigbten 
somewhat when, afber the words ** Let her go ! "" I found myself 
in about a second some fiftv yards above the earth. I still heard 
a few cries : " Wait ! Come back ! Don't let her be killed I ' 
And then nothing more. Nothing. There was the sky above and 
the earth beneath. Then suddenly I was in the clouds. I bad 
left a misty Paris. I now breathed under a blue sky and saw a 
radiant siin. Around us were opaque mountains of clouds with 
irradiated edges. Our balloon plunged into a milky vapour 
quite warm from the sun. It was splendid ! It was stupefying ! 
Not a sound, not a breath ! But the balloon was scarcely moving 



A TRIP IN A BALLOON 285 

at alL It was only towards six oVrlock that the currents of air 
eaagfat os, and we took our flight towards the east We were 
at AD altitude of about 1700 metres. The spectade became 
£uijlike. LsrgB üeecj clouds were spread below us like a carpet* 
I«ige orange curtains fringed with violet came down from the 
■on to lose themselves in our doudy carpet 

At twenty minutes to seven we were about S500 metres above 
tfae earth, and oold and hunger commenced to make themselves 
feit 

The dinner was copious — we had faie grasj firesh bread, and 
onuiges. The cork of our Champagne bottle flew up into the 
cUnkIs with a pretty, soft noise. We raised our glasses in honour 
of M. Gifiard. 

We had talked a great deal. Night began to put on her heavy 
dark mantle. It became very cold. We were then at S600 
metres, and I had a singing in my ears. My nose began to 
bked. I feit very uncomfortable, and began to get drowsy 
without being able to prevent it. Greorges Ciairin got anxious, 
and young Godard cried out loudly, to wake me up, no doubt : 
** Come, come ! We shall have to go down. Let us throw out 
the guide-rope ! ^ 

This cry woke me up. I wanted to know what a guide-rope 
was. I got up feeling rather stupefied, and in order to rouse 
nie Godard put the guide-rope into my hands. It was a strong 
rope of about ISO metres long, to which were attached at certain 
distances little iron hooks. Ciairin and I let out the rope, 
laughing, while Godard, bending over the side of the car, was 
kwking through a field-glass. 

•* Stop ! ^ he cried suddenly. " There are a lot of trees ! ^ 

We were over the wood of Ferneres. But just in front of us 
there was a little open ground suitablc for our dcscent. 

•* There is no doubt about it,"" cried Godard ; " if we miss this 
piain we shall come down in the dead of night in the wood 
of Ferneres, and that will be very dangerous ! '" Then, tuniing 
to me, ** Will you,*" he said, " open the valve .'' ^ 

I immediately did so, and the gas came out of its prison 
whistling a mocking air. The valve was shut by order of tlic 
aeronaut, and we descended rapidly. Suddenly the stillness of 
the night was broken by the sound of a honi. I trembled. It 
Louis Godard, who had pulled out of bis pocket, which was 




SARAH BERNHARDT 



B veritftble storebouse, a sort of bom on wbidi he Uew «Mt 
violence. A loud wbistle answercd our call, aad 500 Detm 
below US we saw a man who vas sbouting bis hardest to mdhe 
US bear. As we were very dose to a littJe Station, we tuBj 
guessed that this man was the Station -mast er. 

" \Vhere are we ? " cried Louis Godard through bis hörn. 

" At — in — in — ille ! " answered the Station -master. It was ia- 
possible to understand. 

"Wbere are we?" thundered Georges Clairin in bis most tat- 
inidable tones. 

" At — in — in — ille ! " sbouted the Station -master, with iäs hfod 
curved round bis moutb. 

" Where are we ? " cried I in my most crystalline accents. 

"At — in — in — ille!" answered tbe station-master and bii 
porters. 

It was inipossible to get to know anytbing. We had to lOHT 
tbe balloon. At first we descended rather too quickly, and Ab 
wind blew us towards tbe wood. We bad to go up agtin. 
But ten minutes later we opencd the valve again and made i 
fresh deacent. The balloon was then to the rigbt of the statioa, 
and far from tbe amiable Station -master. 

" Tbrow out tbe ancbor ! " cried young Godard in a conunand- 
ing tone. And assisted by Georges Clairin, be threw out ioto 
Space anotber rope, to the end of which was fastened a formidtble 
anchor. The rope was 80 metres long. 

Down below us a crowd of chlldren of all agcs bad beea mii* 
ning ever since we stopped above the Station. Wben we gut to 
about 800 metres from earth Godard called out to them, " Wh« 
are we ? " 

"At Vach^re!" 

None of us knew Voch^re. But we descended nevertbele«. 

" Hullo ! you fellows down tbere, take hold of the rope tlwtV 
drajE^ng," cried tbe aoronaut, " and mind you don^t pull too 
hard '. " Fivc vigorous men setzod hold of the rope We »we 
130 metres from the ground, and the sight was becoming interot- 
ing. Darkness began to blot out cverything. I raised mybeid 
to aee tbe sky, but I reniaincd uith my nioutb open with astootdt- 
ment. I saw only tbe lower end of our balloon, wbich wasow^ 
hanging its base, all loose and baggy. It was very ugly. 

We anchored gently, without the little dragging wbich I bwl 



A TRIP IN A BALLOON 



287 



hopcd would bappeti, and without the little drama which I had 
lialf expected. 

It began to nun in torrents as we left the balloon. 

The young owner of a neighbouring chäteau ran up, like tlie 
peas&ots,to see what was going on. He otfered me bis umbrella. 

" Oh, I am so tbin I cannot get wet. I pass between the 
drops." 

The saying was repeated and had a great success. 

"What time is there a train ?" asked Godard. 

"Oh, you have plenty of time,'' answered an oily and hea*^ 
voice, *' You cannot leave before ten oVlock, as the Station is a 
long way from here, and in such weathcr it will take Madame 
tiro houre to walk there," 

I was confounded, and looked Tor tbe young gentleman with 
tbe umbrella, which I could have used as walking-stick, as 
neitber Clairin nor Godard had one. But just as I was accusing 
bim of going away and leaving us, be jumped lightly out of a 
vebicle which I had not heard drive up. 

"liiere!" said he. "There is a carriage for you and tbese 
genÜemen, and anuther for the body of tlie balloon." 

" Majoi ! You have saved us," said Clairin, clasping bis 
band, " for it appears the roada are in a very bad state." 

" Oh," said the young man, " it would be impoasible for the 
feet of Parisians to walk even half the distance." 

TbeD he bowed and wished us a pleosant joumey. 

Ratber more tbtui an hour later we arrived at the Station of 
Emeraiaville. The atation-master, leaming who we were. re- 
oeived us in a very friendly manner. He inade bis apologies for 
not having heard wben we t-alled out an hour previously from our 
floating vehicle. We had a frugal meal of bread, cheese, and 
eider «et before us. I have always detested cheexe. and would 
Derer eat it : tbereis notbing poeticat about it. ButI wasdying 
with banger. 

"Taite it, taste it," said Georges Clairin, 

I \ni a momel off, and foundit escellent, 

We got back very late, in tbe middle of the night, and I 
found my household in an extreme state of ansiety. Cur friends 
who had come to bear newa of us had stayed. ITitre was quite 
a CTOwd. I was somewbat annoyed at tbis, as I was half dead 
witb fätigu«. 



^1» SARAH BERNHARDT 

I sent everybody away rather sharply. and went up to mjr 
room. As niy maid was hdping me to undress abe told me thlt 
some on« bad come for me from tbe Comedie Fran^ise several 
times. 

" Oh, iDon Dieu ! " I cried anxioualy. " Could the pieoe h>n 
been changed ? " 

*' No, I don't tliiok so,*" said the maid. " But it appesn thil 
Monsieur Perrin is fitrious, and that they are all in a nigaiiith 
you. Here ia the note which was Icft for you." 

I opcned the letter. I was requested to call oo tbe 
the foUowing day at two o'clock. 

On my arrival at Perrin's at the time appointed I «ras 
with exaggerated poHteness which had an undercurrent o( 
severity. 

Then commenced a series of recriminations about my (H* of 
ill-temper, my caprices, my eccentricities ; and he finjsbcd bii 
Speech by saying that I bad incurred a fine of one thouMad 
francs for travelling without the consent of the managcmeDL 

I burst out laughing. " The case of a halloon haa aot beco 
foreseen/ I said ; " and I vow that I will pay no fine. Oataadl 
tlie tbeatre I do as I please, and that is no burioe* of 
yours, my dear Monsieur Perrin, so long as I do notUi^ tv 
interfere with my theatrical werk. And besides, you boi« bhIo 
death — I will resign. Be happy." 

I left him ash&med and anxious, 

The next day I sent in my written resignation to M. Porin. 
and a few hours afterwards I was sent for by M. Toraott, 
Minister of Fine Arts. I rcfiised to go, and tbey sent a motul 
friend, who stated that M. Perrin had gone a step fartlwr tllU 
he bad any right to ; that the fine was annulled, and thit I 
rauat cancel my resignation. So I did. 

But the Situation was strained. My fame had become mttOjf- 
ing for my enemies, and a little trying, I confess, for my tioläk 
But at that time all this stir and noise amused me vaslly, IN 
nothing to attract attention. My somewhat fantastic tastet, 
my palenesa and thinness, my peculiar way of dressing, my 
scom of fashion, my general freedom in all respects, made me 
a being quite apart from all others. I did not rwognise the EkI 

I did not read, I never read, the newspapers. So I did not kno* 
what was said about me, eltber favourable or unfavoonUe. 



» I 



l 

» , 

f 1 * 



i 









■u>. 



rt 






w! 






9 



■.■'S 






A TRIP IN A BALLOON 289 

Surrounded by a court of adorers of both sexes, I lived in a 
9iiimy dream. 

All the royal personages and the notabilities who were the 
guests of France during the Exhibition of 1878 came to see me. 
This was a constant source of pleasure to me. 

The Comddie was the first theatre to which all these illustrious 
visitors went, and Croizette and I played nearly every evening. 
While I was playing Amphjrtrion I feil seriously ill, and was 
sent to the south. 

I remained there two months. I lived at Mentone, but I made 
Cap Martin my headquarters. I had a tent put up here on 
the spot that the Empress Eug^nie afterwards selected for her 
villa. I did not want to see anybody, and I thought that by 
living in a tent so far from the town I should not be troubled 
with visitors. This was a mistake. One day when I was having 
lunch with my little boy I heard the bells of two horses and 
a carriage. The road overhung my tent, which was half hidden 
by the bushes. Suddenly a voice which I knew, but could not 
recognise, cried in the emphatic tone of a herald, ** Does Sarah 
Bernhardt, Societaire of Üie Com^ie Fran^aise, reside here ? ^ 

We did not move. The question was asked again. Again 
the answer was silencc. But we heard the sound of breaking 
branches, the bushes were pushed apart, and at two yards from 
the tent the unwelcome voice recommenced. 

We were discovered. Somewhat annoyed, I came out. I 
saw before me a man with a large titssore cloak on, a field- 
glass strapped on his Shoulders, a grey bowler hat, and a 
red, happy face, with a little pointed beard. I looked at this 
commonplace-looking individual with anything but favour. 
He lifted his hat. 

" Madame Sarah Bernhardt is here ? " 

" What do you want with me, sir ? ^ 

" Here is my card, Madame."" 

I read, " Gambard, Nice, Villa des Palmiers.'*' I looked at 
him with astoni^hment, and he was still more astonished to see 
that his name did not produce any imprcssion on me. He 
had a foreign accent. 

^^ Well, you see, Madame, I came to ask you to seil me your 
group, J/ier ihe Tempest^ 

I began to laugh. 



290 SARAH BERNHARDT 

^ Ma foi, Monsieur, I am treating for that with the firm of 
Süsse, and they offer me 6000 francs. If you will give ten you 
may have it.'* 

" All right,'' he said, " Here are 10,000 francs. Have you 
pen and ink ? ^ 

"No;' 

^^ Ah,^ Said he, ^^ allow me ! ^ And he produced a little case 
in which there were pen and ink« 

I made out the receipt, and gave him an order to take the 
group frx)m my studio in Paris. He went away, and I heard 
the bells of the horses ringing and then dying awa}>^ in the 
distance. After this I was often invited to the house of this 
original person. 



XXVI 

THB COMEDIE FBANCAISB GOES TO LONDON 



/ 



.T after, I came back to Paris, At the theatre they were 
ing for a benefit Performance for Bressant, who was about 
le from the stage. It was agreed that Mounet-Sully and 
d play an act from Othello^ by Jean Aicard. The theatre 
eil fiUed, and the audience in a good humour. After 
»ng I was in bed as Desdemona, when suddenly I 
the public laugh, sofüy at first, and then irrepressibly. 
> had just come in, in the darkness, in his shirt or 
:tle more, with a lantem in his band, and gone to a door 

in some drapery. The public, that impersonal unity 
hesitation in taking part in these unseemly manifesta- 
Nit each member of the audience, taken as a separate 
ual, would be ashamed to admit that he participated in 

But the ridicule thrown on this act by the exaggerated 
lime of the actor prevented the play being staged again, 
was only twenty years later that Othello as an entire play 
^duced at the Theatre Fran<^*ais. I was then no longer 

T having played Berenice in Mühridate successfully, I 
Eured in my role of the Queen in Ruy Blas. The play was 
:essful at the Theatre Fran^^ais as it had been at the 
, and the public was, if anything, still more favourable to 
klounet-Sully played Ruy Blas. He was admirablc in the 
nd infinitely superior to I^fontaine, who had played it at 
ieon. Frederic Fcbvre, very well costumed, rendered his 
1 a most interesting manner, but he was not so good as 
)r, who was the most distingin'shed and the most terrifying 
üluste that could be imagined. 
relations with Perrin were morc and more straiued. 



292 



SARAH BERNHARD!! 



He was ple&sed that I was successM, Tor the sake af UN 
theatre ; he was happy at the magiiificent receipt» of Ru^ | 
but he would have niuch preferred that it hiul been anotba 
than I who received all the applause. My iiidependence, mj 
horror of submissioD, even iii appearaiice, annoj«! him »■aatly. 

One day my servant came to teil me that an elderly Englii^- 
man was asking to see me so insistently that he thoug^t )t 
better to come and teil me, though I had givcn Orders I was not 
to be disturbed. 

" Send him away, and let me work in peace." 

I was just commencing a picture which interested me KiJ 
much. It represented a little girl, on Palm Stmday, canjing 
branches of palm. The httle model who poscd for mc wwb 
lovely Italian of eight years old. Suddenly she said to n»e : 

" He's quarrelling — that Englishman ! " 

As a matter of fact, in the ante-roora there was a noite rf 
voices rising higher and higher. Initated, I rushed out, wj 
palette in my hand, resolved to niake the intnider flee. Birt 
juttt as I opened the door of my studio a tall man came so ckiae 
to me that I drew back, and he canie into the large room. H» 
eyes were clear and piercing, his hair silveiy white, and his faeaid 
carefully trimmed. He made his excuses very politely, adniind 
my paintings, my sculpture, my " hall ^ — and this whilc I «as in 
complete ignorance of his name. When at the end of tcn minata 
I begged bim to ait down and teil nie to wbat I owcd the plcason 
of his Visit, he replied in a stilted voice with a strong accent: 

" I am Mr. Jan-ett, the imprcsario. I can make your foitiBI- 
Will you come to America ? 

" Never ! " I exclaimed firmly. " Never ! " 

" Oh well, don^t get angiy. Here is my addrea— dont 1«« 
it." Then at the moment he took leave he said : 

" Ah ! you are going to Ix>ndon witli the Comt-die Frao^w- 
Would you like to eani a lot-of money in London .■'" 

" Yes. How ? " 

" By piaying in drawing-i-ooniM. I can niake a small fortuite 
for you," 

" Oh, I would be plcased — that ia if I go to I^ndon, for I Xacn 
not yet decided." 

"Then will you sign a little tontract to which we will ndda» 
additional clause '< " 




C0M£DIE GOES TO LONDON 298 

And I signed a ccmtiact with this man, who inspired me with 
oonfidenoe at firat sight — a confidence which he never betrayed. 

The committee and M. Perrin had made an agreement with 
Jcdin HoUingahead, director of the Gaiety Theatre in London. 
Nobody had been consulted, and I thought that was a little too 
free and easy* So when they told me about this agreement, I 
Mid nothing. 

Perrin rather anxiously took me aside : 

** What are you tuming over in your mind ? ^ 

** I am tuming over this : That I will not go to London in a 
ntuation inferior to anybody. For the entire term of my con- 
tiact I intend to be a Soci^taire with one entire shaie in the 
prafita.^ 

Ulis intention irritated the committee considerably. And 
the next day Perrin told me that my proposal was rejected. 

** Well, I shall not go to London. That is all ! Nothing in 
my ocmtract compels me to go.*" 

The committee met again, and Got cried out, " Well, let her 
stay away ! She is a regulär nuisance ! ^^ 

It was therefore decided that I should not go to London* 
Biit Hollingshead and Mayer, his partner, did not see things in 
this li^t, and they declared that the contract would not be 
binding if either Croizette, Mounet-Sully, or I did not go. 

TTie agents, who had bought two hundred thousand francs^ 
worth of tickets beforehand, also rcfiiscd to rcgai^ the afFair as 
binding on them if we did not go. Mayer canie to see nie in 
profound despair, and told me all about it. 

** We sihall have to break our contract with the Comcdic if you 
don'^t come,'' he said, " for the busincss cannot go through." 

Frightcned at the consequences of my bad temper, I ran to 
•ee Perrin, and told him that after the consultation I had just 
had with Mayer I understood the involuntary injury I should 
be causing to the ITieätrc Fran<,ais and to my comradcs, und I 
told him I was ready to go under any conditions. 

TTie committee was holding a meeting. Perrin askcd me to 
wait, and shortly after he came back to me. Croi/^ette and I had 
been appointed Societaircs with one entire share in the profits 
each, not only for London, but for always. 

Everybody had done their duty. Perrin, very nuich touched, 
took both my hands and drew me to him. 



294 



SARAH 



" Oh, the goot) and untainable üttlc creature ! " 

We cmbraccd, and pcacc was aga.in concluded between ib. 
But it could not last long, for five days after this rccunciüalion, 
about nine o'clock in the cvcning. M. Pcniu was aiinounnd al 
niy house. I had soine friends to dinncr, sii I wt-nt to reoi'c 
him in the hall. He held out to inc a paper. 

" Read that," said he. 

And I read in an English newspaper, the Times, this pu»- 
graph: 

DrAWING-SOOM C0lt£DT£S OF MlJ.K. SaKAH BeKHBAUT, 
UNDEB THE MANAUEMENT OV Sm JoUUS BKXKmCT. — ^""11* 

rC-perlmre of Mlle. Sarah Bernhardt is coinpoMxl of comwli», 
provetbs, one-act plays, and monologues, writtcn specialis for 
her and one or two artistes of tbc ConiAlic Fran^aiäe. linse 
comedies arc played without acccssories or scenery, and can bc 
adaptett botb in London and Paris to the matiniea and nwto 
of the best soi'iety. For all detail» and conditions please oon- 
municate witli Mr. Jarrett (seeretary of Mlle. Sarah Bvmbvilt} 
at Her Majesty's Tlieatre." 

Ae I was reading tlie last lines it dawned on mc that Jarrett, 
leaming that I was certainly coining to London, hnd begun to 
advertise nie. I explained this fnuikly to Perrin. 

" Wbat objection is thcre," I said, " to niy makiiig uae <rf mj 
cvenings to eam money ? This busiiiess hns been propooed lo 

" I am not complaining — ifs the committee," 

" That is too bad ! " I cried, and calling for niy aecnteiyi I 
said, " Give me Delaunay's letter that I gave you yesterdfty.* 

He brought it ont of one of bis iiiinieious pockets and gkw it 
to Perrin to read. 

" Would you carc to conie and play Iji NuU d'Oelobrt «l 
Lady Dudley's on Thursday, June 5? We htc ofierecl 5OO0 
francs for us two. Kind regards, — Dklalnav." 

" Let me have this letter," said the inanager, visibly annojtd. 

" No, I will not But you niay toll Dclaunay that I spoke to 
you about his ofier." 

For the next two or three days nothing was talked of in ftri* 
but the scandalous notice in the Time». -The I-Ymch 
tben alniofit entirely Ignorant of tbe halnta and custouis of th* 



COM]gDIE GOES TO LONDON 295 

English. At last all this talk annoyed me^ and I begged Perrin 
to try and stop it, and tbe next day the following appeared 
in the National (May 29): ^^Much Ado about Nothing, — In 
firieiKlly discussion it has been decided that outside tbe rehearsals 
and the Performances of the Comddie Franfaise each artiste is 
free to employ his time as he sees fit. There is therefore 
absolutely no toith at all in the pretended quarrel between the 
Comedie Fran^aise and Mllc. Sflmüi Bernhardt. This artiste has 
only acted strictly within her rights, which nobody attempts to 
limit, and all our artistes intend to benefit in the same manner. 
Hie manager of the Com^e Fran^aise asks only that the artistes 
wbo form this Company do not give Performances in a body." 

This arÜcle came from the Comddie, and the members of the 
oommittee had taken advantage of it to advertise themselves a 
litÜe, announdng that they also were ready to play in drawing- 
Fooms, for the artide was sent to Mayer with a request that it 
shüuld appear in the English papers. It was Mayer himself 
wbo told me this. 

AU disputes being at an end, we commenced our preparations 
for departure. 

I had been but once on the sea when it was decided that the 
artistes of the Comddie Fran^aise should go to London, llie 
determined ignorance of the French with regard to all things 
forcign was much more pronounced in those days than it is at 
present. Therefore I had a very wann cloak niadc, as I had 
been assured that the crossing was icy cold even in the very 
middle of summer, and I believed this. On cvery side I was 
besieged with lozenges for sea-sickness, sedatives for headache, 
tissue paper to put down niy back, littlc comprcss plastcrs to 
put on my diaphragm, and waterproof cork solcs for my shoes, 
for it appeared that above all things I niust not have cold feet. 
Oh, how droU and amusing it all was ! I took everything, paid 
attention to all the recommendations, and believed everything 
I was told. 

Tlie most inconceivable thing of all, though, was the arrival, 
five niinutes before the boat started, of an enormous wooden 
caae. It was very light, and was held by a tall young man, who 
to-day is a most remarkable indi\idual, possessing all Orders 
and honours, a colossal fortune, and the most outrageous vanity. 
At that time he was a timid inventor, young, poor, and sad : he 



296 



SARAH BERNHARDT 



was ulwuys buried in buoks wliich treated of abstract quesUoa», 
whilst of life lie kuew absolutely nothlng. He had a graU 
admiration for me, mingled with a h'ifle of a« e, My little court 
liad sumanicd him " La Quenetle.^ (Ic was long, vaciUating, 
colourlcss, and rcally did rfsemble the tiiiii roll of forwmeat in 
a voUau-vent. 

He came up to see mf, bis face more wtm-looking cTen tiisn 
iisual. The boat was moving a Iittl& My departurt terrifi«d 
him, and ibe wind caused him to plunge from rigbt to left. 
He made a niysterious sign to nie, and I followed him, accom- 
panied by wion pelit Dame, and leaving niy friends, who were 
inclined to be ironical, behind. When I was seated he opeoed 
the case and took out an enorinous life-belt invented by hinuel£ 
I was pcrfectly astoiuided, for I was new to sca voyages, and 
the idea had never even occurred to me that we might be «hip- 
wrecked during one houi-'a crossing. La Quenulle was bjr no 
ineans dJsconcerted, and he put the bcU on himsclf in order to 
show me how it was used, 

NoÜiing could havc looked more fooHsh than this man, with 
his sad, serioiis face, putting on tiiis apporatus. liiere «CR 
a dozen egg-sized bladders round the belt, elevcn of which wtR 
tilled with air and contained a piece of sugar. In the tweUtb) 
a very sniall bladder, were ten drops of brandy. In the mtddle 
of the belt was e. tiny cushion with a few plus on it. 

" You iinderstand," he said to me. *' You fall in the water— 
paft'! — ^you stay like this." Hereupon he pretended to sit down, 
rising and sinking with the movement of the waves, hü two 
hands in front of him laid upon tlie imaginary sea, und his neck 
strctchcd likc that of a tortoise in order to kcep liia head abon 

" You see, you have now been in the water for two hours," hc 
explained, " and you want to get back your strength. Yoa take 
a pin and prick an egg, like this. You take your lump uf 
sugar and eat it ; that is as good as a qiiarter of a pound of 
meat." He then threw the broken bladder overboard, and firoo 
the packing case brought out another, which he faatened to tfac 
life-belt. He had evidently thought of cverythiDg. I wai 
petrified with amazement. A few of my friends had gatberal 
round, hoping for one of La Quenelle's mad fi 
nerer expected anything like this one. 



COM^OIE GOES TO LONDON 297 



Player, one of our imprescnii^ fearing a scandal of 
too absurd a kind, dispen»ed Üie pcoplc who were gathering 
round tu. I did not know whether to be angry er to laugh, 
but the jeering, unjust speech of one of my friends roused my 
fity for this poor Quenelle. I thought oif the hours he had 
spent in planning, combining, and then manufacturing bis ridi- 
cnlous niachine. I was touched by the anxiety and afFection 
whkfa had prompted the invention of this life-saving apparatus, 
and I held out my band to my poor Quenelle, saying, ^^ Be oiF 
now, quickly ; the boat is just going to start.^ 

He kissed the band held out to bim in a friendly way, and 
hmried off. I then called my steward, Claude, and I said, ^^ As 
ioon ms we are out of sight of land, throw that case and all it 
eontains into the sea.^ 

Tlie departure of the boat was accompanicd by shouts of 
•• Hurrah ! Au revoir ! Success ! Good luck ! "" There was a 
waring of hands, handkerchiefs floating in the air, and kisses 
thrown haphazard to every one. 

But what was really finc, and a sight I shall never forget, was 
our landing at Folkestone. There were thousaiids of people 
'there, and it was the first time I had evcr hcard the cry of 
•• VivB Sarah Bernhardt ! " 

I tumed my head and saw beforc mc a pale young man, the 
ideal face of Hamlet. He prescnted me \iith a gardenia. I 
was destined to admire bim later on as Hamlet played by Forbes 
Robertson. We passed on through a crowd offering us flowers 
and shaking hands, and I soon saw that I was more favoured 
than the others. This slightly cmbarrassed me, but I was 
«lelighted all the same. One of my comrados who was just 
near, and with whom I was not a favourite, said to me in a 
spiteful tone : 

** They'^ll make you a carpct of flowers soon."*^ 

** Here is one ! "^ exclaimcd a young man, throwing an armful 
of lilies on the ground in front of me. 

I stopped short, rather confused, not daring to walk on these 
white flowers, but the crowd pressing on tx^hind compellod me 
to advance, and the poor lilies had to l)e trodden under foot. 

** Hip, hip, hurrah! A clieor for Sanih Benihanlt ! "" sliouted 
the turbulent young man. 

His head was above all tho other heads; he had luminous eyes 



298 SARAH BERNHARDT 

I and long hair, and looked like a Gemian student. He was an 

English poet, though, and one of tJie greatest of the ccntiny, 
a poet who was a geoius, but who vaa, aks! later tortured and 
(inally vanquished by madness. It nas Oscar Wilde. 

The crowd rcspondcd to his apptal, and we ivac-hed our tnäa 
I amidst shouts of " Ilip, hip, hurrali for Sarali Bemlianlt! 

Hip, hip, hurrah for the treuch actors! " 

When the traiii atrived at Cliaring Gross toworda nine o'doti 

iwe were nearly an hour late. A fccling of sadncss camc otct 
me. The weather was gloomy, and then, too, I thought we 
should have bcen greetL'd agaiu on our arrival in London «itli 
1 more hurrahs, There were plenty of people, crowds of peopk, 

' but none appeared to know ua. 

On reaching the Station I had noticed that there was a band* 
some carpet laid down, and I tliought it was for iw. Oh, I 
was prepared for anything, as our reception at Folkestoiie had 
turned niy hcad. The carpet, however, had becn laid down for 
their Royal Highnesses the Prince and the Prineess of Wale», 
who had just Icft for Paris. 

This news disappuinted me, and even aniioyed me penonatly. 

I had been told that all London was quivering with excitement 

I at t!ie vei-y idea of the visit of the Coniedie Fran^aise, and I 

I had found London extreniely indifferent. The ci-owd was laige 

and even dense, but cold. 

*' Why liave the Prince and Princesg gone away to-day?*! 
asked M. Mayer. 

" ^Vell, because they hnd decided bcforehand about thia nät 
to Paris,'' he replied. 

"Oh, then they won't be here for our first night?" 1 
continued. 

*' No. The Prince has takeu a box for the season, for whidi hl 
has paid four hundred pounds, but it will be used by tbe Dnki 
of Connaught." 

I was in despair- I dun't know why, but I certainly «is is 

idespair, as I feit that everything was going wrong. 
A footraan led the way to my carriage, and I drove tliroagb 
London with a heavy heart. Everything looked dork and 
dismal, and when I reacbed the house, 77 Che^ter Square, I did 
not want to get out of my carriage. 

The door of the house was wide open, though, and in Üx 



C0M£DIE GOES TO LONDON 299 

fariUiantly lighted hall I could see what looked like all the 
flowers on earth arranged in baskets, bouquets, and huge 
banches. I got out of the carriagc and entered the house in 
which I was to live for the next six weeks. All the branches 
seemed to be stretching out their flowers to me. 

^Have you the cards that came with all these flowers?^ I 
asked my man-seiTant. 

** Ycs," he replied. " I have put them together on a tray. 
AU of them are from Paris, from Madame^s friends there. 
Ulis one is the only bouquet from here.**^ He handed me an 
enonnous one, and on the card with it I read the words, 
•* Welcome ! — ^Henry Irving." 

I went all through the house, and it seemed to me very 
dismal-looking. I visited the garden, but the damp seemed 
to go through me, and my teeth chattered when I came 
in again. That night when I went to sleep my heart was 
heavy with foreboding, as though I were on the eve of some 
misfortune. 

Tlie following day was given up to receiving joumalists. I 
wanted to see them all at the same time, but Mr. Jarrett 
objected to this. That man was a veritable advertising genins. 
I had no idca of it at that time. He had made me some very 
good offers for America, and although I had refused them, I 
nevertheless held a very high opinion of him, on aecount of his 
intelligence, his comic humour, and my need of being piloted 
in this new country. 

** tioy'* he Said ; " if you receive them all together, they will all 
be furious, and you will get some wretched articles. You must 
receive them one after the othcr." 

Thirty-seven journalists came that day, and Jarrett insisted 
on my seeing every one of them. He stayed in the room and 
saved the Situation when I said anything foolish. I spoke 
English very badly,and some of the men spoke French very badly. 
Jarrett translated my answers to them. I remember perfectly 
well that all of them began with, ^^ Well, Mademoiselle, what 
do you think of London ? *" 

I had arrived the previous evening at nine o^clock, and the 
fiiBt of these joumalists asked me this question at ten in the 
mcMning. I had drawn my curtain on getting up, and all I 
knew of London was ehester Square, a small square of sombre 



300 SARAH BERNHARD! 

verdui-e, in the inidst or wlikli was a black statue, and the 
horizun boiin<Ie(] by an ugly cliurch. 

I i-eally could not answer the quesÜon, but .larrett was quJle 
prepared for this, and I leanit tbe following iiioniing that I 
was most enthiisiastic ahout the beauty of Ixtiidon, tliat I hod 
atready seen a nuinbnr of the public buildiags, Sic &c. 

Towards five o'tlock Hortense Daniaiii arrived. She was ■ 
cbarming wonian, and a favourite in London society. She had 

vorne to inforra ine tliat tbe Ducbess of and Lady 

would call on me at half-past five. 

*■ Oh, stay witb me, then," I said to her. " You know iiow 
unsociable I am ; I feel sure that I shall be stupid." 

At tbe time fixed my visitors «ere announced. This was the 
first time I had conie into contact with any member« of fle 
English aristocracy, and I bave always had siiice a veiy plauAat 
memory of it. 

Lady R was extremely beautiful, aiid the Duchess was w 

gi-acious, so distinguished, and ao kind that I was very inadi 
touchcd by her visit. 

A few minutes later Lord Dndley called. I knew him w»j 
well, as he had been introduced to me by Marshai Canroboti 
one of niy dearest frienda. He asked me if I would caie U 
have a ride the following moming, and be soid be had a veiy niee 
lady's horse wbich was entirely at my senice. I thanked bin. 
but I wanted first to drive in Rotten Row. 

At seien oVlock Hortense Damain came to fetch me to djne 

with her at the bouse of the Baroness M . She had a twj 

nice bouse in Prince's Gate. There were about twenty gue«ti, 
among others tbe painter Millais. I had been told that tbe 
miMne was very bad in England, but I thought this dinner 
perfec-t. I had been tolil that the English were cold and ncdatc: 
I found theni charming and füll of bumour. Every one spobe 
French very well, and I was ashamed of ray ignorance of the 
English langiiage. After dinner there were recitatiom «od 
music. I was toucbed by tbe gracefulncss and tat-t of my bort* 
in not askiiig me to recite any poetry. 

I was very much int^^rested iu ob^erving tbe society in miöA 
I found myself. It did not in any way rescmble a FtviMlt 
gathering. The yomig girls seemed to be enjuying thenudm 
on their own account, and enjoying theuiselvi» thorougfaly. 



C0M]£DIE GOES TO LONDON 801 

Tbey had not come there to find a husband. What surprised 
me a little was the diccUeU of ladies who were getting on 
in years and to whom time had not been very merciful. I spoke 
€f tliis to Hortenae Damain. 

«* It's frigbtful ! "" I Said. 

" Yes, but it's chic.'' 

She was very charming, my friend Hortense, but she troubled 
about nothing that was not chic. She sent me the ^^ Chic com- 
mandments ^ a few days before I left Paris : 



Cksgtsr Sfuare tu KahUeroi, 
SaUtm Brno tu wtonterai 
Im J\trlewknU visüeras 
Omrdem'-ptLrtiet friquenteroi 
Chmfue TuiU tu rendras 
A tkofUB Uttre tu repandras 
Pk§U§rafkie$ tu iigneraM 
H0rienm Damaim tu ieauterat 
Et ttUM tet eaiueiU^ le$ tuirras. 



In ehester Square thon shalt live 
In Rotten Row thou shalt ride 
Parliament thou shalt visit 
Garden parties thou shalt frequent, 
Every yisit thon shalt return 
Everj letter thou shalt answer 
Photographs thou shalt sign 
To Hortense Damain thou shalt listen 
And all her counsels thou shalt follow. 



I laughed at these ^^ commandments,^ but I soon realised that 
linder this jocular form she considered them as very serious and 
important. Alas ! my poor friend had hit upon the wrong 
pcnon for her counsels. I detested paying visits, writing letters, 
flgning photc^raphs, or foUowing any one\s advicc. I adorc 
having people come to see me, and I detest going to see thcm. 
I adore receiving letters, reading them, commcnting on them, 
but I detest writing them. I detest ridiiig and driving in fre- 
quented parts, and I adore lonely roads and solitary places. 
I adore giving advice and I detest receiving it, and I never 
follow at oncc any wise adncc that is given me. It always 
requires an effort of my will to recognisc the justice of any 
oounsel, and then an effort of my intellect to be grateful for it : 
at first, it simply annoys me. 

Consequently, I paid no attention to Hortense Damain's 
oonnsels, nor yet to Jarrett\s ; and in this I made a gi*eat mistake, 
for many people were vexed with me (in any other country 
I should have made cnemies). On that first visit to London 
what a quantity of letters of invitation I received to which 
I never replied ! How many charming women called upon me 
and I never retumed thcir calls. Then, too, how many times 
I aooepted invitations to diimer and never went after all, nor 



802 SARAH BERNHARDT 

did I even send a line of excuse. It is perfecüy odious, I know ; 
and yet I always aocept with pleasnre and intend to go, but 
when the day comes I am tired perhaps, or want to have a 
quiet time, or to be hee from any Obligation, and when I 
am obliged to dedde one way or another, the time has gone bj 
and it is too late to send word and too late to go. And so I 
stay at home, dissatisfied with myself, with every one eise and 
with everything. 



XX vn 

LONDON LIFE— MY FIB8T PBRFOBMANCB AT 
THE QAIETT THEATBE 

tTALTTY is a quality made up of primitive taste and 
06 grandeur. The English are, in my opinion, the most 
table people on earth, and they are hospitable simply 
nunificently. When an Englishman has opened his door 
Ml he never closes it again. He excuses your faults and 
•ts your peculiarities. It is thanks to this broadness of 

that I have been for twenty-five years the beloved and 
lered artiste. 

ras delighted with my first soirie in London, and I retumed 
; very gay and very much ** anglonianiaised.^ I found 

of my friend» there-Parisiam who had just arrived-HUid 

were furious. My enthusiasm exasperated them, and we 
p arguing until two in the moming. 

le next day I went to Rotten Row. It was glorious 
ber, and all Hyde Park seemed to be strewn with enormous 
uets. There were the flower-beds wonderfully arranged by 
rardeners ; then there were the Clusters of sunshades, blue, 
f red, white, or yellow, which sheltered the light hats 
red with flowers under which shone the prctty faces of 
ren and women. Along the riding path there was an exciting 
p of graceful thoroughbreds bearing along some hundreds 
irsewomen, slender, supple, and courageous ; then there were 

and children, the latter mounted on big Irish ponies. 
*e were other children, too, galloping along on Scotch 
es with long, shaggy manes, the children^s < hair and the 
» of the horses Streaming in the wind of their own speed. 
le carriage road between the riding- track and the foot 
sngers was fiUed with dog-carts, open carriages of various 



804 SARAH BERNHARDT 

kiods, mail-coaches, and vtry smart cabe. 1'here were povderol 
footmei), horses decoratcd with flowers, sportsmeD drivii^ 
ladies, too, driving admirable horses. All this elegance,thü 
essence of luxury, and this joy of life broiiglit back to my 
memory thc visioo of our Bois de Boulogne, so e]i^;ant and so 
animated a fcw years before, wheD Napoleon III. used to drive 
through on bis daummtt, nonchalant and sniiling. Ab, htnr 
beautiful it was in those days— our Bois de Boulogne, with the 
officers caracoling in the Avenue des Acacias, admired by aar 
beautifui society women ! 

ITie joy of life was everywhere — the love of love enrdcppiog 
life with an infinite chai-m. I closed my eyes, and I feit a pug 
at my heart as the awful recollections of 1S70 crowded to ny 
brain. Jle was deod, our gentle Emperor, »ith his ahrewd nnile. 
Uead, vanquished by the sword, betrayed by fortnne, Gmabnl 
with grief. 

The thread of life in Paris bad been taken up agatn to all it> 
intenseness, but the Hfe of elegauco, of charm,and of luxury «u 
still shroudcd in crapc. Scarcely eight years bad ptiTwri mm 
the war had Struck down our soldiers, ruined our hope>i ud 
tamished our glory. Three Presidents had already succcedtl 
cach other. Tliat wretched little ITiiers, with his perrw« 
boHrgeois soul, had wom hiti teeth out with nibbling at tnrj 
kind of Government — royalty undcr Louis Philippe, Empin 
under Napoleon III., and the esecutive power of the Ftendi 
Repuhlic. He had never even thought of Itfting our bdoitd 
Paris up again, bowed down as she was imdcr the weg^it of f> 
many ruins. He had becn succceded by AIocMahon, a good. 
brave man, but a cipher. Grciv-y had succeeded the M«iiwli 
but he was miscrly, and considercd all outUy nnnri imavf fv 
himself, for other pcoplc, and for the countiy. And so Pur.' 
remained sad, nursiiig the leprosy that tlie Commune had con- 
municatcil to her by the kiss of its tircs. Aud ourdeli^tful 
Bois de Boulogne still hon; the traccs of the injuries thät the 
national defence had inflicted on her. 'Ute Areuue des Aoxu) 
was deserted. 

I opened my cyes again. Thcy were fiUed with tean, sm) 
through their mist 1 caught a glimpse once morc of tlie 
triuniphant \ntality which surrounded me, 

I waiitcd to return home at ouce, for I was acting that night 



h t 






LONDON LIFE 



305 



for the first time, and I feit lather wretched aiiii despairing. 
There were several persona awaititig me at my house in Chester 
Square, but 1 did not want to see any one. I took a cup of tea 
and went to the Gaiety Theatre, where we were to face the 
English public for the first time. I knew already that I had 
been etected the favourite, and the idea of this chilted me 
with terror, for I am what is kiiown as a tr(upteuse. I 
am subjei-t to the trac or stage fright, and I have it terribly. 
Wben I first appearcd on the stage I was tiniid, but 1 never had 
this Irae. I used to tum as red as a poppy when I happened 
to nieet the eye of some spectator. I was ashanied of talking so 
ioud before so many silent people. That was the effect of my 
cioistered life, but I had no feeiing of fear. The first time I ever 
had the real Sensation of trac or stage fright was in the 
moiith of January 1869, at the seveiith or perhaps the eighth 
Performance of Le Pcusant. The «uct-ess of this little uiaster- 
piecG had \yxn enoniious, and my interpretation of the part 
of Zanetto had delighted the public, and particularly the 
students. When 1 went on the sta^ that day I was suddenly 
npplauded bv the whole house^ I tumed towards the Imperial 
box, thinkiiig that the Emperor had just eutered. But no : the 
box was empty, and I realised then that all the bravos were 
for me. I was seized with a fit of ner>ous trembling, and 
my eyea smarted with tears that I had to keep back, Agar and 
1 had (ive ciirtain ealls, and on leaving the theatre the students 
ranged on each side gave rue three cheers. On reaching honie 
I flung myself into the arms of my blind grandniother, who was 
then living with me. 

" What'a the matter with you, my dwir ? " she aaked. 

" It'» all over with me, gi-andmothcr," I said. " They want to 

make a 'star' of ine, and I haven't talent enough for tliut. You'U 

sec they'll drag nie down and fini&h nie oft" with all their bravos." 

My grandniother took my head iu her liatids, and I mct 

the «'acant look in her large light eyef, (ixed on me. 

** You told me, my cJiild, that you wanted to be tlie first 
in your profession, and when the opportunity conies to you, why, 
you are frightcncd. It seems to nie that you sre a very 
IimI •oldier." 

I drove back my teara, and declared that I would bear up 
coungeoualy against thi« success wliich had rnme to interfere 



806 SARAH BERNHARDT 

with my tranquillity, my heedlessness, and my '* don^t 

But from that time forth fear took possession of me, and 

stage fright martyrised me. 

It was under these conditions that I prepared for the seoond 
act of PhMre^ in which I was to appear for the first time be£MC 
the English public. Three times over I put rouge on my chedLS, 
blackened my eyes, and three times over I took it all off again 
with a sponge. I thought I looked ugly, and it seemed to me I 
was thinner than ever and not so tall. I dosed my eyesto 
listen to my voice. My special pitch is ^ le bal" whidi I 
pronounce low down with the open a, ^^le baSMl^ or tdoe 
high by dwelling on the l — " le balW Ah, but there was no 
doubt about it ; my ^^ le bal^ neither sounded high nor low, 
my voice was hoarse in the low notes and not dear in the 
soprano. I cried with rage, emd just then I was informed that the 
second act of Phedre was about to commence. This drofe me 
wild. I had not my veil on, nor my rings, and my cameo bdt 
was not fastened. 

I began to murmur : 

" Le voici I Vers num cceur tout mon sang sc retire, 
Joublie en le voyant. . . .'** 

That Word ^^foublie'^ Struck me with a new idea. What ifl 
did forget the words I had to say ? Why, yes. What was it I 
had to say ? I did not know — I could not remember. What 
was I to say after " cn Ic voyant '*'* ? 

No one answered me. Every one was alarmed at my nen'ous \ 
State. I hcard Got niumble, " She's going mad ! **** 

Mlle. Tlicnard, who was playing (Enone, my old nurse, said 
to me, " Cahn yourself. All the English have gone to Paris ; 
there's no one in the house but Belgians.*" 

This foolishly coniic speech turned my thoughts in anotber 
direction. 

" How stupid you are ! "" I said. " You know how frightened 
I was at Brüssels ! "" 

" Oh, all for nothing," she answered calmly. " There were 
only Englibh pcoj)le in the theatre that day.'*'' 

I had to go on the stage at once, and I could not evcn answer 
her, but she had changed the current of niy ideas. I still had 
stage fright, but not the fright that paralyses, only the kind 
that drives one wild. This is bad enough, but it is preferaUe 






AT THE GAIETY THEATRE 807 

CO the other sort It makes one do too much, but at any rate 
we does something. 

The whole house had applauded my arrival on the stage for a 
ttw aeoonds, and as I bent my head in acknowledguient I said 
vithin myself, ** Yes — ^yes — ^you shall see. Fm going to give 
foa my very blood — ^my life itself — ^my soul/ 

When I b^pm my part, as I had lost my self-possession, I 
itaited on rather too high a note, and when once in füll swing 
[ ooold not get lower again — I simply could not stop. I 
■nffered, I wept, I implored, I cried out ; and it was all real. My 
WüMaing was horrible ; my tears were ilowing, scorching and 
bitter. I implored Hippolyte for the love which was killing 
me, and my arms stretched out to Mounet-Sully were the arms 
of Fhklre writhing in the cruel longing for his embrace. The 
iu^iiation had come.. 

When the curtain feil M ounet-Sully lifted me up inanimate 
■nd carried me to my dressing-room. 

The public, unaware of what was happening, wanted me to 
BfipcBT again and bow. I too wanted to retum and thauk the 
public for its attention, its kindliness, and its emotion. I retumed. 

The foUowing is what John Murray said in the GatUois of 
Jone 5, 1879 : 

" When, recalled withloud cries, MUe. Bernhardt appeared, 
exhausted by her ciibrts and supported by Mounet-SuUy, she 
received an ovation which I think is unique in the annals of the 
theatre in England.^ 

The following moming the Daily Telegraph terminated its 
admirable criticism with these lines : 

" Clearly Mlle. Sarah Bernhardt exerted every nerve and fibre, 
and her passion grew with the cxcitement of the spectators, 
for when, after a recall that could not be resisted, the curtain 
drew up, M. Mouiiet-SuUy was seen supporting the exhausted 
figure of the actress, who had won her triumph only after 
tremendous physical exertion — and triumph it was, howevei* short 
and sudden."^ 

The Standard finished its article with these words : 

^ The subdued passion, repressed for a time, until at length 
it burst its bonds, and the despairing, heart-broken woman is 
cerealed to Hippolyte, was shown with so vivid a reality that a 
Kene of enthusiasm such as is rarely witnessed in a theatre 



308 SARAH BERNHARDT 

foUowed the fall of the curtain. Mlle. Sarah Bernhardt in the 
few minutes she was upon the stage (and Coming on, it must be 
remembered, to plunge into the middle of a stirring tragedy) yet 
contrived to make an impression which will not soon be effaced 
from those who were present.'' 

The Mommg Post said : 

" Very brief are the words spoken before Phfedre rushes into 
the room to commence tremblingly and nervously, with stniggles 
which rend and tear and convnlse the System, the secret of her 
shameful love. As her passion mastered what remained of 
modesty or reserve in her nature, the woman sprang forward and 
recoiled again, with the movements of a panther, striving, as it 
seemed, to tear from her bosom the heart which stifled her with 
its unholy longings, until in the end, when, terrified at the 
horror her breathings have provoked in Hippoljrte, she stroye 
to pull his sword from its sheath and plunge it in her own 
breast, she feil back in complete and absolute coUapse. This 
exhibition, marvellous in beauty of pose, in febrile force, in 
intensity, and in purity of delivery, is the more remarkable as 
the passion had to be reached, so to speak, at a bound, no Per- 
formance of the first act having roused the actress to the requisite 
heat. It proved Mlle. Sarah Bernhardt worthy of her reputa- 
tion, and shows what may be expected from her by the public 
which has eagerly expected her Coming."" 

