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HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY 




This volume is from 
the library of 

GAMALIEL BRADFORD VI, 

1 863-1 932, BIOORAPHER AND ESSAYIST, 

GIVEN BY HELEN F. BRADFORD 

MAY 24, 1942 



i 
I 



7r{k\mmmm/^mm^^r^^^^ 



MY MEMOIRS 

BY 

ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

IN SIX VOLUMES 




. I. 



^ 



MY MEMOIRS 

BY 

ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



TRANSLATED BY 

E. M. WALLER 

WITH AN nrmoDvcnoN bt 
ANDREW LANG 



IN SIX VOLUMES 
Vol. V 

1831 TO 1833 



WITH A FRONTISPIBCR 



NEW YORK 

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

7 90S 



^î 






my 






MY MEMOIRS 



BY 



ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

TRANSLATED BY 

E. M. WALLER 



WITH AN INTRODUCTION BT 

ANDREW LANG 



IN SIX VOLUMES 
Vol. V 

183I TO 1833 



WITH A FRONTISPIBCR 



NEW YORK 

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

1908 




4tf«%4*|«M»Mwr 



CONTENTS 



BOOK I 
CHAPTER I 

I of the Puisian Artillery — Metamorphosis of my uniibmi 
of • Mounted National Guardsman — Bastide — Godefroy 
Cavslgiuc — Guinard — Thomas — Names of the batteries and of 
their principal servants — I am summoned to seize the Chambtr 
—How many of as came to the rendezvous . . . 

CHAPTER II 

«, Préfet of the Seine — His soirées — His proclamation 

; subject of riots — Dupont (de l'Eure) and Louis- Philippe 

— Rodgnation of the ministry of Mole and Guizot — The atTair of 

the (oicst of Breteuil — The Lafiitle ministry — The pnident way 

in which r^istiation was carried out .... 

CH.\PTER III 
BInaiKer as Patriot and Republican ..... 



, u Republican 



CHAPTER IV 



CHAITER V 
Death of Benjamin Constant — Concerning his life — Funeral honours 
that were conferred upon him — His funeral — Law respecting 
national rewards — The trial of the ministers — GrouvcUe and his 
ihter — M. Mérilhou and the neophyte —Colonel Lavocat — The 
Coort of Peer» — Panic— Ficschi ..... 

CHAPTER VI 
Th* MtUlajrmen al the Louvre — Bonapartist plot to take our cannon 
bottt Bs — Dislribation of cartridges by Godefroy Cavaigiuu: — 
The COGOOune of people outside the Luxembourg when the 
■lateen were sentenced — Departure of the condemned for 
VtDOomea — Defeat of the judges— La Fayette and the riot — 
Baitlile Bud Commandant Barré on guard with Prosper Mérimée 

CHATTER W\ 
Wear* nnroiuided in the Louvre court j-ard— Our ammunition taken 
by tiuprise— ProclamaiioD of the Écoles— Letter of Louvv 
b 



to 



28 



38 



SO 



vi MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



Philippe to La Fayette — ^The Chamber vote of thanks to the 
Colleges — Protest of the École polytechnique — Discussion at the 
Chamber upon the General Commandership of the National 
Guard — Resignation of La Fayette — The king's reply — I am 
appointed second captain . . . . -59 

CHAPTER VIII 
The Government member — Chodruc-Duclos — His portrait — His life 
at Bordeaux — His imprisonment at Vincennes — The Mayor of 
Oigon — Chodruc-Duclos converts himself into a Diogenes — M. 
Giraud-Savine — Why Nodier was growing old — Stibert — A 
lesson in shooting — Death of Cbodruc-Dudos . . .68 

CHAPTER IX 
Alphonse Rabbe — Madame Cardinal — Rabbe and the Blarseilles 
Academy — Les Moisincàru — Rabbe in Spain — His return — The 
Old Dagger— Tht Journal Z< Phocien — Rabbe in prison — The 
writer of Cibles — Ma pipe . . . . '77 

CHAPTER X 
Rabbe's friends — La Sour grise — The historical résumés — M. Brézé's 
advice — An imaginative man — Berruyer's style — Rabbe with his 
hairdresser, his concierge and confectioner — La Sœur grist Stolen 
— Le Centaure . , , . . , .88 

CHAPTER XI 
Adèle — Her devotion to Rabbe — Strong meat — Appela Dieu — L'âme 
el la cûmédie humaine — Za nurt — Ultime lettere — Suicide — À 
Alphowe Jiaiie, by Victor Hugo . . . .99 

CHAPTER XII 
Chéron— His last compliments to Harel— Obituary of 1830— My 
official visit on New Year's Day — A striking costume — Read the 
Moniteur — Disbanding of the Artillery of the NatiotuU Guard — 
First representation of Napolion Bonaparte — Delais^re — 
Frederick -Lemattre ...... 109 

BOOK 11 

CHAPTER I 
The Abbé Châtel— The programme of his church— The Curé of Lives 
and M. Clausel de Montais — The Lévois embrace the religion of 
the primate of the Gauls — Mass in French — The Roman curé — 
A dead body to inter ..,,.. I17 



CONTENTS 



vil 



CHAPTER II 

rACK 

I of leligious tolention — The Abbé Dallier — The Circes 
of Lèves — Wataloo after Leipiig— The Abbé DaJlier is kept as 
hoMage — The barricades — The stones of Chartres — The outlook 
— Prepantioiu for fighting . ,124 

CHAPTER m 

Attack of the barricade — A sequel to Malplaquet — The Grenadier — 
The Cbartiian philanthropists — Sack of the bishop's palace — A 
fancjr dress — How order was restored — The culprits both small 
•ad great — Death of the Abbé Ledru — Scruples of conscience uf 
ibe former schismatics — The Diti irj of Kosciusko . . 130 

CHAPTER IV 

The Abtae de Lamennais — His prediction of the Revolution of l8jo 
— EMUn the Church — His views on the Empire — Casimir 
DdMigoe, Royalist — His early days — Two pieces of poetry by 
M. de *■*'»'»""«'« — His literary vocation — Enay en Indiffertme 
im JùUgùus Malien — Reception given to this book by the 
Chnrcb — The academy of the château de la Cbesnaie . ■ 138 



CHAPTER V 

Til» fawi^ng of /,<tw»»»>^-L'Abbé Lacordairc— M. Charles de 
MoBUJembert — His article on the sacking of Saint-Gcrmain- 
VAxatxxné^—T Avenir and the new literature — My first interview 
«hh M. de LatBcnnaii — Lawsuit against l'Avenir — MM. de 
MonUlemfaert and Lacordairc as schoolmasters — Ttieir trial in 
the Ceur des fairs — The capture of Warsaw — Answer of four 
poet» to a word spoken by a statesman . . . .148 

CHAPTER VI 

r r Avenir — lis three principal olitors present iheiiiseUe* 
t — The Abbé de I^meniuiis as musician — The liuuble it 
tako to obtain an audience of the Pope — Tlie convent of Saoto- 
Andraa ddla Valle — Interview of M. de Lamennais with Gregory 
XVI.— The ftatuette of Moses — The doctrines of F Avenir are 
amdemned by the Council of Cardinals — Ruin of M. de Lamen> 
TiÊiar-'nut Panlts iT un Croyant. .160 

CHAPTER VH 

-Mapah — His first miracle — The wedding at Cana 
G»Bl>r<. phrenologist — Wlierc his first idois on phrenology 
OHne from — ^The unknown woman — The change wrouglit in 
Ounol'» life— How be becomes Mapoh . . .1^7 



viu MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

CHAPTER VIII 

PAGI 

The god and his sanctuaiy — He infonns the Pope of his overthrow — 
His manifestoes — His portrait — Doctrine of escape — Sjrmbols of 
that religion — Chaudesaigues takes me to the Mapah — Iswaim 
and Pracriti — Questions which are wanting in actuality — War 
between the votaries of bidja and the followers of sakti — My last 
interview with the Mapah . . . . .176 

CHAPTER IX 
Apocalypse of the being who was once called Caillaux . . 186 

BOOK III 

CHAPTER I 
The scapegoat of power — Legitimist hopes — ^The exinatoiy mass — 
The Abb< Olivier— The Curé of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois— 
Pachel — Where I begin to be wrong — General Jacqueminot — 
Pillage of Saint-Germain-l'Auzerrois — ^The sham Jesuit and the 
Préfet of Police— The Abbé Paravey's room . . .203 

CHAPTER II 

The Préfet of Police at the Palais-Royal— The function of fire- 
Valerius, the truss-maker — Demolition of the archbishop's palace 
— The Chinese album — François Arago — ^The spectators of the 
riot — ^The erasure of the fleurs-de-lis — I give in my resignation a 
second time — MM. ChamboUe and Casimir Périer . • 211 

CHAPTER III 

My dramatic faith wavers — Bocage and Dorval reconcile me with 
myself — A political trial wherein I deserved to figure — Down&ll 
of the Laffitte Ministry — Austria and the Due de Modena — 
Maréchal Maison is Ambassador at Vienna — The story of one of 
his dispatches — Casimir Périer Prime Minister — His reception at 
the Palais-Royal — They make him the amende honorable , 220 

CHAPTER IV 

Trial of the artillerj'men — Procureur-général Miller — Pescheux 
d'Herbinvillc — Godefroy Cavaignac — Acquittal of the accused — 
The ovation they received — Commissioner Gourdin — The cross 
of July — ^The red and black ribbon — Final rehearsals of Antony . 229 

CHAPTER V 

The first representation of Antony — The play, the actors, the public 

— Antony at the Palais-Royal— Alterations of the dinoAment . 238 





■ 


^^^^B CONTENTS 


^1 


^^^^ CHAPTER VI 


^1 




^^^1 


^^^hc inffinOioa tmder which I composed Antony — The Preface— 




^^B Whâfcin lies the moral of Ihe piece — Cuckoldom, Adultery and 


^^H 


^^" tile Civil Code — Quern nuptijt demimttrani — Why the Critics 


^^H 


\ ocUimed that my Drama was immoral — Account given by the 


^^1 


1 IcBM mAlevolent among them — How prejudices against bastardy 


^H 


1 *fe OTCTCOIUC ....... 


^H 


^B CHAPTER VII 


^1 


^^^^^^^Britidsm — Molière estimated by Bossuet, by Jean-Jacques 


^H 


^^^^^VBBn and by Bourdaloue — An anonymous libel — Critics of 


^^H 


1 (be seventeenth and nineteenth centuries — M. François de 


^^^1 


^^_ Salignac de la Motle de Fénelon — Origin of the word Tartuffe 


^^H 


^^1 — M. Tascherau and M. Etienne .... 


3S6 ^H 


^H CHAPTER VHI 


_^^ 


^^^^^^^hr of Socia.1 Crises— Interview with M. Thiers— His 


^^^^Ê 


^^^^OTSns with ree&rd to the Théâtre- Français — Our conventions 


^^^^^1 


^^H — Atlenjr comes back to the rue de Richelieu — Tht Censtitu- 


^^H 


^^* tifintul—lu leadei against Romanticism in general, and against 


^^H 


my dnuna in particular — Moialily of the ancient theatre — Parallel 


^^H 


between the Théâtre- Français and that of the Porte-Soint-Martiu 


^^H 


-First suspension of Antony ..... 


^H 


CHAPTER IX 


^1 


My dbcQMSon with M. Thiers— Why he had been compelled to 


^H 


wapend /fa/lim/— Letter of Madame Dorval to the Constitu- 


^^1 




V 


ée Lomlle — There are still judges in Berlin ! , 


27S ^M 


CHAPTER X 


^1 


RcfwhHnin Uinqaet at the I'rmiaHgrs de Bourgogne— Tht toasts— To 


^H 


X*BM./'*«A>^/— Gathering of those who wcic decoraltil in July 


>^H 


— Focmalion of the board— Protests — Fifty yards of ribbon— A 


^^H 


dHMOdcnt— Contradiction in the .rl/o/iry^Mr- Trial of ÉvoTiste 


^^H 


^^^^^•Bctti — His examination — His acquittal 


^H 


^^H CHAPTER XI 


^1 


1 The infnmpalfliility ol litenlnre with riotings — La MarithatetF Antre 


fl 


1 ~^y opinfc» ooooeming that piece— /orrw.-* If Maurf— The 


S 


\ » dfttt of Umy Moanier at the Vaudeville— I leave \wa— 


J 



MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



Rouen — Havre — I meditate going to explore Trouville — What 
is Trouville? — ^The consumptive English lady — Honfleor — By 
land or by sea . . . . . 299 

CHAPTER XII 
Appearance of Trouville — Mother Osende — How people are accommo- 
dated at Trouville when they are married — The price of painter* 
and of the community of martyrs — Mother Oseraie's acquaint- 
ances — How she had saved the life of Huet, the landscape 
painter — My room and my neighbour's — ^A twenty-franc dinner 
for fifty sous — A walk by the sea-shore — Heroic resolution . 308 

CHAPTER XIII 
A reading at Nodier** — The hearers and the readers — Début — Lei 
Mcarrom du feu — La Camargo and the Abbé Deùderio — 
Genealogy of a dramatic idea— Orestes and Hermione — Chiméne 
and Don Sancho — Goet» vtn BtrUchingai — Fragments — How I 
render to Csesar the things that are Csesar's . . . 317 

CHAPTER XIV 
Poetry is the Spirit of God — The Conservatoire and l'École of Rome 
— Letter of counsel to my Son — Employment of my time at 
Trouville — Madame de la Garenne — The Vendéan Bonnechose 
— M. Beudin — I am pursued by a fish — What came of it . 336 

CHAPTER XV 
Why M. Beudin came to Trouville — How I knew him under another 
name — Prologue of a drama — What remained to be done — 
Division into three parts — I finish Charles VII. — Departing from 
Trouville — In what manner I learn of the first performance of 
Marion Dehrme ....... 345 

CHAPTER XVI 
Marian Delormt ....... 356 

CHAPTER XVII 
Collaboration . . . .364 

BOOK IV 
CHAPTER I 

The feudal edifice and the industrial — ^The workmen of Lyons — M. 
Bouvier-Dumolard — General Rognet — Discussion and signing 
of the tarifi' regulating the price of the workmanship c^ fiibric* — 
The makers refuse to submit to it — Art^eieU prices for silk- 



CONTENTS 



XI 



«ofken — Insurrection of Lyons — Eighteen millions on the civil 
Int — Timon's otlcuUtions — An unlucky saying of M. de 
MoDtalSvet '376 

CHAPTER U 

of Miraitau — ^The accessories of Charles VII. — A shooting 
{aity — Montereau — A temptation I cannot resist— Critical posi- 
tian in which my shooting companions and I find ourselves — 
We introduoe ourselves into an empty house by breaking into it 
■t night — Inspection of the premises — Improvised supper — As 
one mokes one's bed, so one lies on it — I go to see the dawn rise 
— Fowl and dock shooting — Preparations for breakfast — Mother 
Galop 388 

CHAPTER III 

Mother Galop was — \N'hy M. Dupont- Delporte was absent — 
How I quarrelled with Viardot — Rabelais's quarter of an hour — 
PioTidea<x No. l — The punishment of Tantalus — A waiter who 
htd DQ( lead Socntes— Providence No. 2— A breakfast fur four 
— Retuni 10 Paris ...... 397 

CHAPTER IV 
I Matftit iUftr — Georges' suppers — The garden of (he Luxembourg 
by mooolight — M. Scribe and the Clen de la BajocAe — M, 
d'Epagny and Lé CUrc et It Thiologitn — Classical performances 
at Ibe lUlrtie- Fiançais— Z^i Guel/a, by M. Arnault— Paren- 
Ihcël Dadfcatoiy episUe to the prompter . 406 

CHAPTER V 

Atnault'i Prrtmax—Pitttrrêy by M. Fulchiron — M. Fulchiron as 
a polilidan — M. Fulchiron as magic poet — A word about M. 
Viennet — My opposite neighbour at the performance of Pertinax 
— Splendid failoTe of the play — Quarrel with my vis-à-vis — 
Tha arw^apers take it up— My reply in the Journal de Paris 
—Advice of M. Pillet 419 

CHAPTER VI 

ob«i«lid oeaie* to be a peer of France — He leaves the country 
— Biranger'» loiig thereupon — Chateaubriand as versifier — First 
ti^^Charla VI I, — DeUfosse's viior — Vaqoub and Frédérick- 
Leaaltra — Im R*i>H d' Espagne— i\. Henri dc Latouche — His 
works, tkkst aod character— Interlude of La fieine d'Etpagitt 
— Pwfcce of Uk play — Reports of the pit collected by the 

*î* 



xii MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

CHAPTER VII 

FAGB 

Victor Escousse and Auguste Lebias ..... 440 

CHAPTER VIII 
Fitst performance of Robtrt U DiabU — Véron, manager of the Opéra 
— His opinion concerning Meyerbeer's music — My opinion con- 
cerning Véron's intellect — My relations with him — His articles 
and Memoirs — Rossini's judgment of Robtrt U DiabU — ^Nourrit, 
the preacher — Meyerbeer — First performance of the Fuite de 
Law, by M. Mennechet — First performance of Richard 
Darlitigttn — Frederick - Lemaltre — DeUfosse — Mademoiselle 
Noblet . . . . . .446 

CHAPTER IX 
Horace Vemet ....... 456 

CHAPTER X 
Paul Delaroche ........ 463 

CHAPTER XI 
Eugène Delacroix ....... 473 

CHAPTER XII 
Three portraits in one frame ...... 483 

CHAPTER XIII 
Collaboration — ^A whim of Bocage — Anicet Bourgeois — Teresa — 
Drama at the Opéra-Comique — Laferrière and the eruption of 
Vesuvius — Mélingue — Fancy-dress ball at the Tuileries — ^The 
place de Grève and the barrière Saint-Jacques — ^The death 
penalty ........ 491 

CHAPTER XrV 
The peregrinations of Casimir Delavigne — Jeanne Vaubemier — 
Rongemont — His translation of Cambronne's mot — First repre- 
sentation of Teresa — Long and short pieces — Cordelier Delanone 
and his Mathieu Luc — Closing of the Taitbout Hall and arrest 
of the leaden of the Saint-Simonian cult . 500 

CHAPTER XV 
liily-Juâa's Louis XL ...... 506 

CHAPTER XVI 
Casimir Delavigne's Louis XL ..... 514 

Note (Béranger) ....... 523 

Note (de Latouche) . . . . . -531 



THE MEMOIRS OF 
ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

BOOK I 



CHAPTER I 

of the Parisùm Artillery — Metamorphosis of my uniform 
of a MoanUrd National Gaardsman — Bastide — Godefroy Cavaignac — 
Goinan) — Thomas — Names of the batteries ai>d of their principal 
acnnutts — I am summoned to seize tlie CAamier—Uow many of us 
to the rrndezvoui 



I AM obliged to retrace my steps, as the putting out to 
nunc of Antony at the Porte-Sainte-Martin has carried 
me funher than I intended. 

Bixjn had given me a definite answer with regard to my 
gaining the artillery, and I was incorporated in the fourth 
Lattciy under Captain Olivier. 
Jiut a word or two upon the constitution of this artillery. 
Tl>c order creating the Garde Nationale provided for a legion 
of attilleTy comprised of four batteries. 

G«n«tal La Fayette appointed Joubert provisional colonel of 
die legion, which consisted of four batteries. It was the same 
Joabert at whose house, in the Passage Dauphine, a quantity 
<ff powder had been distributed and many bullets ca£t in the 
July Daj9. La Fayette had also appointed four captains to 
men. When the men were enlisted, these captains were 
by picJccd officers. 



2 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Amoux was appointed head captain of the first battery. I 
have already mentioned that the Due d'Orléans was entered 
in this battery. Guinard was appointed first captain, and 
Godefroy Cavaignac second captain, of the second battery. 
Bastide was appointed senior captain, and Thomas junior 
captain, of the third battery. Finally, Olivier was first captain, 
and Saint-Évre second captain, of the fourth battery. 

The first and second battery formed a squadron ; the third 
and fourth a second squadron. 

The first squadron was commanded by Thierry, who has 
since become a municipal councillor, and is now Medical 
Superintendent of Prisons, I believe. The second squadron 
was commanded by a man named Barré, whom I lost sight oi 
after 1830, and I have forgotten what has become of him. 
Finally, the whole were commanded by Comte Pemetti, 
whom the king had appointed our colonel 

I had, therefore, reached the crown of my wishes : I was an 
artilleryman ! 

There only remained for me to exchange my uniform as a 
mounted national guardsman for an artillery uniforai, and to 
make myself known to my commanding officers. My ex- 
change of uniform was not a long job. My jacket and trousos 
were of the same style and colour as those of the aitilleiy, 
so I only had to have a stripe of red cloth sewed on the 
trousers instead of the silver one; then, to exchange my 
epaulettes and my silver cross-belt at a military outfitter's for 
epaulettes and a red woollen foraging rope. The same with 
r^ard to my schako, where the silver braid and aigrette of 
cock's feathers had to be replaced by woollen braiding and a 
horse-hair busby. We did not need to trouble ourselves about 
carbines, for the Government lent us these ; " ient them " is the 
exact truth, for twice they took them away from us 1 I lighted 
upon a very honest military outfitter, who gave me woollen 
braid, kept all my silver trimmings, and only asked me for 
twenty francs in return; though, it is true, I paid for my 
sword separately. The day after I had received my complete 
costume, at eight o'clock in the morning, I made my appear^ 



BASTIDE 



anoB at the Louvre to take my part in the manœuvres, VVe 
bad there twenty-four pieces of eight, and twenty thousand 
rouoda for firing. 

The Gorernor of the Louvre was' named Carrel, but he had 
nothing in common with Armand Carrel, and I do not think 
he was any relation to him. 

The artillery was generally Republican in tone ; the second 
aod third battery, in particular, affected these views. The 
first and fourth were more reactionary ; there would be quite 
fifty men among them who, in the moment of danger, would 
mute with the others. 

Aa my opiniotis coincided with those of Bastide, Guinard, 
Cavaignac and Thomas, it is with them that I shall principally 
deal; aa for Captains Arnoux and Olivier, I knew them but 
little then and have never had occasion to see them again. 
May I, therefore, be allowed to say a few words of these men, 
wboae names, since 1S30, are to be found in every conspiracy 
that arose? Their names have become historic ; it is, therefore, 
àtting that the men who bore them, or who, perhaps, bear them 
tfiH, abfwld be made known in their true light. 

Let na begin with Bastide, as he played the most consider- 
able pait, having been Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1848. 
Bartidr was already at this time a man of thirty, with an 
Tfpf i»in«i of countenance that was both gentle and yet firm ; 
hia fux was long and p>ale, and his black hair was close cut ; 
he had a thick black moustache, and blue eyes, with an 
espreaaioQ of deep and habitual melancholy. He was tall 
and thiOi extremely deft-handed, although he looked rather 
awkwwd on account of ilie unusual length of his neck ; in 
tBininti*>t?i he was an adept in the use of sword and pistol, 
apeciaUy the latter, and in what is called in duelling terms, 
4i msim puU/uurciue} 

So BUCfa fur his physical characteristics. Morally, Bastide 
•ta • thorough I'arisian, a thorough native of the rue Mont- 
ttaitrc, wedded to his gutter, and, like Madame dc Staël, he 

' TaANStAToa's NoTC — Applied to a daellist who ilwtys kilb or wound* 

kit r i j i i ii bib T 



MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

preferred it to the lake of Geneva ; unable to do without Paris 
no matter how dirty it was, physically, morally, or politically ; 
preferring imprisonment in Paris to exile in the most beautiful 
country in the universe. He had been exiled for several years, 
and spent two or three years in London. I have heard him ^ 
say since, that, rather than return there even for two or three H 
months, he would let himself get shot. He has a delightful 
country house in the neighbourhood of Paris, to which he 
never goes. Beneath an extremely unsophisticated manner. 
Bastide concealed real knowledge ; but you had to discover it 
for yourself ; and, when he took the trouble to be amusing, his 
conversation was full of witty sallies ; but, as he always spoke 
very low, only his near neighbour benefited by it. It must be 
admitted that this quite satisfied him, for I never saw a less 
ambitious man than he in this respect. He was a bundle of 
contradictions ; he seemed to be nearly always idle, but was, 
in reality, nearly always busy, often over trifles, as Horace in 
the Roman forum, and, like Horace, he was completely 
absorbed in his trifling for the time being ; more often still he 
was occupied over difficult and serious problems in mathematics 
or mechanics. He was brave without being conscious of the 
fact, so simple and natural a quality did bravery seem to his 
temperament and character. I shall have occasion later to 
record the miraculous feats of courage he performed, and the 
deliciously cool sayings he uttered while actually under fire, 
between the years 1830 to 1852. During deliberations Bastide 
usually kept silent ; if his opinion were asked and he gave it, it 
was always to advise that the question in hand be put into 
execution as promptly and as openly, and even as brutally, as 
possible. For example, let us refer to the interview between 
the Republicans and the king on 30 July 1830; Bastide was M 
among them, awaiting the arrival of the king, just as were the B 
rest This interval of waiting was put to good use by the 
representatives of Republican opinion. Little accustomed to 
the presence of crowned heads or of those on the eve of 
coronation, they discussed among themselves as to what they 
ought to do when the lieutenant-general should appear. 



GODEFROY CAVAIGNAC 



an gave his opinion, and Bastide was asked for his. 
riBust we do?" he said. "Why, open the window and 



■«^ck him 



the 1 



» 



k 



street." 
' this advice had been as honestly that of the others .as it 
«as his own, he would have put it into execution. He had a 
taâk, and even a graceful, pen. In the National it was he who 
had to write impossible articles ; he succeeded, as Méry did, 
in the matter of bouts-rimes with an almost miraculous clever- 
vtm. When Minister of Foreign Affairs, he took upon himself 
the bosiness of everybody else, and he a minister, not only did 
his own work, but that, also, of his secretaries. We must look 
lo diplomatic Europe to pronounce upon the value of his 
woric 

GodefrtTy Cavaignac, as he had recalled to the memory of 
the Dae d'Orléans, was the son of the member of the con- 
«cntioa, Jean Baptiste Cavaignac ; and, we will add, brother to 
tai^XDt Cavaignac, then an officer in the Engineers at Metz, 
lad, later, a general in Algeria, finally dictator in France from 
Jone to December 1848 ; a noble and disinterested character, 
who will remain in history as a glittering contrast to those that 
were to succeed him. Godefroy Cavaignac was then a man of 
Ihîity^re, with fair hair, and a long red moustache ; altliough 
his bearing was military, he stooped somewhat ; smoked un- 
eeaainglx, flinging out sarcastic clever sayings between the 
doods of smoke ; was very clear in discussion, always saying 
what be thought, and expressing himself in the best words ; he 
seeaxd to be better educated than Bastide, although, in 
leality, he was less so; he took to writing from fancy, and 
dien irrote a species of short poems, or novelettes, or slight 
dramas (I do not know what to call them) of great originality, 
and very uncommon strength. I will mention two of these 
tfmsaila : one that is known to everybody — Une Guerre de 
Ccta^uts, and another, which everybody overlooks, which I 
lead onoc, and could never come across again : it was called 
EiJhct veux I One of his chansons was sung everywhere in 
185», entitled A la ehie-enlit I which was the funniest thing 
in the world Like Bastide he was extremely btikve, Wv 



< 



6 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

perhaps less determined; there always seemed to me to be 
great depths of indifiference and of Epicurean philosophy in 
his character. After being very intimate, we were ten yean 
without seeing one another ; then, suddenly, one day, without 
knowing it, we found ourselves seated side by side at the same 
table, and the whole dinner-time was spent in one long happy 
gossip over mutual recollections. We separated with hearty 
handshakes and promises not to let it be such a long time 
before seeing one another again. A month or two after, when 
I was talking of him, some one said, " But Godefroy Cavaignac 
is dead ! " I knew nothing of his illness, death or buriaL 

Our passage through this world is, indeed, a strange matter, 
if it be not merely a preliminary to another life ! 

Guinard was notable for his warm-hearted, loyal character- 
istics; he would weep like a child when he heard of a fine 
deed or great misery. A man of marvellous despatch, you 
could have said of him, as Kléber did of Scheswardin. " Go 
there and get killed and so save the army 1 " I am not even 
sure he would have considered it necessary to answer : " Yes, 
general " ; he would have said nothing, but he would have gone 
and got killed. His life, moreover, was one long sacrifice to 
his convictions ; he gave up to them all he held most dear — 
liberty, his fortune and health. 

From the single sentence we have quoted of Thomas, when 
he was accosted by M. Thiers on 30 July, my readers can 
judge of his mind and character. Bastide and he were in 
partnership, and possessed a woodyard. He was stout-hearted 
and upright, and had a clever head for business. Unaided, 
alone, and simply by his wonderful and honest industry, he 
kept the National afloat when it was on the verge of ship- 
wreck after the death of Carrel, from the year 1836 until 1848, 
when the long struggle bore successful fruit for everybody 
except himself. 

But now let us pass on from the artillerymen to the com- 
position of their batteries. 

Each battery was dubbed by a name derived from a special 
characteristic. 



THE BATTERIES 



Thns the first was called The Aristocrat. Its ranks con- 
UUned, M we already know, M. le Duc d'Orléans, then MM. 
de Traqr, Jal, Panivey (who was afterwards a councillor of state), 
Etienne Arago, Schcelcher, Loeve-Weymars, Alexandre Basset 
ifld DuTcrL 

The second was called The Republican. We are acquainted 
■itli its two captains, Guinard and Cavaignac ; the principal 
ifdllerfmen were — Guiaud, Gcr>'ais, Blaize, Darcet fils and 
Ferdirtand Flocon. 

The third was called La Puritaine, and it was thus named 
after its captain, Bastide. Bastide, who was on the staff of the 
Nadùnal^ was the champion of the religious questions, which 
Ihii newipaper had a tendency to attack after the manner of 
the Comtitutionnel. Thence originated the report of his 
absolute submission to the practices of religion. The Puritaine 
oooated amongst its gunners — Carrai, Barthélemy-Saint-Hilaire, 
Gf^goire, Séchan. 

The fourth was called La Meurtrière, on accoimt of the 
faugQ number of doctors it contained. We have mentioned its 
captains ; these are the names of the chief " murderers " — 
Bbôo, medical student ; Doctors Trélat, Laussedat, Jules 
Guyot, Mootegre, Jourdan, Houet and Raspail, who was half a 
doctor. The others were Prosper Mérimée, Lacave-Laplagne, 
who has since become Minister of Finance ; Ravoisié, Baltard, 
the architect ; Desvaux, student, afterwards a lieutenant in the 
July revolution, and, later still, one of the bravest and most 
btifliant officers in tlie whole army ; lastly, Bocage and myself. 
Of course, there were many others in these batteries, for the 
utilleTy, I believe, numbered eight hundred men, but we are 
here atùj mentioning those whose names survived. 

discipline was very strict : three times a week there was 

1 va to ten in the morning, in the quadrangle of the 

aiHl twice a month shooting practice at N'iticennes. 

had given a specimen of my strength in lifting — with 

five, three, or one other, when the other servants were 

to be either killed, or hors de combat, — pieces of eight 

I fitom three to four hundred kilogrammes, yihen, one 



8 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

day, I received an invitation to be at tbe Palais-Bourbon at 
four o'clock in the afternoon, fully armed. The business in 
hand was the taking of the Chamber. We had taken a sort dl 
oath, after the manner of Freemasons and Carbonari, by which 
we had engaged to obey the commands of our chiefs without 
questioning. This one appeared rather high-handed, I must 
admit ; but my oath was t^en 1 So, at half-past three, I put 
on my artillery dress, placed six cartridges in my pouch and 
one in my carbine, and made my way towards the pont de la 
Concorde. I noticed with as much surprise as pride, that I 
was the first arrival. I only strutted about the more proudly, 
searching along the quays and bridges and streets for the arrival 
of my seven hundred and ninety-nine comrades who, four 
o'clodc having struck, seemed to me to be late in coming, 
when I saw a blue and red uniform coming towards me. It 
was worn by Bixio. Two of us then here alone to capture four 
hundred and forty-nine deputies ! It was hardly enough ; but 
patriotism attempts ambitious things ! 

Half - past four, five, half - past five and six o'clock 
struck. 

The deputies came out and filed past us, little suspecting 
that these two fierce-eyed artillerymen who watched them pass, 
as they leant against the parapet of the bridge, had come to 
capture them. Behind the deputies appeared Cavaignac in 
civilian dress. We went up to him. 

" It will not take place to-day," he said to us ; " it is put ofi 
until next week." 

" Good 1 " I replied ; " next week, then 1 " 

He shook hands and disappeared. I turned to Bixio. 

" I hope this postponement till next week will not prevent 
us from dining as usual ?" I said. 

" Quite the reverse. I am as hungry as a wolf ! Nothing 
makes one so empty as conspiring." 

So we went off and dined with that careless appetite which 
f the prerogative of conspirators of twenty-eight years of 
*ge. 

I have always suspected my new chiefs of wishing to, what 



A TEST OF FIDEUTY 



they call in r^imental parlance, test me; in which case 
CaTUgnac can only have come just to make sure of my 
Cutfafalness in answering to his summons. 

Was or was not Bixio in his confidence? I never could 
make out. 



CHAPTER II 

Odilon Barrot, Préfet of the Seine — His soirées — His proclamation upon 
the subject of riots — Dupont (de l'Eure) and Louis- Philippe — Re- 
signation of the ministry of Mole and Gnizot — The afiair of the forest 
of Breteuil— The LaBStte ministry— The prudent way in which re- 
gistration was carried out 

NOW, the session of the Chamber had been an animated 
one that day, and if we had burst into the parUament 
hall we should have found the deputies in heated discussion 
over a proclamation issued by Odilon Banot. 

It was a singular position for a man, outwardly so upright 
and unbending as was Odilon Barrot, which was created by, 
on the one hand, his duties as Préfet of the Seine about the 
person of the king and, on the other, the good terms of 
friendship existing between him and most of us. He held 
soirées at his house, to which we flocked in large numbers; 
at which his wife, then still quite young, who seemed a more 
ardent Republican than her husband, did the honours with 
the correctness of a Cornelia that was not without a charm 
of its own. We of course discussed nothing but politics at 
these gatherings; and especially did we urge Odilon Barrot, 
in his official capacity as Préfet of the Seine, to hunt for the 
famous programme of the Hotel de Ville, which had disappeared 
on 3 August, and had become more invisible even than the 
famous provisional government which was represented by a 
round table, empty bottles and a clerk who never stopped 
writing except when the pen was snatched out of his hands. 
That programme had never been discovered from that day*to 
thisl Our suggestion worried him much, for our insistence 
placed him in the following dilemma : — 



ODILON BARROT 



II 



"My dear Odilon" (we would say), "all the strength of the 
Dent is vested in La Fayette and Dupont (de l'Eure) 
•nd jfooraelf; if you, for instance, were to withdraw, we are 
persoaded that La Fayette and Dupont, the two blind men 
«bom you, good dog, lead by the string, will also retire. . . . 
So we are going to compel you to retire." 

"But how?" 

**Oh, it is simple enough ! We are going to raise a disturb- 
ance to cany off the king from the Palais-Royal. . . . Either 
joa fire upon us, in which case you make yourself unpopular ; 
or you abstain from firing on us, in which case we carry off 
the king, take him to Ham and proclaim the Republic" 

Odilon was well aware that this dilemma was only a joke ; 
bat he abo knew that there was a feverish spirit in us which 
any onlooied-for spark might kindle into a blaze and lead to 
the maddest enterprises being attempted 

One day we drove him into a corner, and he promised that, 
on tbe 6nt opportunity, he would make his views known both 
to die court and to us. This opportunity was the procession 
wbkli, as 1 have mentioned, marched through Paris, and pro- 
ceeded to the Palais-Royal, and to the chateau de Vincennes, 
*nnHttf^ " Death to the ministers ! " It will be recollected 
tkat tbe king and Odilon Barrot had appeared upon the terrace, 
and thai the men who led the procession had thereupon 
rixmted, " Vive Odilon Barrot ! " forgetting to shout " Vive le 
roi I " NVherrat Louis - Philippe, as we know, had replied : 
"These are Uie sons of the men whom, in 1792, I heard 
sboating : ' Vive Pélion ! ' " 

Tbe allusion had annoyed Odilon Barrot considerably, and 
he decided 10 issue a proclamation of his own. He promised 
Jp ghre us ibis explicit proclamation. 

It is a mania with every man who wants to be looked upon 

( a statesman to produce a proclamation, in fact he does not 
himself entitled to the name of statesman until he 
it*. Hâ proclamation is issued and received by the people, who 
mm! it and tee in it the sanction of some power or other, 
«bid) Ihey either obey or disobey according to their individual 



12 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

views of politics. Unfortunately, this proclamation, upon 
which Odilon was counting greatly, demonstrated the fact that 
the Préfet of the Seine took a middle course, which offended 
at the same time both the Court party and the Republicans. 
We will reproduce it here in its entirety. Be it understood 
that our readers are free to read only the sentences in italics, 
or to pass it over altogether uivead — 

" Citizens, your magistrates are deeply distressed at the dis- 
orders which have recently been disturbing the public peace, 
at a time when commerce and industry, which are in much 
need of protection, are beginning to rise above a long crisis 
of depression. 

"It is not vengeana that this people of Paris, who are the 
bravest and most generous in the world, are demanding, but 
justice I Justice, in fact, is a right, a necessity, to strong men ; 
vengeance is but the delight of the weak and cowardly. 7^ 
proposition of the Chamber is an inopportunk step calculated 
to make the people imagine that there is a concerted design to 
interfere with the ordinary course of justice with respect to the 
ex-ministers. Delays have arisen, which are merely the carrying 
out of those forms which surround justice with greater solem- 
nity of character ; and these delays but sanction and strengthen 
the opinion of which our ungovernable enemies, ever lying in 
wait to disunite us, persistently take advantage. Hence has 
arisen that popular agitation, which men of rectitude and good 
citizens regard as an actual mistake. I swear to you in all 
good faith, fellow-citizens, that the course of justice has neither 
been suspended, nor interrupted, nor will it be. The prepara- 
tion of the accusation brought against the ex-ministers still 
continues : they have come under the law and the law alone 
shall decide their fate. 

"No good citizen could wish or demand anything else; 
and yet cries of " death " are uttered in the streets and public 
places; but what are such instigations, such placards, but 
violent measures against justice ? We merely desire to do as 
we would ourselves be done by, namely, be judged dispassion- 
ately and impartially. Well, Âere are certain misguided or 
malevolent persons who threaten the judges before the trial 
has begun. People of Paris, you will not stand by such 
noient conduct; the accused should be sacred in your eyes; 
they are placed under the protection of the law ; to insult them, 



BARROT'S PROCLAMATION 



13 



hinder their "defence, to anticipate the decrees of justice, 
b to violate the laws of every civilised society; it is to be 
wanting in the first principles of liberty ; it is worse than a 
chme ; it is cowardly ! There is not a single citizen among 
this great and glorious people who cannot but feel that it is 
\ûa honoured duty to prevent an outrage that will be a blot 
upon our Revolution. Let justice be done ! But violence is 
not justice. And this is the cry of all well-meaning people, 
«nd will be the principle guiding the conduct of our magistrates. 
Under these grave circumstances they will count upon the 
coQCurrcnce and the assistance of all true patriots to uphold 
the measures that are taken to bring about public order." 

This proclamation is, perhaps, a little too lengthy and 
diffuse and tedious; but we should remember that Odilon 
Banot was a barrister before he became Préfet of the Seine. 
However, in the midst of this ocean of words, a flood of 
langoage by which the préfet had, perhaps, hoped that the 
king would be mystified. His Majesty noted this sentence — 
" JTtt profMol of the Chamber was an inopportune stfp leading 
/ng^ to svppost it tt/as a concerted thing. . . ." And the 
Rcpobticans caught hold of this one — Our ungovernable 
tmttmes, ever on the watch to disunite us," etc. 

The step that the Préfet of the Seine blamed was the 
Idn^s own secret wish, interpreted by the address of the 
Chamber; so that, by finding fault with the address of the 
Chamber, the Préfet of the Seine allowed himself to blame the 
teem wish of the king. 

From that moment, the fall of the Préfet of the Seine was 
dcckkd upon. How could Louis-Philippe, with his plans for 
ttipiing and governing at the same time, keep a man in his 
flsvioe who dared to find fault with his own secret wishes ? 
It was useless for M. Odilon Barrot to try to deceive himself ; 
botD that hour dates the king's dislike to him: it was that 
IROdamation of 1830, which postponed his three hours' 
■in btiy to 1S48. I'hen, on the other hand, he broke with 
Ibe Republican party because he spoke of them as his 
wngevermoNt tttcmies. 

The same night, or U» day after the appearance of this 



14 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

proclamation, Godeiroy Cavaignac cast Odilon Barrot's horo- 
scope in these pregnant words — 

" My dear friend, you are played out ! " 

This is what really passed at the Palais-RoyaL The king 
was furious with the audacity of the pettifogging little lawyer. 
The little lawyer, however, was to take his revenge for this 
epithet two years later, by annulling the sentence on the young 
artist Geoffroy, who had been illegally condemned to death by 
the court-martial that had been instituted on accoimt of the 
state of siege at the time. It was a splendid and noble method 
of being revenged, which won back for Odilon ten years 
popularity ! So his fall was decided at the Palais-Royal. But it 
was not a matter that was very painful to the ministry vriiich 
was in power in November 1830 ; this was composed only of 
M.' Mole, a deserter from the Napoleonic camp; of M. de 
Broglie, a deserter from the Royalist camp ; of M. Guizot, the 
man of the Moniteur de Gand ; M. Casimir Périer, the banker 
whose bank closed at four o'clock, and who, up to the last, had 
struggled against the Revolution ; M. Sébastiani, who, on the 
30th, had announced that the white flag was his standard ; and 
finally. General Gérard, the last minister of Charles x., who, to 
keep in power, had only had to get the Ordinance, which the 
flight of the Elder Branch left blank, signed by the Younger 
Branch. It will be understood that none of these men had 
the least personal attachment to Odilon Barrot. So, when 
the king proposed the dismissal of the Préfet of the Seine, they 
all unanimously exclaimed, " Just as you wish, seigneur ! " Only 
one voice cried, " Veto I " that of Dupont (de l'Eure). Now, 
Dupont had this one grand fault in the eyes of politicians (and 
the king was the foremost politician of his day), he persisted 
in sticking both to his own opinions and to his friends. 

" If Odilon Barrot goes, I also depart 1 " said the honest 
old man flatly. 

This was a more serious matter, for if the withdrawal of 
Odilon Barrot involved that of Dupont (de l'Eure), the with- 
drawal of Dupont would also mean that of La Fayette with 
him. Now, La Fayette's resignation might very well, in the 



RESIGNATION OF BARROT 



IS 



r- 



cod, inrolve that of the king himself. It would, moreover, 
avait ill-feeling between the king and Laffitte, who was another 
staunch friend of Odilon Barrot. True, the king was not dis- 
inclined for a rupture with Laffitte : there are certain services 
so great that they can only be repaid by ingratitude ; but the 
king only wished to quarrel with Laffitte in his own time and 
at his own convenience, when such a course would be expedient 
and not prejudicial. The grave question was referred to a 
conitensus of opinion for solution. 

M. Sébastiani won the honours of the sitting by his 
iqgglBStion of himself making a personal application to M. 
OdOon Barrot to obtain his voluntary resignation. Of course, 
Dupont (de l'Eure) was not present at this secret confabulation. 
T' 'cd to hold another council that night. Tlie king 

t. . untrary to his custom. As he entered the cabinet, 

be did not perceive Dupont (de l'Eure) talking in a comer of 
room with M. Bignon. 

** Victory, messieurs ! " he exclaimed, in an exulting voice ; 
the resignation of the Préfet of the Seine is settled, and 
General La Fayette, realising the necessity for the resignation, 
himself consented to it." 

•' What did you say, sire ? " said Dupont (de l'Eure) hastily, 
coming out of the darkness into the circle of light which 
rerealed his presence to the king. 

" Oh t you are there, are you. Monsieur Dupont," said the 
king, rather embarrassed. "Well, I was saying that General 
La Fayette has ceased to oppose the resignation of M. 
Banot." 

"Sire," replied Dupont, "the statement your Majesty has 
dooe me the honour to make is quite impossible of 
bcBdl» 

" I had it from the general's own lips, monsieur," replied the 
kiqg. 

"Your majesty must permit me to believe he is labouring 
nader a mistake," insisted Dupont, with a bow; "for the 
geocnl told mc the very reverse, and I cannot believe him 
ca{iKble of cootradiaing himself in this matter." 



i6 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

A flash of anger crossed the king's face ; jet he restrained 
himself. 

"However," continued Dupont, "I will speak for myself 
alone ... If M. Odilon Barrot retires, I renew my request to 
the king to be good enough to accept my resignation." 

" But, monsieur," said the king hastily, " you promised me 
this very morning, that whatever happened, you would remain 
until after the trial of the ministers." 

"Yes, true, sire, but only on condition that M. Banot 
remained too." 

"Without any conditions, monsieur." 

It was now Dupont's turn to flush red. 

"I must this time, sire," he said, "with the strength of 
conviction, positively assert that the king is in error." 

" What ! monsieur," exclaimed the king, " you give me the 
lie to my face? Ohl this is really too much! And every- 
body shall hear how you have been lacking in respect to me." 

" Take care, sire," replied the chancellor coldly ; " when the 
king says yes and Dupont (de l'Eure) says no, I am not sure 
which of the two France will believe." 

Then, bowing to the king, he proceeded to the door of exit 

But on the threshold the unbending old man met the Due 
d'Orléans, who was young and smiling and friendly ; he took 
him by both hands and would not let him go further. 

" Father," said the duke to the king, " there has surely been 
some misunderstanding . . . M. Dupont is so strictly honour- 
able that he could not possibly take any other course." 

The king was well aware of the mistake he had just made, 
and held out his hand to his minister ; the Due d'Orléans pushed 
him into the king's open arms, and the king and his minister 
embraced. Probably nothing was forgotten on either side, but 
the compact was scaled. 

Odilon Barrot was to remain Préfet of the Seine, and, con- 
sequently, Dupont (de l'Eure) was to remain chancellor, and 
La Fayette, consequently, would remain generalissimo of the 
National Guard throughout the kingdom. 

But we shall see how these three faithful friends were politely 



THE KING AND HIS CABINET 17 

sined when the king had no further need of them. It 
however, readily be understood that all this was but a 
tesponry patching up, without any real stability underneath. 
M. Dapont (de l'Eure) consented to remain with MM. de 
Broglie, Gui20t, Mole and Casimir Périer, but these gentlemen 
had no intention whatever of remaining in office with him. 
Cooiequently, they sent in their resignation, which involved 
tboie of MM. Dupin and Bignon, ministers who held no 
offices of sute. 

Tbe king was placed in a most embarrassing quandary, and 
had recourse to M. Laffitte. M. Laffitte urged the harm that 
it would do his banking house, and the daily work he would 
be obliged to give to public affairs, if he accepted a position in 
Ihe Government, and he confided to the king the worry which 
ihe consequences of the July Revolution had already caused 
huD in his business aflfairs. The king offered him every kind 
of inducement But, with extreme delicacy of feeling, M. 
Laffine would not hear of accepting anything from the king, 
■Bien the latter felt inclined to buy the forest of Breteuil at a 
«•loation. The only condition M. Laffitte made to this sale 
was thai it should be by private deed and not publicly regis- 
tered, as registration would naturally reveal the fact of the sale 
and the seller's difficulties. They exchanged mutual promises, 
and the forest of Breteuil was valued at, and sold for, eight 
millions, I believe, and the private deeds of sale and purchase 
«ere executed and signed u(>on this basis. 

M. Laffittc's credit thus made secure, he consented to accept 
bod» tbe office of Minister for Finance and the Presidency of 
the Cabinet Council. 

71>e Moniteur published, on 2 November, the list of newly 
dccted ministers. They were — MM. Laffitte, for Finance and 
Picridcnt of the Council; Dupont (de l'Eure), Minister of 
Justice; G4^rd, for War ; Sébastiani, at the Admiralty; Maison, 
faf Foreign Affairs ; Monlalivet, at tlie Home Office ; Mérilhou, 
br Edocation. 

Tbe king, therefore, had attained his end ; tht doctrinains 
(u thejr were nicknamed, probably because they had no real 



1 8 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 






political principles) had done him great service by their resigna- 
tion, and given him the opportunity of forming a ministry 
entirely devoted to him. In the new coalition, Louis-Philippe 
ranked Laffitte as Ais friend, Sébastian! and Montalivet, as 
his devoted servants; Gérard and Maison, his subservient 
followers ; while Mérilhou fell an easy prey to his influence. 
There was only Dupont (de l'Eure) left, and he took his cue 
from La Fayette. 

Now, do not let us lose sight of the fact that this ministry 
might be called the Trial Ministry {minis/ire du proch\ and 
that La Fayette, who had been proscribed by M. de Polignac, 
wanted to take a noble revenge upon him by saving his life. 
His speech in the Chamber did not leave the slightest doubt of 
his intentions. 

On 4 October, the Chamber of Peers constituted itself a 
Court of Justice, ordered the removal of the ex-ministers to 
the prison of the petit Luxembourg and fixed 15 December 
for the opening of the trial. But between 4 October and 
15 December (that is to say, between the constitution of the 
Court of Peers and the opening of the trial) M. Laffitte received 
the following curt note from Louis-Philippe : — ■ 

"Mv DEAR Monsieur Laffitte, — After what has been 
told me by a mutual friend, of whom I need not say anything 
further, you know quite well why I have availed myself, at M. 
Jamet's • urgent instigation, to whom the secret of the purchase 
was entrusted by yourself and not by me, of taking the oppor- 
tunity of having the private deed of sale registered, as secretly 
as possible. — Yours affectionately, Louis-Philippe" 

M. laffitte was stunned by the blow; he did not place any ™ 
belief in the secrecy of the registration ; and he was right. The 
sale became known, and M. Laffitte's downfall dated from that 
moment. But the deed of sale bore a special date ! M. 
Laffitte took up his pen to send in his resignation, and thisfl 
involved that of Dupont (de l'Eure), La Fayette and Odilon 
Barrot. He reflected that Louis-Philippe would be disarmed 
■ M. Janiet was the king's private book-keeper. 



BLOW TO LAFFITTE 



Ï9 



in bee of a future political upheaval. But the revenge 
appeared too cruel a one to the famous banker, who now 
acted the part of king, while the real king played that of 
financier. Nevertheless, the wound rankled none the less 
deq>]y in his heart 



CHAPTER III 

Bëianger as Patriot and Republican 

WHEN Laifitte became minister, he wanted to bear with 
him up to the political heights he was himself 
compelled to ascend, a man who, as we have said, had perhaps 
contributed more to the accession of Louis-Philippe even than 
had the celebrated banker himself. That man was Béranger. 
But Bélanger, with his clear-sighted common sense, realised 
that, for him as well as for Laifitte, apparent promotion really 
meant ultimate downfall. He therefore let all his friends 
venture on that bridge of Mahomet, as narrow as a thread of 
flax, called power ; but shook his head and took farewell of 
them in the following verses : — 

" Non, mes amis, non, je ne veux rien être ; 
Semez ailleurs places, titres et croix. 
Non, pour les cours Dieu ne m'a point &it naître: 
Oiseau craintif, je fois la glu des rois I 
Que me faut-il? Maîtresse à fine taille. 
Que me faut-il? Maîtresse à fine taille. 
Petit repas et joyeux entretien I 
De mon berceau pris de bénir la paille, 
En me créant. Dieu m'a dit : ' Ne sois rien ! 

Un sort brillant serait chose importune 
Pour moi rimeur, qui vis de temps perdu. 
N'est-il tombé, des miettes de fortune. 
Tout bas, j'ai dit : ' Ce pain ne m'est pas dû. 
Quel artisan, pauvre, hélas ! quoi qu'il &sse, 
N'a plus que moi droit à ce peu de bien? 
Sans trop rougir, fouillons dans ma besace. 
En me créant, Dieu m'a dit : 'Ne sois rien ! ' 



BÉRANGER'S PHILOSOPHY 



21 



Sachez pourtant, pilotes du royaume, 
Combien j'admire un homme de vertu 
Qui, désertant son hôtel ou son chaume. 
Monte an vaisseau par tous les vents battu, 
Ue loin, ma vois hii crie : ' Heureux voyage I ' 
Priant de cueur pour tout grand citoyen ; 
Mais, au soleil, je m'endors sur la plage 
En me créant. Dieu xa'n dit : ' Ne sois rien ! ' 

Votre tombeau sera pompeux sans doute ; 

J'aurai, sous l'herbe, une fosse à l'écart. 

Un peuple en deuil vous fait cortège en route ; 

Ou pauvre, moi, j'attends le corbillard. 

En vain l'on court ou votre étoile tombe ; 

Qu'importe alors votre gtte ou le mien? 

La différence est toujours une tombe. 

En me créant. Dieu m'a dit : 'Ne sois rien ! ' 

De ce palais souflTret donc que je sorte, 

A vos grandeurs je devais un salut ; 

Amis, adieu ! j'ai, derrière la porte, 

Laissé tautôt mes sabots et mon luth. 

Sous CCS lambris, près de vous accourue, 

tjt Liberté s'offre à vous pour soutien . . . 

Je Tais chanter ses bienfaits dans la rue. 

En me créant. Dieu m'a dit : 'Ne sois rien I ' " 



So B^nnger retired, leaving his friends more deeply en- 
taof^nd in the web of power than was La Fontaine's raven in 
liis rfieep's wool. Even when he is sentimental, Béranger finds 
it <SfBcult not to insert a touch of mischief in his poetry, and, 
p erh i p fi> while he is singing in the street the blessings of liberty, 
be K Uughing in his sleeve; exemplifying that disheartening 
laniin of La Rochefoucauld, that there is always something 
eten in the very misfortunes of our best friends which gives us 
pleasure. Yet how many times did the philosophic singer 
■cdam in his heart the Government he had founded. We say 
im àù htari, for whetlier distrustful of the stability of human 
institutions, or whether he deemed it a good thing to set up 
kings t>ut a bad one to sing their praises in poetry, Béranger 
■PBwr, thank goodness ! consecrated by a single line ot çràw; 



22 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

in verse the sovereignty of July which he had lauded in his 
speech. 

Now let us take stock of the length of time his admira- 
tion of, and sympathy with, the royal cause lasted. It was not 
for long ! In six months all was over ; and the poet had taken 
the measure of the king: the king was only fit to be put 
away with Villon's old moons. If my reader disputes this 
assertion let him listen to Béranger's own words. The man 
who, on 31 July, had flung a plank across tht stream, as the 
petits Savoyards do, is the first to try to push it off into the 
water ; it is through no fault of his if it do not fall in and drag 
the king with it. 

"Oui, chanson, muse, ma fille, 

J'ai déclaré net 
Qu'avec Charle et sa famille. 

On le détrônait ; 
Mais chaque loi qu'on nous donne 

Te rappelle ici : 
Chanson, reprends ta couronne ! 

— Messieurs, grand merci ! 

Je croyais qu'on allait fidre 

Du grand et du neuf. 
Même étendre im peu la sphere 

De quatie-vingt-neuf ; 
Mais point : on rebadigeonne 

Un troue noirci I 
Chanson, reprends ta couronne ! 

— Messieurs, grand merci ! 

Depuis les jours de décembre,' 

Vois, pour se grandir, 
La chambre vanter la chambre, 

La chambre applaudir I 
A se prouver qu'elle est bonne, 

Elle a réussi . . . 
Chanson, reprends ta couronne 1 

— Messieurs, grand merci ! 



' We shall talk about these directly, but, desiring to dedicate a chapter 
or two now to Béranger, who, as poet and politician, took a great part in 
the Revolution of July, we are obliged to take a step in advance. 



A POEM BV BÉRANGER 23 



Bisse-caut des mintstires 

Qu'en France on honnit. 
Nos chapons héréditaixes, 

Sauveront leur nid ; 
Les petits que Dieu leur donne 

Y pondront aussi . , . 
Chanson, reprends ta couronne * 

— Messieurs, giand merci '. 

La pUn^te doctrinaire 

Qui sur Gand brillait 
Vest servir la luminaire 

Aux gens de juillet : 
Fi d'un froid soleil d'automne 

De brume obscurci ! 
Chanson, reprends la couronne ! 

—Messieurs, grand merci ! 

Ai^x minium, i/u'o» peut mtllre 

TtHs an mfme /leinl,^ 
Voudraient que la baromètre 

Ne variât point: 
Pour peu que Û-bas il tonne, 

On se signe ici . . . 
Qiatisoo, reprends ta couronne I 

— Mesiicurt, grand merd ! 

Ptoor être en i\M\ de grâce 

Que de grands peureux 
Ont soin de laisser en place 

Les liotumes véreux ! 
Si l'on ne touche k personne, 

C*cxt afin que si . , . 
Chanson, reprends ta couronne t 

— Messieurs, grand rt^erd t 

Te voilà donc restaurée, 
Chanton mes amours ! 

Trkolore et sans livrée. 
Montre-toi toujours ! 



t Wlvt woold have become of Béranger if he had followed the power of 
I wbo eoold be put all on the same level ? For notice that the 
he spealts of here are bis friends, who did not send in their 
till I J Mirch. 



24 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Ne ciains pins qu'on l'emprisonne, 

Du moins à Foissy . . . 
Chanson, reprends ta couronne ! 

— Messieurs, grand merci ! 

Mais, pourtant, laisse en jachère 

Mon sol &tigué ; 
Mes jeunes rivaux, ma chère. 

Ont un ciel si gai I 
Chez eux la rose foisonne. 

Chez moi le souci. 
Chanson, reprends ta couronne ! , 

— Messieurs, grand merci ! " 

These verses were nothing short of a declaration of war, but 
they escaped unnoticed, and those poets who talked of them 
seemed to talk of them as of something fallen firom the moon, 
or some aerolite that nobody had picked up. 

A song of Béranger? What was it but a song by him? 
The public had not read this particular one, though it was 
aware of the existence of a poet of that name who had written 
Le Dieu des bonnes gens, L'Ange Gardien, Le Cinq mai. Les 
Deux Cousins, Le Ventru, ail songs that more or less attacked 
Louis XVIII. and Charles x. ; but they did not recognise a 
poet of the name of Béranger who allowed himself to go so far 
as to attack Louis-Philippe. Why this ignorance of the new 
Béranger? Why this deafness as to his new song? We will 
explain. 

There comes a reactionary period after every political change, 
during which material interests prevail over national, and 
shameful appetites over noble passions ; during such a period, 
— as Louis-Philippe's reign, for example — that government is in 
favour which fosters these selfish interests and surfeits ignoble 
passions. The acts of such a government, no matter bow 
outrageously illegal and tyrannical and immoral, are looked 
upon as saving graces I They praise and approve them, and 
make as much noise at the footstool of power, as the priests 
jf Cybele, who clashed their cymbals round Jupiter's cradle, 
rhroughout such a period as this, the only thing the masses 



THE SPIRIT OF NATIONS 



25 



feat, who, living by such a reaction, have every interest in up- 
holding it, is, test daylight break on the scene of Pandemonium, 
«id light shine into the sink where speculators and money- 
BukcTS and coiners of crowns and paper money jostle, and 
oovd and hustle one another amid that jingling of money 
vhicfa denotes the work they are engaged in. Whether such a 
cute of things lasts long or only briefly, we repeat that, while 
it ettduTcs until an honest, pure and elevated national 
ipnit gels the upper hand, nothing can be done or said or 
hoped for; everything else is cried up and approved and 
extolled beforehand ! It is as though that fine popular spirit 
which inspires nations from time to time to attempt great deeds 
has vanished, lias gone up to the skies, or one knows not 
where. Weaker spirits despair of ever seeing it come back, 
and nobler minds alone, who share its essence, know that it 
ever lives, as they possess a spark of that divine soul, believed 
to be extinct, and they wait with smiling lips and calm brow. 
Then, gndually, they witness this political phenomenon. \Vith- 
out apparent cause, or deviation from the road it had taken, 
perhaps for the very reason that it is still pursuing it, 
such a t)pe of government, which cannot lose the reputation 
it has never had, loses the factitious popularity it once pos- 
•ened; its very supporters, who have made their fortunes 
out of it, whose cooperation it has rewarded, gradually fall 
away from it, and, without disowning it altogether, already 
begin to question its stability. From this very moment, such 
a govennaent is condemned ; and, just as they used to approve 
of its eril deeds, they criticise its good actions. Corruption 
i> the very marrow of its bones and runs through it from 
hfglnninç to end and dries up the deadly sap which had made 
it ifiread over a whole nation, branches like those of the upas 
tiwc; and shade like that of the manchineel. Into this atmos- 
pbm, whi>-! ' '.., ten, fifteen, twenty years, has been full 
of aa im(K; < ni that has been inhaled together with 

other elcmcnis of the air, there comes something antagonistic 
to it, sotnething not immediately recognised. This is the 
retumiflg spirit of social probity, entering the political con- 



26 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



science ; it is the soul of the nation, in a word, that was thoughl 
to have fainted, risen to the sky, gone, no one knew where, 
which comes back to reanimate the vast democratic masses, 
which it had abandoned to a lethargy that surrounding nations, 
jealous and inimical, had been all too eager to proclaim as 
the sleep of death ! At such a crisis the government, by the 
mere returning of the masses to honesty, seems like a ship that 
has lost its direction, which staggers and wavers and knows 
not where it is going ! It has withstood fifteen years of tem- 
pests and storms and now it founders in a stjuall. It had 
become stronger by 5 and 6 June, on 13 and 14 April and 
1 5 May, but falls before 24 February. 

Such a government or rather governments show signs of 
their decline when men of heart and understanding refuse to 
rally to their help, or when those who had done so by mistake 
quit it from disgust. It does not follow that these desertions 
bring about an immediate fall — it may not be for years after, 
but it is a certain sign that they will fall some day, alone, or 
by their own act, and the public conscience, at this stage of 
their decline, needs but to give it a slight push to complete 
the ruin I 

Now Béranger, with his fine instinct of right and wrong, 
of good and evil, knew all this ; not in the self-savmg spirit 
of the rat which leaves the ship where it has fattened, when 
it is about to sail. As we have seen, he would receive nothing 
at the hands of the Government or from the friends who 
formed its crew; but, like the swift, white sea-bird, which 
skims the crests of the rising waves, he warned the sailors of 
coming storms. From this very moment, Béranger decides 
that royalty in France is condemned, since this same royalty, 
which he has kneaded with his own hands, with the democratic 
element of a Jacobin prince in 1791, a commandant of the 
National Guard, a Republican in 1789 and a popular 
Government in 1830, is turning to a middle-class aristocracy, 
the last of the aristocracies, because it is the most selfish and 
the most narrow-minded, — and he dreams of a Republic ! 

But how was he to attack this popular king, this kmg of the 



MORAL REFLECTIONS 27 

bourgeois classes and of material interests, the king who had 
uved society ? (Every form of government in France as it arose 
has made that claim !) The king was invulnerable ; theRevolu- 
ti<m of '89, which was looked upon as his mother, but was only 
lus nurse, had dipped him in the furnace of the Three Days, 
as Thetis dipped her son Achilles in the river Styx ; but he, 
too^ had his weak spot like Homer's hero. 

Is it the bead? Is it the heel? Is it the heart? The 
poet, who will not lose his time in manufacturing gunpowder, 
irtiidi might easily be blown away, before it was used, will 
look for this weak spot, and, never fear, he will find it. 



CHAPTER IV 

Bélanger, as Republican 

THIS vulnerable spot was the Republican feeling, ever 
alert in France, whether it be disguised under the 
names of Liberalism, Progress or Democracy. Béranger dis- 
covered it, for, just when he was going to bid farewell to 
poetry, he once more took up his song ; like the warrior who, 
in despair, had flung down his arms, he resumed them ; but he 
has changed his aim and will slay with principles rather than 
bullets, he will no longer try to pierce the velvet of an ancient 
throne, but he will set up a new statue of marble upon a 
brazen altar ! That statue shall be the figure of the Republic. 
He who was of the advanced school under the Elder Branch, 
hangs back under the Younger. But what matters it I He 
will accomplish his task and, though it stand alone, it will be 
none the less powerful Listen to him: behold him at his 
moulding : like Benvenuto Cellini, he flings the lead of his old 
cartridges into the smelting-pot : he will throw in his bronze 
and even the two silver dinner-services which he brings out of 
an old walnut chest on grand occasions when he dines with 
Lisette, and which he has once or twice lent to Frétillon to 
put in pawn. While he works, he discovers that those whom 
he fought in 1830 were in the right, and that it was he himself 
who was wrong ; he had looked upon them as madmen, now he 
makes his frank apologies to them in this song — 

"Vieux soldats de plomb que nous sommes, 

Au cordeau nous alignant tous. 

Si des rang^ sortant quelques hommes. 

Tous, nous crions : ' A bas les fous 1 ' 
aS 



A LITTLE-KNOWN POEM 



29 



On les persécute, on lei lue, 
Sauf, iprcs un lent examen, 
A leur dresser une statue 
Pour la glnire du genre humain ! 

Combien de tempo une pensée. 
Vierge obscure, attend son époux 1 
Les sots la traitent d'insensée. 
Le «age lui dit : 'Cachet-vous I' 
Mais, la rencontrant loin du monde, 
Un fnu qui croit au lendemain 
L'épouse ; elle devient féconde. 
Pour le bonheur du genre humain ! 

J'ai vu Saint-Simon, le prophète, 
Riche d'abord, puis endetté, 
Qui, des fondements jusqu'au faite, 
Refaisait la société. 
Plein de son œuvre commencée. 
Vieux, pour elle il tendais la main, 
Sur qu'il embrassait la pensée 
Qui doit sauver le genre humain I 

Fourier nom dit ; ' Sors de la fange. 
Peuple en proie aux déceptions ! 
Tr»»aille, groupé par phalange. 
Dans un cercle d'attractions. 
La terre, après taut de désastres. 
Forme avec le ciel un hymen. 
Et la loi qui régit les astres 
Donne ta paix au genre humain ! ' 

EabaAin aflranehit la femme. 
L'appelle & partager nos droits. 
• Fi ! dites- vous, sou-; l'épigramme 
Cet fou» rêveurs tombent tuus trois 1 ' 
Messieurs, lorsqu'cn vain notre sphère 
Du bonheur cherche le chemin, 
llooixrur au fou qui ferait faire 
Un rèrc heureux au genre humain ! 

Qui découvrit un nouveau monde? 
Un (00 qu'on raillait en tout lieu ! 
Sur ta crciix, que son sang inonde. 
Un fou qui meurt nous lègue un Dieu t 



30 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Si, demain, oubliant d'éleore, 

Le jour manqiuùt, eh bien I denuin, 

Quelqae fou trouverait encore 

Un flambeau pour le genre humain ! " 



You have read this song. What wonderful sense and rhythm 
of thought and poetry these lines contain I You say you 
didn't know it? Really? and yet you knew all those which, 
under Charles x., attacked the throne or the altar. Lt Sacre 
de Charles le Simple, and L'Ange Gardien. How is it that 
you never knew this one ? Because Béranger, instead of being 
a tin soldier drawn up to defend public order, as stock-jobbers 
and the bourgeois and grocers understand things, was looked 
upon as one of those fanatics who leave the ranks in pursuit of 
niad ideas, which they take unto themselves in marriage and per- 
force therefrom bring forth offspring I Only, Béranger was no 
longer in sympathy with public thought ; the people do not pick 
up the arrows he shoots, in order to hurl them back at the throne ; 
his poems, which were published in 1835, and again in 1829, 
and then sold to the extent of thirty thousand copies, are, in 
1833, only sold to some fifteen hundred. But what matters it 
to him, the bird of the desert, who sings for the love of singing, 
because the good God, who loves to hear him, who prefers his 
poetry to that of missionaries, Jesuits and of those jet-black- 
dwarfs whom he nourishes, and who hates the smoke of their 
censers, has said to him, " Sing, poor little bird, sing !" So he 
goes on smging at every opportunity. 

When Escousse and Lebras died, he sang a melancholy 
song steeped in doubt and disillusionment ; he could not see 
his way in the chaos of society. He only felt that the earth 
was moving like an ocean ; that the outlook was stormy ; that 
the world was in darkness, and that the vessel called 
France was drifting further and fiirther towards destruction. 
Listen. Was there ever a more melancholy song than this ? 
It is like the wild seas that break upon coasts bristling with 
rocks and covered with heather, like the bays of Morlaix and 
the cliffs of Douarnenez. 



POEM TO TWO DEAD FRIENDS 



31 



"Qooi I mmts tous deux dans cette chambre close 
Oil du charbon p^sc encor la vapeur ! 
Leur vie, bêlas I était à peine éclose ; 
Suicide affreux I triste objet de stupeur ! 
IH aurout dit : * Le monde lait nau£rage ; 
Voyet pâlir pilote et matelots ! 
Vieux bâtiment usé par tous les flots, 
Q s'engloutit, sauvous-nous à la nage ! ' 
Et, vers le del se fraj-ant un chemin, 
ni sont partis en se donnant la main ! 

Pauvre* en^ts ! quelle douleur amère 
N'apaisent pas de saints devoirs remplis ? 
Dans la patrie on retrouve une mère, 
Ri ton drapeau vous couvre de ses plis ! 
Ils répondaient : ' Ce drapeau, qu'on escorte. 
Au loil du chef le protège endormi ; 
kliit U toldat, leint du sang ennemi, 
Voile, et de (aim meurt en gardant la porte ! ' 
Cl, ven le ciel se frayant un chemin, 
Ik sont partis en se donnant la main ! 

Oiea créateor, pardonne il leur di^mence ! 

Ib s'étaient fait les échos de leurs sous, 

Ke sachant pas qu'en une chaîne immense, 

Non pour nous seuls, mais pour tous nous ruùssons. 

L'humanité manque de saints apàtres 

Qui leur aient dit : ' Enfants, suivez ma loi I 

Aimer, aimer, c'est être utile k soi ! 

Se taire aimer, c'est être utile aux autres ! ' 

Kt, vers le ciel se fra>-ant un chemin, 

Ils sont partis en se donnant la main I " 

Al what a moment, — consider it ! — did Béranger prophesy 
that the world would suffer shipwreck to the terror of pilots 
and nOon? When, in February 183J, the Tuileries was 
Costing its courtiers ; when the newspapers, which supported 
Ihe Government, were glutted with praise ; when the citizen- 
tohficn of the rues Saint-Denis and Saint-Martin were 
toEkaubaxic in taking their turn on guard ; when officers 
«Be clamouring for crosses for themselves and invitations to 
Omtit for iheir wives ; when, out of the thirty-six millions of 
the French people, thirty millions were bellowing at the top of 



32 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

their voices, " Vive Louis-Philippe, the upholder of order and 
saviour of society ! " when \b& Journal da Débats was shouting 
its HoSANNAHS ! and the Constitutionnel its AMENS ! 

By the powers ! One would have been out of one's mind to 
die at such a time ; and only a poet would talk of the world 
going to wrack and ruin ! 

But wait I When Béranger perceived that no one listened 
to his words, that, like Horace, he sang to deaf ears, he still 
went on singing, and now still louder than before — 

" Société, vieux et sombre édifice. 
Ta chute, hélas ! Menace nos abris : 
Tu vas crouler 1 point de flambeau qui puisse 
Guider la foule à travers tes débris : 
Où courons-nous ! Quel sage en proie au doute 
N'a sur son front vingt fois passé la main ? 
C'est aux soleils d'être sfirs de leur route; 
Dieu leur a dit ; ' Voilà votre chemin ! ' " 

Then comes the moment when this chaos is unravelled, and 
the night is lifted, and the dawn of a new day rises ; the poet 
bursts into a song of joy as he sees it ! What did he see? 
Oh ! be not afraid, he will be only too ready to tell you — 

" Toujours prophète, en mon saint ministère, 
Sur l'avenir j'ose interroger Dieu. 
Pour châtier les princes de la terre. 
Dans l'ancien monde un déluge aura lieu. 
Déjà près d'eux, l'Océan, sur les grèves. 
Mugit, se gonfle, il vient .... 'Maîtres, voyez, 
Voyez ! ' leur dis-je. Ib répondent : ' Tu rêves ! ' 
Ces pauvres rois, ils seront tous noyés I 

Que vous ont fait, mon Dieu, ces bons monarques? 
Il en est tant dont on bénit les loisl 
De jougs trop lourds si nous portons les marques. 
C'est qu'en oubli le peuple a mis ses droits. 
Pourtant, les flots précipitent leur marche 
Contre ces chefs jadis si bien choyés. 
Faute d'esprit pour se construire une arche, 
Ces pauvres rois, ils seront tons noyés ! 



POETIC PROPHECY 33 

• Un oc^n I quel esl-il, Ô prophile?' 
PtufUi, e'csl nnu, affranfhii dt la Jaim^ 
/i/mês, /Jut imitruils, coHiommant ta dtfaiU 
Dt Itm/ A m's, inutiles, enfin .' . . . 
Diea fail passer >ur ces fils induciles 
Nos flou mouvants, si longtemps fourvoyés ; 
Puis le del brille, et les flots sont tranquilles. 
Ce* pauvres rojs, ils seront tous noyés ! " 

It triU be observed that it was not as in Its Deux Cousins, 
a staple change of fortune or of dynasty, but the overturning 
of every dynasty that the poet is predicting ; not as in 
L*s Dieu (Us bonnes gens, the changing of destinies and tides, 
but the revolution of both towards ultimate tranquillity. The 
ocean becomes a vast lake, without swell or storms, reflecting 
the azure heavens and of such transparent clearness that at 
ibe bottomi can be seen the corpses of dead monarchies and 
the débris of wrecked thrones. 

Then, what happens on the banks of this lake, in the 
caphal of the civilised world, in the city far excellence, as 
the Romans called Rome? The poet is going to tell you, 
lod you will not havt; long to wait to know if he speaks 
the truth: a hundred and sijtty-six years, dating from 1833, 
the date at which the song appeared. What is a hundred 
and swty-sjx years in the life of a people ? For, note carefully, 
(he propliecy is for the year 2000, and the date may yet be 
disputed I 

" Nostiadamas, qui vit naître Heori-Quatre, 
Grand astrologue, a prMit, dans ses vers. 
Qu'/n Fan dfHX mil, dale fuoH ftut débattre. 
De U mcdaille on venait le revers: 
Alors, dil'il, Paris, dons l'allégresse. 
Au piol du Louvre ouïra cette voix : 
* Heureux Fiançais, souUgei mA détresse : 
Faitei l'auaidne au dernier de vos rois ! ' 

Ol, cette voix sera celle d'un homme 
rauite, \ WTo'ule, en liaillons, sins souliers. 
Qui, m fntcrit, xieux, arrivant de Rome, 
Kara spectacle aux petits Potiers. 

V-— 3 



34 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Un sénateur crin: 'L'homme à besace. 
Les mendiants sont bannis par nos lois ! 
— Hélas 1 monsieur, je suis seul de ma race ; 
Faites l'aumône au dernier de vos rois ! ' 

'Es-tu vraiment de la race royale?' 

— Oui, répondra cet homme, fier encor ; 

J'ai vu dans Rome, alors ville papale, 

A mon aïeul couronne et sceptre d'or; 

Il les vendit pour nourrir le courage 

De faux agents, d'écrivains maladroits ! 

Moi, j'ai pour sceptre un bâton de voyage. . . . 

Faites l'aumône au dernier de vos rois ! 

' Mon père, âgé, mort en prison pour dettes. 

D'un bon métier n'osa point me pouvoir ; 

Je tends la main . . . Riches, partout vous êtes 

Bien durs au pauvre, et Dieu me l'a fait voir 1 

Je foule enfin cette plage féconde 

Qui repoussa mes aieux tant de fois I 

Ah t par pitié pour les grandeurs du monde, 

Faites l'aumône au dernier de vos rois ! ' 

Le sénateur dira : ' Viens ! je l'emmène 
Dans mon palais ; vis heureux parmi nous. 
Contre les rois nous n'avons plus de haine ; 
Ce qu'il en reste embrasse nos genoux I 
En attendant que le sénat décide 
A ses bienfaits si ton sort a des droits. 
Moi, qui suis né d'un vieux sang régicide, 
Je fais l'aumône au dernier de nos rois 1 ' 

Nostradamus ajoute en son vieux style : 
' La République au prince accordera 
Cent louis de rente, et, citoyen utile. 
Pour maire, un jour, Saint-Cloud le choisira. 
Sur l'an deux mil, on dira dans l'histoire. 
Qu'assise au trône et des arts et des lois, 
La France, en paix, reposant sous sa gloire, 
A fait l'aumône au dernier de ses rois ! ' " 

It is quite clear this time, and the word Republic is pro- 
nounced ; the Republie in the year aooo will give alms to the 
last of its kings! There is no ambiguity in the prophecy. 






PROPHECY 35 

long will this Republic, strong enough to give alms 
rof its kings, have been established ? It is a simple 
algebraic calculation which the most insignificant niatlie- 
matician can arrive at, by proceeding according to rule, from 
the known to the unknown. 

It is in the year 2000 that Paris will hear, at the foot of 
the Louvre, the voice of a man in tatters shouting, "Give 
alms to the lost of your kings ! " 

This voice will belong to a man born an outlaw, 
oU, arriving from Rome; which leads one to 
•appose he would be about sixty or seventy 
years of age. I>et us take a mean course and 
say sixty-five ©65 

Tlii» man, a bom outlaw, saw in Rome, then a papal 
dty, the croum and golden sceptre of his grand- 
fathtr. How long ago can that have been? 
Let us say fifty years @ 5° 

For how long had this grandfather been exiled ? It 
cannot have been long, because he had his 
sceptre and gold crown still, and sold them to 
fttd the courage of false agents and luckless writers. 
Let us reckon it at fifteen years and say no 
more about it @ 15 

Let us add to that the twenty years that have rolled 

bynnce 1833 @ ao 

And wc shall have to take away a total from 

166 of 150 

Now be who from 166 pays back 150 keeps 16 as remainder, 
— snd yet, and yet the poet said the year 2000 is open to doubt. 
Do not let us dispute the question, but let us even allow 
more time. 

We return thee thank», Stranger, thou poet and prophet 1 

What happened upon tlie appearance of these prophecies 

which were calculated to wound many very different interests ? 

Tbal the people who knew the old poems of Béranger by 

hewt, because their ambition, their hopes and desires, had 



36 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

made weapons of them wherewith to destroy the old throne, 
did not even read his new songs, whilst those who did read 
them said to each other, " Have you read Béranger's new songs? 
No. Well, don't read them. Poor fellow, he is going off I" 
So they did not read them, or, if they had read them, the 
word was passed round to say, that the song-writer was going 
off. No, on the contrary, the poet was growing greater, not 
deteriorating ! But just as from song-writer he had become 
poet, so, from poet, he was becoming a prophet I mean that, 
to the masses, he was becoming more and more unintelligible. 
Antiquity has preserved us the songs of Anacreon, but has 
forgotten the prophecies of Cassandra. 

And why ? Homer tells us : the Greeks refused to put faith 
in the prophetic utterances of the daughter of Priam and 
Hecuba. 

Alas ! Béranger followed her in this and held his peace ; 
and a whole world of masterpieces on the eve of bursting forth 
was arrested on his silent lips. He smiled with that arch 
smile of his, and said — 

" Ah ! I am declining, am I ? Well, then, ask for songs oi 
those who are rising ! " 

Rossini had said the same thing after Guillaume Tell, and 
what was the result? We had no more operas by him, and no 
more songs from Béranger. 

Now it may be asked how it happens that Béranger, a 
Republican, resides peacefully in the avenue de Chateaubriand 
(No. s), at Paris, whilst Victor Hugo is living in Marine 
Terrace, in the island of Jersey. It is simply a question of 
age and of temperament Hugo is a fighter, and scarcely 
fifty : while Béranger, take him all in all, is an Epicurean and, 
moreover, seventy years of age;' an age at which a man 
begins to prepare his bed for his eternal sleep, and Béranger 
(God grant he may live many years yet, would he but acœpt 
some years of our lives !) wishes to die peacefully upon the 
bed of flowers and bay leaves that he has made for himself. 
He has earned the right to do so — he has struggled hard 
* See Note A, at end of the volume. 



AU REVOIR 



37 



n the past, and, rest assured, bis work will continue 
future ! 

Let us just say, in conclusion, that those who were then 
tpoken of as the young school (ihey are now men of forty to 
fifty) were not fair to Béranger. After Benjamin Constant had 
exalted him to the rank of a great epic poet, they tried to 
reduce him to the level of a writer of doggerel verses. By this 
action, criticism innocently made itself the accomplice of the 
raiiqg powers ; it only intended to be severe, but was, really, 
both unjust and ungrateful ! It needs to be an exile and a poet 
ttvii^ in a strange land, far from that communion of thought 
whidi is tlie food of intellectual life, to know how essentially 
French, philosophical and consolatory, the muse of the poet 
of Passy really was. In the case of Béranger, there was no 
({oolion of exile, and each exile can, while he sings his songs, 
look for the realisation of that prophecy which Nostradamus 
hsi fixed for the year 3000. 

But we are a very long way from the artillery, which we 
•we discussing, and we must return to it again and to the 
riot in which it was called upon to play its part. 

Let us, then, return to the riot and to the artillery. But, 
Aax Béranger, dear poet, dear father, we do not bid you adieu, 
only (W revoir. After the storm, the halcyon ! — the halcyon, 
«Ute as snow, which has passed through all the storms, its 
svan-iike plumage as spotless as before. 



m 



Mi 



CHAPTER V 

Death of Benjamin Constant — Concerning his life — Funeral honours that 
were conferred upon him — His funeral — Law respecting national 
rewards — The trial of the ministers — Grouvelle and Us sister — 
M. Mérilhou and the neophyte — Colonel Lavocat — ^The Court of 
Peers — Panic — Fieschi 

THE month of December 1830 teemed with events. One 
of the gravest was the death of Benjamin Constant 
On the loth we received orders to be ready equipped and 
armed by the 12 th, to attend the funeral procession of the 
famous deputy. He had died at seven in the evening of 
8 December. His death created a great sensation throughout 
Paris. Benjamin Constant's popularity was a strange one, 
and it would be hard to say upon what it was founded. He 
was a Swiss Protestant, and had been brought up in England 
and Germany. He could speak English, German and French 
with equal ease ; but he composed and wrote in French. He 
was young, good-looking, strong in body, but weak in 
character. From the time he set foot in France, Constant did 
nothing unless under the influence of women : they were his 
rulers in literature and his guides in politics. He was taken 
up by three of the most celebrated women of his time; by 
Madame Tallien, Madame de Beauhamais and Madame de 
Staël, and he was completely under their influence ; the latter, 
especially, had an immense influence over his life. Adolphe was 
he himself, and the heroine in it was Madame de StaëL 
Besides, the life of Benjamin was not by any means the life of 
a man, but that of a woman, that is to say, a mixture of incon- 
sistencies and weaknesses. Raised to the Tribunal after the 
overturning of the Directory, he opposed Bonaparte when he 

3« 



BENJAMIN CONSTANT 



39 



ms Fiist Consul, not, as historians state, because he had no 
belief in the durability of Napoleon's good fortune, but 
because Madame de Stael, with whom he was then on most 
mtinuite terms, detested the First Consul. He was expelled 
from the Tribunal in i8oi,and exiled from France in t8oj, 
and went to live near his mistress (or rather master) at Coppet. 
About the year 1806 or 1807 this Ufe of slavery grew insuffer- 
able to him, and, weak though he was, he broke his chains. 
Read his novel Adolphe, and you will see how heavily the chain 
glBed him I He settled at Hanover, where he married a 
Gennan lady of high birth, a relative of the Prince of Harden- 
berg, and behold him an aristocrat, moving in the very highest 
aristocntic circles in Germany, never leaving the princes of 
the noidi, but living in the heart of the coalition which 
threatened France, directing foreign proclamations, writing 
his brochure, Dt Vtiprit de conqutte et d'usurpation, upon the 
table of the Emperor Alexander; and, finally, re-entering 
France with Auguste de Stacl, in the airriage of King Charles- 

Dhn. How can one escape being a Royalist in such 

ïmpany ! 
He was also admitted to the Journal des Débats, and 
ae one of the most active editors of that periodical. 
Botuparte landed at the gulf of Juan and marched on 
Paris, Benjamin Constant's first impulse was to take himself off. 
He began by hiding himself at the house of Mr. Crawford, ex- 
anbaMador to the United States ; then he went to Nantes 
with an American who undertook to get him out of France. 
Bat, 00 the journey, he learned of the insurrection in the West 
•ad lebaoed his steps and returned to Paris after a week's 
•baence. In five more days' time, he went to the Tuileries at 
the tnritation of M. Perr\:gaux, where the emperor was await- 
ing an audience with him in his private room. Benjamin 
Constant was to be bought by any power that took the trouble 
to flatter him ; he was in politics, literature and moraUty what 
we will call a courtezan, orUy Thomas, of the National, used a 
lea poUte word for it. Two days later, the newspaper 
^jmooaoed the appuinlment of Benjamin Constant as a 




40 MEMOIRS 



ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



member of the State Council. Here it was that he drew up 
the famous Acte additionnel in conjunction with M. Mole, a 
minister whom we had just thrown out of Louis-Philippe's 
Government. At the Second Restoration, it was expedient for 
Benjamin Constant to get himself exiled ; and it r^ained 
him his popularity, so great was the public hatred against the 
Bourbons ! He went to England and published Adolphe. In 
1816, the p>ortals of France were re-opened to him and he 
started the Minerve, and wrote in the Courrier and Con- 
stitutionnel and in the Temps. I met him at this time at the 
houses of Châtelain and M. de Seuven. He was a tall, well- 
built man, excessively nervous, pale and with long hair, which 
gave his face a strangely Puritanical expression ; he was as 
irritable as a woman and a gambler to the pitch of infatuation ! 
He had been a deputy since 1819, and each day he was one of 
the first arrivals at the Chamber, punctiliously clad in uniform, 
with its silver fleurs-de-lis, and always, summer and winter, 
carrying a cloak over his arm ; his other hand was always full 
of books and printer's proofs ; he limped and leant upon a sort 
of crutch, stumbling along frequently till he reached his seat. 
When seated, he began upon his correspiondence and the correct- 
ing of his proofs, employing every usher in the place to execute 
his innumerable commissions. Ambitious in all directions, 
without ever succeeding in anything, nor even getting into the 
Academy, where he failed in his first attempt against Cousin, 
and in the second against M. Viennet ! by turns irresolute 
and courageous, servile and independent, he spent his ten 
years as deputy under every kind of vacillation. The Monday 
of the Ordinances he was away in the countr)', where he had 
been undergoing a serious operation ; he received a letter from 
Vatout, short and significant — , 

" Mv DEAR Friend, — A terrible game is being played here" 
with heads as stakes. Be the clever gambler you always are 
and come and bring your own head to our assistance." ■ 

The summons was tempting and he went. On the 
Thursday, he reached Montrouge, where the barricades 



i 



DEATH OF CONSTANT 



4» 



compeUed him to leave his carriage and to cross Paris upon 
the ann of his wife, who was terrified when she saw what men 
vcfc guardtog the Hôtel de Ville, and frightened her husband 
IS veil as berself. 

" Let us start for Switzerland instantly ! " exclaimed 
Ben}an>in Constant ; " and find a comer of the earth where 
not e»en ibe cover of a newspaper can reach us ! " 

He was actually on the point of doing so when he was re- 
cognised, and some one called ont " Vive Benjamin Constant ! " 
Med him in bis arms and carried him in triumph. His name 
wa» placed last on the list of the protest of the deputies, and is 
to be (bund at the end of Act 30, conferring the Lieutenant- 
geoetalship upon the Due d'Orldans ; these two signatures, 
wy poi t cd by his immense reputation and increasing popularity, 
ODoe nore took him into the State Council. Meanwhile, he 
was ttruggtii^ against poverty, and Vatout induced the king to 
altow him two hundred thousand francs, which Constant 
■COHited on condition, so he said to him who gave him this 
payment, that he was allowed the right of free speech. Thai's 
exacdjr bow I understand it, said the king. At the end of four 
nranths, the two hundred thousand francs were all gambled away, 
and Constant was poorer than ever. A fortnight before his 
death, a friend went to his bouse, one morning at ten o'clock, 
and found him eating dry bread, soaked in a glass of water. 
Tlut cnut of bread was all he had had since the day before, 
and the glass of water he owed to the Auvergnat who had 
filled his cistern that morning. His death was announced to 
tbe Chamb)er of Deputies on 9 December. 

"What did he die of?" several members asked. 

And a melancholy accusing voice that none dared con- 
tnMliâ replied — 

"Of hunger!" 

This was not quite the tnith, but there was quite 
enoU(gh fouTKbtion for the statement to be allowed to pass 

ODBIttilflQflBO* 

Then they set to work to arrange all kinds of funeral 
oeUndoos ; they brought in a bill respecting the honours 




MEMOIRS 



ALEXANDRE 



that should be bestowed upon great citizens by a grateful 
country, and, as this Act could not be passed by the following 
day, they bought provisionally a vault in the Cemetery 
de l'Est. 

Oh ! what a fine thing is the gratitude of a nation ! True, 
it does not always secure one against death by starvation ; but, 
at all events, it guarantees your being buried in style when you 
are dead — unless you die either in prison or in exile. 

We had the privilege of contributing to the pomp of this 
cortege formed of a hundred thousand men ; shadowed by 
flags draped in crêpe; and marching to the roll of muffled 
drums, and the dull twangings of the tam-tams. At one time, 
the whole boulevard was flooded by a howling sea like the 
rising tide, and, soon, the storm burst. As the funeral pro- 
cession came out of the church, the students tried to get 
possession of the coffin, shouting, " To the Panthéon ! " But 
Odilon Barrot came forward; the Panthéon was not in the 
programme, and he opposed their enthusiasm and, as a struggle 
began, he appealed to the law. 

" The law must be enforced ! " he cried. And he called to 
his aid that strength which people in power generally apply 
less to the maintenance of law than to the execution of their 
own desires ; which, unfortunately, is not always the same thing. 

Eighteen months later, these very same words, "The law 
must be enforced ! " were pronounced over another coffin, but, 
in that instance, the law was not enforced until after two days 
of frightful butchery. 

At the edge of Benjamin Constant's grave, La Fayette nearly 
fainted from grief and fatigue, and was obliged to be held up 
and pulled backward or he would have lain beside the dead 
before his time. 

We shall relate how the same thing nearly happened to him 
at the grave of Lamarque, but, that time, he did not get up 
again. 

Every one returned home at seven that evening, imbued 
with some of the stormy electricity with which the air during 
the whole of that day had been charged. 



I 



I 



I 



I 



ACT OF NATIONAL RECOMPENSE 43 

Next day, the Chamber enacted a law, which, in its turn, 
fed to serious disturbances. It was the law relative to national 
pgfwionn 

Oa 7 October, M. Guizot had ascended the tribune 
and said — 



wtod 

i 



Gentlemen, — The king was as anxious as you were to 

nnctiuQ by a legislative act the great debt of national gratitude, 

whkh our country owes to the victims of the Revolution. 

" I have the honour to put before you a bill to that effect. 

three great days cost more than five hundred orphans the 

of lathers, five hundred widows their husbands, and over 

hundred old people have lost the affection and support of 

cfaQdren. Three hundred and eleven citizens have been mutilated 

and made incapable of carr)'ing on their livelihood, and three 

ihemtandfive hundred and sixty-four wounded people have had to 

endure temporary disablement." 

^_ A Commission had been appointed to draw up this bill and, 
^^k 13 December, the bill called the Act of National 
^Heoompense was carried. It fixed the amounts to be granted 
■B» the widows, fathers, mothers and sisters of the victims ; and 
' decreed that France should adopt the orphans made during 

the Three Days 6gbting ; among other dispositions it contained 

ihe following — 

Uticuc 8. — Resolved that those who particularly dis- 

shcd themselves during the July Pays shall be made non- 

issioned officers and sub-lieutenants in the army, if they 

jught deserving of this honour after the report of the 

tission, provided that in each regiment the number of 

jtcnanls does not exceed the number of two and that 

j-commissioned oflficers, four. 

"Article 10. — A special decoration shall be granted to 

"ewjy .'uished himself during the July Days ; 

llie 11 permitted to wear it shall be drawn 

tq» by the Commission, and iuhnitted to the King's approval; 

m» decoration will rank in the same d^ree as the Légion 

<fbaanctir." 

This law appeared in tlie Moniteur on the 17 th. 



44 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Just as the bill had been introduced the day after M. de 
Traqr's proposition with respect to the death penalty, this bill 
was adopted the day before the trial of the ex-ministers. It 
was as good as saying — "You dead, what more can you 
lay claim to ? We have given your widows, fathers, mothers 
and sisters pensions! You, who live, what more can you 
want? We have made you non-commissioned oflScers and 
sub-lieutenants and given you the Cross! You would not 
have enjoyed such privileges if the ministers of Charles x. had 
not passed the Oidinances ; therefore praise them instead of 
vilifying them ! " 

But the public was in no mood to pnuse Polignac and his 
accomplices ; instead, it applauded the Belgian revolution and 
the Polish insurrection. AH eyes were fixed upon the Luxem- 
bourg. If the ministers were acquitted or condemned to any 
other sentence than that of death, the Revolution of July would 
be abjured before all Europe, and by the king who won his 
crown by means of the barricades. 

Mauguin, one of the examining judges, when questioned 
concerning the punishment that ought to be served to the 
prisoners, replied unhesitatingly — " Death ! " 

Such events as the violation of our territory by the Spanish 
army ; the death of Benjamin Constant and refusal to allow his 
body to be taken to the Panthéon ; the Belgian revolution and 
Polish insurrection ; were so many side winds to swell the storm 
which was gathering above the Luxembourg. 

On 15 December, two days after the vote upon the National 
Pensions Bill, and two days before its promulgation in the 
Moniteur, the prosecutions began. The trial lasted from the 
15th to the 2ist; for six days we never changed our uniform. 
We did not know what we were kept in waiting [for j we were 
rallied together several times, either at Cavaignac's or Grouvelle's, 
to come to some decision, but nothing definite was proposed, 
beyond that our common centre should be the Louvre, where 
our arms and ammunition were stored, and that we should be 
guided by circumstances and act as the impulse of the moment 
directed. 



THE GROUVELLE FAMILY 45 

1 1 have already had occasion to mention Grouvelle; but let 
dvell for a moment upon him and his sister. Both were 
wtr*«TW*^ people, with hearts as devoted to the cause of 
Repnblicinisin as any Spartan or Roman citizens. We shall 
nect then everywhere and in everything connected with 
politics until Grouvelle disappears from the arena, at the same 
Ûme that his sister dies insane in the hospice de Montpellier, 
Tbey woe the son and daughter of the Grouvelle who made 
the fiist complete edition of the Lettres de Madame de Sèvigni, 
and tbo same who, as secretary of the Convention, had read 
to Louis XVI. the sentence of death brought him by Garat. 
At the time I knew him, Grouvelle was thirty-two or three, and 
hit «ster iwent)'-6ve, years of age. There was nothing remark- 
ride in his external appearance ; he was very simply dressed, 
«ith a gentle face and scanty fair hair, and upon his scalp he 
«on a black band, no doubt to hide traces of trepanning. 
Sbl^ too, was fair and had most lovely hair, with blue eyes 
bdow white eyelashes, which gave an extremely sweet expres- 
1 10 her face, an expression, however, which assumed much 
if you followed the upper lines to where they met 
raoad her mouth and chin. A charming portrait of herself 
hoqg in her house, painted by Madame Mérimée, the wife of 
the utist who painted the beautiful picture, rinnocence et le 
Strptnt ; the mother of Prosper Mérimée, author of Le Vast 
Éimtftitt Colomba, Venus if Ile and of a score of novels which 
are aO of high merit The mother of Laure Grouvelle was a 
Ducet, aJater, I believe, of Darcet the chemist, who had 
tnrented the famous joke about gelatine; consequently, she 
waa cousin to the poor Darcet who died a horrible death, 
hong batnt by some new chemical that he was tr)'ing to substi- 
toleibr lamp-oil ; cousin also to the beautiful Madame Pradier, 
«lio was then simply Mademoiselle Darcet or at most called 
«•^!mw. They both had a small fortune, sufficient for their 
needi, for Laure Grouvelle had none of the usual feminine 
ODqnctry «boot her, but was something akin to Charlotte 
•otilay. 
It was a Dodocable £ict that all the men of 1830 and the 



46 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Carbonari of 183 1 and 1822 were either wealthy or of inde- 
pendent means, either from private fortunes or industry or 
talent Bastide and Thomas were wealthy; Cavaignac and 
Guinard lived on their incomes; Aiago and Grouvelle had 
posts; Loëve-Weymais possessed talent and Carrel, genius. 
I œuld name all and it would be seen that none of them 
acted from selfish ends, or needed to bring about revolutions 
to enrich himself; on the contrary, all lost by the revolutions 
they took part in, some losing their fortunes, others their 
liberty, some their lives. 

Mademoiselle Grouvelle had never married, but it was said 
that Etienne Arago had proposed to her when she was a young 
girl; that was a long while back, in 1821 or 1822. Etienne 
Arago was then, in 182 1, a student in chemistry at the École 
polytechnique, and was about twenty years of age ; he made 
the acquaintance of Grom'elle at Thénard's house. He was a 
fiery-hearted son of the South; his Mends were anxious to 
make him a propagandist, and through his instrumentality 
principally, to introduce the secret society of the Charbonnerie 
mto the École ; Grouvelle, Thénard, Mérilhou and Barthe 
being its chief supporters. 

These germs of Republicanism, sown by the young chemical 
student, and, even more, by the influence of Eugène Cavaignac, 
also a student at the École at that time, produced in after life 
such men as Vanneau, Charras, Lothon, Millotte, Caylus, 
Latradc, Servient and all that noble race of young men who, 
from 1830 to 1848, were to be found at the head of every 
political movement. 

A year later, La CkarbonHerie was recruited by Guinard, 
Bastide, Chevalon, Thomas, Gauja and many more, who were 
always first in the field when fighting began. 

The question of how to introduce the principles of La 
Charhonmtrit into Spain in the teeth of the tordoH sanitaire 
was being debated, in order to establish relations between the 
patriots of the army and those who were taking refuge in the 
peninsula. Etienne Arago was thought of, but as he was too 
poor to undertake the journey, they went to Mérilhou. Méril- 



MÉRILHOU 



47 



I as I have said, was one of the ringleaders of Charbonarism. 

then living in the rue des Moulins. Cavaignac and 

Gn3avel!e blxoduced Etienne, and Mérilhou gazed at the 

pbyte, who did not look more than eighteen. 

^*'You are very young, my friend," said the cautious lawyer 

itum. 

"liait may be, monsieur," Etienne responded, "but young 
tfaoogb I am, I have been a Charbonist for two years." 

*• Do you realise to what dangers you would expose yourself 
if yoa undertook this propagandist mission ? " 
"Certainly, 1 do ; I expose myself to death on the scaffold." 
Whereupon the future minister of Louis-Philippe and peer 
France, and presiding judge at the Barbes' trial, laid his 
upon Éiienne's shoulder, and said, in the theatrical 
barristers are wont to assume — 
\'' Mafic mm'mû, gentrose puer I " And gave him the necessary 



shall come across M. Mérilhou again at Barbes' trial, 
and the mac/e animo will not be thrown away upon us. 

For the moment, however, we must go back to the trial of 
the ministers. 

La Fayette had declared his views positively ; he had offered 
himself as guarantee to the High Court ; he had sworn to the 
king to save the heads of the ministers, if they were acquitted. 
Thereupon ensued a strange revival of popularity in favour of 
the old general ; fear made his greatest enemies sing his praises 
on an sides ; the king and Madame Adélaïde showered favours 
opoo hiro ; he was indispensable ; the monarchy could not sur- 
vive without his support. . . . If Atlas failed this new Olympus, 
it vookl be overthrown ! 

La Fayette saw through it all and laughed to himself and 
•bragged his shoulders significantly. None of these flatteries 
aad favours had induced him to act as he did, but simply the 
(Sctates of his own conscience. 

" General," I said to him on 1 5 December, " you know you 
are staking your popularity to save the lieads of these 
I?" 



48 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

" My boy," he replied, " no one knows better than I the price 
to be put upon popularity ; it is the richest and most inestim- 
able of treasure, and the only one I have ever coveted ; but, like 
all other treasures, in life, when the moment comes, one must 
strip oneself to the uttermost farthing in the interest of public 
welfare and national honour." 

General La Fayette certainly acted nobly, much too nobly, 
indeed, for the deserts of those for whom he made the sacrifice, 
for they only attributed it to weakness instead of to devotion 
to duty. 

The streets in the vicinity of the Luxembourg were dread- 
fully congested by the crowds waiting during the trial, so that 
the troops of the National Guard could scarcely circulate 
through them. Troops of the line and National Guards were, 
at the command of La Fayette, placed at his disposition with 
plenary power ; he had the police of the Palais-Royal, of the 
l.uxomlwurj; and of the Chamber of Peers. He had made 
(.'oloncl I^vocat second in command at the Luxembourg, with 
orders to watch o%-er the safety of the peers ; those same peers 
who had once condemned Lavocat to death. If he could but 
have evoked the shade of Key, he would have placed him as 
lientinel at the gates of the palace ! 

Colonel Feisth.intol was first in command. Lavocat was one 
of ihp oldest members of the Carbonari. Every kind of 
|iiilitienl |Vitity was represented in the crowd that besi^ed the 
HiiloH of the l.uxembouiç, excej< Orléanist; we all rubbed 
n)|.tin»t one anv^ther. Republicans, Cariists, Napoteonista, 
«wrtilinK evei\ts in the hope of being able to further eadi his 
own intnx'sts, opiniiMU and principles. We had tickets for 
M'wned MNtts. 1 w.)s pT«$ent on the last day but one, and 
hemtl the pleaduys i>f M. de Maitignac and also that of M. 
\\p reyioniuH, and I witnessed M. Sauiet's trhimi^ and saw 
M. t'«ti'm»euvl«U ill 

\n*\ At thAt setvnd the sound of the beating of drams 
|H>nettAt<\l »>tiht into the Chamber of Peers. Thqr were bcat- 
litll ll\\» tat»jvl »n A wild $ort of nxaaiT. 

I «««h<^^ tKMW the hall : the ssttii^ was almost suqxnded. 



FIESCHI 



49 



hait on account of the accident that had happened to M. 
Ci^mieux, half because of the terrible noise that made the 
aoCBsed men shiver on their benches and the judges in their 
seati. My uniform as artilleryman made way for me through the 
crowds, and I gained the courtyard ; it was packed. A coach 
bekw^ng to the king's printers had come into the principal 
cxrait snd the multitude had angrily rushed in after it. It was 
ibe sound of their angry growls combined with the drumming 
«hich had reached the halL A moment of inexpressible panic 
and confusion succeeded among the peers, and it was quite 
useless for Colonel I-avocat to shout from the door — 

" Have no fear ! I will be answerable for everything. The 
National Guard is and will remain in possession of all the 
cxitx." 

M. Pas(]uier could not hear him, and his little thin shrill 
foioe could be heard saying — 

^^B ** Messieurs les pairs, the sitting is dissolved. M. le Com- 

^^■kandant de la Garde Nationale warns me that it will be unwise 

^H» hold a night sitting." 

^V It was exactly the opposite of what Colonel Lavocat had 
•aid, but, as most of the peers were just as frightened as their 
tllustiious president, they rose and left the hall hurriedly, and 
the siuiog was deferred until the morrow. 

As I went out I pushed against a man who seemed to be 
one of the most furious of the rioters ; he was shouting in a 
fonign accent and his mouth was hideous and his eyes were 
wild. 

" [>eath to the ministers ! " he was yelling. 
"Oh! by Jove!" I said to the chief editor of TAe Mont- 
tnr, a little white-haired man called Sauvo, who, like myself, 
•a» aUo watching him. " 1 bet twenty-five louis that that 
nuw is a spy I " 

1 don't know whether I was right at the time ; but I do know 
that I found the very same man again five years later in the 
dock of the Court of Peers. He was the Corsican Fieschi. 



v.— 4 



CHAPTER VI 

The artiUeiynien at the Lonvre — Bonapurtist plot to take our cannon from 
us— Distribution of cartridges by Godefroy Cavaignac — The concourse 
of people outside the Luxembourg when the ministers were sentenced 
^Departure of the condemned for Vincennes — Defeat of the judges — 
La Fayette and the riot — Bastide and Commandant Barré on guard 
with Prosper Mérimée 

I RETURNED to the Louvre to learn news and to impart 
it. It is quite impossible to depict the excitement 
which reigned in this headquarters of the artillery. Our chief 
colonel, Joubert, had been taken away firom us, and, as the 
rhoitv of a colonel was not in our hands, he had been rq>laced 
by ConUe Pemetti. 

Cumtc Ternetti was devoted to the ootut, and the court, 
with just cause, mistrusted us, and looked for a chance to 
tliitlutnti us. 

lUil wr, on our side, every minute kq>t meeting men whom 
wr h«tl »ccn w|H>n the barricades, who sto{^>ed us to ask — 

" I H> )"\>« rtrt^nise us ? We were there with yoti. . . ." 

" W». I Jtw>jttùs«P you. \\*hat then ? " 

" WrH, il it <>*nvf to nurdiing against the Palais-Royal as we 
\M mik\\vi\ the ■l\iiKfrMS, would you desert us ? " 

AihI th<>n w<> cU$|wd hands and lodced at one another with 
•ltvit«^< ♦)?*« «ml iwted, the artiUerymen exclaiming— 

" t1w> )X\H^ ai« rising ! " Uliile the populace repeated to 
(HW «nx^lwr, "Tt>e wtilleiy is with u« I" 

,-VU tK««» rttttKkttrs woe floating in die air, and seemed to 

«HH* ^>^^* •w^'* •' *** >>i^>«* buikùigs. 

IIh!' ^^»U»■Rv»y*^ was only a hundred and fifty yards from the 
Iahiv«<^ in whki» we» twent]p*)ur pieces of artiUeiy, twaity 



UNREST 



51 



thousand rounds of ammunition, and out of eight hundred 
aitiUeryroen six hundred were Republicans. 

No scbemc of conspiracy had been arranged; but it was 
plniljr evident that, if the people rose, the artillery would 
Wp port them. M. de Montalivet, brother of the minister, 
«■med hb brother, about one o'clock that afternoon, that 
tliere was a plot arranged for carrying off our guns from us. 
Getwn) La Fayette immediately warned Godefroy Cavaignac 
of the information that had been given him. 

Now, we were quite willing to go with the people to manage 
oor own guns, and incur the risks of a second revolution, as 
•e had run the risks of the first ; but the guns were, in a 
meuure, our own property, and we felt responsible for their 
asfe keeping, so we did not incline to have them taken out of 
our hands. 

This rumour of a sudden attack upon the Louvre gained 
the readier credence as, for two or three days past, there had 
been nuch talk of a Bonapartist plot ; and, although we were 
all ready to fight for La Fayette and the Republic, we had no 
ialCDtkias of risking a hair of our heads for Napoleon 11. 
CoaKqoently, Godefroy Cavaignac, being warned, had brought 
in a hale of two or three hundred cartridges, which he flung 
oo one of the card-tables in the guardroom. Every man then 
pioeeeded to fill his pouch and pockets. When I reached the 
Loavxe, the divi<;ion had been made, but it did not matter, 
aà my poocfa had been full since the day I had been summoned 
to ieiie the Chamber. 

As would be expected, we had no end of spies among us, 
and I coakl mention two in particular who received the Cross 
of the L^on d'honneur for having filled that honourable 
oSoe in our ranks. 

An hour after this distribution of cartridges they were warned 
Ml the Palais-Royal. A quarter of an hour after they had been 
warned there, I receired a letter from Oudard, begging me, if I 
was at the Loone, to go instantly to his office. I showed the 
taller to our comrades aixl asked them what 1 was to do. 

** Go^ of come," answered Cavaignac. 



53 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

" But if they question me ? " 

"Tell the truth. If the Bonapartists want to seize our 
guns we will fire our last cartridges to defend them ; but, if the 
people rise against the Luxembourg, or men against any other 
palace, we will march with them." 

"That suits me down to the ground. I like pUun 
speaking." 

So I went to the Palais-Royal. The offices were crowded 
with people ; one could feel the excitement running through 
from the centre to the outlying extremities, and, judging from 
the state of agitation of the extremities, the centre must have 
been very much excited. Oudard questioned me; that was 
the only reason why he had sent for me. I repeated what 
Cavaignac had told me, word for word. As far as I can 
recollect, this happened on the evening of the 20th. On the 
a I St I resumed my post in the rue de Toumon. The crowd 
was denser than ever : the rue de Toumon, the rues de Seine, 
des Fossés-Mônsieur-le-Prince, Voltaire, the places de l'Odéon, 
Saint-Michel and l'École-de- Médecine, were filled to over- 
flowing with National Guards and troops of the line. The 
Nntlonnl Guard had been made to believe that there was a 
plot for |)lundcring the shops ; that the people of the July Re- 
volution, when pulled up by the appointment of the Due 
(t'Orltfana to the Lieutenant-generalship, had vowed to be 
rpvrnKod ; now, the bourgeois, ever ready to believe rumours 
of lltiN kind, had rushed up in masses and uttered terrible 
ihiKHlH HKAlnst pillagers, who had never pillaged either on the 
«71)1, tlip tHth, or the açth, but who would have pillaged on 
llio jolli, ir the creation of the Lieutenant-generalship had not 
fMliir«ii] ordnr Just in time. 

Il U litll fuir to mention that all those excellent fellows, who 
wuro WHldnii therv, with rifles at rest, would not have put them- 
«Klvtm mil to wall unlets they had really believed that the trial 
wttiilil «lilt \\\ N Neutrnce of capital punishment 

AIhuiI Iwu «iVItH'k it was announced that the counsels' 
ii|it>Mi>||ii|i wntv (Inliheil and the debates closed, and that 
Kflllfiiim WMii ^t)lii|i to bo prunouiKed. There was an intense 



SENTENCE ON THE MINISTERS 



S3 



siknoe, as though each person was afraid that any sound might 
prerent him from hearing the great voice, that, no doubt, like 
that of the angel of the day of judgment, should pronounce the 

^^■ipreme sentence of that High Court of Justice. 

^^B Suddenly, some men rushed out of the Luxembourg and 

^^^shed down the rue de Toumon crying — 

^H^ " To death ! They are sentenced to death ! " 

A stupendous uproar went up in response from every ray of 
that vast constellation of streets that centres in the Luxembourg. 
Everybody struggled to make a way out to his own quarter 
aod house to be the first to carry the bitter news. But they soon 
stayed their progress and the multitude seemed to be driven 
back again and to press towards the Luxembourg like a stream 
flowing backwards. Another rumour had got abroad ; that 
tbe minicters, instead of being condemned to death, had only 
been sentenced to imprisonment for life ; and that the report 
of tbe penalty of death had been purposely spread to give them 
a dunce to escape. 

The expression of people's faces changed and menacing 
■boats began to resound ; the National Guards struck the pave- 
ments wiUi the butt-end of their rifles. They had come to 
defend the peers but seemed quite ready when they heard the 
newi of the acquittal (and any punishment short of death was 
acquitta]) to attack the peers. 

Meanwhile, this is what was happening inside. It was 
known beforehand, in the Palais-Royal, that the sentence was to 
be one of imprisonment for life. M. de Montalivet, Minister of 
the Interior, had received orders from the king to have the ex- 
aûiùstere conducted safe and sound to Vincennes. The firing 
of a cannon when they had crossed the drawbridge of the 
chfttean was to tell the king of their safety. M. de Montalivet 
had chosen General Falvier and Colonel I^vocat to share this 
daqgeroos honour with him. When he saw the four ministers 
appearing, who had been removed from the hall in order that, 
aoooiding to custom, sentence should be pronounced in their 
abaeoce — 

"Hemcon," said General Falvier to Colonel Lavocal, 



54 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



" take heed ! we are going to make history' ; let us see to it 
that il redounds to the glory of France ! " 

A light carnage awaited the prisoners outside tlie wicket- 
gate of the petit Luxembourg. It was at this juncture that 
some men, set there by M. de Montalivet, rushed through the 
main gateway, shouting, as we have mentioned — 

" Death. . . . They are sentenced to death ! " 

The prisoners could hear the tremendous shout of triumph 
that went up at that false report. But the carriage, surrounded 
by two hundred horsemen, had already set off, and was driving 
towards the outlying boulevards with the speed and noise of a 
hurricane. 

MM. de Montalivet and Lavocat galloped at each side of 
the doors. 

The judges assembled in the Rubens gallery to deliberate. 
From there, they could see, as far as eye could reach, the 
bristling of cannons and bayonets and the seething agitation of 
the crowds. Night was fast approaching, but the inmates of 
every house had put lamps in their windows and a bright 
illumination succeeded the waning daybght, adding a still more 
lurid character to the scene. 

Suddenly, the peers heard an uproar ; they saw, one might 
almost say they felt, the terrible agitation going on outside : 
each wave of that sea, that had broken or was just ready to 
break, rose higher than the last ; and the tide that one thought 
was at the ebb, relumed with greater and more threatening 
force than ever, beating against the powerfully built walls of 
the Médicis palace : but the judges were fully aware that no 
walls or barriers or ramparts could stand against the strength 
of the ocean ; they each tried to find some pretext or other for 
slipping away : some did not even attempt any excuse for so 
doing. M. Pasquier, by comparison, was the bravest, and felt 
ashamed of their retreat 

" It is unseemly ! " he exclaimed ; " shut the doors ! " 

But La Layette was informed, at the same time, that the 
people were rushing upon the palace. 

" Messieurs," he said, turning to the three or four persons 




LA FAYETTE S 5 

nwaited his comm&nds, " will you corne with me to see 
what is going on ? " 

Tbas, whilst M. Pasquier was returning to the audience 
chunber, which was nearly deserted, to pronounce, by the 
dismal hght of a half-lighted chandelier, the sentence condemn- 
ing the accused to imprisonment for life and punishing the 
Prince de Polignac to civil death, the man of 1789 and of 
iSjO was making his appearance in the streets, as calm on 
that II December, as he announced to the people the 
qoasî-absolution of the ex-ministers, as he had been forty years 
before, when he announced, to the fathers of those who were 
listening to him then, the tlight of the king to Varennes. 

For a single instant it seemed as though the noble old man 
bad presumed too much on the magnanimity of the crowd and 
oa his popularity : for the waves of that ocean which, at first, 
made way respectfully before him, now gathered round him 
angrily. A threatening growl ran through the multitude,'which 
kr>ew its power and had but to make a move to grind everything 
to powder or smash everything like glass. 

E Cries of " Death to the ministers ! Put them to death I 
Pat tbem to death ! " were uttered on all sides. 
■ La Fayette tried to speak but loud imprecations drowned 
his vo\cc. 
I At last he succeeded in being heard, and, " Citizens, I do 
not recognise among you the heroes of J uly I " he said to the 
people. 

"No wonder I" replied a voice; "how could you, seeing 
I f oq were not on their side ! " 
^^K It was a critical moment ; there were only four or five of 
^^■s artillerymen all together. M. Sarrans, who accompanied 
^^phe general, signed to us to come up to him, and thanks to our 
■nifonn, which the people held in respect as a sign of the 
oppositioa party, we managed to make our way to the general, 
lÂo, recognising me, took me by the arm; other patriots 
Joined us, and La Fayette found himself surrounded by a party 
of friends, amongst whom he could breathe freely. 

But, 00 all sides, the National Guards were furious, and were 



rik^^^^ii^^Hii^d 




J 



56 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

deserting their posts, some loading their rifles, others flinging 
them down and all crybg out treason. 

At this moment, the sound of a cannon pierced the air like 
the explosion of a thunderbolt It was M. de Montalivefs 
signal announcing to the king that the ministers were in 
safety ; but we in our ignorance, thought it was a signal sent us 
by our comrades in the Louvre; we left the general and, 
drawing our poinards, we rushed across the Pont Neuf, crying : 
" To arms ! " At our shouts and the sight of our uniform and 
the naked swords, the people opened way for us at once and 
soon began running in all directions, yelling : " To arms ! " 
We reached the Louvre just as the porters were dosing the 
gates and, pushing back both keepers and gates, we entered 
by storm. Let them shut the gates behind us, once inside 
what would it matter ? There were about six hundred artillery- 
men inside the Louvre. I flew into the guardroom on the left 
of the entrance by the gateway in the place Saint-Germain 
I'Auxerrois. 

The news of the discharge of the ministers was already 
known and had produced its eflect Every one looked as 
though he were walking upon a volcano. I saw Adjutant 
Richy go up to Bastide and whisper something into his 
ear. 

" Impossible ! " exclaimed Bastide. 

" See for yourself, then," Richy added. 

Bastide went out hurriedly and, almost immediately after, 
we heard him shout : " Help, men of the Third Artillery I " 

But before he had time to cross the threshold of the guard- 
room he had climbed over the park chains and was making 
straight for a group of men, who, in spite of the sentry's orders, 
had got into the enclosure reserved for the guns. 

" Out of the park ! " shrieked Bastide ; " out of the park 
instantly or I will put my sword through the bodies of every 
one of you ! " 

"Captain Bastide," said one of the men to whom he 
had addressed his threat, " I am Commandant Barré . . ." 

" If you are the very devil himself it makes no difference ! 



DUMAS MEETS MÉRIMÉE 



57 



Oat orders arc that no one shall enter the park, so out you 



r. 