This London first night was decisive for niy fiiture. 




MT PBRFORMAKCES IN LOSDON— MT EXHIBITION— 

MY WILD ANIMAL8— TBOÜBLE WITH THE 
COMEDIE FUANCAISE 

My tntense desire to win over the English public had caused 
roe to ovcrtax my strength. I had done my utmost at the örst 
Performance, and had not spared myself in the ieast. Tlie 
conseqtienc« was in the night I vomited blood in such an alarm- 
ing way that a messenger was despatched tö the French Einbaasy 
in search of a physician. Dr. Vintras, who was at the head of 
the French Hospital in London, found me lying oii my bed, 
exhausted and looking more dead than alive. He was afraid 
that I should not recover, and requested that my family be sent 
for. I made a gesture with my band to tbe cffect that it was 
not necessary. As I couldnotspeak,! wrotedown withapeacil, 
" Send for Dr. Parrot." 

Dr. Vintras remained with me part of the night, putting 
cnuhed ice between my lips every five minutes, At length 
towards five in tJie morning the blood vomiting ceased, and, 
thanka to a potion that the doctor gave me, I feil asieep. 

We wcre to play VEtrang^rc that night at the Gaiety, and, 
OS my rök was not a very fatiguing one, I wanted to perform my 
part tjiuuid-meme. 

Dr. Parrot arrived by the four o'clock boat, aad refused cate- 
goricaliy to give his consent. He had attendcd me from my 
childhood. I really feit much better, and the feverlBhncss 
had lefl me. I wanted to gct up, but to this Dr. Parrot 
ubjected. 

Presently Dr. Vintras and Mr. Mayer, the impresario of tho 
Cäme<tic Fran^aise, were annouuced. Mr. Hollingsbead, the 
director of the Gaiety Theatre, was waiting in a carriage at the 



h. 



ilRNHARDT 

door to ktiow whether I was going to play in UEtrangire, the 
piece announced on the bills. I asked Dr. Pairot to rejoin Dr. 
Vintras in the drawing-room, and I gave instructioDs for Mr. 
Mayer to he introduced into my room. 

" I feel much better," I said to him very quickly. " Tm xtrj 
weak still, but I will piay. Hush! — don''t say a word hot 
Teil Hollingshead, and trait for me in the smokiog-roain, bot 
don't let any one eise know," 

I thcn got up and dressed very quickly. My maid helped 
me, and as she had guessed what my plan vas, ^e was highly 
amused. 

Wrapped in my cloak, with a lace lichu over my beadi I 
joined Mayer in tlie smoking-room, and theu we both got into 
his hansom. 

" Come to me in an hour*s time,^ I said in a low voice to my 
maid. 

" Wliere are you going ? " asked Mayer, perfecÜy stupefied. 

" To the theatre ! Quick — quick ! " 1 an^wered. 

The cab started, and I then cxplained to him that if 1 hid 
stayed at home, neither Dr. Parrot nor Dr. Vintras wouJd have 
allowed me to perform. 

"The die is cast now," I odded, " and we shall see «U 
Happens." 

When once I was at the theatre I took refuge tu the 
manager's private office, in orHer to avoid Dr. Parrot's angcr. 
I was very fond of him, and I knew how wrongly I was acting 
with regard to him, considering the inconvenience to wbich hc 
had put himself in making the joumey specially for me in 
response to my summons. 1 knew, thoiigh, how impossible it 
would have been to have made him understand that I feit reallji 
better, and that in risking my life I was really only risking wfast 
was my own to dispose of as I pleased. 

Half an hour tater my maid joined me. She brought with 
her a letter from Dr. Parrot, füll of gentle reproadtes and 
fiirious advice, finishing with a prescription in case of a relspw. 
He was lDa\ing an hour later, and would not even come and 
shake hands with me. I feit quite sure, though, that wc sbouki 
make it all up again on my retum. I then began to prtpan 
for my rölt in VEtruitgire. While dreseing I fointed Uine 
times, but I was detennined to play quand-mime. 



riM^ 



PERFORMANCES IN LONDON 311 

The opium that I had taken in my potion made my head 
imther heayy. I arrived on the stage in a semi-conscious state, 
delighted with the applause I received. I walked along as 
tfaou^ I were in a dream, and could scarcdy distinguish my 
lOROUDdings. Tbe house itself I only saw tbrough a luminous 
mbt My feet glided along without any effort on the carpet, 
and my Toioe sounded to me far away, very far away. I was in 
that delicious Stupor that one experiences after Chloroform, 
morphine, opium, or hasheesh. 

Tlie first act went off very well, but in the thii*d act, just when 
I was about to teil the Duchessede Septmonts (Croizette) all the 
troubles that I, Mrs. darkson, had gone through during my 
life, just as I should have commenced my interminable story, I 
eould not remember anything. Croizette murmured my first 
phiaae for me, but I could only see her lips move without 
hearing a word. I then said quite calmly : 

^The reason I sent for you here, Madame, is because I 
wanted to teil you my reasons for acting as I have done. I 
have thought it over and have decided not to teil you them 
to-day.** 

Sophie Croizette gazed at me with a terrified look in her eyes. 
She then rose and left the stage, her lips trembling, and her eyes 
fixed on me all the time. 

** Whafs the matter P**^ every oneasked whcn she sank almost 
breathless into an arm-chair. 

^ Sarah has gone mad ! ^ she exclaimed. ^' I assure you she 
has gone quite mad. She has cut out the whole of her scene 
with me.*" 

•* But how ? '^ every one asked. 

^ She has cut out two hundred lines,^ said Croizette. 

•* But what for ? ^ was the eager question. 

** I don'^t know. She looks quite calm.*" 

The whole of this conversation, which was repeated to nie later 
on, took much less time than it does now to write it down. 
Coquelin had been told, and he now came on to the stage to 
finish the act. The curtain feil. I was stupefied and desperate 
afterwards on hearing all that pcople told me. I had not 
Doticed that anything was wrong, and it seemed to me that I 
had played the whole of my part as usual, but I was really under 
the influence of the opium. There was very little for me to say 



in the fifth act, and I went through that pcrfectiy welL Tbc 
foUowing day the accounts in the papers sounded the pniscs o( 
OUT Company, but the piece itself was criticised. I waa a&aid at 
first that niy involuntary omiaaioQ of the important scene in the 
third act was one of the causes of the severity of the Press. 
This was not so, though, as all the critics had read and re-md 
the piece. They discussed the play itself, and did not nientigo 
my stip of memory, 

The Figaro, which was in a very bad humour with me jial 
then, had an article from which I qiiote tlie fullowing extiact: 

" UEtrangcre is not a piece in accwrdance »ith the Ei^Ui 
taste. Mlle. Croizette, however, was applauded eiithusiasticRBf, 
and so were Coqiielin and Febvre. Mlle. Sarah Bernhai^ 
nervous as uNual, lost her memory." (^Figaro, June 3rd.) 

He knew perfectiy well, this wortliy Mr. Johnson.' that I w» 
very ill. He liad been to my house and seen Dr. Parmt ; cons*- 
quently he was aware that I was actiiig in spite of the Facultj 
in the interests of the Comcdie tVan^-aise. 'ITie Englisb public 
had given me such proofs of apprcciation that the Comcdie was 
rather affectcd by it, and the Figaro, which was at that time 
the organ of the ITieätre Franyais, requested Johnson to modi^ 
bis praises of me, This he did the whole time that we wo« 
in I^ndon. 

My reoson for tclling ahout my loss of memory, whic^ iras 
quite an unimportant incident in itself, is merely to prove to 
autbors how unneccssary it is to takc the trouble of explaiiiing 
the characters of thcir creations, Alexandre Dumas was oer- 
tainly anxious to glve us the reasons which caused Mrs. ClarksoD 
to act as strangely as she did. He had created a person who »u 
extremely interesling and füll of action as the play proceed&. 
She reveals herseif to the public, in the first act, hy the Unes 
which Mrs. Clarkson says to Madame de Septmonts : 

" I should be very glad, Madame, if you would «dl an IDC. 
We could talk about one of yoür friends, Monsieur G^nnl, 
whom I lovc perhaps as much as you do, although he does not 
perhaps care for me as he does for you." 

That was quite enough to intciest the public in these two 
women. It was the ctemal stniggle of good and cvil, the oona- 
bat betwcen vice and virtue, But it evidently seemed ntber 
> T. JohDHiD, London corrMpoodent of Lt Figar«. 



PERFORMANCES IN LONDON 813 

eonmumplaoe to Dumas, ancient history, in fact, and he wanted to 
rejuTenate the old theme by trying to arrange for an orchestra 
with oigan and banjo. The result he obtained was a fearfiil 
caoc^diony. He wrote a foolish piece, which might have been a 
beautifol one. The originality of his style, the loyalty of his 
ideas, and the brutality of his humour sufficed for rejuvenating 
old ideas which, in reality, are the etemal basis of tragedies, 
oomedies, novels, pictures, poems, and pamphlets. It was love 
betwee n Tioe and virtue. Among the spectators who saw the 
fint Performance of VEtrangire in London, and there were 
quite as many French as English present, not one remarked that 
there was something wanting, and not one of them said that he 
had not miderstood the character. 

I talked about it to a very leamed Frenchman. 

** Did you notice the gap in the third act ? ^ I asked him. 

«* No," he replied. 

" In my big scene with Croizette ? "^ 

" Well then, read what I left out,*" I insisted. 

Wben he had read this he exclaimed : 

•* So much the better. It's very dull, all that story, and quite 
uaeless. I understand the character without all that rigmarole 
and that romantic history."" 

Later on, when I apologised to Dumas ßls for the way in 
which I had cut down his play, he answered, " Oh, my dear child, 
when I write a play I think it is good, when I see it played I 
think it is stupid, and when any one teils it to me I think it is 
perfect, as the person always forgets half of it." 

The Performances given by the Comedie Fran<jaise drew a 
crowd nightly to the Gaiety Theatre, and I remained the 
favourite. I mention this now with pride, but without any 
vanity. I was very happy and very grateful for my success, but 
my comrades had a grudge against me on account of it, and 
hostilities b^an in an underhand, treacherous way. 

Mr. Jarrett, my adviser and agent, had assured me that I 
should be able to seil a few of my works, either my sculpture or 
paintings. I had therefore taken with me six pieces of sculp- 
ture and ten pictures, and I had an exhibition of them in 
Piccadilly. I sent out invitations, about a hundrcd in all. 

His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales Ict me know that he 



I 

p 



L 



3U SARAH BERNHARDT 

would come «rith Uic Princess of Wales. Ilie EngU&b aristocmcT 
and the celebrities of London carae to the inatiguratioD. I had 
only sent out a hundred invitations, btit tnclve hundred peofle 
arrived and werc introduced to tne. I was deltgfated, andeo^tjfld 
it all immensely. 

Mr. Gtadstone did me the grcat hotiour of talkin^ to me (br 
about ten mmut«s. With his gcnia] mind be spokc of crerr- 
thing in a singularty gracious way. Hc nsked mr what hn- 
pression the attacks of certaiii clcrgymen on thc ComöÜe 
Fran^^ and the dainnable profeäsion of dnunatic artisto hwi 
niade on me, I ansivcred that I considercd our art tjUJte u 
proGtable, morally, as the sennonä of CathoUc and Prototant 
preachere. 

** But will you teil me, Mademoiselle,*' be insbtcd, " «W 
moral lesson you can draw from Phedre 9 " 

"Oh, Mr. Gladstone," I n-plied, "you surprise me. Phürt 
is au ancient tragedy ; the murality and cu^toinii of thoae timn 
belong to perspective quite dilferent &om our» luid diff«>ciit 
from the morality of our prcsent society. And yet in that Ibcft 
is the pimishment ot the old nurse CEuone, wlio ciiniinit* tbf 
atrocious crime of accusing an innocent penwn. The linv d^ 
Phedre \s ezcusable on account of the fatality wbicit hwiga wa 
her family and descends pitilessly upon her. In our tinie« n 
should call that fatolity ntavism, for Phedre was thc tiaqghtet 
of Mino« and Pasiphac. As to Theseus, his vcrdict, ngaiwl 
which therecould be no appeal, was an arbitrary arnl moiutnw* 
act, and was punislied by the death of that boloved sau of hi». 
who was the sole and last hope of liis life. We ouglit nonwc 1* 
do what is irreparable." 

*' Ah," Said the Grand Old Man, " you are again»t Ga|tttal 
punishment?" 

" Yes, Mr. Gladstone." 

" And quite riglit, Madcraoiselle," 

FredericLeightoii thenjuined asand wilhgrent kimlncaioaBi- 
phmented me on one of my pictiu«s, represetiting a young gA 
holding some palms. Tliis pictiire was bought by Princc LeopoU. 

My little exhibition was a great success, but I never thoogU 
that it was to be tbe cause of so mtich gossip and of *o muir 
cowardly side-thrusts, until finally it led to my rupture with 
the Com^ie Fran^aise. 



PI 







ki: 



'U 



MY EXHIBITION 816 

I had no pretensions either as a painter or a sculptress, and 
I exhibited my works for the sake of selling them, as I wanted 
to buy two little lions, and had not money enough. I sold the 
pictures for what they were worth — ^that is to say, at very 
modest prices. 

Lady H bought my group Jßer the Storm. It was 

smaller than the large group I had exhibited two years previously 
at the Paris Salon, and for which I had received a prize. The 
smaller group was in marble, and I had worked at it with the 

greatest care. I wanted to seil it for «f 160, but Lady H sent 

me JP4OO9 together with a charming note, which I venture to 
quote. It ran as foUows : 

^ Do me the favour, Madame, of accepting the enclosed jP400 
for your admirable group, After the Storni. WiD you also do 
me the honour of Coming to limch with me, and afterwards you 
ahall choose for yourself the place where your piece of sculpture 
will have the best light. — Ethel H." 

This was Tuesday, and I was playing in Zaire that evening, 
but Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday I was not acting. I had 
money enough now to buy my lions, so without saying a word 
at the theatre I started for Liverpool. I knew there was a big 
menagerie there, Grosses Zoo, and that I should find some lions 
for sale. 

The joumey was most amusing, as although I was traveUing 
inoognito, I was recognised all along the route and was made 
a great deal of. 

Three gentlemen friends and Hortense Damain were with me, 
and it was a very lively little trip. I knew that I was not 
>hirking my duties at the Com^ie, as I was not to play again 
before Saturday, and this was only Wednesday. 

We started in the moming at 10.30, and arrived at Liverpool 
about 2.30. We went at once to Cro8s**8, but could not find the 
entrance to the house. We asked a shopkeeper at the comer 
of the street, and he pointed to a little door which we had 
^Iready opened and closed twice, as we could not believe that 
^as the entrance. 

I had Seen a large iron gateway with a wide courtyard beyond, 
^nd we were in front of a little door leading into quite a small, 
bare-looking room, where we found a little man. 

** Mr. Gross ? '^ we said. 



SARAH BERNHARDT 



1 



" That's my naine," lie replied 

" I want to buy some lions," I then said. 

He began to laugh, and thcn he asked : 

*' Do you really, Mademoiselle ? Are yoti so fond of sniniBls ? 
I went to London last week to see the Com&lie Fraa^aücand 
I saw you in Hcmanl," 

** It wasn't from that you discovei-ed tliat I Hke aaimals ? " I 
said to hini. 

" No, it was a man who selLs dogs in St. Andrew'a Street who 
told nie. He said you had bouglit two dogs from him, and tbat 
if it had not becn for a gfiitlt^man who wa« with you, you would 
have bought fivc." 

He told me all this in vcry bad French, bnt with a grcat deal 
of bumour. 

" Well, Mr. Cross," I said, " I want two lions to-day." 

" m show you wbat I have,"" he replied, leading the way into 
tbe courtyard where the wild beaats were. Oh, what magnificent 
creatures they were ! There were two süperb African lions trilh 
shining coats and powerful-looking tails, which were beating the 
air. They had only just arrived and they were in perftct 
heolth.with plenty of courage forrebellion. They knew nothing 
of the resignation whicb ia the dominating stigma of dvilised 
beings. 

"Oh, Mr. Gross," I said, "these are too big. I wnnt some 
young lions ! " 

" I haven't any, Mademoiselle." 

" Well, then, show me all your aniraals," 

I saw the tigers, the leopards, the jackals, tlie cheetahsi tba 
punias, and I stopped in front of the elephants. I simply adOR 
them, and I should have liked to have a dwarf elepbant. Tbat 
has aJways been one of my dreaina, and perhaps some day I shall 
bc able to realise it. 

Gross had not any, though, so I bought a eheetah. It wu 
quite young and very droll ; it looked Uke a f(argoylu on sooW 
Castle of the Middle Ages. I also bought a dog-wolf, all white 
with a thick coat, fiery eyes, and spear-like teeth. He wa* 
terrifying to limk at. Mr. Gross madc me a prrsent of sii 
chamclcons which belonged to a small breed and ttx>ke(l like 
ÜTards. He also gaveme an admirable fhamclcon, aprehistoric, 
fabulous sort of animal. ft wa« a veritable Chinese curiosity, 



MY WILD ANIMALS 817 

and changed colour from pale green to dark bronze, at one 
minute slender and long like a Uly leaf, and then all at once 
puffed out and thick-set like a toad. Its lorgnette eyes, like 
thoee of a lobster, were quite independent of each other. With 
its right eye it would look ahead and with its left eye it looked 
backwanU. I was delighted and quite enthusiastic over this 
present. I named my chameleon ^^ Cross-ci Cross-^ a,^ in honour 
of Mr. Gross. 

We retumed to Lcmdon with the cheetah in a cage, the dog- 
wolf in a leash, my six little chameleons in a box, and Cross-ci 
Cross-^a on my Shoulder, fastened to a gold chain we had bought ^ 
at a jeweller^s. 

I had not found any lions, but I was delighted all the same. 

My servants were not as pleased as I was. There were already 
three dc^ in the house : Minniccio, who had accompanied me 
from Paris; Bull and Fly, bought in London. Then there 
was my parrot Bizibouzou, and my monkey Darwin. 

Madame Gu^rard screamed when she saw thcse new guests 
arrive. My steward hesitated to approach the dog-wolf, and it was 
all in vain that I assiued them that my cheetah was not dangerous. 
No one would open the cage, and it was carried out into 
the garden. I asked for a hammer in order to open the door 
of the cage which had been nailed down, thus kecping the poor 
cheetah a prisoner. When my domestics heard me ask for the 
hammer they decided to open it thcmscives. Madame Guerard 
and the women servants watched from the windows. Presently 
the door burst open, and the cheetah, besidc himself with 
joy, sprang like a tiger out of his cage, wild with liberty. He 
nished at the ti*ees and made straight for the dogs, who all four 
began to howl with terror. The parrot was excited, and uttered 
shrill cries ; and the monkey, shaking his cage about, gnashed his 
teeth to distraction. This conecrt in the silent Square made the 
most prodigious eifect. All the windows were opened, and more 
than twenty faces appeared above my garden wall, all of them 
inquisitive, alarmcd, or furious. I was seized with a fit of 
uncontroUable laughter, and so was my friend I^uise Abbema. 
Nittis the painter, who had come to call on me, was in the same 
State, and so was Gustave Dore, who had been waiting for me ever 
sinoe two o'*clock. Georges Descliamp, an amateur musician 
with a great deal of talent, tried to note down this Hof mannesque 



818 SARAH BERNHARDT 

hiu-inony, wliilst iny fricod Georges Clairiu, his back « Kflt ing 
with iaughter, sketched the never-to-be-forgotteo 

The next day in London the cliief topic of convenatiaa 
the Bedlam that had beeil let loose at 77 Chester SqiMi«. So 
much wa.s inade of it that our doyat, M. Got, catne ta heg 
me not to nmke such a scandal, an it reflected od the CoDM^ir 
FranvaUe. I listened to him in silence, and whe» he hxJ 
fini-thed I took his hands. 

" Coine with me and I will show you the scandul.** I Mid. I 
led the way into the garden, followed by my visitor «nd frietuU 
" Let the cheetah out !" I Said, §tanding on the steps Uke • 
captain ordcring his men to take iu a reef. 

Wheu the cheetah was free the satne mad aooM occonvd MÜn 
as on the pi-evious day. 

" You see, Monsieur le Doyen," I said, " this is my Bedkn ~ 
" You are mad," he said, kissing me ; " but it oertualjr ü 
irresistibly coniic," and he laughed until thf; teart csme wbcn tiL- 
saw all the heads appeai-ing above the garden wall. 

The hostilities continued, though, thruugh acnuM o( 
gossip retaiied by one person to another aud from ooe «et 
to another, The French Press touk it up, and so dU tbc 
English Press. In spite of niy happy disposittoa utd ibt 
contempt for ill-natured taJes, 1 began to feel irritated. IiiiiBtiot 
has always roused me to revolt, and injustice wax certüilT 
Iiaving its fliug. I could not do a thing that wiu not ntcfaed 
and blamed. 

Onedayl was complainingofthiRto Madeleine Brohaa, wbooi 
I loved dearly. That adorable artiste took my face in berhanda, 
and looking iiitu my eyes, said : 

" My poordear, you can't do anything to prevent H, You 
are original without trying to be so. You have s draadfiil 
bead of hair that is naturally curly and rebellioos, yoor 
slenderness ia exaggci-ated, you have a natural harp in ygiir 
throat, and all this makes of you a creature apart, wbich is 
a crime of liigh ti'eaäon against all that is cünuiionplace- 
That is what ia the matter witli you physically. Now for 
your moral defecU, You cannot hide your thought«, you 
cannot stoop to anything, you never accept any conij 
you vfill not leiid yourself to any hypocrisy — and all tbtt i 
crime of high treason against society. How can you 



^^ 





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»ASAB BEKNHAKlir 

Itmm Sk- p-rlnlt 1'^ Mtl'. t^Hf .lU>wi 

kr. ^ i 


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K 



TROUBLE WITH THE COM^DIE 319 

under tlieso conditious not to arouse jealousy, not to wound 
people's susceptibilities, and not to make tliem spiteful ? If 
you are discouroged becaii.se of these attacks, it will be all 
over with you, as you will have no strength left to withstand 
them. In lliat case I advise you to brush your hair, to put oll 
on it, and ao make it lie aa sleek as that of the famous Corsimn ; 
but eveti that would never do, for Napoleon bad such sleek 
hair that it was quite original. Well, you might try to 
bruah your hair as sciooth as Prudhon's,' then there would 
be no risk for you, I would advise you," she continued, " to 
get a lütte stouter, and to Ict your voitx break occasionally ; 
then you would not annoy aiiy oue. But if you wish to reniain 
yow»elf, ray dcar, prepare to niount on a little pedestal made of 
calumny, scandal, injustk-e, adulation, flattery, lies, and trutha. 
Wben you are once upon it, tliough, do the rigbt thing, and 
cemont it by your talent, your worJt, and your kindness. All 
the üpitefui people who have unintentionally provided the first 
niaterials for the edifice will kick it then, in hopes of dcstroying 
it. They will be powerless to do this, though, if you choosc to 
prevent them ; and that is just whnt I hope for you, my dear 
Sarah, as you have an arabitious thirst fnr glory. I cannot 
\mder«tand that myself, as I only like rest and retirement." 

I looked at her with envy, she was so beautiful : with her liquid 
eye», her face with its pure, restful lincs. and her weary smile. 
I wondered in an uneasy way if happineaa were not rather in 
thiü calci tranquillity, in the diitdain of all things, I asked her 
gently if this were so, for I wantwl to know ; and shc told me 
that tlte theatre bored her, that she bad had so many disappoint- 
tnents. Shc shuddered when she spoke of her maiTiage, and as 
lo her motherhofid, that had only caused her sorrow. Her love 
«fTair» had left her with affections crushed and physically disabled. 
Tlie light seemed doomecl to fade from her beautifiil eyes, her 
legs were »wollen and could scarcely carry her. She told me all 
tili» in the same calm, half wcary tone. 

What had charmed nie only a short tiine befoi-e chilled me to 
tlie heart now, foi' her dishke to movement was caused hy the 
weakness of her eyes and her legs, and her delight in retirement 
HOS only the love of that peace which was so necessary to her, 
wouflded as she was by the lifc she had üved. 

I PnidhoD WDB on*> of the srtUUs of the TliMtre FrnnQnio. 



320 SARAH BERNHARDT 

'llie love of life, tliougli, took posseasion of mc morc violm^ 
than ever. I thanked mydear fricnd, and profit«! bv !ier adTice. 
I anneci inyself for tbe struggle, preferring to die in thc midst 
of the battle rather than to end my life regretting that it had 
been a failure. I made up my mind not to wecp over the fauc 
tliiiigs that were said about nie, and not to suffer any tnoR 
injustices. I made up my mind, too, to stand on tbe defensve, 
and very soou an occasion prcstuted itself. 

L'Etrarigere was to he playcd for the second timu at a malmk, 
June Sl, 1879. Tlie day befoi-e I had sent Word to Mayer timi. 
I was not well, and that as I was playing in Htrtuini at nigjlt, 1 
should be glad if he could change the play announced fbr tke 
aftemoon if possible. The odvance booking, however, wu infll* 
than ^400, and the comniittce would not hear of it 

' Oh well," Got said to Mr. Mayer, " we must gi»-e the rUrlo 
some one eise if Sarah Bcmhai-dt «.»nnot play, Thcrr will he 
Croizette, Madeleine Brohan, Cotjuelin, Febvre, and uiyself in 
the cast> and, que diabk ! it seems to nie that atl of Us tt^rtber 
will make up for Mademotselle Bernhardt" 

Coquelin was rcquested to ask Lloyd to take my pari, u slie 
had played this röle at the Cominlie nhen I was ill. Lloyd «as 
afraid to undertake it, though, and refiised, It was decid«d tw 
change the play, and Tarlufe was given instead of VEtrangire. 
Nearly all the public, however, a&kcd to have tbeir mooey 
refunded, and the receipt», which would have been about /"fiOO, 
only aniounted to £S\. AU the spite and jealousy now brote 
loose, and the whole company of the Comedie, more particularif 
the inen, with tlie ex<^«ption of M. Worms, started a campiiigti 
against me. Franeisque Sarcey, as drum-niajor, bcat tbe niiMwiR 
with bis terrible pen in his band. The most foolish, alanderous 
and stupid inventions and the most odious lies took their fligfat 
like a cloud of wild ducks, and swooped suddenly down npcn all 
the ncwspapera that were against nie. It was said Üiat for > 
Shilling any one might see lue dressed as a man ; that 1 smokcd 
buge cigars, leaning on tbe balcony of my hou.vc ; that at tbe 
various receptions where I gave one-act iilays I took my BiaiJ 
with me to play a small part ; that I practised fendng in nf 
garden, dressed as a pierrot in white; and that when takiiig bcndng 
lessons I liad broken two teeth uf my unfortuiiate profe:e>a) 
Some of mv fi-iends advised nie to take no notice of all 



TROUBLE WITHI THE COM^DIE 821 

torpitiides, a«ariiig me that the public could not possibly 
believe them. They were mistaken, though, for the public likes 
to believe bad things about any one, as these are always more 
amiunng than the good things. I soon had a proof that the 
Ftigji«K public was b^nning to believe what the French papers 
nid. I reeeived a letter firom a tailor asking me if I would 
ocmaent to wear a coat of his make when I appeaxed in masculine 
attiie, and not only did he oifer me this coat for nothing, but 
he was willing to pay me a hundred pounds if I would wear it. 
Ulis man was an ill-bred person, but he was sincere. I 
veoeived several boxes of cigars, and the boxing and fencing 
piofeasors wrote to offer their Services gratuitously. All this 
annoyed me to such a d^ree that I resolved to put an end to it. 
An artide by Albert Wolff in the Paris Figaro caused me to 
take Steps to cut matters short 

This is what I wrote in reply to the article in the Figaro^ 
Jone S7, 1879 : 

•* Ajlikbt Wolff, Figaro^ Paris. 

^And you, too, my dear Monsieur Wolff— you believe in 
such insanities? Who can have been giving you such false 
infbrmatiiHi ? Yes, you are my friend, though, for in spite of 
all the infamies you have been told, you have still a little 
indolgenoe left. Well then, I give you my word of honour 
that I have never dressed as a man here in London. I did not 
even bring my sculptor costume with me. I give the most 
emphatic denial to this misrepresentation. I only wcnt onec to 
the exhibition which I oi^ganised, and that was on the opening 
day, for which I had only sent out a few private invitations, so 
that no one paid a Shilling to see me. It is true that I have 
acoepted some private engagements to act, but you know that I 
am one of the least remunerated members of the Com6die 
Fra n yaise. I certainly have the right, therefore, to try to make 
up the difference. I have ten pictures and eight pieces of 
aculpture on exhibition. That, too, is quite true, but as I brought 
them over here to seil, really I must show them. As to the 
lespect due to the House of Moliere, dear Monsieur Wolff, I lay 
daim to keeping that in mind more than any one eise, for I am 
absolutely incapable of inventing such calumnies for the sake of 
tkying one of its standard-bearers. And now, if tbe stupidities 

X 



322 SARAH BERNHARDT 

invcDted about me have aniioyed tlie PnriaiaHs. and if thcyhaw 
(lecided to receive me ungraciously on my retum, I do not «id 
auy one to be guiUy of such baseness on tny accoiint, ao I will 
seud in my resignatioii to the Coinedie Fran^ise. If the 
London public is tired of all tliis fuss and should be indined to 
show me ill-will instead of the iiidulgence hitherto acctmled me, 
I shall Ofik the Comedie to allow me to leave England, in order 
to spare our eompaiiy the annoyance of seeing one of its memben 
hooted at and hissed. 1 ani seading you thiä letter by wir«, u 
the coiiäideration I have for pubhc opinion gives me the rigfat to 
conimit this little foUy, and I beg you, dear Monsieur Wolfl^ to 
accord to my lett^r the same honour as you did to the calumnies 
of my enemies. — With very kind regards, 

" Yonrs sincerely, 

^' Sarah BEaNHAKRT." 



This telegram caused niucli ink to flow. WMkt treating me 
as a epoiled ehitd, people generally agreed that 1 was quite right 
The Comedie was most amiahle, Petrin, the manager, wrote 
nie an affectionate letter beggiug nie to give up mj idea of 
leaving tlie Company. The women were most friendly. CroÜKtte 
lame to aee mc, and putting her arms round nie, said, " Teil nie 
you won't do such a thing, uiy dear, foolisb child ! You i*ont 
really send in your resignation ? In the tirst place ; it woold BOt 
be acceptcd, I can answer for that ! " 

Mounet'SulIy talked to me of art and of probity. Hü lAob 
Speech savoured of Protestant! sm, Tberc arc several Proteitiiit 
pastors in his family, and this iofluenced him unconsciouily. 
Dclaunay, surnanied Father Candour, camc solemnly to infann 
me of the bad impression niy telegram had niade. He told mc 
that the Coratdie Fran^aise was a Ministry ; that there was tfae 
Minister, the secretary, the sub-chiefs and the emplayity tad 
that each one niust conform to the ruies and bring in Ui 
share eithcr of talent or work, and so on and so on. Imw 
Coquelin at the theatre in the evening. He came to me with 
outstretehed hands, 

** You know I ean't comphment ) ou,^ he said, " on your tuh 
action, but with good lurk we «hall inake you change your ntind. 
Wben one lias the gcod fortune and the honour of belotigiug 



TROUBLE WITH THE COMÄDIE 828 

to ihe Com^die Fraiiyaise, one must remain there until the end 
of one^s caieer.^ 

Fr^d^ic Febvre pointed out to me that I ought to stay with 
ibe Com^e, becaufle it would save money for me, and I was 
quite incapable of doing that mysdf. 

*^ Believe me»"^ he said, *^ when we are with the Comedie we 
must not leave ; it means our bread provided for us later on.^ 

Got, our doyenj then approached me. 

^ Do yoa know what you are doing in sending in your resigna- 
tum ? ^ he aaked. 

•* No,'' I repUed. 

** Deaerting.'' 

^ You are mistaken,^ I answered ; ^^ I am not deserting : I am 
chan^ng barracks.^ 

Others then came to me, and they all ga%e me advice tinged 
by their own personality : Mounet as a seer or believer ; 
Delaunay prompted by his bureaucratic soul ; Coquelin as a 
politiciAD blaming another person^s ideas, but cxtolling them 
later od and putting them into practice for his own profit; 
Febvre, a lover of respectability ; Got, as a selfish old growler 
understanding nothing but the Orders of the powers that be 
and advancement as ordained on hierarchical lines. Worms 
laid to me in his melancholy way : 

** Will they be better towards you elsewhere ? '' 

Worms had the most dreamy soul and the niost frank, 
stiaightforward character of any mcmber of our illustrious 
Company. I liked him immensely. 

We were about to retum to Paris, and I wanted to forget 
all these things for a time. I was in a hesitating mood. I 
postponed taking a definitc dccision. The stir tliat had bcen 
made about me, the good that had bcen said in niy favour 
and the bad things written against me — all this combined had 
created in the artistic world an atmosphere of battle. When 
on the point of leaving for Paris sonie of niy friends feit very 
anxious about the reccption which I should get there. 

Hie public is very much mistakcn in imagining that the agita- 
tioD made about celcbratcd artistcs is in reality instigated by tlie 
persons concenicd, and that they do it purposely. Irritated at 
seeing the same nanic constantly appcaring on every occasion, 
ihe public declares that the artiste who is being either slandered 



324 



SARAH BERNHARD 




or panipcred is an ardent lover of publicity. A W ! three time» 
over alas ! We are victims of the said advertisement. Thoee 
wlio know the joya and miseries of cclcbrity when they have 
passed the agc of forty know how to defend theinselves, Tbey 
are at the begiiining of a series of sniall worries, tbunderbolts 
hidden under flowers, but they know Low to hold in check that 
inonster advertisement. It is a sort of octopus with ituium«r- 
able teatOL'les. It throws oiit on the right and on the left, 
in front and behind, its clammy arms, and gathers in through 
its thousand little inhaling organs all the gossip and slander 
and praise afloat, to spit out again at the public when it is 
vuuiiting its black gall. But those who are caught in the 
clutchej' of culebrity at the age of twenty know nothing. I 
remeniber that the firat time a reporter eame to me I drew 
myself up straight and was as red as a cock's-comb with joy. I 
wasjust seventeenyearsold — Ihadbeen acting in a pri^'ate bouse, 
and bad taken the part of Richelieu with immen.«« success. 
This gentleman came to call an me at bonie, and askcd me first 
one qnestion and then another and then anotlier. I anawcnd 
and cbattered, and was wild with pride and csciteroent Hc 
took notes, and I kcpt looking at my mother, It seemed to me 
that I was gelting taller. I had to kiss my roother by way of 
keeping my composure, and I hid my face on her shonlder lo 
hide my delight, Finally the gentleman rose, shook hands with 
me, and then took liis departuri?. I skipped about in the rootn 
and began to tum round singing, Trois petlt» päth, ma chtmür 
brüU, when suddenly the door opened and the gentlcmu) UÖÄ 
to mamma, " Oh, Aladame, I forgot, this is the receipt for tbr 
»ubscription to tlie Journal. It is a mere nothing, only «zttcn 
francs a year." Mamma did not understand at first. As for 
me, I stood still with my mouth open, unable to digest Biy 
petita pätes. Mamma then paid the sixlecn francs, and in her 
pity for me, as I was crying by that time, abe stmked my hair 
gently. Sinw then I have been delivered over to the miHiBter. 
bound band and foot, and I have been and stiD am accuiicd of 
ndui-ing advertisement. And to think that my first claims to 
celebrity were iny extraordinary thinness and delJcate hnJth. 
I had scarcely made my dibut wlien epigrams, puns, jokes, and 
caricatures concerning me were indulged in by every one to 
their bearfa content. Was it really for the sake of advertising 




TROUBLE WITH THE C0M£DIE 825 

myself that I was so tliin, so small, so weak ; and was it fbr this, 
too, that I remained in bed six monihs of the year, laid low by 
illness ? My name became odebrated before I was mysell 

On the first night ofLoa]sBo«]iIhet*spie(^Jfadirmoijd& 
at the Od^n, Flaubert, who was an intimate friend of the aathor, 
introduced an attacki of the British Embassy to me. 

^ Oh, I have known you for some time, Mademoiselle,^ he 
Said ; ^ you are the little stick with the sponge on the top."^ 

This caricature of me had just appeared, and had been the 
delight of idle folks. I was quite a young girl at that time, 
and nothing of that kind hurt me or troubled me. In the first 
place, all the doctors had given me up, so that I was indifferent 
•beut things; but all the doctors were mistaken, and twenty 
years later I had to fight against the monster. 



i 



THB COM^DIB FRAN9AIBB BBTUBHB TO PABIS— 8A&AH 

BBRNHABDTS COKMBNTS OH A0T0B8 AHO 

A0TBSS8B8 OF THB DAY 

Thb retum of tfae ComÜ&e to its home iras an evcnt, Utk 
an event that was kq>t quiet OnrdepaitaxefromBuJshadlHai 
very lively and gay, and qoite a piÄlic fimction. Our nloni 
was dandestine f or many of the memben» and for me amoog tihe 
number. It was a dolcdfol retom fbr tbose niio had not been 
appredated, whilst those who had been Csdloies were fbrioiBL 

I had not been badk home an hour when Penin was 
announoed. He began to reproach me gently aboat the littk 
care I took of my health. He said I caused too modi fiiss to be 
roade about me. 

^^ But,^^ I exclaimed, " is it my fault if I am too thin ? Is 
it my fault, too, if my hair is too curly, and if I don^t 
think just as other people do ? Supposing that I took sof- 
ficient arsenic during a month to make me swell out like a 
barrel, and supposing I were to shave my head like an Arab 
and only answer, ^ Yes ^ to eveiything you said, people would 
declare I did it for advertisement.^ 

^^But, my dear child,^ answered Perrin, ^there aine pec^le 
who are neither fat nor thin, neither close shaven nor with 
shocks of hair, and who answer * Yes^ and * No."* ^ 

I was simply petrified by the justice and reason of this remaik, 
and I understood the ^^ because ^ of aU the ^ whys*** I had been 
asking myself for some years. There was no happy medium 
about me ; I was ^^ too much ^ and ^^ too litüe,^ and I feit that 
there was nothing to be done for this. I owned it to Perrin, and 
told him that he was quite right. He took advantage of my 
mood to lecture me and advise me not to put in an ajqpear- 



THE COMEDIE RETURNS 827 

moe at the opening ceremony that was soon to take place 
at the Com^e. He feared a oabal against me. Some people 
were rather excited, ri^tly or wrongly — a Utile of both, he 
added, m that shrewd and oonrteous waj which was peculiar to 
him. I listened to him without intemipting, which slightly 
embairassed him, for Perrin was an argaer but not an orator. 
When he had finished I said : 

^ You have told me too many things that excite me, 
Monsiear Peirin. I love a battle, and I shall appear at the 
ceiemony. You see, I have ahready been wamed about it. Here 
are three anonymous letters. Read this une ; it is the nicest.^ 

He unfolded the letter, which was perfumed with amber, and 
read as follows : 

•* My poor Skeleton, — You will do well not to show your 
horrihle Jewish nose at the opening ceremony the day after to- 
monow. I fear that it would serve as a target for all the 
potatoes that are now being cooked specially for you in your 
kind city of Paris. Have some paragraphs put in the papers to 
the effect that you have been spitting blood, and remain in bed 
■ad think over the oonsequence of exoessive advertisement. 

^^A SUBSCRIBEK."^ 

Perrin pnshed the letter away Crom him in disgust. 

" Here are two more,*" I said ; " but they are so coarse that I 
irill spare you. I shall go to the opening ceremony.**^ 

"Good l*" replied Perrin. "There is a rehearsal to-morrow. 
äiall you come ? ^ 

^ I shall come,^ I answered. 

The next day at the rehearsal not one of the artistes, man 
xr woman, seemed to care about going on to the stage to bow 
rith me. I must say, though, that they all showed nevertheless 
tntich good grace. I declared, however, that I would go on 
ilone, although it was against the rule, for I thought I ought 
to (aoe the ill humour and the cabal alone. 

Tlie house was crowded when the curtain rose. 

Hie ceremony commenced in the midst of ^ Bravos ! ^ The 
paUic was delighted to see its beloved artistes again« They 
idvanced two by two, one on the right and the other on the left, 
lokling the palm or the crown to be placed on the pedestal of 
Moli^^s bust. My tiun came, and I advanced alone. I feit that 



SARAH BERNHARDi 



328 

I was pale and then livid, 
to conquer. I went forward 



»ith a will that was determlüed 
owly towards the footlights, bot 
instead of bowing as my comrades had done, I stood up erect aod 
gazed with my two eyes into all tlie eyes tuming towards me. I 
had been wamed of the battle, and I did not wiah to provoke it, 
but I woiild not fiy from it. I waited a second, and I feit the 
thrill and the emotion that ran through the liouse ; and then, 
iiiddenly stiired hy an Impulse of generous kindliness, the whole 
house burst into wild applause and shouts. The public, >o 
beloved and so loving, was intoxicated with joy. That e%'eniiig 
was certainly one of the finest triumphs of my whole care«r. 

Some artistes wei-e delighted, especially the women, for tfacR 
is one thing to remark with regard to our art : the men are roore 
jealous of the women than the women are amougst themsd^-ea. 
I have met with mauy enemies among male comedians, and 
with very few among acti-esses. 

I tbink that the dramatic art is essentially feminine:. 

To paint one s face, to hide one's real feelings, to try to pleue 
and to endeavour to attract attention — these are all (kutti 
for which we blame women and for which great indlllgcDce 
is shown. These same defects secm odious in a man. And yet 
the actor must endeavour to bc as attractive as possible, even it 
he is ohliged to have recourse to paint and to false beard and 
hair. He may be a Rcpublican, and he must uphold with 
warmth and convittion Royal ist theories. He may be a 
Conscrvative, and must niaintain anarchist pnnciples, if such 
be the good pleasure of the author. 

At the Th^ätre Franyais poor Maubant was a most advanoed 
ßadical, and his stature and bandsome face doomcd htm to pUy 
the parts of kings, emperors, and tyrants. As long as the re- 
hearsals went on Charleniagne or Cäsar could be heard swearin^ 
at tyrants, cursing the conquerors, and claiming the hardett 
punishments for them, I thoroughly enjoyed this struggle 
between the man and the actor. Perhaps this perpetual abstrac- 
tiun from himself gives the comedian a more feminine natdic 
However that may be, jt is certain that the actor is jealoiu at 
tiie actress. The courtesy of the well-educated man «luiiibes 
before the footlights, and the comediaii who in private life 
would render a aervice to a woman in any difficulty will pick a, 
quarrel with her on the stage. He would risk his life to ssve 



COMMENTS ON ARTISTES 829 

her from any danger in the road, on the railway, or in a boat, 
bat when onoe on the boards he will not do anything to help 
her out of a difficolty. If her memory should fail, or if she 
should make a ülae step, he would not hesitate to push her. I 
am going a long way, perhaps, but not so far as people may 
think. I have performed with some celebrated comedians who 
ha^e played me some bad tricks. On the other band, there are 
•ome actors who are admirable, and who are more men than 
oomedians when on the stage. Pierre Berton, Worms, and 
Gnitry are, and always will be, the most perfect modeis of 
friendly and protecting courtesy towards the woman comedian. 
I have played in a number of pieces with each of them, and, 
sobject as I am to stage fright, I have always feit perfect 
confidenoe when acting with these three artistes. I knew that 
their intelligenoe was of a high order, that they had pity on me 
for my fright, and that they would be prepared for any 
oervous weaknesses caused by it. Pierre Berton and Worms, 
both of them very great artistes, left the stage in füll artistic 
Tigour and vital strength, Pierre Berton to devote himself to 
Hterature, and Worms — no one knows why. As to Guitry, 
mudi the youngest of the three, he is now the first artist on the 
nench sti^^ for he is an admirable comedian and at the same 
time an artist, a very rare thing. I know very few artistes in 
France or in other coimtries with these two qualities combined. 
Henry Irving was an admirable artist, but not a comedian. 
Coquelin is an admirable comedian, but he is not an artist. 
Mounet-Sully has genius, which he sometimes places at the 
Service of the artist and sometimes at the service of the comedian ; 
but, on the other band, he sometimes gives us exaggerations as 
artist and comedian which make lovers of beauty and truth 
gnaah their teeth. Bartet is a perfect comidienne with a very 
delicate artistic sense. R^jane is the most comedian of comedians, 
and an artist when she wishes to be. 

Eleonora Düse is more a comedian than an artist ; she walks 
in paths that have been traced out by others ; she does not 
imitate them, certainly not, for she plants flowers where there 
were trees, and trees where there were flowers ; but she has never 
by her art made a single personage stand out identified by her 
name ; she has not created a being or a vision which reminds 
one of herseif. She puts on other people^s gloves, but she puts 



880 SARAH BERNHARDT 

them on inside out. And all this she has doae with infinite 
graoe and with careless unconsciousness. She b a great comedian, 
a very great comedian, but not a great artist, 

Novelli is a comedian of the old school which did not trouble 
much about the artistie aide. He is perfect in lat^fater and 
tears. Beatrice Patrick Campbell is especially an artist, and her 
talent is that of charm and thought : she execrates beaten paths ; 
she wants to create, and she creates. Antoine is often betrayed 
by his own powers, for his voice is heavy and bis general ap- 
pearanoe rather ordinary. As a comedian there is therefore 
often much to be desired, but he is alwäys an artist without 
equal, and our art owes much to him in its evoluticHi in the 
direction of truth. Antoine, too, is not jealous of the actress. 



XXX 

mr DBPARTX7RE FROH THE GOMEDIE FRANACISE— 

PBBPABATIONS FOB UY FIBST AMERICAN 

TOÜB— ANOTHEB VISIT TO LONDON 

The days whidi followed the retum of the Com^ie to its own 
home were yeiy trying for me. Our managcr wanted to subdue 
me, and he tortured me with a thousand little pin-pricks which 
were madi more painful for a nature like mine than so many 
stafaB with a knife. (At least I imagine so, as I have never had 
any.) I became irritable, bad-tempered on the slightest pro- 
vocatioD, and was in fact ill. I had always been gay, and now 
I was Bad. My health, which had ever been feeble, was 
cndangered by this state of chaos. 

Perrin gave me the role of the Aventurüre to study. I 
detested the pieoe, and did not like the part, and I considered 
the lines of VAventuritre very bad poetry indeed. As I cannot 
dissimulate well, in a fit of temper I said this straight out to 
Emile Augier, and he avenged himself in a most discourteous 
way on the first opportunity that presented itself. This was on 
the oocasion of my definite rupture with the Com^e Fran^aise, 
the day after the first Performance of VAvetUurih-e on Satur- 
day, April 17, 1880. I was not ready to play my part, and the 
proc^ of this was a letter I wrote to M. Perrin on April 14, 1880. 

** I regret very much, my dear Monsieur Perrin,^ I said, " but 
I have such a sore throat that I cannot speak, and am obliged 
to stay in bed. Will you kindly excuse me ? It was at that 
wretcfaed Trocadero that I took cold on Sunday. I am very 
much worried, as I know it will cause you inconvenienoe. Any- 
how, I will be ready for Saturday, whatever happens. A thousand 
ezcoaes and kind regards. 