' Bxcuse me," said Barré, " but I should much like to 
) is in command here, you or I ? " 

" Whoever is the stronger commands here at present. 
I do not recognise you. . . . Help, artillerymen ! " 

Fifty of us surrounded Bastide with poinards in hand. 
Several had found time to take their loaded muskets from 
their lacks. Barré gAve in to us. 

*' What do you want ?" be asked. 

" To take any gun that comes handiest and make it ready 
(or firing ! " exclaimed Basiide. 

We flung ourselves on the first that came ; but, at the 
third revohition of the wheels, the washer broke and the 
wbedcame oS. 

** I want you to fetch me the linch-pins of the guns you have 
Just canied off." 

"Really . . ." 
Tboce hnch-pjns, or, I repeat, 1 will pass my sword through 
body!" 

Barrf emptied a sack in which some ten linchpins had been 
already put. We rushed at them and put our guns in order 
■gain. 

" Good," said Bastide. " Now, out of the park ! " 

Every one of them went out and Barré went straight off to 
ofler bi< command to Comte Pemetti, who declined to take it. 

Bastide left me to keep guard over the park with Mérimée : 
Ofders were to fire on anybody who came near it, and who, 

our teoond fui rive, did not come up at command. 

From that hour on sentry-duty (they had reduced the length 
of sentry hours to one, on account of the gravity of events) 
dated my acquaintance with Mérimée; we convened part 
of tbr ' :d strange to say, under those circumstances, of 

ait ar. .le and architecture. 

Ten years later, Mérimée, who, no doubt, recollecting what 
be had wished to tell me that night, namely, that I had the 
moat dramatic imagination he had ever come across, thought 



Ml 



58 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

fit to suggest to M. de Rémusat, then Minister of the Interior, 
that I should be asked to write a comedy for the Théâtre- 
Français. 

M. de Rémusat wrote to ask me for a play, enclosing 
an order for an advance of five thousand francs. A month 
afterwards, Un Manage sous Lotas XV. was composed, read 
and rejected by the Théâtre-Français. In due order, I will 
relate the story of Un Manage sous Louis XV. (the younger 
brother of Antony) at greater length ; it proved as difficult to 
launch as Antony. But, meanwhile, let us return to that 
night at the Louvre. 



CHAPTER VII 



! HC «anociwled in the Louvre courtjnrd — Our ammunition talcen by 
aurpriie — Proclamation of the Écoles — Letter of Louis- Philippe to 
La Fifctte — The Chamber vote of thinks to the Colleges— Protest 
of the École polytcchniijue — Discussion at the Chamber upon 
the General Comnmndership of the National Guard — Resignation 
of La Fayette — The king's reply — I am appointed second 
capCuo 

lURING my hour on sentry-go, a great number of 
artilleryroen had come in ; we were almost our full 
coaplenent Some, cloaked in mantles, had gained entrance 
by iKc g»te on the Carrousel side, although we had been told 
it had been closed by order of the Governor of the Louvre. 
We were afterwards assured that the Due d'Orléans was 
«nong the number of the cloaked artillerymen ; doubtless, 
with his usual courage, he wanted to judge for himself of 
the temper of the corps to which he was attached. Just as 
I reentered the guardroom, everything was in a frightful 
Kite of commotion ; it looked as though the battle was going 
to break out in the midst of the very artiller)- itself, and as 
tbottgh the first shots would be exchanged between brothers- 
iB^fOiL One artilleryman, whose name I have forgotten, 
Ismped ap on a table and began to read a proclamation 
that he had just drawn up : it was an appeal to arms. Scarcely 
had he read a line before Grille de Beuzclin, who belonged to 
dte fcactionary prty, snatched it from his hands and tore 
Lk up. The aitilleryman drew his dagger and the affair would 
Epob*bly have ended tragically, when one of our number 
into the guardroom, shouting — 



6o MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

"We are surrounded by the National Guard and troops of 
the line ! " 

There was a simultaneous cry of " To our guns 1 " 

To make a way through the cordon that surrounded us did 
not disconcert us at all, for we had more than once vied in skill 
and quickness with the artillerymen of Vincennes. Moreover, 
at the first gunshot in Paris, as we knew very well, the people 
would rally to our side. They had come to see what terms 
we could offer. The artillerymen who were not of our opinion 
had withdrawn to that portion of the Louvre nearest the 
Tuileries: there were about a hundred and fifty of them. 
Unfortunately, or, rather, fortunately, we learned all at once 
that the cellars where we kept our ammunition were empty. 
The Governor of the Louvre, foreseeing the events that I 
have just related, had had it all taken away during the day. 
We had therefore no means of attack or defence beyond our 
muskets and six or eight cartridges per man. But these means 
of defence would seem to have been formidable enough to 
make them do nothing more than surround us. We spent the 
night in expectation of being attacked at any moment Those 
of us who slept did so with their muskets between their legs. 
The day broke and found us still ready for action. The 
situation gradually turned from tragedy to comedy : the bakers, 
wine -sellers and pork - butchers instantly made their little 
speculation out of the position of things and assured us 
we should not have to surrender from famine. We might 
be compared to a menagerie of wild beasts shut up for the 
public safety. The resemblance was the more striking when 
the people b^an to gaze at us through the barred windows. 
Amongst those who came were friends who brought us the 
latest news. Drums were beating in every quarter — though 
that was not news to us, for we could hear Uiem perfectly well 
for ourselves — but the drummers did not grow tired. 

Up to noon, the situation of the king, politically, was serious; at 
that hour no decision had been arrived at either for or against him. 

General La Fayette had, however, published this proclama- 
tion — 



PROCLAMATIONS 



6t 



" Ordtr of the Day, 2 1 Dtcembtr 

t\c Commander-in-Chief is unable to find words to 
the feelings of his heart in order to show to his 
brtlhrtn in arms of the National Guard and of the line his 
admiration and his gratitude for the zeal, the steadiness and 
the devotion they displayed during the painful events of 
fCfltcrday. He was quite aware that his confidence in their 
palrioiisim would be justified on every occasion ; but he regrets 
exceedingly the toils and discomforts to which they are 
exposed ; he would gladly forestall them but he can only share 
tbem. We ail of us feel equally the need of protecting the 
aipital against its enemies and against anarchy, of assuring the 
safety of families and property, of preventing our revolution 
firoin bdng stained by crimes and our honour impugned. We 
ire all as one man jointly and severally answerable for the 
CUTjing out of these sacred duties ; and, amidst the sorrow 
^lidi yesterday's disorders and those promised for to-day 
cune him, the Commander-in-Chief finds great consolation 
and perfect security in the kindly feelings he bears towards his 
brave and dear comrades of liberty and public order. 

" La Fayettk " 



At one o'clock we learnt that students, with cards in their 
, and students from the École in uniform were going all 
the town together with the National Guards of the 
legion, urging all to moderation. At the same time, 
s, signed by four students (one from each College), were 
up on all the walls. Here is the literal rendering of 
one of them — 



** Those patriots who have devoted their lives and labours 
gbout crises of all kinds to the cause of our independence 
in our midst standing steadfast in the path of liberty ; 
on with others, want large concessions on behalf 

if is not necessary to use force to obtain them. 

îjct us cj'^ iwfuUy and then — a more Republican basis 

will be SOL. ,n all our institutions and we shall obtain it ; 

wc ihaU be all the more powerful if we act openly. But if 
ikeu comteisiont h* not granted, thtn alt patriots and students 
wJkf tide With dtmeeraiie trincipUs will call upon the people to 



6i MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

insist OH gaining their demands. Remember, though, that 
foreign nations look with admiration u[)on our Revolution 
because we have exercised generosity and moderation ; let 
theni not say that we are not yet fit to have liberty in our 
hands, and by no means let them profit by our domestic 
quarrels, of which they, perhaps, are the authors." 
(Then followed the four signatures.) 

The parade in the streets of Paris and these placards on 
every wall about the city had the effect of soothing the public 
mind. The absence, too, of the artillery, the reason for which 
they did not know, also contributed to re-establish tranquillity. 
The king received a deputation from the Colleges with great 
demonstration of affection, which sent the deputies home 
deliglUed, with full assurance that the liberties they longed for 
werv as good as granted. That night the National Guard and 
troops of the line, who had been surrounding us, fell into rank 
and look themselves off; and the gates of the Lx)uvre opened 
behind them. We left the ordinary guard by the cannon and 
All di■^p<-^^ecl to our various homes. Things were settled, at all 
events, for the time being. 

Noiit day, came an "order of the day" from La Fayette 
containing a letter from the king. We will put aside the 
" order of the day " and quote the letter only. We beg our 
rakdcrt to notice the words that are italicised : — 

"TunsoAY Morning, 
"22 DKcmber 

"It i« to you I address myself, my dear general, to transmit 

10 our brave and indefatigable National Guard the expression of 
my odniinition for the zeal and energy with which it has 
iiiiilii' ' ' ' > orxlei and prevented all trouble. But it 

11 I . .// I i»if>At /*) thiinJk, my dear general, you who 
hiivt !>,.{ i^u. ipUoJ touragty patriotism and respect 
h* /.•«', f . tial, as you have done many times 

ii'M^ and noble career. Express in my 
joicc at having seen the revival of that 
ndi<l inMiimiion, ilu- National Guard, which had been 
Ml <<n(iicly («ken away from us,.and which has risen up 
•iKain hilllUntly |towerful and patriotic, finer and more 



VOTES OF THANKS 



63 



than it has ever been, as soon as the glorious Days 
of July broke the trammels by which its enemies flattered them- 
iclva they had crushed it. It is this great institution to which 
we certainly owe the triumph amongst us of the sacred cause 
oi liberty, which both causes our national independence to be 
respected abroad, whilst preserving the action of laws from all 
•Itack at home, ©o not let us forget that there is no liberty 
without law, and tTlfct there can be no laws where any power of 
wiiatcrer kind succeeds in paralysing its action and exalting 
itself beyond the reach of laws. 't> 

"Thtie, my dear general, are the sentiments I beg you to 
e«t)teis to the National Guard on my behalf. I count on the 
r n of its efforts and on vours, so that nothing may 

d^.^.» ..«: public peace which Paris and France need greatly, 
lad which it is essential to preserve. Receive, at the same 
time, my dear general, the assurance of the sincere friendship 
you know I hold towards you, Louis-Philippe" 

As can be seen, on 12 December, the thermometer indicated 
gratitude. 

On the «jrd, upon the suggestion of M. Laffitte, the 
Chamber of Deputies passed a vote of thanks to the young 
ftndeotB, couched in these terms — 

"A vote of thanks is given to the students of the College 
far ibe loyally and noble conduct shown by them the day 
before in maintaining public order and tranquillity." 

Unluckily, there was a sentence in M. Laifitte's speech 
foqoeidiig the Chamber to pass this vote of thanks which 
oftnded the feelings of the École polytechnique. The phrase 
warn ttin further emphasised by the remarks he made — 

"The three Colleges" the minister said, "which sent de- 
pntirirwi lo the king displayed very noble sentiments and great 
ooonp and entire subjection to law and order, and have given 
pipof of their intentions to make every effort to ensure the 
meialeiMmce of order." 

"On what conditions?" then inquired the deputies, who 
in mind the sentences that we have underlined in the 
rhmation itsoed by the Colleges. 



64 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

"None ... no conditions were hade at all," M. 
Laffitte replied. " If there were a few individuals who had 
proposals to make or conditions to offer^ such never came to the 
knowledge of the Government" 

The next day a protest, signed by eighty-nine students of 
the Polytechnique, replied to the thanks of the Chamber and 
to M. Laffitte's denial in the following terms : — 

" A portion of the Chamber of Deputies has condescended 
to pass a vote of thanks to the École polytechnique with 
reference to certain facts that were very accurately reported. 

"We, students of the Polytechnique, aie undersigned, deny 
in part these facts and we decline to receive the thanks of the 
Chamber. 

" The students have been traduced, said the protest issued 
by the School of Law; we have been accused of wishing to 
place ourselves at the head of malcontent artizans, and of 
obtaining by brute force the consequences of principles for 
which we have sacrificed our very blood. 

"We have solemnly protested, we who paid cash for the 
liberty they are now haggling over ; we preached public order, 
without which liberty is impossible ; but we did not do so in 
order to procure the thanks and applause of the Chamber of 
Deputies. No, indeed ! we only fulfilled our duty. Doubtless, 
we ought to be proud and elated at the gratitude of France, but 
we look in vain for France in the Chamber of Deputies, and 
we repudiate the praises offered us, the condition of which is 
the assumed disavowal of a proclamation, the terms and mean- 
ing whereof we unhesitatingly declare that we adopt in the most 
formal manner." 

Of course, the Minister for War at once arrested these 
eighty-nine students, but their protest had been issued, and 
the conditions under which they had consented to support the 
Government were kept to themselves. It will, therefore, be 
seen that the harmony between His Majesty Louis-Philippe 
and the students of the three Colleges was not of long duration. 
It was not to last much longer either between His Majesty and 
poor General La Fayette, for whom he now had no further use. 
He had staked his popularity during the troubles in December 



DISMISSAL OF LA FAYETTE 6$ 

and had lost From that time, he was of no more use to the 
Ua^ and what was the good of being kind to a useless person ? 
Two days after that on which La Fayette received the letter 
from the king, thanking him for his past services and expressing 
the hope for the continuarue of those services, the Chamber 
proposed this amendment to Article 64 of the law concerning 
the National Guard, which the deputies had under discussion — 

"As the office of commander -general of the National 
Goard of the kingdom will cease with the circumstances that 
leodered the office necessary, that offîce can never be renewed 
withoot the passing of a fresh law, and no one shall be appointed 
to hold the position without such a special law." 

This simply meant the deposition of General Li Fayette. 
The btow was the more perfidious as he was not present at the 
sitting. His absence is recorded by this passage from the 
ipeecb which M. Dupin made in support of the amendment — 

** I regret that our illustrious colleague is not present at the 
lilting ; he would himself have investigated this question ; he 
lid, I have no doubt, have declared, as he did at the Con- 
_ t .\ssembiy, that the general command of the regimenis 

of the National Guard throughout the kingdom is an impossible 
fonction which he would describe as dangerous." 

M. Dupin forgot that the Constituent Assembly, at any rate, 
had had the modesty to wait until the general sent in his re- 
«jgmtinn Now, {jerhaps it will be said that it was the 
r%f****^ which took the initiative, and that the Government 
had nothing to do with tliis untoward blow given on the cheek 
of the living programme going on at the Hôtel de Ville. This 
would be a mistake. Here is an article of the bill which 
«ittaally impUed the resignation of La Fayette — 

' Article 50. — In the communes or cantons 7vherc the 

■ ■ 'nal Guard will form several legions, the king may appoint 

•.\yenox commander; but a superior commander of the 

.\'^:n)naJ Guards of a whole department, or even of an 

arrvnMsttment of a sous-prefecture, cannot be appointed." 

y—5 




66 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

The next day after that scandalous debate in the Chamber, 
General La Fayette wrote this letter to the kii^ in his own hand- 
writing this time, for I have seen the rough draft — 

"Sire, — The resolution passed yesterday by the Chamber of 
Deputies with the consent of the kin^s ministers, for the sup- 
pression of the general commandantship of the National Guards 
at the very same moment that the law is going to be voted upon, 
expresses exactly the feeling of the two branches of the legisla- 
tive power, and in particular that of the one of which I have 
the honour of being a member. I am of opinion that it would 
be disrespectful if I awaited any formal information before 
sending in my res^nation of the prerogatives entrusted to me 
by royal command. Your Majesty is aware, and the staff 
correspondence bill proves the fact, if needful, that the exercise 
of the office down to the present time has not been such a 
sinecure as was stated in the Chamber. The king's patriotic 
solicitude will provide for it, and it will be important, for in- 
stance, to set at rest, by Ordinances which the law puts at the 
king's disposal, the uneasiness that the sub-dividing of the 
provincial battalions and the fear of seeing the highly valuable 
mstitution of the artillery throughout the kingdom confined to 
garrison or coast towns. 

"The President of the Council was so good as to offer to 
give me the honorary commandership ; but he himself and 
your Majesty will judge that such nominal honours are not 
becoming to either the institutions of a free country or to myself. 

" In respectfully and gratefully handing back to the king the 
only mandate that gives me any authority over the National 
Guards, I have taken precautions that the service shall not 
suffer. General Dumas ^ will take his orders from the Minister 
of the Interior ; General Carbonnel will control the service in 
the capital until your Majesty has been able to find a substitute, 
as he, too, wishes to resign. 

" I beg your Majesty to receive my cordial and respectful 
regards, La Favettk" 

Louis Blanc, who is usually well informed, said of General 
La Fayette that he was a gentleman even in his scom, and 
took care not to let the monarch detect in his letter his pro- 
foimd feelings of personal injury. 

' Mathieu Dumas. 




MORE CHANGES 



67 



He would not have said so if he had seen the letter to which 
he refere, the one, namely, that we have just laid before our 
readers. But Louis Blanc may be permitted not to know the 
contents of this letter, which were kept secret, and only com- 
municated to a few of the General's intimate friends. Louis 
Philippe sent this reply on the same day — 

" My dear General, — I have just received >(»«r letter. The 
decision you have taken has surprised me as much as it has 
fained me. 1 have not vet had time to read the papers. 
The cabinet meets at one o'clock ; I shall, therefore, be free 
between four and five, and 1 shall hope to' see you and to be 
able to induce you to withdraw your decision. Yours, my dear 
general, etc., Louis-Phiuppe " 

We give this letter as a sequel to that of M. Laffitle, and we 
give them without commentary of our own; but we cannot, 
however, resist the desire to point out to our readers that 
King Louis-Philippe must have read the papers in order to 
know what was going on in the Chamber, and that at noon on 
25 December he had not yet done so ! How can anyone 
think after tliis proof of the king's ignorance of his ministers' 
doings that he was anything more than constitutional monarch, 
reigning but not ruling 1 But let us note one fact, as M. de 
Talleyrand remarks on the end of the reign of the Bourbon 
dynasty, that on 25 December 1830 the political career of 
General La Fayette was over. Another resignation there was at 
this time which made less stir, but which, as we shall see on 
I January 1831, had somewhat odd consequences for me; 
I it was given in the same day as General La Fayette's and it 
liras that of one of our two captains of the fourth battery. 

As soon as this resignation was known, the artillerymen held 

'• special meeting to appoint another captain and, as the 

majority of the votes were in favour of me, I was elected second 

L captain. Within twenty-four hours my lace, epaulettes and 

^worsted cordings were exchanged for the same in gold. On 

the aytb, I took command on parade, clad in the insignia of my 

new office. We shall soon see how long I was to wea.T \.\\evcv. 



CHAPTER VIII 

The GorcnuDcnt member— Chodrac-Docloa — His pottnit — His life at 
Boideua — His imprisooment at Viocennes — The Bfayor of Orgon — 
QndnK-DocIos cnarats himself into a Diogenes — M. Giimud-Savine 
— Why Kot&T was growing oU — Stibert — A lesson in shooting — 
Death of Cbodnic-Diiclos 

LET OS tnd a tmce to politics of which, I daresay, I am 
quite as tired as is my reader. Let us put on one side 
thoise bia^'« deputies of whom Barthélémy makes such a 
del^tful portrait, and return to matters more amusing and 
civdttable. Still, these Memoirs would fail of their end, if, in 
passing through a period, they did not reveal themselves to the 
public tinged with the colour of that particular period. So 
much the worse when that poiod be dirty ; the mud that I 
haw had beneath my feet has never bespattered either my 
hamUi or my face. One quickly forgets, and I can hear my 
HNkvU-r wondering what that ch a rmin g portrait is that Barthé- 
l<-iuy drew of the deputy. Alas! it is the misfortune of 
|H>litical works; they rarely survive the time of their birth; 
Howt^r» i>f stormy seasons, they need, in order to live, the 
muttering of thurKler, the lightning of tempests: they fade 
whdx calm is restored ; they die when the sun reappears. 

Ah. well ! I will take from the middle of Za Nemesis one 
v>i th»,>8e flowers which seem to be dead ; and, as all poetry is 
uiunortal, I hold that it was but sleeping and that, by 
lt(\««thing upon it, it will come to life again. Therefore, 
1 «hall aiH^^I '<> ^^ P°^^ ^ *^3° "^ ^^3' ^°^^ ^^^ 



POEM BY BARTHÉLÉMY 69 



LE DÉPUTÉ MINISTÉRIEL 

" C'était nn citoyen aux manières ouvertes, 
A}-ant un œil serein sous des lunettes vertes; 
Il liait les journaux à l'heure du courrier ; 
Et, tous les soin, au cercle, en jouant cœur ou pique. 
Il suspendait le whist avec sa philippique 
Contre le système Perrier. 

n arait de beaux plans dont il donnait copie ; 
C'était, de son aveu, quelque l>elle utopie, 
Pièce de désespoir pour tous nos écrivains ; 
Baume qui guérirait les blessures des villes, 
En nous sauvant la guerre et la liste civiles, 
Et l'impôt direct sur les vins. 

II disait : ' En prenant mon heureux antidote, 
Noire pays sera comme une table d'hôte 
Où l'on ne vena plus, après de longs repas, 
truand les repus du centre ont quitté leurs serviettes. 
Les affamés venir pour récolter les miettes. 
Que souvent ils ne trouvent pas I ' 

Les crédules bourgeois, que ce langage tente. 
Les rentiers du jury, les hommes à patente, 
L'éooataient en disant : ' Que ce langage est beau ! 
Voilà bien les discours que prononce un digne homme ! 
Si pour son député notre \-ille le nomme. 
Il fera pilir Mirabeau ! ' 

Il fut nommé ! Bientôt, de sa ville natale. 
Il ne 61 qu'un seul bond jusqu'à la capiuile, 

] S'installant en garni dans le quartier du Bac. 

I On le vit à la chambre assis au c'ité gauche, 
Muet ou ne parlant qu'à son mouchoir de poche, 
Constellé de grains de tabac. 

Gmve comme un tribun de notre République, 
Pai&ns il regardait evec un oeil oblique 
Ce centre oii s'endormaient tant d'hommes accroupis. 
Quel déchirant tableau pour son cœur patriote ! 
En longs trépignements les talons de sa botte 
Fanaient les rotes du tapis. 




70 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Lonqne Girod (de l'Ain), qni si mal les préside, 
Dinit : ' Ceux qui voudront refuser le subside 
Se lèveront debout ' : le tribun impoli. 
Foudroyant du regard le ministre vorace, 
Bondissait tout d'un bloc sur le banc de sa place 
Comme une bombe à Tivoli. 

Quand il était assis, c'était Caton en buste ; 
Le peuple s'appuyait sur ce torse robuste; 
De tous les rangs du cintre on aimait à le voir. . . 
Qui donc a ramolli ce marbre de Carrare? 
Quel adde a dissous cette perle si rare 
Dans la patire du pouvoir? 

Peut-£tre avez-vous vu, dans le cirque hippodrome, 
Martin, l'imitateur de l'AndrocIis de Rome, 
Entre ses deux lions s'avancer triomphant ; 
Son œil 6ucinateur domptait les bêtes &uves ; 
Il entrait, sans pâlir, dans leurs sombres alcôves. 
Comme dans un berceau d'enfant. 

Aujourd'hui, nous avons la clef de ces mystères. 
Il se glissait, la nuit, au chevet des panthères ; 
Sous le linceul du tigre il étendait la main ; 
Il trompait leur instinct dans la nocturne scène, 
Et l'animal, sans force, à ce jongleur obscène 
Obéissait le lendemain ! 

Voili par quels moyens l'Onan du ministère 
Énerve de sa main l'homme le plus austère. 
Du tribun le plus chaste assouplit la vertu ; 
Il vient à lui, les mains pleines de dons inf&mes; 
' Que veux-tu ? lui dit-il ; j'ai de l'or, j'ai des femmes, 
Des croix, des honneurs! que veux-tu?' 

Eh I qui résisterait i ces dons magnifiques ? 
IlélasI les députés sont des gens prolifiques; 
Ils ont des fils nombreux, tous visant aux emplois, 
Tous rêvant, jour et nuit, un avenir prospère, 
Tous, par chaque courrier, répétant : ' O mon père ! 
l'Iacei-noui en Aiisant des loisl' 

Kt It bon père, ému par ces chaudes missives, 
Uépot» lur son bue le» Mines offensives. 



CHODRUC-DUCLOS 71 

Se rapproche du centre, et renonce au combat. 
Oh I pour Oure au budget une constante guene, 
Il faudrait n'avoir point de parents sur la terre, 
Et virre dans le célibat ! 

Ou bien, pour résister à ce coupable leurre, 
n Élut aller, le soir, où va Dupont (de l'Eure), 
Prés de lui retremper sa vertu de tribun ; 
Là veille encor pour nous une pure phalange, 
Cénacle politique où personne ne mange 
Au budget des deux cent vingt-un ! " 

This tincult referred to our evenings at La Fayette's, Since 

his resignation, the general was to be found amidst his young, 

wann and true friends the Republicans, and, more than once, 

^Bs said Barthélémy, our callow wrath invigorated the patriot- 

^Bpm of the two old men. 

^H Another man received his dismissal at the same time as La 
^^Fayette : this was Chodruc-Duclos, the Diogenes of the Palais- 
Royal, the long-bearded man of whom we have promised to 
I say a few words. 
One morning, the frequenters of those stone galleries were 
N amazed to see Chodruc-Duclos go by, clad in shoes and 
Itockings, in a coat only a very Httle worn and an almost new 
lut ! We will bonow the portrait of Chodruc-Duclos from 
I Bartliélemy; and complete it by a few anecdotes, gleaned 
b^om personal experience, and by others which we believe are 
^^kw. When the poet has described all those starving {leople 
^^^ta xwarm round the cellars of Véfour and of the Frbres- 
^^Kwiençaux, he proceeds to the king of the beggars — Chodruc- 
^^Pados. These arc Barthélemy's lines ; they depict the man 
f with that happy touch and that faithfulness of description 
^^^hich arc such characteristic features of the talented author 
^Hf La Ntmiiii— 

^^^k "Mais, autant qu'un ortneaa s'élés-e sur I'lrbuste, 

^^H Aslant que Coniuet domine l'homme-buste,' 

^^B ' Caraart oocnpied one of those Utetmry pavilions which were erected at 
^^■kIi tnd of the garden of the Palaia-Royal ; the nthet was occupied by a 
^Bta|d who «M all txdy and scented to crawl ou a&moU uvn'u&VAcVk^v 



72 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Sur cette obscure plèbe errante dans l'enclos, 

Autant plane et surgit l'héroïque Duclos. 

Dans cet étroit royaume où le destin les parque, 

Les terrestres damnés l'ont élu pour monarque : 

C'est l'archange déchu, le Satan bordelais. 

Le Juif-Errant chrétien, le Melmoth du palais. 

Jamais l'ermite Paul, le virginal Macaire, 

Marabout, talapoin, faquir, santon du Caire, 

Brahme, Guèbre, Parsb adorateur du feu, 

M'accomplit sur la terre un plus terrible vœu ! 

Depuis sept ans entiers, de colonne en colonne. 

Comme un soleil éteint ce spectre tourbillonne; 

Depuis le dernier soir que l'acier le rasa, 

Il a vu trois Véfour et quatre Corazza ; 

Sous ses orteils, chaussés d'éternelles sandales. 

Il a du long portique usé toutes les dalles; 

Etre mystérieux qui, d'un coup d'oeil glaçant. 

Déconcerte le rire aux lèvres du passant. 

Sur tant d'infortunés, in fortune célèbre t 

Des calculs du malheur c'est la vivante algèbre. 

De l'angle de Terris jusqu'à Berthellemot, 

II fait tourner sans fin son énigme sans. mot. 

Est-il un point d'arrêt à cette ellipse immense? 

Est-ce dédain sublime, ou sagesse, ou démence? 

Qui sait? Il vent peut-être, au bout de son chemin. 

Par un enseignement fiapper le genre humain; 

Peut-être, pour fournir un dernier épisode, 

Il attend que Rothschild, son terrestre antipode, 

Un jour, dans le palais, l'aborde sans eSroi, 

En lui disant: 'Je suis plus malheureux que toi!'" 

We will endeavour to be the Œdipus to that Sphinx, and 
guess the riddle, the mystery whereof was hidden for a long 
time. 

Chodruc-Duclos was bom at Sainte-Foy, near Bordeaux. 
He would be about forty-eight when the Revolution of July 
took place ; he was tall and strong and splendidly built ; his 
beard hid features that must have been of singular beauty ; 
but he used ostentatiously to display his hands, which were 
always very clean. By rig^t of courage, if not of skill, he was 
looked upon as the principal star of that Pleiades of duellists 
which flourished at Bordeaux, during the Empire, under the 



TWO ROYALISTS 



73 



title of /^ CrâHts (Skulls). They were all Royalists. MM. 
Lercaro, Latapie and de Peyronnet were said to be Duclos' 
most intimate friends. These men were also possessed of 
another notable characteristic : they never fought amongst 
themselves. Duclos was suspected of carrying on relations 
with Louis x\'iiL in the very zenith of the Empire, and was 
airested one mornmg in hb bed by the Chief of the Police, 
Pierre-Pierre. He was taken to Vincennes, where he was kept 
a prisoner until 1814. Set free by the Restoration, he entered 
Bordeaux in triumph, and as, during his captivity, he had 
come into a small fortune, he resumed his old habits and inter- 
larded them with fresh diversions. The Royalist government, 
which recompensed all its devoted adherents (a virtue that was 
attributed to it as a crime), would, no doubt, have been 
pleased to reward Duclos for his loyalty, but it was very 
difficult to find a suitable way of doing so, for he had the 
incurable habits of a peripatetic : he was only accustomed to 
a nomadic life of fencing, political intrigue, theatre-going, 
«onten and literature. King Louis xviii., therefore, could not 
entnut him with any other public function than that of an 
everlasting walker, or, as Barthélémy dubbed it, " Chrilien 
erramt," 

Unfortunately, money, however considerable its quantity, 
oomes to an end some time. When Duclos had exhausted 
bis patrimony, he recollected his past services for the Bourbon 
emae and came to Paris to remind them. But he had 
Rneabered too late and had given the Bourbons time to 
HorgBt. The business of soliciting for favours, at all events, 
ewfcaed his locomotive faculties to the best possible advan- 
Ufe. So, every morning, two melancholy looking pleaders 
ooold be leen to cross the Font Royal, like two shades cross- 
ing the river Styx, on their way to beg a good place in the 
Elysian fields from the minister of Pluto. One was Duclos, 
ibe other the Mayor of Orgon. What had the latter done? 
He had thrown the first stone into the emperor's carriage in 
1814, and had come to Paris, stone in hand, to demand his 
reward After years of soliciting, these two (aixVifuV &pç\vc&n\.v 



74 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



seeing that nothing was to be obtained, each arrived at 
différent conclusion. The Mayor of Orgon, completely 
ruined, tied his stone round his own neck and threw himself 
into the Seine. Duclos, much more philosophically inclined, 
decided upon living, and, in order to humiliate the Govern- 
ment to which he had sacrificed three years of his liberty, and 
M. de Peyronnet, with whom he had had many bouts by the 
banks of the Garonne, bought old clothes, as he had not the 
patience to wait till his new ones grew old, bashed in the top 
of his hat, gave up shaving himself, tied sandals over his old 
shoes, and began that everlasting promenade up and down the 
arcades of the Palais-Royal which exercised the wisdom of all 
the Œdipuses of his time. Duclos never left the Palais-Royal 
until one in the morning, when he went to the rue du Pélican, 
where he lodged, to sleep, not exactly in furnished apartments, 
but, more correctly speaking, in unfurnished ones. In the 
course of his promenading, which lasted probably a dozen 
years, Duclos (with only three exceptions, which we are about 
to quote, one of them being made in our own favour) never 
went up to anyone to speak to him, no matter who he was. 
Like Socrates, he communed alone with his own familiar spirit ; 
no tragic hero ever attempted such a complete monologue ! — 
One day, however, he departed from his habits, and walked 
straight towards one of his old friends, M. Giraud-Savine, a 
witty and learned man, as we shall fmd out later, who after- 
wards became deputy to the Mayor of Batignolles. M. 
Giraud's heart stood still with fright for an instant, for he 
thought he was going to be robbed of his purse ; but he was 
wrong : for Duclos never borrowed anything. 

" Giraud," he asked in a deep bass voice, " which is the 
best translation of Tacitus ? " 

"There isn't one ! " replied M. Giraud. 

Duclos shook his treasured rags in sad dejection, then 
returned, like Diogenes, to his tub. Only, his tub happened to 
be the Palais-Royal. 

On another occasion, whilst I was chatting with Nodier, 
opposite the door of the café de Foy, Duclos passed and stared 



1 



I 



A MODERN DIOGENES 



75 



attentively at Nodier. Nodier, who knew him, thought he 
must want to speak to him, and took a step towards him. But 
Duclos shook his head and went on his way without saying 
anything. Nodier then gave me various details of the life of 
this odd being ; after which we separated. During our talk, 
Duclos had had time to make the round of the Palais-Royal ; 
■o, going back by the Théâtre-Français, I met him very nearly 
Opposite the café Corazza. He stopped right in front of me. 

" Monsieur Dumas," he said to me, " Do you know 
Nodici?" 

" Very wdl." 

"Do you like him?" 

" With all my heart I do." 

" Do you not think he grows old very fast ? " 

" I must confess I agree with you that he does." 

" Do you know why ? " 

"Na" 

"Well, 1 will tell you: 
himulft Nothing ages a 
his health I" 

He continued his walk and left me quite stunned ; not by 
his observation, sagacious as it was ; but by the thought that it 
was Chodruc-Duclos who had made it. 

The Rerolution of July 1S30 had, for the moment, inter- 
nipted the inveterate habits of two men — Stibert and Chodruc- 
Oudos. 

Sdbert was as confirmed a gambler as Duclos was an inde- 
fatigable walker. Frascati's, where Stibert spent his days and 
nighta, was closed : the Ordinances had suspended the game 
of trtmtt-tt-un, until the monarchy of July should suppress it 
■liogether. Stibert had not patience to wait till the Tuileries 
waa taken : on 38 July, at three in the afternoon, he com- 
pelled the concierge at Frascati's to open its doors to him and 
to play picquet with him. Duclos, for his part, coming from 
hit rooms to go to his beloved Palais-Royal, found the Swiss 
defending the approaches to it Some youths had bcçin a. 
with them, tnà one of Uietn, arroed w\t.\i a. TClgo^•i^^c«v 



Because he does not take (are of 
man more quickly than neglecting 




^6 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

rifle, was firing on the red-coats with more courage than skill. 
Duclos watched him and then, growing impatient that anyone 
should risk his life thus wantonly, he said to the youth — 

" Hand me your rifle. I will show you how to use it" 

The young fellow lent it him and Duclos took aim. 

" Look ! " he said ; and down dropped a Swiss. 

Duclos returned the youth his rifle. 

" Oh," said the latter, " upon my word I if you can use it 
to such good purpose as that, stick to it 1 " 

" Thanks ! " replied Duclos, " I am not of that opinion," 
and, putting the rifle into the youth's hands, he crossed right 
through the very centre of the firing and re-entered the Palais- 
Royal, where he resumed his accustomed walk past the 
bronze Apollo and marble Ulysses, the only society he had the 
chance of meeting during the 27, 28 and 29 July. This was 
the third and last time upon which he opened his mouth. 
Duclos, engrossed as he was with his everlasting walk, would, 
doubtless, never have found a moment in which to die ; only 
one morning he forgot to wake up. The inhabitants of the 
Palais-Royal, astonished at having been a whole day without 
meeting the man with the long beard, learnt, on the following 
day, from the Comuet papers, that Chodruc-Duclos had fallen 
into the sleep that knows no waking, upon his pallet bed in the 
rue du Pélican. 

For three or four years, Duclos, as we have said, had clad 
himself in garments more like those of ordinaiy people. The 
Revolution of July, which exUed the Bourbons, and the trial of 
the ex-ministers, which ostracised M. de Peyronnet to Ham, 
removed every reason for his ragged condition, and set a limit 
to his revenge. In spite of, perhaps even on account of, this 
change of his outward appearance, Duclos, like Epaminondas, 
left nothing wherewith to pay for his funeral. The Palais- 
Royal buried him by public subscription. 

General La Fayette resigned his position, and Chodruc- 
Duclos his revenge. A third notability resigned his life ; namely, 
Alphonse Rabbe, whom we have already briefly mentioned, and 
who deserves that we should dedicate a special chapter to him. 



CHAPTER IX 

Jphonse Rmbbe — Maditne Caidinal — Kabbe and the Marseilles Academy 
— L€s Majsàtairi! — Rabbe in Spain — His return — The Old Dagger 
— ^The Journal Le Pkotitn — Rabbe in prison — The writer of fables 
—Alapife 



ALPHONSE RABBE was bom at Riez, in the Basses- 
Alpes. As is the case with all deep and tender-hearted 
people, he was greatly attached to his own country ; he talked 
of it on every opportunity, and, to believe him, its ancient 
Roman remains were as remarkable as those of Aries or 
Nimes, Rabbe was one of the most extraordinary men of our 
lin»e ; and, had he lived, he would, assuredly, have become 
one of the most remarkable. Alas ! who remembers anything 
about him now, except Méry, Hugo and myself? As a matter 
of (act, poor Rabbe gave so many fragments of his life to others 
that be had not time, during his thirty-nine years, to write one 
of those books which survive their authors ; he whose words, 
had they been taken down in shorthand, would have made a 
complete library ; he who brought into the literary and political 
world, Thiers, Mignct, Armaud Carrel, Méry and many others, 
who are unaware of it, has disappeared from this double world, 
wttbout leaving any trace beyond two volumes of fragments, 
which were published by subscription after his death, with an 
■dminble preface in verse by Victor Hugo. Furthermore, 
in order to quote some portions of these fragments that I had 
beard nad by poor Rabbe himself, compared with whom I was 
quite an unknown boy (I had only written Henri III. 
when he died), 1 wanted to procure those two volumes: I 
might as well have set to work to find Solomon's ring ! But 1 

found them at last, where one finds evcrylhmg, in V\\t xwe ô^s 

n 



;8 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



Cannettes, in Madame Cardinal's second-hand bookshop. 
The two volumes had lain there since 1835 > ^^^y ^^^ o" her 
shelves, in her catalogue, had been on show in the window ! 
but they were not even cut ! and I was the first to insert an 
ivory paper-knife between their virgin pages, after eighteen 
years waiting ! Unfortunate Rabbe ; this was the last touch 
to your customary ill-luck ! Fate seemed ever against him ; 
all his life long he was looking for a revolution. He would 
have been as great as Catiline or Danton at such a crisis. 
When 1830 dawned, he had been dead for twenty-four hours ! 
When Rabbe was eighteen, he competed for an academic 
prize. The subject was a eulogy of Puget. A noble speech, 
full of new ideas, a glowing style of southern eloquence, were 
quite suflScient reasons to prevent Rabbe being successful, or 
from even receiving honourable mention ; but, in this failure, 
his friends could discern the elements of Rabbe's future brilli- 
anc)', should Fortune's wheel turn in his favour. Alas ! fortune 
was academic in Rabbe's case, and Rabbe had Orestes for his 
(jatron. 

Gifted with a temperament that was carried away by the 
passion of the moment, Rabbe took it into bis head to become 
Ihe enemy of M.isséna in 1815. Why? No one ever really 
knew, not even Rabbe I He then published his Massénaires, 
written in a kind of prose iambics, in red-hot zeaL This 
brochure set him in the ranks of the RojTilist party. A 
fortnight later, he became reconciled with the conqueror of 
Zoricb, and he set out on a mission to Spain. From thence 
dated all poor Rabbe's misfortunes ; it was in Spain that he was 
■ftacktd by a disease which had the sad defect of not bdag 
teaL What «as this scourge, this plague, this oootatpooB 
diMMc? He shall tell us in his own words; wc will laot 
dtprtre him of hla right to give the paiticuUis hÎBSctf — 

"AIm) O my mother, thou couldst not oudce tot ianû- 
McraMe when thou didst bear me, bj <M|T*»>ç ok in tbe fey 
m^i Siyst Carried away by • M17 HHipaatiaa and 

\y^>- insa, I wasted the txcasnea aad iDoense of my 

ttfioit tht altar» of criminal vo 



THE PENALTY OF SELF-INDULGENCE 79 



which should be the parent of and not the destroyer of human 
' eingB, devoured the first springs of my youth. When I look 
myself, I shudder! Is that image really myself? What 
■.nd has seared my face with those hideous signs? . . . 
What has become of that forehead which displayed the 
candour of my once pure spirit? of those bleared eyes, 
which terrify, which once expressed the desires of a heart that 
was full of hope and without a single regret, and whose voluptu- 
ous yet serious thoughts were still free from shameful trammels? 
A kindly tolerant smile ever lighted them up when they fell on 
one of my fellows ; but, now, my bold and sadly savage looks 
gay to all : 'I have lived and suffered ; I have known your 
ways and long for death ! ' What has become of those almost 
charming features which once graced my face with their 
lurmonious Unes? That expression of happy good nature, 
which once gave pleasure and won me love and kindly hearts, 
is now no longer visible ! All has perished in degradation ! 
God and nature are avenged ! When, hereafter, I shall expéri- 
ence an affectionate impulse, the expression of my features 
will betray my soul ; and when I go near beauty and innocence, 
thr^' will fly from me ! What inexpressible tortures ! What 
frightful punishment ! Henceforth, I must find all my virtues 
in the remorse that consumes my life ; I must purify myself in 
the unquenchable fires of never-dying sorrow ; and ascend to 
the dignity of my being by means of profound and poignant 
regret for ha%'ing sullied my soul. When I shall have earned 
rest by my sufferings, my youth will have gone. . . . But 
tV' 'Uher life and, when I cross its threshold, I shall be 

iL . in the robe of immortal youth ! " 






T*kc notice, reader, that, before that unfortunate journey to 
in, Alphonse Rabbe was never spoken of otherwise than as 
Antinûus of Aix. An incurable melancholy took posses- 
sion of him from this period. 

"I have outlived myself!" he said, shaking his head sadly. 
Only hi» beautiful hair remained of his former self Accursed 
be the invention of looking-glasses ! By thirty, he had already 
stopped shon of two attempts at suicide. But his hands were 
not steady enough and the dagger missed his heart. We 
have all seen that dagger to which Rabbe offered a kind 
of wonhip, as the last friend to whom he \ooV.ed ^ot \\« 



8o IfEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



He has immortalised this dagger. Read 
Ithà ud I^U rae if ever a more virile style sprung from a 
rbuman pen — 

THE OLD DAGGER 

" Thou earnest out of the tomb of a warrior, whose fate is 
unknown to us ; thou wast alone, and without companion of 
thy kind, hung on the walls of the wretched haunt of a dealer 
in pictures, when thy shape and appearance struck my atten- 
tion. I felt the formidable temper of thy blade ; I guessed 
Uie fierceness of thy point through the sheath of thick rust 
which covered thee completely. I hastened to bargain so as 
to have thee in my power ; the low-born dealer, who only saw 
in thee a worthless bit of iron, will give thee up, almost for 
nothing, to my jealous eagerness. I will carry thee off secretly, 
pressed against my heart ; an extraordinary emotion, mingled 
with joy, rage and confidence, shook my whole being. I feel 
the same shuddering every time 1 seize hold of thee. . . . 
Ancient dagger ! We will never leave one another more I 

" I have rid thee of that injurious rust, which, even after that 
long interval of time, has not altered thy form. Here, thou art 
restored to the glories of the light ; thou flashest as thou 
comest forth from that deep darkness. I did not imprudently 
entrust thee to a mercenary workman to refxiir the injustice of 
those years: I myself, for two days, carefully worked to re- 
[)olish thee ; it is I who preserved thee from the injurious 
danger of being at the first moment confused with worthless 
old iron, from the disgrace, perhaps, of going to an obscure 
forge, to be transformed into a nail to shoe the mule of an 
iniijuitous Jesuit. 

" What is the reason that thy aspect quickens the flow of my 

bloofi, in spite of myself? . . . Shall I not succeed in under- 

ihy story? To what century dost thou belong? 

ihc name of the warrior whom thou followedst to his 

la«i ri-Mtrng-piacc? What is the terrible blow which l>ent thee 

tlighlly ? . . . 

" 1 have left thcc that mark of thy good services : to efface 
that iiniirrccptihic curve which made thy edge uneven, thou 
w<iiijdiit liav<^ had to be submitted to the action of fire; but 
wilt» knows but Ihat thou migiitst have lost thy virtue? \Vho, 
tlioii, wwiild have given me back the secret of that blade, 
êlfuiig d/iil obedient to that which the breastplate did not 



THE OLD DAGGER 



8l 



always withstand, when the blow was dealt with a valiant 
arm? 

•* Was it in the blood of a newly killed bull that thy point was 
buried on first coming out of the fire ? Was it in the cold air of 
a narrow gorge of mountains ? Was it in the syrup prepared 
from certain herbs or, perhaps, in holy oil ? None of our best 
craftsmen, not Bromstein himself, could tell. 

" Tell me whom thou hast comforted and whom punished ? 
Hast thou avenged the outlaw for the judicial murder of his 
father? Hast thou, during the night, engraved on some 
granite columns the sentence of those who passed sentence? 
Thou canst only have obeyed powerful and just passions ; 
the intrepid man who wanted to carry thee away with him to 
his last resting-place had baptized thee in the blood of a feudal 
oppressor. 

" Thou art pure steel ; thy shape is bold, but without studied 
grace; thou wast not, indeed, frivolously wrought to adorn the 
girdle of a foppish carpet-knight of the court of Francis i., or 
of Charles-Quint; thou art not of sufficient beauty to have been 
thus commonplace ; the filigree-work which ornaments thy 
hilt is only of red copper, that brilliant shade of red which 
colours the summit of the Mont de la Victoire on long May 
evenings. 

" What docs this broad furrow mean which, a quarter of the 
length down thy blade to the hilt, is pierced with a score of 
tiny holes like so many loop-holes? Doubtless they were 
made so that the blood could drip through, which shoots and 
gushes along the blade in smoking bubbles when the blow has 
gone home. Oh I if I shed some evil blood I too should wish 
it to drain off and not to soil my hands. ... If it were the 
blood of a powerful enemy to one's country, little would it 
matter if it was left all blood smeared ; I should have settled 
my accounts with this wretched world beforehand, and then 
thou wouldst not fail me at need ; thou wouldst do me the 
aune service as thou renderest formerly to him whose bones 
the tomb received along with thee. 

"In storms of public misfortunes, or in crises of personal 
Adversity, the tomb is often the only refuge for noble hearts ; 
it, at any rate, is impregnable and quiet : there one can brave 
accusen and the instruments of despotism, who are as vile as 
the accusers themselves ! 

" Open the gates of eternity to me, I implore Û\ee \ Svtvcjt "\x. 
v.— 6 




82 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE UUMAS 

needs must be, we will go together, my old dagger, thou and I. 
as with a new friend. Do not fail me when my soul shall ask 
transit of thee ; afford to my hand that virile self-reliance which 
a strong man has in himself; snatch me from the outrages of 
petty persecutors and from the slow torture of the unknown ! " 

Although this dagger was treasured by the unhappy Rabbe, 
as we have mentioned, it was not by its means that the 
acasrsed one, as he called himself, was to put an end to his 
miseries. Rabbe was only thirty and had strength enough in 
him yet to go on living. 

So, in despair, he dragged out his posthumous existence and 
flung himself into the political arena, as a gladiator takes 
comfort to himself by showing himself off between two tigers. 

1821 began; the death of the Due de Berry served as an 
excuse for many reactionary laws ; Alphonse Rabbe now found 
his golden hour ; he came to Marseilles and started Le Phocéen, 
in a countryside that was a very volcano of Royalism. Would 
you hear how he addresses those in power? Then listen. 
Hear how he addressed men of influence — 

" Oligarchies are fighting for the rays of liberty across the 
dead body of an unfortunate prince. . . . O Liberty ! mark 
with thy powerful inspirations those hours of the night which 
William Tell and his friends used to spend in striking blows 
to redress wrongs ! . . ." 

When liberty is invoked in such terms she rarely 
answers to the call. One morning, someone knocked at 
Rabbe s door ; he went to open it, and two policemen stood 
there who asked him to accompany them to the prison. 
When Rabbe was arrested, all Marseilles rose up in a violent 
Royalist explosion against him. An author who had written a 
couple of volumes of fables took upon himself to support the 
Bourbon cause in one of the papers. Rabbe read the article 
and replied — 

" Monsieur, in one of your apologues you compare yourself 
to a sheep ; well and good. Then, monsieur le mouton, go on, 
cropping your tender grass and stop biting other things !" 



I 



RABBE'S PIPE 



83 



The writer of fables paid a polite call upon Rabbe ; they 
shook hands and all was forgotten. 

However, the Fhocien had been suspended the very day its 
bief editor was arrested. Rabbe was set free afler a narrow 
escape of being assassinated by those terrible Marseillais 
Royalists who, during the early years of the Restoration, left 
ehind them such wide traces of bloodshed. He went to 
' Paris, where his two friends, Thiers and Mignet, had already 
won a high position in the hôtels of Laffite and of Talleyrand. 
If Rabbe had preserved the features of Apollo and the form of 
Antinous, he would have won all Parisian society by his charm 
of manner and his delightful winning mental attainments ; but 
his mirror condemned him to seclusion more than ever. His 
^.Krie; his only, friend was his pipe ; Rabbe smoked incessantly. 
Ve have read the magnificetit prose ode he addressed to his 
let us see how, in another style, he spoke to his pipe, 
(, rather, of his pipe. 



MA PIPE 

" Young man, light my pipe ; light it and give it to me, so 
~ I can chase away a litUe of the weariness of living, and 
myself up to forgetfulness of everything, whilst this imbecile 
copie, eager after gross emotions, hastens its steps towards the 
Epompous ciremony of the Sacred-Heart in opulent and super- 
ktitious Maj:icilles. 

" I myself hate the multitude and its stupid excitement ; I 
»te these fairs either sacred or profane, these festivals with all 
Itbcir cheatmg games, at the cost of which an unlucky people 
onsents readily to forget the ills which overwhelm it ; I hate 
ngns of servile respect which the duped crowd lavishes 
tboite who deceive and oppress it; I hate that worship 
Jof error which absolves crime, afflicts innocence and drives 
Euutic to murder by its inhuman doctrines of exclusive- 
\\ 
" Let us forgive the dupes ! All those who go to these 
festivals arc promised pleasure. Unfortunate human lacings! 
^We pursue thih alluring phantom along all kindsof roads. Tobe 
jfewbere tlian one is, to change place and aflcc\\ons, Vo \ea.Nt 
be BupporUble for worse, to go after novtUy upon tvoNt\Vj,\o 



84 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



obtain one more sensation, to grow old, burdened with un- 
satisfied desires, to die finally without having lived, such is our 
destiny ! 

" WTiat do I myself look for at the bottom of thy little bowl, 
O my pipe ! Like an alchemist, I am searching how to transmute 
the woes of the present into fleeting delights ; I inhale thy 
smoke with hurried draughts in order to carry happy confusion 
to my brain, a quick delirium, that is preferable to cold 
reflection; I seek for sweet oblivion from what is, for the 
dream of what is not, and even for that which cannot be. 

" Thou makest me pay dear for thy easy consolations ; the 
brain is possibly consumed and weakened by the daily repeti- 
tion of these disordered emotions. Thought becomes idle, 
and the imagination runs riot from the habit of depicting 
such wandering agreeable fictions. 

" The pipe is the touch-stone of the nerves, the true dynamo- 
meter of slender tissues. Young people who conceal a dehcate 
and feminine organisation beneath a roan's clothing do not 
smoke, for they dread cruel convulsions, and, what would be 
still more cruel, the loss of the favours of Venus. Smoke, on 
the contrary, unhappy lovers, ardent and restless spirits 
tormented with the weight of your thoughts. 

" The savants of Germany keep a pipe on their desks ; it is 
through the waves of tobacco smoke that they search aAer truths 
of the intellectual and the spiritual order. That is why their 
works, always a little nebulous, exceed the reach of our French 
philosophers, whom fashion, and the salons, compel to inhale 
more urbane and gracious perfumes. 

" When Karl Sand, the delegate of the Muses of Eriangen, 
came to Kotzcbue's house, the old man, before joining him, 
had him presented with coffee and a pipe. This token of 
touching hospitality did not in the least disarm the dauntless 
rounf; man : a tear moistened his eyelid j but he persisted. 
Why? He sacrificed himself for liberty ! 

"The unhappy man works during the day; and, at night, 

hli tjfcad earned, with arms folded, before his tumble-down 

>uy, with the; «moke of liis pipe he drives away the few 

" tl.i.ciKht» that the rci)0se of his limbs may leave hi 

' ! what good things I owe to thee ! If 

■ ■ f. 'oliïh talker, a despicable fanatic, comes^ 

ly dra w a cigar from my case and begin 

; W//U, h> iii.< jidtli, if I am condemned to the : 



APOSTROPHE TO TOBACCO 



85 



of listening, I at least escape the penalty of replying to him. 
At intervals, a bitter smile compresses my lips, and the fool flatters 
himself that I approve him ! He attributes to the effect of 
the rash cigar the equivocal heed I pay to his babble. . . . 
He redoubles his loquacity ; but, stifled by his impertinence, 
I suddenly emit the clouds of thick smoke which I have collected 
in my mouth, like the scorn within my breast. 

" I exhale both at once, burning vapour and repressed 
indignation. Oh I how nauseating is the idiocy of others to 
him who is already out of love with, and wearied of, his own 
burdens ! ... I smother him with smoke ! If only I could 
ftsphyxiate the fool with the lava from my tiny volcano ! 

" But when a friend who is lovable alike in mind and heart 
comes to me, the pleasure of the pipe quickens the happiness 
of the meeting. After the first talk, which rapidly flows along, 
whilst the lighted punch scatters the spirituous particles which 
abound in the sparkling flame of the liqueur, the glasses clink 
together : Friend, from this day and for a year hence, let us 
drain the brotherly cup under the happiest auspices 1 

"Then we light two cigars, just alike; incited by my friend 
to talk on a thousand different topics, I often let mine go out, 
and he gives me a light again from his own. ... I am like an 
old husband who relights a score of times from the lips of a 
young beauty the flame of his passion, as impotent as many 
times over. O my friend ! when, then, will happier days shine 
forth ? 

" Tell me, my friend, in those parts from whence thou comest, 
arc men filled with hope and courage ? Do they keep constant 
and faithful to the worship of our great goddess, Liberty ? . . . 
Tell me, if thou knowest, how long we must still chafe at 
the humiliatmg bit which condemns us to silence ? . . . 

"How it hinders me from flinging down my part of servitude I 
Ho» it delays me from seeing Uie vain titles of tyranny, which 
oppress us, reduced to powder ; from seeing the ashes of a dis» 
hoooured diadem scattered at the breath of patriots as the 
ashes of my pipe are scattered by mine ! My soul is weary of 
waiting, friend ; I warn thee, and with horror I meditate upon 
the doings of such sad waywardness. See how this people, 
roosed wholly by the infamou sect of Loyola, rushes to fling 
bsetf before their strange processions ! Young and old, men 
and women, all hasten to receive their h)'pocritvcal and t\i\'\'e. 
benedictions ! The fools 1 if the plague pa:ssed und&\ % cscno'^') 



86 MEMOIRS OF ALEX-^NDRE DUMAS 



ihey would lun to see it pass by and kneel before it ! Tell me, 
fmnd, is such a people fit for liberty ? Is it not rather con- 
demned to grow old and still be kept in the infantine swaddling 
clotiit'S of a two-fold bondage ? 

" Men are still but children. Nerertheless, the human race 
increases and goes on progressing continually, and meanwhile 
stretches ils bonds till ihcy break. The time draws near 
when it will no longer listen to the lame man who calls uf>on it 
tu stop, when it will no longer ask its way of the blind. May 
the world l>eronic enlightened ! God desires it !.. . And 
wi-, ' -t wewatch for the coming dawn. 

11.11 r secrets, her resources. This 

\n-f ;\ sccnis to us for ever brutalised, is, however, 

cdii' 1 If and every day becomes more enlightened 1 

Kriciul, wp will forgive the slaves for running after distractions ; 
wc will bear with the immodest mother who prides herself 
that her daughters will pass for virgins when they have been 
lilessed. Wc will not be surprised that old scoundrels hope to 
sweat out the seeds of their crimes, exhausting themselves to 
carry despicable images. 

" O my pipe I every day do I owe thee that expressive 
emblem of humility which religion only places once a year 
on the brow of the adoring Christian : Man is but dust and 
ashes. . . . That, in fact, is all which remains at the last of the 
icndcresl or most magnanimous heart, of hearts over-intoxicated 
with joy or pride, or those consumed with the bitterest 
pains. 

" These small remnants of men, these ashes, the lightest 
zephyr scatter into the empty air. . . . Where, then, is the dust 
of Alexander, where the ashes of Gengis ? They are nothing 
more than vain historic phantoms ; those great subduers of 
nations, tliosc terrible oppressors of men, what are they but 
fuK names, objects of vain enthusiasm or of useless 

niii 

" I, Un>, shall soon perish ; all that makes up my being, 
my very name, will disap[>ear like light smoke. ... In a few 
day»' time, jK-rhaps at the very spot where I now write, it will 
not cverr be known that I have ever existed. . . . Now, does 
■omrihing imperisltable breathe forth and rise up on high from 
tliiit |K:riiihalilc body? Does there dwell in man one spark 
worthy to light the calumet of the angels upon the pave- 
metttM of the heavens 7 . . . O my pipe ! chase away, banish 



I 



i 




MELANCHOLY REFLECTIONS 87 

this ambitious and baneful desire after the unknown and the 
impenetrable ! " 

We may be mistaken, but it seems to us that one would 
search in vain for anything more melancholy in Werther or 
more bitter in Don Juan, than the pages we have just read. 




CHAPTER X 

H«l<l)«'« ftlvmli— /.« S»ttr frit*— Tht hiitoriad résumés— M. Brézé's 
•iIvUh»"- An im«i:lmttv« mut — Bemiyer't style — Rabbe with his hair- 
ilimuHXi hU concierge .and confectioner— /^a Sour grise stolen — Zt 

AhniONSE Rabbo'a most assiduous disciples were Thiers 
And Mignetj' they came to see him most days and 
tre«ttH] him with the respect of pupils towards their master. 
Hut KabU) was independent to the verge of intractability; 
and always ready to rear even under the hand that caressed 
him. Now, Rabbe discerned that these two writers were 
alrt»ady on the way to become historians, had no desire to 
make a third in a trio with them and resolved to be more true 
to life than the historians and to write a novel. Walter Scott 
was then all the rage in London and Paris. 

Rabbe aeited paper and pen and wrote the title of his 
novel on the first leaf, Za Scmr grise. Then he stopped, and 
I dare go so far even as to say that this first page was never 
turned over. True, what Rabbe did in imagination was much 
more real to him than what he actually did 

K^liv Uodin had just begun to inaugurate the era of 
4ttsttmfs Aislvrifté*s i the publishers, Lecointe aiKl Roret, 
yiPW\ «bout aakiixg for sununaries firom anyone at all approach- 
(l\ti <k>^ KUlhuri rhumes showered in like hail; the very 
hvlwM^I HViU^ar M\ hisosetf bound to send in hb résumé. 

< (4^ \ni^\ ^\ \\ U> ^Kv^ht Im m»* iBOiaee* tb»t it is in oidet to make 
V«\ '^Wt WUWWW wlmwi.mv(H MiitK tlx» two feuKws historians, whom I 
MW vti<H»,\ UWM wvuti<.>ui^^ tbMt t Msy Tbien aad Migoct ; theiis are 

KM(W yi^\À Vi*yv *v»W iKv yxixit*^ tf ^téaif. igttttÊlMi t» the public without 



LA SŒUR CRISE 



89 



There was a regular scourge of them ; even the most harmless 
of persons were attacked with the disease. Rabbe eclipses all 
those obscure writers at a bound ; he published, successively, 
résumés of the history of Spain, of Portugal and of Russia ; all 
extending to several editions. These three volumes showed 
admirable talent for the writing of history, and their only 
defect was the commonplace title under which they were 
published. 

" What are you working at ? " Thiers often asked Alphonse 
Rabbe, as they saw the reams of paper he was using up. 

" I am at work on my Sœur grise," he replied. 

In the summer of 1824, Mignet made a journey to 
Maneilles where, before all his friends, he spread the praises 
of Rabbe's forthcoming novel. La Saur grise, which Mignet 
believed to be nearly completed. Besides these fine books of 
history, Alphonse Rabbe wrote excellent articles in the 
Courrier-Français on the Fine Arts. On this subject, he was 
not only a great master but, in addition, a great critic. He 
was possibly sUghtly unfair to Vaudeville drama and a little 
severe on its exponents ; he carried this injustice almost to the 
point of hatred. A droll adventure arose out of his dislike. 
A compatriot of Rabbe, a Marseillais named M. Brézé (you 
see we sometimes put Monsieur) was possessed by an ardent 
desire for giving Rabbe advice. (Let us here insert, par- 
enthetically, the observation that the Marseillais are born 
advisers, specially when their advice is unsolicited.) 

Well, M. Brézé had given endless advice to Rabbe while he 
was still at Marseilles, advice which we can easily guess he 
took good care not to follow. M. Brézé came to Paris and 
met Barthélémy, the poet, at the Palais-Royal. The two 
compatriots entered into conversation with one another — 

"What is Rabbe doing?" asked M. Bré^é. 

" Résumés." 
' Ah ! 90 Rabbe is doing résumés ? " repealed M. Brézé. 

langitall!" 

' Quite so." 

' What are these résumés ? " 



90 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

"The quintessence of history compressed into small 
volumes instead of being spun out into large ones." 
" How many such résumés does he do in the year ? " 
" Perhaps one and a half or two at the most." 
" And how much does a résumé bring in ? " 
" I believe twelve hundred francs." 
" So, if Rabbe works all the year and has only done one 
résumé and a half, he has earned eighteen hundred francs ? " 
" Eighteen hundred francs, yes ! by Jove ! " 
"Hum!" 

And M. Brézé began to reflect Then, suddenly, he asked — 
" Do you think Rabbe is as clever as M. Scribe ? " 
The question was so unlooked for and, above all, so in- 
appropriate, that Barthélémy began to laugh. 

" Why, yes,"he said; " only it is cleverness of a different order." 
" Oh ! that does not matter ! " 
" Why does it not matter ? " 

" If he has as much talent as M. Scribe it is all that is 
necessary." 

Again he fell into reflection ; then, after a pause he said to 
Barthélémy — 

" Is it true that M. Scribe earns a hundred thousand 
francs a year?" 

" People say so," replied Barthélémy. 
"Well, then," said M. Brézé, "in that case I must offer 
Rabbe some advice." 
" You ? " 
"Yes, I." 

" You are quite capable of doing so — what will it be ? " 
" I must tell him to leave off writing his résumés and take 
to writing vaudevilles." 

The advice struck Barthélémy as a magnificent joke. 
" Say that again," he said to M. Brézé. 
" I must advise Rabbe to leave off writing his résumés aîïi 
take to writing vaudevilles." 

" My goodness ! " exclaimed Barthélémy, " do offer him 
that advice. Monsieur Brézé." 



I 

ake 



M. BRÉZÉ'S ADVICE 



9» 



"I will" 

"When?" 

•^ The first time I see him." 

" Vou promise me you will ?" 

** On my word of honour." . 

" Whatever you do don't forget 1 " 

" Make your mind quite easy." 

Barthélémy and M. Brézé shook hands and separated. 
M. Biéié very much delighted with himself for having con- 
ceived such a splendid idea ; Barthélémy with only one regret, 
that he could not be at hand when he put his idea into 
execution. 

As a matter of fact, M. Brézé met Rabbe one day, upon the 
Pont des Arts. Rabbe was then deep in Russian history : he 
was as pte-occupied as Tacitus. 

"Oh ! I am pleased to see you, my dear Rabbe ! " said 
M. Brézé, as he came up to him. 

" And I to see you," said Rabbe. 

" 1 have been looking for you for the past week," 

•' Indeed." 

*' Upon my word, I have I " 

"What for?" 

" My dear Rabbe, you know how attached I am to you ? " 

" Why, yes ! " 

" Well, then, in your own interest . . . you understand ? 
In your interest ..." 

"Certainly, I understand." 

" Well, I have a piece of advice to offer you." 

"To offer me?" 

"Yes, you." 

" Give It mc, then," said R.ibbe, looking at Brézé over his 
spectacles, as he was in the l;abit of doing, when he felt great 
surprise or people began to bore him. 

" Believe me, I speak as a friend." 

"1 do not doubt it ; but what is the advice?" 

"Rabbe, my friend, instead of making résumés, wriu: 



92 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

A deep growl sounded from the historian's breast. He 
seized the offerer of advice by the arm, and in an awful voice 
he said to him — 

"Monsieur, one of my enemies must have sent you to 
insult me." 

" One of your enemies ? " 

" It was Latouche 1 " 

"Why, no . . .» 

" Then it was Santo-Domingo ! " 

"No." 

" Or Loeve-Weymars ! " 

" I swear to you it was none of them." 

" Tell me the name of the insulting fellow." 

" Rabbe 1 my dear Rabbe ! " 

" Give me his name, monsieur, or I will take you by the 
heels and pitch you into the Seine, as Hercules threw Pirithous 
into the sea." 

Then, perceiving that he had got mixed in his quotation — 

" Pirithous or some other, it is all the same ! " 

" But I toke my oath . . ." 

"Then it is you yourself?" exclaimed Rabbe, before 
Brézé had time to finish bis sentence. "Well, monsieur, 
you shall account to me for this insult!" 

At this proposition, Brézé gave such a jump that he tore 
himself from the pincer-like grip that held him and ran to put 
himself under the protection of the pensioner who took the 
toll at the bridge. 

Rabbe took himself off after first making a gesture signi- 
ficant of future vengeance. Next day he had forgotten all about 
it Brézé, however, remembered it ten years afterwards ! 
• Two explanations must follow this anecdote which ought 
really to have preceded it. From much study of the Con- 
fessions of Jean -Jacques Rousseau, Rabbe had imbibed 
something of the character of the susceptible Genevese; 
he thought there was a general conspiracy organised against 
him: that his Catiline and Manlius and Spartacus were 
Latouche, Santo-Domingo and Loeve-Weymars; he even 



ANECDOTES OF RABBE 



93 



t so far as to suspect his two Pylades, Thiers and 
Miguel. 

"They are my d'AIembert and Diderot ! " he said. 

It was quite evident he believed Brézé's suggestion was the 
result of a conspiracy that was just breaking out. 

Rabbe's life was a spwcies of perpetual hallucination, an 
existence made up of dreams ; and sleep, itself, the only reality. 
One day, he button-holed Mérj- ; his manner was gloomy, his 
hand on his breast convulsively crumpled his shirt-front. 

" Well," he exclaimed, shaking his head up and down, " I 
told you so ! " 

"\Vhat?" 

"That he was an enemy of mine." 

"\Vlio?" 

" Mignet" 

"But, my dear Rabbe, he is nothing of the kind. . . . Mignet 
loves and admires you." 

" Ah ! A# love me ! " 

"Yes." 

** He admire me!" 

"Nodoubt of it." 

t" Well, do you know what the roan who professes to love 
d axlmire me said of me ? " 
"What did he say?" 
"\Vhy, be said that I was a man of imagin.^tion, yes, he did." 
Méry assumed an air of consternation to oblige Rabbe. 
ibbc, to revenge himself for Mignet's insult, wrote in the 
preEioe of a second edition of his résumés these crushing 
words — 

"The lien of the historian ought not to be like a leaden pipe 
through which a stream of tepid water flows on to the paper." 

From this moment, his wrath against historians, — modem 
faniorians, that is, of course . he worshipped Tacitus, — knew 
no bounds ; and, when there were friends present at his house 
mad all historians were absent, he would declaim in thund^.tows 
tooet — 



94 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



"Would you believe it, gentlemen, there are in France, at 
the present moment and of our generation and rank, historians 
who take it into their heads to copy the style of the veterans, 
Berruyer, Catrou and Rouille? Yes, in each line of their 
modern battles they will tell you that thirty thousand men were 
cut in pieces, or that they bit the dusty or that they were 
left lying strewn upon the scene. How behind the times these 
youngsters are! The other day, one of them, in describing 
the battle of Austerlitz, wrote this sentence : ' Twenty-five 
thousand Russians were drawn up in battle upon a vast frozen 
lake; Napoleon gave orders that firing should be directed 
against this lake. Bullets broke through the ice and the 
twenty-five thousand Russians bit the dust!'" 

It is curious to note that such a sentence was actually 
written in one of the résumés of that date. The second 
remark that we ought to have made will explain the compari- 
son that Rabbe had hazarded when he spoke of himself as 
Hercules and of Brézé as Pirithous. He had so eflfectually 
contracted the habit of using grand oratorical metaphor and 
stilted language, that he could never descend to a more 
familiar style of speech in his relations with more ordinary 
people. Thus, he once addressed his hairdresser solemnly 
in the following terms ; — 

" Do not disarrange the economy of my hair too much ; let 
the strokes of your comb fall lightly on my head, and take 
care, as Boileau says, that ' L'ivoire trop hâté ne se brise en 
vos mains ! ' " 

He said to his porter — 

" If some friend comes and knocks at my hospitable portal, 
deal kindly with him. ... I shall soon return : I go to breathe 
Ibe evening air upon the Pont des Arts." 

He said to his pastrycook, Grandjean, who lived close by 
him in the rue des Petits- Augustins — 

" Monsieur Grandjean, the volau-vent that you did me the 
honour to send yesterday had a crust of Roman cement, 
obstinate to the teeth; give a more unctuous turn to your 
culinary art and people will be grateful to you." 



I 
I 



I 
{ 



THE UNWRITTEN NOVEL 



95 



\STijle all these things were happening, Rabbe fully imagined 
that he was writing his novel, La Satur grise. 

One day, Thiers came in to see him, as was his custom. 

"Well, Rabbe," he said, "what are you at work upon 
now ? " 

" Parbleu ! " replied Rabbe, " the same as usual, you know I 
My Sœur grise." 

" It ought to be nearly finished by now." 

" It is finished." 

"Oh, indeed!" 

" Do you doubt me ? " 

"No." 

" But you do doubt it ? " 

"Of course not," 

"Stay," he said, picking up an exercise-book full of sheets of 
paper, "here it is." 

Thiers took it from him. 

"But what is this? You have given me blank sheets of 
paper, my dear fellow!" 

Rabbe sprang like a tiger upon Thiers, and might, perhaps, 
in 1825, have demolished the Minister of the First of March, 
had not Thiers opened the book and showed him the pages as 
white as the dress worn by M. I'lanard's shepherdess. Rabbe 
tore his hair with both hands. 

" I>o you know what has happened to me ? " be shouted. 

"No." 

" Someone has stolen the MS. of my Sœur grise ! " 

"Oh! my God!" exclaimed Thiers, who did not want to 
vex him : " do you know who is the thief? " 

"No . . . stay, yes, indeed, I think I do ... it is Locve- 
Wcyroars ! He shall perish by my own hand ; I will send him 
my two seconds ! " 

Loéve-Weymars was not in Paiis. F'or upwards of a 
fortnight Rabbe laboured under the delusion that he had 
written JLa Sœur grise from cover to cover, and that Locve- 
Wcymats was jealous of him and had robbed him ot VvV!> 
muuiacript. 



96 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



When such petulant insults fell upon friends like Loëve- 
VVeymars, Thiers, Mignet, Armaud Carrel and Méry, it did 
cot matter; but, when they were directed at strangers less 
acquainted with Rabbe's follies, affairs sometimes assumed a 
more tragic aspect. Thus, about this period, he had two 
duels ; one with Alexis Duraesnil, the other with Coste ; he 
received a sword-cut from both of these gentlemen ; but these 
wounds did not cure him of his passion for quarrelling. He 
used to say that, in his youth, he had been very clever at 
handling the javelin ; unluckily, however, his adversaries always 
declined that weapon, which refusal Rabbe, with his enthu- 
siasm for antiquity, never could understand. 

But if Rabbe admired antiquity madly, it was because he 
felt it strongly ; his piece. Le Centaure, is André Chénier in 
prose. Let us give the proof of what we have been stating — 

THE CENTAUR 

" Swift as the west wind, amorous, superb, a young centaur 
comes to carry off the beauteous Cymothoë from her old 
husband. The impotent cries of the old man are heard 
afar. . . . Proud of his prey, impotent with desire, the ravisher 
stops beneath the deep shade of the banks of the river. His 
flanks still palpitate from the swiftness of his course ; his breath 
comes hard and fast He stops ; his strong legs bend under 
him; he stretches one forth and kneels with agility on the 
other. He lovingly raises his beautiful prey whom he holds 
trembling across his powerful thighs ; he takes her and presses 
her against his manly breast, sighs a thousand sighs and covers 
her tear-dewed eyelids with kisses. 

" ' Fear not,' he says to her, ' O Cymothoë ! Be not 
terrified of a lover who offers to thy charms the united 
quality of both man and war-horse. Believe me ! my heart is 
worth more than that of a vile mortal who dwells in your towns. 
Tame my wild independence ; I will bear thee to the freshest 
rivers, beneath the loveliest of shade ; I will carry thee over 
the green prairies, which are bathed by the Pene or patriarchal 
Achelous. Seated on my broad back, with thy arms inter- 
twined in the rings of my black hair, thou canst entrust thy 
charms to the gambols of the waves, without fear that a jealous 



I 



I 

i 



THE CENTAUR 



97 






god will venture to seize thee to take thee to the depths of his 
crystal grotto. ... I love thee, O young Cymothoe ! Drive 
away thy tears; thou canst try thy power: thou hast me in 
subjection ! ' 

'"Splendid monster!' replies the weeping Cymothoe, 'I 
am struck with amazement. Thy accents are full of gentle- 
ness, and thou s|ieakest words of love ! Why, thou talkest like 
a man ! Thy fearful caresses do not slay me ! Tell me why ! 
But dost thou not hear the cries of Dryas, my old husband ? 
Centaur, fear for thy life ! His kisses are like ice, but his 
vengeance is cruel ; his hounds are flying in thy tracks ; his 
daves follow them ; haste thee to fly and leave me ! ' 

" ' I leave thee ! ' replies ihe Centaur. And he stifles a 
plaintive murmur on the lips of his captive. ' I leave thee ! 
jWhere is the Pirithous, the Alcides who dare come to dis- 
pute my conquest with me ? Have I not my javelins ? Have 
I not ray heavy club ? Have I not my swift speed ? Has not 
Neptune given to the Centaur the impetuous strength of the 
:orTO?' 

Then suddenly he bounded away full of courage, con- 
fidence and happiness, Cymothoe balanced as if she was 
hung in a moving net under these green vaults, or like as 
though borne in a chariot of clouds by Zephyrus, henceforth 
rids herself of her useless terrors and abandons herself to the 
raptures of this strange lover. 

" Again he sto|js and she admires the way nature has 
delighted to mate in him the lovely form of a horse with the 

ijestic features of a man. Intelligent thought animates his 
-{fiance, so proud and yet so gentle ; beneath that broad breast 
dwLlU a heart touched by her charms. . . . What a splendid 
«live to Cymothoe and to love ! 

" She soon stops looking ; a burning blush covers her 
cbeeks and her eyelids droop ; then, as her lover redoubles 
hu carcases, and unfastens her girdle — 

" ' Stay ! ' she says to him, ' stay, beauteous Centaur ! Dost 
thou not hear the fiery pack of hounds ? Do not the arrows 
histle in tliy ears. ... I do not indeed hate thee ; but leave 
me ! Leave vne ! ' 

But neither Dryas nor his hounds nor slaves come that 
way, and those were not the reason of Cymothoe's fears. He, 

iling— 

•• ' Calm thy fright ; come, let us cross the t\\«, aiwà ôiû t\q\. 

y-— 7 




98 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

<kt«d th« sacrifice «e an «bout to offer to the powerful Venus 
on the other side! . . . Soon, alas I the forests will see no 
mow such nuptials. Our fathers have succumbed, betrayed by 
th» w«ddtn& of Thetis and Peleus ; we are now few in number, 
Kditary. fV)||ptiw, not from man, weaker and less noble than we, 
but b«for« Death who pursues us. The laws of a mysterious 
natttt« havtt thus decrtKKl it ; the reign of our race is nearly 

OYWt 

***Thi» )iktb4\ deprived of the love of the gods who made it, 
must (snm old and the weak replace the strong; debased 
nuvrtaU will h«v« iK>thing but vain memories of the early joys 
»i thv worKI. 'l^hou art perhaps the last daughter of men 
ik«tin(H) to I» alliwl with our race; but thou wilt at least 
havt> lM»<»n th» nuvnt beautiful and the happiest I Come ! ' 

**'l1wt» «waks tho man-horse, and replacing his delightsome 
bui^Wn vw hi» l«rt> back, he runs to the river and rushes into 
\\» \\\xk\*X \it tho wavm, which sparkle round him in diamond 
«h«>AvxMt bunun^i with the setting fire of a summer sun. His 
*yv« ttvr\l vxn thiv» K>i the l>cauty which intoxicates him, he 
«wuu» aoTvvM \\w «trtttin and is lost to sight in the green depths 
whK>h ««tvtvh l>\uw the other side to the foot of the high 
H«v»unta»w, , . ," 

U IbU n^^ a |{<Nnùne bit of antiquity without a modem 
t\>wv*h In »t, likt» a Iv»» n?IW taken from the temple of Hercules 
at Tlwlw» w ^»li' 'l'hc«<>u« at Athens? 



CHAPTER XI 

-Her devotion to Rabbc — Sirong meat — A f pel à Dieu — Came et la 
.t»midie humaine — ta mort — Ultime lettert — Suicide — À Alphtme 
Rahbt, by Victor liago 




WE have been forgetful, more than forgetful, even un- 
grateful, in saying that Rabbe's one and only consola- 
tion was his pipe ; there was another. 

A young girl, named Adèle, spent three years with him ; but 
those three happy years only added fresh sorrows to Rabbe, 
for, soon, the beautiful fresh girl drooped like a flower at whose 
its a worm is gnawing ; she bowed her head, suffered for a 

then died. 
History has made much stir about certain devoted attach- 
jncnts ; no devotion could have been purer or more disinter- 
than the unnoticed devotion of this young girl, all the 
more complete that she crowned it with her death. 

A subject of this nature is either stated in three brief lines 
of bald fact, or is extended over a couple of volumes as a 
psychological study. Poor Adèle ! We have but four lines, and 
the memory of your devotion to offer you ! Her death drove 
Rabbe to despair ; from that time dates the most abandoned 
iod of his life. Rabbc found out not only that the seed» 
destruction were in him, but that they emanated from him. 
wails of despair from that moment became bitter and 
uent ; and his thoughts turned incessantly towards suicide 
so tltat they might become accustomed to the idea. Certain 
oranda hung always in his sight ; he called them his pain 
forts ; they were, indeed, the spiritual bie&d he fe4 >aivKv> 
«elf on. 

M 



lOO MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

We will give a few examples of his most remarkable thoughts 
from this lugubrious diary : — 

" The whole life of man is but one journey towards death." 

♦ 
" Man, from whence comes thy pride? It was a mistake for 
thee to have been conceived ; thy birth is a misfortune ; thy 
life a labour ; thy death inevitable." 

* 
" Thou living corpse I When wilt thou return to the dust ? 

ioliludc ! O death 1 I have drunk deep of thy austere delights. 
You are tny loves ! the only ones that are faithful to me ! " 

♦ 
" Every hour that passes by drives us towards the tomb and 
il hastened by the advance of those that precede it." 

" Bitter and cruel is the absence of God's face from me. 
How much longer wilt Thou make me suffer?" 

" Reflect in the morning that by night you may be no longer 
here ; and at night, that by morning you may have died." 

♦ 

"Sometimes there is a melancholy remembrance of the 
glorious days of youth, of that happiness which never seems 
•O great or so bitter as when remembered in the days of 
misiortunc ; at times, such collections confront the unfortunate 
wretch whose aspirations are towards death. Then, his despair 
turn» to melancholy — almost even to hope." 

" But these illusions of the beautiful days of youth pass and 
vanish away I Oh I what bitterness fills my soul ! Inexorable 
nature, fate, destiny of providence give me back the cup of 
life and «f happiness I My lips had scarcely touched it before 
you snatched it out of my trembling hands. Give me back 
(he rup I Give it back ! I am consumed by burning thirst ; 

1 hrtvo dprefivi-d luyxelf; you have deceived me; I have never 
itriiiik, I h«vt; never satisfied my thirst, for the hquid evapor- 
|||i!<l h^f blue fluuii-, which leaves behind it nothing but the 

rimell itf «ulphur and volcanoes." 

* 
" M/|tilninK from heaven I Why dost thou not rather strike 
Uéu lolly top» of ihote oak* and fir trees whose robust old age 



DEATH 



lOI 



has already braved a hundred winters? They, at least, have 
lived; and have satiated themselves with the sweets of the 
_earth!" 

♦ 

" I have been struck down in my prime ; for nine years I 
have been a prey, fighting against death. . . . Miserable wretch 
rhy has not the hand of God which smote me annihilated me 
"together?" 

Then, in consequence of his pains, the soul of the unhappy 
Rabbe rises to the level of prayer ; he, the sceptic, loses failh 
in unbelief and returns to God — 

"O my God 1" he exclaims in the solitudes of night, which 
carries the plaint of his groans and tears to the ears of his 
neighbours. " O my God ! If Thou art just, Thou must have 
a belter world in store for us ! O my God ! Thou who 
knowe^t all llie thoughts that I bare here before Thee and the 
remorse to which my scalding tears give expression ; O my 
God ! if the groanings of an unfortunate soul are heard by 
Thee, Thou must understand, O my God ! the heart that Thou 
didst give me, thou knowest the wishes it formed, and the 
insatiable desires that still possess it. Oh ! if afflictions have 
broken it, if the absence of all consolation and tenderness, if 
the most horrible solitude, have withered it, O my God ! help 
Thy wretched creature; give me faith in a better world to 
come ! Oh ! may I find beyond the grave what my soul, un- 
tiiscd and bewildered, has unceasingly craved for on this 



Then God took pity on him. He did not restore his health 
or hope, his youth, beauty and loves in this life ; those three 
illusions vanished all too soon : but God granted him the gift 

tears. And he thanked God for it. Towards the close of 
year 1829, the disease made such progress that Rabbe 
resolved he would not live to sec the op>ening of the year 1830. 
Thus, as he had addressed God, as he had addressed his soul, 
so he now addresses death — 

DEATH 

" Thou dJeit ! Thou hast reached the Umit Xa «Vv\tV\ 7^^ 
tbjagi comet at last ; the end of thy miseries, û\e \ie^\Tav«\% ol 



102 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



I 



thy happiness. Behold, death stands face to face with thee I 
Thou wilt not longer be able to wish for, nor to dread it 
Pains and weakness of body, sad heart-searchings, piercing 
spiritual anguish, devouring griefs, all are over ! Thou wilt 
never suffer them again ; thou goest in peace to brave the 
insolent pride of the successful evil-doer, the despising of fools 
and the abortive pity of those who dare to style themselves 
good. 

"The deprivation of many evils will not be an evil in itself; 
I have seen thee chafing at thy bit, shaking the humiliating 
chains of an adverse fate in despair ; I have often heard the 
distressing complaints which issued from the depths of thy 
oppressed heart. . . . Thou art satisfied at last. Haste thee 
to empty the cup of an unfortunate life, and perish the 
vase from which thou wast compelled to drink such bitter 
draughts. 

" But thou dost stop and tremble ! Thou dost curse the 
duration of thy suffering and yet dost dread and regret that the 
end has come ! Thou apprisest without reason or justice, and 
dost lament equally both what things are and what they cease 
to be. Listen, and think for one moment. 

" In dying, thou dost but follow the path thy forefathers 
have trodden ; thousands of generations before thee have 
fallen into the abyss into which thou hast to descend ; many 
thousands will fall into it after thee. The cruel vicissitude of 
life and death cannot be altered for thee alone. Onward then 
towards thy journey's end, follow where others have gone, and 
be not afraid of straying from it or losing thyself when thou 
hast so many other travelling companions. Let there be no 
signs of weakness, no tears I The man who weeps over his 
own death is the vilest and most despicable of all beings. Sub- 
mit unmurmuringly to the inevitable ; thou must die, as thou hast 
had to live, without will of thy own. Give back, therefore, without 
anxiety, thy life which thou receivest unconsciously. Neither 
birth nor death are in thy power. Rather rejoice, for thou art 
at the beginning of an immortal dawn. Those who surround 
thy deathbed, all those whom thou hast ever seen, of whom 
thou hast heard speak or read, the small number of those 
thou hast known especially well, the vast multitude of those who 
have lived formerly or been born or are to be bom in ages to 
come throughout the world, all these have gone or will go the 
road thou art going. Look with wise eyes upon the long 





APOSTROPHE TO DEATH 103 

cuavan of successive generations which have crossed the 
erts of life, fighting as they travel across the burning sands 
drop of the water which inflames their thirst more than 
ît ap^H-'ascs it ! Thou art swallowed up in the crowd directly 
I thou faliest : but looic how many others are falling too at the 
^■htme time with thee I 

^H " Wouldst thou desire to live for ever ? Wouldst thou 
^^pily wish thy life to last for a thousand years ? Remember 
pKte long hours of weariness in thy short career, thy frequent 
fainting under the burden. Thou wast aghast at the limited 
arizon of a short, uncertain and fugitive life : what wouldst 
3U have said if thou hadst seen an immeasurable, Inevitably 
3ng future of weariness and sorrow stretch before thy eyes ! 

" O mortals ! you weep over death, as though life were 

>melhing great and precious ! And yet the vilest insects that 

_ iwl share this rare treasure of life with you ! All march 

towards death because all yearn towards rest and perfect 

face. 

Behold ! the approach of the day that thou fain wouldst 

ive tried to bring nearer by thy prayers, if a jealous fate had 

not deferred it ; for which thou didst often sigh ; behold the 

jment which is to remove the capricious yoke of fortune 

Bin the trammels of human society, from the venomous 

»cks of thy fellow-creatures. Thou thinkest thou wilt cease 

to exist and that thought torments thee. . . . Well, but what 

proves to thee that thou wilt be annihilated? All the ages 

bave retained a hope in immortality. The belief in a spiritual 

'ïe was not merely a dogma of a few religious creeds ; it was 

'»e need and the cry of all nations that have covered the face of 

the earth. The European, in the luxuries of his capital towns, 

tte aboriginal American-Indian under his rude huts, both 

]ualiy dream of an immortal state ; all cry to the tribunal of 

Mure against the incompleteness of this life. 

" If lliou suffercst, it is well to die ; if thou art happy or 

linkcst thou art so, thou wilt gain by death since thy illusion 

Buld not have lasted long. Thou passest from a terrestrial 

ibilation to a pure and celestial one. Why look hack when 

liy foot is upon the threshold of its portals? The eternal 

ïtstrihutot rjf good and e\'il, our Sovereign Master, calls thee 

to Himself ; it is liy His desire thy prison flies open ; thy htavy 

chains are broken and thy exile is ended ; therefore rejoice I 

Thou wilt soar to the throne of thy King and Sai\\Qux\ 



ro4 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

" Ah ! if thou art not shackled with the weight of some un- 
expiated caime, thou wilt sing as thou diest ; and, like the 
Roman emperor, thou wilt rise up in thy agony at the very 
thought, and thou wouldst die standing with eyes turned 
towards the promised land ! 

" O Saint Preux and Werther ! O Jacob Ortis ! how far 
were you from reaching such heights as that ! Orators even to 
the death agony, your brains alone it is which lament ; man in 
his death throes, this actually dying creature, it is his heart 
that groans, his flesh that cries out, his spirit which doubts. 
Oh ! how well one feels that all that hollow philosophising does 
not reassure him as to the pain of the supreme moment, and 
especially against that terror of annihilation, which brought 
drops of sweat to the brow of Hamlet ! 

" One more cry — the last, then silence shall fall on him who 
suffered much." 

Moreover, Alphonse Rabbe wished there to be no doubt of 
how he died ; hear this, his will, which he signed ; there was 
to his mind no dishonour in digging himself a grave with his 
own hands between those of Cato of Utica and of Brutus — 

" 31 December 1839 

" Like Ugo Foscolo, I must write my ullime Itttere. If every 
man who had thought and felt deeply could die before the 
decline of his faculties from aj;e, and leave behind him his 
philosophical testament, that is to say, a profession of faith bold 
and sincere, written upon the planks of his coffin, there would 
be more truths recognised and saved from the regions of foolish- 
ness and the contemptible opinion of the vulgar. 

" I have other motives for executing this project. There are 
in the world various interesting men who have been my friends ; 
I wish them to know how I ended my life, I desire that even 
the indifferent, namely, the bulk of the general public (to 
whom I shall be a subject of conversation for about ten 
minutes — perhaps even that is an e-\aggerated supposition), 
should know, however poor an opinion I have of the majority 
of people, that I did not yield to cowardice, but that the cup 
of my weariness was already filled, when fresh wrongs came 
and overthrew it I wish, in conclusion, that my friends, those 
indifferent to me, and even my enemies, should know that I 
have but exercised quietly and with dignity the privilege that 



I 



SUICIDE 



105 



every man acquires from nature — the right to dispose of himself 
as he likes. This is the last thing that has interest for me this 
side the grave. All my hopes lie beyond it . . .if perchance 
there be anything beyond." 

Thus, poor Rabbe, after all thy philosophy, sifted as fine as 
ripe grain ; after all thy philosophising ; after many prayers to 
God and dialogues with thy soul, and many conversations with 
death, these supreme interlocutors have taught thee nothing 
and thy last thought is a doubt ! 

Rabbe had said he would not see the year 1830 : and he 
died during the night of the 31 December 1829. 

Now, how did he die? That gloomy mystery was kept 
locked in the hearts of the last friends who were present with 
him. But one of his friends told me that, the evening before 
his death, his sufferings were so unendurable, that the doctor 
ordered an opium plaster to be put on the sick man's chest. 
Next day, they hunted in vain for the opium plaster but could 
not find it. . . . 

On 17 September 1835, Victor Hugo addresses these lines 
to him : — 

À ALPHONSE RABBE 

Mart It 31 décembre 1839 

I jUa f que fun lu rlanc, ô Ralibe, A mon uni, 
évirc historien dans U ïambe endormi ? 



Je I'm pens^ souvent dans les heures funèbres, 
Seul, pris de mon flambeau qui myaii les ténèbres, 
O noble uni ! pareil aux hommes d'autrefoit, 
n manque parmi nous la voix ; la forte voix, 
Pleine de l'^iuil^ qui gunlUit ta poitrine. 

[il nous manque ta main, qui grave et qui burine, 
lDan« ce si^le o& par l'or les «a(;es sont distraits 
X>(k l'idre est irrvanie auprès des intérêts ; 
Temps de fruits avortèi et de tiges rompues, 
D'in«i iuri», de rainons corrompues, 

Oâ, •: I humain tout ^tant diii[>ers^, ' 

Le présent au basai d titille sut le potaé l 



io6 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Si, panni nous, ta tête était debout encore. 
Cette dme où vibrait l'éloquence sonore, 
Au milieu de nos flots tu serais calme et grand ; 
Tu serais comme un pont posé sur le courant. 
Tu serais pour chacun la tx>ix haute et sensée 
Qui fidt que, brouillard s'en va de la pensée. 
Et que la vérité, qu'en vain nous repoussions, 
Sort de l'amas confus des sombres visions ! 

Tu dirais aux partis qu'ils font trop be poussière 
Autour de la raison pour qu'on la voie entière; 
Au peuple, que la loi du travail est sur tous. 
Et qu'il est assez fort pour n'être pas jaloux ; 
Au pouvoir, que jamais le pouvoir ne se venge, 
Et que, pour le penseur, c'est un spectacle étrange. 
Et triste, quand la loi, figure au bras d'airain, 
Deésse qui ne doit avoir qu'un front serein, 
Sort, à de certains jours, de l'urne consulaire. 
L'œil hagard, écumante et folle de colère ! 

Et ces jeunes esprits, à qui tu souriais, 

Et que leur âge livre aux rêves inquiets, 

Tu leur dirais : Amis nés pour des temps prospères. 

Oh 1 n'allez pas errer comme ont erré vos pères ! 

Laissez mûrir vos fronts I gardez-vous, jeunes gens. 

Des systèmes dorés aux plumages changeants, 

Qui, dans les carrefours, s'en vont faire la roue 1 

Et de ce qu'en vos cœurs l'Amérique secoue, 

Peuple à peine essayé, nation de hasard. 

Sans tige, sans passé, sans histoire et sans art ! 

Et de cette sagesse impie, envenimée. 

Du cerveau de Voltaire éclose tout armée. 

Fille de l'ignorance et de l'orgueil, posant 

Les lois des anciens jours sur les mœurs d' à présent ; 

Qui refait un chaos partout où fut un monde ; 

Qui rudement enfoncé, — ô démence profonde I 

Le casque étroit de Sparte au front du vieux Paris; 

Qui, dans les temps passés, mal lus et mal compris. 

Viole effrontément tout sage, pour lui faire 

Un monstre qui serait la terreur de son père 1 

Si bien que les héros antiques tout tremblants 

S'en sont voilé la face, et qu' après deux mille ans, 

Par ses embrassements réveillé sous la pierre, 

Lycurgne, qu'elle épouse, en&nte Robespierre I " 



VICTOR HUGO'S POEM 



107 



Tu nons dirais i tous : * Ne vous endonnex pas ! 

Veillez et soyez prêts ! Car déjà, pas 1 pas, 

La main de l'oiseleur dans l'ombre s'est glissée 

Partout où chante un nid couvé par la pensée '■ 

Car les plus nobles fronts sont vaincus ou sont las ! 

Car la Pologne, auK fers, ne peut plus même, hélas I 

Mordre le pied tartare appuyé sur sa gorge ! 

Car on voit, chaque jour, s'allonger dans la forge 

La chaîne que les rois, craigiunt la liberté, 

Font pour celle geùnte, endomue à côté ! 

Ne vous endormez pas ! travaillez sans relâche ! 

Cai les grands ont leur œuvre et les petits leur tâche ; 

Chacun a son ouvrage i faire, chacun met 

Sa pierre 1 l'édifice encor loin du sommet — 

Qui croit avoir fini, pour un roi qu'on dépose. 

Se trompe : un roi qui tombe est toujours peu de chose ; 

Il est plus difficile et c'est un plus grand poids 

De relever les mœurs que d'abattre les rois. 

Rien chez vous n'est complet : la ruine ou l'ébauche ! 

L'épi n'est pas formé que votre main le fauche I 

Vous êtes encombrés de plans toujours rêvés 

Et jamais accomplis , . . ïlommes, vous ne savez, 

Tant vous connaissez |)cu ce qui convient aux imes, 

Que faire des enfiints, ni que faire des femmes ! 

Oft donc en etcs-vous? Vous vous applaudissez 

Pour quelques blocs de lois au hasard entassé:} ! 

Ah ! l'heure du repos pour aucun n'est venue ; 

Travaillez ! vous chercher une chose inconnue ; 

Vous n'avez pas de foi, vous n'avez pas d'amour ; 

Rico chez vous n'est encore éclairé du vrai jour ! 

Crépuscule et brouillards que vos plus clairs systèmes 

Dmns vos lois, dans vos mœurs et dans vos esprits 

même*, 
pvtoiut l'aube lilanchttre ou le couchant vermeil ! 
Nulle part le midi ! nulle part le soleil I ' 



Ta puterais ainsi dans des livres austères, 

Comme parlaient jadis les anciens solitaires, 

Comme parlent tous ceux devant qui l'on se tait. 

Et l'on t'écouiefMt comme on les écoutait ; 

Kt roll viendrait vers toi, daru ce siècle plein d'ombre, 

Où, chacun se heurtant aux obstacles sans nombre 

Que, faute de lumière, on tite avec la main, 

Le coii»eil manque h l'âme, et le guide au chctnvxv'. 




lo8 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Hélas 1 à chaque instant, des souffles de tempêtes 
Amassent plus de brume et d'ombre sur nos têtes; 
De moment en moment l'avenir s'assombrit. 
Dans le calme du cœur, dans la paix de l'esprit, 
Je l'adressais ces vers, où mon âme sereine 
N'a laissé sur ta pierre écumer nulle haine, 
A toi qui dors couché dans le tombeau profond, 
A toi qui ne sais plus ce que les hommes font I 
Je l'adressais ces vers, pleins de tristes présages ; 
Car c'est bien follement que nous nous croyons sages. 
Le combat furieux recommence k gronder 
Entre le droit de croître et le droit d'émonder; 
La bataille oit les lois attaquent les idées 
Se mêle de nouveau sur des mers mal sondées; 
Chacun se sent troublé comme l'eau sous le vent . . . 
Et moi-même, à cette heure, à mon foyer rêvant. 
Voilà, depuis cinq ans qu'on oubliait Procuste, 
Que j'entends aboyer, au seuil du drame augxiste, 
La censure à l'haleine immonde, aux ongles noirs. 
Cette chienne au front bas qui suit tous les pouvoirs. 
Vile et mâchant toujours dans sa gueule souillée, 
O muse I quelque pan de ta robe étoilée ! 
Hélas ! que &is-tu donc, 6 Rabbe, ô mon ami 1 
Sévère historien dans la tombe endormi?" 

If anything of poor Rabbe still survives, he will surely 
tremble with joy in his tomb at this tribute. Indeed, few 
kings have had such an epitaph! 



CHAPTER XII 

QléNB — His Ust compliments to Hard — Obituary of tSjo — My official 
visit on New Year's Day — A striking costume — Read the Afitnileui — 
Disbanding of the Artillery of the National Guard — First representa- 
tion of NapeUoH BtnaparU — Dclaistre — Frederick Lemattre 



MEANTIME, throughout the course of that glorious 
year of 1 830, death had been gathering in a harvest 
of celebrated men. 

It had begun with Chéron, the author of Tarlufe de Mœurs. 
We learnt his death in a singular fashion. Harel thought 
of taking up the only comedy that the good fellow had written, 
and had begun its rehearsals the same time as Christine, 
They rehearsed Chéron's comedy at ten in the rooming 
and Ckristin* at noon. One morning, Chéron, who was 
punctuality itself, was late. Harel had waitt;d a little while, 
then given orders to prepare the stage for Christine. Steinberg 
had not got further than his tenth line, when a little fellow of 
twelve years came from behind one of the wings and asked for 
M. Harel. 

" Here I am," said Harel, " what is it ? " 

"M. Chéron presents his compliments to you," said the 
little man, "and sends word that he cannot come to his 
rehearsal this morning." 

•• Why not, my boy ? " asked Harel. 

" Because he died last night," replied the little fellow. 

"Ah! diable I" exclaimed Harel; "in that case you must 
take bacJc my best compliments and tell him that I will attend 
his funetal to-morrow." 

That was the funeral oration tlie ex-government inspector to 
the Théitre-Français pronounced over him. 

109 




no MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

I believ« I have mentioned somewhere that Taylor 
succeeded Chéron, 

At the beginning of the year, on 15 February, Comte 
Marie de Chamans de Lavalette had also died ; he it was who, 
in 18 1 5, was saved by the devotion of his wife and of two 
Englishmen; one of whom, Sir Robert Wilson, I met in 1846 
when he was Governor of Gibraltar. Comte de Lavalette 
lived fifteen years after his condemnation to death ; caring 
for his wife, in his turn, for she had gone insane from the 
terrible anxiety she suffered in helping her husband to escape. 

On II March the obituary list was marked by the death 
of the Marquis de Lally-ToUendal, whom I knew well : he was 
the son of the Lally-l'ollendall who was executed in the place 
de GrSve as guilty of peculation, upon whom it will be 
recollected Gilbert wrote lines that were certainly some of 
his best The poor Marquis de Lally-ToUendal was always in 
trouble, but this did not prevent him from becoming enormously 
stout. He weighed nearly three hundred pounds; Madame 
de Staël called him " the fattest of sentient beings." 

Perhaps I have already said this somewhere. If so, I ask 
pardon for repeating it. 

The same month Radet died, the doyen of vaudevillists. 
During the latter years of his life he was afflicted with 
kleptomania, but his friends never minded; if, after his 
departure they missed anything they knew where to go and 
look for the missing article. 

Then, on 15 April, Hippolyte Bendo died. He was 
bdlindhand, for death, who was out of breath with running 
âtUtr him, caught him up at the age of one hundred and 
twenty-two. He had married again at one hundred and 
tmtt\ 

l'htm, on «3 April, died the Chevalier Sue, &ther of Eugène 
Hm ; hn hiu\ been honorary physician in chief to the house- 
htM frf King Charles x. He was a man of great originality of 
WilfMl and, at time», of singular artlessness of eiqHession ; those 
Who heard him give hi» course of lectures oa concbology will 
hair nie out in «hi» I am very sure. 



AN OBITUARY 



til 



^, 



On 29 May that excellent man Jérôme Gohier passed away, 
of whom I have spK)ken as an old friend of mine ; and who 
could not forgive Bonaparte for causing the events of i8 
Brumaire, whilst he, Gohier, was breakfasting with Josephine. 

On 29 June died good old M. Pieyre, former tutor and 
secretar)' to the due d'Orléans ; author of r École des fires ; 
and the same who, with old Bichet and M. de Parseval de 
Grandmaison, had shown such great friendship to me and 
supported me to the utmost at the beginning of my dramatic 
career. 

Then, on 29 July, a lady named Rosaria Pangallo died ; she 
was born on 3 August 1698, only four years after Voltaire, 
whom we thought belonged to a past age, as he had died in 
1778! The good lady was 132, ten years older than her 
compatriot Hippolyte Bendo, of whom we spoke just now. 

On 28 August Martainville died, hero of the Pont du Pecq, 
whom we saw fighting with M. Arnault over Germanicus. 

On 18 October Adam Weishaupt died, that famous leader 
of the Illuminati whose ashes I was to revive eighteen years 
later in my romance Joseph Balsamo. 

Then, on 30 November, Pius vni. passed to his account ; he 
was succeeded by Gregory xvi., of whom I shall have much 
to say. 

On 17 December Marmontel's son died in New York, 
America, in hospital, just as a real poet might have done. 

Then, on the jjst of the same month, the Comtesse de 
Genlis died, that bogie of my childhood, whose appearances 
U the Chateau de Villers-Hellon I related earlier in these 
Memoirs, and who, before she died, had the sorrow of seeing 
accession to the throne of her pupil, badly treated by her, 

a politician, in a letter which we printed in our Histoire de 
Louis- Philippe. 

Finally, on the last night of the old year, the artillery came 
to its end, killed by royal decree ; and, as I had not heard of this 
decree soon enough, it led me to make the absurd blunder I 
■m about to describe, which was probably amon^ &IL \.V\« 
gpevmnocs King Louis-Philippe believed he \\aA »:|^À£aX xnt 



112 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



the one that made him cherish the bitterest rancour towards 
me. The reader will recollect the resignation of one of our 
captains and my election to the rank thus left vacant ; he will 
further remember that, owing to the enthusiasm which fired 
me at that period, I undertook the command of a manoeuvre 
the day but one after my appointment This made the third 
change I had had to make in my uniform in five months : 
first, mounted National Guard ; then, from that, to a gunner in 
the artillery ; then, from a private to a captain in the same arm 
of the service. In due course New Year's day was approaching, 
and there had been a meeting to decide whether we should 
pay a visit of etiquette to the king or not. In order to avoid 
being placed upon the index for no good reason, it was 
decided to go. Consequently, a rendezvous was made for the 
next day, i January 1831, at nine in the morning, in the 
courtyard of the Palais-Royal. Whereupon we separated. I 
do not remember what caused me to he in bed longer than 
usual that New Year's morning 1831 ; but, to cut a long story 
short, when I looked at my watch, I saw that I had only 
just time, if that, to dress and reach the Palais-Royal. I 
summoned Joseph and, with his help, as nine o'clock was 
striking, I flew down stairs four steps at a time from my third 
•torey. I need hardly say that, being in such a tremendous hurry, 
of course there was no cab or carriage of any description to be 
had. Thus, I reached the courtyard of the Palais-Royal by a 
quartier past nine. It was crowded with officers waiting their 
turn to present their collective New Year's congratulations to 
the King of the French ; but, in the midst of all the various 
uniforms, that of the artillery was conspicuous by its absence. 
I glanced at the clock, and seeing that I was a quarter of an 
hour late, I thought the artillery had already taken up its 
position and that I should be able to join it either on the 
itaircaxes or in one of the apartments. I rushed quickly up 
the State stairway and reached the great audience chamber. 
Not a sign of any artillerymen ! I thought that, like Victor 
Hugo's kcttledrummere, the artillerymen must have passed 
Mild I decided U) go in alone. 



THE KING AND DUMAS 



113 



Had I not been so preoccupied with my unpunctuality, I 
should have remarked the strange looks fjeople cast at me all 
round ; but I saw nothing, thanks to my absent-mindedness, 
except that the group of officers, with whom 1 intermingled to 
enter the king's chamber, made a movement from centre to 
circumference, which left me as completely isolated as though 
I was suspected of bringing infection of cholera, which was 
beginning to be talked about in Paris. I attributed this act 
of repulsion to the part the artillery had played during the 
recent disturbances, and as I, for my part, was quite ready to 
answer for the responsibility of my own actions, I went in with 
my head held high. I should say, that out of the score of 
officers who formed the group I had honoured with my 
presence, I seemed to be the only one who attracted the 
attention of the king ; he even gazed at me with such surprise 

Et I looked around to find the cause of this incomprehen- 
le stare. Among those present some put on a scornful 
ile, others seemed alarmed ; and the expression of others, 
in, seemed to say : " Seigneur ; pardon us for having come 
in with that man ! " The whole thing was inexplicable to me. 
I went up to the king, who was so good as to speak to me. 

" Ah : good day, Dumas I " he said to me ; " that's just like 
you '• I recognise you well enough ! It is just like you to 
come ! " 

I looked at the king and, for the life of me, I could not tell 
at be was alluding to. Then, as he began laughing, and 
the good courtiers round imitated his eacample, I smiled in 
company with everybody else, and went on my way. In the 
next room where my steps led me I found Vatout, Oudard, 
Appert, Tallencourt, Casimir Delavigne and a host of my old 
coouades. They had seen me through the half-open door 
and they, too, were all laughing. This universal hilarity began 
to confuse me. 

" Ah I " said Vatout. " Well, you have a nerve, my friend ! " 
" W'hat do you mean ? " 

" Why, you have just paid the king a New Year's visit in «. 
dress of dissent." 
v.— S 



114 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

By dissous understand dix sous (ten sous). 

Vatout was an inveterate punster. 

" I do not understand you," I said, very seriously. 

" Come now," he said. " You aren't surely going to try to 
make us believe that you did not know the king's order 1 " 

"What order?" 

" The disbandment of the artillery, of course ! " 

"What ! the artillery is disbanded?" 

" Why, it is in black and white in the Moniteur ! " 

" You are joking. Do I ever read the Moniteur ? " 

" You are right to say that." 

" But, by Jove ! I say it because it is true ! " 

They all began laughing again. 

I will acknowledge that, by this time, I was dreadfully angry ; 
I had done a thing that, if considered in the light of an act of 
bravado, might indeed be regarded as a very grave imperti- 
nence, and one in which I, least of any person, had no right to 
indulge towards the king. I went down the staircase as 
quickly as I had gone up it, ran to the café du Roi, and asked 
for the Moniteur with a ferocity that astonished the frequenters 
of the café. They had to send out and borrow one from the 
café Minerve. The order was in a prominent position ; it was 
short, but explicit, and in these simple words — 

" Louis-Philippe, King of the French, — To all, now and 
hereafter. Greeting. Upon the report of our Minister, the 
Secretary of State for Home Affairs, we have ordained and 
do ordain as follows: — 

"Article i. — ^The corps of artillery of the National Guard 
of Paris is disbanded. 

"Article 2. — Proceedings for the reorganisation of that 
corps shall begin immediately. 

" Article 3. — A commission shall be appointed to proceed 
with that reorganisation." 

After seeing this official document I could have no further 
doubts upon the subject I went home, stripped myself of 
my seditious clothing, put on the dress of ordinary folk, and 
went off to the Odéon for my rehearsal of Napoleon Bonaparte, 



h 



THE KING AND DUMAS 



'13 



Had I not been so preoccupied with my unpunctuality, I 
should have remarked the strange looks people cast at me all 
round ; but 1 saw nothing, thanks to my absent-mindedness, 
except that the group of officers, with whom 1 intermingled to 
enter the king's chamber, made a movement from centre to 
circumference, which left me as completely isolated as though 
I was suspected of bringing infection of cholera, which was 
beginning to be talked about in Paris. I attributed this act 
of repulsion to the part the artillery had played during the 
recent disturbances, and as I, for my part, was quite ready to 
answer for the responsibility of my own actions, I went in with 
tny head held high. I should say, that out of the score of 
officers who formed the group I had honoured with my 
presence, I seemed to be the only one who attracted the 
attention of the king ; he even gazed at me with such surprise 
that I looked around to find the cause of this incomprehen- 
sible stare. Among those present some put on a scornful 
smile, others seemed alarmed ; and the expression of others, 
again, seemed to say: "Seigneur; pardon us for having come 
in with that man I " The whole thing was inexplicable to me. 
I went up to the king, who was so good as to speak to me. 

" Ah ! good day, Dumas ! " he said to me ; " that's just like 
you I I recognise you well enough ! It is just like you to 
come ! " 

I looked at the king and, for the life of me, I could not tell 

It he was alluding to. Then, as he began laughing, and 

the good courtiers round imitated his example, I smiled in 
company with everybody else, and went on my way. In the 
Bxt room where my steps led me I found Vatout, Oudard, 
Ipperl, Tallencourt, Casimir Dclavigne and a host of my old 
COfnndes. They had seen me through the half-open door 
and (he)', too, were all laughing. This universal hilarity began 
to confuse me 

" Ah I " said Vatout " Well, you have a nerve, my friend ! " 

' What do you mean ? " 

' Why, you have just paid the king a New Year's visit in & 
I of ditseus." 



ii6 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

tion conscientiously earned and well deserved. He had made 
his first appearances at the Cirque ; then, as we have stated, 
he came to act at the Odéon, in the part of one of the 
brothers in Les Macchabées, by M. Guiraud ; he next returned 
to the Ambigu, where he created the parts of Cartouche and 
of Cardillac, and, subsequently, he went to the Porte-Saint- 
Martin, where his name had become famous by his Méphisto- 
phélès, Marat and Le Joueur. He was a privileged actor, 
after the style of Kean, full of defects, but as full, also, of fine 
qualities ; he was a genius in parts requiring violence, strength, 
anger, sarcasm, caprice or buffoonery. At the same time, in 
summing up the gifts of this eminent actor, it is useless to 
expect of him attributes that Bocage possessed in such char- 
acters as the man Antony, and in La Tour de Nesle. Bocage 
and Frederick combined gave us the qualities that Talma, in 
his prime, gave us by himself. Frederick finally returned to 
the Odéon, where he played le Duresnel in La Mire et la FilU 
most wonderfully ; and where he next played Napoleon. But 
Frederick's great dramatic talents do not stand out most con- 
spicuously in the part of Napoleon. To speak of him 
adequately, we must dwell upon his Richard Darlington, 
Lucrice Borgia, Kean and Ruy Bias. 

In this manner did I stride across the invisible abyss that 
divided one year from another, and passed from the year 1830 
to that of 1 83 1, which brought me insensibly to my twenty- 
ninth year. 



BOOK II 



CHAPTER I 

Tb« AbW Châlel— The programme ol his church — The Curé of Lèves and 
M. Clausel de Montais — The Lévois embrace the religion of the 
primate of the Gauls — Mats in French — The Roman curé — A dead 
body to inter 

A TRIPLE movement of a very remarkable character arose 
^^[V at this time : political, literary and social. It seemed 
^Kb though after the Revolution of 1793, which had shaken, 
^^pvertumed and destroyed things generally, society grew 
^^nighlencd and exerted all its strength upon a general re- 
^Pbrganisation. This reconstruction, it is true, was more like 
that of the Tower of Babel than of Solomon's Temple. We 
have spoken about the literary builders and of the political 
too ; now let us say something about the social and religious 

E instructors. 
The first to show signs of existence was the Abbé Châtel. 
On JO February 1831, the French Catholic Church, situated 
the Boulevard Saint-Denis opened with this programme — 
"The ecclesiastic authorities who constitute the French 
Catholic Church propose, among other reforms, to celebrate all 
its religious ceremonies, as soon as circumstances will allow, in 
the popular tongue. The ministers of this new church exercise 
the offices of their ministry without imposing any remuneration. 
The offertory is entirely voluntary ; people need not even feel 
obliged to pay for their seats. No toliection of any kind will 
dîstorb the meditation of the faithful duT\rv£ X\\e VvoX'j qS^ças. 
"We do not recogaise any other ltnpe<i\meTv\% Xo tûircv^îjfc 

»«7 



Ii8 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

than those which are set forth by the civil law. Consequently, 
we will bestow the nuptial benediction on all those who shall 
present themselves to us provided with a certificate, proving 
the marriage to have taken place at the mairie, even in the 
case of one of the contracting parties being of the reformed or 
other religious sect" 

I need hardly say that the Abbé Châtel was excommunicated, 
put on the index and pronounced a heretic. But he continued 
saying mass in French all the same, and marrying after the civil 
code and not after the canons of the Church, and not charging 
anything for his seats. In spite of the advantages the new order 
of religious procedure offered, I do not know that it made great 
progress in Paris. As for its growth in the provinces, I 
presume it was restricted, or partially so, to one case that I 
witnessed towards the beginning of 1833. 

I was at Levéville, staying at the château of my dear and 
excellent friend, Auguste Barthélémy, one of those inheritors of 
an income of thirty thousand francs, who would have created a 
revolution in society in 1852, if society had not in 185 1 been 
miraculously saved by the coup éditât of 2 December 1 85 1 , when 
news was brought to us that the village of Lèves was in a state 
of open revolution. This village stands like an outpost on the 
road from Chartres to Paris and to Dreux ; so much for its 
topography. Now, it had the reputation of being one of the 
most peaceful villages in the whole of the Chartrian country- 
side, so much for its morality. What unforeseen event could 
therefore have upset the village of Lèves ? This was what had 
happened — 

L^ves possessed that rare article, a curé it adored! He 
was a fine and estimable priest of about forty years of age, a 
bon vivant, giving men handshakes that made them yell with 
pain; chucking maidens under their chins till they blushed 
again ; on Sundays being present at the dances with his cassock 
tucked up into his girdle ; which permitted of the display, like 
Mademoiselle Duchesnob in Alzire, of a well-turned sturdy 
leg ; urging his parishioners to shake off the cares of the week, 
to the sound of the violin and clarionet; pledging a health 




THE ABBÉ LEDRU 



119 



so 

K 




with the deeftest of the drinkers, and playing piquet with great 
proficiency. He was called Abbé Ledru, a fine name which, 
hke those of the first kings of France, seemed to be derived 
both from his physical and mental qualities. All these qualities 
(to which should be added the absence of the orthodox niece) 
were extremely congenial to the natives of Lèves, but were not 
so fortunate as to be properly appreciated by the Bishop of 
hartres, M. Clausel de Montais. True, the absence of a 
iece, which the Abbé Ledru viewed in the light of an advan- 
ge, could prove absolutely nothing, or, rather, it proved 
this — that the Abbé Ledru had never regarded the tithes as 
seriously abolished, and, consequently, exacted toll with all 
the goodwill in the world from his parishioners, or, to speak 
inore accurately, from his female parishioners. M. Clausel de 
ontals was then, as he is still, one of the strictest prelates 
ong the French clergy ; only, now he is twenty years older 
tlian he was then, which fact has not tended to soften his 
rigidness. When Monseigneur de Montais heard rumours, 
whether true or false, he immediately recalled the Abbé Ledru 
without asking the opinion of the inhabitants of Lèves, or 
warning a soul. If a thunderbolt had fallen upon the village 
of Lèves out of a cloudless sky it could not have produced a 
more unlooked-for sensation. The husbands cried at the top 
of their voices that they would keep their curé, the wives cried 
out even louder than their husbands and the daughters ex- 
imed loudest of alL The inhabitants of Lèves rose up 
1er and gathered in front of their bereft church ; they 
ited up their numbers, men, women and children ; alto- 
gether there were between eleven and twelve hundred souls. 
They dispatched a deputation of four hundred to M. Clausel 
de Montais. It comprised all the men of between twenty and 
sixty in the village. The deputation set out ; it looked like 
ft small army, except that it was without drunus or swords or 
Those who had sticks laid them against the town doors 
ht of them should frighten Monseigneur, the bishop, 
ties presented themselves at the bisho^'^ ^i^Xajon «.vA 
were shown in. They laid the ob)ect ot Xhevt n\s». \«.\,Qivt 'uafc 





I20 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

prelate and insistently demanded the reinstatement of the Curé 
Ledni. M. Clausel de Montais replied after the fashion of 
Sylla— 

" I can at times alter my plans — but my decrees are like those 
of fate, unalterable ! " 

They entreated and implored — it was useless ! 