<<Saeah Bernhabdt.^ 



382 SARAH BERNHARDT 

I wfts able to play,aa I had recovered from mysore thro«t,biii 
I bad not studi«! my part during the three da3fs. as I could DOt 
apeak. I had not been able to try on my costtunes either, u I 
had been in bed all the time. On Friday I went to ask Perrin to 
put ofi the perfonnaiice of VAventuriere until the neit week. 
He replied that it was impossible ; that every seat was booked. 
and that the piece had to be played the foUowing Tuesday for 
the subscription night. I let mysclf be persuaded to art, a» I 
had confidence in my star, 

" Oh," I Said to niyself, " I shall get through it all right* 
I did not get through it, though, or rather I came throii|^ it 
very badly. My coatume was a failure ; it did not fit me. Tbej 
had always jewed at me for my thinness, and in this ditm I 
looked like an English tca-pot. My voice was still rather hoaise, 
which very much disconcerted me. I played the fimt part dt 
the role very badly, and the second part rather better. At a 
certain momeut during the scene of \'iolence I was standing t^ 
resting my two hands od the table, on whieh there was a U^itid 
caadelabra. There was a cry raised in the house, for mj lüir 
was very neai- to the flame. The foUowing day one of the papG» 
Said that, as I feit things were all going wrong, I wanted taaei 
my hair on fire so that the piece should come to an end beAm l 
failed completely. That was certainly the very climax of 
stupidity. The Press did not praise nie,and the Press was qmte 
right. I had played badly, looked ugly, and been in a bad 
temper, but I considered that there was uevertheless a waot of 
courtesy and indulgence with reganl to me. Auguste Vito, in 
the Figaro of April 18, 1880, finished hisartielewitb the phme: 
"The new Clorinde ^the Adventuress) in the last two acts made 
some gestures with her amis and raovements of her body «hieb 
one regrets to see taken from Virginie of L'Jsxomtnoir asd 
introduced at the Comedie Fran^aise." The only fault whidi I 
never have had, which 1 never shall have, is vulgarity. TbU 
was an injustice and a determination to hurt my feelings. Vitu 
was no friend of mine, but I understood from this way of atUck- 
ing me that petty hatreds were lifting up their rattlcaiiBie 
heada. All the low-down, little viper world was crawling oboot 
imder my flowers and my laureis. I had known what was going 
on for a long time, and sometinies I had heard rattling behind 
the scenes. I wanted to have the enjoyment of beanng ibeoi 



I LEAVE THE COMEDIE 888 

all rattle together, and so I threw my laureLs and my flowers to 
tlie four Winds of lieaven. In the most abrupt way I broke the 
oontract wbidi boond me to the Com^e Fran^^aise, and through 
tfaat to Fkris. 

I shut myself up all the moming, and after endless discussions 
with myselt I decided to send in my resignation to the Comedie. 
I therefore wrote to M. Perrin this letter : 

■ 

**To THK DiBECTOB. 

^ You have compelled me to play when I was not rcady. 
Yoa have only allowed me eight rehearsals on the stage, and the 
play has been lehearsed in its entirety only three times. I was 
nnwilling to appear before the public. You insisted absolutely. 
What I foresaw has happened. The result of the Performance 
has sorpassed my anticipations. A critic pretended that I 
played Virginie of VAssommoir instead of Dona Clorinde of 
L^Aventurüre. May Emile Augier and Zola absolve me ! It is 
my first rebuff at the Comedie ; it shall be my last. I wamed 
yoa on the day of the dress rehearsal. You have gone too far. 
I keep my wonL By the timeyou receive this letter I shall have 
left Faris. Will you kindly accept my immediate resignation, 
and believe me 

" Yours sincerely, 

" Sarah Bernhardt.^ 

In Order that this resignation might not be refused at the 
oommittee meeting, I scnt copies of my letter to the GatJois and 
the ftgaro^ and it was published at the sanie tinie as M. Perrin 
reeeived it. 

Tlien, quite decided not to be influcnced by anybody, I set off 
at onoe with my maid for Huvre. I had left ordcrs that no one 
was to be told where I wa.s, and the first cvcning I wa.s there I 
passed in strict incognito. But the next moming I was rccog- 
nised, and telcgrams wcre sent to Paris to that effect. I was 
besi^ed by reporters. 

I took refuge at La Heve, where I spcnt the whole day on the 
beach, in spite of the cold rain which feil unccasingly. 

I went back to the Hotel Frascati frozcn, and in the night I 
was so feverish that Dr. Gibcrt was rcqucstcd to call. Miulame 
Guerard, who was sciit for by my alanncd maid, came at once. 
I was feVerish for two days. During this time the newspapers 




834 SARAH BERNHARD 

cuntinued to pour out a flood of iiik oa paper. ThU tumed to 
bitteniess, aiid I was occu^ied uf thc worst müdeeds. 'Vbx com- 
mittee i^iit a hiiiMier to my hotel in the Avenue de VilUcra« 
[ and tbis man declared tliat afler having knocked ÜOfx Üma 
I at the door. aud having rec-eived no answer, be bad left (»pyt &c. 
&c. 

This man was lying. In the hotel there »ere my sou and i»u 
tutor, my st«ward, ttie huf'band of iny inaid, my butler, the cotrit, 
the kitchen-maid, the sccond lady» niaid, and five dogs; bat it 
was all in vain that I protested against this minion of the U« ; 
it was useles». 

The Com^ie must, according to the nilea, send tne ihm 
summonses. Tbi» was not doiie, and a law-suit was ccHsmenced 
against me. It was lost in advance. 

Maitre Allou, the advocate of the Cum^ie FVanf»K, 
invented wicked little bistories about nie. He. took [Jeuara in 
trying to make me ridiculous. He bad a big file of letten from 
ine to Perrin, letters wbich I had written in softer monicnt! or 
in anger. Perrin had kept them all, even thc shortest notea I 
had kept none of hia. Tlie few letters from Perrin bo nijuelf 
wbich liave been published were given by bini Irom bis lettv- 
copy book. Of courae, he only itbowed tbosc whieh eould iiH|Mre 
tbe public witb an idea of bis patcmal kitidneas to me, &c. 
&c. 

Tlie pleading of Maitre AUou was very äucees^ul : heduawH 
tliree bundrod thousand francK daiuageH, in additioii to Üir 
confiücation for tbe benelit of tbe Comedle Fratifoise oT U» 
forty-three thousand francs whicb that tbcatre owed mfc 

Maitre Barboux was my advocate. He was an intimate bjtnd 
of Perrin, He defended nie very iiidifferciitly, I wan condemnel 
to pay a hundrcd thousand francs tu the Cunit-dic FrtEUi^lK aiul 
to lose the forty-thrce thousand francs which I had left with thc 
management. I may say that I did not trouble much about tbii 
law-suit. 

Three days after my rcsignation Jarrett called upon me; H« 
proposcd to me, for the third tinie, to make a contnct for 
America. Tliia time I lent an ear to bis propotütions. We bail 
never spoken about terms, and this is what he pruposed : 

Five thousand francs for each perfonnaiice and oiie-holf of Üw 
receipt? above fifteen thousand francs ; that is to aay, tbe day 





l^ 



» 



« 



1 

'i 












1- 




1 1 ■ i 



|l 



i ■ 



FIRST AMERICAN TOUR 885 

tbe receipts leached the sam of twenty thousand francs I 
should reoeive aewen thousand five hundied fraocs. In addition, 
one thousand finmcs per week for my hotel bill ; also a special 
PuUman car, on all railway joumeys, containing a bedroom, 
a diawing-room with a piano, four beds for my staff, and 
two oooks to oook for me on the way. Mr. Jarrett was to have 
ten per oent. on all sums reoeived by me. 

I aecepted everything. I was anxious to leave Paris. Jarrett 
immediately sent a tel^ram to Mr. Abbey, the great American 
imprtuario^ and he landed on this side thirteen days later. I 
signed the contract made by Jarrett, which was discussed clause 
by clause with the American manager. 

I was given, on signing the contract, one hundred thousand 
finmcs as advanoe payment for my expenses before departure. I 
was to [day eight pieces : Hemani^ Phedre^ Adrierme LecouvreWy 
Frtn^roUf La Dame aux Camilias^ Le Sphinx, L'Eirangire, and 
La Princeue Georges. 

I ordered twenty-five modern dresses at LaferriereX of whom 
I was then a customer. 

At Baron^s I ordered six costumes for Adrienne Lecouvreur 
and four costumes for Hemani, I ordered from a young 
theatre castumier named Lepaul my costume for Phidre. 
These thirty-six costumes cost me sixty-one thousand francs ; 
bot out of this my costume for PhMre alone cost four thousand 
francs. The poor artistrcostumier had embroidered it himself. 
It was a marvel. It was brought to me two days before my 
departure, and I cannot think of this moment without emotion. 
Irritated by long waiting, I was writing an angry letter to the 
costumier when he was announced. At first I received him 
very badly, but I found him looking so unwell, the poor man, 
that I made him sit down and asked how he came to be so ill. 

** Yes, I am not at all well,^ he said in such a weak voice 
that I was quite upset. ^^ I wanted to finish this dress, and I 
have worked at it three days and nights. But look how nice 
your costume is ! ^ And he spread it out with loving respect 
before me. 

** Look ! ^ remarked Guerard, " a little spot ! *" 

** Ah, I pricked mysclf,*" answered the poor artist quickly. 

But I had just caught sight of a drop of blood at the comer 
of his Ups. Hc wipcd it quickly away, so that it should not 



SARAH BERNHARDT ^M 

fall OD the pr«tty costiime od the other little apot had dant. 
I gave the artist the four thousand francs, wbicb he took «ith 
trembling handa. He murmured some unintelligible words uid 
withdrew. 

" Take away this costume, take it away ! " I cried \o mo* 
petit Dame and my maid. And I med so much that I had Ute 
hiccoughs all the evening- Nobody understood why I «■• 
crjing. But I reproached myself bitterly for having »ORÜd 
the poor man. It waa piain that he was dying. And by tlw 
force of circumstances I had unwittingly forged tbe first luk 
of the chain of death which was draggtng to the tomb Üäa 
youth of twenty-two — this artist »ith a future before him. 

I would never vfear this costume, It is still in ita boK. 
yellowed with age, Its gold embroidery is tamühed hy tini^ 
and the little spot of blood has slightly eaten away the atoff, 
As to the poor artist, I leamt of his death during niy stay tB 
London in the month of May, for before lea\'ing for Americi 
I signed with Hullingühead and Mayer, tbe impraarü ot Uk 
Comedie, a contract which bound me to them ^m Maf M 
to June 24 (1880). 

U was during this period that the the law-suit wbid) ttc 
Comedie Fran^ise brought againat me was decided. 

Maitre Barboux did not consult tne about anything, and mj 
succesa in London, which was achieved withuut the help of tbe 
Comedie, irritated the committee, the Prvs», and the pubUc. 

Maitre Allou in his pleadings pret«nded that the London 
public had tired of me very quickly, and did not care to oome to 
tbe Performances of the Comtkiie in which I appeared. 

The foUowing list gives the best posaihle denial to tbe 
assertions of Maitre Allou : 



PEEFOHMÄNCES GIVEN BT THE COMEDIE FRAJfCAISR 

AT THE GAIETY THKATRB 

(The * iDdicftle» tbe piccea in «hieb t appeared.) 

1878. Play«. fi^. 

lai.e 2. Le Miuo'lirape (ProloKU«) ; PhMre (Acte 11.); Loi 

Pr&ieUM« Bidloules 'U/M 

„ 3. L'Etnng^e *Uftt 

„ t lA Fllt nuturel %u» 



FIRST AMERICAN TOUR 837 

Beceipts 

1879. Plays. in Francs. 

iwiMb 5. Las d^rioea de Marianne ; La Joie fait Peur • 10,100 

« 6. LeMentenr; LeM6deoininalgr61ai .... 9,530 

„ 7. La Marquia de Villemer 9,960 

„ 7. T^tftafTe (mattn^) ; La Joie fait Peur .... 8,700 

„ A. Heraani »13.600 

t, 10. La Bemi-monde 11,525 

9 11. Mlle. de Belle-Isle ; n fant qn'ime porte soit ouverte ou 

fermto 10,420 

« 11. Le Poet-Scriptnm ; Le Gendre de M. Poirier . • 10,445 

« lt. PhMre »13,920 

9 14. Le Lothier de Cr6m6ne ; Le Sphinx .... *13,350 

^ 14. Le Miaanihrope (matin6e) ; Les Plaideors .... 8,800 

» Ift. L'AmiFrits 9,375 

„ 17. Zaire ; Les PrMenses Bidicoles *1 3,076 

n 18. Le Jen de Tamonr et du hasard ; II ne faut jurer de rien . 11,550 

„ 18. Le Demi-monde . . 12,160 

„ 20. Lea Fourchambault 11,200 

w n. Hemani *13,375 

„ n. Tartvfe (matin6e) ; II faut qu*une porte soit ouverte ou 

ferm6e 2,115 

„ 28. Gfingoire ; On ne badice pas avec l'amour . . • 11,080 

9 24. Chea Tarocat ; Hlle. de la Seigliöre 9,660 

„ 25. L'Etrang^re (matin^) »11,710 

« 25. Le Barbier de Seville 9,180 

M 26. Andromaque ; Las Plaideurs *13,350 

^ 27. L'AYare ; L'BtinceUe 11,775 

H 28. Le Sphinx ; Le D^pit amoareux *12,860 

„ 28. Hemani (matin^e) *1 3,730 

„ 80. Buy-Blas •! 3,660 

Jolj 1. Mercadet ; L*Bt6 de la St. Martin 9,850 

„ 2. Buy-Blas •13,160 

„ 3. Le Hariage de Victorine ; Les Fonrberies de Scapin . . 10,165 

„ 4. Les Femmes savantes ; L'Etincello 11,960 

„ 5. Les Fourchambault 10,700 

« 5. PhMre (matin^) ; La Joie falt Feur .... ^14,265 

7. Le Marquis de Villemer 10,565 

8. L'AmiFrita 11,005 

„ 9. Hemani •14,275 

„ 10. Le Sphinx •13,775 

„ 11. Philiberte ; L'Etourdi 11,500 

„ 12. Buy-Blas ... •12,660 

», 12. Gringoire (matin6e) ; Hemani (Acte V.) ; La Bönödiction ; 

Davenant ; L*Etincelle ^13,725 

Total receipts . . . . 492,150 francs 

Tlie average of the receipts was about 11,716 francs. These 
figures show that, out of the forty-three Performances given 
by the Comedie Fran^aise, the eighteen Performances in which 

Y 






8 SARAH BERNHARDU 

I took ])art g&ve an average of 13,350 francs each, whiUbe< 
tweiity-five otber Performances gave an average of 10,000 



While I was in London I leamed that I had lost niy law-cait. 
"The Court— with its ' Inasmuch &a,' ' Nevertheless,' &t— 
tl«clares hereby that Atlle. Sarah Bernhardt loses all the rights, 
Privileges, and advantages. resulting to her profit froro tbe 
engagemeiit which >ihe contracted with the Company by 
Butheutic decree of March 24, 1873, acd condemnfl her to 
pay to the plaintiff in his lawful quality the sum of eoe 
hundi-ed thousand francs damages." 

I gave my last performance i[i London the veiy day that the 
papers puhlished this unjust vcrdict. I was applauded, and the 
public overwhelmed nie with ßowers. 

I had taken with nie Madame Devoyod, Mary Jullien, lülh, 
my aiater Jeanne, Pierre Berton, 3.Vain, Talbot, Dieudomif— 
all artistes of great repute. 

I played all the pieces which I was to play in America. 
Vttu, Sarcey, Lapoinnieraye had said so niuchagainst me ÜMt 
1 was stiipefied to leam from Mayer that they had arrived IB 
London to be present at niy perfomiances. 

I coidd no longer (uiderstand what it all meant, I tboi^t 
that the Parisian jounialists were leaving me iu peace at hA, 
and hcrc were my worst enemies comiug acrosa the aea to seeand 
hear me. Perhaps they were hoping — like the Englishinan who 
followed tho lion-tamer to see him devoured by his lions ! 

Vitu in the Figaro had finished one of his bitter artides 
with these word« : 

" Hut we have hcard enough, surely, of MUe. Sarah Bcruhaidt ! 
Let her go abroad with her monotunous voicc and her funenal 
fantasies ! Here we have nothing ncw to leam &oni her talents 
or her caprices. . ." 

Sarcey, in an equally bitter article, n propos of ray resignatioa 
at the Comiklie, had finished in the.se teims : 

" Therc comes a time when iiaughty children must go to bed." 
As to the amiable Lapomnieraye, he had showered on my 
devoted head all the ruinours thathe had o>Ilected from all sideiL 
Biit as thfy said he had no originality, he trii'd to show that he 
also could dip his pcn in viniom, and he hnd cried, " H( 
joumey ! " And here they all came, thcse three, 





SARAH BERNHABOT AS 'ASDROMAQtK 



w y 



li 



■■ 1 



ANOTHER VISIT TO LONDON 330 

others with tJicm, And the day folloiving my first pCTform- 
Biice of Jdrienn^ Leamvrrur, Augaste Vitu telegraphed to the 
Figaro s long article, in «■hieb he criticised me in certain sccnes, 
regrett.ing that I had not followed the exaMi])le of Rachel, whom 
I bad never seen. And he finished his article thus : 

"The sinceiit^ of my admiration cannot be doubteti when I 
avow that in the fifth nct Sarah Bernhardt rose to a lieight of 
dramatic power, ta a force of expression which coidd not be sur- 
passed. She played the long and crucl »cene in which Adrienne, 
poisoned by tlie Duchesse de Bouillon, strugglcs aguiist death 
in her fearful agony, not only with immense taletit, but with a 
sc-ience of art which up to the present she has never revealod. 
If the Pnrisian public had heard, or ever hears, Mlle. Sarah 
Bernhardt cry out with the piercing accent which she put iuto 
her words that evening, ' I will not die, I will not die ! ' it would 
weep with her." 

Sarcey finished an admirable critif^ue with these woi-ds : 
" She is prodigious ! " 

And Laponimeraye, who had once more bccomo amiable 
begged me to go back to the Comcdic, which was waiting for me, 
which would kill the fattcd calf on the retum of its prodigal 
child. 

Sarcey, in his article in the Temps, conflcsratcd five columus of 
praises to roe, and linished his article with these wurda : 

" Nothing, nothing can ever take the place of this last act 
of Adrienne Lerouvreur at the Comi5die. Ah ! she should 
have stayed at the ComiMic. Ves, I come back to iny 
litany ! I cannot hclp it ! We shall lose as much as she will, 
Yes, I know that we can say Mlle, Dudlay is left to us. Oh, she 
will always stay nith us! I cannot help saying it. What n 
pity ! What a pity ! " 

And cight dnys after, on June 7, he wrote in lii>i thcatiiriil 
feuiUeton, on the first jicrformanceof Fron/röw; 

" I do not think that the emotion at any thcatrehas ever bcen 
HO profound. Thcre are, in the dramatic art, cxccptional times 
when theartistesare transporledout of Ihcmselves, ciirricdabove 
themselvcs, and compcllcd to oboj this inward 'demon' (I 
^ould liave said * god '), who whispcrcd to Corneille his iin- 
mortal verses. 
"' Well,"" Said I to Mlle. Sarah Bemhaitlt, aft«r the [iliiy : 



840 SARAH BERNHARDi 

' this is an evening which will open to you, if you wish, tbedoon 
of the Comedie Fran^aise. ' Do not speak of it,' said she, 'to 
nie. We will not speak of it.' But vhat a pity ! WTiat a 
pity!" 

My success in Froufrou was so marked that it fillcd the void 
left bv Coquelin, who, after having signed, with the consent of 
Perrin, with Messrs. Mayer and HoUingshead, declared that be 
could not keep his engagements. It was a nasty coup de Janiac, 
by which Perrin hoped to injure my London Performances. He 
had previously aent Got to me to ask officially if I wouki not 
come hack to the Comedie. He said I should be penuitted t» 
make my American tour, and that everything would be arranged 
on my retum. But he should not have sent Got. He shooU 
have sent Worms or le pctit ph-e Franchue — Delaunay. TV 
one might have persuaded nie by his afTectiotiate reasonin^ Bad 
the other by the falsity of arguments presented with such grate 
that it would have been difficult to refuse. 

Got declared that I should be only too happy to corae back 
to the Comedie on my retnm to America, " For you kno«," he 
added, "you krtow, my little one, that you will die in thtt 
country. And if you come back you will perhaps be only loo 
glad to retum to the Comedie Fran^aise, for you will bc in a bwl 
State of health, and it will take sonie time before you are righl 
again. Believe me, sign, and it is not we who will benefit byit, 
but you ! " 

" I thank you," I answered, " but I prefer to choose mj ln^ 
pital myself on my return. And now you can go and lern ■■ 
in peace." I fancy I said, " Get out ! " 

That evening he was present at a performance of /Vix^fnt j 
he eame to my dressing-room and said : 

*' You had better sign, believe me ! And come \mA lo 
commence with Froufrou ! I promise you a happy retuni !" 

I • refuscd, and finishcd my Performances in London wiÜMit 
Coquelin. 

The average of tlie receipts was nine thousand francs, and 
I left London with regrct — I who had left it with sc» much 
pleature the first time, But London is a city apart ; its cbann 
unveils little by little. llje first impression for a Frenchmao « 
wom&n is that of kecn sufienng, of mortal mnici. Tbooe tall 
bouscs with sash Windows without curtains ; those ujjly moint- 



ANOTHER VISIT TO LONDON 841 

menüs aU in mouming with the dust and grime and black and 
greasy dirt ; those flower-sellers at the comers of all the streets, 
with ÜUX8 sad as the rain and bedraggled feathers in their hats 
and lamentable clothing ; the black mud of the streets ; the low 
Aj ; the fiinereal mirth of drunken women hanging on to men 
just as drunken ; the wild dancing of dishevelled children round 
the Street organs, as numerous as the omnibuses — all that caused 
iwentj-fiTe years ago an indefinite suffering to a Farisian. But 
little by little one finds that the profusion of the Squares is 
restfiil to the eyes ; that the beauty of the aristocratic ladies 
effiiees the image of the flower-sellers. . . . 

The constant movement of Hyde Park, and especially of 
Botten Bow, fiUs the heart with gaiety. The broad EngUsh 
hotpitality, which is manifested from the first moment of 
making an acquaintance ; the wit of the men, which compares 
&Toarably with the wit of Frenchmen ; and their gallantry, much 
more respectful and therefore much more flattering, left no 
Rgrets in me for French gallantry. 

But I prefer our pale mud to tiie London black mud, and our 
Windows opening in the centre to the horrible sash Windows. I find 
also that nothing marks more clearly the difTerence of character 
of the two nations than their respective Windows. Om^ open 
wide ; the sun enters in our houses even to the heart of the 
dwelling ; the air sweeps away all the dust and all the microbes. 
They shut in the same manner, simply as thcy open. 

English Windows open only half-way, either the top half or 
tbe bottom half. One may even havc the pleasure of opening 
them a little at the top and a little at the bottom, but not at 
all in the middle. The sun cannot enter openly, nor the air. 
Tlie window keeps its selfish and perfidious character. I hate 
the English Windows. But now I love London and — is there any 
need to add ? — its inhabitants. 

Sinoe my first visit I have retumed there twenty-one times, 
and the public has always remained faithful and afl*ectionate« 



A TOUB 15 DBNMABK— BOTAL FAMILIE»— THK " 
KIGHT DAYS" OF SARAH BERNHABUT 

Afteh this firsl test of niy freeclom I feit morc t 
than before. Although I was very weak of Constitution, tbf 
possibility of doing as I wanted without hindmiKie uid «ritbonl 
ciintrul caluied my nervous systein, and niy licalth, whicfa hail 
beeD w(»kBned by [lerpetutil irritatiüiis aiid by excvMive work, 
was improvfd. I rejKtscd oti the laureb which I had gatbeivd 
inyüelf, and I alept better. SIeeping better, I »immmo«) to «t 
better. And great was theastonishment of niy üttle voart «hm 
they saw thcir idol come back froni London round «nd twf. 

I remained several days in Paris ; then I set out for Bnuael». 
where I was to play Jdriejme Lecouvreur and J-^rt/ufrou. 

The Bdgian public — by wbicli I me&n tbc Bru&seU pabBe — 
is the onc moat like our own. In Belgium I never feel Ümi I 
am in a strnnge coimtry. Our language is the langinge of tlic 
cotintry ; the horses and carriages are always in peilbct ta«te ; 
the fasbionable wonien resemble our own faKhionitblc mMmni; 
cocottea abound ; tbe boteis are as good as in Paris ; tbe c*b- 
horses are as poor : tbe newspapers are as spitcfUL niiiwli is 
gossiping Paris in miniature. 

I played for the first tinie at the Theätre de la MoBnaie^wid 1 
feit uncomfortable in that iinmense and üigid housG. But tbr 
benevolent enthusia'sm of tbe public soon warined m«, wid I 
sball never forget tbe four Performances I gave therc 

Then I set out for Copenhogen, whcre I was to girc &\t 
Performances at tbe Tbeatre Uoyal, 

Our arrival, wbich doubtless was anxiously cxpected, reftUj 
frigbtened ine. More than tvco thousand pcrsoii» wfao wtR 
asHtiuibk'd in the statiou whcn the troin canic in gave a li 





TOUR 



DENMARK 




5 terrible tb*t I did not ktiow what was happt-iiing. But w\ 
M. de FallestD, manager uF the Theatre Royal, and the Fil 
Clin III berlaiii of the King entered my t-ompartment, and 
ine ti> ähow mysfU' at the window to gmtity the ciiriosity 
public, the huiTahs began again, and theii I iinderstood. But 
a dreadful anxiety now took possession of nie, I oould never, I 
was sure, rise to what was expected from me. My slender tri 
Wüuld inspire disdain in those niagiiifiL-ent men and th< 
splendid and healtby women. I stepped out of the train 
diminished by comparison that I had the Sensation of beii 
Dotlüng more than a breath of air : and I saw the crowd, sul 
inissive to the police, divide into two compact lines, leaving 
Wide path for niy carriage. I possed slowly throiigh this douUi 
hedge of sympathetic sight-seers, who threw me Öowers and kisses 
and lifled tlieir hats to me. In the conrse of my long career I 
have had niany triumphs, receptions, and ovation», but my 
reception by the Danish people remains one of my most 
chcrisbcd meniorie». The living- hedge lasted tili we reachcd 
the Hätel d'Angleterre, where I went in, after thanking on 
more the sympathetic fricnds who suiToundtd mc. 

In_tlie evening the King, the Queen, and their daughter, 
Princess of Wales, were pre^int at the first performance 
Adriaine Lecouvratr, 

This is what the Figaro of August 16, 1880, said 

"Sarah Bernhardt has playe(i Adrienne Lecouvreur with 
tremendous auccess before a ma^iiificent audience. ITic ro\ 
futnity, the King und the Queen of the Hellene«, as well 
the Prineess of Wales, were present at the perfomiance, The 
Queens threw tlieir boutguets to the French artiste, aniidüt 
applaubc. It was an unpi-ecedeiited triumph. The public 
delinous. To-niorrow Froufrou will be played." 

The Performance of froufrou wa* eejually successfuL Bu 
I was only playing every other day, I wanted to ^■isit Elsim 
The King placed the royal ateainer at my disposal for thU litl 
joumey. 

I liud iitvited all iny Company. 

M. de Fallesen, the First Chaniberlain, and manager of 
Tlientre Royal, had ordereil a tiiagniücent luiich for us, 
ied by the iirincipiil notabüitics of Uenmark, we vis 



1 

TM 

uU^ 
sses 
arl 
ray 

lOSt 

hed 

1 




344 SARAH BERNHARDT 

Hamlet's tomb, the spring of Ophelia, luid tbe 
Marienlyst. Tben we went over the casUe of Kraut 
regretted my ^nsit to Elsinore. The reality ditl not come tqi 
tlie expectation. The so-called tomb of Hamlet is represented 
by a sniall column, ugly und mounifiil-lookiiig; there is liltle 
venlurc, and the desolate sadness of det-eit without beaatj'. 
They gave nie a little water from the spring of Ophelia to 
drink, and the Baron de Fallesen broke the glass, withont 
allowing any one eise to drink from the spring. 

I retunied from this very ordinary joumey feeling ratlur 
Bad. Leaning against the aide of the vessel, I watched the water 
gliding past, when I notit-ed a few rose petals on the surbc«. 
Carried by an invisible current, they were borae against the sidc» 
of the boat ; then the petals increased to thousands, aud iu the 
mysterioiis sunset rose the mclodiaus chant of the sons of the 
North. I looked up. In front of iis, rocked on the water by the 
evening brceze, was a pretty l>üat with outspread sails ; a acon of 
yoiuig mcn, throwing handfuls of roses into the waters, wbich were 
eiirried to us by the little wavelets, were singing the mar%'eIlous 
legends of paat centurie». And all that was for me : all thcMe 
roses, all that love, all that inusical poetr>-. And that setting 
sun was also for me. And in this fleeting inoment, wbich 
brought all the beauty of life near to me, I feit myself *ery 
uear to God. 

The foUowing day, at the close of the performance, tbe King 
sent for me to come into the royal box, and he decorated 
me with a very pretty Order of MerJt adomed with diamoniL«. 
He kept me some time in his box, askiiig me about differenf 
thingB. I was presented to the Queen, and I noticcd immediately 
that sho was somewbat deaf. I was rather embamissed, but tbe 
Queen of Grcete came to my rescue. She was beautifiil, but 
niuoh less so than her lovely sister the Princess of Wales. Oh, 
thut adurable and seductive face— with the eyes of a child of the 
North, and cIeissIc features of virginal purity, a long, supple Bodt 
that seemcd made for queenly bows, a sweet and almost tjpid 
sniile. The iudefinnble charm of this Princess made her k> 
radiant that I saw nothing but her> and I went from the box 
leaving bebind nie, I fear, but a poor opinion of my inteUignacc 
with the royal couples of Denmark and Greece, ^^h 

The evening before my departure I was invitcd to sj^^^l 



ROYAL FAMILIES 845 

sapper. Fallesen made a speech, and thanked us in a very 
cdiamiiiig manner for the " French week " which we had given 
in Denmark. 

Robert Walt made a very cordial speech on behalf of the 
Press, very short but very sympathetic. Our Ambassador in a 
fcw courteous words thcuiked Robert Walt, and then, to the 
general surprise, Baron Magnus, the Pnissian Minister, rose, and 
in a loud voice, tuming to me, he said, " I drink to France, 
which gives us such great artistes ! To France, la belle France, 
whom we all love so much ! ^ 

Haidly ten years had passed since the terrible war. French 
men and women were still sufiering ; their wounds were not 
healed. 

Baron Magnus, a really amiable and charming man, had from 
the üme of my arrival in Copenhagen sent me flowers with his 
Card. I had sent back the flowers, and begged an attaclU of the 

Engliah Embassy, Sir Francis , I believe, to ask the German 

baron not to renew his gifts. The Baron laughed good-naturedly, 
and waited for me as I came out of my hotcl. He camc to me 
with outstretched hands, and spoke kindly and rcasonable words. 
Everybody was looking at us, and I was embarrassed. It was 
evident that he was a kind man. I thanked him, touched in 
spite of myself by his frankness, and I went away quite undecided 
as to what I really feit. Twice he renewed his visit, but I did 
not receive him, but only bowed as I left my hotel. I was 
somewhat irritated at the tenacity of this amiable diplomatist. 
On the evening of the supper, when I saw him take the attitude 
of an orator, I feit myself grow pale. He had barely finishcd 
his little speech when I jumped to my feet and cried, "Let us 
drink to France, but to the whole of France, Monsieur TAmbas- 
sadeur de Prusse ! ^ I was nervous, sensational, and theatrical 
without intending it. 

It was like a thunderbolt. 

The orchestra of the court, which was placed in the upper 
galleiy, hegBJi playing the " Marseillaise."* At this time the 
Danes hated the Grermans. The suppcr-room was suddcnly 
deserted as if by enchantment. 

I went up to my rooms, not wishing to be questioned. I had 
gone too far. Anger had made me say more than I intended. 
Baron Magnus did not deserve this thrust of mine. And also 



H BERNHARDT 

iny iiistiDct forcwam«! ine uf resutb* to follow. I went to bed 
angry with mystlf, witli tlie Uaioii, aiid «ritb all the worlcL 

About ßve o clock in thc uioming I romm«iu:»l to doxe, when 
I was Awakencd by Üie growling of iny dug. Theii I Iwanl 
souie one knocking &t the door of the saUm. I calied ttiy oumI, 
who woke her hasbaiid, and he went to open the door. An 
stäche froiii the French Embassy "»« waiting to speak to meon 
urgent business, I put on an eriuiue tea-gown and wcot to an 
the \Tsitor. 

" I beg you," he said, " to write a note inimedii^jr to 
explain that the words you said were not mennt. The Bwon 
Magnus, whouj we all respect, is in a very awkward sitaation 
and we are all upset about it. Prince BismarL'k is not to be 
triäed with, and it may be very serious for the Baron," 

" Oh, I Bsaure you, Monsieur, I am a hundredfold matt 
uiihappy about it thaii you, for the Baron is a good and chann- 
ing man. He lacked political tact, and in this case Jt i» 
excusablc, because I am not a wonian of politics. I was ladung 
in coolness. 1 would give iny right haud to repair the ilL* 

" We don't ask you for so muth as tliat, as it would 
spoÜ the beauty of your gesturea ! ■" {He was French, you Mt) 
" Here is tlie rough copy of a letter. ^^'i^ you take it, rewriteit, 
sign it, and everything will be at an end ?" 

But that was unacceptable. The wording of this letLer gare 
twiated and rather cowardly explaiiations. I reject«d it, anl 
after scveral attempb to rewrite it I gave up in despair and did 
notlüng. 

ITu«; hundred persons had been present at the aupper, in 
addition to the royal orchestfa and the attendant^. £verjbody 
had heard tJie amiable but awkward speecb of the Baron. I had 
replied in a very excited inanner. The public and the Pres» had 
all been witnesses of my alffaradt:: wc were the victiois of cm 
own fooliülmes«, the Baron and myself. If such a thing wen to 
happen at the present time I should not care a pin for public 
opinion, and I xbould even take pleasure in ridiculing niywelf in 
Order tu do justice to a brave and g^ant mau. But at that 
time I was very nervous and luit-ompromisingly patriotic Anti 
al«o, perhaps, I thought I was sume one of iniportancc. SAwx 
then life lias taught me that if one is to be famoua it can onlj 
really beconie manifest aller death. To-day 1 aui going do«ti 



BEFORE MY JOURNEY 847 

the hill of life, and I r^ard gaily all the pedestals on which I 
have been lifted up, and there have been so many, so inany of 
theoi that their fragments, broken by the same hands that had 
raiaed them» have made me a solid pillar, from which I look out 
OD life, happy with what has been and attentive to what 
wiUbe. 

My stupid vanity had wounded one who meant no härm, and 
this incident has always left in me a feeling of remorse and 
diagrin. 

I kft Copenhagen amidst applause and the repeated cries 
rf •* Vive la France ! ^ From all tiie windows hung the French 
flag, fluttering in the breeze, and I feit that this was not only 
foT me, but agcinsi Germany — I was snre of it. 

Sinee then the Germans and the Danes are solidly united, 
and I am not certain that several Danes do not still bear me ill- 
will because of this incident of the Baron Magnus. 

I came back to Paris to make final preparations for my joumey 
to America. I was to set sail on October 15. 

One day in August I was having a reception of all my friends, 
who came to see me in füll force, because I was about to set out 
for a long joumey. 

Among the nuniber were Girardin, Count Kapenist, Marshai 
Canrobert, Georges Ciairin, Arthur Meyer, Duquesnel, the 
beautiful Augusta Holmes, Raymond de Montbel, Nordenskjold, 
O'Connor, and other friends. I chatted gaily, happy to be 
atirrounded by so many kind and intellectual friends. 

Giraidin did all he could to persuade me not to undcrtake 
thb joumey to America. He had been the friend of Rachel, 
mnd told me the sad end of her joumey. 

Arthur Meyer was of opinion that I ought always to do 
what I thought best. The other friends discussed the subject. 
That admirable man, whom France will always worship, 
Canrobert, said how much he should miss and regret those 
intimate causeries at our five o'clock teas. 

•*But,^ said he, "we have not the right to try, in our 
afiectionate selfishness, to hinder our young friend from doing 
all she can in the strife. She is of a combative nature.^ 

•* Ah yes ! "" I cried. " Yes, I -am bom for strife, I feel it. 
Nothing pleases me likc having to master a public, perhaps 
hostile, who have read and hcard all that the Press has said 



818 SARAH BERNHARDT 

against me. But I nm aoiry that I cannot playi not obIj 
in Paris but in all France, my two big successes, jtdritrautMid 
rrmtfrou."" 

*' As to that, you can count oii tne ! " excluined Fdlx 
Duquesne). " My dear Sarah, you had your first successes wiä 
liie, and it is with me that you will have your last. . . ."■ 

Evcrvbody protested, and 1 jumped up. 

" Wait one momcnt," said he. *• Last successes unti] you L-ome 
back from America ! If you will consent, you can count on me 
for everything. I will obtain, at any price, theatres in all the 
large towns,and we willgive twenty-five Performances duringtbt 
inonth of September. As to financial arrangeuients, they will 
be of the simplest: twenty-five Performances — fifty thotuwKl 
francs. To-mon-ow I will give you one half of this sum, and 
sign a contract with you, so that you will not have tiioe to 
change your mind," 

I clapped my hands joyfuljy. AU the frieuds who were tbeir 
begged Duquesnel to send thtnt, as soon as possible, an Jtincmy 
of tlic tour, for they all wanfed to see me iu the two playi in 
which I had gained laureis in England, Belgitun, and Denmark. 

Üuquesne! promi-ed to send theni the detail» of the tour, and 
it was settled that their visits should be drawu by lot from m 
little bag, and each town markcd vtith the date and the naine of 
the play. 

A weck later Duquesnel, with whoro I had signed a coo- 
tract, retumed with the tour niapped out ojid all the coropany 
engaged. It was almost miraculous. 

The Performances were to coramence on Saturday, September^ 
and there were to be twenty-five of them ; and the whdc, ii*- 
cluding the day of departure and the day of retum, was to Itut 
twenty-cight days, which caused this tour lo be called "The 
twenty-eight days of Sarah Bernhardt," like the twenty-vight 
days of a Citizen who is obliged to accompli&h bis utiliUrr 
Service. 

llie little tour was most suceessful, and I never enjoyed 
myself more than during this artistic promenade. Duqoesw] 
organised excursions and fites outside the towns. 

At first be had pi-cpared, tbinking to please me, some TtiHi 
to the sights of the towns. He had written bcforehsad fem 
Paris fixing dates and hours. The guardians of the dtHennt 



^f-L 



MY «TWENTY-EIGHT DAYS" 849 

muaeaiiis, arl gaDeries, ftc, had oSerod to point oot to me the 
finest objecto in fheir oollectioiis, and the mayois had prepared 
▼isits to the churches and celebiated buildings. 

When, on the eve of our depaitme, he showed es the heap 
of letters, each giving a most amiable affirmative, I shrieked. 

I hate seeing public buildings and having them ezplained 
to me. I know most of the public sights of France, but I have 
▼isited them when I feit inclined and with my own chosen 
friends. As to the churches and other buildings, I find them 
Tery tiiesome. I cannot help it — it reaUy wearies me to see 
them. 

I can admire their outline in passing, or when I see them 
silhouetted against the setting sun, that is all right, but further 
than that I will not go. Tlie idea of entering these cold spaoes, 
whilesomeone explains their absurd and interminable history, of 
looking up at their ceilings with craning neck, of cramping my 
feet by Walking unnaturally over highly waxed floors, of being 
obliged to admire the restoration of the left wing that they 
would have done better to let crumble to ruins ; to have some 
one express wonder at the depih of some moat which once upon 
a time used to be füll of water, but is now as dry as the cast 
wind — all that is so tiresome it makes me waut to howl. From 
my earliest childhood I have always detested houscs, Castles, 
churches, towers, and all buildings higher thon a niill. I love 
low buildings, farms, huts, and I positively adorc mills, because 
these little buildings do not obstruct the horizon. I have 
nothing to say against the Pyramids, but 1 would a huudred 
times rather they had never becn built. 

I b^ged Duquesnel to send telegrams at once to all the 
notabilities who had becn so obliging. Wc pas'-ed two hours 
over this task, and on September 3, I sct out, free, joyful, and 
content. 

My firiends came to see me while I was on tour, in accordanit; 
with the lots they had drawn, and wo had picnics by coach into 
the surrounding country from all the towns in which I playeil. 

I came back to Paris on September 30, and had only just tinie 
to prepare for uiy joumey to America. I bad only bcen a weck 
in Paris when I had a visit from M. Bertrand, who was then 
director of the Varietes. Ilis brothcr was dircctor of tliQ 
VaudeviUe in partnership witli Raymoud Deslandes. 



330 



SARAH BERNHARD 



I did lißt Icnow Eugene Bertraiid, but I recdved him at oocc, 
for we had mutual friends. 

'*What RTB yoa going to do whea you come bark fron 
America ? " he asked me, after we had exchanged greetJng!^ 

"I really don't know. Nothing. I have not thougfai of 
anything," 

'* Well, I have thonght of something for yoiL And if you 
like to nrnke your reappearaUL-e in Paris in a play of Vic'orien 
Sardou's, I will sign witli you at onre for the Vaude\ille.'' 

" Ah ! " I cried. " The Vaudeville ! What are you tbinking 
of ? Raymond Deslandes is the manoger, and he hntes me Uke 
poison because I ran away from the G^mnaüe the day foUowing 
the ürst Performance of bis play Un mari qui lance ta Jhnne. 
His play was ridiculous, and I v/as even niore ridiculoiu tluui bi» 
ptay in the part of a youiig Russian lady addict«d to daitciitg 
and eating Sandwiches. That man will never engage me ! " 

He sniiled. " My brotber is the partncr of RAymood 
Dexlandes. My brother — to put it plainly — ia n)y$el£ All tbe 
money put in the affair by us is mine. I am the sole master. 
What salary do you want ? " 

" But I really don't know," 

" Will fifteen hundred francs per Performance suit you ?" 

I tookcd at him in stupefaction, not quite sure if he vw in 
bis right miiid, 

" But, Monsieur, if I do not succeed you will lose money, ud 
I cannot agree to that." 

" Do not be afraid," he said. " I can assure you it will be i 
success — a colossal succcss. Will you sign ? And I will abo 
guarantce you fifty Performances ! " 

" Ob no, never ! I nill sign willingly, for I admire the taknt 
of Victorien Sardou, but I do not want any guarantee. gucna* 
will depend on Victorien Sardou, and after him on me. So I 
sign, and thaiik you for your confidence." 

At my aftemoon tcas I showed Üie new contract to my friends 
aud they werc all of opinion tbat luck was on my side in tfce 
matter of my resignation (from the Comi^ic Fran^aisc). 

I was to leave Paris in three days. My heart was »w« 
at the idea of Icaving France, for many sorrowful reasons. But 
in these Memoirs I have put on one side all that toucbes tbe 
inner part of my life. Thcre is one fauiily "me" wbtcb UtQ 



tffilk 



MY "TWENTY-EIGHT DAYS" 351 

another life^ and whose sensations, sorrows, joys, and griefs are 
bom and die for a very smaU number of hearts. 

But I feit the need of another atmosphere, of vaster space, of 
other skies. 

I left my Httle boy with my uncle, who had five boys of bis 
own. His wife was rather a strict Protestant, but kind, and my 
oousin Louise, their eldest daughter, was witty and highly intel- 
ligent. She promised me to be on the watch, and to let me know 
at once if there was anything I ought to know. 

Up to the last monient people in Paris did not believe that I 
wouÜ really go. My health was so uncertain that it seemed 
foUy to undertake such a joumey. But when it becanie absolutely 
oertain that I was going, there was a general concert of spiteful 
reprooches. The hue and cry of my enemies was in füll swing. 
I have now under my eyes these specimens of insanity, calumnies, 
lies, and stupidities ; burlesque portraiis, doleful pleasantries ; 
good-bjes to the Darling, the Idol, the Star, the Zimm ! boum ! 
boum ! &e. &c. It was aU so absolutely idiotic that I was con- 
ibunded. I did not read the greatcr part of these articles, but 
my secretary had orders to cut them out and paste them in little 
note-books, whether favourable or unfavourable. It was my 
godfather who had commenced doing this whcn I cntered the 
Conservatoire, and after his death I had it continued. 

Happily, I find in these thousands of lines finc and noble 
wonds- — words written by J. J. Weiss, Zola, Emile de Girardin, 
Jules Valles, Jules Lemaitrc, &c. ; and beautiful verses füll of 
graoe and justice, signed Victor Hugo, Fran^ois Coppee, Richcpin, 
Haiaucourt, Henri de Bomier, Catullc Mendcs, Parodi, and 
later Edmond Rostand. 

I neither could nor would suffer unduly from the calumnies 
and lies, but I confess that the kind apprcciation and praises 
accorded me by the superior minds afforded me infinite joy. 



xxxn 

EXPERIENCES AND REFLECTIONS ON BOABD SHIP 
FBOM HAVBE TO NEW YORK 

The ship which was to take me away to other hopes, other 
sensations, and other successes was named VÄmtriqut. It 
was the unlucky boat, the boat that was haunted by tfae 
gnome. All kinds of misfortunes, accidents, and storms had 
been its lot. It had been blockaded for months with its ked 
out of water. Its stem had been staved in by an Iceland bott, 
and it had fonndered on the shores of Newfoundland, I believe, 
and been set afloat again. Another time fire had broken oat oo 
it right in the Hävre roadstead, but no great damage was dooe. 
The poor boat had had a celebrated adventure which bid 
made it ridiculous. 

In 1876 or 1877 a new pumping system was adopted, and 
although this system had been in use by the English for a long 
time, it was quite unknown aboard Frcnch boats. The captain 
very wisely decided to have these pumps worked by bis crew, so 
that in case of any danger the men should be ready to manipulate 
them easily. 

The experiment had been going on for a few minutes when 
one of the men came to inform the captain that the hold of the 
ship was Alling with water, and no one could discover the cause 
of it. " Go on pumping ! "^ shouted the captain. " Hurry up ! 
Pump away ! '*'* The pumps wcre worked frantically, and the 
result was that the hold filled cntirely, and the captain was 
obliged to abandon the ship after seeing the passengers safelj 
off in the boats. An English whaler met the ship two days 
after, tried the pumps, which worked admirably, but in the 
contrary way to that indicated by the French captain. This 
siight error cost the Compagnie Transatiantique dP48,000 salvagc 



EXPERIENCES ON BOARD 858 

money, and when they wanted to run the ship again and pas- 
sengen refused to go by it, they oiTered my impresario^ Mr. 
Abbey, exoellent terms. He aeoepted them, and very intelli- 
gent he was, for, in spite of all prognostications, nothing fiirther 
happened to the boat. 

I had hitherto travelled very little, and I was wild with 
deligfat. 

On October 15, 1880, at six o^clock in the moming, I entered 
my cabin. It was a large one, and was hung with light red repp 
embroidered with my initials. What a profusion of the letters 
8. B. ! Then there was a large brass bedstead brightly polished, 
and flowers were every where. Adjoining mine was a very comfort- 
aUe cabin for man petit Dame^ and leading out of that was one 
for my maid and her husband. All the other persons in my 
•enrioe were at the other end of the ship. 

Hie sky was misty, the sea grey, with no horizon. I was on 
my way over there, beyond that mist which seemed to unite the 
sky and the water in a mysterions rampart. 

Hie elearing of the deck for the departure upset every one 
and ererything. The rumbling of the machinery, the boat- 
awain^s call, the bell, the sobbing and the laughter, the 
oeaking of the ropes, the shrill shouting of the Orders, the 
terror of those who were only just in time to catch the boat, 
the ** Halloa ! ^ " Look out ! '''* of the men who were pitching 
the packages from the quay into the hold, the sound of the 
langhing waves breaking on the side of the boat, all this 
mingled together made the most frightful uproar, tiring the 
fandn so that its own sensations were all vague and bewildered. 
I was one of those who up to the last moment enjoyed the 
good-byes, the hand-shakings, the plans about the retum, and 
the farewell kisses, and when it was all over fluiig themselves 
•obbing on their beds. 