What was the origin of M. de Montal's hatred towards the 
poor Abbé Ledru ? We will explain it, since these Memoirs 
were written with the intention of searching to the bottom of 
things and of laying bare the trifling causes that bring about 
great results. The Abbé Ledru had subscribed towards those 
who were wounded during July ; he had made a collection in 
favour of the Poles; he bad dressed the drummer of the 
National Guards of his commune out of his own pocket ; in 
brief, the Abbé Ledru was a patriot ; whilst M. de Montais, on 
the contrary, was not merely an ardent partisan, but also a 
great friend, of Charles x., and, according to report, one of the 
instigators of the Ordinances of July. It will be imagined that, 
after this, the diocese was not large enough to hold both the 
bishop and the curé within its boundaries. The lesser one had 
to give in. M. de Montais planted his episcopal sandal upon 
the Abbé Ledru and crushed him mercilessly ! 

The deputies returned to those who had sent them. As the 
Curé Ledru was enjoined to leave the presbytery immediately, 
a rich farmer in the district offered him a lodging and the 
church was closed. But, although the church was shut up, the 
need was still felt for some sort of religion. Now, as the 
peasantry of Lèves were not very particular as to the sort of 
religion they had, provided they had something, they made 
in(|uirie8 of the Abbé Ledru if there existed among the many 
religions of the various peoples of the earth one which would 
allow them to dispense with M. Clausel de Montais. The 
Abbé I^dru replied that there was that form of religion 
practised by the Abbé Châtel, and asked his parishioners if that 
would suit them. They found it possessed one great advantage 
in that they could follow the liturgy, which hitherto they had 
oever done, u it was said, in French instead of Latin. The 



SCHISM 



t2l 



inhabitants of Lèves pronounced with one common voice, that 
it was not so much the religion they clung to, as the priest, 
and that they would be delighted to understand what had 
hitherto been incomprehensible to them. The Abbé Ledru went 
to Paris to take a few lessons of the leader of the French church, 
and, when sufficiently initiated into the new form of religion, 
he returned to Lèves. His return was made the occasion of a 
triumphant fete ! A splendid bam just opp>osite their old Roman 
church, which had been closed more out of the scorn of the 
Lévois than because of the bishop's anger, was placed at his 
service and transformed into a place of worship. Everyone, as 
for the temporary altars at the fete of Corpus Christi, brought 
his share of adornment ; some the covering for the Holy Table, 
some altar candles, some the crucifix or the ciborium ; the 
carpenter put up the benches ; the glazier put glass into the 
windows ; the river supplied the lustral water and all was ready 
by the following Sunday. 

I have already mentioned that we were staying at the 
Château de Levéville. I did not know the Abbé Châtel and 
was ignorant of his religious theories ; so I thought it a good 
opportunity for initiating myself into the doctrine of the primate 
of the Gauls. I therefore suggested to Barthélémy that we 
should go and hear the Chàtellaisian mass ; he agreed and we 
^^■t ofT. It was somewhat more tedious than in Latin, as one 
^^ks almost obliged to listen. But that was the only difference 
^^k could discover between the two forms. Of course we were 
^^ot the only persons in the neighbourhood of Chartres who had 
been informed of the schism that had broken out between the 
Church of Lèves and the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic 
Church ; M. dc Mentals was perfectly acquainted with what 
was going on, and had hoped there would be some scandal 
during the mass for him to carp at : but the mass was celebrated 
without scandal, and the village of Lèves, which had listened 
to the whole of the divine office, left the bam quite as much 
edified as though leaving a proper church. 

But the result was fatal ; the example might becovcie \tA«c.- 
tious — people were strong?^ /ncJined toward» VoVlMuam'vtv i^'io. 



t22 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

The hMhop m» KÎzed with great axtger aai, sdS. mote, with 
holy Umftf. What woold happen if aH the Sock foilowEd the 
ttif/IMf^ (4 the erring sheep ? The biafaop woold be left by 
hitntAl tkmt, and hi» episcopal crook would become nsekss. 
A koman priest mmt at once be supplied to the parish of I>res, 
#h// tAniy\ tjittn\M. the Frtneh curé with whom it had provided 
\WM. 'I7ie news of this decision reached the Lérôis, who 
•((«in AMtemhled together and vowed to hai^ the priest, ito 
m«tt«r wtK> he was, who should come forward to enter iqioD 
\S\ts rpvmsi'iri lA I he f>ffice of the Abbé Ledru. An erent soon 
hNpfif^nf/l whi<:h afTordcd the buhop the opportunity of patting 
hl4 pUn Into exf^cution, and for the Lévois to keep thdr vow. 
A i>v<i« (iTHsant (IImI. This peasant, in spite of M. de 
MdfiUl's (l««4-l«rHtion, had, iMtforc he died, asked for the picwa jte 
(if N ('«Ihollr iirlrst, which consolation had been rcnaeè him; 
litil, «« hit WHS iiiil yrl buriwi, the bishop decided thae. >s cocn- 
|i«tii«Mll)iii, hi* nhoiild Ini interred with the full rites of àe Ladn 
( 'hull h, 'I'hl* hii|i|K'nrd on Monday, 13 March 1833. On the 
\\\\\, Mnimi'liiiirui, IliP liishop of Chartres, despatched to Lèves 
M MiiiitK ol bin I MlliiMlrnl named the Abbé DuraL The choice 
WMx N Htiiiil tiiM< •«lid «uitnblc under the circumstances. The 
Ablii* I MivhI wrtu by no lucnns one of that timid class of men 
will) rtH- mMiii iiirtil«< HhxiouR and frightened by the least thing ; 
III* WNii, iMi lhi> lohlirtrVi n nmn of eneigetic character with a 
H11K ihhIhjh', wIu'w ImII rtgurr was quite as well adapted to the 
W)>«)lii|t 1*1 llu> I ulitin» o( a oarttbinier as of a priest's cassock. 
«n till' .\l<l<»' IViVrtI iiUHrtl on his journey. He was not in 
♦•iitli»< IttimirtUH' *»l th<> dttiiKft» he was about to incur; but 
hi- «H» Mill »«»w» ((«vi* v\ \\w fuel that no missionary entering any 
\ ItliiiMf III \ h(l>»>M« U»w« had ever been so near to martyrdom. 
\ liK «i|<iM» i>t \\\\' K\»m*n prill's arrival soon spread through 
|l«i< « IIIhui' III I «'-\«'4 K^A>rylHHly at once retired into his house 
Hint «lui» liU \»i»i«« m\ windows. The poor abbé might at 
\\\*\ \^A\\' UiHttlin^J Utal \w had been given the cure of a city 
III lhi« \\\'\\\ \y\Y U*'«\wU«w«m or Pompeii. But, when he 
\Kx\\ hvi* \W \yy\vi' v*l Uw» vilUm*. he saw that all the doors 
M/i('«w/ *o»i»'|«HMi»tt«W *ml \h« window» were slily raised a Utde ; 



EVICTED I 



133 



and in a minute he and the mayor, who accompanied him, 
were surrounded by about thirty peasants who called upon him 
to go back. We must do the mayor and abbé the justice to 
say that they tried to offer resistance ; but, at the end of a 
quarter of an hour, the cries became so furious and the threats 
so terrible, that the mayor took the advantage of being within 
reach of his house to slink away and shut the door behind 
him, abandoning the Abbé Duval to his unhappy fate. It was 
extremely mean on the part of the mayor, but what can one 
expect ! Every magistrate is not a Bailly, just as every presi- 
dent is not a Boissy-d' Anglais — consult, rather, M. Sauzet, M. 
Bûchez and M. Uupin I Luckily for the poor abbé, at this 
critical moment a member of the council of the préfecture who 
was well known and much respected by the inhabitants of 
Lèves passed by in his carriage, inquired the cause of the 
uproar, pronounced in favour of the abbé, took possession 
of him and drove him back to Chartres. 
Meanwhile the dead man waited on t 



CHAPTER II 

Fine example of religious toleration — ^The AbW Oallier — ^The Circes of 
Lives — Waterloo after Leipzig — The Abbé Dallier is kept as 
hostage — ^The barricades — The stones of Chartres — The outlook — 
Preparations for fighting 

ALTHOUGH the Lévois had liberated their prisoner, 
they realised, none the less, that war was declared; 
threats and coarse words had been hurled at the bishop's head, 
but they knew his grace's character too well to expect that he 
would consider himself defeated. That did not matter, though 1 
They had made up their minds to push their faith in the new 
religion to the extreme test of martyrdom, if need be ! In the 
meantime, as there was nothing better to do, they proposed to 
get rid of the dead man, the innocent cause of all this rumpus. 
He had, it was said, abjured the Abbé Ledru with his last 
breath ; but it was not an assured fact and the report might 
even have been set about by the bishop ! moreover, new forms of 
religion are tolerant : the Abbé Ledru knew that he must lay 
the foundations of his on the side of leniency ; he forgave the 
dead man his momentary defection, supposing he had one, 
said a French mass for him and buried him according to 
the rites of the Abbé Chatel! Alas! the poor dead man 
seemed quite indifferent to the tongue in which they intoned 
mass over him and the manner in which they buried him ! 
They waited from 24 March until 29 April — nearly six weeks — 
before receiving any fresh attack from high quarters, and 
before the bishop showed any signs of his existence. The 
Abbé Ledru continued to say mass, and the Lévois thought 
they were fully authorised to follow the rite that suited them 
best for the good of their souls. 



REBELLION 



135 






But Sunday, 29 April, came at last, the date which the 
bishop and préfet had fixed for the re-opening of the Roman 
Church and the installation of a new priest. In the morning, 
a squadron of the 4th regiment of rifles and a half section 
of the gendarmerie came and took up their position in front 
of the church. An hour later than the soldiers, the Préfet of 
Rigny arrived, also the commander-general of the department 
and the chief of the gendarmerie. They brought with them 
a new abbé, Abbé Dallier. This priest came supported by a 
respectable body of armed force to reinstate the true God in 
the church. Things began to wear the look of a parody from 
the Lutrin. Notwithstanding all this, the whole of the popula- 
tion of Lèves had gradually collected in the street that we will 
call La rue des Grands-Prés, although I am very much afraid 
that we are really its spouses. To prevent the re-ojjening 
of the Latin Church, the women, who were even more bitter 
than the men against the re-opening, had crowded themselves 
together under the porch. The préfet tried to break through 
their ranks, followed by a locksmith ; for the Lévois threw the 
keys of the church into the river when the Abbé Duval 
Arrived. As the locksmith possessed no claims of an adminis- 

live nature, it was to him they addressed their outcries and 
threats. These rose to such a swelling diapason that the poor 
devil took fright and fled. It will be seen that the protecdon 
of the préfet only half assured him. The example proved 
contagious : for, whether the préfet in his turn gave way to 
fright at these cries, whether, without the locksmith, any 
attempts to open the church doors were useless, he too beat a 
retreat It is true, however, that they had just told him that 
the riflemen — seduced by the blamdishments of the women of 
Lèves, as the King of Ithaca's companions were by the witch- 
craft of Circe — had forgotten themselves so far before the 
arrival of the authorities above mentioned, as to shout : " Vive 
l'Abbé Ledru!" "Vive l'Église française!" It was rather a 
seditious cry, at a (jcriod when the army neither voted nor 
deliberated ! Whatever the cause, the préfet, as we have 
said, beat a retreat. Just at this momeT\X ibe KV>\^ \je&v\ 



liA Mf^MùikS^ OF AUEXASDttE DUXAS 

(ipp^KftiA ^r t^A <ir>nr of hi» ïmm. ffonr wamea at once 
MMdmtMf rhMWMJve» an aiiiuHstllectDra^ cuing: tfaeàr anc- 
4ri<tM^HM npfATM M »lm»^M»KS. Tbe anal of die fiiur 
MtVkAfksw #M i>m]^ki9<t(t in die p mrfawr of taHL-<ier4œ far 
ASé 4<M«^iW. V^M if (M Ahhé LeÂn: «m i^se auit anrnpt 
nAi'i^f M #M H, mà«Kàr tbit éaat'BSÙssanà ana idea? 
WMfmH M /it^i^y /Vt^.Arefoi amf the «ehI: siK: The sokiieTay 
hHm ^h^in(iH% " V>w rA^>bé Leécm:^ ■âam. m tfaat afab^s 
hAfilf». (if^ »/r f»!* *i»f«(WHM7 o4 die iTHnA Cbmcfa— dris wm, 
fM\H^, M iM>f)^>tM thing f If he had htami. how to take 
«<f/(«ft»(»^ <»^ O»*» f«»«« of nnnd *« mSueh woe in, die 
AtM ttt^tii mniM hate heen equal to i^râg œge to Rome, 
«* rtirt fh^ ( VrfiMuhl* f>f Bourbon, But bis amfaitkn, profaablj, 
Ml Hhtttt nt »»l* (irftd he did not erea make Ae soggestioD. 

MM/TWhll^ »h« préfet, the general -oommaDder of the 
ri^lfUfffrO'ft» «fid the chief of the gendarmerie were debating 
Nt H1^ «ftHlfl*» «(• to the action they should take. The officers 
»tf Hi»« HflftttPii fpit that their men were almost escaping fix>m 
WihU HiitlMi); Ihf* A(|uadron threatened to appoint the primate 
n> tUh ( »H(tli» M It» ilmplnln, and to proclaim that, if the Roman 
( 'iitl<«(ll<- fcllKlon WHS the ritual of the State the French form 
«liKtilil Ut> thni of the Army. It was decided to send for the 
k\tm'<* Nll«iM«»>v. who was supposed to have a shrewd head 
M^ miiIvhI Nil hour Inter with two deputies and a judge. The 
«miMtlMth («t ilrtcmpn continued drinking the health of the 
•\\iU^ \ hImi Mtul to the supremacy of the French Church. 
Mhltil)««H-tl hy Kiur ntagistrates, the préfet, commander- 
H»<t(t<Ml 1*1 tl)*> tt(>|Mtrtmpnt and chief of the gendarmerie 
tMHl» lh*»U w*v t»> thp rwe de« Grtnds-Prés. The street was 
my* llh«mHv |»rt\ Vwl. Th*y meant to make a second attempt 
\\\im »ltv> »4\«(vh> IVy had reckoned that this body of 
mlHUU »lm\»<»»<*^ oWl and magisterial, would have an 
^tt» (tujU^mm vil^»s^ v^\ the crowd. Bah! die people only 

*MS*\VA\ ^^Ift »^* !'*»<*»»» Î* "Down widi die Jesmts!" 
» \V%*\ *\V^ \W UxKvV- ~* « ♦ • *L«m Sre the Kint «od die 



EXTREME MEASURES 



127 



K, 



The préfet tried to speak, the king's attorney tried to 
demand, the deputies tried threats, the judge to op>en the 
code, the general tried to draw his sword, the chief of the 
gendarmerie attempted to flourish his sabre ; but every one 
of their efforts were frustrated and drowned in the singing 
of La Parisienne and La Marseillaise. These gentlemen had 
a good mind to make the call to arms, but the attitude of the 
troop was too doubtful for them to risk the chance. The 
préfet withdrew a second time, followed by the general, chief 
of gendarmerie, king's attorney, deputies and the judge. It 
was a case of Waterloo after Leipzig ! A minute later, the 
troop received orders to quit the rue des Grands-Prés ; and, as 
there was nothing hostile against the population in such 
an order, the troop obeyed. Soldiers and inhabitants embraced 
and fniiemised and drank together for the third time, then 
separated. The Lévois believed that the préfet had definitely 
renounced the idea of opening the church ; but their delusion 
was not of long duration. News came to them that an orderly 
had been sent off to Chartres, charged with the commission of 
bringing back another squadron of rifles and all the reinforce- 
ments they could possibly muster. Whereupon the cry of 
** To arma ! " was set up. At this war cry, a man in a cassock 

;empted to fly — it was the Abbé Dallier, who had been 

mpletely forgotten by the préfet, general, chief of gendar- 
merie, king's attorney, the two deputies and the judge, in their 
precipitation to beat a retreat ! The poor abbé was caught by 
his cassock and made prisoner and shut up in a cellar, while 
they armouticed to him, through the grating, that he was to be 
kept as hostage and that if the slightest injury happened to any 
inhabitant of the village commune, the penalty of retaliation 
would be ap[}lied to him in full force. They next began to 
construct barricades at each end of the rue des Grands-Prés, 
where stood, as we know, both the I-atin and French churches. 
For the material wherewith to build these barricades, which 
rose up as quick as thought, a wooden shoemaker gave three 
or foiur bf-ams, a carter brought two or three waggons, the 

loolmaxier took his desks and the inh&biva.T\Xs tn^.*^^ «xi 



t2» MEMOIRS OP ALEXANDRE DUMAS 
0fylitt(l *d tfadr fbotten. The street lids collected heaps 

I do not knov wbedier my leadeis are acqaainted with the 
ChrutM» «tooes; they are pretty ones that Taiyfrom the sire 
(Of s pif/eotifê efg to that of an ostrich, and when btxiken, either 
t/y gttor natttw, Uiey show an edge as shatp as that of a razor. 
CbêtUa» k putly paved widi these stones, and the paviois are 
mmtiy careful to place die sharp edges opwaids so that the 
(Mtkwtnan'f boots may come in contact with them; which 
mukm one think with some justification that the wnthy guild 
of tboemakitn must give the paviors a coosidention. One of 
fay ffisnds, Noël Parfait, a true Chaitrian, and jealous, as are 
«U tfWiii*»iUîd patriots, of the honour of his ooontry, maintains 
Hmt Omnre* wa* once a seaport, and that ^«ese stones are 
cUmtiy th«! «bingk that the ocean swell ûaw mit on the beach 
in foffmr tittut». In an hour's time, âteve was enough 
lunmunition behind each barricade to hold -a à<^ for eight 
d«y«. I'rujtictilcs, also, grew under the haz»d$i, or rather, the 
fti4st, fi( tU« providers. One individual climbed the church 
lower, U) wat£l> the Chartres rood in order to sound the alarm 
M «mm «s lite troop appeared in sight The Abbé Ledru 
liUtwteâ the fighters, and invoked the God of armies in 
Frendi; then they waited, ready for anything that might 
hiinmn. All thene preparations had been made in sight of 
th« riflemtin and gendarmes who, withdrawn to the Grand- 
Kue, iMjked on at all these preparations for fighing without 
protest. Truly, the wretched fellows were won over to heresy. 
Ten minutes after the finishing of the barricades, the alarm 
bell sounded. It signified that troops had left Chartres. 
These troops were preceded by a locksmith, who was brought 
under the escort of two gendarmes ; but the man was so railed 
at by the Abbé Ledru's fierce sectaries, as soon as the first 
houses in Lèves were reached, that he took advantage of a 
momentary hesitation on the part of the two gendarmes to 
■lip between the legs of the one on his right, reach a garden 
and disappear into the fields I This was the second locksmith 
that melted away out of the clutch of authority. It reminds 



ARMED RESISTANCE 



129 



one of those rearguards of the army of Russia which slipped 
through Ney's hands ! The new troops came on the scene 
full of alacrity. Care was taken that they did not come into 
contact with the disaffected squadron, and they decided to take 
the barricades by main force. But, at the same time, about 
thirty Chartrain patriots hurried up to the assistance of the 
insurgents — amateurs, desirous of taking their part in the 
dangers of their brothers of Lèves. They were greeted with 
shouts of joy; La Parisienne and La Marseillaise were 
thundered forth more loudly, and the tocsin rang more wildly 
than ever ! The préfet and the general headed the riflemen, 
and the force marched up to the barricade. 



CHAPTER III 

Attack of the barricade — A sequel to Malplaquet— The Grenadier— The 
Chartrian philanthropists — Sack of the bishop's palace — A &ncy 
dress — How order was restored — The culprits both small and great — 
Death of the Abbé Ledm— Scruples of conscience of the former 
schismatics — The Dits irte of Kosciusko 

AT this period it was still usual to summon the insurgents 
to withdraw, and this the préfet did. They responded 
by a hailstorm of stones, one of them hitting the general. This 
time, he lost all patience and shouted — 

" Forward ! " and the men charged the barricade sword in 
hand. The Lévois made a splendid resistance, but a dozen or 
more riflemen managed to clear the obstacle ; however, when 
they reached the other side of the barricade, they were over- 
whelmed with stones, thrown down and disarmed. Blood had 
flowed on both sides ; and temper was roused to boiling point ; 
it would have gone badly with the dozen prisoners if some 
men, who were either less heated or more prudent than the 
rest, had not carried them off and thus saved their lives.' Let 
us confess, with no desire whatever of casting a slur on the 
army, which we would uphold at all times, and, nowadays, 
more than ever, that, from that moment, every attempt of the 
riflemen to take the barricade failed I But what else can be 
said ? It is a matter of history ; as are Poitiers, Agincourt and 
Malplaquet 1 A shower of stones fell, compared with which 
the one that annihilated the Amalekites was but an April 
shower. 

The préfet and the general finally decided to give up the 
enteiprise ; they sounded the retreat and took their road back 

«3» 



THE GRENADIER 



131 



to Chartres. As the insurgents did not know what to do with 
their prisoners, and being afraid of a siege, and not having any 
desire to burden themselves with useless mouths, the riflemen 
were released on parole. They could not believe in the retreat 
of the troops ; it was in vain the watchmen in the tower 
shouted, " Victory ! " The conviction did not really take hold 
of the minds of the Lévois until their look-out declared that the 
last soldier had entered Chartres. Such being the case, it was 
but one step to turn from doubt to boldness : they began by 
giving aid to the wounded ; then, as no signs of any uniforms 
reappeared upon the high road, by degrees they grew bolder, 
until they arrived at such a pitch of enthusiasm that one of the 
insurgents, having ventiued the suggestion that they should 
march the Abbé Dallier round the walls of Chartres, as Achilles 
had led Hector round the walls of Pergamus, the proposition 
was received with acclamation. But, as the vanquished man 
was alive and not dead, they put a rope round his neck 
instead of round his ankles and the other end was placed in 
the hands of one of the Abbé Ledru's most excited penitents, who 
went by the name of the Grenadier. I need hardly add that 
the penitent's name was, like that of the Abbé Ledru, con- 
spicuous for the physical and moral qualities of a virago. 
Eveiy man filled his pockets with stones in readiness for attack 
or defence, and the folk set out for Chartres, escorting the 
condemned man, who marched towards martyrdom with 
visible distaste. It is half a league between Lèves and 
Chartres ; and that half league was a real Via Dolorosa to the 
poor priest. The Lévois had calculated to perfection what 
they were doing when they gave the rope's end to the care of 
the Grenadier. When the savages of Florida wish to inflict 
extreme punishment on any of theii prisoners they hand the 
criminals over to the women and children. When the victors 
reacbed Chartres, they did not find the opposition they had 
looked for ; but they found something else equally unexpected : 
tbejf saw neither préfet, nor general, nor chief of the 
gendarmerie, nor king's attome>', neither deputies nor jud^jta-, 
bat Mveral philanthropists approached them and made ^«xel 



132 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



listen to what was styled, at the end of last centuiy, the 
language of reason — 

It was not the poor priest's fault that he had been selected 
by the bishop to replace the Abbé Ledru ; he did not know 
in what esteem his parishioners held him, he was neither more 
nor less blameworthy than his predecessor, the Abbé Duval ; 
and when the one had come to a flock of sheep, why should 
another priest fall among a band of tigers ? It was the fault 
of the bishop, who had instantly and brutally deposed the 
Abbé Ledru, and then had the audacity to appoint first one 
and then another successor ! 

Upon this very reasonable discourse, the scales fell from the 
eyes of the inhabitants of Lèves, as from Saint Paul's, and 
they began to see things in their true light. The effect of 
their enlightenment was to make them untie the rope and 
to let the Abbé Dallier go free with many apologies. But, 
at the same time, it was unanimously agreed that, since 
there was a rope all ready, the bishop should be hanged 
with it 

When people conceive such brilliant ideas, they lose no time 
in putting them into execution. So they directed their steps 
rapidly in the direction of M. Clausel de Montal's sumptuous 
dwelling-place. But although these avenging spirits had made 
all diligence, M. Clause! de Montais had made still greater; 
to such an extent that, when the hangmen arrived at the 
bishop's palace, they could nowhere find him whom they had 
come to hang : Monseigneur the bishop had departed, and with 
very good reason too ! We know what happens under such 
circumstances ; things pay for men, and the bishop's palace 
had to pay instead of the bishop. This was the era of sacri- 
lege ; the sacking of the palace of the Archbishop of Paris had 
set the fashion of the destruction of religious houses. They 
broke the window panes and the mirrors over the mantelpieces, 
they tore down the curtains, and transformed them into 
banners. Finally, they reached the billiard room, where they 
fenced with the cues, and threw the balls at each other's heads, 
trhilat a sailor neatly cut off tlie cloth from the billiard table. 



RAID ON THE BISHOP'S PALACE 133 



which he rolled into a ball and tucked under his arm. Three 
or four days later, he had made a coat, waistcoat and trousers 
out of it, and promenaded the streets of Lèves, amidst the 
enthusiastic applause of his fellow-citi/ens, dad entirely in 
green cloth, like one of the Earl of Lincoln's archers ! But 
the life the Lévois led in the palace was too delightful to last 
for long ; authority bestirred itself ; they brought the riflemen 
out of their barracks once more, and beat the rappel, and, a 
certain number of the National Guard having taken up arms, 
they directed their combined forces upon the palace. The 
attack was too completely unexpected for the spoilers to dream 
of offering resistance. They went further than that, and, in- 
stead of the wise retreat one would have expected from men 
who had vanquished the troops which one is accustomed to 
call the best in the world, they took to flight as rapidly as 
possible: leaping out of the windows into the garden and 
soding the walls, they ran across the fields and regained Lèves 
in complete disorder. 'I'hat same night every trace of barri- 
cading disappeared. Next day, each inhabitant of I^ves 
attended to his work or play or business. They were thinking 
nothing about the recent events, when, suddenly, they saw 
quite an army arriving at Chartres from Paris, Versailles and 
Orléans. This army was carrying twenty pieces of artillery 
with it. It was commanded by General Schramm, and was 
coming to restore order. Order had been re-established for 
the last fortnight, unassisted I That did not matter, however ; 
seeing there had been disorder, they were marching on Lèves 
to carry out a razzia. 

The threatened village quietly watched this left-handed 
iustice approacii : its eleven to twelve hundred inhabitants 
modestly stood at their doors and windows. Peace and inno- 
cence teigned throughout from cast to west, from north to 
soutb; anyone entering might have thought it the valley of 
Tempe, when Apollo tended the flocks of King Admetus. 
The inhabitants of Lèves looked as though they were the actors 
in thai play (I cannot recall which it is), where Odt^ V\aà ^wV 
for the commissary at ihe wrong moment and, u\\et\ \X\t tova- 



134 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



tnissary arrived, everybody was in unity again ; so that everybody 
asked in profound surprise — 

" Who sent for a commissary ? Did you ? or you ? or you ? " 
" No. ... I asked for a commissionaire," replied Odry ; 
"just an ordinary messenger, that is all ! " and the agent took 
himself off abashed and with empty hands. 

That happened in the piece, but not exactly in the same 
way at Lèves. A score of persons were arrested, and these 
were divided into two categories: the least guilty and the 
most guilty. The least guilty were handed over to the juris- 
diction of the police ; the guiltiest were sent before the Court 
of Assizes. A very curious thing resulted from this separation. 
At that time, the police correctionelU always sentenced, whilst 
the jury acquitted only too eagerly. The least guilty men who 
appeared before the police correctionnelle were found guilty, 
while the most culpable, who were tried before a jury, were 
acquitted. The sailor in the green cloth was one of the most 
guilty, and was produced before the jury as an indisputable 
piece of evidence. The jury declared that billiard tables had 
not a monopoly for clothing in green ; that if a citizen liked to 
dress like a billiard table, why ! political opinions were free, so 
a man surely might indulge his individual fancy in his style of 
dress. The religious question was decided in favour of the 
French Church, and this decision lasted as long as the Abbé 
Ledru himself, namely, four or five years; during which 
period of time the parish of Lèves was separated from the 
general religion of the kingdom, in France, without producing 
any great sensation. At the end of that time, the Abbé Ledru 
committed the stupidity of dying. I am unaware in what 
tongue and rites he was interred ; but I do know that, the day 
after his death, the Lcvois asked the bishop for another 
priest, and this bishop proved a kind father to his prodigal 
children and sent them one. 

The third was received with as many honours as the two 
previously appointed had been received with insults on their 
arrival The French Church was closed, the Roman 
CaihoYic religion re-established, and the new priest returned 



I 



RETURN TO ORTHODOXY 



135 



to the old presbytery ; the Grenadier became the most fervent 
and humble of his penitents, and the tongue of Cicero and 
Tacitus again became the dominical one of the Lévois, returned 
to the bosom of Holy Church. 

But Barthélémy wrote to me, a little time ago, that there 
were serious scruples in some weak minds. Were the infants 
baptised, the adults married, and the old people buried by 
the Abbé Ledru during his schism with Gregory xvi., really 
properly baptised and married and buried? It did not 
matter to the baptised souls, who could return and be baptised 
by an orthodox hand ; nor again to the married ones, who 
had but to have a second mass said over them and to pass 
tmder the canopy once more, but it mattered terribly to the 
dead ; for they could neither be sought for nor recognised one 
from another. Happily God will recognise those whom the 
blindness of human eyes prevents from seeing, and I am sure 
tl>at He will forgive the Lévois their temporary heresy for the 
sake of their good intention. 

This event, and the conversion of Casimir Delavigne to the 
observances of the French religion, were the culminating points 
in the fortunes of the Abbé Châtel, primate of the Gauls. 
Casimir Delavigne, who gave his sanction to all new phases of 
power; who sanctioned the authority of Louis xviit. in his 
play entitled. Du besoin de s'unir apris le départ des étrangers ; 
«ho sanctioned the prerogative of Louis-Philippe in his 
immortal, or say rather everlasting, Porisienne ; Casimir 
Delavigne sanctioned the authority of the primate of the 
Gauls by his translation of the Dies ira, dies ilia, which was 
chanted by Abbé Cliâtel's choristers at the mass which the 
latter said in French at the funeral service of Kosciusko. 
The Abbd Cliâtel posses.sed this good quality, that he openly 
declared for the people as against kings. 

Here is the poem ; it is little known and desen'es to be 
better known than it is. It is, therefore, in the hope of 
incieasing its reputation that we bring it to the notice of our 
readen. It was sung at the French Church on 2 3 Fcbtviar) 
1831 .— 




6 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

"Jour de colère, jour de larmes. 
Où le sort, qui trahit nos armes, 
Arrêta son vol glorieux ! 

A tes côtés, ombre chérie. 

Elle tomba, notre patrie, 

Et ta main lui ferma les yeux ! 

Tu vis, de ses membres livides. 
Les rois, comme des loups avides. 
S'arracher les lambeaux épars : 

Le fer, dégouttant de carnage. 
Pour en grossir leur héritage. 
De son cadavre fit trois parts. 

La Pologne ainsi partagée. 

Quel bras humain l'aurait vengée? 

Dieu seul pouvait la secourir ! 

Toi-même tu la crus sans vie; 
Mais, son cœur, c'était Varsovie : 
Le feu sacré n'y put mourir ! 

Que ta grande ombre se relive ; 
Secoue, en reprenant ton glaive. 
Le sommeil de l'éternité ! 

J'entends le signal des batailles, 
Et le chant de tes funcrailles 
Est un hymne de liberté t 

Tombez, tombez, boiles funèbres ! 
La Pologne sort des ténèbres, 
Féconde en nouveaux défenseurs I 

Par la liberté ranimée. 

De sa chaîne elle s'est armée 

Pour en frapper ses oppresseurs. 

Cette main qu'elle te présente 
Sera bientôt libre et sanglante ; 
Tends-lui la main du haut des deux. 



DIES IR^ 



137 



Descends pour venger ses injures. 
Ou pour entourer ses blessures 
De ton linceul victorieux. 

Si cette France qu'elle appelle. 
Trop loin — ne pent vaincre avec elle, 
Que Dieu, du moins, soit son appui. 

Trop haut, si Dieu ne peut l'entendre. 
Eh bien ! mourons pour la défendre, 
Et nous irons nous plaindre à lui t " 



We do not believe to-day that the Abbé Châtel is dead; 
bat, if we judge of his health by the cobwebs which adorn the 
hinges and bolts of the French Church, we shall not be afraid 
to assert that he is very ill indeed. 



CHAPTER IV 

The Abbé de Lamennais — Hi» prediction of the Revolution of 1830 — 
Enten the Qiurch — Hix views on the Empire — Casimir Delavigne, 
Royalist — His early days — Two pieces of poetry by M. de Lamennais — 
His literary vocation — £ssay em Indiffennu in Reiigious MaUtn — 
Reception given to this book by the Church — ^The academy of the 
château de la Chesnaie 

WE now ask permission to approach a more serious 
subject, and to dedicate this chapter (were it only for 
the purpose of forming a contrast with the preceding chapters) 
to one of the finest and greatest of modem geniuses, to the 
Abbé de Lamennais. We speak of a period two months after 
the Revolution of 1830. 

Out of the wilds of Brittany, that is, from the château de la 
Chesnaie, there appeared a priest of forty, small of stature, 
nervous and pale,- with stubbly hair, and high forehead, the 
head compressed at the sides as though it were enclosed by 
walls of bone; a sign, according to Gall, indicative of the absence 
in man of cupidity, cunning and acquisitiveness ; the nose long, 
with dilated nostrils, denoting high intelligence, according to 
Lavater ; and, last, a piercing glance and a determined chin. 
Everything connected with the man's external appearance 
revealed his Celtic origin. Such was the Abbé de la Mennais, 
whose name was written in three different ways, like that of 
M. DE LA Martine, each different way in which he wrote it 
indicating the different phases of the development of his mind 
and the progress of his opinion. We say of his opinion and 
not opinions, for these three phases, as in Raphael's three 
styles, mean, not a change of style, but a perfecting of style. 

Into the thick of the i^taUon going on in silent thought or 

13» 



THE ABBÉ DE LAMENNAIS 



«39 



open speech, the austere Breton came to teach the world a 
word they had not expected ; in fact at that time M. de la 
Mennais was looked upon as a supporter of both Throne and 
Church. The throne had just fallen, and the Church was 
shaking violently from the changes which the events of 1830 
had wrought in social institutions. But the world was mis- 
taken with regard to the views of the great writer, because it 
only saw in him the author of L'Essai sur rindifférence en 
matière de religion, a strange book, in which that virile imagina- 
tion strove against his century, struggling with the spirit of the 
times, as Jacob strove with the angel. People forgot that in 
i8z8, during the Martignac Ministry, the same de Lamennais 
had hurled a book into the controversy which had predicted a 
certain degree of intellectual revival ; I refer to Du pmcrh de 
la Revolution et de la guerre contre P Église. In this book, the 
Revolution of 1830 was foretold as an inevitable event. 
Listen carefully to his words — 

"And even to-day when there no longer really exists any 
government, since it has become the tool and the plaything of 
the boldest or of the most powerful ; to-day, when democracy 
triumphs openly, is there any more calm in its own breast? 
Could one find, moreover, no matter what the nature of his 
opinions may be, one man, one single man, who desires what is, 
and who desires only that and nothing morel Never, on the 
I other hand, has he more eagerly longed for a new order of 
'things; everybody cries out for, the whole world is calling for, 
a revolution, whether they admit it or are conscious of it ihem- 
selvts. Yes, it will come, because it is imperative that nations 
shall be unitedly educated and chastised ; because, according to 
the umtmon laws of Providence, a revolution is indispensable for 
the preparation of a true social regeneration. France will not 
be the only scene of action : it will extend everywhere where 
Liberalism rules either in doctrine or in sentiment ; and under this 
latter form it is universal." 

In the preface to the same book, M. de Lamennais had 
^already said — 

"That France and Europe are marching towards (xcsJn 
revolutions is now apparent to everybody. 't\ie wvosV \ssv- 



140 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



daunted hopes which have fed themselves for long on interest 
or stupidity give way before the evidence of facts, in the face of 
which it is no longer possible for anyone to delude himself. 
Nothing can remtiin as it is, everything is unsettled, totters 
towards a change. Conturbatot sunt génies et incUnata sunt . 
regna." M 

We underline nothing in this second paragraph because we 
should have to underline the whole. Let us pass on to the , 
last words of the book — fl 

" The time is coming when it will be said to those who are in 
darkness : ' Behold the light ! ' And they will arise, and, with 
gaze fixed on that divine radiance will, with repentance and 
surprise, yet filled with joy, worship that spirit which restores 
all disorder, reveals all truth, enlightens every intelligence : 
oritns ex alio." 



The above expressions are those of a prophet as well as of a 
poet; they reveal what neither the Guizots, the Moles, the 
Broglies, nor even the Casimir Périers saw, nor, indeed, any of 
those we are accustomed to style statesmen foresaw. 

In this work NL de Lamennais appealed solemnly " for the 
alliance of Catholics with all sincere Liberal spirits." This book 
is really in some measure the hinge on which turned the gate 
through which M. de Lamennais passed from his first political 
phase to the second. 

M. de Lamennais was born at St. Malo, in the bouse next to 
that in which Chateaubriand was born, and a few yards only 
from that in which Broussais came into the world. So that the 
old peaceful town gave us, in less than fifteen years, Chateau- 
briand, Broussais and Lamennais, names representative of the 
better part of the poetry, science and philosophy of the first 
half of the nineteenth century. M. de Lamennais had, like 
Chateaubriand, passed his childhood by the sea, had listened 
to the roar of the ocean, watching the waves which are lost to 
sight on infinite horizons, eternally returning to break against 
the cliffs, as the human wave returns to break itself against 
invincible necessity. He preserved, I recollect (for one feature 
in my existence coincided with that of the author of ParoUs 



I 

^ 



LAMENNAIS'S YOUTH 



141 



ituH Croyant), he preserved, I repeat, from his earliest child- 
hood, the vivid and clear recollections which he connected 
with the grand and rugged scenery of his beloved Brittany. 
"I can still hear," he said to us, at a dinner where the 
principal guests were himself, the Abbé Lacordaire, M. de 
Montalembert, Listz and myself — "the cry of certain sea-birds 
H which passed barking over my head. Some of those rocks, 
^^Krhich have looked down pityingly for numberless centuries 
I upon the angry impotent waves which perish at their feet, are 
I stocked with ancient legends." 

I M. de Lamennais related one of these in his une Voix de 

[ prison. It is that of a maiden who, overtaken by the tide, on 

\ a reef of rocks, tied her hair to the stems of sea-weeds to keep 

Jblienelf from being washed off by the motion of the waves, far 
^^ away from her native land. 

M. de Lamennais's youth was stormy and undisciplined. 

He loved physical exercises, hunting, fencing, racing and 

riding ; strange tastes these, as preparation for an ecclesiastical 

career ! But it was not from personal inclination or of his own 

impulse that he entered the priesthood, but by compulsion 

'from the noble families in the district. On his part, the bishop 

of the diocese discerned in the young man a superior intellect, 

% lofty character, a tendency towards meditation and thought- 

:ness, and drew him to himself by all kinds of seductions. 

cy spared him the trials of an ecclesiastical seminarj', at 

bich his intractable disposition might have rebelled ; but, 

though he was, M. de Lamennais did not discontinue 

ride the most fiery horses of the town, or to practise shooting. 

WIS the Empire, that régime of glory and of despotism, which 

wounded the sensitive nerves of the young priest of stern spirit 

and Royalist sympathies. Brittany remembered her exiled 

princes, and the family of M, de Lamennais was among those 

v' ^h faithfully preserved the worship of the jjast ; not that 

ilii^ir family was of ancient nobility : the head of the house was 

a shipowner who had made his wealth by distant voyages, and 

'bo WM ennobled at the close of the last century for services 

lered to the town of St, Malo. The Empire W\, a.T\à "V^. àa 




142 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Lamennais, casting a bird's-eye view over that stupendous 
ruin, wrote in 1815 — 

" Wars of extermination sprang up again ; despotism counted 
her expenditure in men, as people r^on the revenue of an 
estate ; generations were mowed down like grass ; and men 
daily sold, bought, exchanged and given away like flocks of 
little value, often not even knowing whose property they were, 
to such an extent did a monstrous policy multiply these 
infamous transactions ! Whole nations were put in circulation 
like pieces of money ! " 

To profess such principles was, of course, eqtuvalent to 
looking towards the Restoration, that dawn without a sun. 
Moreover, it should not be forgotten that, in those days, all 
young men of letters were carried away with the same intoxi- 
cation for monarchical memories. Poets are like women — I 
do not at all know who said that poets were women — they 
make much of a favourable misfortime. This enthusiasm for 
the person of the king was shared, in different degrees, even by 
men whose names, later, were connected with Liberalism. 
Heaven alone knows whether any king was ever less fitted 
than Louis xviit. for calling forth tenderness and idolatry! 
But that did not hinder Casimir Delavigne from exclaiming — 

" Henri, divin Henri, toi que fus grand et bon, 
Qui chusM l'Espagnol, et finis nos misères. 
Les partis sont d'accord en prononçant ton nom; 
Henri, de les enfants fais un peuple de frires I 
T<in image d^jà semble nous protéger: 
Tu renais I avec toi renaît l'indépendance I 
rctl Is plus Français dont s'honore la France, 
Il Fst dans Ion destin de voir fuir l'étranger! 
Kl loi, son digne fils, après vingt ans d'orage, 
K'-gno sur (1rs sujets par toi-m£me ennoblis; 
l.i<ur* drdlls s<inl consacrés dans ton plus bel ouvrage. 
Oui, c« graml monument, affermi d'âge en tge. 
Dull rouvrir de wm ombre et le peuple et les lys 
Il «kl ilrs o|i|irlmé» l'asile impérissable, 
!.• Mrrvur du tyran, du ministre coupable, 
\a ItmpU d« nos libertés I 



LINES BY DELAVIGNE 143 

Que la France prospère en tes mains magnanimes ; 
Que tes jours soient sereins, tes décrets respectés, 

Toi qui proclames ces maximes : 
' O rois, pour commander, obéissez aux lois I 
Peuple, en obéissant, sois libre sous les rois ! ' " 

Trae, fifteen years later, the author of La Semaine de Paris 
sang, almost in the same lines of the accession to the throne 
of King Louis-Philippe. Rather read for yourself — 

" O toi, roi citoyen, qu'il presse dans ses bras, 
Aux cris d'un peuple entier dont les transports sont justes 
Tu fus mon bienfaiteur ... Je ne te loOrai pas : 
Les poètes des rois sont leurs actes augustes. 
Que ton régne te chante, et qu'on dise après nous : 
' Monarque, il fut sacré par la raison publique ; 
Sa force fut la loi ; l'honneur, sa politique ; 
Son droit divin, l'amour de tous ! ' " 

Let us read again the lines we have just quoted — those 

ich were addressed to Louis xviii. we mean — and we shall 
see that Victor Hugo, Lamartine and Lamennais never 
expressed their delight at the return of the Bourbons in more 
endearing terms than did Casimir Delavigne. What, then, 
the reason why the Liberals of that day and the Con- 
itives of to-day bitterly reproached the first three of the 
above-mentioned authors for these pledges of affection for the 
Elder Branch, whilst they always ignored or pretended to 
ignore the covert royalism of the author of Mtssiniennes ? 
Ah 1 Heavens ! It is because the former were sincere in their 
blind, young enthusiasm, whilst the latter — let us be allowed 
to say it — was not. The world forgives a political untruth, but 
it docs not forgive a conscientious recantation of the foolish 
uinistakes of a generously sympathetic heart. In the generous 

ty of these three authors for the Bourbon family there was 
room for the shedding of a tear for Marie-Antoinette and for 
Louis XVII. 

M. de Lamennais hesitated, for a while, over his literary 
ttion, or at least, over the direction it should take. The 

litude in which he had lived, by the sea, had f\lied Yv\% v:iv:\ 



144 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

with floating dreams, like those beauteous clouds he had often 
watched with his outward eyes in the depths of the heavens. 
He was within an ace of writing novels and works of iiction ; 
he did even get so far as to write some poetry, which, of 
course, he never published. Here are two lines, which 
entered, as far as I can remember, into a description of 
scholastic theology — 



" Elle avait deux grands yeux stupidement ouverts. 
Dont l'un ne voyait pas ou voyait de travers 1" 



é 



I 



M. de Lamennais then became a religious writer and a 
philosopher more from force of circumstances than from 
inclination. His taste, he assured us in his moments of 
expansion, upon which we look back with respect and 
pride, would have led him by preference towards that style 
of poetical prose-writing which Bernardin de Saint-Pierre had 
made fashionable in Pau/ et Virginie, and Chateaubriand in 
Rene. So he communed with himself and, with the unerring 
finger of tlie implacable genius of the bom observer, hefl 
touched upon the wound of his century — indifference to" 
religious matters. Surely the cry uttered by that gloomy 
storm-bird, " the gods are departing ! " had good reason for 
startling the pious folk and statesmen of that period I Were 
not the churches filled with missions and the high roads 
crowded with missionaries? Was there not the cross 
Migné, the miracles of the Prince of Hohenlohe, the apparitioi 
and trances of Martin de Gallardon and others? What, tb 
could this man mean? M. de Lamennais took, as the moi 
for his book, these words from the Bible — 

" Jmpius, aim in profundum ventrit contemnit." M 

In his opinion, contempt was the sign by which he r&iH 
cognised the decline of religious feeling. The seventeenth 
century believed, the eighteenth denied, the nineteenth 
doubled. 

The success of the book was immense. France, agitated 
by vast and conflicting problems, a Babel wherein many 
voice» were speaking simultaneously, in every kind of tongue. 



L'ESSAI SUR L'INDIFFÉRENCE 145 



the France of the Empire, of the Restoration, of Carbonarism, 
of Liberalism and of Republicanism, held its peace to listen to 
the weighty and inspired utterance of this unknown writer : " el 
siluit terra in consptctu ejus 1 " The voice came from the desert. 
Who had seen, who knew this man ? He had dropped from 
the region where eagles dwell ; his name was mentioned by all 
lips, in the same breath with that of Bossuet. L'Essai sur 
rindiffirtnce was little read but much admired ; the poets — they 
are the only people who read — recognised in it a powerful 
imagination, at times almost an aA'rightcd imagination, which, 
both by its excesses and its terrors, hugged, as it were, the dead 
body of religious belief, and shook it roughly, hoping against 
hope, to bring it back to life again. Of ail prose- writers, 
Tacitus was the one whom the Abbé de Lamennais admired 
the most ; of all poets, Dante was the one he read over and 
over again the most frequently ; of all books, the one he knew 
by heart was the Bible. 

Now, it might assuredly have been believed that this citadel. 
Intended to protect the weak walls of Catholicism, L Essai sur 
riniiffirtnet en matière de religion, was viewed with favourable 
eye» by the French clergy ; no such thing ! Quite the contrary ; 
a cry went up from the heart of the Church, not of joy or 
admiration, but of terror. They were scared by the genius of 
the nun ; religion was no longer in the habit of having an 
Origen, a Tertullian, or a Bossuet to defend it ; it was afraid 
(jf being supported by such a defender and, little by little, the 
shudder of fear reached even as far as Rome ; and the book 
was very nearly placed on the Index. These suspicions were 
aroused by the nature of the arguments of which the author 
made use to repel the attacks of philosophers. The Abbé de 
Lamennais foresaw, through the gloom, the causes at work 
undermining the old edifice of orthodoxy, and tried to put it on 
a wider basis of toleration and to prop it up, as he himself ex- 
pressed it, by the exercise of common sense. To this end he 
made incredible Sights into metaphysical realms, to prove that 
rr-"--' -m was, and always had been, the religion of 

1 

V. — 10 



146 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



IV: i^abédeUtBCBBÛ tH«^ m tkt K^nanes. bat his 
Vfiiing ^ws loidEed iqiaovîâi at^idun; and jooog peofde 
«BR ioihiâdcB aie neaaog ai m wak, «bîdi the ontside worid 
nqgnded^aatt of a tâapâdtà god «fao «anted to deny onn 
the ngba of finedoo of t^mught No sxàcââe «as ever more 
henâc, zmor did iniriPwt bong «> aradi vMii a g t and logic 
to t^ task of sbtklestmctiaa. Bat, îa leaBty; and bam bis 
paiBtafrâ«;âte J^libéâe LaBcnoais «as r^gbt : ifjoabeliefe 
inaa mfeTfihy CSbb^ yon laast bmvily destioy the ejes of 
jaat waeJUett and enîmgiâji tlie T^A at your soal, and, bavii^ 
«oSzBittnlj aade yoinsetf bfiod, let ;«Bse¥ be led by tfaehand. 
Bat, however h^ m soficaiy JateBect maf be piaced, it is «eiy 
qaàdk^TCKbed byâte ioftaenoe of the tines in «faîdi it lives. 

T«o or three jvan ^go^ an momjjik fiaend of mine^ Petin, 
seriOBsly propoanded to me nois hme, and to the «arid tfaroo^ 
the aoedixaa of the du}j- p^xss, that be bad jost solved tbe 
|;nat pioblem of jestialnaT^piian. He laaooed thus — 

** lîte earài tnnis — £ fmr si miÊfn ) — and in the motion of 
location oa ks ovrn axis, it saoKssiveiy presents every part of 
its sar&ce. bod> inhabited and xminbafaited. Now, any person, 
vcho could laise bimsdf op into the estneane stnta of ambient 
«ir, and coold find a means to keep bistseilf ihen, vould be aUe 
to descend in a b«Uoan and aligbt apoa «hitever town on the 
l^lobe be liked ; be vronld only have to vrait antil Ôiat town 
pftBcd b«neath h» feet ; in âtat way be could go to tbe Anti- 
podes in A doaen bours, and widioat any &tigae whatsoever, 
«inc* be vrauld iMt stir fiom his po s i ti o n , as it would be tbe 
«ftiOi «hidi would move «or him." 

Tbit cakvhoion had but one flaw : it was Use. The earth, 
in it* vMt motkn, canîes vnth it evoy atom of the molecules 
id it* ttcthii^ atmosphère. It is the same with great ^irits 
«tudk «im «t sttbility ; without pertxinng that, at the veiy 
lOWHOt «iteo they think they have cast anchor in the Infinite, 
ttMf mtke up to find th^ are bene carried away in ^ite erf 
^MHtMlvei by dke irresistible movement of dieir age. The 
•pirit of Ubenlàn. with which die atmoqrfiere of tbe time 
^HM (Jbaifed, canied away die qilendid, obstinate and lonely 



THE MARCH OF THOUGHT 



147 



reason of the Abbé de Lamennais. It was about the year 
1828. Whilst fighting against the Doctrinaire School, for which 
he showed a scarcely veiled contempt, M. de Lamennais sought 
to com bine the needs of faith with the necessities of progress ; with 
this end in view he had installed at his château at La Chesnaie a 
school of young people whom he inculcated with his religious 
ideas. La Chesnaie was an ancient château of Brittany, shaded 
by sturdy, centenarian oaks — those natural philosophers, which 
ponder while] their leaves rustle in the breeze on the vicissitudes 
of man, of which changes they are impassive witnesses. There, 
this priest, who was already troubled by the new spirit abroad, 
educated and communed with disciples who held on from far or 
near to the Church ; amongst them were the Abbé Gerbert, 
Cyprien Robert, now professor of Slavonic literature in the 
College of France, and a few others. Work — methodical and 
pertevering — was carried on within those old walls, which the 
•es winds rocked and lashed against. This new academy of 
Pythagoras studied the science of the century in order to combat 
it ; but, at each fresh ray of light, it recoiled enlightened, and 
I recoil put weapons to be used against itself into the hands 
' the enemy. That enemy was Human Thought. 




CHAPTER V 

Til» foundiim »f fAvtmir—h'Ahhi Lacordaire — M. Charles de Monta- 
Icmtivrt— llii article on the sacking of Saint-Gennain-l'AuxentHs — 
fAwntr and the new literature — My first interview with M. de 
lAmvnnai*— Ijkwauit against /'^twxir— MM. de Montalembert and 
l«r<MttUir» a* schoolmasters— Their trial in the Coir des fain—tht 
««iMurv of Warsaw— Answer of foor poets to a word spoken by a 
»t«l«*nwn 

''T'^UK Kowlution of 1830 came as a surprise to M. de 
1 lAmcitivkis and his school in the midst of these 
v<mU0 «lul rr«tl<is d<«igns. His heart, ready to sympathise 
m\\\ t>v«rvthit\)t that was great and generous, had aheidy been 
rth«nM^^I iWm Ki^yalism : already the man, poet and philo- 
ii\«|«l\ot, WAS kiokii\); bc(K«th the priestly robe. The century 
yt\\W\\ hAvl i\wt WiWiuttU and extolled tus genius, leproaciied 
\\{\\\ ui\\Wr >u IvroAth for Kststing the «ay of progress. 
ltMtt«\'lA(4\> am) h<«ibti\>nif: by nattue, with a rugged and 
««H l^m«v« tnh<4W\i> th<' Abbé de Lamennab «as by tempenment 
A l\>H^ U»\Vv 'tVn t^jo sounded. Sitting upon the nuns of 
\\\M \\\>i^'>*i*X, «tMoh had )ttst s«alk}«ed up one dpxasty, and 
•>(Mlk^>(v \h« ^"hMv-tk «tth the same stonn and sfaipwiedc m 
x^hts'ix th«< vly<«M>tx Hftd iS-HxadKed. the phihasopbers of La 
V 1\VMVAW> (\s<Il \\HA«vwt K^pKhec : they said among âemsehes 
\k^\ tW \*^>^s<«AKNi« j^iaiaiit âse oJeisc. «ith «hkfa lihnralwm 
W^\^ ^wv*^ A(WMMkt«\t »«Kv ($15^ «» the Tcsdk of ax pramiDent 
Mn4vvAvs«m «h^-^ N*sjl S««t sçwtti o«!r :te Cachcfic priest^ in 
^^v v4 VW «M(«N^ >*f aie EX.>««i«, s Skx oc the raaôqg 
v»^\y» s»» VW »^<*\\HV«H.Hh 4e»i Aejr bqjm » ^oeseni «hedier 
W «y^ «H^ t!^ MSvtiii^jtctt» » âst -mamK i N i K QbrA to 
lij^^iiWA* i»«»«* <«v« ^^ ïî>* »**»* ^*^ SfeaOB*tiii^Ae 



LACORDAIRE 



149 



: 



thought the time had come for him to throw himself directly 
and personally into the struggle. The principles of a journal 
were settled, and he went. Two men entered that career of 
publicity with him : the Abbé Lacordaire and Comte Charles 
de Montalembert. 

The Abbé Lacordaire was, at the period when I had the 
honour of finding myself in communication with him on 
religious and political principles, a young priest who had 
passed from the Bar at Paris to the Seminary of Saint-Sulpice. 
After his term of probation, he had spent three harassing 
years in the study of theology ; he left the seminary full of 
bo^y ideas and turbulent instincts. His temper of mind was 
acrimonious, keen and subtle ; he had dark fiery eyes, delicate 
and mobile features, he was pale with the pallor of the 
Cénobite and of a sickly complexion, with hard, gaunt, strongly 
marked outlines, — so much for his face. Attracted by the 
brilliancy of the Abbé de Lamennais, he fell in with all 
his political views ; he, too, longed for the liberty of the spirit 
after due control of the flesh; the protection of the State, 
because of his priesthood, was burdensome to him. He 
put his hand in his master's and the covenant was sealed. 

The Comte de Montalembert, on his side, was, at that 
time, quite a young man, fair, with a face Uke a girl's, and 
pink cheeks, shy and blushing ; as he was short-sighted, he 
looked close at people through his eye-glasses. He appealed 
«rorjgly to the Abbé de Lamennais, who felt drawn to him 
with a sort of paternal sympathy. Finally, Comte Charles de 
Montalembert belonged to a family whose devotion to the 
cause of the Elder Branch of the Bourbons was well known ; 
but he openly declared that he placed France in his affections 
before a dynasty, and liberty before a crown. 

Round these three men, one already famous and the others 
still unknown, rallied the ecclesiastics and young people of 
talent, who, in all simple faith, were desirous of combining 
the majesty of religious traditions with the nobility of tevolu- 
tiooary ideas. That such an alliance was impossible Time — 
thjU great tester of things and men — would prove ; but the 



ISO MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

attempt was none the less noble for all that ; it ministered, more- 
over, to a want which was then permeating the new generations. 
Already Camille Desmoulins, one of those poets who are 
specially inspired, had exclaimed to the Revolutionary 
Tribunal with somewhat penetrative melancholy : " I am the 
same age, thirty-three years, as the Sans-culotte Jesus ! " 

The title of the new journal was F Avenir. The programme 
of its principles was drawn up equally by them all, and it 
called upon the government of July for absolute liberty for 
all Creech and all religious communities, for liberty of the press, 
liberty in education, the radical separation of the Churdi from 
the State and, finally, for the abolition of the ecclesiastical 
budget It was 1 6 October 1 830, and the moment was a favour- 
able one. Belgium was about to start her revolution, and, in 
that revolution, the hand of the clergy was visible ; Catholic 
Poland was sending up under the savage treatment of the 
Czar one long cry of distress and yet of hope ; Ireland, by the 
voice of O'Connell, was moving all nationalities to whom 
religion was the motive power and a flag of independence; 
Ireland shook the air wiûi the words Christ and Liberty I 
L'Avenir made itself the monitor of the religious movement, 
combined with the political movement, as may be judged by 
these few lines which proceeded from the association, and are 
taken from its first number — 

" We have no hidden design whatsoever, we never had ; we 
mean exactly what we say. Hoping, therefore, to be believed 
in all good faith, we say to those whose ideas differ upon 
several points of our creed : ' Do you sincerely want religious 
liberty, liberty in educational matters, in civil and political 
affairs and liberty of the press, which, do not let us forget, is 
the guarantee for all types of liberty ? Vou belong to us as we 
belong to you. Every kind of liberty that the people in the 
gradual development of their life can uphold is their due, and 
their progress in civilisation is to be measured by the actual, 
and not the fictitious, progress they make in liberty 1 ' " 

It was at this juncture that the transformation took 
place of the Abbé De la Mennais to the Abbé de Lamennais. 



MONTALEMBERT 



«5» 



His opinions and his talents and his name entered upon a 
new era ; he was no more the stem and gloomy priest 
pronouncing deadly sentence on the human intellect over 
the tomb of Faith ; but a prophet shaking the shrouds of 
dying nations in the name of liberty, and crying aloud to the 
I dry bones to " Arise I " 

Now, among the young editors of P Avenir it is worth 
noticing that the most distinguished of them for talent and 
for the loftiness of his democratic views, was Comte Charles 
de Montalembert, whose imprudent impetuosity the stem old 
man was obliged, more than once, to check. Presently, we 
shall have to relate the story of the sacking of the church 
of Saint-Gennain-l'Auxerrois and the profanation of the sacred 
contents. The situation was an embarrassing one for F Avenir : 
that journal had advised the young clergy to put faith in the 
{Revolution, and here was that self-same Revolution, breaking 
[loose in a moment of anger, throwing mud at the Catholic 
temples and uprooting the insignia of religion. It was Comte 
Charles de Montalembert who undertook to be the leader of 
I the morrow. Instead of inveighing against the vandals, he 
inveighed against the clergy and priests, whose blind and 
dangerous devotion to the overturned throne had drawn down 
the anger of the people upon the Christian creed. He had 
i|>o anathemas strong enough to hurl at "those incorrigible 
defenders of the ancient régime, and that bastard Catholicism 
which gave birth to the religion of kings 1 " The crosses 
that had been knocked down were those branded with the 
fleitfs-delis ; he took the opportunity to urge the separabon 
of the Church from the civil authority. Without the 8eurs-de- 
lis, no one — the Comte Charles de Montalembert insisted 
emphatically — had any quarrel with the Cross. 

The objective of PAvenir, then, was both political and 
Uteniy; it was in sympathy with modern hterature, and, in 
the petBon of the Abbé de Lamennais, it possessed, besides, 
one of the leading writers of the day ; it was one of those rare 
papers (ran nantes) in which one could follow the human 
Blind under its two aspects. Liitr, in Latin, may be allowed to 



I 



152 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

mean also libre (free) and livre (book). I have already told 
how we literary men of the new school had made implacable 
enemies of all the papers on the side of the political movement 
It was all the more strange that the literary revolution had 
preceded, helped, prepared the way for and heralded the 
political revolution which was past, and the social revolution 
which was taking place. For example, we recollect an article 
upon Notre Dame de Paris, wherein, whilst regretting that the 
author was not more deeply Catholic, Comte Charles de 
Montalembert praised the style and poetry of Victor Hugo 
with the enthusiasm of an adept. It was about this time, and 
several days, I believe, after the representation of Antony, that 
M. de Lamennais expressed the desire that I should be 
introduced to him. This wish was a great honour for me, and 
I gratefully acquiesced. A mutual friend took me to the 
house of the famous founder of r Avenir, who was then living 
in the rue Jacob — I remember the name of the street, but 
have forgotten the number of the house. Before that day, I 
had already joyfully acknowledged an admiration for him 
which sprang up in my heart and soul fresh, and strong, and 
unalloyed. 

Meanwhile, t Avenir was successful ; this was soon ap(>arent 
from the anger and hatred launched against its doctrines. 
Amongst the various advices it gave to the clergy, that of 
renouncing the emoluments administered by the State, and of 
simply following Christ in poverty, was not at all rehshed ; and 
people grew indignant. It was in vain for the solemn voice of 
the Abbé de Lamennais to exclaim — 

" Break these degrading chains ! Put away these rags I " 

The clergy replied under their breath : " Call them rags if 
you wish, but they are rags dear to our hearts." 

Do my readers desire to know to what degree the journal 
P Avenir had its roots buried in what is aristocratically styled 
Society? Then let us quote the first Unes dedicated to the 
trial of r Avenir in the V Annuaire of Lesur — 

" Never were the approaches to the Court of Assizes more 
largely filled with so affluent and influential a crowd, and never 



« 



TRIAL OF L'AVENIR 



153 



certainly were so large a number of ladies attracted to a political 
trial as in the case of this. Immediately the court opened pro- 
ceedings, the jurymen, defendants, barristers and the magistrate 
himself were ovenvhelmed by a multitude of jxrrsons who 
could not manage to find seats. M. l'Abbé de Lamennais, M. 
Lacordaire, the editors of F Avenir, and M. Waille, the respon- 
sible manager of the paper, were placed on chairs in the centre 
of the bar ; the two first were clad in frockcoats over their 
cassocks; M. Waille wore the uniform of the National Guard." 

^B It was one of the first press trials since July. The public 
^^prosecutor's speech was very timid, and he apologised for coming, 
I after a revolution carried out in favour of the press, to demand 
I legal penalties against this very press. But F Avenir bad ex- 
I ceeded all limits of propriety. We will quote the incriminating 
L phrase — 

^^ " Let us prove that we are Frenchmen by faithfully defending 
tiiat which no one can snatch from us without violating the law 
of the land. Let us say to our sovereigns : * We will obey you 
in so far as you yourselves obey that law which has made you 
what you are, without which you are nothing ! ' " 

That was written by M. de Lamennais. We forget the actual 

phrase, although not the cause, which brought the Abbé 

Lacordaire to the defendants' bench. M. de Lamennais was 

defended by Janvier, who has since played a part in politics. 

acordaire defended himself. His speech made a great sensa- 

jiion, and revealed the qualities both of a lawyer and of a 

Jicr. The juiy acquitted them. 

Some time later, rAt>enir had to submit to the ordeal of 

jiothcr trial in a greater arena and under circumstances which 

we ought to recall. 

MM. de Montalembert and Lacordaire had constituted 

bemselves the champions of liberty in educational matters, as 

as of all other liberties, both religious and civil. From 

they passed to deeds ; and they opened, conjointly, an 

atwy school which a few poor children attended. The 

intenrened. Ordered to withdraw, the professors offered 

e, so they were obliged to arrest the "substance of 



154 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

the offence" — namely, tfte street arabs who filled the school- 
room. There was hardly sufficient ground for a trial before the 
tribunal correctionnel; but, in the meantime, a few dajrs before 
the promulgation of the law which suppressed the hereditary 
rights to the peerage, M. Charles de Montalembert's most 
excellent father died. The matter then assumed unexpected 
proportions : Charles de Montalembert, a peer of France by 
the grace of non-retroactivity, was not amenable to ordiiuury 
courts of justice, so the trial was carried before the Court of Peers, 
where it took the dimensions of a political debate upon the 
freedom of education. Lacordaire, whose cause could not be 
disconnected from that of his accomplice, was also transferred 
to the Supreme Court, and he delivered extempore his own 
counsel's speech. M. de Montalembert, on the contrary, read 
a speech in which he attacked the university and M. de 
Broglie in particular. 

" At this point," says the Moniteur, in its report of the trial, 
" the honourable peer of France put up his eye-glass and looked 
critically at the young orator." 

Less fortunate before the Court of Peers than before the 
jury, which would certainly have acquitted them, the two 
editors of l'Avenir lost their case; but they won it in the 
opinion of the country. The Comte de Montalembert owed 
it to this circumstance, that he sided with M. de lamennais, 
whose Liberal doctrines he shared and professed at that time ; 
he was also equally bound by the unexpected death of his 
father to find a career ready opened for him in the Upper 
Chamber. But when questioned by the Chamber as to his 
profession, he replied — "Schoolmaster." 

All these trials seemed but to give a handle to M. de Lamen- 
nais's religious enemies. Rumours began from below. From 
the lower clergy, who condemned them, M. de Lamermais and 
the other editors of F Avenir appealed to the bishops, who in 
their turn also condemned them. Then, driven back from one 
entrenchment after another, like the defenders of a town, who, 
having vainly defended their advanced positions, and their 
first and second enceintes, «re forced to take refuge within the 



BARTHÉLÉMY 



155 



citadel itself, the accused men were'obliged to look towards the 
Vatican, and to put their trust in Rome. The mainmast of 
this storm-beaten vessel, M. de Lamennais, was the first to be 
struck by the thunders of denunciation. 

On 8 September 1831, a voice rang through the world similar 
to that of the angel in the Apocalypse, announcing the fall of 
towns and empires ; that voice, as incoherent as a death-ratde 
or last expiring sigh, formulated itself in these terrible words 
on 16 September : " Poland has just fallen ! Warsaw is taken ! " 
Wc know how this news was announced to the Chamber of 
Deputies by General Sébastiani. "Letters I have received 
from Poland," he said, in the session of 16 September, "inform 
roe that peace reigns in ll'arsma." There was a slight variation 
given in the Afottiteur, which spoke of order, instead of peaee, 
reigning in Warsaw. Under the circumstances neither word 
was better than the other : both were infamous ! It is curious 
to come across again today the echo which that great downfall 
awakened in the soul of poets and believers, those living lyres 
which great national misfortunes cause to vibrate, and from whom 
I the passing breeze of calamity draws exquisite sounds. Here we 
f have four replies to the optimistic phraseology of the Minister 
for Foreign Affairs — 

BARTHÉLÉMY 

" Ùtitintt h f/rir\ . . . L'oracle avait lAisnn ! 
F«ut-il accuser Dieu, le toit, la Uuliiîon? 
Nan. lout était prévu, l'onicle était lucide ! . . . 
Qu'il t^imbe «ur nus fronts, le sceau du fratricide ! 
Noble wxur ! Varsovie ! elle est morte pour noua ; 
Morte un fusil en main, wtns fléchir lex genoux ; 
Morte en nous nutudissant k son heure dernière ; 
Morte en tiaignant de pleurs l'aigle de a bannière. 
Sans «voir entendu noue cri de pitié, 
San* un root de la Kramce, un adieti d'amitié I 
Tout ce que l'univers, la planète des crimes, 
Coasédail de grandeur et de vertus sublime* : 
Tout ce qui fut gé-Jint dans notre siècle étroit 
A di»|iaru 1 Tout dort dans le sépulcre froid I . . . 
Cachons-nous I cachons-nous! nous sommes des infâmes! 
Raaoïu nos poils, prenons la quenouille àa femmes ; 




6 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Jetons bas nos fusils, nos guerrieis oripeaux. 

Nos plumets citadins, nos ceintures de peaux ; 

Le courage à nos cœurs ne vient que par saccades . . . 

Ne parlons plus de gloire et de nos barricades ! 

Que le teint de la honte embrase notre front ! 

Vous voulez voir venir les Russes : ils viendront ! . . ." 



BARBIER 

"La Guerre 

" Mire I il était une ville fiuneuse ; 
Avec le Hun j'ai franchi ses détours ; 
J'ai démoli son enceinte fumeuse ; 
Sons le boulet j'ai fait crouler ses tours ! 
J'ai promené mes chevaux par les mes. 
Et, sous le fer de leurs rudes sabots. 
J'ai labouré le corps des femmes nues. 
Et des enfants couchés dans les ruisseaux I . . . 
Houm I hourra I j'ai courbé la rebelle I 
J'ai largement lavé mon vieil affront: 
J'ai vu des morts à hauteur de ma selle I 
Hourra I j'ai mis les deux pieds sur son front 1 
Tout est fini, maintenant, et ma lame 
Pend inutile à côté de mon flanc. 
Tout a passé par le fer et la flamme ; 
Toute muraille a sa tache de sang ! 
Les maigres chiens aux saillantes échines 
Dans les ruisseaux n'ont plus rien à lécher ; 
Tout est désert ; l'herbe pousse aux ruines. . . , 
ô mort t 6 mort t je n'ai rien à faucher I " 

"Le Choléra-Morbus 

" Mère I il était un peuple plein de vie, 
Un peuple ardent et fou de liberté ; 
Eh bien, soudain, des champs de Moscovie, 
Je l'ai frappé de mon souffle empesté 1 
Mieux que la balle et les larges mitrailles, 
Mieux que la flamme et l'implacable faim. 
J'ai déchiré les mortelles entrailles. 
J'ai souillé l'aix et corrompu le pain I . . . 
J'ai tout noirci de mon haleine errante; 
Pe mon contact j'ai tout empoisonné ; 



VARIOUS POEMS 



«57 



Sur le teton de sa mère expirante. 

Tout endormi, j'ai pris le nouveau-ni ! 

J'ai dévoré, même au Eein de la guerrCi 

Des camps entiers de carnage fumants; 

J'ai frappé l'homme au bruit de son tonnerre ; 

J'ai fait combattre entre eux des ossements ! . . . 

Partout, partout le noir corbeau becqueté ; 

Partout les vers ont des corps à manger ; 

Pas un vivant, et partout un squelette . . . 

mort ! û mort 1 je n'ai rien à ronger ! " 

" La Mort 

" Le sang toujours ne peut rougir la terre ; 
Les chiens toujours ne peuvent pas lécher ; 
Il est un temps oii la Peste et la Guerre 
Ne trouvent plus de vivants à faucher ! . . . 
Enfants hideux ! couchei-vous dans mon ombre, 
Et sur la pierre étendez vos genoux ; 
Dormeï I dormez ! sur notre globe sombre. 
Tristes fléaux ! je veillerai pour vous. 
Dormeï ! donnez ! je prêterai l'oreille 
Au moindre bruit par le vent apporté; 
Et, quand, de loin, comme un vol de corneille. 
S'élèveront des cris de liberté ; 
Quand j'entendmi de pâles multitudes, 
Des peuples nus, des milliers de proscrita. 
Jeter à bas leurs vieilles servitudes 
En maudissant leurs tyrans abrutis; 
Enfants hideux ! pour 6nir votre somme, 
Comptez sur moi, car j'ai l'ueil creux . . . Jamais 
Je ne m'endors, et ma bouche aime l'homme 
Comme le czar aime les Polonau 1 " 



VICTOR HUGO 

"Je hus l'uppreuion d'une haine profonde; 
Auai, lorsque j'entends, dans rjueique coin du monde. 
Sous un ciel inclement, sous un roi meurtrier. 
Un peuple qu'un tgotge appeler et crier ; 
Quand, par les rois chrétiens aux bourreaux turcs livrée, 
L* Grèce, noue mère, agonise éventrée : 
Quand l'Irlande saignante expire sur sa croix ; 
Quand l'Allemagne «us Ten «c débat »oas dix loia ; 



I $8 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Qtuod LUbonac, jadif beOe et toajoan en Ste, 
('«nd wi (ibet, Ici pieds de Mig:ael sur k t£te; 
Quand AJbuii gonverne au pq« de Caton; 
Quand NaplM aaaiifc et doit ; qontd, avec son bâton, 
Seaptre honteux et k>ard que is peur divinise, 
L'Autriche cats* l'aile au lion de Venise ; 
Quand Modinc étrangU rile sous l'aichidnc : 
Quand Dresde lutte et pleure au lit d'un roi caduc ; 
Quand Madrid sa rendort d'un sommeil léthargique; 
Quand Vienne tient Milan ; quand le lion belgique. 
Courbé comme le bœuf qui creuse un vil sillon. 
N'a plus même de dents pour mordre son billion ; 
Quand un Cosaque affreux, que la rage transporte. 
Viole Varsovie échevelée et morte, 
Kt, souillant son linceul, chaste et sacré lambeau 
Se vautre sur la vierge étendue au tombeau ; 
Alors, oh 1 je maudis, dans leur cour, dans leur antre. 
Ce* rois dont les chevaux ont du sang jusqu'au ventre. 
Je sens que le po«te est leur juge ; je sens 
(Juo la muse indignée, avec ses poings puissants, 
l'eut, comme au pilori, les lier sur leur trOne, 
Kl leur iaire xtn carcan de leur Uche couronne, 
Vx («nvoyer ces rois, qu'on aurait pu bénir, 
Maniués au front d'un vers que lira l'avenir ! 
i>h ) 1« muse se doit aux peuples sans défatse ! 
J'ouMie, alors, l'armoar, la funiUe, l'enbace. 
V\ l«tt mullfs cfaansoost et le loisir seiein, 
Kt j'i^jouiv à ma lyre une corde d'aiiaia ! " 

LAMENHAIS 

"\V*n*w ha» capituhted ! Tbe haok naldon of Pofand, 
l\^««kvn l>y l'twiMX «nd Kfwlsed by Ent^ud» has bOen in the 
Mf MUttW> tUif hM ^kwwHtrir aMÎntùwd for d^t moatbs agfùnst 
Ih» TiiUr hvMvVrti »lB«fd îtiÉh Prassà. Tbe Mosconee jrôke is 
«^l«(«\ *Uh« K» <>H'*«» th« wofte of JageOon and of Sobàesfci, 
Amtk tv» 4^v«vtktv her oxisfeRiKift. ttke fiarioos Ea|(^ of nnoiB 
«WMV»M« w^l |<«iKw»v «Jkcnct fevnt the Akxkx «bac^ tbe czime 
va <Km tlw«h v<t«»ku^t vKi^ Q» tDCfiDK. Let eccrr ■>» I>">- 
lv^i hvf v«ww ^«fv'ti^ctjr ; («•«« t» di» «ft^teoaC* onràer aod 
»»v*v>W»v > I <K tt» «B«» 3WW wf WiwBi lEofteefc ti» gitaty 



THE TAKING OF WARSAW 



>S9 



«es of ever)'one who has a human heart, of 
realises what constitutes a country. 



ry man who 
To our Ministers their 



names ! There is nothing lower than this. Therefore, generous 
people, our brothers in faith, and at arms, whilst you were 
fighting for your lives, we could only aid you with our 
prayers ; and now, when you are lying on the field of battle, 
all that we can give you is our tears ! May they in some 
degree, at least, comfort you in your great sufferings ! 
Liberty has passed over you like a fleeting shadow, a shadow 
that has terrified your ancient oppressors : to them it appears 
as a symbol of justice ! After the dark days liad passed, you 
looked heavenwards, and thought you saw more kindly signs 
there ; you said to yourself : ' The time of deliverance 
approaches ; tliis earth which covers the bones of our ancestors 
shall yet be our own ; we wUl no longer heed the voice of the 
stranger dictating his insolent commands to us. . . . Our altars 
shall be as free as our firesides.' But you have been self- 
deceived ; the time to live has not yet come ; it was the time 
to die for all that was sweet and sacred to men's hearts. . . . 
Nation of heroes, people of our affection ! rest in peace in the 
tombs that the crimes and cowardice of others have dug for 
you ; but never forget that hope springs from those tombs ; and 
a cross above them prophesies, ' Thou shalt rise aga'm ! ' " 

Let us admit that a nation is fortunate if it possesses poets ; 
for were there only politicians, posterity would gather very odd 
notions about it 

In conclusion, the downfall of Poland included with it that 
of r Avenir. We will explain how this was brought about in 
the next chapter. 



CHAPTER VI 

Siupension of l'Avenir — Its three principal editors present themselves at 
Rome — The Abbé de Lamennais as mnsician — The trouble it takes to 
obtain an audience of the Pope — ^The convent of Santo- Andrea della 
Valle — Interview of M. de Lamennais with Gregory xvi. — The 
statuette of Moses — The doctrines of F Avenir are condemned by the 
Council of Cardinals — Ruin of M. de Lamennais — ^The Paroles inn 
Creyant 

THE position of affairs was no longer tenable for the 
editors of F Avenir. If, on the one hand, the religious 
democracy, overwhelmed with sadness and bitterness, listened 
with affection to the words of the messengers ; on the other 
hand, the opposition of the heads of the Catholic Churdi 
became formidable, and the accusation of heresy ran from lip 
to lip. The Abbé de Lameimais looked about him and, like 
the prophet Isaiah, could see nothing but desolation all around. 
Poland, wounded in her side, her hand out of her winding 
sheet, slept in the ever deceived expectation of help from the 
hand of France; and yet she had fallen full of despair and 
doubt, crying, "God is too high, and France too far off!" 
Ireland, sunk in misery and dying from starvation, ground 
down under the heel of England, in vain prostrated herself 
before its wooden crosses to implore succour from Heaven : 
none came to her ! Liberty seemed to have turned away her 
face from a world utterly unworthy of her. Poland and 
Ireland, those two natural allies in all religious democracy, 
difappeared from the political scenes, dragging down with 
tben in their fall the existence of PAvemr. Tbe wave of 
oppotition, like an imebbing tide, stiU rose and ever rose. 
Soine detested M. de Lamennais's opinions; oUien, hb 




THE JOURNEY TO ROME 



i6t 



talent; the latter were as much incensed against him as any. 
He was obliged to yield. Like every paper which disappears 
into space, V Avenir had to announce suspension of publication ; 
this was his farewell from Fontainebleau — 

" If we withdraw for a while," wrote M. de Lamennais, " it 
is not on account of weariness, still less from discouragement ; 
it is to go, as the soldiers of Israel of old, to consult the Lord 
in Shihk. They have put our faith and our very intentions to 
the doubt ; for what is there that people do 'not attack in these 
days ? We leave the field of battle for a short time to tulfil 
another duty equally pressing. Traveller's stick in hand, we 
pursue our way to the eternal throne to prostrate ourselves at 
the feet of the pontiff whom Jesus Christ has established as 
the guide and teacher to His disciples, and we will say to him, 
' O FatheT ! condescend to look down upon these, the latest of 
thy children to be accused of being in rebellion against thy 
infallibility and gracious authority ! O Father ! pronounce 
over us the words which will give life and light, and extend thy 
hand over us in blessing and in acknowledgment of our 
obedience and love.'" 

It would l>e puerile to question the sincerity of the author 
of those lines at this point. For, like Luther, who also pro- 
mised his submission to Rome, the Abbé de Lamennais meant 
to persevere in the Catholic faith. If, later, his orthodoxy 
wavered ; if, upon closer view of Rome and her cardinals, his 
faith in the Vicar of Christ and the visible representation of 
the Church gave way, we should rather accuse the pagan form 
under which the religion of Christ was presented to him, as in 
Llha caae of the monk of Eisleben, when he visited the Eternal 
^Citf. When I reach that period in my life, I will relate my 
own feelings, and will give my long conversations on the 
^•abject with Pope Gregory xvi. 

The three pilgrims of t Avenir, the Abbé de Lamennais, the 
Abbé Lacordairc and the Comte Charles de Montalembcrt, 
staited, then, for Italy, not quite, as one of their number 
expressed it, with travellers' staffs in their hands, but animated 
with sincere faith and with sorrow in their hearts. They did 
not leave behind them the dream of eleven months witliout 

I V. — II 



i62 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



feeling deep regret ; V Avenir had, in fact, lasted from 16 
October 1830 to 17 September 1831. We will not relate the 
travelling impressions of the Abbé de Lamennais, for the 
author of the Eaai sur Vindiffirence was not at all the man to 
notice externa! impressions. He passed through Italy with 
unseeing eyes; all through that land of wonders he saw ■ 
nothing beyond his own thoughts and the object of his 
journey. Ten years later, when prisoner at Sainte-Pélagie, 
and already grown quite old, Lamennais discovered a comer 
in his memory still warm with the Italian sunshine; by a 
process of photography, which explains the character of the 
man we are dealing with, the monuments of art and the 
country itself were transferred to a plate in his brain ! It 
needed meditation, solitude and captivity, just as the silvered 
plate needs iodine, to bring out of his memory the image of 
the beautiful things he had forgotton to admire ten years 
previously. On this account, he writes to us in 1841, under 
the low ceiling of his cell — 

" I begin to see Italy. ... It is a wondrous country ! " 
A curious psychological study might be made of the Abbé 
de Lamennais, especially by com[)anng him with other poets 
of his day. The author of the Eaai sur Findiffircnct saw 
little and saw that but imperfectly ; there was a cloud over his 
eyes and on his brain ; the sole perception, the only sense he 
had of the outside world, which seemed to be always alert and 
awake, was tliat of hearing, a sense equivalent to the musical 
faculty : he played the piano and esp>ecially delighted in die 
compositions of Liszt. Hence arose, probably, his profound 
affection for that great artist. As regards all other outward 
senses of the objective world, his perceptions seem to hat'eB 
been within him, and when he wishes to see, it is in his own 
soul that he looks. To this peculiarity is owing the nature of 
his style, which is psychological in treatment. If he describes 
scenery, as in his Paroles d'un Croyant^ or in the descriptions 
sent from his prison, it is always the outlines of the infinite 
that is drawn by his pen in vague horizons ; with him it is his 
thoughts which visualise, not his eyes. M. de Lamennais 



I 

I 

I 



AT ROME 



163 



belongs to the race of morbid thinkers, of whom Blaise Pascal 
is a sample. Ix't not the medical faculty even attempt to cure 
these sensitive natures : it will be but to deprive them of their 
genius. 

The journey, with its enforced waits for relays of horses, 
often afforded the Abbé de Lamennais leisure for the study of 
our modem school of literature, with which he was but little 
acquainted. In an Italian monastery, where the pilgrims 
ceoeived hospitality, MM. de Lamennais and Lacordaire read 
Notre-Dame de Pan's and Henri in. for the first time. When 
they reached Rome, the Abbé de Lamennais put up at the same 
hotel and suite of rooms that had been occupied a few months 
previously by the Comtesse GuicciolL His one fixed idea was 
to see the Pope and to settle his affairs, those of religious 
democracy, with him direct. After long delays and a number 
of fruitless applications, after seven or eight requests for an 
audience still without result, the Abbé de Lamennais com- 
plained ; then a Romish ecclesiastic, to whom he poured out 
his grievances, naively suggested that he liad perhaps omitted 
to deposit the sum of ... in the hands of Cardinal. . . . The 
Abbé de Lamennais confessed that he would have been afraid 
of offending His Eminence by treating him like the door- 
keeper of a common courtesan. 

" Vou need no longer be surprised at not having been 
received by His Holiness," was the Italian abbe's reply. 

The ignorant traveller had forgotten the essential formality. 
Hut, although instructed, he still persisted in trying to obtain 
an audience of the Pope gratis ; by paying, he felt he should 
be truckling with simony. The editors of l'Avenir had re- 
mained for three months unrecognised in the Holy City, 
waiting until the Pope should condescend to consider a 
qoeition which was keeping half Catholic Europe in suspense. 
The Abbé Lacordaire had decided to return to France; the 
Comte de Montalembert made preparations for setting out for 
Naples ; M. dc Lamennais alone remained knocking at the 
gales of the Vatican, which were more inexorably closed than 
of Lydta in her bad days. Father Ventura, then genonl 



1 64 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

of the Tbeatine, lecdTed the inostrioos Frendi baveDer at 
Santo-Andiea delta Valle. 

" I shall neTcr forget," says M. de Tamfnnaw in his Affaires 
de Rome, " those peaceful days I spent in that pious hous^old, 
smroonded by the most exquisite care, amoi^ those in^mct- 
ively good and religious people deroted to their doty and aloof 
from all intrigue. The life of the cloister — r^ular, calm and, as 
it were, set apart and self-contained — ^holds a kind of via media 
between the purely worldly life and that of the fatme^ which 
fidth reveals to us in but shadowy outlines, and of whidi every 
human being possesses within himself a positire assurance." 

Finally, after many solicitations, the Abbé de T.ain«»nnai« «as 
received in private audience by Giegotj xvi. He went to the 
Vatican, climbed the huge staircase tAen ascended and 
descended by Raphael and by Midiael Angelo, by Leo x. and 
Julian II. ; he crœsed the high and silent diambers with their 
doable rows of superposed windows ; at the end of that long, 
splendid and desolate pabce he reached, under the escort of 
an usher, an ante<hamber, where two cardinals, as moticmless 
as statues, sat upon wooden seats, solenmly reading their 
breviary. At the appointed moment the Abbé de Lamennais 
was introduced. In a small room, bare, upholstered in scarlet 
where a single armchair denoted that only one man had the 
right to sit there, a tall old man stood upright, calm and smilii^ 
in his white garments. He received M. de TamenTiais ««^ndiTtfc 
a great honour ! The greatest honour whidi that divine man 
could pay to another man without violating etiquette. Thai 
the Pope conversed with the French traveller about the lovdy 
sunshine and the beauties of nature in Italy, of the Roman 
monuments, the arts and ancient history ; but of the object of 
his journey and his own special business in coming tbm, not a 
a single word The Pope had no commission at aO for that : 
the question was being considered somewhere in the dark by 
the cardinals ap{xùnted to inquire into it, whose names woe 
not divulged. A petition had been addressed to the Court of 
Rome by the editors of F Avenir \ and this pétition must neces- 
sarily kad to some decision, but all this was shrooded in the 



THE STATUETTE OF MOSES 



165 



most impenetrable mystery. The Pope himself, however, 
showed affability to the French priest, whose genius was an 
honour to the Catholic Church. 

" What work of art," he asked M. de Lamennais, " has im- 
pressed you most?" 

" The Mous of Michael Angelo," replied the priest. 

" Very well," replied Gregory xvi. ; " then I will show you 
something which no one sees or which very few indeed, even of 
the specially favoured, see at Rome." Whilst saying this, the 
great white-haired old man entered a sort of recess enclosed by 
curtains, and returned holding in his arms a miniature replica 
in silver of the Mosa done by Michael Angelo himself. 

The Abbé de Lamennais admired it, bowed and withdrew, 
accompanied by the two cardinals who guarded the entrance 
to that chamber. He was compelled to acknowledge the 
gracious reception he had been accorded by the Holy Father ; 
but, in all conscience, he had not come all the way from Paris 
to Rome just to see the statuette of Moses ! It was a most 
complete disillusionment. He shook the dust of Rome off his 
feet, the dust of graves, and returned to Paris. After a long 
silence, when the affair of P Avenir seemed buried in the excava- 
tions of the Holy See, Rome spoke: she condemned the 
doctrines of the men who had tried to reunite Christianity to 
Liberty. 

The distress of the Abbé de Lamennais was profound. The 
shepherd being smitten, the sheep scattered, the news of censure 
lud scarcely had time to reach La Chesnaic before the disciples 
weie seixed with terror and took to flight. M. de Lamennais 
nmuned alone in the old deserted château, in melancholy 
silence, broken only by the murmur of the great oak trees and 
the pUinlive song of birds. Soon, even this retreat was taken 
from him, and he woke one day to find himself ruined by the 
failure of a bookseller to whom he had given his note of hand. 
Then the late editor of P Avenir began his voyage through 
bitter waters ; anguish of soul prevented his feeling his povertyi 
which was extreme ; his furniture, books, all were sold. Twice 
be bowed bis head submissively under the hand of the Mead 



i66 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

of the Church, and twice he raised it, each time sadder than 
before, each time more indomitable, more convinced that the 
human mind, progress, reason, the conscience could not be wrong. 

I It was not without profound heart-rendings that he separated 
himself from the articles of belief of his youth, from his career 
of priesthood and of tranquil obedience and from great and 
powerful harmony ; in a word, from everything that he had up- 

theld previously ; but the new spirit had, in Biblical language, 
gripped him by the hair commanding him -to "go forward I" 
It was then, in silence, in the midst of persecutions which even 
his gentleness was unable to disarm, in a small room in Paris, 
furnished with only a folding-bed, a table and two chairs, that the 
Abbé de Lamennais wrote his Paru/es d'un Croyant. The manu- 
script lay for a year in the author's portfolio ; placed several times 
in the hands of the editor Renduel, withdrawn, then given back 
to him to be again withdrawn, this fine book was subjected to all 
sorts of vicissitudes before its pubUcation and met with all sorts 
of obstructions ; the chief difficulties came from the abbe's own 
family, especially from a brother, who viewed with terror the 
■ launching forth upon the sea of democracy tossed by the 
' storms of 1833. At last, after many delays and grievous 
hesitations, the author's strength of will carried the day against 
the entreaties of friendship; and the book appeared. It 

t marked the third transformation of its writer : the Abbé db 
La Mennais and M. de Lamennais gave place to Cituen 
Lamennais. We shall come across him again on the 

t benches of the Constituent Assembly of 1848. In common 
with all men of great genius, who have had to pilot their own 
original course through the religious and political storms that 
raged for thirty years, M. de Lamennais has been the subject 

I of the most opposite criticisms. We do not undertake here to 
be either his apologist or denouncer ; simply to endeavour to 
render him that justice which every true-hearted man owes to 
any man whom he admires : we have tried to show him to 
Others as he appeared lo our own eyes. 



4 
4 



4 



CHAPTER VII 

Who Cannot was — Mapah — His first miracle — Tlie wedding at Cana— 
Cannot, phrenologist — Where his first ideas on phrenology came from 
— The unknown woman — The change wrought in Gannot's life — How 
he become* Mapah 



LET US frame M. de Lamennais, the great philosopher, 
poet and humanitarian, between a false priest and a 
■JUae god. Christ was crucified after His bloody passion 
twcen two thieves. We are now going to relate the adven- 
tures and expiose the doctrines of Mapah or of the being tvho 
was Gannol. He was one of the most eccentric of the gods 
produced during the years 1831 to 1845. The ancients 
divided their gods into dii majora and dit minores ; Mapah was 
a minor god. He was not any the less entertaining on that 
account The name of Mapah was the favourite title of the 
god, and the one under which he wished to be worshipped ; 
but, not forgetting that he had been a man before he became 
a god, he humbly and modestly permitted himself to be called, 
and at times even called himself, by his own personal name as, 
tu who was Gannût. He had indeed, or rather he had had, 
two very distinct existences ; that of a man and that of a god. 
The man was bom about 1800, or, at all events, he would 
seem to have been nearly my own age when I knew him. He 
give his age out to be then as between twenty-eight and thirty. 
I «as told that, when he became a god, he maintained he had 
been contemporaneous with all the ages and even to have pre- 
existed, under a double symbolic form, Adam and £ve, in 
whom he became incarnate when the father and mother of the 
human race were yet one and the selfsame flesh ! The man had 

been on elegant dandy, a fop and frequenter of the boulevard 

«67 



1 68 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

de Gand, loving horses and adoring women, and an inveterate 
gambler ; he was an adept at every kind of play, specially at 
billiards. He was as good a billiard player as was Pope 
Gregory xvi., and supposing the latter had staked his papacy 
on his skilful play agamst Gannot, I would assuredly have bet 
on Gannot. To say that Gannot played billiards better than 
other games does not mean that he preferred games of skill to 
those of chance ; not at all : he had a passion for roulette, for 
la rouge et la blanche, for trente-et-un, for le biribi, and, in fact, 
for all kinds of games of chance. He was also possessed of 
all the happy superstitious optimism of the gambler: none 
knew better than he how to puff at a cigar and to creak about 
in varnished boots upon the asphalted pavements whilst he 
dreamt of marvellous fortunes, of coaches, tilburys, tandems 
harnessed to horses shod in silver; of mansions, hotels, 
palaces, with soft thick carpets like the grass in a meadow ; of 
curtains, of imitation brocades, tapestries, figured silk, crystal 
lustres and Boule furniture. Unluckily, the gold he won 
flowed through his extravagant fingers like water. Unceasingly 
bandied about from misery to abundance, he passed from the 
goddess of hunger to that of satiety with regal airs that were a 
delight to witness. Debauchery was none the less pleasing to 
him, but it had to be debauchery on a huge scale : the feast of 
Trimalco or the nuptials of Gamacho. But, in other ways, he 
was a good friend, ever ready to lend a helping hand — throwing 
his money broadcast, and his heart among the women, giving 
his life to everybody not suspecting his future divinity, but 
already performing all kinds of miracles. Such was Gannot, 
the future Mapah, when I had the honour of making his 
acquaintance, about 1830 or 1831, at the café de Paris. Still 
less than he himself could I foretell his future divinity, and, if 
anybody had told me that, when I left him at two o'clock in 
the morning to return to my third storey in the rue de 
l'Université, I had just shaken the hand of a god, I should 
certainly have been very much surprised indeed. 

I have said that even before he became a god, Gannot 
worked miracles ; I will recount one which I almost saw him 



MIRACLES I 



169 



do. It was somewhero about 1831 — to give the precise date 
of the year is impossible — and a friend of Gannot, an 
innocent debtor who was as yet only negotiating his first bill 
of exchange, went to find Gannot to lay before him his distress 
in harrowing terms. Gannot was the type of man people 
always consulted in difficult crises, — his mind was quick in 
suggestions ; he was clear-sighted and steady of hand. Un- 
luckily, Gannot was going through one of his periods of 
poverty, days when he could have given points even to Job. 
He began, therefore, by confessing his personal inability to 
help, and when his friend despaired — 

" Bah 1 " he said, " we have seen plenty of other people in 
as bad a plight ! " 

This was a favourite expression with Gannot, who had, 
indeed, seen all shades of life. 

"All very well," said his friend j " but meantime, how am 1 
to get out of this fix ? " 

" Have you anything of value you could raise money on, if 
it were but twenty, ten, or even five francs ? " 

" Alas I " said the young fellow, " there is only my watch . . ," 

" Silver or gold ? " 

"Gold." 

"Gold! What did it cost?" 

" Two hundred francs ; but I shall hardly get sixty for it, 
and the bill of exchange is for five hundred francs." 

" Go and take your watch to the Mont-de-Piété." 

"And then?" 

" Bring back the money they give you for it here," 

" Well ? " 

" You must give me half of it." 

"After that?" 

" Then I will tell you what you must do. . . . Go, and be 
sure you do not divert a single sou of the amount I " 

" The deuce ! I shall not think of doing that," said the 
friend. And off he ran and returned presently with seventy 
francs. This was a good beginning. Gannot took it and put 
It with a grand lluurish into his pocket. 



170 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



" What are you doing ? " asked his friend. 

" You will soon see." 

" I thought you said we were to halve it . . ." 

" Later . . . meanwhile it is six o'clock ; let us go and have 
dinner." 

" How are we to dine ? " 

"My dear fellow, decent folk must have their dinner antf 
dine well in order to give themselves fresh ideas," 

And Cannot took his way towards the Palais-Royal, 
accompanied by the young man. When there, he entered the 
Frères-Provençaux. The youth tried faintly to drag Cannot 
away by the arm, but the latter pinched his hand tight as in a 
vice and the young man was obliged to follow. Cannot chose 
the menu and dined valiantly, to the great uneasiness of his 
friend ; tlie more dainty the dishes the more he left on his 
plate untasted. The future Mapah ate enough for both. The 
Rabelaisian quarter of an hour arrived, and the bill came to 
thirty-five francs. Cannot flung a couple of louis on the table. 
They were going to give him the change. 

" Keep it — the five francs are for the waiter," he said. 

The young man shook his head sadly. 

"That is not the way," he muttered below his breath, "to 
pay ray bill of exchange." 

Cannot did not appear to notice either his murmurs or his 
headshakings. They went out. Cannot walking in front, with a 
toothpick in his mouth; the friend followed silently and 
gloomily, like some resigned victim. When they reached la 
Rotonde, Cannot sat down, drew a chair within his friend's 
reach, struck the marble table with the wood of the framework 
that held the daily paper, ordered two cups of coffee, an inn- 
full of assorted liqueurs and the best cigars they possessed. 
The total amounted to five francs. There were then but 
twenty-five francs left over from the seventy. Cannot put ten 
in his friend's hand and restored the remaining fifteen to his 
pocket. 

" What now ? " asked his friend. 

"Take the ten francs," replied Cannot ; "go upstairs to that 



I 



« 



TALL TALES 



171 



house you sec opposite, No. 1 13 ; be careful not to mistake the 
storey, whatever you do ! " 

"What is the house?" 

" It is a gambling-house." 

" I shall have to play, then ? " 

" Of course you must ! And at midnight, whatever your gains 
or losses, bring thera here. I shall be there." 

The young man had by this lime reached such a pitch of 
utter exhaustion that, if Cannot had told him to go and fling 
himself into the river, he would have gone, He carried out 
Gannot's instructions to the letter. He had never put foot in 
a gaming-house before ; fortune, it is said, favours the innocent 
beginner: he played and won. At a quarter to twelve — 
for he had not forgotten the injunctions of tlie master for whom 
be began to feel a sort of superstitious reverence — he went 
away with his pockets full of gold and his heart bursting with 
joy. Gannot was walking up and down the passage which led 
to the Perron, quietly smoking his cigar. From the farthest 
distance when he first caught sight of him, the youth shouted — 

" Oh I my friend, such good luck ! 1 have won fifteen 
hundred francs ; when my bill of e.xchange is paid I shall still 
have a thousand francs I . . . Let me embrace you ; I owe 
you my very life." 

Gannot gently checked him with his hand, and told him to 
moderate his transports of gratitude. 

" Ah ! now," he said, " we can indeed go and have a glass 
of punch, can we not ? " 

" A glass of punch ? A bowl, my friend, two bowls ! As 
much BS ever you like, and havanas ad libitum / I am rich ; 
when my bill of exchange is paid, my watch redeemed, I shall 
still have . . ." 

" You have told me all that before." 

" U|x>n my wurd, I am so pleased I cannot repeat it often 
enough, dear friend 1 " And the young man gave himself up to 
choxits of immoderate joy, whilst Gannot regally climbed the 
ijtairs which led to the Hollandais, the only one left open 
midnight. It was full. Gannot called for the waiters. 



172 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



One waiter appeared. " I asked for the waiters," said Gannot. 
He fetched three who were in the ice-house and they roused 
up two who had already gone to bed — fifteen came in all. 
Gannot counted ihera. 

" Good ! " he said. " Now, waiters, go from table to table 
and ask the gentlemen and ladies at them what they would 
like to take." 

"Then, monsieur . . ." 

" 1 will pay for it ! " Gannot replied, in lordly tones. 

The joke was acceded to and was, indeed, thought to be 
in very good taste ; only the friend laughed at the wrong side of 
his moutli as he watched tlie consumption of liqueurs, coffee 
and glorias. Every table was like a liquid volcano, with lava 
of punch flowing out of the middle of its flames. The tables 
filled up again and the new arrivals were invited by the 
amphitr)'on to choose whatever they liked from the carte ; 
ices, hqueurs, syphons of lemonade, everything, even to soda- 
water. Finally, at three o'clock, when there was not a single 
glass of brandy left in the establishment, Gannot called for the 
bill. It came to eighteen hundred francs. VVliat about the 
bill of exchange now? . . . The young man, feehng more dead 
than alive, mechanically put his hand into his pocket, although 
he knew very well that it did not contain more than fifteen 
hundred francs ; but Gannot opened his pocket-book and pulled 
out two notes of a thousand francs, and blowing them apart — 

" Here, waiters," he said, " the change is for your 
attendance." 

And, turning to his pupil, who was quite faint by this time, 
and who had been nudging his arm the whole night or treading 
on his toes — 

"Young man," he said to him, "I wanted to give you a 
little lesson. ... To teach you that a true gambler ought 
not to be astonished at his winnings, and, above all, he should 
make bold use of them." With the fifteen francs he had kept 
of his friend's money, he, too, had played, and had won two 
thousand francs. We have seen how they were spent. This 
was his miracle ol the marriage ol Cana. 



I 



I 

I 



PHRENOLOGY 



173 



^ 



But, as may well be understood, this hazardous fortune- 
making had its cruel reverses ; Gannot's life was full of crises ; 
he always lived at extremes of excitement. More than once 
during this stormy existence the darkest thoughts crossed his 
mind. To become another Karl Moor or Jean Sbogar or 
Jaromir, he formed all kinds of dreadful plans. To attack 
travellers by the highway and to fling on to the green baize 
tables gold pieces stained with blood, was, during more than 
one tit of despair, the dream of feverish nights and the terrible 
hope of his morrows ! 

" I went stumbling," he said, after his divinity had freed him 
from all such gloomy human chimeras, "along the road of 
crime, knocking my head here and there against the guillotine's 
edge; I had to go through all these experiences; for from 
the lowest blackgu.ird was to emerge the first of reformers ! " 

To the career of gambling he added another, less risky. 
Upon the boulevard Bonne-Nouvelle, where he then lived, the 
passers-by might observe a head as signpost. Upon its bald 
bead some artist had painted in blue and red the cerebral 
topography of the talents, fetlings and instincts ; this cabalistic 
head indicated that consultations on phrenology were given 
within. Now, it is worth while to tell how Gaimot attained 
the zenith of the science of Gall and of Spurrheim. He was 
the son of a hatter, and, when a child, had noticed in his father's 
shop the many different shapes of the hands corresponding to 
the diverse shapes of people's heads. He had thereupon 
originated a system of phrenology of his own, which, later, he 
developed by a superficial study of anatomy. Gannot was a 
doctor, or, more correctly speaking, a sanitary inspector ; 
what he had learnt occupied little room in his memory, but, 
gifted as he was with fine and discerning tact, he analysed, by 

earw of a species of clairvoyance, the characters and he.id» 

,lh which he had to deal. One day, when overwhelmed by a 
of money at the gaming-table and seeing only destitution 
and despair ahead of him, he had given way to dark resolu- 
tions, a fashionable and beautiful young woman of v.-ea.\\!c\ ^cA. 
down from her carriage^ ascended iiis staire and ViTvcKÎi.eà îOtVvvi 



174 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



door. She came to ask the soothsayer to tell her fortune 
her head. Though a splendid creature, Cannot saw neither 
her, nor her beauty, nor her troubles and wavering blushes ; 
she sat down, took off her hat, uncovered her lovely golden 
hair, and let her head be examined by the phrenologist. The 
mysterious doctor passed his hands carelessly through the 
golden waves. His mind was elsewhere. There was nothing, 
however, more promising than the surfaces and contours which 
his skilful hand discovered as he touched them. But, when he 
came to the spot at the base of the skull which is commonly 
called the nape, which savants call the organ of amattoity, 
whether she had seen Cannot previously or whether from 
instantaneous and magnetic sympathy, the lady burst into tears 
and flung her arms round the future Mapah's neck, exclaiming — 

"Oh! I love you!" 

This was quite a new light in the life of this man. Until 
that time Garmot had known women; he had not known 
woman. His life of mad debauchery, of gambling, violent 
emotions, spent on the pavements of the boulevards, and in 
the bars of houses of ill-fame, and among the walks of the hois, 
was followed by one of retirement and love ; for he loved this 
beautiful unknown woman to distraction and almost to mad- 
ness. She was married. Often, after their hours of delirious 
ecstacy, when the moment of parting had to come, when 
tears filled their eyes and sobs their breasts, they plotted 
together the death of the man who was the obstacle to their 
intoxicating passion ; but they got no further to the completion 
of crime than thinking of it. She wished at least to fly 
with him ; but, on the very day they had arranged to take 
flight, she arrived at Cannot's house with a pocket-book full of 
bank notes stolen from her husband. Cannot was horrified 
with the theft and declined the money. Next day she returned 
with no other fortune than the clothes she wore, not even a 
chain of gold round her neck or a ring on her finger. And then 
he took her away. Complicated by this fresii element in his life, 
he took his flight into more impossible regions than ever before ; 
his yns the type of nature wh\cï\ is canved away by all kinds of 



by m 



VISIONS 



•75 



impulses. If the principle M. Guizot lays down be true: 
" Bodies always fall on the side towards which they incline," 
the Mapah was bound to fall some day or other, for he inclined 
to many sides ! Gambling and love admirably suited the 
instincts of that eccentric life ; but gambling - houses were 
closed 1 And the woman he loved died 1 Then was it that 
the god was born in him from inconsobble love and the 
suppressed passion for play. He was seized by illness, during 
which the spirit of this dead woman visited him every night, 
and revealed to him the doctrines of his new religion. 
Haunted by the hallucinations of love and fever, Cannot 
' listened to himself in the voice which spoke within him. But 
be was no longer Cannot, he was transfigured. 




CHAPTER VIII 

The god and his sanctuary — He informs the Pope of his overthrow — His 
manifestoes — His portrait — Doctrine of escape — Symbols of that 
religion — Chaudesaigues takes me to the Mapah— Iswara and Pracriti 
— Questions which are wanting in actuality — War between the votaries 
of iidja and the followers of tatti — My lut interview with the Mapah 

IN 1840, in the old lie Saint Louis which is lashed by bitter 
and angiy winds from the north and west, upon the coldest 
quay of that frigid Thule — terrarum ultima Thule — on a dark 
and dingy ground-floor, in a bare room, a man was moulding 
and casting in plaster. That man was the one-time Gannot. 
The room served both as studio and school ; pupils came and 
took lessons in modelling there and to consult the Mapah. 
This was the name, as we have already said, under which 
Gannot went in his new existence. From this room was sent 
the first manifesto in which he who had been Gannot proclaimed 
his mission to the world. Who was surprised by it? Pope 
Gr^ory xvi. certainly was, when he received, on hb sovereign 
throne, a letter dated from our apostolic pallet-bed, which 
annotmced that his time was over ; that, from henceforth, he 
was to look upon himself as dethroned, and, in fact, that he was 
superseded by another. This polite duty fulfilled with regard 
to his predecessor, Gannot, in all simplicity, announced to his 
friends that they must look upon him as the god of the future. 
Gannot had been the leader of a certain school of thought for 
two or three years past ; amongst his followers were Felix Pyat, 
Thoré, Chaudesaigues, etc. etc His sudden transformation 
from Gannot to Mapah, hb declaration to the Pope, and hb 
presumption in posing as a revealer, alienated hb former 

disciples; it was the durus hie sermo. Nevertheless, he main- 

176 



THE MAPAH'S APPEARANCE 



177 



taJned unshaken belief in himself and continued his sermons ; 
but as these oral sermons were insufficient and he thought it 
necessary to add to them a printed profession of faith, one day 
he sold his wearing apparel and converted the price of it into 
manifestoes of war against the religion of Christ, which he dis- 
tributed among his new disciples. 

After the sale of his wardrobe, the habits of the ci-devant 
lion entirely disappeared, as his garments had done. In his 
transition from Cannot to Mapah, everything that constituted 
the former man vanished : a blouse replaced, for both summer 
and winter, the elegant clothes which the past gambler used to 
wear ; a grey felt hat covered his high and finely-shaped fore- 
head. But, seen thus, he was really beautiful : his blue-grey 
eyes sparkled with mystic fire ; his finely chiselled nose, with 
its delicately defined outlines, was straight and pure in form ; 
his long flowing beard, bright gold coloured, fell to his chest ; 
all his features, as is usual with thinkers and visionaries, were 
drawn up towards the top of his head by a sort of nervous 
tension ; his hands were white and fine and distinguished- 
looking, and, with a remnant of his post vanity as a man of the 
world, he took particular care of them ; his gestures were not 
by any means without commanding power ; his language was 
eloquent, impassioned, picturesque and original. The prophet 
of poverty, he had adopted its symbols ; he became a proletarian 
in order to reach the hearts of the lower classes ; he donned 
the working-man's blouse to convert the wearers of blouses. 
The Mapah was not a simple god — he was a composite one ; 
he was made up of Saint Simon, of Fourier and of Owen. His 
chief dogma was the extremely ancient one of Androgj-nism, i.»". 
the unity of the male and female principle throughout all nature, 
and the unity of the man and the woman in society. He 
called his religion Evadisme, i.e. (Eve and Adam) ; himself 
he called Mapah, from mater and pa/er ; and herein he ex- 
celled the Pope, who had never even in the palmiest days of the 
papacy, not even under Gr^«y viL, been anything more than 
the CsthcT of Christians, whilst he was both father and tuQtivex 
of humanity. In bis system people had i^oV. Vo \3^« iim^i 
y.—jj 



1-8 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

the name of their father, but the first syllable of their mother's 
name combined with the first syllable of that of their father. 
Once the Mapah addressed himself thus to his friend Chaudes- 
aigues — 

" What is your name ? " 

" Chaudesaigues." 

" What does that come from ? " 

" It is my father's name." 

" Have you then killed your mother, wretched man ? " 

Chaudesaigues lowered his head : he had no answer to give 
to that. 

In Socialism Mapah's doctrine was that of dissent Accord- 
ing to him assassins, thieves and smugglers were the living 
condemnation of the moral order against which they were 
rebelling. Schiller's Brigands he looked upon as the most 
complete development of his theory to be found in the world. 
Once he went to a home for lost women and collected them 
together, as he had once collected the waiters of the Hollandais 
in the days of his worldly folly ; then, addressing the poor 
creatures who were waiting with curiosity, wondering who 
this sultan could be who wanted a dozen or more wives at a 
time — 

"Mesdemoiselles," he said, "do you know what you 
are?" 

" Why, we are prostitutes," the girls all replied together. 

" You are wrong," said the Mapah ; " you are Protestants." 
And in words which were, not without elevation and vividness, 
he expounded to them the manner in which they, poor girls, 
protested against the privileges of respectable women. It need 
hardly be said that, as this doctrine spread, it led to some dis- 
quietude in the minds of magistrates, who had not attained the 
heights of the new religion, but were still plunged in the dark- 
ness of Christianity. Two or three times they brought the 
Mapah before the examining magistrates and threatened him 
with a trial ; but the Mapah merely shook his blouse with his 
fine nervous band, as the Roman ambassador used to shake 



CAILLAUX 



179 



" Imprison me, try me, condemn me," he said ; " I shall not 
appeal from the lower to a higher tribunal ; I shall appeal from 
Pilate to the People ! " 

And, in fact, whether they stood in awe of his beard, his 
blouse or his speech, which was certainly captivating ; whether 
they were unable to arrive at a decision as to what court the 
new religion should be judged at — police court or Court of 
Assizes — they left the Mapah in peace. 

The most enthusiastic of the Evadian apostles was ht who 
was once Cailtaux, who published the Arche de la nouvelle 
alliante. He was the Mapah's Saint John; the Arche de la 
Hottvelle alliance was the gospel which told the passion of 
Humanity to whose rescue the Christ of the He Saint Louis was 
come. We will devote a chapter to that gospel. The Mapah 
himself wrote nothing, except two or three manifestoes issued 
from his apostolic pallet, in which he announced his apostolate 
to the modern world ; he did nothing but pictures and plaster- 
casts that looked like originals dug out of a temple of Isis. 
Taking his religion back to its source, he showed by his two- 
fold symbolism, how it had developed from age to age, fertilising 
the whole of nature, till, finally, it culminated in himself. The 
whole of the history was written in hieroglyphic signs, had the 
advantage of being able to be read and expounded by every- 
body and treated of Buddhism, Paganism and Christianity 
before leading up to Evadism. In the latter years of the reign 
of Louis-Philippc, the Mapah sent his allegorical pictures and 
symbols in plaster to tlie members of the Chamber of Deputies 
and to the Royal Family ; it will be readily believed that the 
members of the Chamber and royal personages left these 
lithographs and symbols in the hands of their ushers and 
lackeys, with which to decorate their own attics. The Mapali 
trembled for their fate. 

" They scoff," he said in prophecy ; " Man£, Thécel, 
PitARts ; evil fortune will befall them I " 

What did happen to them we know. 

Oi»e day Chaudesaigues — poor honest fellow, who cUed ^Qiw% 
before his time, which I shall speak o( m Vt& ç\ac& — ^^o'^c^'^^à. 



n 



1 80 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

to take me to the Mapah, and I accepted. He recognised me, 
as he had once dined or taken supper with me in the days 
when he was Gannot ; and he had preserved a very clear 
memory of that meeting; he was very anxious at once to 
acquaint me with his symbolic figures, and to initiate m 
like the Egyptian proselytes, into his most secret mysteries.' 
Now, I had, by chance, just been studying in earnest the 
subjects of the early ages of the world and its great wars, 
which apparently devastated those primitive times without 
seeming reason ; 1 was, therefore, in a measure, perfectly able 
not only to understand the most obscure 'traditions of the 
religion of the Mapah, but also to explain them to others, which 
I will now endeavour to do here. 

At the period when the Celts had conquered India, that 

ancestor of Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilisations, they 

found a complete system of physical and metaphysical sciences 

already established ; Atlantic cosmogony related to absolute 

unity, and, according to it, everything emanated from one 

single principle, called Iswara, which was purely spiritual. 

But soon the Indian savants perceived with fear, that this 

world, which they had looked upon for long as the product of 

absolute unity, was incontestably that of a combined duality. 

They might have looked upon these two principles, as did the 

first Zoroaster a long time after them, as principles — i.n. as the 

son and daughter of Iswara, thus leaving the ancient Iswara 

his old position, by supporting him on a double column of 

creating beings, as we see a Roman general being carried 

raised up on two shields by his soldiers ; but they wished to 

divide these two principles into prindpiant principles ; they 

therefore satisfied themselves by joining a fresh principle to 

that of Iswara, by mating Iswara with Pracriti, or ruture. 

This explained everything. Pracriti possessed the sakti — i.t. 

the conceptive power, and the old Iswara was the bidja or 

generative power. 

I think, up to now, I have been as clear as possible, and I 
mean to try to continue my explanations with equal lucidity ; 
vthich will not be an easy matter seeing that (and I am happy 



H 



»- 



THEORIES 



i8i 



to give my reader due warning of it) we are dealing only with 
pure science, of which fact he might not be aware. 

This early discovery of the Indian savants, which resulted 
in the marriage of Iswara with Pracriti, led to the consideration 
of the universe as the product of two principles, each possess- 
ing its own peculiar function of the male and female qualities. 
Iswara and Pracriti stood for Adam and Eve to the whole of 
the universe, not simply for humanity. This system, remarkable 
by its verj' simplicity, which attracted men by giving to all 
that surrounded him an origin similar to his own, is to be 
found amongst most races, which received it from the Hindus. 
Sanchoniathon calls his male principle Ilypsislos, the Most 
High, and his female principle Berouth, nature; the Greeks 
call this male principle Saturn, and their female principle 
Rhea; both one and the other correspond to Iswara and 
Pracriti. All went well for several centuries ; but the mania 
for controversy is innate in man, and it led to the following 
questions, which the Hindu savants propounded, and which pro- 
voked the struggle of half the human race against the other. 

"Since," say the controversials, "the universels the result 
of two principiant powers, one acting with male, the other with 
female qualities, must wc then consider the relations that they 
bear to one another ? Are they independent one of the other ? 
are they pre-existent to matter and contemporaneous with 
eternity ? Or ought we rather to look upon one of them as the 
procreative cause of its companion ? If they are independent, 
how came they to be reunited? Was it by some coercive 
force? If so, what divinity of greater power than themseli'es 
exercised tliat pressure upon them? Was it by sympathy? 
Why, then, did it not act either earlier or later? If they arc 
not independent of one another, which of the two is to be 
under subjection to the other ? Which is first in order of 
antiquity or of power? Did Iswara produce Pracriti or 
Pracriti Iswara? Which of .them acu with the greatest energy 
and is the most necessary to the procreation of inanimate 
things and animate l)e'mgs ? Which should be caAVt^ ^x^V \tv 
Uie sacrifices made io tbeoi or in ibe \\vn\u& a^&\v:s&<:À vo 



I 



|2 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

them ? Ought the worship offered them to be combined or 
separated ? Ought men and women to raise separate altars to 
them or one for both together ? " ^ 

These questions, which have divided the minds of millions 
of men, which have caused rivers of blood to flow, nowadays 
sound idle and even absurd to our readers, who hear Hindu 
religion spoken of as mere mythology, and India as some far- 
off planet ; but, at the time of which we arc now speaking, the 
Indian Empire was the centre of the civilised world and master 
of the known world. These questions, then, were of the highest 
importance. They circulated quietly in the empire at first, 
but soon each one collected quite a large enough number of 
partisans for the religious question to appear under a political 
aspect. The supreme priesthood, which at first had begun by 
holding itself aloof from all controversy, sacrificed equally to 
Iswara and to Pracriti — to the generative power and to the 
(onceptive power: sacerdotalism, which had long remained 
neutral between the bidja and the sakti principles, was com- 
pelled to decide, and as it was composed of men — that is to 
say of Û\c generative pmver, it decided in favour of males, and 
proclaimed the dominance of the masculine sex over the 
feminine. This decision was, of course, looked upon as 
tyrannical by the Pracritisls, that is, the followers of the con- 
ctptivc power theory ; they revolted. Government rose to 
suppress the revolution and, hence, the declaration of civil 
war. Figure to yourselves upon an immense scale, in an 
empire of several hundreds of millions of men, a war similar 
to that of the Albigenses, the Vaudois or the Protestants. 
Meantime two princes of the reigning dynasty,* both sons of 
King Ongra, the oldest called Tarak'hya, the youngest Irshou, 
divided the Indian Empire between them, less from personal 
conviction than to make proselytes. One took bija for his 
standard, the other took sakti. The followers of each of these 
two symbols rallied at the same time under their leaders, and 
India had a political and civil and religious war ; Irshou, the 

' The Ah\>i d'Olivct, Êlat iocial tie I'komme. 
*See the Scanda-fomana aiul the Brahmanda {oi t.lw details of this war. 