For the next three days I was in utter despair, wceping bitter 
tears, tears that scalded my cheeks. Then I began to get calm 
again ; my will-power triumphed over my grief. On the fourth 
day I dressed at seven o'clock and went on deck to have some 
fiesh air. It was icy cold, and as I walked up and down I met 
a lady dressed in black with a sad resigned face. 'Vhc sca looked 
^oomy and colourless, and thcrc were no wavc«i. Suddenly a 
wild billow dashed so violently against the ship that we were 



SARAH BERNHARDT 

both thrown down. I immediatelj' clutch«! hold of Uie kg of 
one of the benches, but thc unfortuDate ladj wiu flung fomiiL 
Springiiig to my feet witb a bound, I was just in timc to wue 
bold of thc skirt of her dress, and wjth the hejp of mv inajd 
and a sailor mauaged to prevent the poor woraan froni falling 
head ßrst down the staircase. Very much hurt though she w«, 
and a trifle confused, shc thanked me in such a gentle dfe&iny 
voice tbat my heart began to beat with emotion. 

" You might have been kiUed, Madame," I said, " down that 
hoirible staii'case.'" 

" Yes," she answered, with a sigh of regret ; " but it was not 
God's will." 

"Are you not Madame Hessler ?" she continued, looting 
eamestly at me. 

•' No, Madame," I answered ; " my name is Sai-ah Bernhardt." 

She stepped baek and drawing herseif up, her face vcry pale 
and her brows knitted, she said in a moumful voice, a voi« that 
was scaiccly audible, " I am the widow of President UncohL" 

I toa stepped back, and a thinil of anguish ran througfa mt. 
for I had just done this unhappy woman the only service tbat I 
ought not to have done her^I had saved ber from death. Her 
huaband had been assassinated by an actor, Booth, and it wa^aa 
actreas who had now preveuted her from joining her bdovcd 
husband. 

I went back again to my cabin and stayed there twxi daysi fm 
I had not the courage to meet the woman for whom I fdt saA 
sympathy and to whom I should never dare to speak agoln. 

On the SSnd we were surprised by an abominable snowstonik 
I was called up huniedly by Captain Jouclas. I thre« an ft 
long ermine cloak and went on to the bridge, It was per&ctlj 
stupefying and at the same time fairy-like. The heavy flaka 
met each other with a tbud in their mad waltzing proTokcd kf 
the wind. The sky was suddenly veiled from us bv all ^ 
whiteness which feil round us in avalanches, comptctely |ii£ag 
the horizon. I was facing the sep, and as Captain Joodv 
pointed out to me, we could not see a hundred yards in froDl tt 
US, I then tumed round and saw that the ship was aa wlnlC 
as A sea-gull : the lopes, the coixlage, the netLiugs, the fettr 
holes, the shrouds, the boata, the deck, the sails, the laildHii 
the funnels, the Ventilators, everything was white. The atm *M 



J 



• * 



EXPERIENCES ON BOARD 855 

black and the sky black. The ship alone was white, floating 
akmg in this immensity. There was a contest beti^een the high 
fminel, spluttering forth with diflicalty its smoke through the 
wind which was riishing wildly into its gi*eat mouth, and the 
pralonged shrieks of the siren. The contrast was so extra- 
ofdinaiy between the virgin whiteness of this ship and the 
infernal nproar it made that it seemed to me as if I had before 
me an angel in a fit of hysterics. 

On the evening of that stränge day the doctor came to teil 
me of the birth of a child among the emigrants, in whom I was 
deeply interested. I went at onoe to the mother, and did all I 
eoald for the poor little creature who had just oome into this 
World. Oh, the dismal moans in that dismal night in the midst 
of all that misery ! Oh, that first strident cry of the child 
aiEnning its will to live in the midst of all these sufierings, of 
•11 these hardships, and of all these hopes ! Everything was 
there mingled tc^ther in this human medley — men, women, 
diildren, rags and preserves, oranges and basins, heads of hair 
and bald pates, half open lips of young girls and tightly closed 
mouths of shrewish women, white caps and red handker- 
chiefs, hands stretched out in hope and fists clenched against 
adfenity. I saw revolvers half concealed under the rags, knives 
in the men''s belts. A sudden roll of the boat showed us the 
Contents of a parcel that had fallen from the hands of a rascally- 
looking fellow with a very determined expression on his face, and 
a hatchet and a tomahawk feil to the ground. One of the sailors 
immediately seized the two weapons to take them to the purser. 
I shall never forget the scrutinising glance of the man ; he had 
eridently made a mental note of the features of the sailor, and 
I breathed a fervent prayer that the two might nevcr meet in a 
Bolüary place. 

I remember now with remorse the horrible disgust that took 
possession of me when the doctor handed the child over to me to 
wash. That dirty little red, moving, sticky object was a human 
being. It had a soul, and would have thoughts ! I feit quite 
fdck, and I could never again look at that child, although I was 
afterwards its godmother, without living over again that first 
Impression. When the young mother had fallen asleep I wanted 
to go back to my cabin. The doctor helped me, but the sca 
was so rough ^that we could scarccly walk at all among the 



356 SARAH BERNHARDT 

packages and eniigrants. Some of them who wen cxoaAilif 
on the floor wutched Us silently as we tutter^ and ätumUcd 
along like drunkard.s, I wa.s annoyed at being watohed bjr 
those malevolent, mockini^ eyes. " I say, doclor," one of tbe 
men caMed out, " the sea water geU in the head like wioe, 
Vou and your lady look as though you were coming back (tom 
a fipree ! " An old woman clung to me as we pasM^l : " Ott, 
iVtadame," ehe said, " shall we be shipwrecked with the boat 
roIHiig iike this ? Oh God ! Oh God ! " A tall feUow with 
red hair and beard caine forward and laid the poor old woman 
down ogain gently. " You can slecp in peace, mother," be 
Said. *' If we are shipwrecked I swear there shali be more arol 
down here than up above." He then caiiie closer to me and 
continued in a defiant tone : " The rieh folks — fint-cUus — into 
the sea ! The einigrants and the second-elass in the boAts ! ' 
As he uttered these words 1 heard a sly, stified laugh from 
everywhere, in front of me, behind, at the side, aod cven fron 
linder my feet. It seemed to echo in the distance like tlia 
lattghiiig behind the scenes on the stage. I drew nearer to tt* 
doctor, and he saw that I was uneasy. 

" Nonsense,^ be said, laughing ; " we should defend ounelfm" 

" But how mauy could be saved,^ I asked, " in cose we mn 
really in danger ? " 

"Two hundred— two hundre<l and fifty at the mosti wilk 
all the boats out, if all amved safely." 

" But the purser told me that there were seveo hundred ud 
sixty emigrunts,^ I inststed, " and there are only a hundred umI 
twenty passengers. How mauy do you reckon with the officfn, 
the crew, and the servants ? " 

" A hundred and seveuty," the doctor answered. 

" Theii there are a thousand and fifty on board, and you tmo 
only save two hundred and fifty ?" 

" Yes." 

" Well then, I can understand the hatred of these emigrants 
whoni you take on board like cattle and treat like m^nwik 
They are absolutely certaüi that in case of danger tbey woiild 
be HBcrificed!" 

" But we should save them when their tum cam«." 

I glanced with horror at the man who was talking tO AK 
He looked honest and straightforward and be evidentJy DMMt 



EXPERIENCES ON BOARD 857 

what he said. And so all these pcxnr creatures who had been 
disappointed in life and badly treated by society would have no 
right to life until after we were saved — we, the more favoured 
ones ! Oh, how I understood now the rascally-looking fellow, 
with his hatchet and tomahawk ! How thoroughly I approved 
•t that moment of the revolvers and the knives hidden in the 
beltfti Yes, he was quite right, the tall, red-haired fellow. We 
want the first plaees, always the first places. And so we 
■hould have the first places in the water. 

** Well, are you satisfied?^ asked the captain, who was just 
Coming out of his cabin. *^ Has it gone off all right ? ^ 

" Yes, captain,^ I answered ; " but I am horrified."" 

Jouclas stepped back in surprise. 

** Good Heavens, what has horrified you F ^ he asked. 

•• The way in which you treat your passengers '^ 

He tried to put in a word, but I continued : 

•* Why — ^you expose us in case of a shipwreck- 

" We never have a shipwreck.' 

^^ Good. In case of a fire, then- 

** We never have a fire "^ 

^ Good ! In case of sinking 






** I give in," he said, laughing. " To what do we expose you, 
though, Madame F " 

** To the very worst of deaths : to a blow on the head with an 
aze, to a dagger thrust in our back, or merely to be flung into 
the water " 

He attempted to speak, but again I continued : 

^There are scven hundred and fifty emigrants below, and 
there are scarccly three hundred of us, counting first-class 
passengers and the crew. You have boats which might save two 
hundred persons, and even that is doubtful *" 

•♦WellF" 

** Well, what about the emigrants F "^ 

** We should save them before the crew.*" 

** But after us ? "^ 

** Yes, after you."" 

** And you fancy that they would let you do it ? " 

" We have guns with which to keep them in order. 

** Gun-s — ^guns for women and diilchtn r " 

^ No ; the wumen and childi^eii would tuko tiieir tum iirbt.'" 



858 SARAH BERNHARDT 

" But that is idiotic ! " I exdaimed; *'it is perTectly abiuia' 
Why savc woinen aiid children if yoii are going to inaki 
and orphans of theni ? And do you beüeve that all thoK 
youiig nien would resign themselves to theJr falc bccausc of vwir 
guns ? There are more of them than tbere are of you, and they 
are armed. IJfe owes them their revenge, aijd they bavc tfae 
same right that we have to defend themselves in such momentiL 
lliey have the courage of those who have nothing to lose mnA 
everything to gain in the struggle. In my opinion it is iniquitoui 
and infamous that you sbould expose us to certain death and 
them to an obligatory and perfectly justitied crime," 
The captäin tried to speak, but again I persisted : 
" Without going a« far as a shipwrcck, only fancy if we wpre 
to he tossed about for months on a raging sca, This has bappeoed, 
and might happen again. You cannot possibly have food enou^ 
on board for a thousand people during two or tbree months." 

" No, certainly not," put in the purser dryly. He was a vciy 
amiable man, but very touchy. 

*' Well then, what should you do ? " I a-sked. 
*' What would you do ? " asked the captain, highly arootol it 
the annoyed cxpression on the purser's face. 

"I — oh, I should have a ship for emigrants ajid a ship for 
passcngers, and I think that would be only just." 
" Yes, but it would be ruinous." 

" No ; the one for wealthy people would be a steamer like iUli 
and the one for cmigrants a sailing vesseL^ 

"ßut that too would be unjust, Madame, for the steaner 
would go more quickly than the sailing boat," 

" That would not matter at all," I at^ed. " Wealthy people 
are always in a hurry, and the poor never are. And theiit tto- 
sidering what is awaiting them in the land to wbich th^ Mt 

going " ■% 

" It is the Promised Land." 

" Oh, poor things 1 poor things ! with their Promised Lud '• 
Dakota or Colorado. ... In the day-time they have tlie am 
vrhich makes their brains boil, scorches the ground, dries np tk 
Springs, and brings forth endless numbers of mosquitoes tottiqs 
their bodies and try their patience, The Promised Land ! . . ■ 
At night they have the terrible cold to make their eyes SBUit, to 
atiSen their joints and ruin their lungs. "Vhe Promised Ißai' 



EXPERIENCES ON BOARD 859 

It is just death in some out-of-the-world place after fniitless 
appecJs to the justice of tbeir fellow countrymen. They will 
Incathe their Ufe out in a sob or in a terrible curse of 
hatred. Grod will have mcrcy on them though, for it is piteous 
to think that all these poor creatures are delivered over, with 
their feet bound by sufiering and their hands bound by hope, 
to the slave-drivers who trade in white slaves. And when I 
think that the money is in the purser^s cash-box which the slave- 
driver has paid for the transport of aU these poor creatures ! 
Money that has been collected by rough hands or trembling 
fingers. Poor money economised, copper by <x>pper, tear by 
tear. When I think of all this it makes me wish that we could 
be shipwrecked, that we could be all killed and all of them 
saved."" 

With these words I hurried away to my cabin to have a good 
cry, for I was seized with a great love for humanity and intense 
grief that I could do nothing, absolutely nothing ! 

The foUowing moming I woke late, as I had not fallen asleep 
until very late. My cabin was füll of visitors, and they were 
all holding small parcels half concealed. I rubbed my sleepy 
eyes, and could not quite understand the meaning of this 
invasion. 

** My dear Sarah,^ said Madame Gucrard, Coming to me and 
kissing me, ^ don''t imagine that this day, your feie day, could 
be forgotten by those who love you.^ 

" Oh,'' I exclaimed, " is it the 23rd ?" 

" Yes, and here is the first of the remembrances from the 
absent ones.'' 

My eyes fiUed with tears, and it was through a mist that I 
saw the portrait of that young being more precious to me than 
anything eise in the world, with a few words in his own hand- 
writing. Then there were some presents from friends — 
pieces of work from humble admirers. My iittle godson of the 
previous evening was brought to me in a basket, with oranges, 
apples, and tangerines all round him. He had a golden star on 
his forehead, a star cut out of some gold paper in which choco- 
late had been wrapped. My maid Felicie, and Claude her 
husband, who were mast devoted to me, had prepared some very 
ingenious Iittle surprises. Presently there was a knock at my 
door, and on my calling out " Come in ! '^ 1 saw, to my surprise, 



860 SARAH BERNHARDT 

three sailors carrying a süperb bouquet, which they presented to 
me in the name of the whole crew. 

I was wild with admiration, and wanted to know how they 
had managed to keep the flowers in such good condition. 
. It was an enonnous bouquet, but when I took it in my handt 
I let it fall to the ground in an uncontroUable fit of lauster. 
The flowers were all cut out of vegetables, but so perfectly doiie 
that the illusion was complete at a little distanoe. Magnificent 
roses were cut out of carrots, camellias out of tumips, small 
radishes had fumished sprays of rose-buds stuck on tolong leeks 
dyed green, and all these relieved by carrot leaves artistically 
arranged to imitate the grassy plants used for elegant bouquets. 
The stalks were tied together with a bow of tri-coloured ribbon. 
One of the sailors made a very touching little speech on behalf 
of bis comrades, who wished to thank me for a trifling senrice 
rendercd. I shook hands cordially and thanked them heutily» 
and this was the signal for a little concert that had been oiganiaed 
in the cabin of mon petit Dame. There bad been a prirate 
rehearsal with two violins and a flute, so that for the next hoor 
1 was hilied by the most delightfiil music, which transported me 
to my own dear ones, to my home, which seemed so distant fiom 
me at that moment. 

This little fete^ which was almost a domestic one, together 
witli the music, had evoked the tender and restfiil side of my 
life, and the tears that all this called forth feil without grief, 
bitterness, or regret. I wept simply because I was deeply moved, 
and I was tired, nervous, and weary, and had a longing for rest 
and peace. I feil asleep in the midst of my tears, sighs, and 
sobs. 



xxxin 

ABBIYAL IK NEW YORK— AMERICAN REPORTERS— THK 

0Ü8T0M HOUSE— PERFORMANCES IN NEW YORK— 

A VISIT TO EDISON AT MXNLO PARK 

VALLY the ship arrived on October 27, at half-past six in 
e moming. I was asleep, wom out by three days and nigfats 
wild stonns. My maid had some difiiculty in rousing me. I 
old not believe that we had arrivedy and I wanted to go on 
eping ontil the last minute. I had to give in to the evidence, 
wever, as the screw had stopped, and I heard a sound of dull 
iids echoing in the distance. I put my head out of my port- 
le, and saw some men endeavouring to make a passage for us 
roug^ the river. The Hudson was frozen hard, and the heavy 
■dcould only advance with the aid of pick-axes cutting away 
t blocks of ice. 

Ulis sudden arrival delighted mc, and everything seemed to 
transformed in a minute. I forgot all my discomforts and 
» weariness of the twelve days^ crossing. The sun was rising, 
le but rose-tinted, dispersing the mists and shining over the 
, which, thanks to the eiforts of oiu: pioneers, was splintered 
o a thousand luminous pieces. I had entered the New World 
the midst of a display of ice-fireworks. It was fairy-like and 
newhat crazy, but it seemed to me that it must be a good 
len. 

[ am so superstitious that if I had arrived when therc was no 
ishine I should have been wretched and most anxious until 
er my first Performance. It is a perfect torture to bc super- 
tious to this d^ree, and, unfortunately for mc, I am ton timcii 
»re so now than I was in those days, for bcsidcn the HU|K*rhti- 
ns of my own eountry, I have, thanks to my iravels, added to 
' stock all the superstitions of the otlior countries. I know 



'SARAH BEÄNHAKDT 



I n _:_ I 



ttMi tM tbow, utd in aar critical moot^it of my life tliej all 
Wf Ib MMed Icgioos, for or against me. 1 cannot w&lk a an^ 
lliy arahke uty movement or gestore, sit dowo, go out, took 
■ft Ifcl lij or tlie ground, witbout fiDcKng some rea£on for bope 
•rftr daipür, ontil at last, exasperated by tbe trammels put 
ifHi a^ actioas fay my Uioaght, I defy all my superstitioDs and 
JBiftaEtaal wsDt to act. D^hted, tb^i, witb what seem ~ 
W» to hn m good omen, I b^an to diese gleefuUy. 
Wb. Jfaorrett had just knocked at my door. 
"Jtm picase be leady aa sooa as possible, Madame,'" be 
"Ivttne aicicTeial boata,with tlie Frencb colours Syiiig, 
k|** oae out to meet yoo." 

I ^iBced in the direcUon of my port-hole, and saw a steamer« 
tte JKk «tf which was Uadc «riUi people, aod theo tiro oÜHf' 
■■d boats DO le» laden than the first one. 

Tk Mta lighted up all tbese French flags, and my heart begn 
to toat Bore qukklj. 

I kad been witboat aoy nen for tvelve d&ys, as, in ^ts ^\ 
al Ab «Axts of our good captain, UÄmerupte had taken tvdn 
dqp* figr U» journey. 

AHMi bad just cofne on deck, and I rusbed to^nrdshimwttk 
eatituhlied hands, unable to utter a üngle word. 

He gave ate a packet of tel^rams. I did not see any OM 
[uresent, aod I beard no sound. I wanted to know something. 
And ammig all tbe telegrams I was searching first for one, just 
«me name. . At last I had it, the tel^ram I had waited for, 
feared and hoped to receive, »gned Maurice. Here it was at 
last. I closed my eyes ior a aecond, and duilng that time I 
aaw all that was dear to me and feit the infinite sweetneas of it 
•U. 

Wboi I opened my eyes again I was alightly embamsaed, for 
I was suiTounded by a crowd of unknown people, all of tben 
silent and indulgent, but evidently very curious. Widiing to go 
■way, I took Mr. Jairett's arm and went to the aaloon. As soon 
as I entered the 6rst notes of tbe Marseillaise rang out, and cor 
Consul spoke a few words of welcome and handed me aome 
flowers. A group representing. the French colony presented me 
with a friendly address. Then M. Mercier, tbe editor of tbe 
Courrier des Etats Unit, made a speech, as witty as it was 
kindly. It was a thoroughly French speecb. Tben came A^ 



ARRIVAL IN NEW YORK 868 

tenrible moment of introductions. Oh, what a tiring time that 
was ! My mind was kept at a tension to catch the names. Mr. 

Pemb , Madame Hartb , with the h aspirated. With 

great difficulty I grasped the first syllable, and the second finished 
in a confusion of muffled vowels and hissing consonants. By the 
time the twentieth name was pronounced I had given up listen- 
ing ; I simply kept on with my litÜe risarius de Santorini^ half 
dosed my eyes, beld out mechanically the arm at the cnd of 
which was the hand that had to shake and be shaken. I replied 
all the time : ^^ Combien je suis ctiarmee, Madame. ... Oh! 
CertamemaU . . . Oh oui .' . . . Oh noji / . . . Ah ! . . . 
Oh ! . . , Oh ! . , /* I was gettingl dazed, idiotic — wom 
oot with Standing. I had only one idea, and that was to get 
my rings off the fingers that were swelling with the repeated 
grips they were enduring. My eyes were getting larger and larger 
with terror as they gazed at the door through which the crowd 
continued to stream in my direction. There were still the 
names of all these peeple to hear and all these hands to 
shake. My risarius de Saniorini must still go on working 
more than fifty times. I could feel the bcads of Perspira- 
tion Standing out under my hair, and I began to get terribly 
nervous. My teeth chattered and I commenced stammering : 

** OA, Madame / . . . Oh ! . . , Je stiis cha cha *" 

I really could not go on any longer. I feit that I should get 
angry or burst out crying — in fact, that I was about to make 
myself ridiculous. I decided therefore to faint. I made a move- 
ment with my hand as though it wanted to continue but could 
not. I opened my mouth, closed my eyes, and feil gently 
into Jarrett^s aims. " Quick ! Air ! . . . A doctor ! . . . Poor 
thing. . . . How pale she is ! Take her hat off! . . . JLoosen 
her corset! . . . She doesn'^t wear one. Unfasten her 
dress ! . . .^ I was terrified, but Felicie was called up in haste, 
and mon petit Dame would not allow any deshabiUage. The 
doctor came back with a bottle of ether. Felicie scized the 
bottle. 

" Oh no, doctor— not ether ! When Madame is quite well 
the odour of ether will make her faint.*" 

This was quite true,and I thought it was time to come to my 
senses again. The reporters were arriving, and there were more 
than twenty of them ; but Jarrett, who was very much affected. 



364 



SARAH BERNHARDi 



asketi theiu to go to thc Albeinarle Hotel, where I «as to put iip. 
1 saw each of the reporters take Jarrett aeide, and wben I iwked 
hini what the setret was of all these " asides," he answered 
phleginatically, " I have made an appoiatment with theai for 
one oVlock. There will be a freah one every teu minutn,'' I 
lookcd at hiin, petxified with aätoiiUbment. Hc met tnyanxious 
gaze and said : 

** Ak oui ; il itait tUeessaireJ" 

On amving at the Albemarle Hotel I feit tired and nervom, 
and wauted to be left quite alone. I huiried away at once to 
niy rooiii in tbe suite that hod been tngaged for me, aad 
fastened the doors, There was neither lock nor bolt on uo« of 
them, but I pushed a piece of fumiture against it, and tboi 
reftised emphatically to open it. There were about fiftj- peofile 
waitiug in the di^wing-room, but I had that feeling of awful 
weariness which makes one ready to go to the most violent 
extremes for the sake of an hours repose. I nanted to Üe 
down on the rüg, cross my arms, throw my head ba«:k, oiid cIok 
«ly eyes, I did not want to talk any niore, and I did not w«nt 
to have to smile or look at any one. 1 threw mysdf down 
on the fioor, and was deaf to tbe kiiocks on my door and lo 
Jarrett's supphcations. 1 did not want to argue tbe matter, so 
I did not utter a word. I heard the murmur of grumblii^ 
voices, and Jarrett's words tactfully persuading the visitoc» to 
stay. I heai-d the rustle of paper being pushed under tbe door, 
and Madame Guer&rd whispering to Jarrett, wbo was furiots. 

" You don"t know her, Monsieur Jarrett," I heard her fax. 
" If sbe thought you were forcing the door open, against wbicb 
she has pushed tbe fumiture, she would juup out of tlie 
Window ! " 

Tbcn I heard Felicie talking to a French lady who wu 
insisting on seeing me. 

"It is quite impossible," she was saying. "Madame woüd 
be quite bystertcal. She needs an hour's rest, and every one 
must wait ! " 

For somc little tiine I could hear a confused murmur whicb 
scemed to get fartlicr away, and theo I feil into a delicioui 
slcep, laughing to niyself as I weut off, for my good temper 
retumed as I pietured the angry, nonplussed expre^oii 
faces of my visitors. 



i^i^ 



AMERICAN REPORTERS 365 

I woke in an hour^s time, for I have the precious gift of being 
able to sleep ten minutes, a quarter of an hour, or an hour, just 
at I like, and I then wake up quite peacefully without a shake 
at the time I choose to rouse up. Nothing does me so much 
good BS this rest to body and mind, decided upon and regulated 
merely by my will. 

Veiy often when among my intimate friends I have lain down 
cm the bear-skin hearth-nig in front of the fire, telling every one 
to go on talking, and to take no notice of me. I have then 
ilept perhaps for an hour, and on waking have found two or 
three new-comers in the room, who, not wishing to disturb me. 
have taken part in the general conversation whilst waiting until 
I ihould wake up and they could present their respects to me. 
£Ten now I lie down on the huge wide sofa in the little Empire 
MoloH which leads into my dressing-room, and I sleep whilst 
waiting for the friends and artistes with whom I have made 
appointments to be ushered in. When I open my eyes I see the 
fiuxB of my kind friends, who shake hands cordially, delighted that 
I should have had some rest. My mind is then tranquil, and I 
am ready to listen to all the beautiful ideas proposed to me, or 
to dedine the absurdities submitted to me without being 
ungiBcious. 

I woke up then at thei Albemarle Hotel an hour later, and found 
myaelf lying on the rüg. I opened the door of niy room, and 
discotrered my dear Guerard and my faithful Felicic seated 
on a trunk. 

** Are there any people there still ? '^ I askcd. 
**Oh, Madame, there are about a hundred now/' answered 
Felicie. 

** Help me to take my things off then quickly,*" I said, " and 
find me a white dress.^ 

In about fivc minutes I was ready, and I feit that I looked 
nice from head to foot. I went into the drawing-room whcre 
all these unknown persons were waiting. Jarrett camc forward 
to meet me, but on seeing me well dresscd and with a smiling 
hce he postponed the sermon that he wantcd to preach to me. 

I should like to introduce Jarrett to my readcrs, for he was 
a most extraordinary man. He was then about sixty-five 
or seventy years of age. He was tall, with a face like King 
Agamemnon, framcd by the most beautiful silvcr-wliite hair I 



^^^^ werebli 



SARAH 



Mn on a men's head. HU eyes were of >o pole n bluc 
Ütey lighted up witb anger be looked as tbou^ be 
were blind. When he was calm and tranquil, adtniring natuiv, 
bis face was really bandsomc, but when gay and animated im 
Upper bp sbowed bis teeth and curled up in a must fenx-iout 
snifl', aiid bis grins wemed to be caused by the drawing up of Us 
pointed ears, wbich were always mo\-ing as tbougb on tlie wtAA 
for prey. 

He was & terrible man, extremely intelligent ; but from child- 
bood he niust bave been fighting witb the wortd, and he had tbe 
mcK^t profound contcmpt for all maiikind. Altbough be must 
have suüered a great deal bimself, be hod no pity for otbers vbo 
suffered. He always said tbat cvery man was arnied for bis own 
defence. He pitied women*; did not care for them, but w«s 
always ready to belp tbem. He was very rieh and very economi- 
cal, but not miserly. 

*' I niade my way iu Ufe," be often said to me, " by the aid of 
two weapons : bonesty and a revolver. In business bonesty is 
the most terrible weapoii a man can ii§e against ntscals and crsfty 
pcople. Tbe former don't know what it is and the latter Am\ 
believe in it ; wliile tbe revolver is an admirable invention for 
compelling scoundrels to keep tlieir word." 

He used to teil mo about wonderfol and tcrrifying adventures. 

He had a deep scar under bis right eye. During a violent 
discussion about a contract to be signed for Jennv Lind, tbe 
t-elebrated singer, Jarrett said tohis interlocutor, pointing at tbe 
same time to bis right eye : '* Look at that eye, sir. It is no« 
reatÜng in your raind all tbat you are not saying." 

" It doesn't know how to read, then, for it never foresaw that," 
said the other, firing bis revolver at Jarrett's right eye. 

" A bad shot, sir," replied Jarrett. " This is tbe way to take 
aim for efi'ectually closing an eye." 

And be put a ball between Übe two eyes of tbe other man, wba 
feil down dead. 

Wben Jarrett told tbis story bis Up curled up and bis bnv 
incisors appeared to be cruuching tbe words with deligbt, and 
bis bursts of stifled laughter soundcd Hke tbe snapping of lii> 
jaws. He was an upright, honest man, tbougb, and I bked h 
very much, and I Uke what I remember of him. 

My £rst Impression was a joyfiil one, and I dapped my-l 




my^^H 



AMERICAN REPORTERS 367 

with delight as I entered the drawing-room, which I had not yet 
•een. The busts of Racine, Moliere, and Victor Hugo were on 
pedestals surrounded with flowers. All round the large room 
were sofas laden with cushions, and, to remind me of mv home 
in PoTis, there were tall palms stretching out their branches over 
the aofisu. Jarrett introduced Knoedler, who had suggested this 
pieoe of gallantry. He was a very charming man. I shook 
hands with him, and we were friends from that time forth. 

Hie visitors soon went away, but the reporters remained. 
üliey were all seated, some of thcm on the anns of the chairs, 
others on the cushions. One of them had crouched down tailor- 
fitfhion on a bear-skin. and was leaning b£u;k against the steam 
heater. He was pale and thin, and coughed a great deal. I 
went towards him, and had just opened my Ups to speak to him, 
although I was rather shocked that he did not rise, when he 
addresaed me in a bass voice. 

•* Which is your favourite role^ Madame ? '*'' he asked. 

** That is no concem of yours,"" I answcred, turning my back 
on him. In doing so I knocked against anotlier rcporter, who 
was more poiite. 

••What do you eat when you wake in the moming, Madame ?" 
he inquired. 

I was about to reply to him as I had done to the first one, but 
Jarrett, who had had difficulty in appeasing the anger of the 
crouching man, answcred quickly for me, " üatmeal." I did not 
know what that dish was, but the ferocious reportcr continued 
his questions. 

** And what do you eat during the day ? *" 

" Mussels."" 

He wrote down phlegmatically, " Musseis during the day.'' 

I moved towards the door, and a female reporter in a tailor- 
made skirt, with her hair cut short, asked me in a clear, sweet 
voioe, ** Are you a Jewess-Catholic-Protestant-Mohammedan- 
Buddhist-Atheist-Zoroaster-Theist-or-Dcist?*^ I stood still, rooted 
to the spot in bewilderment. Shc had said all that in a brcath, 
aocenting the syllables haphazani, and mnking of the wholc one 
Word so wildly incoherent that my impression was that I was not 
in safety near this stränge, gentle perwn. I must have looked 
uneasy, and as my eyes feil on an clderly lady who was talking 
gaily to a little group of pcople, she came to my rcsc*ue, saying 



868 SARAH BERNHARDT 

in very good French, ^ This young lady is asking you, M^Hip^^ 
whether you are of the Jewish religion or whether yoa are a 
Catholic, a Protestant, a Mohammedan, a Buddhist, an Athekt, 
a Zoroastrian, a Theist, or a Deist.^ 

I sank down on a couch. 

^^ Oh, Heavcns ! ^ I exclaimed, ^* will it be like this in all the 
cities I Visit?'" 

" Oh no,*" answered Jarrett placidly ; "your interviews will be 
wired throughout America.'' 

^^ What about the mussels ?'^ I thought to myself, and tha 
in an absent-minded way I answered, ^* I am a Githolic^ 
Mademoiselle.*" 

^^A Roman Catholic, or do you belong to the Orthodox 
Chiuxh ? "^ she asked. 

I jumped up from my seat, for she bored me beyond cn- 
durance, and a very young man then approached timidly. 

^^Will you allow me to finish my sketch, Madame?^ he 
asked. 

I remained standing, my profile tumed towards him at hii 
rcquest. When he had finished I asked to see what he had 
done, and, perfectly unabashed, he handed me his horrible 
drawing of a skeleton with a curly wig. I tore the sketch 
up and threw it at him, but the foliowing day that horror 
appeared in the papers, with a disagreeable inscription beneath 
it. Fortunately I was able to speak seriously about my art with 
a few honest and intelligent joumalists, but twenty-five years 
ago rcporters** paragraphs were more appreciated in America 
than serious articles, and the public, very much iess literary 
then than at present, always seemed ready to echo the 
turpitudes invented by reporters hard up for copy. I should 
think that no creature in the world, since the invention of 
reporting, has ever had as much to endure as I had during that 
first tour. The basest calumnies were circulated by my enemies 
long before I arrived in America, there was all the treacheiy of 
the friends of the Comedie, and even of my own admirers, who 
hoped that I should not succeed on my tour, so that I might re- 
turn more quickly to the fold, humiliatcd, calmed down, and 
subdued. Then there were the exaggerated announcements 
invented by my imprcsario Abbey and my representative 
Jarrett. These announcements were oflen outrageous and 




»IwBj's rtdiculoiis; but I did not know theii- real source uiitÜ 
long jifterwards, when it was too täte — much too late — to 
undeci-ive the public, wbo were fully persunded fliat I was Üie 
instigntor of all these invetitions. I therefore did not attetnpt 
to undeceive them. It mattera very little to me whether people 
belie\'e one thing or anotlier, 

Life is short, even for thuse who live a long time, and we 
must live for the few who know and appreciate us, who judge 
and ab§olve us, and for whom we bave the eame aßection and 
indulgence. The rest I look upon as a mere crowd, lively 
or sad, loyal or corrupt, froni whom there ib nothing to be 
expected but fleeting emotions, either pleasant or unpleasant, 
wbich leave no trace behind tbem. We oughl to liate vpry 
rarely, as it is too fatiguing; retnain indiflereut to a great 
deal, forgive often and never forget. Forgiving does not 
neaii forgetting — at least, it does not with nie. I will not 
mention here any of the outrageous and infamous attacks that 
were made lipon me, as it woutd be doing too great an honour 
to the wretchwi people who wei-e rcsponsible for ttiein, from 
beginning to end dipping their pen in the gall of their 
own souk. iVIl I can say is that nothing kJlls but deatb, and 
that any one who wisbes to defend himself or berstlf from 
alaodcr can do it. For that one miist live. It is not given to 
evcry one to be able tu do it, but it depends on the will of God, 
who Bcci» and judges. 

I txmk two days' rest before going to tbe theatre, for I could 
feel tbc movement of the ship all the time : my heod was di/zy, 
und it seemed to me as though the ceiling moved up and down. 
The twelve days on tbe sea had quite upset iny health. I 
*eut a line to the stage nianager, telling bim that we would 
rehexrse on Wednesdaj, and on that day, as soon aa lunebeon 
wa« over, I went to Bootb's Theatre, where our Perform- 
ance» were to take place. At tlie stagc-door I suw a com- 
pact, swaying crowd, very much animatcd and gesticulating. 
Tliese stränge- looking individual» did not belong to the 
World of actors. They were not reporters either, for I knew 
tbem too well, alas ! to be miatakcn in tbem. They wete 
not there out oF curiosity either, these pcuple, for they 
seemed too much occupied, and then, too, ther« were only 
n. When my carriage drew up, one of thera rusbed 

Sa 



Wn SAHAH BERNHARDT 



aOthcK 




4oor of it and tben rcturoed to the sw^ng 
Hereahe is!" I be&rd, and tben aO thoe 
.«IUI their white necktiesaod que&tioDRble-Iookb^ 
Uk ooaia flying open, aod trouäers tbe knot* ä 
■nd dirty-looking, crowded behind mc into 
kading to the staircase. I did not feel toj 
uid 1 HKKinted the stairs rapidly. SennI 
Cor me at the top : Mr. Abbey, Jarrett, and 
two gentlemeii and a charming and matt 
L «amaa, wboee friend&hip I faave kept ever smc^ 
_ I dbes Dot care much for Prench people. I law 

Ifc AUi^ *ha was osually reiy dignified and cold, advance ia 
Ab Meei yiima and courteoos waj to one of the men «ho 
Tbey raised their hats to eat^ other, aod. 
I I7 tt» sttange and brutal -looking r^iment, ÜtJ 
tfTCand to— d j the ceatre of the slage. 

I Am m ttte strängest of sights. In the middle of tte 
lap ^KB »f fortj-two trunks. In obedience to a sgo, 
&C Ben came fonrard, and placing themselvea each 
I tao tnmks, with a quick movement with their 
qglft snd Wk hkDds they took the covers off the tmnks or the 
■ji^ aad Wt rf them. Jarrett, vith frowns and an unpl«ss(tiit 
grin, hdd out mj k^s to tfaem. He faad asked me that moniif 
for m j k^ for the Costoms. 

" Oh, H\ Dothii^ ," he Said ; " daat he uneasy," and the 
way in whkh nj lo^age had always been respected in othtr 
co uuti ies had ginn me p«fect ccmfidence about it. 

The prindpal penonage <^ the ugly group came towatds me, 
accompanied by Abbey, and Jairett ezplained things to me. 
The man was an oSdal from the American Custom-honae. 

The Custom-houae is an abominable institutioa in tmsj 
coimtiy> but woise in America than anywhere elae. I «a> 
prepaicd fi« all this, and was moat afiäble to the tormentor of a 
traveller's patience. He raiaed the melon which serred him for 
a hat, and witbout taking bis dgar out of bis mouth "»■'V"™* 
incom|Hd>ensible ronark to me. He thoi tumed to his n^moit 
of men, made an abrupt sign with bis band, and nttend aone 
woid of command, wbeieupon the forty dirty handa ot thw 
twenty men proceeded to forage among my velTets, oatii», and 
laces. I rushed forward to aave my poor dreaaes hom mdi out' 



THE CUSTOMHOUSE 871 

ngeouB violation, and I ordered the lady of our Company who 
had chai]ge of the costumes to lift my gowns out one at a time, 
which die accordingly did, aided by my maid, who was in tears 
at the Mnall amomit of respect shown by these boors to aU my 
beautiful, fragile things. Two ladies had just arrived, very 
noisy and businesslike. One of them was short and stout : her 
noae seemed to begin at the roots of her hair ; she had round, 
placid-looking eyes, and a mouth like a snout ; her arms she was 
hiding timidly behind her heavy flabby bust, and her ungainly 
knees seemed to come straight out of her groin. She looked 
like a seated cow. Her companion was like a terrapin, with her 
little black evil-looking head at the end of a neck which was too 
long and very stringy. She kept shooting it out of her boa 
and drawing it back with the most incredible rapidity. The 
rest of her body bulged out flat. These two delightful persons 
were the dressmakers sent for by the Custom-house to value 
my costumes. They glanced at me in a furtive way, and gave 
a little bow fuU of bittemess and jcalous rage at the sight of 
my dresses ; and I was quite aware that two more enemies had 
DOW come upon the scene. These two odious shrews bcgaii to 
diatter and argue, pawing and crumpling my dresscs and cloaks 
at the same time. They kept exclaiming in the most emphatic 
way, ** Oh, how beautifiil ! What magnificence ! What luxury ! 
All our customers will want gowns like these, and we shall ncver 
be able to make them ! It will be the ruin of all the American 
dressmakers.*" They were working up the judges into a state of 
excitement for this chiffbn court-martial. They kept lamenting, 
then going into raptures and asking for "justice^ against 
foreign invasion. The ugly band of men nodded thcir hcads in 
afq)roval, and spat on the ground to affinn their indepcndence. 
Suddenly the Terrapin tumed on one of the inquisitors : 

**Oh, isn^t it beautifui ? Show it ! show it ! ^ she cxclainied, 
seizing on a dress all cmbroidered with pearls, which I worc in 
La Dame aux Camelias. 

•* This dress is worth at least tcn thousand doilars,*^ she said ; 
and then, Coming up to me,shc askcd, " How much did you pay 
for that dress, Madame ? ^ 

I ground my teeth together and would not ans wer, for just at 
that moment I should have enjoyed seeing the Terrapin in one 
<^ the saucepans in the Albemarle Hotel kitchen. It was nearly 



372 SARAH BERNHARDT 

Ittif-pKst fire. and my feet were froien. I was half dead, too, 
with fatigne and sappressed anger. The rest of the examination 
v«s postpooed ontil the next day, and the ugly hand of men 
c&eresd to pot ererrthmg back in the tninks, bat I objected to 
tfaat. I «nt out for fire hundred yaidsc^ blae tazietan tooorer 
oTcr Ihe moantain of dresses, hats, doaks, shoes, laoes, linen, 
stoddngs. fan, glores, &c. &c They then made me take my 
oath to remoTe nothii^« for they had such charming coofideDoe 
in me« and I left my stewazd there in Charge. He was the hos- 
band of Felicie. my maid, and a bed was put up for him on the 
stage. I «as so nenrous and upset that I wanted to go some- 
whcfe far avmy, to have some fresh air, and to stay mit for a 
lo!2£: time. A friend offered to take me to see Brooklyn Bridge. 

**That masterpieoe of American genius will make you folget 
the petty miseries of our red tape aflBiira,'^ he said genÜy, aod 
so ve set out for Brooklyn Bridge. 

Oh. that bridge ! It is insane, admirable, imposing ; and it 
makes one feel prood. Yes, one is proud to be a human bemg 
when one realises that a brain has created and suspended in tbe 
air. lifty yards £tt>m the ground, that fearful thing whidi bean 
a doien tndns filled with passengeis, teu or twelve tramcars, a 
hundred cabs, carriages« and carts,and thousands of foot passen- 
prr> : ai^d a'l that uioving along together amidst the uproar of 
the niu^:c of the nietals — clAnging,clashing, grating, and groaning 
ur.dtr the enormous weiirht of people and things. The move- 
ir.tr.t ot the v^ir cau<ed by this frightfiil tempestuous Coming and 
goiiiix cau><J me to feel giddy and stopped my breath. 

I inaiie :i >ign for the carriage to stand still, and I closed my 
t ve>. I then had a stransre, undefinable Sensation of universal 
«.hiio>. I ojvened my eyes again when my brain was a little more 
tniiiquil, AHil I >aw New York stretching out along the river, 
weariiii: it> night omaments, which glittered as much through 
its Jrt^ss with thousands of electric lights as the firmament with 
it-* tunio o{ stars. 

I retunieil to the hotel reconciled with this great nation. 

I went to sleep, tired in body but rested in mind. and had 
such delightfui dreams that I was in a good humour the foUowing 
day. I adore dreams, and my sad, unhappy days are those which 
foUow drcainless nights. 

My great grief is that I cannot choose my dreams. How 



THE CUSTOM-HOUSE 878 

many times I faave done all in my power at ihe end of a happy 
day to make myself dream a continuation of it. How many 
times I faatre called up the üces of those I love j ust before falling 
askep ; but my thoughts wander and carry me off elsewhere, and 
I piefer that a hundred times over to the absolute negation of 
thought. 

When I am asleep my body has an mfinite sense of enjoy- 
meiit, but it is torture to me for my thoughts to slumber. 

My vital foroes rebel against such negation of life. I am 
qcdte willing to die once for all, but I object to slight deaths 
such as those of which one has the Sensation on dreamless 
nigfats. When I awoke my maid told me that Jarrett was 
waiting for me to go to the theatre so that the valuation of my 
oortumes could be terminated. I sent word to Jarrett that I 
had Seen quite enough of the regiment from the Custom-house, 
and I asked him to finish everything without me, as Madame 
Gudraid would be there. During the next two days the 
Tern4>in, the Seated Cow, and the Black Band roade notes for 
the Cttstom-house, took sketches for the papers and pattems of 
my dresses for customers. I began to get impatient, as we ought 
to faave been rehearsing. Final iy, I was told on Thursday 
moming that the business was over, and that I could not have 
my trunks until I had paid twenty-eight thousand francs for 
duty. I was seized with such a violent fit of laughing that poor 
Abbey, who had been terrified, caught it from me, and even 
Jarrett showed his cruel teeth. 

** My dear Abbey,^ I exclaimed, ^* arrange as you like about 
it, but I must make my debui on Monday the 8th of November, 
and to-day is Thursday. I shall be at the theatre on Monday 
to dress. See that I have my trunks, for thcre was nothing 
about the Custom-house in my contract. I will pay half, 
though, of what you have to give."" 

The twenty-eight thousand francs wcre handed over to an 
attomey who made a claim in my name on the Board of 
Customs. My trunks were left with me, thanks to this payiiicnt, 
and the rehearsals commenced at Booth'*s Theatre. 

On Monday, November 8, at 8.30, the curtain rose for the 
first Performance of Adrienne I^ecouvreur. The house was 
crowded, and the seats, which had been sold to the highest 
bidders and then sold by them again, had fetched exorbitant 



SARAH BERNHARD1 

pricea. 1 was awaited with impattence and curiosity, but not 
with anv sympathy. There were no yoimg girls pre^nt, aa Ute 
piece was too immoral. Poor AdrieBne Lecouvreur ! 

The audience was very polite to the artistes of my Company, 
but rather impatient to see the stränge person who had becn 
described to them. 

In the play the curtain falls at the end of the first oct witbout 
Adrienne having appeared. A person in Uie house, very raudi 
annoyed, asked to see Mr. Henry Abbey. "I want my money 
back," he said, " as la Bernhardt is not in every act," Abbey 
refused to retura the money to the extraordinary indix*idual, 
and as the curtain was going iip he hiuried back to take 
poBsession of his seat again. My appearance was greetwl by 
severaj rounds of applause. which I belicvc had been paid für in 
advance by Abbey and Jarrett. I commenced, and the swcetnr» 
of my voice in the fable of tbe " Two Figcons " woriied the 
miracle. The whole house this time burst out iiito hiin«fa& 
A current of sympathy was estabiished betwcen the public and 
myself. Instead of the hysterical skeleton that had been 
annouDced to them, they had before them a very frail-looking 
creature with a sweet voice, The fourth act was applauded, asd 
Adrienne'srebellionagainstthePrincesse de Bouillon stirred the 
whole house. Finally in the fifth act, when the unfortonate 
artiste is dying, poisoned by her rival, there was quite a tnani- 
festation, and every one was deeply moved. At the end of the 
third act all the young mcn wcre sent oft" hy the ladies to find all 
the musicians they could get together, and to my surpn§e and 
delight on arriving at my hot^l a charmtng eercnade was played 
for me whilc I was at supper. l'he crowd had asscmbted undcr 
my Windows at the Albemarlc Hotel, and I was ubiiged to go out 
OD to the balcony several times to bowand to thank this public, 
which I had been told I should find cold and prejudiced againtt 
me. From the bottom of my heart I aho thanked all my 
detractors and slanderers, as it was through them that I had bad 
the pleasure of fighting, with the certainty of conquering. Tbe 
victory was all the more enjoyable as I had not dared to bope 
for it. 

I gave twenty-seven Performances in New York. 'Ute plsy* 
were Adrienne Lecowreur, Froufrou, Hertiani, La Dornt am 
CamiUaa, Lr Sphinx, and L'Etrangfrf. The average nceipta 




NEW YORK PERFORMANCES 875 



90,842 finncsforeac^perfonnanoeyindudingfiiatif^ The 
last performanoe was given on Saturday, December 4, as a 
wuiiinie, for my Company had to leave that night for Boston« 
and I had reserved the evening to go to Mr. Edison^s at Menio 
Fark, wheie I had a reception worthy of fairyland. 

Oh, that maiinie of Saturday, December 4! I can never 
foi^t it. When I got to the theatre to dress it was mid-day, 
for the nuäinie was to commence at half-past one. My carriage 
atopped, not being able to get along, for the street was filled by 
ladies, sitting on chairs which they had borrowed from the 
neighbouring shops, or on folding seats which they had brought 
themselves. The play was La Dame atuc Camilias. I had 
to get out of my carriage and walk about twenty-five yards on 
foot in Order to get to the stage door. It took me twenty-five 
minutes to do it. Feople shook my hands and begged me to 
come bacL One lady took off her brooch and pinned it in my 
mantle — a modest brooch of amethysts surrounded by tine pearls, 
but certainly for the giver the brooch had its vidue. I was 
stopped at every step. One lady puUed out her note-book and 
b^^ed me to write my name. The idea took like lightning. 
Smidl boys under the care of their parents wanted me to write 
my name on their cuffs. My arms were füll of smaU bouquets 
whidi had been pushed into my hands. I feit behind mc some 
one tugging at the feather in my hat. I tumed round sharply. 
A woman with a pair of scissors in her band had tried to cut off 
a lock of my hair, but she only succeeded in cutting the feather 
out of my hat. In vain Jarrett signalled and shouted. I could 
not get along. They sent for the police, who delivered me, but 
without any ceremony either for my admirers or for myself. 
Those policemen were real brutes, and they made me very angry. 
I played La Dame aux Camllia^y and I counted scventeen 
caUs afler the third act and twenty-^nine afler the fifth. In 
consequence of the cheering and calls the play had lasted an 
hour longer than usual, and I was half dead with fatiguc. I was 
just about to go to my carriage to get back to my hotel, when 
Jarrett came to teil me that there were more than 50,00(i 
people waiting outside. I feU back on a chair, tircd and dis- 
heartened. 

^ Oh, I will wait tili the crowd has dispersed. I am tired out 
\ can do no more,^ 



376 SARAH BERNHARDT 

Bat Henrr Abbej bad an inqpiiatioD of genios. 

-* Come,^ äaid he to mysistier. " Fat on Madame^» hat and boa 
and take mj arm. And take also these bouquets — give me what 
TOQ cannot cazrr. And now we will go to joor sister^s carriage 
and make oar bow.*^ 

He Said all th» in EngKsh, and Janett translated it to my 
S2st», wfao wiDingiT accepted her part in this little oomedy. 
IXiring ths» time Jarrett and I got into Abbej'^s carriage, whidi 
wa» statJoDfid in firoot of the theatre where no one was waiting. 
And it wsa fiortonate we took this courae, for my sister CMily got 
back to the Alhetnarie Hotel an honr later, veiy tired, bat Tery 
incBL!h amosed. Her reaemblanoe to myself, my hat, my boa, 
and the darkness of night had been the accomplioes of the 
little axoedy wfainji we luid offered to my enthusiastic public. 

We had to set oot at nine o^dock for Menlo Park. We had 
to die» in traTelling oostome, for the foUowing day we were to 
leaTe for Bo^oo, and my tiunks were leaving the same day with 
my Company, which preceded me by several hours. 

Oizr meal was, as usaal^ veiy bad, for in those days in 
America the food was on^peakably awfiiL At ten o^clock we 
took the train — a pretty special train, all decorated with flowers 
and banners which they had been kind enou^ to prepare for 
me. But it was a painful joumey all the same, for at every 
CIO nie n: we hd-J to pull up to allow another train to paNS or an 
ecc'^--' *o maiKieuvre, or to wait to pass over the fwints. It was 
t^o oVIock in the moming when the train at last reached the 
Station of Menlo Park, the resiidence of Thoraas Edison. 

I: w L< a verv dark niijht, and the snow was fallinfj silentlv in 
heavv tiakts. A carriage was waiting, and the one lamp of this 
oarria^ >er^ er! to liirht up the whole Station, for Orders had been 
given that the electric lights should be put out. I found my 
wav with the hdp of Jarrett and some of my friends who had 
accompcuiieii u> from New York. The intense cold froze the 
snow aN it toll, and we walkeil ovlt veri table bloc-ks of sharp, 
jaggt\l ice, which crackleil under our feet. Behind the tirst 
carri.ige was another heavier one, with only one horse and no 
himp. Thcre wa2> room for five or six persons to crowd into 
this. We w ere ten in all. Jarrett, Abbey, my sister, and I took 
our places in the first one, leaving the others to get into the 
second. We looked like a band of conspirators, The dark night. 



A VISIT TO EDISON 877 

the two mjrsterious carriages, tbe silence caused by the icy cold- 
neas, the way in which we were muffled in our fürs, and our 
anzious expression aa we glanoed around us — all this made our 
Tiait to the oelebrated Ellison resemble a scene out of an 
operetta. 

Hie carriage roUed along, sinking deep into the snow and 
jcdting terribly; the jolts made us dread every instant some 
tragi-comic accident. 

I cannot teil how long we had been rolling along, for, luUed by 
the movement of the carriage and buried in my warm fürs, I was 
quietly dozmg, when a formidable ^^ Hip, hip, hurrah ! ^ made us 
all Jump, my txaveUmg companions, the coachman, the horse, 
and L As quick as thought the whole country was suddenly 
illuminated. Under the trees, on the trees, among the bushes, 
along tbe garden walks, lights flashed forth triumphantly. 

The wheels of the carriage tumed a few more times, and then 
drew up at the house of the famous Thomas Edison. A group 
of people awaited us on the verandah — four men, two ladies, 
and a young girl. My heart began to beat quickly as I 
wondered which of these men was Edison. I had never seen 
his photograph, and I had the greatest admiration for his genial 
brain. I sprang out of the carriage, and the dazzling electric 
light made it seem likeday-time to us. I took the bouquet which 
Mrs. Edison ofTered me,and thanked her for it, but all the time 
I was endeavouring to discover which of these was the great 
man. 

They all four advanced towards me, but I noticed the flush 
that came into the face of one of them, and it was so evident 
from the expression of his blue eyes that he was intensciy boi*ed 
that I guessed this was fklison. I feit confused and embarrassed 
myself, for I knew very well that I was causing inconvenience to 
this man by my visit. He of course imagined that it was due 
to the idle curiosity of a foreigner eager to court publicity. He 
was no doubt thinking of the inter\iewing in störe for him the 
following day, and of the stupidities he would be made to uttcr. 
He was sufTering befoi*ehand at the idea of the ignorant 
questions I should ask him, of all the explanations he would 
out of politeness be obliged to give me, and at that moment 
Thomas Edison took a dislike to me. His wondcrful blue eves, 
more luminous than his incandescent lamps, enabled me to read 



»78 



SARAH BERNHARD5 



his thoughls, I immediately understood that he must be wtn 
over, and niy combative iustiuct had recourse to all niy poven 
of f&sciiiatioii in order to vanquish ihis detightful but bnshfill 
aavant. I made such an effbrt, and Guccecded so well that half 
an hour later we were the best of friends. 

I folloived him about quickly, cliiubing up stairrase» ta 
nari'ow and steep a& laddets, crossing bridges suspended in tbc 
air above veritable fumaces, and he explaioed cverjthing to ine. 
I understood al], and I admired him more and more, for he «u 
80 simple and charming, this king of light. 

As we were leaning over a slightly unsteady bridge above the 
terrible abyss, in which immense wheels «ncased in wide thongs 
were turning, whirling about, and runibÜng, he gave variou» 
Orders in a clear voice, and light thcn burst forth od all aides, 
sometimes in sputtering greenish jets, sometiincs in (jnick 
flashes, or in Serpentine trails like streams of lire. I lookcd 
at this man of medium size, with rather a large head and a 
noble-Iooking profile, and I thoiight of Napoleon I. There is 
certainly a great physical reseniblance between tbese two inen, 
and I am sure that onc compartment of their brain would be 
found to be identicaL Of course I do not compare their genius. 
The one was dcstructive and the other creative, but whiki 
I esecrate battles I adore vietories, and in spite of his errors 1 
have raised an altar in my heart to that god of giory, Napoleon ! 
I tberefore looked at Kdison thoughtfuUy, for he reminded nie 
of the great man who was dead. The deafening sound of the 
niachinery, the dazzling rapidily of the changes of Ught, all that 
together made my head whirl. and forgetting wliere I wm. I 
leaned for support on the slight balusti-ade which separated nw 
from the abyss beneath. I was so unconscious of all dangtr 
that before I had i'ecovered frotn tny surprise E^dison had helped 
nie iiito an adjoining rooui and installed me in an arin-cbair 
without my realisiog how it had all happened. Ue told nie 
afterwards that I had turned dizzy, 

After having done the honours of his tetephonic dJseovery and 
of his astonishing phoiiograph, Edison ofFered me his arm and 
took me to the dining-room, where I found his fainilv assemhtcd. 
I was very tii'ed, ajid did justitc to the supper that had been »o 
hospitably prepared for ua. 

I left Menlo Park at four oVlock in the moniing, and the 



A VISIT TO EDISON 879 

time the country round, the roads and the Station were all 
lighted up ä giomo^ by the thousands of lamps of my kind host. 
What a stränge power of Suggestion the darkness has! I 
thougfat I had travelled a long way that night, and it seemed to 
me that the roads were impracticable. It proved to be quite a 
•bort distance, and the roads were chamiing, although they were 
DOW covered with snow. Imagination had played a great part 
during the joumey to Edison^s house, but reality played a 
much greater one during the same joumey back to the Station. 
I was enthusiastic in my admiration of the inventions of this 
man, and I was charmed with bis timid graciousness and perfect 
courtesy, and with bis profound love of Shakespeare. 



^WJEkjLA V 



Af BO0TOKr-«fOBT 0¥ TSE WBUIM 

Tjsat nezt day, or mllMr tibrt mmt digrf Ibr H wm limi ftv ii 
ÜienMmiiiigylstartedwitiimycnmp^^ Ib^AlilMf, 

mj MnpfViafto, had ananged for me to luKvem del^^itM ^ 
bat it was noüiii^ like the mmdaftd WBxom oar tiiBt I 
to have from Philadelphia fior oontummg my toor. I im 
mui^ pleased witii ihis one, neferliielen. Iq Üie nuddDaof ft 
tihiere was a real bed, laige and co mfor t a Me^on a ham bdh i ffad i 
llieii theie wexe aa arm-dbair, a pietty dmring-taUe^ a huk^t 
tied iip with ribbons for my dog, and flower» everywhen^ bot 
flowefs withoot aa overpoweriag perftune. la tke car ad^dbag 
mine were my own aervants» who wece also Tioy c umfo rta l ila 
I went to bed feeling thoroug^y aatiafied» aad woke up at 
Boston. 

A large crowd was assembled at the Station. There wen 
rcporters and curious men and women — a public decidedly mOTe 
interested than iriendly, not badly intentioned, but by no means 
enthusiastic. Public opinion in New York had been greatly 
occupied with me during the past month. I had been so much 
criticised and glorified. Calumnies of all kinds, stupid and 
disgusting, foolish and odious, had been circulated about me. 
Some people blamed and others admired the disdain with which 
I had treated these turpitudes, but every one knew that I had 
won in the end and that I had triumphed over all and eveiy- 
thing. Boston knew, too, that cleigymen had preached firtun 
their pulpits saying that I had been sent by the Old World to 
comipt the New World, that my art was an inspiration from 
hell, &c. &c. Every one knew all this, but the public wanted 
to see for itself. Boston belongs especially to the women. 
Tradition says that it was a woman who first set foot in 



AT BOSTON 881 

\ Boston. Women form the majority there. They are puritani- 
cal with intelligenoe, and independent with a certain grace. I 
passed between the two lines formed by this stränge, courteous, 
and cold crowd, and just as I was about to get into my 
carriage a lady advanced towards me and said, " Welcome to 
Boston, Madame ! ^ 

** Welcome, Madame ! '' and she held out a soft little band to 
me. (American women generally have charming hands and 
feet.) Other people now approached and smiled, and I bad to 
shake hands with many of them. 

I took a fancy to this city at once, but all the same I was 
furious for a moment when a reporter sprang on the steps of the 
carriage just as we were driving away. He was in a greater 
huny and more audacious than any of the others, but he was 
certainly overstepping the limits, and I pushed the impolite 
fellow back angrily. Jarrett was prepared for this, and saved bim 
by the collar of bis coat ; otherwise he would have fallen down on 
tbe pavement as he deserved. 

**At what time will you come and get on the whale to- 
morrow ? " this extraordinary personage asked. I gazcd at him 
in bewilderment. He spoke French perfectly, and repeated bis 
question. 

•* He^s mad ! *" I said in a low voice to Jarrett. 

*' No, Madame ; I am not mad, but I should like to know at 
what time you will come and get on the whale ? It would be 
better perhaps to come this evening, for we are afraid it may 
die in the night, and it would be a pity for you not to come and 
pay it a visit while it still has breath.'* 

He went on talking, and as he talked he half scated himself 
beside Jarrett, who was still holding him by the collar lest he 
diould fall out of the carriage. 

•* But, Monsieur,'*' I exclaimed, " what do you mean ? What 
is all this about a whale ? ^ 

** Ah, Madame,*" he replied, " it is admirable, enormous. It 
is in the harbour basin, and there are men employed day and 
night to break the ice all round it.*" 

He broke off suddenly, and standing on the carriage step he 
dutcbed the driver. 

•• Stop ! Stop ! "" he callcd out. ** Hi ! Hü Henrj-, come 
here ! Here'^s Madame ; here she is ! "^ 



_ SARAH BERNHARDT ^^ 

Tho carriagc drew up, and without any fiirther ceremony 
he jumped down and pushed into my landau a tittle man, sqiure 
all over, who was wearing a für cap piillod down over his eye», 
and an enormous diamond in hi» cravat. He was thc strang;eat 
type of tlie old-fashioned Yankee. He did not speak a word of 
French, but he took his seat cabnly by Jarrett, whilst Üie 
reporter remained half sitting and half hanging on to tbe «'ehielt 
There had been threc of ns when we started from tbe Station^ 
and we were five when we reached the Hotel Vendome. There 
were a great niany pcople awaiting my arrival, and I was quite 
ashamed of my new companion. He talked in a loud voio^ 
laughed, coughed, spat, addreased evety one, and gave e^-ery oae 
invitations. All the people seemed to be delighted. A littlft 
girl thrcw her arms round her father's neck, esclaiming. "(Äi 
yes, pnpa ; do please let us go ! "" 

" Well, but we must ask Madame," he replied, and he came t^ 
to me in the iiiost polite and courieous nianner. " Will yott 
kindly allow us to join your party when you go to see the while 
tcHDonow ?" lie aÄed. 

**Biit,M«inear«*I aanreradideÜ^tedtolicveto do«iäi a 
gentkoMD oDoe bkmk, " I hsve no ide« what aQ thü himml 
For tbe laat qtuiter <rf an hotnr thiB r qwr te r uid tiiat cxln> 
ordinary man have been talking about a iHtsle. Ühey dcdm 
authoritatively that I must go and pay it a visit, and I know 
abaolutely nothing about it all. These two gentlemen took my 
carriage by sixirm ; installed themselves in it witbout my per- 
mission,and, as you see, are giving invitations in my name to 
people I do not know, asking them to go with me to s pl*™ 
about whidi I know nothing, for tbe purpose of paying a vidt to 
a wbale wbich is to be introduced to me, and which is waiting 
impatiently to die in peace." 

The kindly disposed gentleman signed to his dau^ter to come 
with US, and, accompanicd by them, and by Jarrett and Madame 
Guerard, I went up in a lift to the door of my suite of rooiu. 
I fotind my apartments bung with valuable pictures and fiill of 
magnificent statues. I feit rather disturbed in my mind, fer 
among these objects of art ■'Were two or three veiy rare and 
beautiful things, which I knew must have cost an exorbitant 
price. I was afraid lest any of them should be stolen, and I 
«poke of my fear to tbe proprietor of tbe botel. 



STORY OF THE WHALE 888 

^ Mr. X.9 to whom the knick-knacks belong,'*'' he answcred, 
** wished you to have them to look at as long as you are here, 
Mademoiselle ; and when I expressed my anxiety about them to 
him, just as you have done to me, he merely remarked that ^it 
was all the same to him/ As to the pictures, they belong to two 
wealthy Bostonians.^ There was among them a supcrb Millet, 
which I sbould very much have liked to own. 

After eTpressmg my gratitude and admiring these treasures, I 
asked for an expliuiation of the story of the whale, and Mr. Max 
Gardon, the fistther of the little girl, translated for me what the 
little man in the für cap had said. It appeared that he owned 
several fishing-boats, which he sent out cod-fishing for his own 
benefit. One of these boats had captured an enormous whale, 
which still had two harpoons in it. The poor creature was 
thorougfaly exhausted with its struggles, and only a few miles 
distant along the coiast, so it had been easy to capture it and bring 
it in triumph to Henry Smith, the owner of the boats. It was 
diiScult to say by what freak of fancy and by what tum of the 
imagination this man had arrived at associating in his mind the 
idea of the whale and my name as a source of wealth. I could 
not understand it, but the fact remained that he insistcd in such 
a droU way, and so authoritatively and energctically, that the 
foUowing moming at seven oVlock fifty of us assembled, in spite 
of the icy cold rain, on the quay. 

Mr. Gordon had given Orders that his mail coach with four 
beautiful horses should be in readiness. Hc drovc himself, and 
his daughter, Jarrett, my sister, Madame Guerard, and another 
elderly lady, whose name I have forgotten, wcre with us. Seven 
other carriages followed. It was all very amusing indced. 

On our arrival at the quay we were received by this comic 
Henry, shaggy-looking this tinie from head to foot, and his 
hands encased in fingerless woollen gloves. Only his eyes and 
his huge diamond shone out from his fürs. I walkcd along the 
quay, very much amused and interested. There were a few 
idlers looking on also, and alas ! — three times over alas ! — there 
were reporters. 

Henry\s shaggy paw then seizcd my hand, and hc drew nie 
along with him ((uickly to the steps. 

I only just escaped breaking my neck at least a dozen times. 
He pushed me cdong, made mc stumble down the ten steps 



384 SARAH BERNHARDT 

of the basin, and I next found myself on the back of the wliale. 
They assured me that it still breathed, but I sbould not like to 
affinn that it really did ; but the splashingof the water breaking 
its eddy against the poor creature caused it to oscillate sligfatly. 
Then, too, it was covered with glazed frost, and twice I fS^ 
down füll length on its spine. I laugh about it now, but I wss 
furious then. 

Every one around me insisted, however, on my pulling a pieoe 
of whalebone from the blade of the poor captured creature^ one 
of those little bones which are used for women^s corsets. I did 
not like to do this, as I feared to cause it suffering, and I was 
sorry for the poor thing, as three of us — Henry, the little Goidon 
girl, and I — had been skating about on its back for the last ten 
minutes. Finally I decided to do it. I pulled out the Uttle 
whale hone, and went up the steps again, holding my poor 
trophy in my hand. I feit nervous and flustered, and eveiy one 
surrounded me. 

I was annoyed with this Henry Smith. I did not want to 
retum to the coach, as I thought I could hidebad temper better 
in one of the huge, gloomy-looking landaus which foliowed, 
but the charming Miss Grordon asked me so sweetly why I woukl 
not ride with them that I feit my anger melt away before the 
chikrs smiling face. 

*' Woiild you like to drive?'' her father asked me, and I 
acccpted with pleasure. 

Jiirrett inimediately proceeded to get down from the coach as 
qiiickly as bis age and corpulence would allow him. 

" If you are going to drive I prefer getting down,*" he said, 
and he took a seat in another carriage. I changed places 
boldly with Mr. Gordon in order to drive, and we had not gone 
a hundred yards before I had let the horses make for a chcmisf s 
shop along the quay and got the coach itself up on to the foot- 
path, so that if it had not been for the quickness and energy of 
Mr. Gordon we should all have been killed. On arriving at the 
hotel I went to bed, and stayed there until it was time for the 
theatre in the evening. We played Hemani that night to a 
füll house. 

The seats had been sold to the highest bidders, and consider- 
able prices were obtained for them. We gave fifteen Perform- 
ances at Boston, at an average of nineteen thousand fi-ancs for 



STORY OF THE WHALE 885 

eacfa Performance. I was sorry to leave tbat city, as I had spent 
two chamiing weeks there, my mind all the time on the akrt 
when holding conversations with the Boston women. They are 
Paritans from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot, but 
they are indulgent, and there is no bittemess about their Puri- 
tanism. What Struck me most about the women of Boston was 
the harmony of their gestures and the softness of their voices. 
Brought up among the severest and harshest of traditions, the 
Bostonian race seems to me to be the most refined and the 
most mysterious of all the American races. 

As the women are in the majority in Boston,many of the young 
girls remain unmarried. All their vital forces which they 
cannotexpend in love and in matemity they eroploy in fortifying 
and making supple the beauty of their body by means of 
ezercise and sports, without losing any of their grace. All the 
leserves of heart are expended in intellectuality. They adore 
music, the stage, literature, painting, and poetry. They know 
everything and understand everything, are chaste and reserved, 
and neither laugh nor talk very loud. 

They are as fär removed from the Latin race as the North 
Pole is from the South Pole, but they are interesting, delightfnl, 
and captivating. 

It was therefore with a rather heavy heart that I left Boston 
for New Haven, and to my great surprise, on arriving at the 
hotel there I found Henry Smith the famous whale man. 

•• Oh, Heavens ! ^ I exclaimed, flinging myself into an arm- 
chair, ^ what does this man want now with me ? ^ 

I was not lefb in ignorance very long, for the most infernal 
Doise of brass instruments, drums, trumpets, and, I should think, 
sauoepans, drew me to the window. I saw an immense carriage 
surrounded by an escort of negroes dressed as minstrels. On this 
carriage was an abominable, monstrous coloured advertisement 
representing me standing on the w^hale, tearing away its blade 
while it struggled to defend itself. 

Some sandwich-men followed with posters on which were 
written the following words : 



2b 



f 



J 



SARAH BERNHARDT 

" COUE ÄNJ> SEE 

THE EliORMOCS CBtACtAS 

WHICH 

SaBAH BKKNHAaDT 

ÖLLED 

IT TEaKIKG OTT m WHAIXBOKS rOB HEB COUKTS. 

TOBSE AkE MAQE BV MaDAICE Lo-T NoE, 

WaO UVKS " ETC. ETC. 



I 



Sonie of the other sandwich-men carried postets with Uk« 
rorda: 

" The wbale is just as rLomusHiKo (aic) as i 

WHEN IT WAS AUVE ! 



It bas five bundred dollars' worth of salt in its stonw^ 

and every da; the ice upon wbich it is resting is 

reoewed at a cost of one hundred doUais ! " 

My face turned morc ]i\4d tban that of a corpse, and my taeth 
cbattered witb fury on seeing this. 

Henry Smith advanced towards me, and I Struck him in ny 
anger, and tben rusbed away to my room, wbere I sobbed «itfa 
vexation, disgust, and utter weariness. 

1 wanted to Start bock to Burope at once, but Janett sbowed 
me my contract. I then wanted to take steps to bare thii 
odioiu exhibition stopped, and iu order to caim me I was pro- 
miaed tbat tbis sfaould be done, but in reality notbinj; was dooe 
ataU. 

Two days Uter I was at Hartford, and tbe same whale wu 
tbere. It continued its tour as I continued mioe. 

Tbey gave it raore salt and renewed its ioe, and it went oa its 
way, so tbat I came across it everywbere. I took proceedingi 
about it,but in eVery State Iwas obbged to b^inall ova-again, 
aa tbe law varied in tbe different States. And evray time I 
arrived at a fresb botel I found tbere an immense bonqoK 
avaiting me,withtbehorTib1ecaTd of tbe showman of Üie iriiak: 
I tbrew bis flowers on the ground and trampled on tbon, and 
mucb as I love flowers, I bad a horror of tbese. Jaixett weot to 
see tbe man and b^ged him not to send me any more booqiM^ 
but it was all of no uae, as it was tbe man's way of avei^it^ tbe 
box (m tbe ears I bad given bim. Tben toobecoold not imclerrtiiid 



STORY OF THE WHALE 887 

my anger. He was making any amount of money, and had even 
pr op os e d that I should aooept a percentage of the receipts. Ah, 
I would willingly have killä that execrable Smith, for he was 
poiaoniiig my life. I could see nothing eise in all the diiFerent 
cities I visited, and I used to shut my eyes to go from the hotel 
to the theatre. When I heard the minstrels I used to fly into a 
iBge and tum green with anger. Fortunately I was able to rest 
when once I leached Montreal, where I was not followed by this 
ahow. I should certainly have been ill if it had continued, as I 
«w nothing but that, I could think of nothing eise, and my very 
dreams were about it. It haunted me ; it was an obsession and 
a perpetual nightmare. When I leffc Hartford, Jarrett swore to 
me that Smith would not be at Montreal, as he had been taken 
■nddenly ilL I strongly suspected that Jarrett had found a way 
of administering to him some violent kind of medicine which 
had stopped his joumeying for the time. I feit sure of this, as 
the ferocious gentleman laughed so heartily en route^ but anyhow 
I was infinitely grateful to him for ridding me of the man for 
tbepresent. 



XXXV 

M0NTRSAL*8 GRAND BBCEPTION— THE POET FBECflSTTK— 
AK ESCAPADE ON THE ST. LAWRENCE RIVER 

Ar last we arrived at MontreaL 

For a long time, ever sinoe my earliest chfldhood, I hid 
dreamed aboat Canada. I had alwajrs heaid my godfiitfaer 
r^fet, with considerable fury, the surrender of that territtny by 
France to England, 

I had heaidhim enumerate, without veiyclearly tmderstandiiig 
them, the pecuniary advantages of Canada, the immoise fortaiie 
that lay in its lands, &c., and that country had seemed to my 
imagination the far-off promised land. 

Awakened some considerable time before by the strident 
whistle of the engine, I asked what time it was. Elleven o^dodi 
in the evening, I was infonned. We were mthin fifleen minutes 
of the Station. The sky was black and smooth, like a sted 
shield. LÄntems placed at distant intervals caught the white- 
ness of the snow heaped up there for how many days ? The 
train stopped suddenly, and then started again with such a slow 
and timid movement that I fancied that there might be a possi- 
bility of its running ofF the rails. But a deadened sound, grow- 
ing louder every second, feil upon my attentive ears. This sound 
soon resolved itself into music — and it was in the midst of 
a formidable " Hurrah ! long live France ! " shouted by ten 
thousand throats, strengthened by an orchestra plajing the 
"Marseillaise"" with a frenzied fiuy, that we made our entiy 
into Montreal. 

The place where the train stopped in those days was vay 
narrow. A somewhat high bank served as a rampart for the 
slight platform of the Station. 

Standing on the small step of my carriage, I looked with 



MONTREAL'S RECEPTION 889 

emotion upon the stränge spectacle I had before me. The bank 
was packed with bears holding lanterns. There were hundreds 
and hundreds of them. In the narrow space between the bank 
and the train, which had come to a stop, there were more bears, 
laige and small, and I wondered with terror how I should manage 
to reach my sleigfa« 

Jarrett and Abbey caiised the crowd to make way, and I got 
oat. But a deputy, whose name I cannot make out on my notes 
(wbat commendation for my writing ! )—& deputy advanced 
towar^ me and handed me an address signed by the notabilities 
of the city. I retumed thanks as best I could, and took the 
magnificent bouquet of flowers that was tendered in the name of 
the aignatories to the address. When I lifted the flowers to my 
face in order to smell them I hurt myself slightly with their 
pretty petals, which were frozen by the cold. 

However, I began myself to feel both arms and legs were 
getting benumbed. The cold crept over my whole body. That 
nig^t, it appears, was one of the coldest that had been experi- 
CDoed for many years past. 

The women who had come to be present at the arrival of the 
nencfa Company had been compelled to withdraw into the interior 
üt the Station, with the exception of Mrs. Jos. Doutre, who 
handed me a bouquet of rare flowers and gave me a kiss. The 
temperature was twenty-two degrees below zero. I whispered 
low to Jarrett, " Let us continue our joumey ; I am tuming 
into ice. In tcn minutes I shall not be able to move a step.*^ 

Jarrett repeated my words to Abbey, who applied to the Chief 
of Police. The latter gave Orders in English, and another police 
ctBcer repeated them in French. And we were able to proceed 
for a few yaids. But the main Station was still some way off. 
The crowd grew bigger, and at one time I feit as though I were 
•bout to faint. I took courage, however, holding or rather 
hanging on to the arms of Jarrett and Abbey. Evcry minute 
I thought I should fall, for the platfomi was like a mirror. 

We were obliged, however, to stay further progress. A 
hundred lanterns, held aloft by a hundred students^ hands, 
niddenly lit up the place. 

A tall young man separated himself from the group and came 
straight towards me, holding a wide unroUed pieoe of paper, and 
hl a loud voice declaimed : 



m SA 



SARAH BERNHARDT 



A 5ABAH RREMBABDT. 



Btttti I Bttlot, cbann*nle dona Sol I 
IM ton pied mi^oD vieot fouler notre b( 



frinon d'orgueil ou d'amour t je 



ndiVM ta ■'te 9« on^* M 



■nll P>ripiildi«inwlui^winilliui 

««tu 



Ori;rtitMJoQai»trti^«<MtitBl>fchl*i»1 



Ibta BOB : 4« l(vM Kl dm UoBd BMddor, 

Tb ■ M pM, O BMA, b( fla ns rflM fM 

4idvlntrifMtel^aln*ta| , 

VOMMlBOHM M ^HtMl IBdtan 

QdI «t eoeUIir d'Mnat du» l* janÜii d« diwix. 
ToutM Im flenn de poede I 

<)oe MD* te mdo Is totle uüme loa rt w n ; 
Qne le paroe brilliant Tire loii* ton cüw* », 

Ou l'wgUe KHU ton doigt roM ; 
Qu« lOT U «c^DB, «1 brnit dSUnnt dea bnto«, 
Bn t;pea toojoun mla, qootque lonjonn hobvmbx, 

Tod t«l«nt m mätUDorphoM ; 

Boit qae, peintre »dmusble on Malptew loDTenla, 
Toi-mEme oeee rarir Im mau «i front serria, 

A t* Mnrire tonjonra prtte ; 
Bolt qu'ani mille Tlrati dela foul« ft sanoax, 
De« gnadi mattra «odeoi ou modernes, poor noM 

T« Toix «e &BHI rioterprita ; 

De« bord« de la Tamite aiix bord« du Salat-Lwmat, 
Qd'[1 (Ott enfant da peaple ou brlUe Mi pranltr noc 

lAiuatit glapir la calomnla, 
Tour ä tour par Ion ceuxre et ta grioe «nahanM 
Chaoim oonrbe 1« front davant U mqeitd 

De Ion noiraml (Mo I 



THE POET FRfiCHETTE 891 

Salat doDO, O Sarah ! lalat, O dona Sol ! 
Lonqne ton pied mignon rient fouler notre sol, 

Te montrer de rindiff&renoe 
Seiait k notre nng nons-mdmee faire äff ront ; 
Gar r^toile qoi Init la plus belle k ton front, 

Cect encore celle de la France 1 

Loüis FbAohbttb. 



He read veiy well, it is tnie; but those lines, read at a 
temperature of twenty-two degrees of cold to a poor woman 
dumfounded through listening to a frenzied ^^Marseillaise," 
ftanned by tbe mad hurrahs from ten thousand throats delirious 
with patriotic fervour, were more than my strength could bear. 

I made superhuman eiForts at resistance, but was overwhelmed 
with fisttigue. Everything appeared to be tuming round in a 
mad fiunandole. I feit myself raised from the ground, and heard 
a voioe which seemed to come from far away, ^^ Make room for 
oor French lady!^ Then I heard nothing further, and only 
recoveied my senses in my room at the Hotel Windsor. 

My sister Jeanne had become separated from me by the 
movement of the crowd. But the poet Frdchette, a Franco- 
Canadian, acted aa escort, and brought her several minutes 
later, safe and sound, but trembling on my account, and this is 
wfaat she told me. ^'Just imagine. When the crowd was 
pressing against you, seized with terror on seeing your head fall 
back with closed eyes on to Abbey'^s Shoulder,*^ I shouted out, 
' Help ! My sister is] being killed/ I had become mad. A 
man of enormous size, who had foUowed us for a long time, 
worked his elbows and hips to make the enthusiastic but over- 
excited mob give way, with a quick movement placed himself 
before you just in time to prevent you fix)m falling. The 
man, whose face I could not see on accoimt of its being hid- 
den beneath a für cap, the car flaps of which covered almost his 
entire face, raised you up as though you had been a flower, 
and held forth to the crowd in English. I did not understand 
anything he said, but the Canadians wcrc Struck with it, for the 
poshing ceased, and the crowd separated into two compact ifiles 
in Order to let you pass through. I can assureyou that it made 
me feel quite impressed to see you, so siender, with your head 
back, and the whole of your poor frame bome at arm 's length by 
^t Hercules. I followed aa fast aa I could, but having caug|fat 



892 SARAH BERNHARDT 

my foot in the flounoe of my skirt, I bad to stop fbr a second, 
and that second was enough to separate us completely. The 
crowd, having closed up after your passage, formed an im- 
penetrable barrier. I can assure you, dear sister, that I fdt 
anything but at ease, and it was M. Prechette who saved me."" 

I shook the band of that worthy gentleman, and thanked him 
this time as well as I could for his fine poem ; then I spoke to 
him of other poems of his, a volume of which I bad obtained at 
New York, for alas ! to my shame I must acknowledge it, I knew 
nothing about Frechette up to the time of ray departure from 
France, and yet he was alr»Euly known a litÜe in Paris. 

He was very much toached with the several lines I dwelt 
upon as the finest of his work. He thanked me. We 
remained friends. 

The day foUowing, nine o^clock bad hardly Struck when a 
Card was sent up to me on which were written these words, ^ He 
who bad the joy of saving you, Madame, begs that your kindness 
will grant him a moment^s interview.*" I directed that the man 
should be shown into the drawing-room, and after notifjing 
Jarrett, went to waken my sister. " Come with me," I said. 
She slipped on a Chinese dressing-gown, and we went in the 
direction of the large, the immense drawing-room of my suite, 
for a bicvcle would have been necessarv to traverse without 
fatigue the entire length of my rooms, drawing-room, dining- 
room and bedroom. On opcning the door I was Struck bv the 
beautv of the man who was before me. He was very talL with wide 
Shoulders, small head, a hard look, hair thick and curlv, tanncd 
complexion. The man was fine-looking, but seemed uneasv. He 
blushcd slightly on seeing me. I expressed my gratitude, and 
asked to be excused for my foolish weakness. I reeeived jovfully 
the bouquet of violets he handed me. On taking leave he said 
in a low voice, " If you ever hear who I am, swear that you will 
only think of the slight serv'ice I have rendered you.'' At that 
moment Jarrett entered. His face was pale, as he walked towards 
the stranger and spoke to him in English. I could, however, 
catch the words, " detective . . . door . . . assassination . . . 
impossibility . . . New Orleans.*" The strengeres sunbumt 
complexion became chalky, his nostrils quivered as he glanced 
towards the door. Then, as flight appeared impossible, he 
looked at Jarrett and in a peremptoiy tone, as cold as flint, 



THE POET FRifiCHETTE 898 

Said, *^Well!^ as he went towards the door. My hands, 
which had opened under the Stupor, let fall his bouquet, which 
he picked up whilst looking at me with a supplicating and 
appealing air. I understood, and said to him in a loud tone of 
▼oice, ** I swear to it, Monsieur." The man disappeared with 
his flowers. I heard the uproar of people behind the door and 
of the crowd in the street. I did not wish to listen to anything 
fortl^r. 

When my sister, of a romantic and foolish tum of mind, 
wished to teil me about the horrible thing, I closed my ears. 

Four months afterwards, when an attempt was made to read 
aloud to me an account of his dcath by hanging, I refused to 
hear anything about it. And now after twenty-six years have 
passed and I know, I only wish to remember the Service 
rendered and my pledged word« 

Ulis incident left me somewhat sad. The anger of the 
Bifthop of Montreal was necessary to enable me to regain my 
good humour. That prelate, after holding forth in the pulpit 
against the immorality of French literature, forbeule his flock 
to go the theatre. He spoke violently and spitefully against 
modern France. As to Scribe^s play {Adrienne Lecouvreur\ 
be tore it into shreds, as it were, declaiming against the immoral 
love of the comfdienne and of the hero and against the adulterous 
love of the Frincesse de Bouillon. But the truth showed itself 
in spite of all, and he cried out, with fury intensified by outrage : 
*^ In this infamous lucubration of French authors there is a court 
•bb^ who, thanks to the imboimded licentiousness of his expres- 
sions, constitutes a direct insult to the clergy.**" Finally he 
pronounced an anathema against Scribe, who was already dead, 
against L^ouve, against me, and against all my Company. The 
result was that crowds came from everywhere, and the four 
Performances, Adrienne Lecotivreur, Frottfrou^ La Dame aux 
Camäku (matinee), and Hemani had a colossal succcss and 
farought in fabulous receipts. 

I was invited by the poet FrÄ;hette and a bankcr whose name 
I do not remember to pay a visit to the Iroquois. I accepted 
with joy, and went there accompanied by my sister, Jarrett, and 
Angelo, who was always ready for a dangcrous excursion. I 
lät in safety in the presencc of this artiste, fall of bravery and 
oompoflore, and gifted with herculcan strength. The only 



894 SARAH BERNHARDT 

I thiDg he lacked to niake him pcrfect was taletiL He had Dooe 
I then, and never did bave any. 

The St. Lawreiit-e river was frozen over Nimost entirelT; 
we crossed it in a carriage along a route indicated bv two row» 



branches fixed in the 



Wt: Iiad four 



carriages. 



Tbe 



distance betweeo Caugbnanwaga and Montreal vnu Sie 
I kilometres, 

Tliis visit to tbe Iroquois was delidously enchantiDg. I 
was introduced to the chief, fatber, and mayor of the Iroquois 
tribes. Alas! tbis former chief, son of "Big Wtite Eagle," 
sumamed during hia childhood "Sun of the Night»," no^ 
clotbed in Borry European rags, was selling Uquor, tbread, 
needles, flax, pork fat, cbocolate, ikc. All that remained of faii 
niad rovings through the old wild forests — when he roanied 
noked over a land free of all allegiance — was the stupor of the 
bull held prisoner by the boms, It is true be also .told braiidy, 
and that be quenched bis thirst, as did all of tbem, at that 
source of forgetfutness. 

Sun of the Nights introduced me to bis daugbter, a giri of 
eighteen to twenty years of age, insipid, and devoid of beauty 
and graee. 

Sbe sat down at the piano and played a tune that was popidar 
at the time — I do not remember what. I was in a burry to 
leave tbe störe, the bomc of tbcse two victims of civilisation. 

I visited Caugbnanwaga, but found no pleasure in iL "n« 
Bame compression of the tliioat, tbe same rctrospective anguish) 
caused ine to revolt against man's cowardicc which hid ander 
the naine of civilisation the most unjust and most protected of 
crimes. 

I rctumed to Montreal somcwbat sad and tircd. Tbe socoeas 
of our four porfomiaiices was extraordinary, but what ga« 
tbem a special charm in my eyes was the infernal andjoyo« 
noise made by the studenta, The doors of tbe thcatre were 
opened eiery day one hour in advance for tbem. Tbey thai 
arranged matters to suit thcmselvcs. Most of tbem were gtftod 
with magnificent voites. 'ITiey separated into groups according 
to tbe rcquirements of the songs they wished to sing. Tbey 
then preparcd, by means of a strong string worked by a puUqr. 
the aerial route tbat was to be followed by the flower-bodecked 
bosketa which dcscendcd frotn their paradise to whcre I was. 



M 



AT MONTREAL 895 

They tied ribbons round the necks of dovet bearing sonnets and 
good wishes. 

These flowers and biids were sent off during the '^ calls,^ and 
by a happy disposition of the strings the flowers feil at my feet, 
the doves flew where their astonishment led them; and every 
evening these messages of grace and beauty were repeated. I 
experienced considerable emotion the first evening. The Marquis 
of Lome, son-in-law of Queen Victoria, Govemor of Canada, 
was of royal punctuality. The students knew it. The house 
was noisy and quivering. Through an opening in the curtain I 
gazed on the composition of this assembly. All of a sudden a 
silenoe came over it without any outward reason for it, and the 
^Marseillaise'" was sung by three hundred warm young male 
▼oioes. With a coiu-tesy fuU of grandeur the Govemor stood up 
at the first notes of our national hymn. The whole house was 
on its feet in a second, and the magnificent aCnthem echoed in 
our hearts like a call from the mother-country. I do not believe 
I ever heard the ^^ Marseillaise '^ sung with kecner emotion and 
unanimity. As soon as it was over, the plaudits of the crowd 
hroke out three times over ; then, upon a sharp gesture from the 
Govemor, the band played ** God save the Queen.^ 

I never saw a prouder or more dignified gesture than that of 
the Marquis of Lome when he motioned to the conductor of the 
orchestra. He was quite willing to allow these sons of submissive 
Frenchmcn to feel a regret, perhaps even a flickering hope. The 
first on his feet, he listened to that fine plaint with respcct, but 
he smothered its last echo beneath the English National 
An them. 

Being an Englishman, he was incontcstably right in doing so. 

I gave for the last Performance, on December 25, Christmas 
Day, HemanL 

The Bishop of Montreal again thundered against me, against 
Scribe and L^ouve, and the poor artistcs who had come with me, 
who could not help it. I do not know whether he did not even 
threaten to excommunicate all of us, living and dead. Lovers 
of France and French art, in order to reply to his abusive 
attack, unyoked my horses, and my sleigh was almost carried by 
an immense crowd, among which were the deputies and nota- 
bilities of the city. 

One has only to consult the daily papert of that period to 



r 



«96 SAHAH BERNHARDT 

realise tbe crosbing dfect caiiscd by such a triumphant retam to 
my hotel. 

The day following, Sunday, I went at seven o'dock in the 
mommg, in conipany wiÜi Jarrett and my sistcr, for a promenade 
on the bajiks of the St. Lawrence river. At a given momoit 
I ordered the carriage to stop, with the object of Walking a htUe 
way. 

Mysister laughingly said, " What ifwe climb on to that Urge 
piece of ice that seems ready to crack ?" 

No sooner thought of than done. 

And behold both of us walking on the ice, trying to break it 
looae ! All of a suddci] a loud ühoiit from Jarrett made us 
understand that we had succeeded. As a matter of fact, oor ice 
barque was alvcady floating free in the narrow Channel of the river 
that remaioed always open on account of the force of the currenL 
My sister and I sat down, for the piece of ice rocked about in 
every direction, makiiig both of us laugh inordinately. Jarrett's 
criea caused peoplc to gathcr. Men armed with boat-hooka 
endeavourod to stop oiir progres», but it was not easy, for the 
edges of the chaiinel were too friable to bear the weight of a man. 
Kopes were thrown out to us. We caught hold of one of tbem 
with our four hands, but the sudden pull of the men in drawing 
US towards them cast our raft so suddenly ogainst the ice edges 
that it broke in two, and we remained, füll of fear this time, on 
one .small part of our akiff. I laughed no longer, for we were 
beginning to travel somewhat fast, and the Channel was opeuing 
out in width. But in one of the tums it made we were fortu- 
nately squeezed in between two immense blocks, and to this fact 
we owed being able to escape with our hves. 

The men who had followed our very rapid ride with real 
couragc climbcd on to the blocks. A harpoon was thrown with 
marvellous skill on to our icy wreck so as to retain us in our 
Position, for tbe current, rather strong undemeath, might have 
caused US to move. A laddcr was brought and planted ag^nst 
one of the large blocks ; its steps afforded us mesns of deliveiy. 
My sister was the tirst to cbmb up, and I followed, somewhät 
Bfihamed at our ridiculous escapade. 

During the length of tinie required to regain the bank the 
carriage, with Jarrett in it, was able to rejoin us. He wa» 
pallid, not from fear of the danger I had undcrgone, but at the 



ST. LAWRENCE RIVER 897 

ideft that if I died the tour would come to an end. He said to 
me qtiite seriously, ^ If you had lost your life, Madame, you 
woold have been dishonest, for yoa would have broken your 
oontract of your own free wilL^ 

We had just enough time to get to the Station, where the 
train was ready to take me to Springfield« 

An immense crowd was waiting, and it was with the same cry 
of loTe, underlined with au revoirSj that the Canadian public 
wished US good-bye. 






■' / •' ■ ," ■ "f '" * *£-* 



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Alm OUT nuMMft md noiij mooMi d liiowtiflj ws 



We pl«fed £a Jkmm mm C&mtBm ia Amerfsa O— ür, 
viqr» BD «e WM «VW äbfe to tdl am. Uns pligrt ^rincfc ti» 
public luifeed to lee in ctondsy ihodkod uie of^OMrtniiiid Ftei* 
tnusm of tiie aniin iümBtiiMn towi^ TIm criti» of ili» laige 
f^i^iAa ^wjMMMM^ f Jim mtwifwn MjgiliilfirirL 3Qt tiboM of ilift mmB 
tom» bq^ bj tfaromng ttoiies at Imt. Tliii stQted iMen» m 
tiie part of the pabBc^ pfqndieed agriMI tib» l ü niui ity of 
Marguerite Grautier, we met wifh from time to tiine in the 
small eitles. Springfield at that time had bardy thirty tboiMand 
inhabitants. 

During the day I passed at Springfield I called at a gnn- 
smith^s to purchase a rifle. The salesman showed me mto a long 
and veiy narrow couriyaid, where I tried several shots. Qn 
tuming round I was surprised and confused to see two goatlemen 
taking an interest in my shooting. I wished to withdraw at 
once, but one of them came up to me : 

*^ Would you like, Madame, to oome and fire off acannon?^ I 
ahnost feil to the ground with surprise, and did not reply (or a 
second. Then I said, ** Yes, I would.^ 

An appointment was made with my stränge questioner, who 
was the director of the Colt gun {adory. An hoinr aflerwards I 
went to the rendezvous. 

More than thirty people who had been hastily invited were 
there already. It got on my nerves a trifle. I fired off tiit 



BAL.TIMORE— PHILADELPHIA 899 

newly invented quick-firing cannon. It €Lmused me very much 
without procuring me any emotion, and that evening, after the 
icy Performance, we left for Baltimore with a vertiginous rush, 
the play having finished later than the hour fixed for the depar- 
ture of the train. It was necessary to catch it up at any cost. 
The three enormous carriages that made up my special train went 
off under füll steam. With two engines, we bomided over the 
metals and dropped again, thanks to some miracle. 

We finally succeeded in catching up the express, which 
knew we were on its track, having been wamed by telegram. It 
made a short stop, just long enough to couple us to it anyhow» 
and in that way we reached Baltimore, where I stayed four days 
and gave five Performances. 

Two things Struck me in that city : the deadly cold in the 
hoteis and the theatre, and the loveliness of the women. 

I feit a profound sadness at Baltimore, for I spent the Ist of 
January far from everything that was dear to me. I wept all 
nig^t, and underwent that moment of discouragement that makes 
one wish for death. 

Our success, however, had been colossal in that charming dty, 
which I left with regret to go to Philadelphia, where we were to 
lemain a week. 

Tliat handsome city I do not care for. I received an enthusi- 
astic welcome there, in spite of a change of programme the first 
evening. Two artistes having missed the train, we could not play 
Adrienne Lecouvreur^ and I had to replace it by Phidrcy the only 
piece in which the absentees could be replaced. The receipts 
averaged twenty thousand francs for the seven Performances 
given in six days. My sojoum was saddened by a letter 
announcing the death of my friend Gustave Flaubert, the 
writer who had the beauty of our language at heart. 

From Philadelphia we proceeded to Chicago. 

At the Station I was received ly a deputation of Chicago 
ladies, and a bouquet of rare flowers was handed to me by a 
delightful young lady, Madame Lily B. 

Jarrett then led me into one of the rooms of the Station, 
where the French delegates were waiting. 

A very short but highly emotional speech from our Consul 
spread confidence and friendly feelings among every one, and 
«Aer having retumed heartfelt thanks, I was preparing to leave 




SARAH BERNHARD 



Üie Station, when I stopped stupefied — and U seeois that mj 
features assunied such an intense espression of sufiering that 
everybody raii towards me to ofTer assistooce. 

But a sudden anger electrified all my being, and I wallud 
straigbt towards tbe horrible vision tbat bad just appennd 
before me — tbe wbale man ! He was alive, that terrihle Smith! 
— enveloped in fürs, with diamonds on all of bis iingers. He 
was there witb a bouquet in bis band, tbe wretchcd brüte! I 
refused tbe flowers and repulaed bim witb all my strength, 
increased teiifold by anger, and a tlood of confused words c^apcd 
from my pallid bps. But tbis scene cbamied bim, for it was 
repeated and spread about, magnified, and tbe wbale bad more 
visitors tban ever, 

I went to tbe Palmer House, one of tbe moat magnificent 
hoteis of tbat day, whose proprietor, Mr. Potter-Palm er, was a 
perfetrt gentleman, couiteous,kind,and generous, for be (illed the 
immense apartment I occupied witb tbe rarest Howers, and tased 
bis ingenuity in order to have ray meals cooked and served in the 
French style, a difficult matter in those days. 