4 



4 



INDIAN PHILOSOPHY 



•83 



* 



younger of the two brothers, having positively declared that he 
bad broken with sacerdotalism and intended to worship the 
feminine or conceptive faculty, as the first cause in the 
universe, according priority to it and pre-eminence over the 
generative or masculine faculty, A political war can be ended 
by a division of territory ; a religious war is never-ending. 
Sects exterminate one another and yet are not convinced. A 
deadly, bitter, relentless war, then, ravaged the empire. As 
Irshou represented popular opinion and the Socialism of the 
time, and his army was largely composed of herdsmen, they 
called his followers the pallis, that is to say, shepherds, from 
the Celtic word pal, which means shepherd's crook. Irshou 
was defeated by Tarak'hya, and driven back as far as Kgypt 
The Pallis there became the stock from which those primitive 
dynasties sprang which lasted for two hundred and sixty-one 
years, and are known as the dynasties of Shepherd Kings. The 
etymology this time is palpably evident ; therefore, let us 
hope we shall not meet with any contradiction on this head. 
Now, we have stated that Irshou took as his standard the 
symbol which represented the divinity he had worshipped ; 
that sign, in Sanscrit, was called yoni, from whence is derived 
y>nek — which means a dove — this explains, we may point out in 
passing, why the dove became the bird of Venus. The men 
who wore the badge of the yoni were called Yonicns, and, as 
they always wore it symbolically depicted on a red flag, red or 
purple became, at Tyre and Sidon and in Greece, the royal 
colour, and was adopted by the consuls and emperors and 
popes of Rome and, finally, by aU reigning princes, no matter 
what race they were descended from or what religion they 
professed. My readers may assume that I am rather pleased 
to be able to teach kings the derivation of their purple robes. 

Well, then, it was on account of his studying these great 
questions of dispute, which had lasted more than two thousand 
3rears and had cost a million of men's lives ; it was from fear lest 
they should be revived in our days that the philanthropic Cannot 
endeavoured to found a religion, under the title of Evadism 
which was lo aunitc these two creeds in\o a "ivcv^t wvc, "^^^ 



1 84 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



that end were his strange figures moulded in plaster and the 
eccentric lithographs that he designed and executed upon 
coloured paper, with the earnestness of a Brahmin disciple of 
bidja or an Egyptian adherent ol saktiy 

The joy of the Mapah can be imagined when he found I 
was acquainted with the primitive dogmas of his religion and 
with the disasters which the discussion of those doctrines had 
brought with them. He offered me the position of bis chief 
disciple, on the spot, in place of him who had once been 
Caillaux ; but I have ever been averse to usurpation, and 
had no intention of devoting myself to a principle, by my 
example, which, some day or other, 1 should be called upon to 
oppose. The Mapah next offered to abdicate in my favour 
and himself be my head disciple. The position did not seem 
to me suflficiently clearly defined, in the face of both spiritual 
and temporal powers, to accept that offer, fascinating though it 
was. I therefore contented myself with carrying away from 
the Mapah's studio one of the most beautiful sp>ecimens of 
the bidJa and sakti, promising to exhibit them in the most 
conspicuous place in my sitting-room, which I took good care 
not to do, and then I departed. I did not see the Mapah 
again until after the Revolution of 24 February, when, by 
chance, I met him in the offices of the Commune de Paris, 
where I went to ask for the insertion of an article on exiles in 
general, and those of the family of Orléans in particular. The 
article had been declined by the chief editor of the Liberté, M. 
Lepoitevin-Saint-Alme. The revolution predicted by Cannot 
had come. I expected, therefore, to find him overwhelmed 
with delight ; and, as a matter of fact, he did praise the three 
days of February, but with a faint voice and dulled feelings ; 
he seemed to be singularly enfeebled by that strange and sensual 
mysticism, which presented every event to his mind in 
dogmatic form. The lines of the upper part of his face 
were more deeply drawn towards his prominent forehead, 
and his whole person bespoke the visionary in whom the 
hallucination of being a god had degenerated into a dis- 
' In Sanscril litf^ .ind yoni ; in Greek ^XXo< and xo'p*'. 



% 



y 

i 



DISILLUSION 



185 



ease. He defined the terror of the middle classes at the 
events of 34 February and Socialistic doctrines as, " the frantic 
terror of the pig which feels the cold edge of the knife at 
its throat" His latter years were sad and gloomy ; he ended 
by doubting himself. Eli, Eli, lama sabachthanil rang in 
his aching and disillusioned heart like a death-knelL During 
the last year of his life his only pupil was an Auvergnat, a 
seller of chestnuts in a passage-way. . . . And to him the 
dyti% god bequeathed the charge of spreading his doctrines. 
This event took place towards the b^iiming of the 
year 1851. 




CHAPTER IX 

Apocalypse of the being who was once called Caillaux 

WE said a few words of the apostle of Mapah and 
promised to follow him to his isle of Patmos and to 
give some idea of his apocalypse. We will keep our word. 
It was no easy matter to find this apocalypse, my reader may 
judge ; it had been published at the trouble and expense of 
Hetzel, under the title of Arche de la nouvelle Alliance. Not 
that Hetzel was in the very least a follower of the Evadian 
religion — he was simply the compatriot and friend of him 
who was Caillaux, to which twofold advantages he owed the 
honour of dining several times with the god Mapah and 
his disciple. It is more than likely that Hetzel paid for 
the dinners himself. 

ARCHE DE LA NOUVELLE ALLIANCE 

" I have not come to say to the people, • Render to Csesar 
the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are 
God's,' but I have come to tell Caesar to render to God the 
things that belong to God I 'What is God?— God, is the 
People ! — The Mapah.' At the hour when shadows deepen 
I saw the vision of the last apostle of a decaying religion and 
I exclaimed — 

I 

" ' Why dost thou grieve, O king ! and why dost thou moan 
over thy ruined crown? Why rise up against those who 
dethroned thee? If thou fallest to-day, it is because thy 
hour has come: to attempt to prolong it for a day, is but 
to offer insult to the Majesty in the heavens. 

tB6 



NEBULAE 



187 



II 

" ' Everything that exists here below has it not its phases of 
life and of death ? Does the vegetation of the valleys always 
flourish ? After the season of fine days does it not come to 
pass that some morning the autumn wind scatters the leaves 
of the beeches ? 

Ill 

" ' Cease, then, O King ! thy lamentation and do not be 
perturbed in thy loneliness ! Be not surprised if thy road is 
deserted and if the nations keep silence during thy passing as 
at the passing of a funeral cortège : thou hast not failed in thy 
mission ; simply, thy mission is done. It is destiny ! 

IV 

" ' Dost thou not know that humanity only lives in the 
future ? What does the present care about the oriflamme of 
Bouvines ? Let us bury it with thy ancestors lying motionless 
beneath their monuments ; another banner is needed for the 
men of to^lay. 



"'And when we have sealed with a triple seal the stone 
. whicli covers up past majesty, let us do obeisance as did the 
'people of Memphis before the silence of their pyramids, those 
mute giants of the desert ; but like them do not let us remain 
with our foreheads in the dust, but from the ruins of ancient 
creeds let us spring upwards towards the Infinite ! Thus did 
I sing during the dawn of my life. A poet, I have ever pitied 
noble misfortune ; as son of the people, I have never abjured 
renown. At that time this world appeared to me to be free 
and powerful under heaven, and I believed that the last salute 
of the universe to the phantom of ancient days would be its 
flrst aspiration towards future splendours. But it was nothing 
of the kind. The past, whilst burying itself under the earth, had 
not drawn all its procession of dark shades with it. Now I went 
to those bare slr.inds which the ocean bleaches with its foam. 
The seagulls hailed the rocks of the coast with their harsh 
lies, and the mighty voice of the sea sounded more sweetly 
> my car than the language of men. . . .' " 

Tben follows the apostle's feelings undet \Y\e \t\ft\ict\ot ^\ ^îwi 



18 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



great aspects of Nature ; he stays a year far from Paris ; then 
at last bis vocation recalls him among men. 

"Now, the very night of my return from my wanderings, 
I walked a dreamer in the midst of the roar of that great 
western city, my soul more than ever crushed beneath the 
weight of its ruin. I beheld myself as during my happiest 
years when I was full of confidence in God and the future ; 
and then 1 turned my glance upon myself, the man of the 
present moment, for ever tossed between hope and fear, 
between desire and remorse, between calm and discouragement. 
When 1 had well contemplated myself thus, and had by thought 
stirred up the mud of the past and had considered the good 
and evil that had emanated from me, I raised in inexpressible 
anger my fist towards heaven, and I said to God : ' To whom, 
then, does this earth belong ? ' At the same moment, I felt 
myself hustled violently, and by an irresistible movement I 
lowered my arm to strike — in striking the cheek of him who 
was jostling me, I felt I was smiting the world. Oh 1 what a 
surprise ! my hand, instead of beating his face, encountered his 
hand ; a loving pressure drew us together, and in grave and 
solemn tones he said : ' The water, the air, the earth and fire 
belong to none — they are God's ! ' Then, uncovering the folds 
of the garment which covered my breast, he put a finger on 
my heart and a brilliant flame leapt out and I felt relief. 
Overcome with amazement, I exclaimed — 

" ' Who art thou, whose word strengthens and whose touch 
regenerates ? ' 

" ' Thou shall know, this very night ! ' he replied, and went 
on his way. 

" I followed and examined him at leisure : he was a mail 
of the people, with a crooked back and powerful limbs ; an 
untrimmed beard fell over his bre.ist, and his bare and nearly 
bald head bore witness to hard work and rude passions. He 
carried a sack of plaster on his back which bowed him down 
beneath its weight. Thus bent he passed through the 
crowd. . . ." 

The disciple then followed the god ; for this man who had 
comforted him was the Mapah ; he followed him to the thres- 
hold of his studio, into which he disappeared. It was the 
same studio to which Chaudesaigues had taken me, on the 



4 



I 



4 



DISCIPLE AND MASTER 



189 



quai Bourbon, in ihe lie Saint Louis. The door of the 
studio soon reopened and the apostle entered and was 
present at the revelation, which the Mapah had promised him. 
But, first of all, there was the discovery of the Mapah himself. 

" Meanwhile, the owner of this dwelling had none of the bear- 
ing of a common working-man. He was, indeed, the man of 
the sack of plaster, and the uncut beard, and torn blouse, who 
had accosted me in such an unexpected fashion ; he had exactly 
the same powerful glance, the same breadth of shoulders, the 
same vigorous loins, but on that furrowed brow, and in those 
granite featunss and that indescribable personality of the man 
there hovered a rude dignity before which I bowed my head. 

" I advanced towards my host, who was laid on a half-broken 
bed, lighted up by a night lamp in a pot of earth. I said — 

" ' Master, you whose touch heals and whose words restore, 
who are you ? ' 

"Lifting his eyes to me, he replied simply, 'There is no 
master now ; we are all children of God : call me brother,' 

" 'Then,' I replied, ' Brother, who then are you ?' 

'"I am he who is. Like the shepherd on the tops of the 
cliffs I h.-ive heard the cry of the multitude; it is like the 
moan of the waves at the winter equinox ; that cry has pierced 
ray lieart and I have come.' 

" Motioning me to come nearer, he went on — 

" 'Son of doubt, who art sowing sorrow and reaping anguish, 
what seekest thou? The sun or darkness? Death or life? 
Hope or the grave?' 

" ' Brother, I seek after truth,' I replied • I have hailed the 
]>a-'.t, I have questioned its abysmal depths whence came the 
rumours that had reached me : the past was deaf to my cries.' 

" • The past was not to hear you. Every age has had its own 
prophets, and each country its monuments ; but prophets and 
monuments have vanished like shadows: what was life yesterday 
is to-day but death. Do not then evoke the past, let it fall asleep 
in the darkness of its tombs in the dust of its solitary places.' 

" I went on — ' I questioned the present amidst the flashes and 
deceptions of this century, but it did not hear me either.' 

" ' The present was not to hear you ; its flashes do but pre- 
cede the storm, and its law is not the law of the future.' 

" ' Brother, what then is this law ? What are the showers 
that make it blossom, and what sun sheds light upon it? ' 



190 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

" ' God will teach ihcc' 

" Pointing to me to be seated near to him, he added : 
'Sit down and listen attentively, for I will declare the truth 
unto you. I am he who crieth to the people, " Watch at the 
threshold of your dwelling and sleep not : the hour of revela- 
tion is at hand . . ." ' 

"At that moment the earth trembled, a hurricane beat 
against the window panes, belfries rang of themselves; the 
disciple would fain flee, but fear riveted him to the master's 
side. He continued — 

" I foreboded that something strange would take place 
before me, and indeed as the knell of the belfry rang out on 
the empty air, a song which had no echo in mortal tongue, 
abrupt, quick and laden with indefinable mockery, answered 
him from under the earth, and rising from note to note, from 
the deepest to the shrillest tones, it resounded and rebounded 
like some wounded snake, and grated like a saw being 
sharpened ; finally, ever decreasing, ever growing feebler, until it 
was lost at last in space. And this is the burden of the song — 

"'Behold the year '40, the famous year '40 has come! 
Ah ! ah 1 ah ! What will it bring forth ? What will it {H^oduce ? 
An ox or an egg ? Perhaps one, perhaps the other 1 ah ! ah ! 
ah ! Peasants turn up your sleeves ! And you wealthy, sweep 
your hearthstones. Make way, make way for the year '40! 
The year '40 is cold and hungry and in need of food ; and no 
wonder ! Its teeth chatter, its limbs shiver, its children have no 
shoes, and its daughters possess not even a ribbon to adorn 
their 'locks on Sunday ; they have not even a beggarly dime 
lying idle in their poverty-stricken pockets to buy drink 
wherewith to refresh themselves and their lovers 1 Ah ! ah ! 
what wretchedness I Were it not too dreadful it would seem 
ludicrous. Did you come here, gossip, to see this topsy-turvy 
world? Come quickly, there is room for all. . . . Stay, yon 
raven looking in at the window, and that vulture bearing its 
wings. Ah ! ah ! ah ! The year '40 is cold, is an hunger^ in 
need of food ! What will it bring forth . . . ? ' 

"And the song died away in the distance, and mingled 
with the murmur of the wind which was wailing without . . . 

" Then began the apparitions. There were twelve of them, 
all livid and weighted with chains and bleeding, each holding 
-its dissevered head in its hand, each wrapped in a shroud, green 
yiiûx the moss of its sepulchre, each carrying in front of it the 



APPARITIONS 



191 



mark of llie twelve great passions, the mystic link which 
unites man to the Creator. They advanced as some dark 
shadow of night falls upon the mountains. It was one of those 
terrifying groups, which one sees in the days of torment, in the 
midst of the cross-roads of the seething city ; the citizens 
question one another by signs, and ask each other — 

" ' Do you see those awful faces down there ? Who on 
earth are those men, and how come they to wander spectre-like 
among the excited crowd ? ' 

" And on the head of the one who walked first, like that of 
an over-thrown king, so splendid was its pallor and its regal lips 
scornful, a crown of fire was burning with this word written in 
letters of blood, ' Lacenairisme / ' Dumb and led by the figure 
who seemed to be their king, the phantoms grouped them- 
selves in a semi-circle at the foot of the dilapidated bed, as 
though at the foot of some seat of justice ; and he who is, after 
fixing his earnest glance upon them for some moments ques- 
tioned them in the following terms — 

" ' Who are you ? ' 

" ' Sorrow's elect, apostles of hunger.' 

" ' Your names ? ' 

"'A mysterious letter.' 

" * Whence come you ? ' 

"'From the shades.' 

" ' What do you demand ? ' 

"'Justice.' 

"The echoes repeated, 'Justice ! ' 

" And at a signal from their king, the phantoms intoned a 
ringing hymn in chorus . . ." 

It had a kind of awful majesty in it, a sort of grand 
terror, but we will reserve our space for other quotations which 
we prefer to that. The apostle resumed — 

" Tlic pale phantoms ceased, their lips became motionless 
and frozen, and round the accursed brows of these lost children 
of the grave, there seemed to hover indistinctly the bloody 
shadow of the past. Suddenly from tlie base to the top of 
this mysterious ladder issued a loud sound, and fresh faces 
appeared on the threshold. ... A red shirt, a coarse woollen 
cap, a poor pair of linen trousers soiled with sweat and powder ; 
at the feet was a brass cannon-ball, in its liands were clanking 
chains ; tliesc accoutrements stood for the symbols of all kinds 



192 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

of human misfortunes. As if they had been called up by their 
predecessors, they entered and bowed amicably to them. I 
noticed that each face bore a look of unconcern and of 
defiance, each carefully hid a rusty dagger beneath its vest- 
ments, and on their shoulders they bore triumphantly a large 
chopping-block still dyed with dark stains of blood. And on 
this block leant a man with a drunken face and tottering legs, 
grotesquely supporting himself on the worn-out handle of an 
axe. And tliis man, gambolling and gesticulating, mumbled in 
a nasal tone, a kind of lament with this refrain — 

" ' Voici l'autel et le Ixîdeau ! 
I A sa t»rbe faisons l'orgie ; 

I Jusqu'à ce que sur notre vie, 

' Le diable tire le rideau, 

Foin de l'autel et du tiedcau I ' 

" And his companions took up the refrain in chorus to Uie 
noise of their clashing chains. Which perceiving kt who ii 
spread his hands over the dreadful pageant. There took place 
a profound silence ; then he said — 

" ' My heart, ocean of life, of grief and of love, is the great 
receptacle of the new alliance into which fall its tears and 
sweat and blood ; and by the tears which have watered, by the 
sweat which has dropped, by the blood which has become 
fertile, be blessed, my brothers, executed persons, convicts 
and sufTerers, and hope — the hour of revelation is at hand ! ' 

" ' What ! ' I exclaimed in horror ; ' hast thou come to preach 
the sword ? ' 

" ' I do not come to preach it but to give the word for it.' 

" And he who is replied — 

" * Passions are like the twelve great tables of the law of laws, 
Love. They are when in unison the source of all good things ; 
when subverted they are the source of all evils.' 

" Silence again arose, and he added — 

" ' Each head that falls is one letter of a verb whose mean- 
ing is not yet understood, but whose first word stands for pro- 
testation ; the last, signifies integral passional expansion. The 
axe is a steel ; the head of the executed, a flint ; the blood 
which spurts from it, the spark ; and society a powder-horn ! ' 

" Silence was renewed, and he went on a third time — 
I " ' The prison is to modern society what the circus was to 
rtncient Rome: the slave died for individual liberty; in oui 
I day, the convict dies for passional integral liberty.' 



DOUBT 



193 



Hope ! for the hour 

forward — those of the 

The first was hungry : 

he had earned. The 



" And again silence reigned, but after a while a mild Voice 
from on high said to the sorry cortège which stood motion- 
less at one comer of the pallet-bed — 
" ' Have hope, ye poor martyrs ! 
approaches ! ' " 

"Then three noble figures came 
mechanic, the labourer and the soldier. 
I they fought with him for the bread 

Econd was both hungry and cold ; they haggled for the com 
I he had sown and the wood he had cut down. The third had 
experienced every kind of human suffering ; furthermore, he 
had hoped and his hope had withered away, and he was re- 
proached for the blood that had been shed. All three bore 
the history of their lives on their countenances ; all felt ill at 
ease in the present and were ready to (juestion God concerning 
His doings ; but as the hour approached and their cry was about 
to rise to the Eternal, a spectre rose up from the Umbs of the 
past : his name was Duty. Before him they recoiled affrighted. 
A priest went before them, his form wrapped in burial clothes ; 
he advanced slowly with lowered eyes. Strange contrast ! He 
dreamed of the heavens and yet bent low towards the earth ! 
On his breast was the inscription : Christianity ! Beneath : 
Rtsignation. 

• t RphoM them ! ' cried the apostle ; 
What will be the nature of 
their speech and how will they express themselves in his 
presence ? Will their complaint be as great as their sadness ? 
Not so, their uncertainty is too great for them to dare to 
formulate their thoughts : besides, doubt is their real feeling. 
Perhaps, some day, they may speak out more freely. Let us 
listen respectfully to the hymn that falls from their lips ; it is 
^toleranly majestic, but less musical than the breeze and less 
lite than the Ocean. Hear it — 



" ' Here they come ! Behold 
they are advancing to kim who is. 



HYMNE 

" Du h*ut de I'horiitoD, du milieu àa. nungcs 
Où l'»»tre vci)-agcur tppaxut aux Iroia toi», 
l>ts profondttir» du temple où veillent les il 

O Christ I enlcnds-tu noire voix ? 

Si : ' ' ' ''re 

De la I ie les luteU, 

One lai:..^ ^. —, l'i'-' 1» (uuptète. 

Tu doU le demai :Icu( austiie, 

S'il est des a. _ 

V. — IJ 



194 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Lb PRftTRB 

" O Christ 1 j'ai pris longtemps pour un port salutaire 
Ta maison, dont le toit domine les hauts lieux ; 
Et j'ai voulu cacher au fond du sanctuaire, 
Comme sous un bandeau, mon front tumultueux." 

Lb Soldat 

"O Christ I j'ai pris lonf;temps pour une noble chaîne 
L'abrutissant lien que je traîne aujourd'hui ; 
Et j'ai donné mon sang à la cause incertaine 
De cette égalité dont raurore avait lui." 



Le Laboureur 

' " O Christ I j'ai pris longtemps pour une tâche sainte 
La rude mission confiée à mes bras. 
Et j'ai, pendant vingt ans, sans repos et sans plainte, 
Laissé sur les sillons la trace de mes pas." 

L'ouvrier 

" O Christ I j'ai pris longtemps pour œuvre méritoire 
Mes longs jours consumés dus un labeur sans fin ; 
Et, maintes fois, de peur d'outrager ta mémoire, 
J'ai plié ma nature aux douleurs de la faim." 

Le PrAtre 
"La foi n'a pas rempli mon âme inassouvie I " 

Le Soldat 
" L'orage a balayé tout le sang répandu ! " 

Le Laboureur 
"Où je semais le grain, j'ai récolté l'ortie ! " 

L'ouvrier 
" Hier, J'avais un lit mon maitre l'a vendu I " 

"Silence! Has the night wind borne away their prayer 
on its wings? or have their voices ceased to question the 
heavens? Are they perchance comforted? AVho can tell? 
God keeps the enigma in His own mighty hands, the terrible 
enigma held aloft over the borders of two worlds — the present 
and the future. But they will not be forsaken on their way 



MACAIRISME 



«95 






where doubt assails them, where resignation fells them. 
Children of God, they shall have their share of life and of 
sunshine. God loves those who seek after Him. . . . Then the 
priest and soldier and artizan and labourer gave place to 
others, and the apostle went on — 

" And after two women, one of whom was dazzlingly and boldly 
adorned, and the other mute and veiled, there followed a pro- 
cession in which the grotesque was mingled with the terrible, 
the fantastic with the real ; all moved about the room together, 
which seemed suddenly to grow larger to make space for this 
multitude, whilst the retiring spectres, giving place to the new- 
comers, grouped themselves silently at a little distance from 
their formidable predecessors, And he who is, preparing to 

dress a speech to the fresh arrivals, one of their number, 
'hom I had not at first noticed, came forward to answer in 
the name of his acolytes. Upon the brow of this interpreter, 
square built, with shining and greedy lips and on his glisten- 
ing hungry lips, I read in letters of gold the word Macairisme ! 

" And he who is siid — 

«•Who are you?' 

"'The favourites of luxury, the apostles of joy.' 

" ' Whence come you ? ' 

"'From wealth.' 

" • Where do you go ? ' 

"'To pleasure.' 

** ' What has made you so well favoured ? ' 

" ' Infamy.' 

" ' What makes you so happy ? ' 

" ' Impunity.' " 

The strange procession which then unfolded itself before 
the apostle's eyes can be imagined : first the dazzling woman 
in the bold attire, the prostitute ; the mute, veiled woman was 
the adulteress ; then came stock-jobbers, sharpers, business 
men, bankers, usurers, — all that class of worms, reptiles and 
Mfpents which are spawned in the filth of society. 

"One twirled a great gold snuff-box between his fingers, 
upon the lid of which were engraved these words : Powdtrtd 
plthtian patitnu; and he rammed it into his nostrils with 
avidity. AnoilK-r was wrapped in the foldà ot % ^ic;a.V cScrïl 



196 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

which bore this inscription : Cloth cut from the backs of fools. 
A third, with a narrow forehead, yellow skin and hollow cheeks, 
was leaning lovingly upon his abdomen, which was nothing 
less than an iron safe, his two hands, the fingers of which were 
so many great leeches, twisting and opening their gaping 
tentacles, as though begging for food. Several of the figures 
had noses like the beaks of vultures, between their round and 
wild eyes : noses which cut up with disgusting voracity a 
quarter of carrion held at arm's length by a chain of massive 
gold, resembling those which shine on the breasts of the grand 
dignitaries of various orders of chivalry. In the middle of all 
was one who shone forth in brilliant pontifical robes, with a 
mitre on his head shaped like a globe, sparkling with emeralds 
and rubies. He held a crozier in one hand upon which he 
leant, and a sword in the other, which seemed at a distance to 
throw out flames; but on nearer approach the creaking of 
bones was heard beneath the vestments, and the figure turned 
out to be only a skeleton painted, and the sword and the 
crozier were but of fragile glass and rotten wood. Finally, 
above this seething, deformed indescribable assembly, there 
floated a sombre banner, a gigantic oriflamme, a fantastic 
labarum, the immense folds of which were being raised by a 
pestilential whistling wind ; and on this banner, which slowly 
and silently unfurled like the wings of a vulture, could be rea<^ 
Providential Pillories. And the whole company talked and 
sang, laughed and wept, gesticulated and danced and per- 
formed innumerable artifices. It was bewildering! It was 
fearful ! " 

Here followed the description of a kind of revel beside which 
Fausfs was altogether lacking in imagination. But, when he 
thought they had all talked, sung, laughed, wept, gesticulated 
and danced long enough, he who is made a sign and all those 
voices melted into but two voices, and all the figures into but 
two, and all the heads into but two. And two human forms 
appeared side by side, looking down at their feet, which were 
of clay. Then, suddenly, out of the clay came forth a seven- 
headed hydra and each of its heads bore a name. The first 
was called Pride ; the second, Avarice ; the third, Luxury ; the 



I 
I 



* 



. £Ai^ r\\^^ 



THE FUTURE 



197 




hydra, with its thousand folds, strangled the writhing limbs of 
the colossus, which struggled and howled and uttered curses 
and lamentations towards the heavens : each of the seven jaws 
of the monster impressed horrible bites in his flesh, one in his 
forehead, another in his heart, another in his belly, another in 
bis mouth, another in his flanks and another in his arms. 

" ' Behold the past ! ' said he who is. 

" ' Brother,' I cried, ' and what shall then the future be 
like?' 

" ' Look,' he said. The hydra had disappeared and the two 
human forms were defined again, intertwined, full of strength 
and majesty and love against the light background of the hovel, 
and the feet of the colossus were changed into marble of the 
most dazzling whiteness. When I had well contemplated this 
celestial form, he who is again held out his hands and it 
vanished, and the studio became as it was a few moments 
previously. The three great orders of our visitors were still 
there,; but calm now and in holy contemplation. Then he who 
is said — 

" ' Whoever you may be, from whatever region you come, 
from sadness or pleasure, from a splendid east or the dull west, 
you are welcome brothers, and to all I wish good days, good 
'ears ! To the murdered and convicts, brothers ! innocent 

itcstors, gladiators of the circus, living thermometers of the 

sjty of social institutions, Hope ! the hour of your restoration 

at band ! . . . And you poor prostitutes, my sisters I beauti- 
ful diamonds, Iiespattered with mud and opprobrium, Hope ! 
the hour of your transformation is approaching ! . . . To you, 
adulteresses, my sisters, who weep atid kunent in your domestic 
prison, fait^Christs of love with tarnished brows, Hope ! the hour 
of liberty is near ! . . . To you, poor artisans, my brothers, 
who sweat for tlie master who devours you, who eat the scraps 
of bread he allows you, when he does leave you any, in agony 

' Mjnts for the morrow ! Wliat ought you to become? 

1 11^ ! What are you now ? Nothing ! Ho|)e and listen : 
( n is impious; resignation is blasphemy! . . . To 
J , I labouring men and farmers, brothers, who toil for 

' e kndlurd, sow and reap the corn for the landlord of which 
le leaves you only the bran, Hope I the time for bread whiter 
snow is coming ! . . . To you, poor soldiers, my brothers, 
bo fertilise the great furrow of humanity with your blood. 



198 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Hope ! the hour for eternal peace is at hand ! . . . And you, 
poor priests, my brothers, who lament beneath your frieze robes 
and beat yoiu: foreheads at the sides of your altars! Hope! 
the hour of toleration is at hand ! ' 

" After a moment's silence, he who is went on — 

" ' I will not forget you, either, you the happy ones of the 
century, those elected for joy. You, too, have your mission to 
fulfil ; it is a holy one, for from the glutted body of the old 
world wiU issue the transformed universe of the futiure. . . . 
Be welcome, then, brothers ; good wishes to you all ! ' 

" Then all those who were present, who had listened to him, 
departed from the garret in silence, filled with hope ; and their 
footsteps echoed on the steps of the interminably long staircase. 
And the same cry which had already rung in my ears resoimded 
a second time — ' The year '40 is cold, it is hungry ! The year 
'40 needs food ! What wUl it bring forth ? What will it 
produce ? Ah ! ah 1 ah ! ' 

" I turned to him who is. The night had not run a third of 
its course, and the flame of the lamp still burnt in its yellow 
fount, and I excldmed — 

" ' Brother ! in whose name wilt thou relieve all these 
miseries ? ' 

" ' In the name of my mother, the great mother who was 
crucified ! ' replied he who is. 

" He continued : ' At the beginnbg all was well and all 
women were Uke the one single woman, Eve, and all men like 
one single man, Adam, and the reign of Eve and Adam, or 
of primitive unity, flourished in Eden, and harmony and love 
were the sole laws of this world.' 

" He went on : ' Fifty years ago appeared a woman who was 
more beautiful than all others — her name was Liberty, and she 
took flesh in a people — that people called itself France. On 
her brow, as in ancient Eden, spread a tree with green boughs 
which was called the tree of liberty. Henceforward France 
and Liberty stand for the same thing, one single identical 
idea I ' And, giving me a harp which hung above his bed, he 
added. ' Sing, prophet ! ' and the Spirit of God inspired me 
with these words — 

I 

" Why dost thou rise with the Sun, O France ! O Liberty I 
And why are thy vestments scented with incense ? Why dost 
thou ascend tibe mountains in early mom ? 



TO FRANCE! 



199 



" Is It to see reapers in the ripened cornfields, or the gleaner 
bending over the furrows like a shrub bowed down by the 
winds? 

Ill 

"Or is it to listen to the song of the lark or the murmur of 
the river, or to gaze at the dawn which is as beautiful as a blue- 
eyed maiden ? 

IV 

" If you rise with the sun, O France ! O Liberty ! it is not 
to watch the reapers in the cornfields or the bowed gleaners 
among the furrows. 

V 

"Nor to listen to the song of the lark or murmur of the 
river, nor yet to gaze at the dawn, beauteous as a blue-eyed 
nuiden. 

VI 

" Thou awaitest thy bridegroom to be ; thy bridegroom of 
the strong hands, with lips more roseate than corals from the 
S|)anish seas, and forehead more polished than Pharo's marble. 

v« 

" Come down from thy mountains, O France ! O Liberty ! 
Thou wilt not find thy bridegroom there. Thou wilt meet him 
in the holy city, in the midst of the multitude. 



VIU 

*' Behold him as he comes to thee, with proud steps, his 
breast covered with a breastplate of brass ; thou shalt slip the 
nuptial ring on his finger ; at ihy feet is a crown that has fallen 
in the mud ; thou shalt place it on his brow and proclaim him 

icnipetor. Thus adorned thou shalt gaze on him proudly and 

'address him thus — 

IX 

" ' My bridegroom thou art as beauteous as the first of men. 
Take off the Phrygian cap from my brow, .ind replace it by a 
Imci with waving plumes ; gird my loins with a flaming sword 
send me out among the nations until I shall have ac- 
amplLshcd in sorrow the mystery of love, according as it has 
rbeen written, that I am to crush Uie serpent's head ! ' 



200 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



" And when thy bridegroom has listened to thee, he wUl reply : 
' Thy will be done, O France ! O Liberty ! ' And he will urge 
thee forth, well armed, among the nations, that God's word may 
be accompUshed. 

XI 

" Why is thy brow so pale, O France ! O Liberty ! And 
why is thy white tmiic soiled with sweat and blood ? Why 
waikest thou painfully like a woman in travail 7 

xti 
" Because thy bridegroom gives thee no relaxation from thy 
task, and thy travail is at hand. 

XIII 

" Dost thou hear the wind roaring in the distance, and the 
mighty voice of the flood as it groans in its granite prison ? 
Dost thou hear the moaning of die waves and the cry of the 
night-birds ? All announce that deliverance is at hand. 

XIV 

" As in the days of thy departure, O France, O Liberty ! 
put on thy glorious raiment ; sprinkle on thy locks the purest 
perfumes of Araby ; empty with thy disciples the farewell goblet, 
and take thy way to thy Calvary, where the deliverance of the 
world must be sealed. 

XV 

" ' What is the name of that hill thou climbest amidst the 
l^htning flashes?' 

"'The hill is Waterloo.' 

" ' What is that plain called all ted with thy blood ? ' 

" ' It is the plain of the Belle- Alliance ! ' 

" ' Be thou for ever blessed among women, among all the 
nations, O France ! O Liberty ! ' 

" And when he who is had listened to these things, he replied — 

" ' Oh, my mother, thou who told me " Death was not the 
tomb; but the cradle of an ampler life, of more infinite 
Love ! " thy cry has reached me. O mother I by the anguish 
of thy painful travail, by the sufferings of thy martyrdom in 
crushing the serpent's head and saving Humanity 1 ' 



VISIONS 



20 1 



" Then turning to me hu added : ' Child of God, what art 
thou looking for? Light or darkness? Death or life? Hope 
or despair ? ' 

" ' Brother,' I replied, ' I am looking for Truth ! ' 
"And he replied, 'In the name of primeval unity, recon- 
structed by the grand blood of France, I hail thee apostle of 
Ew-Adam ! ' 

'* And he who is called forth to the abyss which opened out 
at his voice — 

" ' Child of God,' he said, ' listen attentively, and look I ' 
"And I looked and saw a great vessel, with a huge mast 
which terminated in a mere hull, and one of the sides of the 
vcsâel looked west and the other east. And on the west it 
rested upon the cloudy tops of three mountains whose bases 
Were plunged in a raging sea. Each of these mountains bore 
its name on its blood-red flank : the first was called Golgotha ; 
the second, Mont-Saint-Jean ; the third, Saint-Helena. In the 
middle of the great mast, on the western side, a five-armed 
cross was fixed, upon which a woman was stretched, dying. 
Over her head was this inscription — 

" Fkancb 
a June 1S15 
ffitoll J'rillae 

'Each of the five arms of the cross on which she was 

stretched represented one of the five parts of the world ; her 

. bead rested over Europe and a cloud surrounded her. But on 

[the side of the vessel which looked towards the east there 

[were no shadows; and the keel stayed at the threshold of the 

city of God, on the summit of a triumphal arch which the sun 

lit up with its rays. And the same woman reappeared, but she 

was transfigured and radiant ; she lifted up the stone of a grave 

on which was written — 

" Rkstokation, Davs or thb Toub 

i<)July l8jo 

Ea(ttT 



"And her bridegroom held out his arms, smiling, and 
ltOi;ethcr they s|)rang upwards to the skies. Then, from the 
whs uf the arched heavens, a mighty voice spake — 




202 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

'"The mystery of love is accomplished — all are called! 
all are chosen I all are re-instated 1 ' Behold this is what I saw 
in the holy heavens and soon after the abyss was veiled, and 
he who is kdd his hands upon me and said — 

" ' Go, my brother, take off thy festal garments and don the 
ttmic of a working-man ; hang the hammer of a worker at thy 
waist, for he who does not go with the people does not side 
with me, and he who does not take his share of labour is the 
enemy of God. Go, and be a faithful disciple of unity ! ' 

"And I replied: 'It is the faith in which I desire to live, 
which I am ready to seal with my blood ? When I was ready 
to set forth, the sun began to climb above the horizon. 

"He who was Caillaux 

"July 1840" 

Such was the apocalypse of the chief, and we might almost 
say, the only apostle of the Mapah. I b^an with the intention 
of cutting out three-quarters of it, and I have given nearly the 
whole. I b^an, my pen inclined to scoff, but my courage has 
failed me ; for there is beneath it all a true devotion and poetry 
and nobility of thought. What became of the man who wrote 
these lines ? I do not know in the least ; but I have no doubt 
he did not desert the faith in which he desired to live, and that 
he remained ready to seal it with his blood. . . . Society must 
be in a bad state and sadly out of joint and disorganised for 
men of such intelligence to find no other method of employ- 
ment than to become self-constituted gods — or apostles ! 



BOOK III 



CHAPTER I 



The scapegoat of power — Legitimist hopes — The expiatory mass — The 
Abl)é Olivier — The Curé of Saint-Gemiain-l'Auxcrrois — Pachel — 
Where I begin to be wrong— General JaciiueiniDot — Pillage of Saint* 
Ccrmain-l'Auxerrois — The sham Jesuit and the Préfet of Police — 
The Abbé Paravcy's room 



I CU 



AT 7HILST we were upon the subject of great priests, 



of apostles and gods, of the Abbé Châtel, and of 
m whû was Caillaux and the Mapah, we meant to approacli 
cursorily the history of Saint-Simon and of his two disciples 
Enfantin and Bayard ; but we begin to fear that our readers 
have had enough of this modem Olympus ; we therefore hasten 
to return to politics, which were going from bad to worse, and 
to literature, which was growing better and better. Let us, 
however, assure our readers they have lost nothing by the 
delay : a little further on they will meet with the god again at 
his office of tlie Mont-de-Piété, and the apostles in their retreat 
of Mérilmontant. 

Hut first let us return to our artillerymen ; then, by way of 
Saint-Gerniain-l'Auxerrois and the archbishop's palace, we will 
reach Antony. As will be realised, our misdeeds of the months 
of Noveml>er and December had roused the attention of those 
in authority ; warrants had been issued, and nineteen citizens, 
mostly belonging to the artillery, had been arrested. These 
were Trélat, Godefroy Cavaignac, Guinard, Sambuc, Francfort, 
udry, IVnard, Rouhier, Chaparre, GuiUey, Chauvin, I'cschicux 
iÇrbinville, Lebastard. Alewndre Gamier, Charles Gamier, 



204 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Danton, Lenoble, Pointis and Gourdin. They had been in all 
the riots of the reign of Louis-Philippe, as also in those of the 
end of the Consulate and the beginning of the Empire : no 
matter what party had stirred up the rising, it was always the 
Republicans who were dropped upon. And this because every 
reactionary government, in succession for the past seventy 
years, thoroughly tmderstood that Republicans were its only 
serious, actual and unceasing enemies. The preference King 
Louis-Philippe showed us, at the risk of being accused of 
partiality, strongly encouraged the other parties and, notably, 
the Carlist party. Royalists from within and Royalist from 
without seemed to send one another this famous programme 
of 1 792 : " Mc^ a stir and we will come in I Come in, and we 
will make a stir I" It was the Royalists inside who were the 
first to make a stir and upon the following occasion : The idea 
had stayed in the minds of various persons that King Louis- 
Philippe had only accepted his power to give it at some time 
to Henri v. Now, that which, in particular, lent colour to the 
idea that Louis-Philippe was inclined to play the part of monk, 
was the report that the only ambassador the Emperor Nichohw 
would accept was this very M. de Mortemart, to whom the 
Due d'Orléans had handed, on 31 July, this famous letter of 
which I have given a copy; and, as M. de Mortemart had 
just started for St. Petersburg with the rank of ambassador, 
there was no further doubt, at least, in the eyes of the Royalists 
that the king of the barricades was ready to hand over the 
crown to Henri v. This rumour was less absurd, it must be 
granted, than that which was spread abroad from 1799 to 1803, 
namely, that Bonaparte had caused 18 Brumaire for the benefit 
of Louis xvm. Each of the two sovereigns rephed with 
arguments characteristic of themselves. Bonaparte had the 
Due d'Enghien arrested, tried and shot. Louis - Philippe 
allowed the pillage of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois and of the 
archbishop's palace. An opportunity was to be given to the 
Carlists and priests, their natural allies, to test the situation 
which eight months of Philippist reign and three of Republican 
prosecutions had wrought among them. They were nearing 



ABBÉ OLIVIER 



20S 



14 February, the anniversary of the assassination of the Due 
da Berry. Already in the provinces there had been small 
Legitimist attempts. At Rodez, the tree of liberty was torn 
tdowD during the night; at Collioure, they had hoisted the 
[white flag ; at Nimes, les Verdets seemed to have come to life 
||igain, and, like the phantoms that return from the other world 
' to smite their enemies, they had, it was reported, beaten the 
National Guard, who had been discovered, almost overwhelmed 
■and unable to give any but a very vague description of their 
rdestroyers. That was the situation on 12 February. The 
triple emanation of the Republican, Carlist and Napoleonic 
went through the atmosphere like a sudden gust of 
bearing on its wings the harsh cries of some unbridled, 
&enzied carnival, when, all at once, people learnt that, in a 
couple of days' time, an anniversary service was to be cele- 
brated at Saint-Roch, in expiation of the assassination at the 
Place Louvois. A political assassination is such a detestable 
thing in the opinion of all factions, that it ought always to be 
allowable to offer expiatory masses for the assassinated ; but 
there are times of feverish excitement when the most simple 
actions assume the huge proportions of a threat or contempt, 
and this particular mass, on account of the peculiar circum- 
stances at the time, was both a threat and an act of defiance. 
But they were deceived as to the place where it was to be held. 
Saint-Roch, as far as I can recollect, was, at that period, served 
by the Abbé Olivier, a fine, spiritual-minded priest, adored by 
his flock, who are scarcely consoled at the present day by seeing 
him made Bishop of Evreux. I knew the Abbé Olivier; he 
was fond of me and 1 hope he still likes me ; I reverenced him 
and shall alwa}-s reverence him. I mention this, in passing, to 
give him news of one of his penitents, in the extremely improb- 
able case of these Memoirs ever falling into his hands. Merc- 
er, I shall have to refer to him later, more than once. He 
deeply devoted to the queen ; more than anyone else be 
could appreciate the benevolence, piety and even humility of 
U worthy princess : for he was her confessor. I do not know 
it was on account of the royal intimacy with which the 



206 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Abbé Olivier was honoured, or because he understood the 
significance of the act that was expected of him, that the 
Church of Saint-Roch declined the honour. It was different 
with the curé of Saint-Gennain-l'Auxerrois. He accepted. 
This appealed to him as a twofold duty : the curé of Saint- 
Germain-l'Auxerrois was nearly eighty years of age, and 
he was the priest who had accompanied Marie-Antoinette 
to the scaffold. His curate, M. Paravey, by a strange coin- 
cidence, was the priest who had blessed the tombs of the 
Louvre. 

In consequence of the change which had been made in the 
programme, men, placed on the steps of the Church of Saint- 
Roch, distributed, on the morning of the 14th, notices announc- 
ing that the funeral ceremony had been arranged to take place 
at Saint-Roch and not at Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois. 

I was at the Vaudeville, where I believe we were rehearsing 
La Famille improviste by Henry Monnier — I have already 
spoken of, and shall often again refer to, this old friend of mine, 
an ■ eminent artiste, witty comrade and good fellow ! as the 
English say — when Pachel the head hired-applauder ran in 
terrified, crying out tiiat emblazoned equipages were forming 
in line at Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois ; and people were saying 
in the crowd that the personages who were getting out from 
them had come to be present at a requiem service for the 
repose of the soul of the Due de Berry. This news produced 
an absolutely contrary effect upon Arago and myself: it 
exasperated Arî^o, but put me very much at ease. 

I have related how I was educated by a priest, and by an 
excellent one too ; now that early education, the influence of 
those juvenile memories, gave — I will not say to all my actions 
— God forbid I should represent myself to my readers as a 
habitually religious-minded man ! — but to all my beliefs and 
opinions — such a deep religious tinge that I cannot even now 
enter a church without taking holy water, or pass in front of 
a crucifix without making the sign of the cross. Therefore, 
in spite of the violence of my political opinions at that time, 
I thought that the poor assassinated Due de Berry had a right 



A REQUIEM SERVICE 



207 



to a requiem mass, that the Royalists had a right to be present 
at it and the curé the right to celebrate it. But this was not 
Étienne's way of looking at it Perhaps he was right. Conse- 
quently, he wrote a few lines to the National and to the Temps 
and ran to the spot. I followed him in a much more tranquil 
manner. I could see that something serious would come of 
it ; that the Royalist journals would exclaim against the sacri- 
lege, and that the accusation would fall upon the Republican 
party. Arago, with his convinced opinions, his southern fieri- 
ness of temperament, entered the church just as a young man 
was hanging a portrait of the Due de Bordeaux on the catafalque. 
Here was where Arago began to be in the right and I to be 
in the wrong. Behind the young man there came a lady, who 
placed a crown of immortelles upon it ; Ijehind the woman 
came soldiers, who hung their crosses to the effigy of Henri vi. 
by the aid of pins. Now, Arago was wholly in the right and 
I totally wrong. For the ceremony here ceased to be a 
religious demonstration and became a political act of provoca- 
tion. The people and citizens rushed into the church. 
The citizens became incensed, and the people grumbled. But 
let us keep exactly to the events which followed. The riot at 
the archbishop's palace was middle class, not lower class. The 
men who raised it were the same as those who had caused the 
Raucourl and Philippe riots under the Restoration ; the sub- 
scriptors of Voltaire-Touquet, the buyers of snuff-boxes à la 
Charte. Arago perceived the moment was the right one and 
that the irritation and grumbling could be turned to account 
There was no organisation in the nature of conspiracy at that 
time ; but the Republican party was on the watch and ready 
to turn any contingencies to account. We shall see the truth 
of this illustrated in connection with the burial of Lamarque 
Arago sprang out of the church, climbed up on a horizontal 
bar of the railings and, stretching out his hands in the direc- 
tion of the graves of July, which lay in front of the portal of 
Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois, shouted — "Citizens! They dare to 
celebrate a requiem service in honour of one of the members 
of the family whom wc have just driven from power, only fifty 



208 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

yards from the victims of July ! Shall we allow them to finish 
the service?" 

Maddened cries went up. "No! no! no I" from every 
voice ; and they rushed into the church. The assailants en- 
countered General Jacqueminot in the doorway, who was then 
chief of the staff or second in command of the National 
Guard (I do not know further particulars, and the matter is 
not important enough for me to inquire into). He tried to 
stem the torrent, but it was too strong to be stopped by a 
single man. The general realised this, and tried to stay it by a 
word. Now, a word, if it b the right one, and courageous or 
sympathetic, is the safest wall that can be put across the path 
of that fifth element which we call " The People." 

" My friends," cried the general, " listen to me and take in 
who I am — I was at Rambouillet : therefore, I belong to your 
party." 

" You were at Rambouillet ?" a voice questioned. 

"Yes." 

"Well, you would have done better to stay in Paris, and to leave 
the combatants of July where they were : their absence would 
not then have been taken advantage of to set up a king ! " 

The riposte was a deadly one, and General Jacqueminot looked 
upon himself as a dead man and made no further signs of life. 
The invasion of the church was rapid, irresistible and terrible ; 
in a few minutes the catafalque was destroyed, the pall was 
torn to shreds and the altar knocked down; the golden- 
flowered hanging, sacred pictures, sacerdotal vestments were all 
trampled under foot 1 Scepticism revenged itself by impiety, 
sacrilege and blasphemy, for the fifteen years during which it 
had been made to hide its mocking face behmd the mask of 
hypocrisy. They laughed, they howled, they danced round 
all the sacred things they had heaped up, overturned and torn 
in pieces. One of the rioters came out of the sacristy in the 
complete (kess of a priest : he mounted on the top of a heap 
of débris and beat time to the infernal din. It looked like a 
figure of Satan, dressed up ironically in priestly robes, presiding 
over a reveL 



A FRENZIED CROWD 



209 



I witnessed the whole scene from the entrance and went 
away, with bent head and a heavy heart and unquiet mind, 
sorry I had seen it 1 could not hide from myself that the 
people had been incited to do what they had done. I was too 
much of a philosopher to expect the people to discriminate 
between the Church and the priesthood — religion from its 
ministers ; but 1 was too religious at heart to stay there, and I 
attempted to get away from the place. I say / attempted, for 
it was no easy thing to get out : the square of Saint-Germain- 
I'Auxerrois was crowded ; and the crowd, forced back into the 
narrow rue de Prêtres, overflowed on to the quays. At one 
spot this crowd was excited and turbulent ; and a struggle was 
going on from whence issued cries. A tall, pale young man, 
with long black hair and good-looking countenance, was stand- 
ing on a post, watching the tumult with some expression of 
scorn. One of the bystanders, who was probably irritated by 
this disdain, began to shout: "A Jesuit!" Such a cry at 
such a time was like putting a match to a bundle of tow. The 
crowd rushed for the poor fellow, crying — 

" Throw the Jesuits into the Seine ! Drown him 1 Give 
the Jesuits to the nets of Saint-Cloud ! " 

Baude was the Préfet of Police. I can see him now 
with his fine locks flying in the wind, his dark eyes darting out 
lightning flashes, and his herculean strength. It was the 
second time I had seen him thus. He had just arrived 
with the Municipal Guard, which he had drawn up before the 
church door ; the men were trying to shut the gates. He flew 
to the rescue of the unlucky doomed man, who was being 
passed from hand to hand, and was in his aerial flight ap- 
proaching the river with fearful rapidity. The desire to 
hinder a murder redoubled Baude's strength. He reached 
the edge of the river at the same time as the victim who was 
threatened with being flung over the parapet. He clutched 
hold of him and drew him back. I saw no more: for I was 
being sufl'ocated against the boards which, at that time, 
enclosed the jardin de F Infante and, dilapidated though they 
were, they offered a great deal more resistance than I liked. 
v.— 14 




210 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

The necessity for labouring foi my personal preservation com- 
pelled me to turn my eyes away from the direction of the quay 
and to struggle on my own account My stalwart build and the 
combined efforts of many who recognised me enabled me 
to reach the quay and, from thence, the pont des Arts. They 
were still fighting by the parapet Later, I learnt that Baude 
had succeeded in saving the poor devil at the expense of a 
good number of bruises and his coat torn to ribbons. But, 
whilst the Préfet of Police was playing the part of 
philanthropist, he was not fulfilling his duties as préfet, 
and the rioters profited by this lapse in his municipal 
functions. The people continued pillaging the church uid 
the presbytery of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, and by the time 
that Baude had done his good action it was all over. Only 
the room of the Abbé Paravey, who had blessed the tombs of 
the July martyrs, had been respected. The mob always 
recognises, even in its moments of greatest anger and its 
worst sacrilege, the something that is greater than its wrath, 
before which it stops and bends the knee. On 34 February 
1848 the mob served the Tuileries as they had served the 
Church of Saint-Germain-l'AuxeiTois on 14 February 1831, but 
it stopped short at the apartment of the Duchesse d'Orléans, 
as it had done before the Abbé Paravey's room. 



CHAPTER II 

The Préfet of Police at the Palais-Royal— The function of fire — Valerius, 
the truss-makcr — Demolition of the archbishop's palace — The Chinese 
album — François Arago — The spectators of the riot — The erasure of 
the fleurs-de-lis — I give in my resignation a second time — MM. 
ChamboUe and Casimir Périer 



THE supposed Jesuit saved, the Church of Saint-Germain- 
I'AuxeiTois sacked, the room of the Abbé Paravey res- 
pected, the crowd passed away, Baude thought the anger of the 
lion was appeased and presented himself at the Palais-Royal with- 
out taking time to change his clothes. Just as these bore material 
traces of the struggle he had gone through, so his face kept 
the impression of the emotions he had exj)erienced. To put 
it in common parlance — as the least academic of men some- 
times ftllows himself to be captivated by the fascination of 
phrase-making — the prdfet's clothes were torn and his face 
was very pale. But the king, on the other hand, was quite 
calm. 

More fully informed, this lime, of the events going on in 
the street, than he had been about those of the Chamber when 
they discharged La Fayette, he knew everything that had just 
happened. He saw, too, that it tended to his own advantage. 
The Carlists had lifted up their heads and, without the 
slightest interference on his part, they had been punished ! 
There had been a riot, but it had not threatened the Palais- 
Royal, and by a little exercise of skill it could be made to do 
credit to the Republican party. Wliat a chance ! and just at 
the time when the leaders of that same party were in prison 
for another disturbance. 

But the king clearly suspected that matters would not stop 



212 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



here ; so, with his usual astuteness, and seeming courtesy, 
he kept Baude to dinner. Baude saw nothing in this invita- 
tion beyond an act of politeness, and a kind of reward for the 
dangers he had incurred. But there was more in it than thaL 
The Préfet of Police being at the Palais-Royal meant that all 
the police reports would be sent there ; now, Baude could nofcH 
do otherwise than to communicate them to his illustrious host. 
So, in this way, williout any trouble to himself, the king would 
become acquainted with everjthing, both what Baude's police 
knew and what his own poUce also knew. King Louis- Philippe 
was a subtle man, but his very cleverness detracted from his 
strength. We do not think it is possible to be both fox and lion 
at the same time. The reports were disquieting : one of them 
announced the pillage of the archbishop's palace for the 
morrow ; another, an attempted attack upon the Palais-Royal. 

" Sire," asked the Préfet of the Police, " what must we do ? " 

" Powder and shot," replied the king, 

Baude understood. By three o'clock in the morning all the 
troops of the garrison were disposed round the Palais-Royal, 
but the avenues to the archbishop's palace were left perfectly 
free. This is what happened while the Préfet of Police was 
dining with His Majesty. General Jacqueminot had summoned 
the National Guard and, instead of dispersing the rioters, 
they clapped their hands at the riot. Cadet-Gassicourt, who 
was mayor of the fourth arrondissement, arrived next. Some 
people pointed out to him the three fleurs-de-lis which adorned 
the highest points of the cross that surmounted the church. 
A man out of the crowd heard the remark, and quickly the cry 
went up of " Down with the fleurs-de-lis ; down with the cross ! " 
They attached themselves to the cross with the fleurs-de-lis of 
Saint-Germainl'Auxerrois, just as seventeen years previously 
they had attached themselves to the statue of Napoleon on the 
Place Vendôme. The cross fell at the third pull. There was 
not much else left to do after that, either inside the church or 
on the top of it, and, unless they pulled it down altogether, 
it was only wasting time to stop there. At that instant a 
rumour circulated, either rightly or falsely, that a surgical 



DISORDER 



213 



instrument maker in the rue de Coq, named Valerius, had been 
one of the arrangers of the fête. They rushed to his shop, 
scattered his bandages and broke his shop-front. The 
National Guard came, and can you guess what it did? It 
made a guard-house of the wrecked shop. This affair of the 
cross and the fleurs-de-lis gave a political character to the 
riot, and had suggested, or was about to suggest, on the 
following day, a party of the popular insurgents towards the 
Palais-Royal. As a matter of fact, the fleurs-de-lis had 
remained upon the arms of the king up to this time. Soon 
after the election of 9 August, Casimir Périer had advised 
him to abandon them ; but the king remembered that, on the 
male side, he was the grandson of Henry iv., and of Louis xiv. 
aa the female line, and he had obstinately refused. Under 
the pretext, therefore, of demanding the abolition of ihe 
fleurs-de-lis, a gathering of Republicans was to march next 
day upon the Palais-Royal. When there, if they found 
themselves strong enough, they would, at the same stroke, 
demand the abolition of royalty. I knew nothing about 
this plot, and, if I had, I should have kept clear of everything 
that meant a direct attack against King Louis-Philippe. I had 
work to do the next day and kept my door fast shut against 
everybody, my own servant included, but the latter violated 
his orders and entered. It was evident that something 
extraordinary had happened for Joseph to take such a liberty 
with me. They had been firing off rifles half the night, they 
bad disarmed two or three posts, they had sacked the 
archbishop's palace. The proposition of marching on the 
palace of M. de Quélen was received with enthusiasm. He 
waa one of those worldly prelates who pass for being rather 
shepherds, than pastors. It was affirmed that on 28 July 1830 
a woman's cap had been found at his house and they wanted 
to know if, by chance, there might not be a pair. The devil 
tempted me : I dressed hastily and I ran in the direction of the 
dty. The bridges were crowded to breaking point, and there 
was a row of curious gazers on the parapets two deep. Only 
on the l'ont Neuf could I m.in.agc to icc daylight between two 



2 14 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



spectators. The river drifted with furniture, books, chasubles, 
cassocks and priests' robes. The latter objects were horrible 
as they looked like drowning people. All these things came 
from the archbishop's palace. When the crowd reached the 
palace, the door seemed too narrow, relatively speaking, for 
the number and impetuosity of the visitors : the crowd, there- 
fore, seized hold of the iron grill, shook it and tore it down ; 
then they spread over all the rooms and threw the furniture 
out of the windows. Several book-lovers who tried to save 
rare books and precious editions were nearly thrown into the 
Seine. One single album alone escaped the general destruction. 
The man who laid hands on it chanced to open it : it was a 
Chinese album painted on leaves of rice. The Chinese are 
very fanciful in their compositions, and this particular one so 
far transcended the limits of French fancy, that the crowd had 
not the courage to insist on the precious album being thrown 
into the water. I have never seen anything approaching this 
album except in the private museum at Naples ; I ought, also, 
to say that the album of the Archbishop of Paris far excelled 
that of His Majesty the King of the Two Sicilies. The most 
indulgent people thought that this curious document had been 
given to the archbishop by some repentant Magdalene, in 
expiation of the sins she had committed, and to whom the 
merciful prelate had given absolution. It goes without saying 
that I was among the tolerant, and that, then as now, I did my 
utmost to get this view accepted. 