We were to rcmain a fortnight in Cbicago. Oar succeu 
exc«eded all expectations. These two weeks seemed to me the 
most agreeable days I Lad had since my arrival in Aiuerica. 
First of all, there was the vitality of the city in wbicb men pass 
eacb other without ever stopping, with knitted brows, with one 
thought in mind," tbe endto attain." Tbey move oii and on, ncver 
tuming for a cry or pioident wamiiig. What takes place bebind 
tbem matters bttle. They do not wisb to know wby a cry is 
raised, and tbey bave no time to be prudent : *' the eod to 
attain "" awaits tbem. 

Women bere, as everywhere eise in America, do not work, but 
tbey do not stroll about tbe streets, as in other cities : tbey walk 
quickly ; tliey also are in a burry to seek amusemeiit. During 
the day tinie I went some distancc iato the surroonding coustzv 
in order not to nieet tbe sandwicb-men advertising the wbale. 

One day I went to tbe pigs" slaughter-house. Ab, what 
a dreadful and mt^iificent sight ! There were three of us, 
my sister, myself, and an Englishman, a friend of mine. 

On arrival we saw hundreds of pigs hmrying, bunibed together, 
gnmting and snorting, along a small narrow raised bridge. 

Our carriage passed under tbis bridge, and stopped before 



1 

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■ I 

■ li' 

■ 






I 

: ■■■■^ 
• :,i 

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1 



CHICAGO 401 

a group of men who were waiting for us. Tlie manager of the 
ttock-yards reoeived us and led tfae way to the special slau^ter- 
houses. Qn enteriog into the immense sbed, whidi is dimly 
li^ted by Windows with greasy and mddy panes, an abcnninahfe 
smell gets into your thitMtt, a smell that only leaves one several 
days afterwaids. A sanguinary mist lises everywhere, like 
a ligfat doud floating on the side of a mountain and lit up by 
the setting sun. An infernal hubbub drmns itself into your 
brain : the almost human cries of the pigs being slan^tered, 
the violent strokes of the hatchets lopping off the limbs, the 
repeated shouts of the ^ ripper,^ who with a süperb and sweeping 
gesture lifts the heavy hatchet, and with one stroke opens from 
top to bottom the unfortunate, quivering animal hung on a 
hook. During the terror of the moment one hears the oon- 
tinuous grating of the revolving razor which in one second 
removes the bristles from the trunk thrown to it by the machine 
that has cut off the four 1^; the whistle of the escaping 
steam from the hot water in which the head of the animal is 
tcalded ; the rippling of the water that is constantly renewed ; 
the cascade of the waste water ; the rumbling of the small traius 
carrying under wide arches trucks loaded with hams, sausages, 
fcc., and the whistling of the engines waming one of the danger 
of their approach, which in this spot of terrible massacre seems 
to be the perpetual knell of wretched agonies. 

Nothing was more Hoffmanesque than this slaughter of pigs 
at the period I am speaking about, for since then a sentiment of 
humanity has crept, although still somewhat timidly, into this 
temple of porcine hecatombs. 

I retumed from this visit quite ilL That evening I played 
in Phidre. I went on to the stage quite unnerved« and trying 
to do everything to get rid of the horrible vision of the stock- 
yard. I threw myself heart and soul into my rSle^ so much so 
that at the end of the fourth act I absolutely fainted on the 
stage. 

Qn the day of my last Performance a magnifioent oollar of 
camellias in diamonds was handed me on behalf of the ladies of 
Chicago. I left that city fond of everything in it : its people ; 
its lake, as big as a small inland sea ; its audienoes, who were so 
enthusiastic ; everything, everything— except its stock-yards. 

Idid not even bear any ill-will towaxds the Bish<^ who alsoi ai 



402 SARAH BERNHARDT 

had happened in other cities, had denofonoed my art and VnoA 
literatore. By the Tiolenoe of his sermons he had, as a mattar 
of fiict, advertiaed os so well that Mr. Abbey, the manager, vrote 
the following letter to him : 

**Your Grace ^ Whenever I visit your city, I am ae- 

customed to spend four hundred dollars in adveitising. Biit as 
you have done the advertising for me, I send you two hundred 
dollars for your poor. 

" Hekkt Abbey." 

We left Chicago to go to St. Louis, where we arrived after 
having covered 283 miles in fourteen hours. 

In the drawing-room of my car, Abbey and Jarrett showed 
me the statement of the sixty-two Performances that had been 
given since our arrival. The gross receipts were $S87,4S9, 
that is to say, 1,187,295 francs, an average of 18,343 francs per 
Performance. This gave me great pleasure on Henry Abbey^s 
account, for he had lost all he had in his previous tour with an 
admirable troup of opera artistes, and greater pleasure still on 
my own account, as I was to receive a good ahare of the 
taJcings. 

We stayed at St. Louis all the week, firom January S4 to Sl. 
I must admit that this city, which was specially French, was less 
to my liking than the other American cities, as it was dirty and 
the hoteis were not very comfortable. Since then St. Louis has 
made great strides, but it was the Germans who planted there 
the bulb of progress. At the time of which I speak, the ycar 
1881, the city was repulsively dirty. In those days, alas ! we 
were not great at colonising, and all the cities where French 
influence preponderated were poor and behind the times. I was 
bored to death at St. Louis, and I wanted to leave the place at 
once, after paying an indenmity to the manager, but Jarrett, 
the upright man, the stem man of duty, the ferocious man, said 
to me, holding my contract in his band : 

" No, Madame ; you must stay. You can die of ennui here if 
you like, but stay you must.*" 

By way of entertaining me he took me to a celebrated grotto 
where we were to see some millions of fish without eyes. The 
light had never penetrated into this grotto, and as the first fish 
who lived there h€ul uo use for their eyes, their descendants had 



ST. LOUIS 408 

BO eytB at alL We went to see this grotto. It was a long way 
oC We went down and groped our way to the grotto veiy 
caatiotuly, on all fours like cats. The road seemed to me 
intenninable, but at last the guide told us that we had arrived 
at onr destination« We were able to stand upright again, as 
the grotto itself was higher. I could see nothing, but I heard 
a match being Struck, and the guide then lighted a small lantem. 
Just in front of me, nearly at my feet, was a rather deep natural 
basin. ^ You see,^ remarked our guide phlegmatically, ^ that 
18 the pond, but just at present there is no water in it ; neither 
are th^re any fish. You must come again in three months^ 
time." 

Jarrett made such a fearful grimace that I was seized with an 
mioontrollable fit of laughter, of that kind of laughter which 
b or ders on madness. I was sufTocated with it, and I choked 
and langhed tili the tears came. I then went down into the 
basin of the pond in search of a relic of some kind, a little 
tkeleton of a dead fish, or anything, no matter what. There 
was nothing to be found, though — absolutely nothing. We 
had to retum on all fours, as we came. I m€ule Jarrett 
go first, and the sight of bis big back in bis für coat and 
elf him Walking on hands and feet, grumbling and swearing as 
he went, gave me such delight that I no longer regretted any- 
thing, and I gave ten dollars to the guide for bis inefiable 

• 

smrpnse. 

We retumed to the hotel, and I was informed that a jeweller 
had been waiting for me more than two hours. ^* A jeweller ! ^ 
I exdaimed ; ^* but I have no intention of buying any jewellery. 
I have too much as it is.^ Jarrett, however, winked at Abbey, 
who was there as we entered. I saw at once that there was 
•ome imderstanding between the jeweller and my two im- 
fft mariL I was told that my omaments needed cleaning, 
tliat the jeweller would undertaJce to make them look like new, 
lepair them if they required it, and in a word exhibit them. 
I rebelled, but it was of no use. Jarrett assured me that the 
ladies of St. Louis were particularly fond of shows of this kind. 
He Said it would be an exoellent advertisement ; that my 
jewellery was very much tamished, that several stones were 
missiiig, and that this man would replace them for nothiog, 
«What a savmg!'' he added. "«Just think of it! "" 



SARAH BERNHARDT 

I gave up, für discussions of that kind bore me to deatli, and 
two days Uter the ladies of St Louis went to adoiire my oro»- 
ments in this jeweller's show-cases linder a blaze of light Poor 
Madame Gu^rard, who also went to see tbem, catne imA 
horrified. 

" Thej- have added to jour things," she said, " sixteen paii» 
of ear-rings, twa necklaccs, aod thirty rings ; a loi^ette studded 
with diamonds and rubies, a gold cigarette- holder set with 
turquoises ; a small pipc, tbe amber moutbpiece of whicb is 
encircled with diamond stars ; ^ixteen bracelets, a tooth-pick 
studded with sapphires, a pair of spectacles with gold mounts 
ending with small acoms of pearls. 

" They must have been made specially," said poor Gaeiard, 
" for thcre can't be any one who would wear such glasäes, and, aa 
them were written the words, ' Spectacles which Madame Soimb 
Bernhardt wears when she is at home.' " 

I certainly thought that this was exceeding all the limits 
allowed to advertiseraent. To inake nie smoke pipes and 
wear spectacles was going rather too far, and I got into 
my carriagc and drove at once to the jeweller's. I arrivol 
just in time to find the place closed. It was five o'dock on 
Saturday afternoon ; the lights were out, and everytbing wa« 
dark and süent. I retumed to the botel, and spoke to Jan«tt 
of my annoyance. " What does it all matter, Madame r " be nid 
tranquilly. " So many girls wear spectacles ; and as to the päpe, 
the jeweller teils me he has received five Orders from it, and that 
it is going to be quite the fashion. Anyhow, it is of tw nse 
worrying about the matter, as the exhibition is now over. Your 
jewellery will be retumed to-night, and we leave bere the day 
after to-morrow." 

That evening the jeweller retumed all the objects 1 had lent 
bim, and they had been poüshed and repaired so that they looked 
quite new. He had inclnded with thcm a gold cig&rette-holdcr 
set with turquoises, the very one that had been on view. I 
simply could not make that man understand anything, and my 
anger cooled down when confronted by bis pleasant manner and 
bis joy. 

This advertisement, thougb, carae very near costing mc 
my life. Tempted by this huge quantit; of jewelleiy, tbe 
grester part of whicb did not belong to m«, a little bau] of 



ST. LOUIS TO CINCINNATI 405 

kharpen planned to rob me, believing that they would find all 
these valuables in the large hand-bag which my steward always 
carried. 

On Sunday, January SO, we left St. Louis at eight o^clock in 
the moming for Cincinnati. I was in my magnificently appointed 
Pallman car, and I had requested that the car should be put at 
the end of (our special train, so that from the platform I might 
enjoy the beauty of the landscape, which passes before one 
like a continually changing living panorama. 

We had scaroely been more than ten minutes en rotUe when 
the guard suddenly stooped down and looked over the little 
balcony. He then drew back quickly, and his face tumed pale. 
Seizing my band, he said in a very excited tone in English, 
** Please go inside, Madame ! ^ I understood that we were in 
danger of some kind. He pulled the alarm signal, made a sign 
to another guard, and before the train had quite come to a 
standstill the two men sprang down and disappeared under the 
train. 

The guard had fired a revolver in order to attract every one^s 
attention, and Jarrett, Abbey, and the artistes hurried out into 
the narrow corridor. I found myself in the midst of them, and 
to our stupefaction we saw the two guards dragging out from 
imdemeath my compartment a man armed to the teeth. With 
a revolver held to his temple on either side, he decided to confess 
the truth of the matter. 

The jeweller^s exhibition had excited the envyof all the gangs 
of thieves, and this man had been despatched by an organised 
band at St. Louis to relieve me of my jewellery. 

He was to unhook my carriage from the rest of the train 
between St. Louis and Cincinnati, at a certain spot known as the 
" Little Indine." 

Ab this was to be done [during the night, and as my carriage 
was the last, the thing was comparatively easy, since it was only 
a question of lifting the enormous hook and drawing it out of the 
link. 

The man, a veritable giant, was ÜEistened on to my carriage. 
We examined his apparatus, and found that it merely consisted 
of very thick wide straps of leather about half a yard wide 
By means of these he was secured firmly to the underpart of the 
timin, with his hands perfectly free. The oourageand the sanff- 



r 



406 SARAH BERNHARDT 

Jroid of tbat maii were admirable. He told us Ihat se\-en «med 
inen were waiting for us at the LitUe Incline, and thut tbey 
certoinly would not have iiijured us if wc hnd not attempled Ui 
resist, for all they wanted was my jewellery and tbe money irfiidi 
the secretary carricd (two tbousand Üireehandred doUars). Oh, 
he knew cvcrythmg ; he knew every one's name, and he gaMtletl 
on in bad French, " Oh, as for you, Madanie, we should not havc 
done you any hami, in spite of your pretty Httle revolvcr. We 
should even have let you keep it." 

And so this man and bis" gang kncw that the secretary «Icpt 
at tny end of the ti-ain, and that he was not to be dreaded mocii 
(poor Chatterton !) ; that he had »ith him two tbousand three 
hundred doUars, and that I had a very prettily cbased revol»er, 
oniamented with cats-eyes. The man was firmly bound «ad 
taken in charge by the two guards, and the train was tiien bftdiod 
into St. Louis ; we had only started a quarttr of an hour 
before. The pwlice were informed, snd they sent us five detM- 
tives. A goods train whicb should have departcd half an hour 
before us was sent on ahead of us. Eight detcctives travelled on 
this goods train, and recoived Orders to get out at the Little 
Incline. Our giant was handcdover to the policeauthoritiefl,bot 
I wa." promised that he should be dealt with mercifiilly on aoomat 
of the confe<ision bc had made. Later on I leanit that this 
promise bad been kept, as the man was sent back to bi> native 
country, Ireland. 

From this time forth my compartment was always phad 
between two others every night. In the day-time I was allamd 
to have my carriage at Üie end on condition that I would agree 
to have on the platforra an arnied detective whom I was to pay, 
by the way, for his ser^'ices. Our dinner was very gay,and eray 
one was rather excited, As to tlie guard who had discovered the 
giant hidden undcr tho train, Abbcy and I had rcwardud htm »o 
lavishly that he was intosicated, and kept coniing on every ooca- 
sion to kiss my hand and wccp bis drunkard's tears, repeating all 
the time, " I saved the French lady ; Fm a gentleman." 

When ünally wc approached the Little Incline, it was dark. 
The engine-driver wanted to rusb along at füll speed, but «ebad 
not gone five milcs «heu crackcrs cxploded under the wbeeb and 
we were obliged to slacken our pace. We womlered what new 
danger there wai awaiting us, and we began to feel utxioas. 



mä 



ST. LOUIS TO CINCINNATI 407 

Hie women were nervous, and some o( them were in tears. We 
went alongslowly, peering into the darkness, tr3dDg to make out 
the form of a man or of several men by the light of each cracker. 
Abbey suggested going at füll speed, because these crackers had 
been placedalong Üieline by the bandits, whohadprobably thought 
of some way of stopping the train in case their giant did not 
suooeed in unhooking the carriage. The engine-driver refused 
to go more quickly, declaring that these crackers were Signals 
plaoed there by the railway Company, and that he could not risk 
every one^s life on a mere supposition. The man was quite 
rigfat, and he was certainly very brave. 

•* We can certainly setüe a handful of ruffians,^ he said, " but 
I oould not answer for any one^s life if the train went off the 
lines, clashed into or coUided with something, or went over a 
precipice.^ 

We continued therefore to go slowly. The lights had been 
tumed off in the car, so that we might see as mach as possible 
without being seen ourselves. We had tried to keep the truth 
from the artistes, except from three men whom I had sent for to 
my carriage. The artistes really had nothing to fear from the 
robbers, as I was the only person at whom they were aiming. 
To avoid all unnecessary questions and evasive answers, we sent 
the secretary to teil them that as there was some obstruction on 
the line, the train had to go slowly. They were also told that 
one of the gas-pipes had to be repaired before we could have Ihc 
light again. Ilie communication was then cut betwcen my car 
and the rest of the train. We had been going along like this 
for ten minutes perhaps when everything was suddenly lighted 
up by a fire, and we saw a gang of railway-men hastening 
towards us. It makes mc shudder now whcn I think how 
nearly these poor fellows escaped being killed. Our nei'ves had 
been in such a state of tension for several hours that we imagined 
at first that these men were the wretchcd friends of the giant. 
Some one fired at them, and if it had not been for our plucky 
engine-driver calling out to them to stop, with the addition of a 
terriUe oath, two or three of these poor men would have been 
wounded. I too had seized my revolver, but' before I could 
have drawn out the ramrod which serves as a cog to prevent it 
from going off, any one would have had time to seize me, bind 
me, and kill me a hundred times over. 



408 SARAH BERNHARDT ^| 

And still aity time I go to a place wliera I think there is Au^t, 
I invariably tnke my pistol wiüi me, for it is a pistol, and not t 
rcvolver. I always call it a revolver, but in rcAÜty it is a pistoI,nä 
a very old-fa^shioned make too, with tliis ramrod and the triggcr» 
hard to pull that I have to use niy otlier band as vrcü. 1 uaaat 
a bad »bot, for a woman, provided that I may take niy time, fart 
this is not very easy when oiie waiits to fire at a robber. And Jfft I 
always have my pistol with me ; it is here on my table, and 1 en 
see it aa I write. It is in its case, »hieb is mtber too narrow, aa 
that it requires a certain amount of strengtb and patience to 
pull it out. If an assassin sbould arrive at tbis particuiar 
moment I sbould first bave to unfasten the case, which is not an 
easy matter, tben to get the pistol out, pull out the ramrod, 
whicb is ratber too firm, and press tbe trigger with both handiu 
And yet, in spite of all this, tbe bumaii animal is so stränge 
that this ridiculously usciess little object here before me seetu 
to me an admirable protection. And nervous and timid a» I 
am, alas ! I feel quite safe wben I am near to this little friead of 
mine, who must roar with laughter iiiside the little case ootof 
which I can scarcely drag it. 

Well, everytbing was now explained to us. Tlie goods Inin 
which bad started before us ran oft' the line, but no great damage 
was done, and no one was kiiled. The St. Louis band of robben 
bad armnged eveiything, and had prepared to bave thi» Httle 
accident two miles from the Little Incüiie, in case tbeir comraile 
crouching under my car had not boeo able to unbook it. Tbc 
train had left the rails, but when the wretches ru.'ibed forwanJ, 
Ixilieving that it was mine, they found themselve» surroandnl 
by the band of detectives. It seeras that they fougbt like 
demons. One of tliem was killcd on tbe spot, two niore 
wounded, and the remaindcr taken prisoners, A few days 
later the cbief of this little band was banged. He wtfl a 
Belgian, named Albert Wirbyn, twenty-five yeors of age. 

I did all in my power to save bim, for it seemed to me that 
unintentionally I had been the instigator of his evil plan. 

If Abbey and Jarrett had not been so rebid for odvertise- 
ment, if they had not addod more thaii six hundred thousaad 
francs' worth of jewellery to mine, this man, thi» wretcbed jroQtb, 
would not perhaps have had the stupid idea of robbiog me. 
Who can say wbat schemea had dostcd througb the miud of tbe 



'CAPITAL PUNISHMENT 409 

poor fellow, who was perhaps half-starved, or perhaps excited by 
a clever, inventive brain ? Perhaps when he stopped and looked 
«t the jeweller^s window he said to himself : ^ There is jewellery 
there worth a million francs. If it were all mine I would seil it 
and go back io Belgium. What joy I could give to my poor 
mother, who is blinding herseif with work by gaslight, and I could 
help my sister io get married.^ Or perhaps he was an inventor, 
and he thought to himself: ^Ah, if only I had the money 
wfakfa that jewellery represents I could bring out my invention 
mysel^ instead of selling my patent to some highly esteemed 
nscaly who will buy it from me for a crust of bread. What 
would it matter to the artiste. Ah, if only I had the money i ^ 
Ah, if I had the money ! — ^perhaps the poor fellow cried with 
rage to think of all this wealth belonging to one person. 
Perhaps the idea of crime germinated in this way in a mind 
which had hitherto been pure. Ah, who can teil to what hope 
may give birth in a young mind ? At first it may be only 
a beautiful dream, but this may end in a mad desire to realise 
the dream. To steal the goods of another person is certainly 
not right, but this should not be punished by death — it certainly 
ahould not. To kill a man of twenty-five years of age is a much 
greater crime than to steal jewellery even by force, and a society 
which bands together in order to wield the sword of Justice is 
much more cowardly when it kills than the man who robs and 
kills quite alone, at his own risk and peril. Oh, what tears I 
wept for that man, whom I did not know at all — who was 
a raacal or perhaps a hero ! He was perhaps a man of weak 
intellect who had tumed thief, but he was only twenty-five 
years of age, and he had a right to live. 

How I hate capital pimishment ! It is a relic of cowardly bar- 
barism, and it is a disgrace for civilised countries still to have 
thur guillotines and scaffoids. Every human bcing has a moment 
when his heart is easily touched, when the tears of grief will flow ; 
and those tears may fecundate a generous thought which might 
lead to repentance. 

I would not for the whole world be one of those who condemn 
a man to death. And yet many of them are good, upright 
men, who when they retum to their families are affectionate 
io their wives, and reprove their children for bi*eaking a doU's 
head. 



410 SARAH BERNHARDT 

I have secn four executions, one in London, one tn Spain, ud 
two in Paris. 

In London the method is hanging, and this seems to me niore 
hideaus, niore repugnant, more weird tlian anyoÜicr death. The 
victini was a joung man of about thirty, vith a stn>ng,ae1f-wUled 
looking ftifc, I onty ^w liim a second« and be aliruggcd hls 
shoul(lci-s as he glanced at me, his eyes expre^^ng bU contempt 
for my curiostty. At that moment I feit that indmduaTK tdea* 
were very much superior to niine, and the condeuincd niau 
seemed to me greater than oU who were there. It was, perbap«, 
because he was nearer than we all were to the great mystery. I 
can See him now sntilc as they covered his face witb tiie hood, 
while, as for me, I niahed away complctely upset. 

In Madrid I saw a man garrotted, and the barbarity of Üiii 
torture terrified me for wecks afler. He was accuscd of having 
killed his mother, but no real proof seemed to have been brought 
forward agajnst the wretched man. And he cried out. whcn Ihey 
were holding him down on bis seat before putting the gairotte 
on him, " Mother, I sball soon be with you, and you will teil them 
all, in my presenee, that they have lied." 

These words were uttered in Spanish, in a ^-oice that vibrated 
with earnestness. They were translated for me by an edtachi tu 
tlie British Enibassy, with whom I had gone to aee the hideoui 
sight. The wretched man cned out in such a sincere, bavt- 
rending tone of voice that itwas inipoäsible for bim not to hatv 
been innocent, and this wa^ the opinion of all Ihose wbo wvic 
with me. 

The two other executions which I witnessed were at the PUot 
de la Roi]uette, Paris. The first wat that of a young nuidiol 
Student, who with the help of one of his frieuds hod killed an 
old «onian who sold iiewspapers. It was a stupid, odiou» cricne, 
but the man was more mad than criminal. He was niore Üun 
ordinarily intelligent, and had passed his exaininations at mi 
earlier age than is usual. He had worked too hani, aod it had 
affected his brain. He ought to have been allowed to restt to 
have been treated aa an invalid, cured in niind and body, and 
then retunied to his scientific pursuits. He was a young man 
quite above the average as regards intellect. ] cui aee him niw, 
pale and haggard, with a dreamy, far-away look in his eyot, «B 
expressiun of inünite sadness. I know, of cotirse, that he \td 



^ • ""^^ 



CAPITAL PUNISHMENT 411 

killed a poor, defaiceless old woman. That was certainly odious, 
but he was only twenty-three years old, and bis mind was dis- 
ordered through study and overwork, too much ambition, and 
the babit of cutting off arms and legs and dissecting the dead 
bodies of women and cbildren. All tbis does not excuse tbe 
man^s abombmble deed, but it bad all contributed to unbinge 
bis monJ sense, wbicb was perbaps already in a wavering state, 
thanks to study, poverty, or atavism. I consider tbat a crime of 
higfa treason against bumanity was committed in taking tbe life 
of a man of intellect, wbo, wben once be bad recovered bis 
reason, migbt bave rendered great Service to science and to 
bumanity. 

The last execution at wbicb I was present was tbat of Vaillant, 
the anarchist. He was an energetic man, and at tbe same 
time mild and gentle, witb very advanced ideas, but not 
much more advanced tban tbose of men wbo bave since risen 
to power. 

My theatre at tbat time was tbe Renaissance, and he often 
applied to me for free seats, as he was too poor to pay for the 
luxuries of art Ab, poverty, wbat a sorry counsellor art thou, 
and how tolerant we ought to be to tbose wbo bave to endure 
miseiy ! 

One day Vaillant came to see me in my dressing-room at 
the theatre. I was playing Lorenzaccio, and be said to me : 
** Ah, that Florentine was an anarchist just as I am, but he 
kiUed the tyrant and not tyranny. Tbat is not tbe way I shall 
go to work."** 

A few days later he tbrew a bomb in a public building, tbe 
Chamber of Deputies. The poor fellow was not as successful 
as the Florentine, whom be seemed to despise, for be did not 
kill any one, and did no real bann except to bis own cause. 

I said I sbould like to know wben be was to be executed, and 
the night before, a friend ofmine came to tbe theatre and told 
me that tbe execution was to take place the following day, 
Monday, at seven in the moming. 

I started after tbe Performance, and went to the Rue Merlin, 
at the comer of tbe Rue de la Roquette. Tbe streets were 
still very animated, as tbat Sunday was Dimanche Gras (Sbrove 
Sunday). People were singing, laughing, and dandng every- 
idiere. I waited all night, and as I was not allowed to enter 



41S SARAH BERNHARDT 

tlie prisoD, I sat on thebalcony of a first floor flat which I had 
enga^ed. Hie cold darimess of the night in its immenätj 
seemed to enwn^ me in sadness. I did not feel the cold, for my 
Uood was flowing rapidly through my veins. The hours passed 
siowly, the hours which rang out in the distance, Vheure eä 
Morie. Vioe theure ! I heard a vague, mu£Bed sound of foot- 
flteps, whispering, and of wood which creaked heavily, bat I did 
not know what these stränge, mysterious sounds were until day 
began to Iveak. I saw that the scaffold was there. A man 
came to ertinguish the lamps on the Place de la Roquette^ and 
an anaemic-looking sky spread its pale light over us. Hie 
crowd began to collect gradually, but remained in compact 
groups, and circulation in the streets was intemipted. Every 
now and then a man, looking quite indifferent, but evidently 
in a hurry, pushed aside the crowd, presented a card to a police- 
man, and then disi^peared under the porch of the prison. I 
counted more than ten of these men : they were joumalists. 
Presently the military guard appeared suddenly on the spot, and 
took up its Position around the melancholy-looking pedestaL 
The usual number of the guard had been doubled for this occa- 
äon, as some anarchist plot was feared. On a given signal 
swords were drawn and the prison door opened. 

Vaillant appeared, looking very pale, but energetic and brave. 
He cried out in a manly voice, with perfect assurance, " Vive 
Vanarchie ! ■' There was not a single cry in response to his. 
He was seized and thro\ni back over the slab. The knife feil 
with a luuffled sound. The body tottered, and in a second the 
scaÜbld was taken away, the place swept ; tlie crowds were 
allowed to move. They rushed for ward to the place of 
execution, gazing down on the grouiid for a spot of blood which 
was not to be seen, sniffing in the air for any odour of the 
drama which had just been enacted. 

There were women, children, old men, all joking there on the 
very spot where a man had just expired in the most supreme 
agony. And that man had made himself the apostle of this 
populace ; that man had claimed for this teeming crowd all kinds 
of liberties, all kinds of privileges and rights. 

I was thickly veiled so that I could not be recognised, and 
accompanied by a friend as escort. 

I mingled with the crowd, and it made me sick at heart and 



CAPITAL PUNISHMENT 41« 

deipente. Tliere was not a woid of gratitude to this man, not 
a marmiir of vengeance nor of revolt. 

I feit indined tocry out : ^Bnitesthatyouare! Eneeldown 
and kias the stones that the blood of this poor madman has 
ifaiiinfd for your sakes, for you, because he believed in you.^ 

But before I had time for this a street urchin was calling out, 
^ Bay the last moments of Vaillant ! Buy, buy ! ^ 

Oh, poor Vaillant ! His headless body was then being taken 
to damart, and the crowds for whom he had wept, worked, and 
died were now going quietly away, indifferent and bored« 
Poor Vaillant ! His ideas were ezaggerated ones, but they were 
goieroua. 



▲ tarn fo im walüb or au«JLB4 

Wx anrihned «t Cindmittti «Jb and «NmdL We gsm tinee p«> 
ibcnwiioes thon^ «id aet off ciaood^^ 

Now, I tihtong^ W8 ahiB liftve«iiiie unwiiiiie and wm iWI k 
able to winn oar pcMxf Knibi» uliidh wws stilBfmed iriMii timo 
montibs üt mortel ooid. We dball be*aUe to opeii onr wiadom 
and bKatihe ftodi «Ir ioab^of tiba auibcaij]« lüad wmmmr 
giying ataam heat. I Ul aabap^ and dicaaia of ^ramdi ani 
aweet aowls luDed ma in my diamh&t. A knook nolad aa 
anddedyt and my dog witii aaia atect «ufbd at liia dooTf bA 
ai he dkl not gnyaif I ioMir it waa aoma one dt onr pmtf • I 
<^Mned tha door, and Jaixatt» fbUonad hf Abbay » ooMde a%M ta 
me not to apeaL Janatt eama in an ty*toc^ nnd dnaad fla 
door again. 

"Well, what is it now?" I asked. 

" Why,^ replied Jarrett, " the inoessant niin during ihe last 
twelve days has swollen the water to such a height that the 
bridge of boats across the bay here is liable to give way ander 
the tenible pressure of the water. Do you hear the awfiil 
storm of wind that is now Uowing ? If we go bade by the 
other route it will require three or four days.'^ 

I was furious. Three or four days, and to go bade to the 
snow again ! Ah no ! I feit I must have sunshine. 

" Why can we not pass ? Oh, Heavens ! what shall we do ?^ 
I exclaimed. 

** Well, the engine-driver is here. He thinks that he mij^t 
get across ; but he has only just married, and he will try the 
crossing on condition that you give him two thousand five 
hundred doUars, whidi he will at onoe send to Mobile, wherehii 



AMERICAN CITIES 415 

father and wife live. If we get safely to the other side he will 
give you back this money, but if not it will belong to bis 
family." 

I must oonfess tbat I was stupefied with admiration for tbis 
plucky man. His daring excited me, and I exclaimed : 
** Yes, certainly. Give bim tbe money, and let us cross.^ 
As I bave said, I generally travelled by special train. Tbis 
one was made up of only three carriages and tbe engine. I 
never doubted for a moment as to tbe success of tbis foolisb and 
criroinal attempt, and I did not teil any one about it except my 
sister, my beloved Gu^rard, and my faitbful Fäicie and ber 
busband Claude. Tbe comedian Angelo, wbo was sleeping in 
Jarrett^s bertb on tbis joumey, knew of it, but be was courageous, 
and bad faitb in bis star. Tbe money was banded over to tbe 
engine-driver, wbo sent it off to Mobile. It was only just as we 
were actually starting tbat I bad tbe vision of tbe responsibility 
I bad taken upon myself, for it was risking witbout tbeir consent 
the lives of tbirty-two persons. It was too late tben to do 
anything: tbe train bad started, and at a terrific speed it 
touched the bridge of boats. I bad taken my seat on tbe plat- 
form, and tbe bridge beut and swayed like a bammock under 
the dizzy speed of our wild course. Wben we were half way 
across it gave way so much tbat my sister grasped my arm and 
whispered, ^^ Ab, we are drowning ! ^ She closed ber eyes and 
dutched me nervously, but was quite brave. I certainly imagined 
as she did tbat tbe supreme moment bad arrived ; and abominable 
as it was, I never for a second thought of all those wbo were füll 
of confidence and life, whom I was sacrificing, whom I was killing. 
My only thought was of a dear little face which would soon be 
in mouming for me. And to think tbat we take about witbin us 
our most terrible enemy, thought, and tbat it is continually at 
variance with our deeds. It rises up at times, terrible, per- 
fidious, and we try to drive it away witbout success. We do 
not, thanks to God, invariably obey it; but it pursues us, 
torments us, makes us suffer. How often tbe most evil thoughts 
assail us, and what battles we bave to fight in ordcr to drive 
away these cbildren of our farain ! Anger, ambition, revenge 
give birth to tbe most detestable thoughts, which make us 
Uush with sbame as we sbould at some horrible blemish. And 
yet they are not ours, for we hav« not evoked them ; but they 



41fi 



SARAH BERNHARD 



^^^B defile US nevntheless, and ]eave us in despair at not Mn^ 
^^^H raasters of our own heart, mind, tuid body. 
^^^B My Uät miaute was not inscribed, tbough, for tbat day in the 

W book of destinj. The train puUed itself together, and, half 

I leaping and half roUing along, we arrived on the other side of 

■ the Vater. Behind m wc heard a terriblc noise, a columo of 

I «ater falüng back like a hugc sheai. The bridge had ginn 

I way ! For niore than a weck tlie traim from the cast and the 

I north could not rim ovcr this route. 

I 1 left the money to onr brave engine-driver, but my conscioict 

I was by no meaus tranquil, and for a long time my sleep was 

^^^^ disturbed by the most frightful nightmares ; and wben aoy of 
^^^^B the artistes spoke to nie of their child, their moth^r, or thdr 
^^^^B husband, whom they looged to sce once more, I feit mv seif tum 
^^^^B pale; a thrili of deep emotion went through me, and I had the 
^ deepest pity for my own seit 

\Vben getting out of the train I was more dead tlian alir« 
from retrospective emotion. I had to submit to rcceiring a 
most friendly though fatiguing deputation of my comp&tiiota. 
Theo, loaded with flowers, I climbed into the carriage that was 
to take me to the hoteL The roads were river«, and we were on 
an elevated spot. The lower part of the city, the coachtnan 
explained to us in French, with a strong Mareeilles accent, was 
inundated up to the tops of the houses. Hundreds of negrocs 
had been drowned. " Ah, bagasse ! " he med, as he idiipped 
up bis horses. 

At that period the hoteis in New Orleans were squahd — diit^, 
uncomfortJible, black with cockroaches, and as soon aa the candtcs 
were lighted the bedrooms became filled with laj^ moequitoes 
that buzzed round and feil on one's shoidder, sticking in one's 
hair. Oh, I shudder still when I think of it ! 

At the same time as our Company, there was at New Orleans 
an opera Company, the " star " of which was a charming woman, 
Gmilie Ambre, who at one time came very near belnf Quew of 
Holland. The country was poor, like aÜ the other Amencan 
districts where the French were to be found preponderating. 

The Opera did very poor business, and we did not do exed- 
lently either, Six Performances would ha\'e been ample in that 
city ; we gave eight. 

Nevertbelese, my sojoum pleased me immensely. 



NEW ORLEANS 417 

An infinite diann was evolved from it. All theee people, so 
different, black and white, had smiling faces. All the women 
were gracefiiL The shops were attractive from the cheerfulness 
td their Windows. The open-air traders under the arcades chal- 
lenged one another with joyful flashes of wit. The siin, however, 
did not show itself once. But these people had the sun within 
themselves. 

I oould not understand why boats were not used. The horses 
had water up to their hams, and it would have been impossible 
eren to get into a carriage if the pavements had not been a 
metre high and occasionally more. 

Floods being as frequent as the years, it would be of no use 
to think of banking up the river or arm of the sea. But circula- 
tion was made easy by the high pavements and small movable 
faridges. The dark children amused themselves catching cray- 
fisb in the streams. (Where did they come from ?) And they 
sold them to passers-by. 

Now and again we would see a whole family of water serpents 
qpeed by. They swept along, with raiscd head and undulating 
body, like long starry sapphires. 

I went down towards the lower part of the town. The sight 
was heartiending. All the cabins of the coloured inhabitants 
had fidlen into the muddy waters. They were there in hundreds, 
squatting upon these moving wrecks, with eyes buming from 
fever. Their white teeth chattered with hunger. Right and 
left, everywhere, were dead bodies with swollen stomachs floating 
about, knocking up against the wooden piles. Many ladies were 
distributing food, endeavouring to lead away these unfortunate 
creatures. No. They would stay where they were. With a 
Ulasfiil smile they would reply, ^^ The water go away. House 
be found. Me begin again.^ And the women would slowly 
nod their heads in token of assent. Several alligators had shown 
themselves, brought up by the tide. Two children had dis- 



One child of fourteen years of age had just been carried off to 
ihe hoqntal with his foot cut dean off at the ankle by one of 
these marine monsters. His fiunily were howling with fury. 
They wished to keep the youngster with them. The negro quack 
doctor pretended that he could have cured him in twodays, and 
that the white ^^ quacks "^ would leave him for a month in bed. 

Sd 



418 SARAH BERNHARDT 

I left this city with ngret, for it resembled oo otber city I 
had visited up to theo. We were really surprised to ßad thkt 
Qone of OUT party were missing — they had gone throiigh, so they 
Said, various dangers. The hair-dresser alone, a man called Ibe, 
could not recover his equilibrium, haviog become half mad froni 
fear the second day of oiir amvaL At the theatre he geiierHlly 
slept in the trunk in which he stored his wigs. Howevor stränge 
it may scem, the fact is quite tme. The first night everything 
passed off as usual, but during the second night hc woke up tbe 
whole neigbourhood by his shrieks. The unfortuiiate fellow 
had got off soimeily to sleep, when he woke up with a feeling that 
his mattress, which ]ay suspended over his eoUection of wigs, 
was being raised by some inconceivable movements. He tbought 
that some cat or dog bad got into the trunk, and he lifted up 
the feeble rampart. Two serpenta were either quarrelling or 
making love to each other — ^he could not say which ; two serpenta 
of a size sufHcient to terrify the pcople whom the shouts of tbe 
poor Figaro had caused to gather round. 

He was still very pale wben I saw htm embark on board tbe 
boat that was to take us to our traio. I t'alled bim, and b^ged 
he would relate to me tbe Odyssey of his terrible night. As be 
told me the story be pointed to bis big leg: "They were as 

thick as that, Madame. Yes, Hke that " And hc quaktd 

with fear as he recalled tbe dreadful girth of tbe reptiles. I 
thought that they were ahout one quarter as thick as bis leg, 
and that would have been enougb to justify bis fright, for the 
serpents in queation were not inoffensive water-snakes that bite 
out of pure viciousness, but have no venom fangs. 

We reached Mobile somewhat Ute in the day. 

We had stopped at that city on our way to New Orleans, and 
I bad had a real attack of nerves caused by tbe " cheeL " of tbe 
inbabitants, who, in spite of the lateness of tbe hour, had got 
up a deputation to wait upon me. I was dead with fatigue,and 
was dropping off to sleep in my bed in the car. I thenfore 
energetically declined to see anybody. But tbese people 
knockcd at my windows, sang round about my oarriage, and 
finftUy exaspcrated me. I quickly threw up one of tbe window» 
and emptied a jug of water on their beads. Women aod mc», 
amongst wbom were several joumalists, were inucdated. Tlieir 
futy wasgreat. 



MOBILE 419 

I was retuming to that city, preceded by the above story, 
embelliflhed in their favour by the drenched reporters. But on 
the other band, there were others who had been more coiirteoiu« 
and had refused to go and disturb a lady at such an unearthly 
bour of the night. These latter were in the majority^and took 
up my defence. 

It was therefore in this warlike atmosphere that I appeared 
before the public of Mobile. I wanted, however, to justify the 
good opinion of my defenders and confound my detractors. 

Yes, but a sprite who had decided otherwise was there. 

Mobile was a city that was generally quite disdained by im- 
presariL There was only one theatre. It had been let to the 
tnigedian Barrett, who was to appear six days after me. All that 
remained was a miserable place, so small that I know of 
nothing that can be compared to it. We were playing La 
Dame aux Cornelias. When Marguerite Gautier Orders supper 
to be served, the servants who were to bring in the table ready 
laid tried to get it in through the door. But this was im- 
possible. Nothing could be more comical than to see those 
unfortunate servants adopt every expedient. 

The public laughed. Among the laughter of the spectators 
was one that became contagious. A negro of twelve or fifteen, 
who had got in somehow, was standing on a chair, and with his 
two hands holding on to his knees, his body bent, head forward, 
mouth open, he was laughing with such a shrill and piercing 
tone, and with such even continuity, that I caught it too. I 
had to go out while a portion of the back scenery was being 
rcmoved to allow the table to be brought in. 

I retumed somewhat composed, but still under the domina- 
tion of suppressed laughter. We were sitting round the table, 
and the supper was drawing to a close as usual. But just as the 
servants were entering to remove the table, one of them caught 
the scenery, which had been badly adjusted by the scene-shifters 
in their haste, and the whole back scene feil on our heads. As 
the scenery was nearly all made of paper in those days, it did 
not fall on oiur heads and remain there, but round our necks, 
and we had to remain in that position without being able to 
move. Our heads having gone through the paper, our appearance 
was most comical and ridiculous. The young nigger^s laughter 
started again more piercing than ever, and this time my 



420 SARAH BEHNHARI 

suppressed laughter ended in a crisis Uiat left me witboat 
strength. 

'Vhc money paid for adiiiission was retumed to tbe puUic 
It cxcceded fiftecn Üiousand franca. 

nüs city was an iinlucky one for tue, and cune vory neu 
proving fatal duriiig the third visit I paid to it, as I will nturat« 
in the second voIume of tbese Memoire. 

Tliat very night we left Mobile for Atlanta, where, aftcr 
playing La Dame atu: Cam^liag, we left agaia the hudc evening 
for NashviUe. 

We stayed an entire day at Memphis, and gave two Per- 
formances there. 

At onc in the moming we left for Louis\-ille. During tbe 
joumey from Memphis to Louis\-ille we were awakened br tbo 
aound of a fight, by oatlis and cries. I opened the door of mv 
railwaycarriage,and recognised the voices, Jarrett came out at 
the sanie time. We went towards the spot whence the lunse 
came — to the small platform, where the two combatants, 
Captaio Hayne and Maren» Mayer, were fighting with revoJTen 
in their hands. Marcus Maycr's eye was out of its orbit, and 
blood covert^i the face of Captain Hayne. I threw mra-lf 
without a momeiit's reflection between tbe two madmen, wbo, 
with that brutal biit delightfui courtesy of North Americaos, 
stopped their fight. 

We were bejrinning the dizzy round of the snuller tovns, 
arriving at three. four, and sometiines six o'clock in the evenii^, 
and ieaving iinmediately after the play. I only left my car to go to 
the theati'e, and rcturned aa soon as the pls-y was over to retiir 
tomy elegant but tiiminutive bedroom. I sleep well on the rai!- 
way. I feit an immense pleasure travelling in that way at high 
speed, sitting outside on tlie small platform, or rather recliniag 
in a rocking-chair, gaiing on the ever-changing spectacle of 
American plains and forests that passed before me. Without 
stopping we went through Louisville, Cincinnati for the seoood 
time, Columbus, Dayton, Indianapolis, St. Joseph, where oaegeti 
tbe best beer in the world, and where, when I waa obliged to go 
to an botei on aceount of repairs to one of the wheels of tbecar, 
a drunken dancer at a big ball given in the hotcl aeixed mc 
in the corridor leading to my room. This brutal fellow caugtit 
hold of me j ust as I was getttng out of the elevator, and dragged 



SPRINGFIELD TO CHICAGO 421 

me off with cries like those of a wild animal finding its prey 
after five days of enforced hunger. My dog, mad with excite- 
ment on hearing me scream, bit bis legs severely, and tbat 
aroused the drunken man to tbe point of fury. It was witb tbe 
greatest difficulty tbat I was delivered from the clutches of this 
demoniac. Supper was served. What a supper ! Fortunately 
the beer was bght botb in colour and consistency, and enabled 
me to swallow tbe dreadful tbings tbat were served up. 

Tbe ball lasted all night, accompanied by revolver shots. 

We left for Leavenworth, Quincy, Springfield, but not tbe 
Springfield in Massachusetts — tbe one in Illinois. 

During tbe joumey from Springfield to Chicago we were 
stopped by tbe snow in tbe middle of the night. 

Tbe sharp and deep groanings of the locomotive had already 
awakened me. I summoncd my faithful Claude, and leamed tbat 
we were to stop and wait for help. 

Aided by my Felicie, I dressed in haste and tried to descend, 
but it was impossible. Tbe snow was as high as the platform 
of tbe car. I remaincd wrapped up in fürs, contemplating the 
magnificent night. The sky was bard, implacable, without 
a Star, but all tbe same translucid. Lights extended as far as 
the eye could see along tbe rails bcfore me, for I had taken 
refuge on tbe rear platform. These lights were to warn the 
trains tbat followed. Four of these canic up, and stopped when 
tbe first fog-signals went off bencath their wheels, then crept 
slowly forward to tbe first light, where a man who was stationed 
there explained tbe incident. The sanic lights were lit imnic- 
diately for tbe foUowing train. as far off as possiblc, and a man, 
proceeding beyond the lights, placcd detonators on the metals. 
Each train tbat arrived followed tbat coursc. 

We were blocked by tbe snow. The idea came to me of 
lif^ting tbe kiteben fire, and I thus got sufKcicnt boiling water 
to melt tbe top coating of snow on the side where I wanted to 
aligbt. Having done this, Claude and our coloured servants got 
down and cleared away a smallportion as well as they could. 

I was at last able to descend myself, and I tried to remove the 
snow to one side« My sister and I finished by throwing snow- 
balls at each other, and tbe melie became gcneral. Abbey, 
Jarrett, tbe secretary, and several of tbe artistes joined in, and 
we were warmed by this small battle witb white caunon-balls. 



^^M 422 
^^B Coltr 



SARAH BERNHARDE 



Wheii dawn appeared »-e were to be seeu firiug a rerolver uA 
Colt rille at a target made from a Champagne casc A distant 
Gound, deadened by the cotton-wool of the snow, at length itiade 
US realise that help was approaching, As a matter of tact. t»o 
engines, witb nien who had shovels, books, and spadei. wenr 
Coming at iull speed from the opposite dircctioa. They wen 
obliged to slow down on getting to w-ithin one kilometre of 
where we were. and the men began Clearing the way beforo them, 
They finally succeeded in reaching us, but we were obliged to go 
back and take the westem mute. The unforluiiate artistes 'ho 
had counted on getting breakfasl in Chicago, »hieb «e ought 
to have reachod at eleven o'clock, were lamenting, for witb the 
new itinerary that we were forced to follow we could not readi 
Milwaukee before half-past one. Thcre we were to gi« a 
malinee at two o'clock — La Dwne aux CamH'uu. I thereftwc 
had the best lunch I could get prepared, and myservantsoirried 
it to my Company, the members of wliich showed thoinselves v«y 
gratefnl. 

The Performance only began at three, and finisbed at half-past 
six o'clock ; we started again at eight with Froufrou. 

Immediately after the play we left for Grand Rapids, Detroit, 
Cleveland, and Pittsburg, in which latter city 1 was to mert 
an American fricnd of mine who was to help me to realise ooc 
of my dreams — at least, I fancied so. In partncrship with hl« 
brother, my friend was the owner of large steel works «od 
several petroleum wells. I had known him in Paris, and had 
niet him again at New York, where he oftered to condtict ine to 
Buffalo, so that I could visit or rather he could initiale tne into 
the Falls of Niagara, for whicb he entertained a luver's passion. 
Frequentlyhc would ."itart off ^uite unespectcdly like a niadmiui 
and take a rest at a place just near the Niagara Fall«. The 
deafening sound of the cataracts seemcd like music aÄcr the 
hard, hammcring, strjdcnt noise of the forges at uork on tbe 
iron, and the limpidity of the cilvery cascades rcsted his crci 
and reüreshed bis lungs, saturated as thcy were with petroleum 
and snioke. 

My friend's bugg}', drawn by two raagnificent horaeä, look us 
along in a bewildering whirlwind of mud fiplashing orer us and 
anow blinding us. It had been raining for a week, and PiKsburg 
in 1881 was not wbat it is at present, althougb it wai • dtj 



"-"^ ^^•■- 



PITTSBURG 428 

whidi impressed one on aooount of its commercial genius« The 
bladc mud ran along the streets, and everywhere in the sky rose 
kuge patches of thick, black, opaque smoke ; but there was a 
oertain grandeur about it all, for work was king there. Trains 
ran through the streets laden with barreis of petroleum or 
piled as high as possible with charcoal and coal. That fine 
river, the Ohio, carried along with it steamers, barges, loads of 
timber üustened together and forming enormous rafts, which 
floated down the river alone, to be stopped on the way by the 
owner for whom they were destined. The timber is marked, and 
no one eise thinks of taking it. I am told that the wood is not 
oonveyed in this way now, which is a pity« 

The carriage took us along through streets and Squares in the 
midst of railways, under the enervating Vibration of the electric 
wires, which ran like furrows across the sky. We crossed a 
faridge which shook under the light weight of the buggy. It was 
a Suspension bridge. Finally we drew up at my friend^s home. 
He introduoed bis brother to me, a charming man, but very cold 
and correct, and so quiet that I was astonished. 

^ My poor brother is deaf,^ said my companion, afler I had 
been exerting myself for five minutes to talk to him in my 
gentlest voioe. I looked at this poor millionaire, who was 
living in the most extraordinary noise, and who could not hear 
even the faintest echo of the outrageous uproar. He could not 
hear anything at all, and I wondered whether he was to be 
envied or pitied. I was then taken to visit his incandescent 
ovens and his vats in a state of ebuUition. I went into a room 
where some steel discs were cooling, which looked like so many 
aetting suns. 

The heat from them seemed to scorch my lungs, and I feit as 
though my hair would take fire. 

We then went down a long, narrow road through which small 
trains were running to and fro. Some of those trains were laden 
with incandescent metals which made the atmosphere iridescent 
as they passed. We walked in single file along the narrow passage 
reservcd for foot passengers between the rails. I did not feel at 
all safe, and my heart began to beat fast. Blowu first one way 
then the other by the wind from the two trains coming in 
opposite directions and passing each other, I drew my skirts 
doaely round me so that they should not be caught. Perched 



f 



4M SARAH BERNHARDT 

on my high heels, at every step I took I was afraid of slipping 
OTi this narrow, greasy, coal-strewn pavement. 

To suiti up briefiy, it was a very unplcasant momeDt, and verj 
delighted I was to come to tho end of that interminable street, 
which led to an eiiormous field stretching away as ßar as the eye 
CDuld Bce. There were raila lying all about here, which nien 
were polishing and filing, &c. I had had quite enough, thoughi 
and I asked to be allowed to go back and rtat So we all tbne 
retumed to the house. 

Od arriving tliere, valets airayed in livery opened tbe doon, 
took our fiirs, Walking on tip-toe as they nioved about. There 
was silence evcry where, and I wondered why, aü it seemed to me 
incomprehensiblü. My friend''s brother scarcely spoke at »U, 
and when he did bis voice was so low that I had great difliculty 
in tuiderstanding him. \Vhen we asked bim any questlon by 
gesticulating wc had to listen most attentively to catch bis reply, 
and I noticed that an almost imperceptible sniile lighted up 
for an instant his stonj faci^. I understood very soon that Üui 
man hated huinonity, and that he avenged bim.>«elf in bis own 
way for his infirmity. 

Lunch had been preparecJ for us in the winter conservatory, ■ 
nook of magnificent verdiin: and Huwei-s. We had just taken 
our seats at the table wben the songs of a thousand birds borst 
fortb Hke a veritable fanfare. Undemeath some large leaves, 
whole fainilies of canarie» were imprisoned by invisible neta, 
They were everywbere, up in the air, down below, under my 
cbair, on tbe table bebind me, all over the place. I tried to 
quiet this shrill uproar by shaking my napkin and speaking in 
a loud voice, but the little featbered tribe begaii to sing in a 
niaddening way. Tbe deaf man was leaning back in a rocking- 
chair, and I noticed tbat his face had lighted up. He laughed 
aloud in an evil, spiteful manner. Just as my own temper was 
getting the better of me a feeling of pity andindulgencecame 
into my heort for this man, whose vengeance seemed to me as 
pathetic as it was puerile, Promptly deciding to make the bert 
of my host's spitefulness, and assisted hy his brother, I took my 
tea into tbe hall at the other end of the conservatory. I was 
ncarly dead with fatigue, and when my friend proposed that 1 
sbould go witb him to see his petroleum wells, a few miles out 
of the city, I gazcd at him witb such a scared, bopeless expre«' 



PITTSBURG 425 

•ion tfaat he begged me in the most friendly and polite way to 
forgive him. 

It was five o^clock and quite dusk, and I wanted to go back 
to my hotel. My host asked if I would allow him to take me 
back by the hills. The road was rather longcr, but I should be 
aUe to have a bird^s eye view of Pittsburg, and he assured me 
that it was quite worth while. We started off in the buggy 
with two firesh horses, and a few minutes later I had the wildest 
dream. It seemod to me that he was Pluto, the god of the 
infernal regions, and I was Proserpine. We were travelling 
throu^ our empire at a quick trot, drawn by our winged 
horses. All round us we could see fire and flames. The blood- 
red sky was blurred with long black trails that looked like 
widowB^ veils. The ground was covered with long arms of iron 
stretched heavenwards in a supreme imprecation. These arms 
threw forth smoke, flames, or sparks, which feil again in a shower 
of Stars. The buggy carried us on up the hills, and the cold froze 
our limbs while the fires cxcited our brains. It was then that my 
friend told me of his love for the Niagara Falls. He spoke of 
them more like a lover than an admirer, and told me he liked to 
go to them alone. He said, though, that for me he would make 
an exception. He spoke of the rapids with such intense passion 
that I feit rather uneasy, and began to wonder whether the man 
was not mad. I grew alarmed, for he was driving along over the 
very verge of the precipice, jumping the stone heaps. I glanced 
at him sideways : his face was calm, but his under-lip twitched 
ilightly: and I had noticed this particularly with his deaf 
brother, also. 

By this time I was quite nervous. The cold and the fires, this 
demoniacal drive, the sound of the anvil ringing out moumful 
chimes which seemed to come from under the earth, and then the 
deep forge whistle sounding like a desperate cry rending the 
silence of the night ; the chimney-stacks too, with their wom- 
OQt lungs spitting forth their snioke with a perpetual death- 
rattle, and the wind which- had just risen twisting the streaks of 
smoke into spirals which it scnt up towards the sky or beat down 
all at once on to us, all this wild dance uf the natural and 
the human elements, affected my whole nervous System so 
that it was quite time for me to get back to the hoteL I sprang 
OQt of the carriagc quickly on arriving, and arranged to see my 



42C 



SARAH BERNHARDT 



fnend at BuiTalo, but, alas ! I was never to sce bim agaln. He 
took cold that very ciny, and could not mcGt me thcre ; and the 
followitig year I faeard that he had been dashed against the 
rocks wbeD trying to navigate a boat in the rapide. He died of 
his passion, — for bis passiou. 

At the hotel all tbe arti^tes were awaiting me, aa I had 
forgotten we were to bave a rehearsal of La Prhicetse Georga 
at half-past four. I ooticcd a face that was uuknonii to me 
among the members of oiir Company, and on making inquiries 
about this person found that he wa^ an Illustrator wbo had 
coroe with an introduction Irom Jarrett, He asked to be alJowed 
to make a few sketcbes of me, and aftcr giving orders that he 
should be taken to a seat, I did not trouble any more about 
him. We had to hmry through the rehearsal in order to be at 
the thcatre in time for the perforniance of Froiifrou, whicb we 
were giving that night. Tbe rehearsal was accordingly rashed 
and gabbied through, so that it was soou over, and the stranger 
took his deporttire, rcfusing to let me look at his sketcbes ou 
the plea that he wanted to touch thcm up before showing tbem. 
My joy was great the following day when Jarrett arrived at my 
botel perfectly furious, holding in his band the pnndpol 
newspapor of Pittsburg, in which our illustrator, who tumed 
out to be a Journalist, had writtenan article giving at füll lengtb 
an accouiit of the dress rehearsal of Fro^^rou. ! ** In tbe play of 
Froitfrou^ wrote this delightful imbecile, " there is only one 
scene of anyimportance,and that is theoncbetwecnthe two sisters, 
Madame Sarah Bernhardt did not impress me greatly, and as 
to the artistes of the Comedie Frant,'aise, I considered tbey were 
mediocre. The costumes were not very line, and in the ball 
scene the men did not weor dress suits." 

Jarrett was wild with rage and I was wild with joy. He 
knew my horror of reporters, and he had introduced this one in 
an underhand way, hoping to get a good advertisement out of 
it. The Journalist imagiiied that we were having a dress 
rehearsal of Frotifrou, and we were merely rehearsing Alexandre 
JDuraas's PTincesse Georges for the sake of refreshing our raemorj. 
He had mistakcn the scene betwcen Princesse Georges and the 
Cointesse de Terremoude Ibr the scene in the tbird act bctween 
the two sisters in Froufrou. We were all of us wearing our 
travelling costumes, aud he was surprised at not seeing the mra 



VISIT TO NIAGARA FALLS 427 

in dreas ooats and the women in evening dress. What fim this 
was for our Company and for all the town, and I may add what 
a subject it fumished for the jokes of all the rival newspapers. 

I had to play two days at Pittsburg, and then go on to Brad- 
fordy Brie, Toronto, and arrive at Buffalo on Sunday. It was 
my intention to give all the members of my Company a day^s 
outing at Niagara Falls, but Abbey too wanted to invite 
them. We had a discussion on the subject, and it was extremely 
animated. He was very dictatorial, and so was I, and we both 
preferred giving the whole thing up rather tlian yield to each 
other. Jarrett, however, pointed out the fact to us that this 
course would deprive the artistes of a little festivity about 
which they heard a great deal and to which they were looking 
forward. We therefore gave in finally, and in order to settle 
the matter weagreedtoshare the outlaybetween US. The artistes 
accepted our invitation with the most charming good grace, and 
we took the train for Buffalo, where we arrivod at ten minutes 
past six in the moming. We had telegraphed beforehand for 
carriages and coffee to be in readiness, and to have food provided 
for US, as it is simply madness for thirty-two persons to arrive 
on a Sunday in such towns as these without giving notice of such 
an event. We had a special train going at füll speed ovcr the lines, 
which were entirely clear on Sundays, and it was decorated with 
festoons of flowers, The younger artistes were as dclighted as 
children; those who had already seen everything before told 
about it ; then there was the eloquence of those who had heard 
of it, &c. &c. ; and all this, together with the little bouquets 
of flowers distributed among the women and the cigars and 
cigarettes presented to the men, made every one good-humoured, 
so that all appeared to be happy. The carriages mct our train 
and took us to the Hotel d'^Angleterre, which had been kept open 
for US. There were flowers every where, and any number of small 
tablcs upon which were coffee, chocolate, or tca. Every table was 
süon surrounded with guests. I had my sister, Abbey, Jarrett, 
and the principal artistes at my table. The mcal was of short 
duration and vcry gay and animated. We then went to the Falls, 
and I remained morc than an hour on the balcony hollowed out 
of the rock. My eycs filled with tcars as I stood there, for I was 
deeply moved by the splendour of the sight. A radiant sun made 
the air around us iridesoent. There were rainbows every where, 



428 SARAH BERNHARD 

lighting up the atmosphere witli tbeir soft bilvcry colouts. Tlw 
pendanbs of hard ice hanging down along the rocks oa each side 
looked like eiionnotis jewels. I was BOrry to le&ve this bolcony. 
We went down in narrow cagcs which glided gently into a 
tube arranged in the cloft of the enormoua rock. AVe arriFed 
in this way under the American Falls. They were there almost 
ovbr OUT heads, sprinkling us witb their blue, pink, and inauve 
drops. In front of us, protecting us from the Falls, was a he^ 
of icicles forming quite a little inountain. We cliinbed over 
tliis to the best of our ability. My heavy für mantle tired nie, 
and about half way down I took it off' and let it slip o\er the 
aide of the ice niountain, to take it again when I reached the 
bottoin. I waswearing a drcssof white cloth witb asatin blouse, 
and every one screamed witb surprise on seeing me, Abbey 
took off his overcoat and tbrew it over my aboulders, I shook 
this off quickly, and Abbey's coat went to join my fiur cloak 
below. ITie poor inlpresario's face looked very blank. As he 
had takeu a fair nutuber of Cocktails, be staggered, feil down on 
the ice, got up, and imniediately feil agabi, to the amusenient of 
every one, I was not at all cold, as I never ata wben out of 
doors. I only feel the cold inside hotoses when I am inactive^ 

Finally we arrived at the highest point of the ice, and Üie 
calaract waa really most threatening. We wcre covered by the 
impalpable miat; whicb rises in tbe midst of tbe tiiniultuous 
noise. I gazed at it all, bewildered and fascinated by the rapid 
niovenieut of the water, which looked Uke a wide curtain of 
silier, unfolding itself to be dashed violently into a rcbounding, 
splashing heap with a noise unlike any sound I had ever hmrd. 
I very easily turn dizzy, and I know very well that if I had bccn 
alune I should have remained there for ever with niy eyes fix«! 
on tlie iJieet of water burrying alotig at fiiU speed, uiy mind 
lulled by the fascinatiog sound, and my limba iiumbed by tbe 
trea^-berous cold which cncirclcd us. I hnd to be draggcd 
away, but I am soon tnyself ogain when confranted by an 
obstacle. 

We had to go down again, and this was not as easy as it bad 
been to dinib up. I took the walking-stick belonf^ng to oncof 
my friend», and theii sat down on the tce. By puttiiig the stick 
under my legs I was able to slide dovi-n to tbe bottum. All the 
others imitatcd nie, and it was a comical sight to see tbirty-t«u 



VISIT TO NIAGARA FALLS 429 

people deso^idiiig the ice*hill in this way. There were several 
somersaults and collisions, and plenty of laughter. A quarter of 
an hour later we were all at the hotel, where luncheon had been 
ordered. 

We were all cold and hungr]^; it was warm inside the hotel, 
and the meal smelt good. When luncheon was over the land- 
lord of the hotel asked me to go into a small drawing-room, 
where a surprise awaited me. On entering I saw on a table^ 
protected under a long glass box, the Niagara Falls in miniature, 
with the rocks looking like pebbles. A large glass represented 
the sheet of water, and glass threads represented the Falls. 
Here and there was some foliage of a hard, crude green. Standing 
up on a little hillock of ice was a figure intended for me. It 
was enough to make any one howl with horror, for it was all so 
hideous. I managed to raise a broad smile for the benefit of 
the hotel keeper by way of congratulating him on his good 
taste, but I was petrified on recognising the man-servant of 

my friends the Th brothers of Pittsbui^. They had sent 

this monstrous caricature of the most beautiful thing in the 
World. 

I read the letter which their domestic handed me, and all my 
disdain melted away. They had gone to so much trouble in 
Order to explain what they wanted me to understand, and they 
were so delighted at the idea of giving me any pleasure. 

I dismissed the valet, after giving him a letter for his masters, 
and I asked the hotel keeper to send the work of art to Paris, 
packed carefully. I hoped that it might arrive in fragments. 

The thought of it haunted me, though, and I wondered how 
my friend^'s passion for the Falls could be reconciled with the 
idea of such a gift Whilst admitting that his imaginative 
mind might have hoped to be able to carry out his idea, how 
was it that he was not indignant at the sight of this grotesque 
imitation ? How had he dared to send it to me ? How was it 
that mv friend loved the Falls, and what had he understood of 
their marvellous grandeur ? Since his death I have questioned 
my own memory of him a hundred times, but all in vain. He 
died for them, tossed about in their waters, killed by their 
caresses ; and I cannot think that he could ever have seen how 
beautiful they really were. Fortunately I was called away, as 
the carriage was there and every one waiting for me. The 



i 



fUO SARAH BERNHARDT ^^ 

Vtnes startcd off with ufi, trotting in that weary way peeoBsr 
to touiists' horscs. 

Wben we arrived on the Canadian shore we haJ to gq Under- 
ground aud array our&elves in black or yellow mackintoeh«. 
We looked like so maiiy heavy, dumpy sailorä who were wearitig 
these garmenU for the fii'st tinie. Thcre were two large cells lo 
dielter us, one for the women aud the other for the men. Evay 
one imdressed luore or less in the niidüt of wild coufusion, and 
making a little package of our dothes, we gave this into the 
keeping of the woman in charge, With the mackinto^ liood 
drawn tightly under the chio, hiding the hair entirely. an 
euomiouä falouse mueh too wide covering the whole body, fin- 
boots with ruughed soles to avoid broken legs and heads, and 
immense mackintosh brceches in zouave style, the prettiest and 
slenderest woman was at once transfornied into a hugc, cumber- 
some, aw'kward benr. An iron-tipped cudgel to carry iu tbe 
band (xjmpleted this betximing custume. I looked more ridioiloi» 
than the others, for I n-ould not cover my hair, and in the mont 
pretentious way I had fastencd some roses into my mackintoah 
blouse. The women went into r&ptures on secJng me. *' How 
pretty she looks like that ! " they exciaimed. ** Sbe always finds 
a way to be chic, quatid-m^me f "^ The men kissed my bcar'i 
paw in the most gallant way, bowing low and saying in low 
tones : " Always and quaJid-mfme the ijueen, the fairy, the 
goddess, the divinity," &c, &c And I went along, puning 
with content and quite satislied with myself, until, as I passed 
by the coimter where the girl who gives the tickets was sitting, 
I caught sigbt of myself in the glass. I looked enonnous 
and ridiculous with my roses pinncd in, and the curly locks of 
hair forming a kiud of peak to my clumsy bood. I appeared to 
be stouter than all the others, because of the dlver belt I was 
wearing round my waist, as this drew up the hard foids of the 
mackintoeh round my hips. My tliin face was nearly corvied 
by my hair, which was flattened don-n by my hood. My ens 
could not be seen, and only my mouth served to show that 
this barrel was a buman being. Furioos with myself for mr 
pretentious coquetry, and ashamed of my own weakness in 
having been so content with the pitiful, insincere flattery of 
people who were making fun of me, I decided to remain as I 
was as a punishment for my stupid vanity. Tbere were a number 



VISIT TO NIAGARA FALLS 481 

of strängen among us, who nudged each other, pointing to me 
and lanj^iing dyly at my absurd get-up, and this was only what 
I desenred. 

We went down the flight of steps cut in the block of ice in 
ender to get undemeath the Canadian Falls. The sight there 
most stränge and extraordinary. Above me I saw an im- 
capola of ioe hanging over in space, attached only on one 
aide to the rock. From this cupola thousands of icicles of the 
matt vaiied shapes were hanging. There were dragons, arrows, 
crosses, laughing faces, sorrowful faces, hands with six fingers, 
defonned feet, incomplete human bodies, and women^s long locks 
of hair. In fact, with the help of the imagination and by fixing 
the gaie when looking with half-shut eyes, the illusion is com- 
plete, and in less time than it takes to describe all this one can 
ewcke all the pictures of nature and of our dreams, all the wild 
coDcep ti ons of a diseased mind, or the realities of a reflective 
fatain. 

In front of US were small steeples of ice, some of them proud 
and erect, standing out against the sky, others ravaged by the 
wind which gnaws the ice, looking like minarets ready for the 
mnezzin. On the right a cascade was rushing down as noisily 
as on the other side, but the sun had commenced its descent 
towards the west, and everjrthing was tinged with a rosy hue. 
The water splashed over us, and we were suddenly covered with 
small silvery waves which when shaken slightly stiffened against 
our mackintoshes. It was a shoal of very small fish which had 
had the misfortune to be driven into the current, and which had 
come to die in the dazzling brilliancy of the setting sun. On 
the other side there was a small block which looked like a 
rhinoceroe entering the water. 

^ I should love to mount on that ! ^ I exclaimed. 

•* Yes, but it is impossible,^ replied one of my friends. 

^ Oh, as to that, nothing is impossible,^ I said. ^^ There is only 
the risk ; the crevice to be covered is not a yard long."^ 

** No, but it is deep,^ remarked an artiste who was with us. 

** Wellj** I Said, ** my dog is just dead. We will bet a dog — 
and if I win I am to choose my dog — that I go.^ 

Abbey was fetched immediately, but he only arrived in time 
to see me on the block. I came very near &lling into the crevice, 
and when I was on the back of the rhinooeros I could not stand 



48S SARAH BERNHARDT 

np. It wasasamoothandtranaparentasartificialioe. last down 
<m its bade, holding an to the litüe hnmp, and I dedared ihot if 
no one came to fetdi me I ahould stay where I was, as I had not 
the oomage to move a step an this dippery back ; and tfaen, too^ 
it aeemed to me as thong^ it moved slightly. I b^an to loie 
mjr self-possession. I feit diny, bat I had won my dog. My 
emtement was over, and I was seixed with fright. Eveiy me 
gased at me in a bewildered way, and that increased my terrar. 
My sister went into hysterics, and my dear Gu&ard groaned in a 
heartrending way, '^Oh heavens, my dear Saiab, oh heaTou!* 
An artist was making sketcbes ; fbrtonately the memben of 
oar Company had gone np again in order to go and aee the 
1tiq[wds, Abbey besought me to retum ; poor Janett besoii|^ 
me. But I feit dixsy, and I conld not and wotdd not Gros 
again. Angelo then sprang acroes the crevioe, and remaining 
there, called for a pbmk of wood and a hatdieL 

^Bravo ! bravo T I exdaimed from the back of my tbinoocraiL 
The pbmk was bronght. It was an okl, bkck-looking piece of 
wood, üid I glanoed at it sospidously. The hatdiet cnt into 
the tail of my rhinoceros, and the (dank was fized finnly fay 
Angdo on my side and held by Abbey, Janett, and Claude on the 
other dde. I let myself slide over the cnipper of my riiinooeniBi 
and I then started, not without terror, along the rotten plank of 
wood, which was so narrow that I was obliged to put one foot 
in front of the other, the heel over the toe. I retumed in a veiy 
feverish state to the hotel, and the artist brought me the droU 
sketdies he had taken. 

After a light luncheon I was to start again by the train, which 
had bcen waiting for us twenty minutes. All the others had 
taken tbeir seats some time before. I was leaving without 
having seen the rapids in which my poor Pittsburg friend met 
his deatb« 



xxxvm 

THE BETÜBN TO FBANCE— THE WELCOME 

AT hIvBE 

OüR great voyage was drawing towards its close. I say great 
voyage, for it was my first one. It had lasted seven months. 
The voyages I have since undertaken were always from eleven 
to sixteen months. 

From Buffalo we went to Rochester, Utica, Syracuse, Albany, 
Troy, Worcester, Providence, Newark, making a short stay in 
Washington, an admirable city, but one which at that time 
had a sadness about it that affected one^s nerves. It was the 
last large city I visited. 

After two admirable Performances there and a supper at the 
Embassy, we left for Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York, 
where oui* tour was to come to a close. In that city I gave a 
grand professional matinie at the general dcniand of the actors 
and actresses of New York. The piece chosen was La Princesse 
Georges. 

Oh, what a fine and never-to-be-forgotten Performance! 
Everything was applauded by the artistes. Nothing escaped 
the particular state of mind of that audience made up of actors 
and actresses, painters and sculptors. At the end of the play 
a gold hair-comb was handed to me, on which were engraved the 
names of a great number of persons present From Salvini I 
received a pretty casket of lapis, and from Mary Anderson, at 
that time in the striking beauty of her ninetecn years, a small 
medal bearing a forget-me-not in turquoises. In my dressing- 
room I counted one hundred and thirty bouquets. 

Thatevening wegave our last Performance with La Dame aux 
Camelias. I had to retum and bow to the public fourteen 
times. 

Se 



»■ ^ -m 



t. 



4M SAÜ^H BSBUHjftHiSrr ! ;v 



I|M • n ■liijiiifciiliw, tat in Um lipuiiil «f 

WmW I iMKn A IDtfll CTJ MMOßBkn DJ ÜionMMi flf 

«Udi I did Ml ift A» kwl nu d aw l awl Ate | 
= cJ* I «ihBi i» tiie wipp idwt ttie «wining rf flit 

*1k«f anoHipg iar m yfk* I looked üt llia^ 
"^ Ym, ftay —nt jon tu omiIm i ÜMh yiTli ^ 

« Ak Ml* I «sUMd, w I i«riBm0l«n A» ifa«»^ 
kMK» *llok* AatJn MJ Im ■! bwr t» ttie pphBc I 

Mb «HB mII CDB IHIBh» OK V «HnDKN» ' wC flDDHNBM ^HOCBHHoHl 

mSBk ^Wf^Uf, Imndil Rw ii JVww/^ an* 1 1# Ai 



Ob WfJfdhy, Mqr % I odMEioBd oa ti» mm ItaM 

y wB'iMy lud liwig^^it good hdu BiifcitlMlii6loBgBrAiftj 
coHHMdee; Tbft mnt om^ Mine im SmtelK, Sh 
fiUfe Md iur^HqdniMfid M idt pradeMMT ivw b^ 
BiA lie 1IW M cbnd^i^ ind a moe eonveiMlMi^ 

OiimMiidHP Joüdni Uew Ut braim oqI aftcr ^^****fg iMnd^ 
at play. 

My cabin had been newly fitted up, and this time the wood- 
work had been oovered in sky-blue materiaL On boarding tiie 
steamer I tomed towards the firiendly crowd and threw them 
a last adiecL ^ Au revair /^ they shouted back. 

I then went towards my cabm. Standing at the docnr, in an 
el^ant iron-grey suit, wearing pointed shoes, hat in the latest 
style, and dog-^in gloves, stood Henry Smith, the showman 
of whales. I gave a cry like that of a wikl beast He k^ 
bis joyful smile, and held out a jewel casket, which I took 
with the object of throwing it into the sea through the open 
port-hole. But Jarrett caught hold of my arm and took posse»- 
sion of the casket, which he opened. ^ It is magnifiooit ! ^ he 
exdaimed, but I had dosed my eyes. I stopped up my eaisand 
cnried out to the man, ^ Gro away ! y ou knave ! y ou brüte ! Go 
away! I hope you will die under atrodous sufiering! Go 
away ! " 

I half opened my eyes. He had gone. Janett wanted to 



THE RETURN TO FRANCE 485 

talk io me about the present. I would not hear anything 
about it. 

^ Ah, for Grod'^8 sake, Mr. Jarrett, leave me alone ! Since this 
jewel 18 so fine, give it to your daughter, and do not speak to me 
about it any more.^ And he did so. 

The evening before my departure from America I had re- 
oeived a long cablegram, signed Grosos, president of the Life 
Saving Society at Hävre, asking me to give upon my arrival 
a Performance, the proceeds of which would be distributed 
among the families of the society of Life Savers. I accepted 
with unspeakable joy. 

On regaining my native land, I should assist in drying tears. 

After the decks had been cleared for departure, our ship 
moved slowly o£P, and we left New York on Thursday the 
5th of May. 

Detesting sea travelling as I usually do, I set out this time 
with a light heart and smiling £eu», disdainful of the horriUe 
disoomfort caused by the voyage. 

We had not left New York forty-eight hours when the vessel 
stopped. I sprang out of my berth, and was soon on deck, 
fearing some accident to our Phantom^ as we had nick-named 
the ship. In front of us a French boat had raised, lowered, 
and again raised its small flags. The captain, who ha4 given 
the replies to these signals, sent for me, and explained to me 
ibe working and the orthography of the signals. I could not 
remember anything he told me, I must confess to my shame. A 
small boat was lowered from the ship opposite us, and two 
sailors and a young man very poorly dressed and with a pale 
fiice embarked. Our captain had the steps lowered, the small 
boat was hailed, and the young man, escorted by two sailors, came 
on deck. One of them handed a letter to the officer who was 
waiting at the top of the steps. He read it, and looking at the 
young man he said quietly, ^^Follow me!^ The small boat 
and the sailors retumed to the ship, the boat was hoisted, the 
whistle shrieked, and after the usual salute the two ships con- 
tinned their way. The unfortunate young man was brought 
before the captain. I went away, after asking the captain to teil 
me later on what was the meaning of it all, unless it should 
prove to be something which had to be kept secret. 

The captain came himself and told me the little ttory. The 




4M SAHAH BERNHARDT ^ 

'.yomtg IVB, ^^^ ^ poor arüst, a wood-engraTer, who faad 
■■■■gedtb d^ on to a steamer bound for New York. He bad 
BOt« HMflf noney for bis pa&sage, as be bad not evea hem 
•iUe to pi^ ft>r an emigrant^s ticket. He bad hoped to get J 
vtttMkut being noticed, hiding uoder Üie bales dt J 
He had, bowever, been taken ill, and it was tliis ' 
, liad betrayed him. Sbivering with cold and 
e had talkcd aloud in bis slecp, uttering the most 
t mnds. He was taken into tbe infirmary, and whffl 
ehe bad eonfeased everything. The captain undertook to j 
■Ml» hiin aoeept wbat I sent bim for bis joumey to AiDerita^ I 
"Dm^arjwotm spread,and other pa&sengers made a collectiou, w I 
AatÜie joaag engraver fouud biuiself very soon in posseäsion of 
a fartaneof tvelve bundred francs. Tbree days later be broogfat 
■H a fitäa vooden box, manufaotured, carved, and engraved by 
lum. TU> Ihtte box is now nearly füll of petals of äowere, Ibr 
eray ymt «■ IVIay 7 I receiveil a small bouquet of ßowers with 
tiHK midl^ always tbe same ones, year after ycar, *' Gratitode 
and demtiaD.* I always put tbe petals of tbe flowers into Ütt m 
HtÜa heiXt bot for tbe la$t seven years I bave not received aajf. 1 
b tt fiMgatfiÜacss or death wbich has caused tbe artist to dii- | 
eoDtmoe tfau groceful littlc token of gratitude ? I bave no idea, ' j 
bot the nght of the box always gives nie a vague feeling öt " 
sadness, as forgetfiibiess and deatb are tbe moet faithful com- 
panima of tbe human being. Forgetfiilness takes up its abode 
in OUT mind, in our beart, while deatb is always present laying 
trtifß for US, watcbing all we do, and jeering gaily wben sle^ 
cloaes our eyes, for we ^ve it then tbe illusion of what it 
knows will 9oine day be a reality. 

Apart from the above incident, notbing particulor happawd 
during tbe voyage. I spent every night od deck gazing at tbe 
horizon, hopiog to draw towards me tbat land on wbich were 
my loved ones. I tumed in towards moming, and slept all day 
to kill tbe time. 

Tbe steamers in those daya did not peifonn tbe crossing wiüi 
the same speed as they do nowadays. Tbe bours seemed to me to 
be wickedly long. I was so impatient to land that I called 6x 
the doctor and asked him to send me to sleep foreighteen houn. 
He gave me twelve bours sleep with a Strang dose of chloial, and 
I feit stronger and calmer for afiranting the sbock of h^pineaa 



THE RETURN TO FRANCE 487 

Santelli had promised that we should arrive on the evening of 
fhe 14th. I was ready, and had been Walking up and down 
distractedly for an hour when an oflScer came to ask whether I 
would not go on to the bridge with the Commander, who was 
waiting for me. 

With my sister I went up in haste, and soon understood 
ftom the embarrassed circumlocutions of the amiable Santelli 
ihat we were too fisur ofF to hope to make the harbour that night. 

I began to cry. I thought we should never arrive. I 
imagined that the sprite was going to triumph, and I wept 
those tears that were like a brook that runs on and on without 



llie Commander did what he could to bring me to a rational 
State of mind. I descended from the bridge with both body 
and soul like limp rags. 

I lay down on a deck-chair, and when dawn came was be- 
Bombed and sleepy. 

It was five in the moming. We were still twenty miles from 
land. The sun, however, began joyously to brighten up the 
small white clouds, light as snowflakes. The remembrance of my 
young beloved one gave me courage again. I ran towards my 
cabin* I spent a long while over my toilet in order to kill time. 

At seven o^clock I made inquiries of the captain. 

" We are twelve miles off,'' he said. " In two hours we shall 
land."" 

« You swear to it ? " 

^ Yes, I swear.^ I retumed on deck, where, leaning on the 
bulwark, I scanned the distance. A small steamer appeared on 
the horizon. I saw it without looking at it, expecting every 
minute to hear a cry from over there, over there. • • . 

All at once I noticed masses of little white flags being waved 
OD the small steamer. I got my glasses — and then let them fall 
with a joyous cry that Icfl me without any strength, without 
breath. I wanted to speak : I could not My face, it appears, 
became so pale that it frightened the people who were about 
me. My sister Jeanne wept as she waved her arms towards 
the distance. 

They wanted to make me sit down. I would not. Hanging 
OD to the bulwarks, I smell the salts that are thrust under my 
DOse« I allow friendly hands to wipe my teniples, but I am 



438 



SAHAH BERNHARDT 



gazing over there whence the vessel is Coming. Over there lies 
my happiness! myjoy! my life! my everything! dearer tliaa 
everythiDg ! 

"Die Diamond (the vessel's name) comes near, A bridge of 
love is formed between tlie small and (he large sbip, a Itfidge 
formed of the beatings of cur hearts, under the weight oF tbe 
kisses that have been kept back for so maiiy days. lliea 
comes the reaction that takes place in our tean, when the small 
hoats, coaiing up to the large vessel, allow tlie impatient ones to 
climb up the rope ladders and throw themselves into outstretdied 
arms. 

The America is invaded. Every one ia there, my dear and 
faithful iriends. They have accompanied my young son Matirice. 
Ah, what a delicious time! Answers gct ahead of questions. 
Laughter is mingled with tears. Hands are pressed, lips are 
kissed, only to begin over again. One is never tired of this 
repetition of tender aftection. During this time our ship is 
moving. The Diamond has disappeared, carrying away Üie maJls. 
The farther we advance, the more small boat£ we meet ; they 
are decked with flags, ploughing the sea. There are a hundnd 
of them. And more are Coming. . . . 

" Is it a public holiday ? " I asked Georges Boyer, the cotre- 
spondent of the Figaro, who with some fi-iends bad come to 
meet me. 

" Oh yes, Madame, a great ftle day to-day at HSvre, for they 
are expecting the retum of a fairy who left seven months ago." 

"Is it really in my honour that all these pretty boat« hare 
spread their wings and beflagged their masts ? Ah, how happy 
I am ! " We are now alongside the jetty. There ai-e perhaps 
twenty thousand people there, who ciy out, "Vive Sarah 
Bernhardt ! " 

I was dumfounded. I did not expect any triumpbant retum, 
I was well aware that the Performance to be given for the Ijfe 
Saving Society had wen the hearts of the people of Hävre, but 
now I leamt that trains had come from Paris, packed with people, 
\o welcome my retum. . . . 

I feel my pulse. It is me. I am not dreaming. 

The boat stops opposite a red velvet tent, and an invisible 
orchestra strikes up an air from L« Ckälet, *' ArritofU-nota 



WELCOME AT HÄVRE 489 

I smile at this quite French childishness« I get off and walk 
throngh the midst of a hedge of smiling, kind fisuset of sailon, 
who offer me flowers. 

Within the tent all the life-savers are waiting for me, wearing 
OD their broad chests the medals they have so well deserved« 

1£ Grofios, the president, reads to me the following address : 

^ Mabahe, — As Presideiit, I have the honour to present to you 
a delegation from the Life Saving Society of Hävre, come to 
welcome you and express their gratitude for the sympathy you 
have so warmly worded in your transatlantic despatch. 

^We have also come to congratulate you on the immense 
soocess that you have met with at every place you have visitcd 
during your adventurous joumey, You have now achieved in 
two worlds an incontestable popularity and artistic celebrity; 
and your marvellous talent, added to your personal charms, has 
affirmed abroad that France is always the land of art and the 
birthplaoe of elegance and beauty. 

^A distant echo of the words you spoke in Denmark, 
evoking a deep and sad memory, still strikes on our ears. It 
repeats that your heart is as French as your talent, for in the 
midst of the feverish and buming successcs on the stage you 
have never forgotten to unite your patriotism to your artistic 
triumphs. 

'^Our life-savers have charged me with exprcssing to you 
their admiration for the charming benefactress whosc generoua 
hand has spontaneously stretched itself out towards their poor 
but noble society. They wish to offer you these flowers, gathered 
from the soil of the mother-country, on the land of France, 
where you will find them everywhere under your feet. They are 
worthy that you should accept them with favour, for they are 
presented to you by the bravest and most loyal of our life« 



savers.^ 



It is Said that my reply was very eloquent, but Icannotaflirm 
that that reply was really made by me. I had lived for several 
hours in a state of over-excitemcnt from successive emotions. I 
had taken no food, had no sleep. My heart bad not ceased 
to beat a moving and joyous refrain. My brain had been filled 
with'a thousard facts that had been piled up for scven months 
and narrated in two hours. This triumphant reception, which I 



440 SARAH BERNHARDT 

was far from expecting after what had happened just before my 
departure, after having been so badly treated by tbe Paris Press, 
after the incidents of my joumey, which had been always badly 
interpreted by several French papers — all these coincidenoes were 
of such difFerent proportions that they seemed haidly crediUe. 

.The Performance fumished a fruitAil harvest for the life-savers. 
As for me, I played La Dame aux CamtlUu for the first time in 
France. 

I was really inspired. I affirm that thoee who were present 
at that Performance experienced the quintessence of what my 
personal art can give. 

I spent the night at my place at Ste. Adresse. The day 
foUowing I left for Paris. 

A most flattering ovation was waiting for me on my arrivaL 
Then« three days afterwards, installed in my litUe mansion in the 
Avenue de Villiers, I received Victorien Sardou, in order to hear 
him read his magnificent piece, Fidara, 

What a great artiste ! What an admiraUe actor ! What a 
marvellous author ! 

He read that play to me right off, playing every röitj fpving 
me in one second the vision of what I should do. 

^^ Ah ! ^ I exclaimed, after the reading was ovar. ^ Ah, dear 
Master ! Thanks for this beautiful part ! Thanks for the fine 
lesson you have just given me."" 

That night left me without sleep, for I wished to catch a 
glimpse in the darkness of the small star in which I had faith. 

I saw it as dawn was breaking, and feil asleep thinking over 

the new era that it was going to light up. 

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 4t 

My artistic journey had lasted seven months. I had visited 
fifty cities, and given 156 Performances, as follows : 



La üame aux Camelias 
Adrienne Lecouvreur 
Froufrou 

La Princesse Georges 
Hern an i 
L'Etrang^re . 
Ph^dre . 
Le Sphinx 



Total reccipts . 
Average reccipts 



65 Performances 

17 

41 

3 
14 

8 

6 

7 



ff 
*f 

n 
ti 



2,667,600 franca 
17,100 „ 



WELCOME AT HÄVRE 441 

I conclode the first voIume of my Souvenirs here, for this is 
really the first halting-plaoe of my life, the real starting-point 
of my physical and moral being. 

I had run away from the Com^ie Franfaise, from Paris, from 
France, from my family, and from my friends. 

I had thought of having a wild ride across mountains, seas, 
and Space, and I came back in love with the vast horizon, but 
calmed down by the feeling of responsibility which for seven 
months had been weighing on my Shoulders. 

The terrible Jarrett, with bis implacable and cruel wisdom, 
had tamed my wild nature by a constant appeal to my probity« 

In those few months my mind had matured and the brusque- 
ness of my will was softened« 

My life, which I thought at fii'st was to be so short, seemed 
now likely to be very, very long, and that gave me a great 
mischievous delight whenever I thought of tiie infernal dis- 
pleasure of my enemies. 

I rcsolved to live. I resolved to be the great artiste that 
I longcd to be. 

And from the time of this retum I gave myself entirely up 
to my life. 



. Mia 



1*7' i 



* I I 1*1 



INDEX 



AmmEMA, LoBln, S17 

Abbcy, Heniy, American impreiario— 
Tbe American tonr, 885, 868 ; in New 
York, 870, 878, 874 ; Tiflit to Ediaon, 
S76 ; tnTelling arrangementa, 880 ; in 
Montreal, 888; leUer of,to the Bishop 
of Chleago, 401-S ; the American 
receipt«, 40S; the attempCed train 
robberj, 405-8 ; the croeeinfj^ to New 
Orleans, 414-16 ; Jonmej to Chicago, 
4S1-SS ; the Tisit to Niagara, 4S7-3I 

Adriennt Leeauvreur, 388, 889, 84S, 343, 
878, 898, 440 

Agar, Mme.— 

Descripaon, 181-3S; interestinCopp^ 
18S-84 ; eommanded to tbe Tnileriea 
in Le PoiMant, 185-89 

Alcard, Jean, Othello, S91 

Albany, 488 

Albemarie Hotel, New York, 864, 874, 876 

Alicante, Sarah Bernhardt*« riait to^ 1 18-15 

Allen, Maltre, adTocate of the Conuidie 
Fran^aiae, 834, 386 

Ambra, Emilie, 416 

Ambign Theatre, the, 190, 986 

American Falls, the, 498 

Amiena, 195 

^mpAy^rion, flrtt Tiait of Sarah Bernhardt 
to, 57-58 

Andenon, Mary, 488 

Andromaquet 949, 887 

Angelo, artltt«, 898, 415, 489 

Annette, Annt, 157 

Antoine, M.,coBiment8 of Sarah Bershardt^ 
880 

^rie<e,69 

ArTille, Ren^ d*, 98 

AthaUe, 196 

Atlanta, 490 

Anber, M., director of the Conserratoira, 
59-60, 68-69 

Andieme in Brtttany, 960 

Angicr, Kmile— 

La FilU de Roland, the dismueion 
regarding, 967-68; GaMeUe^ 96»; 
VAvetUurÜre, 881-84 

Antenil, 6-11, 197 

Aventurierf, L\ by E. Aogier, 881-84 

Aranne dea Acaclaa, 804 



Badsh-Baden, 188 

Baie dea Tr^pawöi, Brittany, 960 

Baltimore, 488; Sarah Bernhardt*« im- 
preedons, 399 

BarbMienne, dock-maker, 79 

Barbonz, Mahre, adTOcate, 884, 886 

Barette^ Blanche, 96 
— Böse, 96, 109, 104, 141-49 

Baron, Mesars^ dressea fh>m, f or the Ameri- 
can toor, 885 

Barrett, tragedian, 419 

Bartet, oomments of Sarah Bemhaidt, 899 

Batifonl^ Father, of Andieme, 960, 964 

Basaine, treachery of, 154 

BeanntUet, M. — 

Conaenratolre ezamination, at the, 
68-69 ; bis style of teaehing, 80 ; re- 
mark to Sarah Bernhardt, 98 ; aa a 
eomrade,196 

Benedict, Sir Jnlina, 994 

Berendt, Annt Bosine— 

Visits to theConTcntof Orand-Champ^ 
15-90 ; at the family eonneü, 48-55 ; 
decides to take Sarah Bernhardt to 
the Thdltre Franfais, 55-56 ; saying 
ot repeated to M. Doncet by Regina,' 
76-77 ; proposes the fendag-leasona, 
79 ; lends dreas to Sarah BamhaidtB 
91 ; and earriage, 99 ; dinner giT«n 
by, 93 ; preecnt of the poniea, 197-98 1 
gambling propenslties, 188 : retnm to 
Parts, 916 ; oiherwUe mmUiomd^ 8-«, 
11-19, 85-8«, 44 

Bernhardt, Jeanna— 

CharacterisUes, 48, 89; reeepcloa of 
Sarah Bemharilt on her retnm fhm 
Spaln, 116 ; her motber's Ioto for her, 
118-19 : faces tbe crowd in New York, 
876 ; Tisit to Bdison, 876 ; in Boaton, 
383 : in Montreal, 891-99 ; Tlalt to 
the Iroqaols, 893; eaea p ad e ob tha 
St. Lawrence, 896-97; the eroaiag 
to New Orleans, 415-16 ; Jonmey to 
Chicago, 491-99; at Niagara, 489; tha 
retnm from Apiertea, 487 ; otht tm im 
wteniümed, 85, 87, 50, 79, 388 

^ Mma. — 

VIslu to Sarah Bernhardt In ehlld; 
hood, 1-5 ; t%k«a her to th« ConTaot 



Bernbitrdt. Urne. — mnlfnufd 



MniB. Gafrnrd, Stl-CO ; 



her 



: IiTODn >nlt of 
H. Bcd— , T4 ; taorea bj Oa redut 
pI ■'L'Amii dn PnrgstoitD," 33 ; «tloDilB 
tliD ComMle Fnni^lH, BS : snger ol, 
mt Bamvj'i artlcLe. 100; Ihe Kirmiigi]- 
meuu fol Earah Bemhu-dt'i eDgsge- 
meni >t Ibe Gymaiue, 101-8 ; lllne» 
oL 118-17 ; her lovo lor Jmme. 11*- 

Sarmti Bcinlunlt dmioK tbs iIcsb. 
173i reCamio Farli. IIS: herfalutiiig 
et IE tbe Odeou. I4}-18 ; MMencUt 

- ITme» icruidmatbeT, 40» "4, IIV 
« Smh Bfnibardt lo 

the Coarent DlGnnd-Chamiw, Ift-lO ; 
deatb of, It, 48 

- R^loa— 
PenondHy ■ 

Tlllt lo «. Dt 

Wim Umt 



a ths RoeDuphol, II 



clitld. Sä, Tl-Jt: 
.7B-rr: thotroubl» 



I, >Q7 1 Oeu-b Dl. 



Furia. 

3DT-«B 

Chlldliood, l-t : 
»-11 1 » Iho C 

rWDtwriiv A" 
bapllam t-oä es 
vidi to Cauuratt 



witli M. Auber ot Uiv CoUHmtolre. 
Iili-«0: Ont IceuiTi ID eIrKnUou Irom 
Ulle. de ilnbendcr, Bl-Gt ; QnC 

79 ; a iDBJiiftgQ pivpoial» TS-TS; 

the CDnaemtatro: depattment cla», 
7S--;8: fenclng' elua, I«: «eoond 
prt» lor oomedf, aO-SI i proinraa 
Dndar BanBOn. 80 ; IdoldoDt ot the 
babdreulDK. 80-8) ; >im al, lo duBuc 
IbB kflihoi'* tdeo, 8«-87 ; dibul at tbs 
ComMlo In riU o( Iphl/*iilc, ei>-lül ; 



n-veagii ot Hmc. NUtullc. 



Bersbudt, Sanh— «oaMmaJ 



Mnl to ttoiiunnel. l>*-lt : Im mv^ 
ISS-tO: Uro In tbii Rue AntMi. KU- 
4G ; (abwqiieac besoltt li Ibe OrlMs. 

Ü»: retarn to PmrU, lit ; rvniOT*] ot 
Imr tUDlly btloro tba ■Jfgr. |*7->I ; 
orpuilwtlun ot tb« Ütlton ambnlui«, 
KO-sl ; «orklog or, Uld tuliloiu. 
ITI-ttr i callectlsii tb« Oeul trom Um 
ChlÜLlcm F1ku»d, 1B3 : prepanUnu 
for latvtog ruia, 187-88 : tbctonrMj 
UiroDRh IbB Gcraui Um to Boa- 
batv. lfeB-91> : kdTBOtat« kt ColocBt, 
Sll--l.ll reioni to Pari« Md a- 
ubtlshment Id ttKKneBoiDe^llt-18; 
trlends ot 118-11 : lemanl ta 91. 
Gennaln-on-La^e, m-34 ; mnn lo 
Psrli «Dd nupenlBg of llie OdeoD, 
114-» j liiier Irom M, Pitt«, ili- 



DoChlUy. »l-lli 
Iha (Taoi«dl<^ »«-!■ : tb« nipper at 
Ibe Od«oB, »»-II : trtmtmmt of U. 
Furrln. 180-ltl; pwliiD(oT*eiilpiBrc 
U7 ; Ituldeol Ol tbe eoOn, I9T-.i(; 
vUtt to Brliuny, 1»-«1 -, palnilsg. 
Ko-et : lioontt ot Ikc Xster da 
l'lDgoO. i«i-«t : rMoin toPar^tl«; 
Socl.'talre ol tbe Cmatat*. >SB ; band- 
lug nf tba nev maadoa, M»-Il : . 



I. 974-1»: loneh irttb Vlaur 
□dko, :hu : qnarrela wlib t^rrlB. 
X89-8>. (SS; balloonlrlp In the 'Dom 
aol,' 184-88 ; lllss« aod TU» to tbe 
Bonlh, M« ; Hile ol Ibe granti 4ftrr 
Ikt Tinpeit, 188-80: atnlned re- 
IstlODi with FeirlD, Hl : ^potaKd 
Soslctalro permauentlr, 1» : dl^ma 
wlthtba commltUe of tbe CotnMh 
l>4-a8 ; tbe Joamer to LondoB, IM- 
100 : raupUoa ai FalbMU>oa,m-H ; 
ber batred of reportan. lIR-tOO, tlt : 
Impresiionaot Engltib aooto^. 10»-1 : 
ImpreHloDH ol I.DBdoii Ufa. lOt-t ; 
fint appwaoE* at die GaiMr Tbaatt«, 
SOe-8: ■tage triebt, 10I-« ; (Umm 
alter Bni ippcKraiiea aod Immedlala 
pcrforoiaaee Ol L'Etrangfrt. ti>»-Sl-. 
oxhlbUlon of HUlptim aod p^ntlD; 
In PicmdlUr. ti»-i8i coavmU«« 
wLtb Xr. Gladitone, ai« -.tb» irtall M 
CroH'a Zoo and pordu«* o( Iba 
anlmala, SlS-18; Pren aoaoka aad 
UoDble nUh Ihp Fmntalae, IKL.1» ; 
open Istlcr lo Albnt WollI, 111-11 ; 
retnro lo Fnrb. aod openlng oara- 
monf (i tbv KianpalM. >tc-l8 : 
niBnt(onarUBUa.a38-t0:|:- ' 
Ol . 



fnuicam. »1-1 
(our «l(aed, 11 



inaa M 



INDEX 



445 



B«mlukrdt» Smnb — eontinued 

ritit to London, IS8-41; Unr In 
Denmark, 34l<-47 : deoonted by the 
Kin^ of Dennuurk, 144 : the mpper In 
Copenlumren, and tout of Baron 
Ifagnoa, 146-47; farewell reeeption 
in Paria, 147-48 ; ** The Twenty-eight 
Daya of Sarali Bernharde 148-49 ; 
eontract wich M. Bertrand algncd^ 
149-ftO ; experiencet on board Bhip 
froM Hlrre to New Yorlc, I6S-60 ; 
her/St€ day on board, 169-60 ; arrival 
in New York, 861-67 ; the New York 
reporten, 867-68 ; risit to Mr. Edison, 
876-79 : arrival in Boston and story 
of the wiiale, 881-87 : reeeption in 
Montreal, 888-98; Ti«it to the Iro- 
qnoia, 398-94 ; eecapade on the St. 
Lawrence, 896-97; welcome to 
Chicago, 899-400 : riidt to the itock- 
yarda, 400-41 ; riait to the grotto of 
8t. Lonie, 40S-8 ; the ineident of the 
jewellery exhlbltion and attempted 
train robbery, 40S-8: oplnlons oon- 
**«^<wg eapital pnnishment, 408-18 ; 
the croMiu^ to New Orlean«, 414-16 ; 
diffleoltiee of playlng in Mobile, 418- 
420 ; Jonmcy from Sprlngfleld to 
Chicago, blocked by the mow, 421- 
SS ; a Tiiit to the Falls of Niagara, 
4S7-3S : tlie professional meUinee in 
New York, 488-34 ; the retnm Jonr- 
ney, 488-88 ; the welcome at UäTre, 
488-40 
American Tour — 
Baltimore^ 899 ; Bof/on, Hemanl,884; 
Chicago, PhMre, 401; Milwaukee, 
Fronfron and La Dame aax Camirlias, 
422 : Montreal, Hemani. 896 ; New 
York, Adrienne LecunTreur, Fron- 
fron, etc., 374 ; Philadflphia^ Phvdre, 
899 ; Pittsburg, La Princesso Qeor>;es 
426; SprinoJield, La Dame anz 
Cam^lias, 898 
ComSdie Fran^aiee^^ 
Andromaqne, 249 : L'Avcntnri^re, 
881-84 ; La Belle Panle. 264 ; Britan- 
niens, 248-49 ; Dalila, 249 ; L'Ktran- 
g^re, 272-76; Ia Fiile de Roland, 
266-68 ; Gabriellc, 269 ; Hemani, 
282 : Iphigt'nie, 90-97 ; Mlle. de 
Belle-lsle, 246-48 1 Le Mariage de 
ri«aro,249; Mithridate.291 ; Phifdrc, 
949, 264-66 ; Bome Vaincne, 279 ; 
Buy Blas, 291^ Le Sphinx, 261-64; 
Zaire, 264-66 
DsmnarJb, Tour in — 
Bruneis, Adrienne I^econrrenr and 
Fronfron, 842 : Copenhagen, Adrienne 
Leconvrenr and Froufron, 848-44 
London, the Gaietg Tkeatre— 
Adrienne Leconvienr, 889 ; L'Ktran- 
gire, 81U-13, 820 ; Froufron, 889-40 ; 
PhMre, 806-8 ; Zaire, 316 
Odean Tkeatre — 
L'Aflrmnchl, 160; Athalle, 126; 
L'Antra, 160; Le Bltaid, IfO; La 






Bernhardt, Sarah — eontinmed 

Odeon Tkeatre — eontinued 
biche an bola, 119-22; Franfois le 
Champi, 128 ; Jean Marie, 160, 294- 
926 : Le Jen de ramonr et da hasard, 
126 ; Koan, 130-81 ; La loterie dn 
mariage, 1 8 1 ; Le Marquis de Villemer, 
128 ; Kuy Blas, 296-80 ; Le testament 
de C^sar, 180 

Paintinff-^ 
** Palm Sunday,** 999 ; ** The Yonng 
Girl and Death,** 989-88 

Sculpture — 
Büste: Alphonse de Rothschild, 967 ; 
Miss Multon, 267 ; Mlle. Hocqnigny, 
267; R^na Bernhardt, 267-68; 
Group, ** After the Storm,** 961, 276- 

78, 316 

** Bemhardtisti,** the, at the Com^dit, 969- 
264 

Berten, Pierre, 181, 899, 888 

Berirand, M, Engtoe, direetor of tke 
Variöt^ 849-60 

Bismarck, Prince, 186, 846 

Bloas, D^r^ 186 

Bocher, Emmanuel, 191-99 

Bois de Bonlogne, 804 

Booth, actor, 864 

Booth*H Theatre, New York, 869, 878 

Bomier, Henri de, 966-68, 861 

Boston— 

Sarah Bomhardt's impresrions, 880- 
881 ; the women of, 881, 886 ; story of 
the whale, 881-87 

Bouilhet, M., 129 ; Dolores, 104 ; IfUt. 
Aisse, 826 

Boulevard Medids, ambulance of, 174 

Bourbaki, M., defonce of I*aris, 166 

Bourg de Bats, 969 

Boyer, Georges, 179, 488 

Brabender, Mlle. de — 

(Jovemess to Sarah Bernhardt, 46 ; 
at the family Council, 48-66 ; aooom- 
panies her mistress to the ComMle 
Fran9als^ 66-58, 98 ; flrst lessons in 
elooutlon, 61-68 ; accompanios Sarah 
Bernhardt to the Consenratoire, 66-79, 

79, 82-84, 88 ; the embroldered hand- 
kerchlef, 91 ; daath of, 194-96 

Bradford, 427 

BrcsMut, M.— 

At the ComMie, 102; in Mile. dt 
Belle-Isle, 246-48, 887 ; in Hemami, 
981 ; benoflt performaace for, 991 

Britannicus, 67, 248-49 

Brittany, visIt of Sarah Bernhardt, 969-64 

Brohan, Augustine. 68-69 

— Madeleine, 246 ; her advlee to Baiab 

Bernhardt, 818-19 
~ Marie, 246 
Brooklyn Bridg«, 379 
Brüssels, 211 ; Sarah Bembardt'a impr«- 

slons, 849 
Bullalo, 499, 426, 427 
BngMt, Louise, 98-81 

— Marie, 98 
Bosigny, Sil 





Bniuob, WUliim, wltof, 111-M 


Colt gan taetorr. ISS 


1 Batln, Its 


ColDinbiu. «10 


L 


Comidl» Franfal», U>fr- 


■ CAiiruLL, Bacrio! F&trlak, MO 




■ Cuiwllmn FiIIb, Itae. 131 




■ Ckarobcn, Uuib^l, ^t SMnt-Print, IBt ; 


etnW, äO-aT. berdüml. ftS-IOl : Mo- 


■ hla IVieD<lahip lor äirah BemlumlC. 






Socliiuir«, lal. 101, »1: rari^aa- 


P C«p Martin. 3S» 






11*1 wKia) «plDEol tbcllT; lacis 


Bomhtrft conceraiog, *08-l> 




C^rdificH, DoloTO. 11 




- Pbi», Sl 


H. Perrln, sls-3> : tha -CnHuaUta' i 


CarDlIne, mald, foxrner to SptlD. IIQ-U. 






Bernhardt becoma a Soei^tairo, 1»; 






Cmmo. 30«, 111 


London, 9H ; thetr reqom U> Mr. 


»UiBrtiie, icinnt, ttj 


Jobn«™. 111: Sarah Benihan(i-| 




ironble wltb. JSO-IBt thelr ittnm 


Cautenn, ibe ilalt In. B1--l> 


to PKris and tha openlng nrenunr, 


Cnax. HarqiiK do, Iie 


llfl-l« : tbe Uw-TOlI agalon aarab 


— UnniDlH de : i« PMIl, Adetlna 


BambardC Sil, 31S~1S ; neitftt 


«limine pUy«! by Marie Llojd. 8( 


trom Itae Galety performanoea, M«- 


Cerl». Biron, t« 


8SB 


CdMJ, thB content dog, M-U. it 


Comiauno. the ParU, 171, a31->4, 3M 




CompaCOleTraniaüantlqne. uj 1 


Chtring CtOBH Blatlon. Um anlTml of 


-Complalnt o( tbe Hungri SUuaachj.- 


Barata Bernlurdt, 3»8 


»««frAlJU 


Chan..!. Eni{«olij, IB. 3J 


Conoau^bt. Dnka ol. ns 






VbUUlao riateau, collecUnK che daad 


Adrlce or tbe Dne da Kony. it~t* : 






Obalwrujn, M., »ecretaij, toe 






prliB lor mmedy, 80-81 


Ch«ter Sqnare. »B->oa 




ChDVal-BUnc, BÖCel da, Aratoiu, 1» 




CT« CJnoaU, IM. »ST 


Capp^ Franzi., isi : «leoen ot Lt ' 


Cblcaeo— 


Pai«nl. 1»-» 




Coqnelln, M.- 




Styl« OI.S0 ; meellng Mtb Santa Bwn- 


Cbillj, U. do— 


budt at tbe Tbttin Frufal^ M : 


TreatiuButoIBaniliBBniliardt,lI0-91, 


inCSa fJwflU. lUiib Ottritilt. 


IM. 13S-J0 ; bU cbantce Ol Btcllude, 


IM; In L-eintngm, »71. «1. 11t. 


1M-S7, l»9. 1*0; maiuiBBr <" tbe 


(lliblamlaaluntoXtrie LloJil,I«: 


Mico, na, 131, HI. Iti: tite la.w- 




rall iLgtiJUt Sarah Bernhardt. ili-3T, 




IIB ; thfl Biipper aC ihe Odton, 11 9 ; 


hurelamuj London, HO 


hli death, 14I-<S 


CreU. ISS 


ChrjBieire, thB Witolse. 110 


Crolaett*. Km», 40 


anclnnatt, *U. ilO 


— Panline, 11 


Cladal, LtoD, »0 


-Sopblfl- 


Ctolrtn, Oeor«»*— 






Ite. 147-18, 191 ; iD MtU. de BtlU- 


MB, SIS.SBI; thatrlplnthe"Doiia 


lilcttt ■.lallkiUla.Htr.la Uilanaft 


801,- 181-87 : aketcb o( tli« aniuuLbi. 


dl Figarv, 11« ; ber melhod »Hb M. 


IIB; «LthelarewellreceptlDD In Paria, 


Perrln. ICO: In Li SpHi^n. Um 


8« 




Clan,irt.l7B. 111 


L'Elrangirt. STl-TS. Ill-ll ; ap- 


CUTBlle, JdIhi. 178 


polated SotMialro pamunenDx, »»> 


Clarli», MHe, 17-18 


" CroltBEtlKla," tbe, ai che Com^dla, t»t-»t 


Olaade. ■erTlng-mvi, 114, ltl-01, 1S7, 


Cro»s,Mr, hl* Zoo In Llrerpool. Tlaltof 


IID-IB. 411 




ClBTBUnd, 191 


Cnitcmi-HoniK, tbe New York, S1»-.I| 


Coblenti. Hlle., «8 




Colaa, Ulle. Stella. » 


Itaitg nUgrapA, trlbnle to S«r>h Btni. 




hardt,li)7 


»la-lJ 


liatittt, bj OCMTB rtnill«, 14» 

i 



INDEX 



447 



Damton, HorteaM, SOO-SOl 

I k n e n am t, 117 

JHrvanm, ICof the ComMie, 94-96, 104 

Da7toii«4tO 

DtiMij, Mllenin La Irieheau bois, 119-9S 
DvbuuiAjr, M. — 

In Le Sphinx^ 969, 968 ; in Bemani^ 
981 ; drawinnr-room enteitainment« in 
London, 994-96 ; hia advioe to Sanh 
BenihArdt, 199-91 

Ddniigno, Cuimir — 

L*3eoU de» VieUards, 80; La Fiüe du 
Od, 80 ; L*jiw%e du PurgaUrire^ 98 

Dolorme, Ren^, 978 

D«lpit, Albert, 167 

DenATTooM, Lonia, La BelU PauUy 964 

I>«unnrk>— 

King and Queen of, preeent 1 the 
performuieet of 8«rÄh Bernhardt, 
848-44 ; SaxAh Bernhardt*! impreaaiona 
of. 848 

Depanl, Yirginie, 98 

Deachamp, Georgea, yiait to Sarah Bern- 
hardt, 317-18 

Deahayaa, Paol, 199-80 

l>ealande8, Saymond* ünmari qui lanee m 
/emme, 109, 849 

DeamooUna, M. de la Tour, 89 

I>eipagne, Dr^ 44 

Detroit, 499 

Derojod, Mme., 94, 838 

Diawtond^ the Teaael, 488 

Dieodonn^ Mme^ 113, 838 

** Dona Sol,** tbe balloon, 984 

Dor^ OnataTe, Innch with Victor Hogo, 
980-81 : Tiait to Sarah Bernhardt, 817 

Doncet, M. CamiUe, Sarah Bemluuxit'a 
interrievr with, 76-77 ; hia kindnetaea 
to her, 83, 90-98, 199-93, 196 

Dontra, Mr. Joa, 389 

Dronet, Mme^ 988, 980-81 

Dnbonrfr, Ltenie, 160 

Duoheane, Dr^ aorgeon at the Odton am- 
bnlance, 167-68, 170, 178 

DndUy, Mlle., 839 

Dadlejr, Lady, 994 
— Lord, 800 

Dnea, 969 

DnmM, Alexandre — 

Kean at the Od4on, 180 - 81 ; 
VEtrangirt^ 979-76. 809-18; Sarah 
Bemhardt'a anger with, 974-76 

Dnpnia, the Commnnard, 980 

Dnqneaael, Mme^ 134 
^ F61iz— 

Manager of the Odten, 199-94, 196-97, 
180-31 ; prodnction of Atkalie, 196 ; 
aeoepta Copp^'a Le Paetant, 189-84; 
beneflt Performance for Sarah Bern- 
hardt, 146-46 ( arrangementa f6r tlie 
Od^n ambolaDce, 160; prodnction 
of Rup Blas, 996-80 ; Sarah Bemhardt'a 
treatmentof, 986-37. 989 ; at the Od^on 
aappcr, 940-43 ; at Sarah Bemhardt'a 
farewell reoeption, 847-48; arraagaa 
the ** Twenty-eight Daya of Sarah 
Benhaidt»** 848-49 



Dnrienz, Mme^ 189-88 

— Victor, " Toto,'* tht errand boy, 180- 
88 

Dnae, Bleonora, oommenta of Sarah Bern- 
hardt, 899-80 

Eaux-Bohheb, Sarah Bernhardt ordered 

to, 168-66 
fioole Chrötienne brothera, ooUeeting the 

dead trom the ChAtilJon Plateau, 188 

— Polyteohnique, 964 

Kdiion, Thomaa, reoeiTea Sarah Bernhardt 
at Menlo Park, 876-79 

— Mra., 377 

Elie, M., deportment daaa of, 78-79 
Elainore, Yiait of Sarah Bernhardt, 848- 

844 
EmerainriUe, 987 
Emmanuel, Victor, 116 
Enfer du PlogofI, Sarah Bemhardfb 

deaoent into, 961-64 
Eogliah hoapitality, Sarah Bemhardt'a 

impreaaiona, 808-4 
Erie, 497 

Eacalier, F^llx, 969 
Eaaler, Jane, 996 
Eatebenet, M., 88 
Eug^nie, Smpreaa, 989 ; aketch of, 186, 

186-89 

FAULE, M., 190-99 

Falleaen, Baron, 843-46 

Faure. Mme., 19-16, 17, 86, 44, 99 

— Fdlix, nncle, 11, 19-16, 147; at tba 

fkmlly Council, 60-66 

— F^Ux, afterwarda Praaident, 167 
Favart, MUe., 96, 100, 104-6 
Favre, Jnlea, 186 

FebTre, Fr4d^c, 947; aa Don Salluatc, 

991 ; advice to Sarah Bernhardt, 898 
Fidora^ by Yictorien Sardou, 440 
F^icie, the maid, 166, 969, 869, 868-66, 

871, 879, 416-16 
Ferrier, Paul, CKez VAvoeat by, 949 
Ferri^rea, the wood of, 986 
FeoiUet, OcUtc, DaUla^ 949 ; U Sphinx^ 

961-64 
Figaro criüciama qwAed^ 819, 889, 888, 

848 
Finiat^re, 969 

Flanbert, OuaUTe, 996 ; dcath of, 899 
Flenry, the artiat, 7 

— General, 186, 189 
Flourena, M., 990 

Folkeatone, reception of Sarah Bernhardt 

in, 997-98 
Fortin, aoldier. 171, 177 
Fould, Henri, 164 
Foumler, Marc, 119, 190 
Fian^s le Champi, 198 
Fraaoo-Pruaaiaa War, ontbreak and tai- 

cidenta. 161-69 
Fr^ehette, Lonla, hia * A Sarah Bernhardt * 

guoted, 889-91 ; hia aoTice to Jeann« 

Bernhardt, 891-99 
Frtaaard, Mme., her boardlng-Mkool, 

T-ll 



Fio—fd, Omenl. Itl 
/Vu^froH. 9». lat-to, tu-««, 114, tl3, 
«13, 4M, «tO 



e, b; E. Anjrter, )«8 
GalMT Thatre, London — 

Agreameuc «Ifh Uic ComMle Prsn- 
filK, t«a ; S«i>h Bcnibanir* llnt 

Irom the ComMIc pertotmaDcea, Sl^ 
■ta 

G*llc TbMtn.ilwv IS« 
Oallec. Hula Le, IM 
Gunbud Ol Nia bafi IbS gTOOp, itllcr (kl 

Giunbetln. U, defence ot PttU. ItS : 



M Dm BkUiui« 



GlterI,Dr..»l 

GllUnl. H , bdloon of, Mt-It 

Olrudln, Emlla de — 

AmuigvmaDU for tbe Odton unhn- 
Iwice, im : hl* IrieDdahlp for Birali 
Berntaardc, ttt. US, iii. St), Sil 

GltdMone, Ur.314 

Owlard. Louli, bklloon SHent ot, !S4-gI 

OtiaeiK, laa 

Oordon, Hr. Max. ot Bonon, IM 

Oot, H^ of IhB Camtdl« Fnn^lie, *IS, 

MS. sue. SIS, Sin, sts, 140 

Onad R&pliU. 491 

ÜnDd-Chuspn CapTent — 

Barnli Bernturdt ukm lo. IS-St; 
loyaler oI,lt-I4 ; vlilcof UoiucLgiieiiF 
Blbour. 17--S4 ; relDro ol Sanli Bern- 
hardt to. 1» 

Oreeect, tha Queen ot, Stt 

Or*»r. Piualdenp)' of. S04 

GrlffaD. Kcu^, 18»-»0 



irlth M. Anber, fiS-mi : nat«,&c. kcpt 
br, Sl : ■ccompanla SanL Btrnliardl 
M ttieCoaMr<Molni,«t-7t.8I-84,88; 




Hau, ChnrlcH, 141-41 
HigOB. Tb«, ITI 
IIUDlBl'i Umb. KlalDora, M 
Hantnorart. Itl 



I at. IM. MI: ttni 



Krueatl t 



Ihs Life SiTlBg SäclHf, ■ 

woleomo boras ■(, llf-lO 
lajrrö. OipMtn, ttO 
iBiirj V. o( TnuiDB. U-U 
lotMon. M.. nu^or a( pftrta. ITS 
1cT<,itiil. by TIeur Ua;o, »1», tlO-Il 

SSS, SII.ST4, SRI, t>t, II«, 44« 



Her Kijua-f» Thntro. »4 
Hocqul.rir, Hile. — 

BelpKni lo rli« Ottos 



hardt*. Ili . buu oU bj San* 

BerDbardt. tM 
BulLand, Queen oF. pnamt nl ttrtk 

Bvrnhcnli'a partimnue« of Lt Zu*. 

tont, iS8-t» 
lIo111tit:ahimil. Jobs, of tfac QUkIj, Los- 



Holm 



D, IS«. ItO 



HäUI (l'Aa^lettiTT, BnUklo, 4» 

— du Nor<l, i olosne, Iil-It 

— d* la PBBrM dal Bol, HnÖM, tlt 

— Vendom«. BoaWa, S«f 

— Wind«». Honiml, l(t 
Hudaon river, Lbc, Ml 



I 



INDEX 



440 



Hugo, Tletor — 

CUxDovIor hlBretnm, ItO-tl; tlia 
nadl^g of Ruif BUu, SS6-tO ; skateh 
Qf, SS8-S9: Sarah Berabardt*! aitl- 
mfttloo of, S81-IS, S40, Sil; Um 
Od^on rapper glfen bf, St9-4t ; 
Hermmi^ S80-8S ; notm and pretent to 
Sarah Bernhardt, S8S 

Hjde Park, Sarah Bernhardt*! JmprewloM, 
841 

iBi, halrdrtner, 418 

** Ignottu,** Paragraph In the Ftgaro 

guoted, 181 
Il/ätU qu*un€ parte toU <m»trt€ ou/erWe, 

887 
n ne/aut jurer d€ rien, 887 
Imperial, the Prlnee, baptlam, S4 : pte i ent 

darlng rehearaal o< Le Pasiomi^ 187; 

al Saarhraek, 188 
Indianapoili, 480 
IpkigifUt, 94-101 
iroqaoia, riiit of Sarah Bernhardt to the, 

898-94 
Irrlng, Henry, SOO, 8S9 
Irry. 188 

Jadin, M., 860 

Jarrett, Mr.^ 

Arrantrea with Sarah Bernhardt lor 
the drawlng-room entertalnmenta, 
808-94; hla waj wlth reporten, 890- 
800, 884, 887, 881, 4S0-S7 ; eontraet 
for ilrat Amerleaa tonr, 884-88; In 
New York, 888, 868, S70, 878, 878, 
484; peraonaUtj, 888-66; rieft to 
Editon, 876 ; aotlon regardlng Henrj 
Smith, 886-87; in Montreal, 888, 
899-98, 896; Tidt to the Iroqnola, 
898-04 ; the American recelpta, 408 ; 
hie arrangement with the St. Lonia 
jeweller, 408-4 ; the attcmpted trala 
robbery, 408-8 ; the eroMlng to New 
Orieana, 414-16; Tieft to Niagara, 
487-88 ; jonmey to Chicago, 4S1-SS ; 
the retnm from Ameriea, 484; hli 
inflnenee orer Sarah Bernhardt, 441 

Jmm Marie, by Andri Theoriet, 180, SS4- 
88 

Johneon, T., London eoRwpoBdant of the 
Figaro, M 

Jewphlne, mald, 146 

Joan, of the Forte St. XartlB TMItre, 
110-80 

Jonaanfn, IL, 848 

Jondaa, Oaptaia, 884, 887, 484 

Jonvlan, Theodore, 100-01, 104-06 

JnUlen, Mary, 888 



Kalb. M^ 888 
KalUBey, 144 
Kapeniet, Oonnt, 847 
Kean, by A. Dnmae, 180 
Keratry, Oomu da, 98 ; ald gl< 

Bernhardt with the Odton 

180-68, 178 
Knoedler, M^ 867 



to 
ibnUuiee, 



Kremlln, the, 176 
Kronboigf oaetle ol^ 844 

VAmirique^ the boat, 888-60, 484 

UÄutre, 180 

La BeUe Paule, 884 

LaB4niditiUm,%n 

La hetgkrt (Tlvry, by Thfbonit, ISO 

La biehe au boU, 11 

La Dame aux CamiUae, 888, 874, 878, 808, 

808, 410-80, 488, 488, 440 
VEooHe de» Femmu, 63 
VEoole de$ VieUarde^ bj DeUrigne, 80 
L*EHneeUe, 887 
La fauste Agnie, 78 
La PiUedeRoUmd, 866-68 
La FiUe du Cid, by DelaTlgne, 80 
La Fonef^ flre Inenranoe oompany, 140 ; 

dafm againet Sarah Bernhardt, 148, 

146 
La Hdre, 888 
La loierie du wtariage, 180 
La maiton taut et^init, 100 
La Princette Oeorget, 888, 486, 488-84, 

440 
** La Qnenelle,** hfe fnrentlon, 808-07 
Laoonr, Marie de^ S8 
Lacrotx, BnlaUe, 88 
Laferritee, Connt d^ 188-86 

— Menra., drevee frmn, 888 
Lafontaine, M^ fn Hug Blas, SSO, 801 ; at 

the Odfon lapper, 841 

— Vfotorta, 100 
Lambqnln, Mme. — 

Nnrse at the Odten ambnlanee, 167, 

169, 178, 188 ; at the Od^on eapper, 

840, 848 1 death of, 848 
Lapommeraye, critlofraie ot 888, 889 
Lareher, Ptee, gardener at the Orand- 

Champe Conrent, 10-81, 84, 80, 41, 48 
Laroche, M^ 848, 888 
Laroqne, Mme^ 167 
Larrey, Baron, 8-8, 87, 44 ; Tiefte to tho 

Odten ambnlanee, 167, 169, 180-tl 
VAbteni, by Sngtee Mannel, 840 
VAfiraueki, 180 
VAmi FriU, 887 
VAttommiOir, 888 
VAvofte, 887 

Le Barbiar de BevüU, 887 
Le Bdiard, 180 
Le Demi-ifymde^ 887 
Le dem&u du Jeu, 100 
Le D4pU amourtux, 887 
UBU de ta 8t, Martin, 887 
L*Btcurdi, 887 
L*Etramg^,bj A. Dnnaa, 878-78, 800-18, 

888-87, 840, 874 
LeßU naturtl, 886 

Lejeu de Famour et du katard, 1S8, 887 
LeJu(ferrafa,l%Q 
Le Lutkier de CrituSna, 887 
Le Mariage de Migmra, 840 
Le Moritze de rieteriue, 887 
Le Mmquit de ViUemer, 188, 887 
Le Medeoln wtalgri kd, 887 
Le Memtemt, 887 

Sf 







Mwrtn, M., (P«-»7 1 


U fo-o«. 1» » ' 


M«»n, CfcilB. .0 1 


Lt Potteripium. »T 


— M.,mntlqii»r7. 4B 


Li Sphtnt.tisOea.-rervaiaai,i»i-n. iit. 


lUthUd^ IMno«. IM 




U&Dbuii, IL. «4, im : tb« nu ud ihc 


L, talommt dt Cöar, bjr Olrodot, 110 


•clor. »IS-IB 






LMvenwonh. 4»i 


M.DToy.'N.th«lle. nj 


LMoammr, Adrienne. biut In Ibe Fan- 


Mar«, Pcmnu, Giirntiu «ydler at Ol 


«alM. >( 




L«eot)t£. VL, 3», 1» 


— Mr., Ol Ih« 0»l«r, Sl.J, lu»-ll).UO. 


Ltli-bion, Fndcrlc tli 




Lenulirs. Jul«, )»1 


MiUngne, H.. Ml 


Leopold, Prtnce, »14 


Uemp)il& ilO 


Lepanl. aMumitr, «tory of the Phiitt 


UGDd^ Catnlle. (fil 


costmne, 3lt-IS 








1 £a Ftmmf aammltt, loD, »T 


Mwlo FBrt Xew York. ITB-M 








Mtraxdtt. 337 


£« Plaidam, »T 


«erclor. M,,äM 


1 tei PridfUta SkUaila. MI 


Merlon, M. PIpftg, 


^^H LMUph Ferdlund dB, SDB 


— Urne, nrnre. »-1B 


^^^K Lelbarsl. the Abb& t« 


Mennier, Dr.. ot Tergnlor. JOS 


^H L«,ulaCDr.,Ui.m 


Meojice. P»ul- 


^^H Llnaalo. m«!.]«]!. IM 


Friand ol VIclor Ongo, 19t. tl*. tlO : 


^^V Lind. Jana;. Mfl 




^^^ - LltllB Incllno,- 400 


OdtoD ■mde. 137-)« ; « tha OMn 


' Llwrp<»l, Crom* Zo*. Ilt-IT 


«npper. 141 


Llojd, M«iiJ- 


■ta«ilBr. lUlhl«!. 17< 


Fit« prl» (dr eomedr al llie Con- 


MBTdleii.lL- 


•Pftiitolni, 8» ; trieDdahlp wlth Sarah 


OoäUÜitt of Jauu fienrtia«,!^ 


BembardC, 81. aS-8S, >«. 14» : refoMl 


■c iba tuniir eoaiicil. co-»e: dsi» 


to pUj in Vmrangrrt, 310 




Lolro, LbB Anny of tho, IBS 










Herer, Anhnr. 143-44. lU, M 


L 410 


— ]l»ea>,410 


■ LDne, Ibmiili Ol. GoTemor ot Cui«d^ 


HUlils. lOO 
]IlwHikee,4» 
MtOridatt. »11 


1 Lonltvtlle, 4«o 




Mobile, dlfflCDitlea or |ria]'liig In. tl«-lu 






' 


CumMle. 101 


UACMAKOf, U»nl»]. lt«, 104 


Monhel, U. da, 134 




ilonod,nr..ll.44 


MadoBrnKlte de Bellt- tilt, 14 £-4«. »7 


Xaa.iii'.BI. C*lno. lOS 




Montbel. BaTMiodd de. 147 




Montignj, M. nuniigBr ol lie GfauMH 


gBrrottiiigln,*IO 


Tb«iw,loe-lüi.ii^.U 


Uacnu^ Buoo. bli uwl of " To PnuM," 




S4i-47 




. Manuet, Gog^De, C-.J»Mnf. tw 


■» ; tue nihop-i NrawDi asMo« Ow 




rrenoh irlino, SM. ai»-M i td- 


«;. 71. sl. 101.101.111. UMH 


mlnUoD Dt tbe ■mdnii, «9« -M 


UArie. mild U Neullly, 14-11 


MonTÜ, M.. 109, 11» 


- Statw, Ol Um» GiMd-ChMip. Oonvenl, 




Hkrlculin, culle ot, Ekinara, 144 




Uiirlqa]M,diuitingciMl« 




M>rlviDi. Lejeudt f'anour ef du »anird. 


cmroa» o( Barth Bernhardt. M. >l 




Mo-eow nt 




Boonet-BailT, M.- 






■ Hutel. U. Ib PActfr^ 11« ; poM uBanh 


OrmM H«: lo Xdtrt. •»; In 


■ Bflrnbardt. 171-78 


/•Udrc. 3»l; In Aaw TaliMM. il«: 


■ UhiId, LtoiUDC »«-»1 


iaaetwaU. I81-8i; la OMallo, nl; 


^^^ -i 


^^^^ 



INDEX 



451 



In Jtaf JIM, Stl ; wappcgfB Sanh 
BarDtaifdton her flnt appearanre at 
<be Oatocj, B07-8; adfle« to Sarah 
B««rBhaidtL 82S, 8ts ; eonmiaoca of 
Sanh Bernhardt oa, tSt 

ICnltoii, Mlii^ tmat ot, 917 

ICarrar, John, trlbuCe to Saimh Bernhardt, 
t07 

Nafolkoii III., S4, B04 ; oommanda Sarah 

Bernhardt to the Tnllerlee, IBft-SB, 

144 : hla deleat at Sedan, lft4-f » ; hlf 

treatment hj Roohefort, S19 

» Prtnee Jerome, *'Plon-Plon,'* 1S9, S84 

Narrej, Charles, S64 

Ha■hTlll^ 410 

Nathalle, Mme., the Inotdent with Sarah 
Bemhardt, 101-4 ; her rerenge, lOft 

NaUcmaL, the, 995 

KeniUy, rldta to, B, 11-15 

Kew HaTen, 885 

Hew Orleana, the eroHinff to, 414-16; 
Sarah Bemhardfa Impreaelona, 418- 
18 

New York— 

Sarah Bernhardt*! Im p re eri oni, 861- 
867; the reporters, 867-68; the Cna- 
tom-Hooee, 869-78 ; Brooklyn Bridge^ 
878 ; the poIiee,87l ; theprofeaitonal 
wflift W e at, and departnre from, 488- 
484 

Newark, 4B8 

Niagara Falla, 496 ; TMt of Sarah Bern- 
hardt, 487-89 

NitttathepalBter, 817 

Noe, Mme. LUy, 886 

Notdenakjold, M., 847 

NorelU, 8B0 

O'ComiOB, Captain, 889-94, 847 

Od4on, the^ — 

SnoceM otAikaUe^ 196-97 ; aodahllity 
among the actora, 197, 944 ; receptlon 
of Dnmaa pert^ 180-81; laeee« of 
Lt PtuMdnS, 1S8-S9 ; enthaatann of 
the itodenta for Sarah Bernhardt, 
189; beneflt lor Sarah Bernhardt, 
148-146; weleome to Adelina Fatti, 
148-46; the Sarah Bernhardt ambn- 
lanee, 160-87 ; patlent«of,tranaferred 
to the Val-de-Orlee, 188: reopened 
after the Treaty of Paria, 994 ; Sarah 
Bemhardfk hreak with the, 984-86 ; 
Vietor Hogo's aapper to the artlatei^ 
988-48 

Ohio HTcr, th^ 498 

On ne badhu pa$ omc rauumr, 181, 887 

Op4ffa, the, 168 

Ophelia, the ipring ot Kklnora, 844 

Orange, Prlnce of, 188 

OtkeUo, i9l 

PALA» DB L*I]fDUeTBn, 168 

Palaer Honae, ChleagiK the^ 400 
PareMoneeaa,187 



Paria— 

Popnlar feallngoB ontbnak of Franoo- 
Pmiaian War, 181-58; aiege pro- 
elalmed, 155-59; organiaation of the 
defenee, 160 ; the Od4oB amhatauiee, 
160-87; bombarding of, 178-67; 
efltat of the enffleringa ob the inorale 
of the people, 188-86 ; the armiatlee, 
186 ; aighta after, 187 ; the Comnrane, 
917-94 ; the peaoe dgned, 994 ; Preal- 
denta, 804; eapital pnniahmeBt In, 
410-18 

Parodi,M.,851; Rame Vaimem4,t79 

Parrot, M., artist, 969 

— Dr., 809-10 
«^Part,** ue of the term, 88 
Patti, Adelina, 145-46 
PeliMier, General, 190, 185 
Pte« Tjwhaiae OBmetery, 174 
Perrin, M.— 

Engagement of Sarah Bernhardt, 
988-86, 988-89, 945 ; Staging of 
DaUla, 949 ; ftary of, 949-50 ; in- 
ddentof the^'moon'* in Le Sphinx, 
851-58 ; inaiata on Sarah Bambardt 
playing Zaire, 954-55 ; atrained re- 
laUona with Sarah Bernhardt, 856, 
988-88, 988, 991 ; Btaging of Pkidre, 
964-66 ; diaenaeion ooneemlng La 
FUU de Boland, 967-68 ; hla trieka In 
VEtramgh^ 979-75 ; ang»r at the 
baUoon aaeent, 984, 988; the agree- 
ment with John Hollingihead, 998 ; 
attitnde regarding the drawing-room 
entertainmenta, 994-95 ; letter to 
Sarah Bernhardt from Paris, 898; 
hia leetnre on her retnm, 896-97; 
prodnctlon of VAventurUrt and re- 
Bignationof Sarah Bernhardt, 881-84; 
infloenoee Coqoelin to leare Loadon, 
840 
Petit, MUe. DIea, at theOonaerratoira, 88, 
67 

— Ame^ Tidt to M. Maaain, 96-97 
Pkedrt, 949, 965-66, 808-8, 888, 887, 888, 

401, 440 
Philadelphia, 899, 488 
PhiUberte, 887 
Pteard,969 
PierMn, Blanehe, 108 
PlM,49 
Pittabnrg, Sarah Bernhardt*» tmpieailOM, 

499-98 
Plaee de la Roqnette, ezeevtkma in, 

410-18 
Plnehe, Am^ie, 98 
Poltay, prisoners of, 888 
Polhea, General, 85 
Pooa, M^ 79 
Pont, TAbbd, 858 
FoiBl, M. Paal, 88, 180 ; at tha Odten 

ambnlanee, 171 ; IB /«a» üarit, 884- 

985 
Porte Saint Martin Thaatra^ 118-81 
Potte, FOIX, 165 
PottwPBlmer, Mr., 40t 
488 





1 ProTOM, M.- 


AUI>«dA«u,)l* 1 




Bug SUu. »n-iO. »IH8. )»1. 1» 1 






f T» : h(» «jlB Ol leMhln?, 60 : tl«l lo 


B**a«BOC«, 161 


1 Ibe ComMle PriiiitalH, le-M 


Bt. Aleidii. Holber, Ol Ebe Gnuid-ChMf* 


Pnidiioii. vLim, 11« 






El.Appolliit,llo[ber.arthaänuul-awnpi 


■ oplBton ot »etDK. I*» 


Conrent, («. 81 


■ FngM, LoaiH. 18 


81. CtcU% Bl«er, It 




Bt.0loDd,lI8 


1 QcAHD-nftME. Btnix Bmnluwdf» loatM, 


Bl. Deni.. 11« 




Sc GermalD-eD-LaTe, ISl-lt 


r QnlDperl«. 1 


Sl. Jhdug, Sliwr, tt 


^ <jul«r."l 


at. Jtwpb. *10-lll 




Sl. Lairnmce riior, Sanib Btnthnilt » 


BACSat, »t, K«. I«e, 33«. 3tT ; GiiOaet 




porlnHt. los 


Bl. LonH Sarah Bemhmrdl'a tIiU U Um 


B«d»e. P/i^drt »«»-•« 




Bki, I-olDte ilD, >w«nl of, )DB-«I: " Bsnb 




lltrnlianic'ii Ami-olulr." t«i 


61. (isentla. afcei the battle. lOft-l 1 


R^. M.- 


St. Sophie. Motber, of the Gr«»l-Cb«.I» 




CoarpDt, 17. 31. tS : her USima 








TUlt gl Mgr. Slbour. ST. 30. 11, It; 


•I-S», Sl-«». 7». 8«. «0. ItO : »mmg« 


IncWoüt Ol tbs ibako. 41-86 




SU Bnlploe, ihe prteit ot H», Hl 


tba «ngagument ac (he Q^moaM lor 




Banli Bunihardt, 10;~«: blinlailou 


KyaigAl. lS-3* 


witb Urne. Bomhardl, I1».1I 


Salnt-Prioat, bitlle of. tftl-84 


Bigalw. M, I^o(,— 


Bala«-Ff r« Bridu«. I84 


Oller- aermatne lo Sarob Ihtrnliardt, 




T6-IT; hUoluaat ibe Com-crvMolro, 


Sarab BCTubardi, »78 


IB-eu; bBlpi Sarah BdrDliudt lo 


SalilDi, U., 131 


workop/'M<lr(.i81i-5« 


BanuoD. M™ 88, So. »> 


BOne Um«.. 81, 3.« 


Sind. Un». Georg«, 7 : deMalpUoB 1« 


Kimgail, Paal de. 187. »1 ; ikelch ot 






180 




BU. Adrene, Hlrre. (40 


Kenaiauice Theure, the, »11 


BaDUlll.Ciptatn,(t4, «17 


BIflhapiD. U..»L 


■•Bara-dotMd.,"lhB. »30 


KiBanltRaonl. vlö-ll 




Roben HQDiliii Theatw, ita, ii 


Pols» dB Baa, 384 


Eobertiioii.PortKt. 1»? 


SaroBT. Franclaqoe. Milclei ou £«4 


Kocbeattr. 413 


Bernhardt guatcd, 10<»-10l. 148, ■)«, 


1 Rocbetori, M, »1» 




Roger, Uarla. 101. IUI 


Sardon, Vkioflen— 




BeUUiiiIbeUonUs97li>eideal.lt*-lli 


Ro.lü1,M,.ll-l*,»l 






bti plaj ai tha Tanderllle. 3101 rtad- 


Bochwbi.a, Barou Alphoiue— 


tnrf ot Fidora. 4<0 


GKIB to Iha OdÄm amlra'aiioe, 166: 


Sarony, Ad*le.68 


ftjt the Germsn demlDd on Paris, 


SauDOD, Alfrtd. »89 


181 ; Sarah Bernliardc atUmpts ttie 


SatoFT bamtcb. tbe, 18: inoldut of tbi 


bnitof. »87 


■h&ka. 40-t« 


Bott« Bo»-, garall BerabardU fmpr«- 


— wood«. thev 10 


tloni, SOO,SuH,»U 




Bmnea Hl e. BoMlla, 3«B 


Swlan, h»til«otl64-*» 


■ Kodcowlti, Mm«., m 


B^rapblTto, Bliter, of tba Gnad-Ck>m(a 


1 Rn« Anbe. flal. tho Are ai. UO-ti 




■ — d« la Ctianwte d'Antin, 1 1 




1 — UuphoC. ttae pobien of. >S : Suah 




■ Brrahardi'B Sat In, 118-1) 


Btbonr, Monielgn«or. rlili la th* Otut- 


P — Notre DamB de Chmnp«, oonvent ol 


Cbampa CunveDt, 17-14 ; death ot. M 


} the, 1«. IM 


flmltb, Bmry. of Bowon— 


— Bi. Hnni.re, posier« of, BB 


Swrj of the wbale. «1-87; U 


— Takbout, patloi.t» ftom tho Odion 


Cbloago, 400; pnseiil to Btnh Ben- 




baidt, 484-1» 



INDEX 



458 



SBOwttorm tX ma, Sarfth Beniliftrdt*i 

dMeripdoii, S64>ftft 
8od4tairet of the ComMie rran^alM, 101 
Bohi^ M^ 141-44 
8ölofpi«,S77 
SoaMae, Mllt., 188 ; the jonrnex Uiroogh 

the Oermaa llnet, 191-S16 
Spa, 188 

SpalB, Tiilt of Sarah Bernhardt to» 110-18 
8pH ^eki, lUinoli, 4SI 
— ICaMachiisetti, 888-99 
Stage-fright, 808-8 
SUmäard^ th^ tribnte to Sarah Bernhardt, 

807 
Sterene, Alfred, S8S 
STracnn, 438 

Talbot, M^ 888 

TMÜen, IL, In Ruf Bltu, SS8-80: at the 

Odfon mipper, S41-4S 
Tart%re, 880, 887 
Tirriniler, 808, 804-8 
ThMtre de la Monnale, BmMeli, 848 
Theatre Rojal, Copenha/en, 848-47 
Th^nard, MUe^ 806 

Thenrtet, Andr^ Jean MarU^ 18 >, 884-88 
Thlbonst, Lambert, 180-81 
Thierry, M^ director of the Fran^aiip, 

91, 94 ; attitude oonoeming afBkir of 

Mme. Mathalle, 108-8 
Th!ert,lL— 

Granta peaport to Sarah Bernhardt, 

187 ; poUtles oi; 819 ; Preeldenex of, 

804 
TYmet, the, Paragraph from, quoied^ 894 
TlMandler,M^ 8^8-84 
ntine, ehi d trlend, 4 
Toronto, 487 
TralD, 888 
Trlel, 888 

Troehn, IL, defenoe of Parle, 188 
Troj, 488 
TnUerlee, Sarah Bernhardt eommanded to 

the, 186-89 : her eeeond Tlelt, 181 
Tnrqnet, IL, 888 

Uloadb, Mme^ In La biehe am boi$^ 1 19-80 
Un wuxri ^ kmct 9a/^mm€t 109, 848 
Utlea,488 



YAOBiu, doMent of the **Dona Sol ** at, 

888 
Yaognerie, Angnete, 888, 889 
ValUaat, ezeentlon oi; 411-18 
Yal-de-Ortoe mlllury hoepital, 187, 188, 

170, 178 ; the Od4on patlenta trana- 

ferred to, 188 
▼allte, Jnlee, 881 
▼ari^t4e, the, 849 
▼andenile, the, 78-77, 888, 848 
▼eiger, mnrderer, 84 
YerealUee, 18, 88, 40, 888 
Yletor, Panl de St^ at the Odfon enpper, 

840-41 ; adrerae eriticiem of SÜrah 

Bernhardt, 868 
Yilla Mentmorenej at Antenll, 187 
Ylllaret, M^ 190, 198, 198 
Ylntrae, Dr., 809-10 
Yitn, Angnete, Figaro artlclee of, quUed^ 

888, 888-89 

WAOiiBn, Sarah Bemhardt*e opinlon of, 
818 

Walea, Frlnoe of, yielt to the Pleeadlllf 

ezhlUtton, 818-14 
— Prlncm ot at the Theatre BoTal, 
Oopenhagen. 848-44 

Walewakl, M. de, 98 

Walt, Bobert, 848 

Weehington, 488 

Welee, J. J., 881 

Wilde, Oeear, 898 

Winterhalter, 188 

Wlrbjn, Albert, 408 

Wolff, Albert, ol the Figa/ro, Sarah Bern 
hardt'e letter to, 881-88 

Woreeeter, 488 

Woraie,M. — 

Charlee Qntnt In Hamami, 888 ; eam- 
palgn agalnet Sarah Bernhardt, 880 ; 
adTlce to Sarah Bernhardt, 888 ; Sarah 
Bemhardt'e eomment oa, 888 

Ytou, the artlet, 10 

ZaYbs, 78, 884-88, 818, 887 
Zelem, Baron Tan, 187 
Zerblnette, the tortolee, 148 
Zola, }!., 888, 888, 881 



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