Meantime, after seizing the furniture, library hangings, 
carpets, mirrors, missals, chasubles and cassocks, the crowd, 
not satisfied, seized upon the building itself. In an instant a 
hundred men were scattered over the roofs and had begun to 
tear off the tiles and slates of the archiépiscopal palace. It 
might have been supposed the rioters were all slaters. Has 
my reader happened, at any time, to shut up a mouse or rat or 
bird in a box pierced with holes, put it in the midst of an ant- 
hill and waited, given patience, for two or three hours? At 
Ithe end of that time the ants have finished their work, and he 
Ecan extract a beautiful skeleton from which all the flesh has 



V 



LOOT OF ARCHBISHOPS PALACE 215 

completely disappeared. Thus, and in the same manner, 
under the work of the human ant-heap, at the end of an hour 
the coverings of the archbishop's palace had as completely 
disappeared. Next, it was the turn for the bones to go — 
where the ants stop discouraged, man destroys ; by two o'clock 
in the afternoon the bones had disappeared like the flesh. Of 
the archbishop's palace not one stone remained on another ! 
By good fortune the archbishop was at his country-house 
at Conflans; if not he would probably have been destroyed 
with his town-house. 

All this time the drums had called the rappel, but not with 
that ferocious plying of drumsticks of which they gave us a 
sample m the month of December, as though to say, " Run, 
e%*eryone, the town is on fire ! " but with feebleness of execu- 
tion as much as to say, " If you have nothing better to say, 
come, and you will not have a warm welcome ! " So, as the 
National Guard began to understand the language of the 
drums, it did not put itself about much. However, a detach- 
ment of the nth Legion, in command of François Arago, — the 
famous savant, the noble patriot who is now dying, and whom 
the Academy will probably not dare to praise, except as a 
savant, — came from the Panthéon towards the city. As ill-luck 
would have it, his adjutant, who marched on the flank, sabre in 
hand, gesticulating with it in a manner justified by the circum- 
stances, stuck it into a poor fellow, who was merely peacefully 
standmg watching them go by. The poor devil fell, wounded, 
and was picked up nearly dead. We know how such a thing 
as that operates : the dead or wounded is no longer his own 
private property ; he belongs to the crowd, which makes a 
standard of him, as it were. The crowd took possession of the 
man, bleeding as he was, and liegan to shout, " To arms ! Ven- 
geance on the assassin ! Vengeance 1 " The assassin, or, rather, 
the unintentional murderer, had disappeared. They canicd 
the victim into the enclosure outside Notre-Dame, where 
everybody discussed loudly how to take revenge for him, and 
pitied him, but none thought of getting him help. It was 
François Arago, who made an appeal to humanity out of the 



2i6 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

midst of the threatening cries, and pointed to the Hôtel-Dieu, 
open to receive him, and, if possible, to cure the dying man. 
lïiey placed him on a stretchier, and François Arago accom- 
panied the unfortunate man to the bedside, where they had 
scarcely laid him before he died. 

The report of that death spread with the fearful rapidity with 
which bad news always travels. When Arago reappeared the 
crowd turned in earnest to wrath; it was in one of those 
moods when it sharpens its teeth and nails, and aches to tear 
to pieces and to devour. . . . What? In such a crisis it 
matters but little what, so long as it can tear and devour 
someone or something! It was frenzied to the extent of 
hurling itself upon Arago himself, mistaking the saviour for the 
murderer. In the twinkling of an eye our great astronomer 
was dragged towards the Seine, where he was going to be flung 
with the furniture, books and archiépiscopal vestments ; when, 
happily, some of the spectators recognised him, called out his 
name, setting forth his reputation and his popularity in order 
to save him from death. When recognised, he was safe j but, 
robbed of a man, the excited crowd had to have something 
else, and, not bebg able to drown Arago, they demolished the 
archbishop's palace. With what rapidity they destroyed that 
building we have already spoken. And the remarkable thing 
was that many honourable witnesses watched the proceedings. 
M. Thiers was present, making his first practical study of the 
downfall of palaces and of monarchies. M. de Schonen was 
there, in colonel's uniform, but reduced to powerlessness 
because he had but few men at command. M. Talabot was 
there with his battalion; but he averred to M. Arago, who 
urged him to act, that he had been ordered to appear and then 
to return. The passive presence of all these notable persons at 
the riot of the archbishop's palace put a seal of sanction upon 
the proceedings, which I had never seen before, or have ever 
again seen at any other riot. This was no riot of the people, 
filled with enthusiasm, risking their lives in the midst of flash- 
ings of musketry fire and thunder of artillery ; it was a riot in 
yellow kid-gloves, and overcoats and coats, it was a scoffing 



DUMAS' RESIGNATION 



217 



and impious, destructive and insolent crowd, without the 
excuse of previous insult or destruction offered it ; in fact, it 
was a bourgeois riot, that most pitiless and contemptible of all 
riots. 

I returned home heart-broken : I am wrong, I mean upset. 
I learnt that night that they had wished to demolish Notre- 
Dame, and only a very little more and the chef-d'œuvre of 
four centuries, begun by Charlemagne and finished by Philippe- 
Auguste, would have disappeared in a few hours as the arch- 
bishop's palace had done. As I returned home, I had passed 
by the Palais-Royal. The king who had refused to make to 
Casimir Périer the sacrifice of the fleurs-de-lis, made that sacri- 
fice to the rioters : they scratched it off the coats-of-arms on 
his carriages and mutilated the iron balconies of his palace. 

The next day a decree appeared in the Moniteur, altering the 
three fleurs-de-lis of Charles v. this time to two tables of the 
law. If genealogy be established by coats-of-arms we should 
have to believe that the King of France was descended from 
Moseâ rather than from St. Louis I Only, these new tables 
of the law, the counterfeit of those of Sinai, had not even the 
excuse of being accepted out of the midst of thunders and 
lightnings. 

It was upon this particular day, on Lam/s desk, who was 
Madame Adelaide's sccreLiry, when 1 saw the grooms engaged 
in erasing the fleurs-de-lis from the king's carriages, think- 
ing that it was not m this fashion that ihey should have been 
Uken away from the arms of the house of France, that I sent 
in my re&ignation a second time, the only one which reached 
the king and which was accepted. It was couched in the 

following terms : — 

" IS Ftbruary 1831 

" SiRK, — Three weeks ago 1 had the honour to ask for an 
audience of your Majesty ; my object was to offer my resigna- 
tion to youi Majesty by word of mouth ; for 1 wished to explain, 
|jcrsonaliy, iliai 1 was neither ungrateful, nor capricious. Sire, 
a long lime ago 1 wrote and made public my opinion that, in 
my ca!«c, the man of letters was but the prelude to tlie politician. 
1 luvc arrived at tlic age when I con uikc a \\axX in a reformed 



I 



I 



I 



» 



2i8 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Chamber. I am pretty sure of being nominated a député 
when I am thirty years of age, and I am now twenty-eight, Sire. 
Unhappily, the People, who look at things from a mean and 
distant point of view, do not distinguish between the intentions 
of the king, and the acts of the ministers. Now the acts of the 
ministers are both arbitrary and destructive of liberty. Amongst 
the persons who live upon your Majesty, and tell him constantly 
that they admire and love him, there is not one probably, who 
loves your Majesty more than I do ; only they talk about it and 
do not think it, and I do not talk about it but think it. 

" But, Sire, devotion to principles comes before devotion to 
men. Devotion to principles makes men like La Fayette; 
devotion to men, like Rovigo.* I therefore pray your Majesty 
to accept my resignation. 

" I have the honour to remain your Majesty's respectful 
servant, Alex. Dumas" 

It was an odd thing ! In the eyes of the Republican party, 
to which I belonged, I was regarded as a thorough Republican, 
because I took my share in all the risings, and wanted to see 
the flag of '9 J float at the head of our armies ; but, at the same 
time, I could not understand how, when they had taken a 
Bourbon as their king, whether he was of the Elder or Younger 
branch of the house, he could be at the same time a 
Valois, as they had tried to make the good people of Paris 
believe, — I could not, I say, understand, how the fleurs-de-lis 
could cease to be his coat-of-arms. 

It was because I was both a poet and a Republican, and 
already comprehended and maintained, contrary to certain 
narrow-minded people of our party, that France, even though 
democratic, did not date from '89 only ; that we nineteenth 
century men had received a vast inheritance of glory and must 
preserve it; that the fleurs-de-lis meant the lance heads of 
Clovis, and the javelins of Charlemagne ; that they had floated 

■ We are compelled to admit that, in our opinion, the parallel between 
Ia. Fayette and the Due de Kovigo is to the disadvantage of the latter ; but 
how far he is above them in comparing him with other men of the empire ! 
La Fayette's love for liberty is sublime ; the devotion of the Due de Rovigo 
for Na()olcon is worthy of respect, for all devotion is a fine and rare thing, 
a» Limes go. 



4 



ERASURE OF THE FLEUR-DE-LIS 219 



successively at Tolbiac, at Tours, at Bouvines, at Taillebourg, 
at Rosbecque, at I'atay, at Fomovo, Ravenna, Marignan, 
Renty, Arques, Rocroy, Steinkerque, Almanza, Fontenoy, 
u(x>n the seas of India and the lakes of America ; that, after 
the success of fifty victories, we suffered the glory of a score of 
defeats which would have been enough to annihilate another 
nation ; that the Romans invaded us, and we drove them out, 
the Franks too, who were also expelled ; the English invaded 
us, and we drove them out. 

The opinion I am now putting forth with respect to the 
erasing of the fleursde-lis, which I upheld very conspicuously 
at that time by my resignation, was also the opinion of 
Casimir Périer. The next day after the fleurs-de-lis had dis- 
appeared from the king's carriages, from the balconies of the 
Palais-Royal and even from Bayard's shield, whilst the effigy of 
Hetuy IV. was preserved on the Cross of the Ix:gion of Honours ; 
M. Chanibolle, who has since started the Orleanist paper, 
rOrdre, called at M. Casimir Périer's house. 

"Why," the latter asked him, "in the name of goodness, 
does the king give up his armorial bearings? Ah ! He would 
not do it after the Revolution, when I advised him to sacrifice 
them ; no, he would not hear of their being effaced then, and 
stuck to them more tenaciously than did his elders. Now, 
tlie riot has but to pass under his windows and behold his 
escutcheon lies in the gutter I " 

Those who knew what an irascible character Casimir Périer 
was, will not be surpnsed at the flowers of rhetoric with which 
those words are adorned- 

But now that there is no longer an archbishop's palace, nor 
any fleurs-de-lis, and the statue of the Due de Berry about to 
be knocked down at Lille, the seminary of Perpignan pillaged 
and the busts of Louis xviii. and of Charles x. of Nimcs de- 
stroyed, let us return to Anlany, which was to cause a great 
disturbance in literature, besides which the riots we have just 
been discussing were but as the holiday games of school 
children. 



CHAPTER III 

My dramatic feith wavers — Bocage and Dorval reconcile me with mjrself— 
A political trial wherein I deserved to figure — Downfall of the Laffitte 
Ministry — Austria and the Due de Modena — Maréchal Maison is 
Ambasâdor at Vienna — The story of one of his dispatches — Casimir 
Périer Prime Minister — His reception at the Palais-Royal — They make 
him the amende honorable 

WE saw what small success Antony obtained at the read- 
ing before M. Crosnier. The consequence was that 
just as they had not scrupled to pass my play over for the drama 
of Don Carlos ou rinquisition, at the Théâtre- Français, they did 
not scruple, at the Porte-Saint-Martin, to put on all or any 
sort of piece that came to their hands before they looked at 
mine. Poor Antony \ It had already been in existence for 
close upon two years ; but thb delay, it must be admitted, 
instead of injuring it in any way, was, on the contrary, to turn 
to very profitable account. During those two years, events had 
progressed and had brought about in France one of those 
feverish situations wherein the explosions of eccentric individuals 
cause immense noise. There was something sickly and 
degenerate in the times, which answered to the monomania 
of my hero. Meanwhile, as I have said, I had no settled 
opinion about my drama ; my youthful faith in myself had only 
held out for Henri III. and Christine ; but the horrible concert 
of hootings which had deafened me at the representation of the 
latter piece had shattered that faith to its very foundations. 
Then the Revolution had come, which had thrown me into 
quite another order of ideas, and had made me believe I was 
destined to become what in politics is called a man of action, a 



ANTONY 



221 



belief which had succumbed yet more rapidly than my literary 
belief. 

Next had taken place the representation of my Napoleon 
Bonaparte, a work whose worthlessness I recognised with dread 
in spite of the fanatical enthusiasm it had excited at its reading. 
Then came Antony, which inspired no fanaticism nor enthusiasm, 
neither at its reading nor at its rehearsal ; which, in my inmost 
conscience, I believed was destined to close my short series 
of successes with failure. Were, perchance, M. Fossier, M. 
Oudard, M. Picard and M. Deviolaine right ? Would it have 
been better for me to go to my office, zs the author of /a Petite 
Ville and Deux Philibert had advised ? It was rather late in 
the day to make such reflections as these, just after I had sent 
in my resignation definitely. I did not make them any the less 
for tliat, nor did they cheer me any the more on that account 
My comfort was that Crosnier did not seem to set any higher 
value upon Marion Delorme than upon Antony, and I was a 
great admirer of Marion Delorme. I might be deceived in 
my own piece, but assuredly I was not mistaken about 
that of _ Hugo ; while, on the other hand, Crosnier might 
be wrong about Hugo's piece, and therefore equally mistaken 
about mine. Meanwhile, the rehearsals continued their 
course. 

That which I had foreseen happened : in proportion as 
the rehearsals advanced, the two principal parts taken by 
Madame Dorval amd by Bocage assumed entirely different 
aspects than they did when represented by Mademoiselle 
Mars and Firmm. The absence of scholastic traditions, the 
manner of acting drama, a certain sympathy of the actors with 
their parts, a sympathy which did not exist at the Thédtre 
Franks, all by degrees helped to reinstate poor Antony in 
my own opituon. It is but fair to say that, when the two 
great artistes, upon whom the success of the play depended, 
felt the day of representation drawing nearer, they developed, 
as if in emuhition with one another, qualities they were Uiem- 
sdfes unconscious they possessed. Dorval brought out a 
dignity of feeling in the expression of the emotions, of which. I 



222 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

should have thought her quite incapable ; and Bocage, on whom 
I had only looked at first as capable of a kind of misanthropic 
barbarity, had moments of poetic sadness and of dreamy 
melancholy that I had only seen in Talma in his rôles of the 
English rendering of Hamlet, and in Soumet's Orestes. The 
representation was fixed for the first fortnight in April ; but, at 
the same time, a drama was being played at the Palais de justice, 
which, even to my eyes, was far more interesting than my 
own. 

My friends Guinard, Cavaignac and Trélat, with sixteen 
other fellow-prisoners, were brought up before the Court of 
Assizes. It will be recollected that it was on account of the 
Artillery conspiracy, wherein I had taken an active part ; there- 
fore, one thing alone surprised me, why they should be in 
prison and I free; why they should have to submit to the 
cross-questionings of the law court whilst I was rehearsmg a 
piece at the Porte-Saint-Martin. Between the 6th and the i ith 
of April the audiences had been devoted to the interrogation 
of the prisoners and to the hearing of witnesses. On the lath, 
the Solicitor-General took up the case. I need hardly say that 
From the 12th to the 15 th, the day when sentence was passed, 
I never left the sittings. It was a diflScult task for the Solicitor- 
General to accuse men like those seated on the prisoners' 
bench, who were the chief combatants of July, and pro- 
nounced the "heroes of the Three Days," those whom the 
Lieutenant-General had received, flattered and pampered ten 
months back ; the men whom Dupont (de l'Eure) referred to 
as his friends, whom La Fayette had called his children and 
whom, when he was no longer in the Ministry, LafiStte had 
called his accomplices. As a matter of fact, the Laffitte 
Ministry had fallen on 9 March. The cause of that fall could 
not have been more creditable to the former friend of King 
Louis-Philippe; he had found that five months of political 
friction with the new monarch had been enough to turn him 
into one of his most irreconcilable enemies. It was the time 
vhen three nations rose up and demanded their independent 
nttioaal rights : Belgium, Poland and Italy. People's minds 



MODENA 



223 



were nearly settled about Belgium's fate ; but not so with 
regard to Poland and Italy ; and all generous hearts felt 
sympathy with those two Sisters in Liberty who were groaning, 
the one beneath tlie sword blade of the Czar, the other under 
Austria's chastisement. Attention was riveted in particular 
upon Modena. The Duke of Modena had fled from his 
duchy when he heard the news of the insurrection of Bologna, 
on the night of 4 February. The Cabinet at the Palais- Royal 
received a communication upon the subject from the Cabinet 
of Vienna, informing it that the Austrian government was 
preparing to intervene to replace Francis iv. upon his ducal 
throne. It was curious news and an exorbitant claim to 
make. The French Government had proclaimed the principle 
of non-intervention ; now, upon what grounds could Austria 
interfere in the Duchy of Modena? Austria bad, indeed, a 
right of reversion over that duchy ; but the right was entirely 
conditional, and, until the day when all the male heirs of the 
reigning house should be extinct, Modena could be a perfectly 
independent duchy. Such demands were bound to revolt so 
upright and fair a mind as M. Laffitce's, and he vowed in full 
council that, if Austria persisted in that insolent claim, Fiance 
would go to war with her. 

M. Sébastiani, Minister for Foreign Affairs, was asked by the 
President of the Council to reply to this effect, which he 
engaged to do. Maréchal Maison was then at the embassy 
of Vienna. He was one of those stiff and starched diplomatists 
who preserve the habit, from their military career, of addressing 
kings and emperors with their hand upon their sword hilts. I 
knew him very well, and in spite of our difference of age, with 
some degree of intimacy ; a charming won>an with a pacific 
name who was a mere friend to mc, but who was a good deal 
more than a friend to him, served as the bond between the 
young poet and the old soldier. The Marshal was com- 
missioned to present M. Laffittc's Ultimatum to Austria. It 
was succinct : " Non-intervention or War ! " The system of 
peace at any price adopted by Louis-Philippe was not yet 
known at that period. Austria replied as thoM^ ^YvtVcxcm^t 



224 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

secret thoughts of the King of France. Her reply was both 
determined and insolent This is it — 

"Until now, Austria has allowed France to advance the 
principle of non-intervention ; but it is time France knew that 
we do not intend to recognise it where Italy is concerned. We 
shall carry our arms wherever insurrection spreads. If that 
intervention leads to war — then war there must be! We 
prefer to incur the chances of war than to be exposed to perish 
m the midst of outbreaks of rebellion." 

With the instruction the Marshal received, the note above 
quoted did not permit of any agreement being reached ; con- 
sequently, at the same time that he sent M. de Mettemich's 
reply to King Louis-Philippe, he wrote to General Guilleminot, 
our ambassador at Constantinople, that France was forced into 
war and that he roust make an appeal to the ancient alliance 
between Turkey and France. Marshal Maison added in a 
postscript to M. de Mettemich's note — 

" Not a moment must be lost in which to avert the danger 
with which France is threatened ; we must, consequently, 
take the initiative and pour a hundred thousand men into 
Piedmont." 

This dispatch was addressed to M. Sébastiani, Minister for 
Foreign Affairs, with whom, in his capacity as ambassador, 
Marshal Maison corresponded direct ; it reached the Hôtel des 
Capucines on 4 March. M. Sébastiani, a king's man, com- 
municated it to the king, but, important though it was, never 
said one word about it to M. LafBtte. That is the fashion in 
which the king, following the first principle of constitutional 
government, reigned, but did not rule. How did the National 
obtain that dispatch? We should be very puzzled to say; 
but, on the 8th, it was reproduced word for word in the 
second column of that journal M. Laffitte read it by chance, 
as La Fayette had read his dismissal from the commandant- 
ship of the National Guard by accident M. Laffitte got into 
a carriage, paper in hand and drove to M. Sébastiani. He 
could not deny it : the Marshal alleged such poor reasons, that 



THE NEW MINISTRY 



225 



M. LafEtte saw he had been completely tricked. He went 
on to the Palais-Royal, where he hoped to gain explanations 
which the Minister for Foreign Affairs refused to give him; 
but the king knew nothing at all ; the king was busy looking 
after the building at Neuilly and did not trouble bis head 
about affairs of State, be took no initiative and approved of 
his ministry. M. Laffitte must settle the matter with his 
colleagues. There was so much apparent sincerity and 
naive simplicity in the tone, attitude and appearance of the 
king that Laffitte thought he could not be an accomplice in 
the plot. Next day, therefore, he took the king's advice 
and had an explanation with his colleagues. That explana- 
tion led, there and then, to the resignation of the leader of the 
Cabinet, who returned to his home with his spirit less broken, 
perhaps, by the prospect of his ruined house and lost popularity 
than by his betrayed friendship. M. Laffitte was a noble- 
hearted man who had given himself wholly to the king, and 
behold, in the very face of the insult that had been put upon 
France, the king, in his new attitude of preserver of peace, 
threw him over just as he had thrown over La Fayette and 
Dupont (de I'liure). Laffitte was flung remorselessly and 
without pity into the gulf wherein Louis-Philippe flung his 
popular favourites when he had done with them. Tlie new 
ministry was made up all ready, in advance ; the majority of 
its members were taken from the old one. The only new 
ministers were Casimir Pdrier, Baron Louis and M. de Rigny. 
The various offices of the members were as follows : Casimir 
Périer, Prime Minister; Sébastiani, Minister for Foreign 
Affairs ; Baron Louis, Minister of Finance ; Barthe, Minister 
of Justice ; Montalivet, Minister of Education and Religious 
Instruction ; Comte d'Argout, Minister of Commerce and 
Public Works; de Rigny, Minister for the Admiralty. The 
luew ministry nearly lost its prime minister the very next 
day after he had been appointed, viz., on 13 March 1831. 
It wait only with regret that Madame Adelaide and the 
Due d'Orléans saw Casimir Périer come into power. Was it 
from regret at the ingratitude shown to M. LaKwve'^ ot "«^^ 
v.— >5 



2 26 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



it fear on account of M. Casimir Périer's well-known character? 
Whatever may have been the case, on 14 March, when the 
new president of the Council app)eared at the Palais-Royal 
to pay his resp>ects at court that night, he found a singular 
expression upon all faces : the courtiers laughed, the aides-de- 
camp whispered together, the servants asked whom they must 
announce. M. Ic due d'Orléans turned his back upon him, 
Madame Adélaïde was as cold as ice, the queen was grave. 
The king alone waited for him, smiling, at the bottom of 
the salon. The minister had to pass through a double hedge 
of people who wished to repel him, malevolent to him, in 
order to reach the king. The rival and successor to LafEtte 
was angry, proud and impatient ; he resolved to take his 
revenge at once, He knew the man who was indispensable 
to the situation ; Thiers was not yet sufficiently popular, M. 
Guizot was already too little so. Casimir Périer went straight 
to the king. 

" Sire," he said to him, " I have the honour to ask you for a 
private interview." 

The king, amazed, walked before him and led him into his 
cabinet. The door was scarcely closed when, without circum- 
locution or ambiguity, the new prime minister burst out 
with — 

" Sire, 1 have the honour to offer my resignation to Your 
Majesty," 

" Eh ! good Lord, Monsieur Périer," exclaimed the king, 
" and on what grounds ? " 

"Sire," replied the exasperated minister, "that I have 
enemies at the clubs, in the streets, in the Chamber matters 
nothing ; but enemies at the very court to which I am bold 
enough unreservedly to offer my whole fortune is too much to 
endure ! and I do not feel equal, I confess to Your Majesty, 
to face these many forms of hatred." 

The king felt the thrust, and realised that it must be 
warded off, under the circumstances, for it might be fatal 
to himself. Then, in his most flattering tones and with that 
seductive charm of manner in which he excelled, the king 



I 
I 



< 



PÉRIER AND THE KING 



227 



set himself to smooth down tliis minister's wounded pride. 
But with the inflexible haughtiness of his character, Casimir 
Périer persisted. 

" Sire," he said, " I have the honour to offer my resignation 
to Your Majesty." 

The king saw he must make adequate amends. 

"Wait ten minutes here, my dear Monsieur Périer," he 
said ; " and in ten minutes you shall be free." 

The minister bowed in silence, and let the king leave him. 

In that ten minutes the king explained to the queen, to his 
sister and his son, the urgent necessity there was for him to 
keep M. Casimir Périer, and told them the resolution the 
latter had just taken to hand in his resignation. This was a 
fresh order altogether, and in a few seconds it was made known 
to all whom it concerned. The king opened the door of his 
cabinet, where the minister was still biting his nails and 
stamping his feet. 

" Come ! " he said. 

Casimir Périer bowed lightly and followed the king. But 
thanks to the new command, everything was changed. The 
queen was gracious ; Madame Adélaïde was affable ; M. le 
due d'Orléans had turned round, the aides-de-camp stood in a 
group ready to obey at the least sign from the king, and also 
from the minister ; the courtiers smiled obsequiously. Finally, 
the lackeys, when M. Périer reached the door, flew into the 
ante-chambers and rushed down the stairs crying, " M. le 
president du Conseil's carriage 1 " A more rapid and startUng 
reparation could not possibly have been obtained. Thus 
Casimir Périer remained a minister, and the new president 
of the council then started that arduous career which was to 
end in the grave in a year's time ; he died only a few weeks 
before his antagonist Lamarque. 

Thi.i was how matters stood when we took a fresh course, in 
the full tide of the trial of the artillery, to speak of M. Laifitte. 

But, one* for all, wc «re not writing history, only jotting 
down our recollections, and often we find tliat at the very 
motnent when we have galloped off to follow uç v>vcv&\>')'i(^>] 



228 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



of our memory we have left behind us events of the first 
importance. We are then obliged to retrace our steps, to 
make our apologies to those events, as the king had to do 
to M. Casimir Périer; to take them, as it were, by the hand, 
and to lead them back to our readers, who perhaps do not 
always accord them quite such a gracious reception as that 
whidi the Court of the Palais-Royal gave to the President of 
the Council on the evening of 14 Mardi 1831. 



CHAPTER IV 

Trial of ihe attillerjmen— Procureui-général Miller— Pescheux d'Herbin- 
ville — Godefroy Caraignac— Acquittal of the accused — The ovation 
they received— Commissioner Gourdin — The cross of July — The red 
and black ribbon — Final rehearsals of Anltuy 



WE have mentioned what a difficult matter it was for a 
solicitor-general to prosecute the men who were still 
black from the powder of July, such men as Trélat, Cavaignac, 
Guinard, Sambuc, Danton, Chaparre and their fellow-prisoners. 
All these men, moreover (except Commissioner Gourdin, against 
whose morality, by the way, there was absolutely nothing to be 
said), lived by their private fortune or their own talents, and 
were, for the most part, more of them well to do than poorly 
off. They could therefore only be proceeded against on 
account of an opinion regarded as dangerous from the point of 
view of the Government, though they were undoubtedly dis- 
interested. Miller, tlie solicitor general, had the wit to grasp 
the situation, and at the outset of his charge against the 
prisoners he turned to the accused and said — 

"We lament as much as any other person to see these 
honoured citizens at the bar, whose private life seems to com- 
mand much esteem ; young men, rich in noble thoughts and 
generous inspirations. It is not for us, gendemt-n, to seek 
to call in ciue^tion their title to public consideration, or to 
the good will of their fellow- citizens, and to a recognition of 
the services they have rendered their country." 

The audience, visibly won over by this preamble, made a 
murmur of approbation which it would certainly have repressed 
if U had had patience to wait tlie sequel. The attorac'j- 

ueral went on— 

••9 



230 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



" But do the services that they have been able to render the 
Stale give them the right to shake it to its very foundations, if 
it is not administered according to doctrines which suited 
imaginations that, as likely as not, are ill-regulated i* Is the 
impetuous ardour of youth enough excuse for legalising actions 
which alarm all good citizens, and harm all interests? Must 
peaceable men become the victims of the culpable machinations 
of those who talk about liberty, and yet attack the liberty of 
others, and boast that they are working for the good of France 
while they violently break all social bonds ? " 

Judge in what a contemptuous attitude the prisoners received 
these tedious and banal observations. Far from dreaming of 
defending themselves, they felt that as soon as the moment 
should come for charging it would be they who should take 
the offensive. Pescheux d'Herbinville, the leader, burst forth 
in fury and crushed both judges and attorney-general. 

"Monsieur Pescheux d'Herbinville," President Hardouin 
said to him, "you are accused of having had arms in your 
possession, and of distributing them. Do you admit the 
fact?" 

Pescheux d'Herbinville rose. He was a fine-looking young 
man of twenty-two or three, fair, carefully dressed, and of refined 
manners ; the cartridges that had been seized at his house were 
wrapped in silk-paper, and ornamented with rose-coloured 
favours. 

" I not only," he said, "admit the fact, monsieur le président, 
but I am proud of it. . . . Yes, I had arms, and plenty of them 
tool And I am going to tell you how I got them. In July 
1 took three posts in succession at the head of a handful of 
men in the midst of the firing ; the arms that I had were those 
of the soldiers I had disarmed. Now, I fought for the people, 
and these soldiers were firing on the f)eople. Am I guilty for 
taking away the arms which in the hands in which they were 
found were dealing death to citizens ? " 

A round of applause greeted these words. 

"As to distributing them," continued the prisoner, "it is 
quite true 1 did it ; and not only did I distribute them, but 



CAVAIGNAC'S DECLARATION 231 

believing that, in our unsettled times, it was as well to 
acquaint the friends of France with their enemies, at my own 
expense, although I am not a rich man, I provided some of the 
men who had followed me with the uniform of the National 
Guard. It was to those same men I distributed the arms, to 
which, indeed, they had a right, since they helped me to take 
them. You have asked me what I have to say in my defence, 
and I have toid you." 

He sat down amidst loud applause, which only ceased after 
repeated orders from the president. 

Next came Cavaignac's turn. 

" You accuse me of being a Republican," he said ; "I up- 
hold that accusation both as a title of honour and a paternal 
heritage. My father was one of those who proclaimed the 
Republic from the heart of the National Convention, before 
the whole of Europe, then victorious ; he defended it before 
the armies, and that was why he died in exile, after twelve 
years of banishment; and whilst the Restoration itself was 
obliged to let France have the fruits of that revolution which 
he had served, whilst it overwhelmed with favours those men 
whom the Republic had created, my father and his colleagues 
«lone suffered for the great cause which many others betrayed ! 
It wa.s the last homage their impotent old age could offer to 
the country they had vigorously defended in their youth ! . . . 
That cause, gentlemen, colours all my feelings as his son ; and 
the principles which it embraced are my heritage. Study 
has naturally strengthened the bent given to my political 
opinions, and now that the opportunity is given me to utter a 
word which multitudes proscribe, I pronounce it without 
affection, and witliout fear, at heart and from conviction I am 
a Republican ! " 

It was the first time such a declaration of principles had been 
made boldly and publicly before both the court of law and 
society; it was accordingly received at fifit in dumb stupor, 
which was immediately followed by a thunder of applause. 
The president realised that he could not struggle against such 
enthusiasm ; he let the applause calm down, ïit\à Cwi\^^.t 



232 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

continue his speech. Godefroy Cavaignac was an orator, and 
more eloquent than his brother, although he, like General 
Lamarque and General F07, gave utterance to some eminently 
French sentiments which enter more deeply into people's 
hearts than the most beautiful speeches. Cavaignac con- 
tinued with increasing triumph. Finally, he summed up his 
opinions and hopes, and those of the party, which, then almost 
unnoticed, was to triumph seventeen years later — 

" The Revolution ! Gentlemen, you attack the Revolution 1 
What folly I The Revolution includes the whole nation, 
except those who exploit it; it is our country, fulfilling the 
sacred mission of freeing the people entrusted to it by Provid- 
ence ; it b the whole of France, doing its duty to the world ! 
As for ourselves, we believe in our hearts that we have done 
our duty to France, and every time she has need of us, no 
matter what she, our revered mother, asks of us, we, her 
Saithful sons, will obey her!" 

It is impossible to form any idea of the effect this speech 
produced ; pronounced as it was in firm tones, with a frank 
and open face, eyes flashing with enthusiasm and heartfelt 
conviction. From that moment the cause was won : to have 
found these men guilty would have caused a riot, perhaps even 
a revolution. The questions put to the jury were forty-six in 
number. At a quarter to twelve, noon, the jurymen went into 
their consulting room : they came out at half-past three, and 
pronounced the accused men not guilty on any one of the 
forty-six indictments. There was one unanimous shout of joy, 
almost of enthusiasm, clapping of hands and waving of hats ; 
everyone rushed out, striding over the benches, overturning 
things in their way ; they wanted to shake hands with any one 
of the nineteen prisoners, whether they knew him or not 
They felt that life, honour and future principles had been upheld 
by those prisoners arraigned at the bar. In the midst of this 
hubbub the president announced that they were set at liberty. 
There remained, therefore, nothing further for the accused to 
do but to escape the triumphant reception awsdting them. 
Victories, in these cases, are often worse than defeats: I 



/^ 



ACQUITTED I 



233 



recollect the triumph of Louis Blanc on 15 May. Guinard, 
Cavaignac and the students from the schools succeeded in 
escaping the ovation: instead of leaving by the door of the 
Conciergerie, which led to the Quai des Lunettes, they left 
by the kitchen door and passed out unrecognised. Trélat, 
Pescheux d'Herbinville and three friends (Achille Roche, 
who died young and very promising, Avril and Lhéritier) had 
got into a carriage, and had told the driver to drive as fast 
as he could; but they were recognised through the closed 
windows. Instantly the carriage was stopped, the horses taken 
out, the doors ojjened ; they had to get out, pass through the 
crowd, bow in response to the cheering and walk through 
waving handkerchiefs, the flourishing of hats and shouts of 
"Vivent-les républicains I" as far as Trélat's home. Guilley, 
also recognised, was still less fortunate: they carried him in 
their arms, in spite of all his protests and efforts to escape. 
Only one of them, who left by the main entrance, passed 
through the crowd unrecognised, Commissionaire Gourdin, 
who pushed a handcart containing his luggage and that of his 
comrades in captivity, which he carried back home. 

This acquittal sent me back to my rehearsals ; and it was 
almost settled for Antony to be run during the last days 
of April. But the last days of April were to find us thrown 
back into an altogether different sort of agitation. The law 
of 13 December 1830 with respect to luitional rewards had 
ordained the creation of a new order of merit which was 
to be called the Cross of July. There had been a reason 
for this creation which might excuse the deed, and which 
had induced republicans to support the law. A decoration 
which recalls civil war and a victory won by citizens over 
fellow - citions, by the People over the Army or by the 
Anny over the People, is always a melancholy object ; but, 
as I say, there was an object underlying it different from 
this. It was to enable people to recognise one another 
on any given occasion, and to know, consequently, on 
whom to rely. These crosses had been voted by com- 
mittees comprised of fighters who were dlffiicvAv Vo aawivsts 



2 34 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



I 



I 

I 



b 



for, out of their twelve members, of which, I believe, each 
bureau consisted, there were always two or three who, if 
the cross were misplaced on some unworthy breast, were 
able to set the error right, or to contradict it. The part 
I took in the Revolution was sufficiently public for this 
cross to be voted to me without disputes ; but, besides, 
as soon as the crosses were voted, as the members of the 
different committees could not give each other crosses, I 
was appointed a member of the committee commissioned 
to vote crosses to the first distributors. The institution 
was therefore, superficially, quite popular and fundamentally 
Republican. Thus we were astounded when, on 30 April, 
an order appeared, countersigned by Casimir Périer, laying 
down the following points — 

"The Cross of July shall consist of a three-branched star. 
The reverse side shall bear on it : 27, 28 and 29 July 1830. 
It shall have for motto : Given by the King of the French. 
It shall be worn on a blue ribbon edged with red. The 
citizens decorated with the July Cross shall be prepared 

TO SWEAR FIDELITY TO THE KiNG OF THE I'RENCH, and 

obedience to the Constitutional Charter and to the laws of 
the realm." 

The order was followed by a list of the names of the 
citizens to whom the cross was awarded. I had seen my 
name on the list, with great delight, and on the same day 
I, who had never worn any cross, except on solemn 
occasions, bought a red and black ribbon and put it in 
my buttonhole. The red and black ribbon requires an 
explanation. We had decided, in our programme which 
was thus knocked on the head by the Royal command, 
that the ribbon was to be red, edged with black. The 
red was to be a reminder of the blood that had been shed ; 
the black, for the mourning worn. I did not, then, feel 
that I could submit to that portion of the order which 
decreed blue ribbon edged with red, — any more than to 
the motto: Given by the King^ or to the oath of fidelity 
to the k!ng, tht Constitutional Charter and the laws of 



I 



MADAME DORVAL AS ADÈLE 235 



the kingdom. Many followed D17 example, and, at the 
Tuileries, where I went for a walk to see if some agent of 
authority would come and pick a quarrel with me on account 
of my ribbon, I found a dozen decorated persons, among 
whom were two or three of my friends, who, no doubt, had 
gone there with the same intention as mine. Furthermore, 
the National Guard was, at that date, on duty at the 
Tuileries, and they presented arras to the red and black 
ribbon as to that of the Légion d'honneur. At night, we 
learnt that there was to be a meeting at Higonnet's, to 
protest against the colour of the ribbon, the oath and the 
motto. I attended and protested; and, next day, I went 
to my rehearsal wearing my ribbon. That was on 1 May ; 
we had arrived at general rehearsals, and, as I have said, 
I was becoming reconciled to my piece, without, however, — 
so different was it from conventional notions — having any idea 
whether the play would succeed or fail. But the success 
which the two principal actors would win was incontestable. 
Bocage had made use of every faculty to bring out the 
originality of the character he had to represent, even to 
the physical defects we have notified in him. 

Madame Dorval had made the very utmost out of the 
part of Adèle. She enunciated her words with admirable 
predsion, all the striking points were brought out, except 
one which she had not yet discovered. " Then I am lost ! " 
she had to exclaim, when she heard of her husband's arrival. 
Well, she did not know how to render those fotir words: 
" Then I am lost ! " And yet she realised that, if said 
properly, they would produce a splendid effect. All at once 
an illumination flashed across her mind. 

"Are you here, author?" she nskcd, coming to the edge 
of the footlights to scan the orchestra. 

" Yes . . . what is it ?" I replied. 

" How did Mile. Mars say : 'Then I am lost! '?" 

" She was sitting down, and got up." 

" Good ! " replied Dorval, returning to her place, " I will 
be standiog, and will sit down." 



236 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

The rehearsal was finished; Alfred de Vigny had been 
present, and given me some good hints. I had made 
Antony an atheist, he made me obliterate that blot in the 
part He predicted a grand success for me. We parted, 
be persisting in his opinion, I shaking my head dubiously. 
Bocage led me into his dressing-room to show me his costume. 
I say costume, for although Antony was clad like ordinary 
mortals, in a cravat, frock-coat, waistcoat and trousers, 
there had to be, on account of the eccentricity of the 
character, something peculiar in the set of the cravat and 
shape of the waistcoat, in the cut of the coat and in 
the set of the trousers. I had, moreover, given Bocage my 
own ideas on the subject, which he had adapted to perfection ; 
and, seeing him in those clothes, people understood from 
the very first that the actor did not represent just an 
ordinary man. It was settled that the piece should be 
definitely given on 3 May ; I had then only two more rehearsals 
before the great day. The preceding ones had been sadly 
neglected by me; I attended the last two with extreme 
assiduity. When Madame Dorval reached the sentence 
which had troubled her for long, she kept her word: she 
was standing and sank into an armchair as though the 
earth had given way under her feet, and exclaimed, "Then 
I am lost 1 " in such accents of terror that the few persons 
who were present at the rehearsal broke into cheers. The 
final general rehearsal was held with closed doors; it is 
always a mistake to introduce even the most faithful of friends 
to a general rehearsal: on the day of the performance they 
tell the plot of the play to their neighbours, or walk about 
the corridors talking in loud voices, and creaking their 
boots on the floor. I have never taken much credit to 
myself for giving theatre tickets to my friends for the first 
performance; but I have always repented of giving them 
tickets of admission for a general rehearsal. Against this 
it will be argued that spectators can give good advice: in 
the first place, it is too late to act upon any important 
suggestion at general rehearsals', then, those who really 



SUCCESS PREDICTED 



237 



ofler valuable advice, during the course of rehearsals, are 
the actors, firemen, scene-shifters, supernumeraries and every- 
body, in fact, who lives by the stage, and who know the 
theatre much better than all the Bachelors of Arts and 
Academicians in existence. Well, then ! my theatrical world 
had predicted Antony's success, scene-shifters, firemen craning 
their necks round the wings, actors and actresses and supers 
going into the auditorium and watching the scenes in which 
they didn't appear. The night of production had come. 



CHAPTER V 

The first representation of Antony — The play, the acton, the public — 
Antony at the Palais-Royal— Alterations of the dino&mtnt 

THE times were unfavourable for literature: all minds 
were turned upon politics, and disturbances were flying 
in the air as, on hot summer evenings, swifts fly overhead with 
their shrill screams, and black-winged bats wheel round. My 
piece was as well put on as it could be ; but, except for the 
expenditure of talent which the actors were going to make, M. 
Crosnier had gone to no other cost ; not a single new carpet 
or decoration, not even a salon was renovated The "work 
might fail without regret, for it had only cost the manager the 
time spent over the rehearsals. 

The curtain rose, Madame Dorval, in her gauze dress and 
town attire, a society woman, in fact, was a novelty at the 
theatre, where people had recently seen her in La Deux 
Forçats, and in Le Joueur : so her early scenes only met with 
a half-hearted success ; her harsh voice, round shoulders and 
peculiar gestures, of which she so often made use that, in the 
scenes which contained no passionate action, they became 
merely vulgar, naturally did not tell in favour of the play or 
the actress. Two or three admirably true inflections, however, 
found grace with the audience, but did not arouse its enthus- 
iasm sufficiently to extract one single cheer from it It will be 
recollected that Bocage has very Uttle to do in the first act : he 
is brought in fainting, and the only chance he has for any 
effect is where he tears off the bandage from his wound, 
uttering, as he faints away for the second time : "And now I 
shall remain, shall I not ? " Only after that sentence did the 

audience b^n to understand the piece, and to feel the 

33B 



THE FIRST NIGHT 



239 



■ 



hidden dramatic possibilities of a work whose first act ended 
thus. The curtain fell in the midst of applause. I had 
ordered the intervals between the acts to be short I went 
behind the scenes myself to hurry the actors, managers and 
scene-shifters. In five minutes' time, before the excitement 
had had time to cool down, the curtain went up again. The 
second act fell to the share of Bocage entirely. He threw 
himself vigorously into it, but not egotistically, allowing 
Dorval as much part as she had a right to take ; he rose to a 
magnificent height in the scene of bitter misanthropy and 
amorous threatening, a scene, by the bye, which — except for 
that of the foundlings — took up pretty nearly the whole act. I 
repeat that Bocage was really sublime in these parts : intelli- 
gence of mind, nobleness of heart, expression of countenance, — 
the very type of the Antony, as I had conceived him, was 
presented to the public After the act, whilst the audience 
were still clapping, I went behind to congratulate him heartily. 
He was glowing with enthusiasm and encouragement, and 
Dorval told him, with the frankness of genius, how delighted 
she was with him. Dorval had no fears at all. She knew that 
the fourth and fifth acts were hers, and quietly waited her 
turn. When I re-entered the theatre it was in a state of 
excitement ; one could feel the air charged with those emotions 
which go to the making of great success. I began to believe 
that I was right, and the whole world wrong, even my manager ; 
I except Alfred de Vigny, who had predicted success. My 
readers know the third act, it is all action, brutal action ; with 
regard to violence, it bears a certain likeness to the third act of 
Iltttri III., where the Due de Guise crushes his wile's wrist to 
force her to give Saint-Mégrin a rendezvous in her own hand- 
writing. Happily, the third act at the Théâtre-Français having 
met with success, it made a stepping-stone for that at the 
Porte-Saint-Marlin. Antony, in pursuit of Adcle, is the first 
to reach a village inn, where he seiies all the post-horses to 
oblige her to stop there, chooses the room that suit* him best 
of the only two in the house, arranges an entrance into Adèle's 
room from the balcony, and withdraws as he hears th£ ^i^>uA 



240 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

of her carriage wheels. Adèle enters and begs to be supplied 
with horses. She is only a few leagues from Strassburg, where 
she is on her way to join her husband ; the horses taken away 
by Antony are not to be found : Adèle is obliged to spend the 
night in the inn. She takes every precaution for her safety, 
which, the moment she is alone, becomes useless, because of 
the opening by the balcony, forgotten in her nervous investiga- 
tions. Madame Dorval was adorable in her feminine simplicity 
and instinctive terrors. She spoke as no one had spoken, or 
ever will speak them, those two extremely simple sentences : 
"But this door will not shut!" and "No accident has ever 
happened in your hotel, Madame ? " Then, when the mistress 
of the inn has withdrawn, she decides to go into her bedroom. 
Hardly had she disappeared before a pane of the window 
falls broken to atoms, an arm appears and unlatches the 
catch, the window is opened and both Antony and Adèle 
appear, the one on the balcony of her window, the other on 
the threshold of the room. At the sight of Antony, Adèle 
utters a cry. The rest of the scene was terrifyingly realistic. 
To stop her from crying out again, Antony placed a handker- 
chief on Adèle's mouth, drags her into the room, and the 
curtain falls as they are both entering it together. There was 
a moment of silence in the house. Porcher, the man whom I 
have pointed out as one of our three or four pretenders to the 
crown as the most capable of bringing about a restoration, 
was charged with the office of producing my restoration, 
but hesitated to give the signal. Mahomet's bridge was not 
narrower than the thread which at that moment hung Antony 
suspended between success and failure. Success carried the 
day, however. A great uproar succeeded the frantic rounds of 
applause which burst forth in a torrent. They clapped and 
howled for five minutes. When I have failures, rest assured I 
will not spare myself; but, meanwhile, I ask leave to be 
allowed to tell the truth. On this occasion the success 
belonged to the two actors; I ran behind the theatre to 
embrace them. No Adèle and no Antony to be found ! I 
thought for a moment that, carried away by the enthusiasm of 



SUCCESS OF ANTONY 



241 



the performance, they had resumed the play at the words, 
" Antony lui jette un moucho)r iur la bouche, et remporte dans 
sa (hambre" and had continued the piece. I was mistaken : 
they were both changing their costumes and were shut in their 
dressing-rooms. I shouted all kinds of endearing terms 
through the door. 

"Are you satisfied?" Bocage inquired. 

"Enchanted." 

" Bravo ! the rest of the piece belongs to DorvaL" 

" You will not leave her in the lurch .' " 

" Oh ! be easy on that score ! " 

I ran to Dorval's door. 

"It is superb, my child — splendid ! magnificent !" 

" Is that you, my big bow-wow ? " 

"Yes." 

" Come in, then ! " 

" But the door is fast." 

" To everybody but you." She opened it ; she was unstrung ; 
and, half undressed as she was, she flung herself into my arms. 

" I think we have secured it, my deai ! " 

"What?" 

" Why 1 a success, of course 1 " 

"H'm! h'm!" 

"Art you not satisfied?" 

"Yes, quite." 

" Hang it ! You would be hard to please, if )'ou were not" 

" It seems to me, however, that we have passed out of the 
worst troubles ! " 

" True, all has gone well so far ; but . . ." 

" But what, come, my big bow-wow ! Oh ! I do love jrou 
for giving me such a fine part ! " 

" Did you see ilie society women, eh ? " 

" Na" 

" What did they «ay of me ? " 

" But I did not see them . . ." 

" You will see them ? " 

"Oh yes." 
V. — 16 



342 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

"Then you will repeat what they say . . . but frankly, 
mind." 

"Of course." 

" Look, there is my ball dress." 

«Pretty swell, I fancy I" 

"Oh I big dog, do you know how much you have cost 
me?" 

"No." 

" Eight hundred francs I " 

" Come here." I whispered a few words in her ear. 

" Really ? '' she exclaimed. 

"Certainly I" 

«You will do that?" 

" Of course, since I have said so." 

" Kiss me." 

"No." 

"Why not?" 

" I never kiss people when I make them a present" 

"Why?" 

" I expect them to kiss me." 

She threw her arms round my neck. 

" Come now, good luck ! " I said to her. 

" And you must have it too." 

" Courage ? I am going to seek it." 

"Where?" 

"At the Bastille." 

"At the Bastille?" 

" Yes, I have a notion the beginning of the fourth act will 
not get on so well." 

"Why not?" 

" Come now I the fourth act is delightful : I will answer for 
it." 

" Yes, you will make the end go, but not the beginning." 

" Ahl yes, that is n feuilleton which Grailly speaks." 

"Bah I it will succeed all the same: the audience is 
enthusiastic ; we can feel that, all of us." 

"Ahl you feel that?" 



BEHIND THE SCENES 



243 




" Then, too, see you, my big bow-wow ; there are people in 
the stalls of the house, gentlemen too ! who stare at me as they 
never have stared before." 

" I don't wonder." 

" I say . . ." 

"What?" 

" If I am going to become the rage ? " 

" It orJy depends on yourself." 

"Liar!" 

" I swear it only depends on yourself." 

" Yes ... but .. . Alfred, eh ? " 

" Exactly ! " 

" Upon my word, so much the worse ! We shall see." 

The voice of the stage-manager called Madame Dorval ! 

" Can we begin ? " 

" No, no, no ; I am not dressed yet, I am only in my chemise ! 
He's a pretty fellow, that Moëssard! What would the 
audience say? ... It is you who have hindered me like 
thu ... Go off with you then ! " 

" Put me out." 

.'•Go! go! go!" 

e kissed me three times and pushed me to the door. 
Poor lips, then fresh and smiling and trembling, which I was 
to see closed and frozen for ever at the touch of death ! 

1 went outside ; as I was in need of air. I met Btxio in 
the corridors. 

" Come with me," I said. 

" Where the dickens are you off to ? " 

" I am going for a walk." 

" What ! a walk ? " 

"Ves!" 

"Just when the curtain is going to rise?" 

" Exactly I I do not feel sure about the fourth act and would 
much rather it began without tae." 

" Are you sure about the end ? " 

"Oh! the end is a diiïcienl matter . . . Wc will come 
back for that, never fear ! " 



244 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

And we hurried out on to the boulevard. 

" Ah ! ". I exclaimed, as I breathed the air. 

"What is the matter with you? ... Is it your piece that is 
upsetting you like this?" 

" Get along, hang my piece ! " 

I dragged Bixio in the direction of the Bastille. I do not 
remember what we talked of. I only know we walked for 
half a league, there and back, chattering and laughing. If 
anybody had said to the passers-by, "You see that great 
lunatic of a man over there ? He is the author of the play 
being acted at this very moment at the theatre of la Porte- 
Saint-Martin 1 " they would indeed have been amazed. 

I came in again at the right moment, at the scene of the 
insult The feuilleton, as Dorval called it, meaning the 
apology for this modem style of drama, the real preface to 
Antony, had passed over without hindrance and had even 
been applauded. I had a box close to the stage and I made 
a sign to Dorval that I was there; she signalled back .that 
she saw me. Then the scene began between Adèle and the 
Vicomtesse, which is summed up in these words, "But I 
have done nothing to this woman ! " Next comes the scene 
between Adèle and Antony, where Adèle repeatedly exclaims, 
"She is his mistress 1" 

Well ! I say it after twenty-two years have passed by, — and 
during those years I have composed many plays, and seen 
many pieces acted, and applauded many actors, — he who never 
saw Dorval act those two scenes, although he may have seen 
the whole repertory of modem drama, can have no conception 
how far pathos can be earned. 

The reader knows how this act ends ; the Vicomtesse enters ; 
Adèle, surprised in the arms of Antony, utters a cry and dis- 
appears. Behind the Vicomtesse, Antony's servant enters in 
his turn. He has ridden full gallop from Strassburg, to 
announce to his master the return of Adèle's husband. 
Antony dashes from the stage like a madman, or one driven 
desperate, crying, "Wretch ! shall I arrive in time?" 
/ ran behind the scenes. Dorval was already on the stage, 



THE DÉNOÛMENT 



245 



uncurling her hair and pulling her flowers to pieces ; she had 
at times her moments of transports of passion, exceeding those 
of the actress. The scene-shifters were altering the scenes, 
whilst Dorval was acting her part. The audience applauded 
frantically. " A hundred francs," I cried to the shifters, " if the 
curtain be raised again before the applause ceases ! " In two 
minutes' time the three raps were given : the curtain rose and 
the scene-shifters had won their hundred francs. The fifth 
act began literally before the applause for the fourth had died 
down. I had one moment of acute anguish. In the middle 
of the terrible scene where the two lovers, caught in a net of 
sorrows, are striving to extricate themselves, but can find no 
means of either living or dying together, a second before 
Dorval exclaimed, " Then I am lost ! " I had, in the stage 
directions, arranged that Bocage should move the armchair 
ready to receive Adèle, when she is overwhelmed at the news 
of her husband's arrival. And Bocage forgot to turn the chair 
in readiness. But Dorval was too much carried away by 
passion to be put out by such a trifle. Instead of falling on 
the cushion, she fell on to the arm of the chair, and uttered 
a cry of despair, with such a piercing grief of soul wounded, 
torn, broken, that the whole audience rose to its feet. This 
time the cheers were not for nie at all, but for the actress and 
for her alone, for her marvellous, magnificent performance I 
The dinoûmenl is known ; it is utterly unexpected, and is 
summed up in a single phrase of six startling words. The 
door is burst open by M. de Hervey just as Adèle falls on a 
sofa, slabbed by Antony. 

" Dead ? " a ies Baron de Hervey. 

"Yes, dead!" coldly answers Antony. ElU me résistait: 
jt fai assassiiut I And he flings his dagger at the husband's 
feet. The audience gave vent to such cries of terror, dismay 
and sorrow, that probably a third of the audience hardly 
I beard these words, a nccessarj' supplement to the piece, which, 
however, without them would be nothing but an ordinary 
intrigue of adultery, unravelled by a simple assassination. 
The effect, all the same, was tremendous. TVve^ r.-ai\i<^ V« 



246 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

the author whh frantic cries. Bocage came forward and told 
them. Then they called for Antony and Adèle again, and 
both returned to take their share in such an ovation as they 
had never had, nor ever would have again. For they had 
both attained to the highest achievement in their art ! I flew 
from my box to go to them, without noticing that the passages 
were blocked with spectators coming out of their seats. I 
had not taken four stqps before I was recognised ; then I had 
my turn, as the author of the play. A crowd of young persons 
of my own age (I was twenty-eight), pale, scared, breathless, 
rushed at me. They pulled me right and left and embraced 
me. I wore a green coat buttoned up from top to bottom ; 
they tore the tails of it to shreds. I entered the green-room, 
as Lord Spencer entered his, in a round jacket ; the rest of 
my coat had gone into a state of relics. They were stupefied 
behind the scenes ; they had never seen a success taking such 
a form before, never before had applause gone so straight from 
the audience to the actors ; and what an audience it was too ! 
The fashionable world, the exquisites who take the best boxes 
at theatres, those who only applaud from habit, who, this time, 
made themselves hoarse with shouting so loudly, and had 
split their gloves with clapping ! Crosnier was hidden. Bocage 
was as happy as a child. Dorval was mad ! Oh, good and 
brave-hearted friends, who, in the midst of their own triumphs, 
seemed to enjoy my success more even than their own ! who 
put their own talent on one side and loudly extolled the poet 
and the work ! I shall never forget that night ; Bocage has 
not forgotten it either. Only a week ago we were talking 
of it as though it had happened only yesterday; and I am 
certain, if such matters are remembered in the other world, 
Dorval remembers it too 1 Now, what became of us all after 
we had been congratulated? I know not. Just as there is 
around every luminous body a mist, so there was one over the 
rest of the evening and nig^t, which my memory, after a lapse 
of twenty-two years, is unable to penetrate. In conclusion, 
one of the special features of the ànma. of Antony was that it 
kept the spectators spell-bound to the final fall of the curtain. 



AN AMUSING CONTRETEMPS 



247 



As the moralt of the work was contained in those six words, 
which Bocage pronounced with such perfect dignity, " ElU mt 
ritistail : je Fat assassinée I " everybody remained to hear them, 
and would not leave until they had been spoken, with the 
following result. Two or three years after the first production 
of Antony, it became the piece played at all benefit perform- 
ances ; to such an extent that once they asked Dorval and 
Bocage to act it for the Palais-Royal Theatre. I forget, and it 
does not matter, for whom the benefit was to be performed. 
The play met with its accustomed success, thanks to the 
acting of those two great artistes ; only, the manager had been 
told the wrong moment at which to call the curtain down ! 
So it fell as Antony is stabbing Adèle, and robbed the audience 
of the final dinoûment. That was not what they wanted: 
it was the dinoûment they meant to have ; so, instead of going 
they shouted loudly for Lt liinoùment I le dinoûment I They 
clamoured to such an extent that the manager begged the 
actors to let him raise the curtain again, and for the piece to 
be concluded. 

Dorval, ever good-natured, resumed her pose m the armchair 
as the dead woman, while they ran to find Antony. But he 
had gone into his dressing-room, furious because they had made 
him miss his final effect, and withdrawing himself into his tent, 
like Achilles ; like Achilles, too, he obstinately refused to come 
out of it. All the time the audience went on clapping and 
shouting and calling, " Bocage ! Dorval ! . . . . Dorval I 
Bocage ! " and ihnatening to break the benches. The 
manager raised the curtain, hoping that Bocage, when driven to 
bay, would be compelled to come upon the stage. But 
Bocage sent the manager about his business. Meanwhile, 
Dorval waited in her chair, with her arms hung down, and 
head lying back. The audience waited, too, in profound 
silence; but, when they saw that Bocage was not coming 
back, they began cheering and calling their hardesL Dorval 
felt that the atmosphere was becoming stormy, and raised 
her stiff arras, lifted her bent head, rose, walked to the 
footlights, and, ii\ the midst of the silence which had vtVk.'vsà. 




248 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



down miraculously, at the first movement she had ventured 
to make : 

"Messieurs" she said, "Messieurs, je lui résistais, il m'a 
assassinée / " Then she made a graceful obeisance and left the 
stage, hailed by thunders of applause. The curtain fell and 
the spectators went away enchanted. They had had their 
denoûment, with a variation, it is true ; but this variation was 
so clever, that one would have had to be very ill-natured not 
to prefer it to the original form. 



CHAPTER VI 

The inspiration under which I composed Antony — The Preface — Wherein 
hes the moral of the piece — Cuckoldom, Adultery and the Civil Code — 
Qitem Huptict tUmonstranl — Why the Critics exclaimed that my Drama 
was immoral — Account given by the least malevolent among ihcm — 
How prejudices against bastardy are overcome 



A NTONY has given rise to so many controversies, that I 
■^* raiibt ask permission not to leave the subject thus; 
moreover, this work is not merely the most original and 
characteristic of all my works, but it is one of those rare 
creations which influences its age. When I wrote Antony, I 
was in love with a woman of whom, although far from beautiful, 
I was horribly jealous ; jealous because she was placed in the 
same position as Adèle ; her husband was an officer in the 
army; and the fiercest jealousy that a man can feel is that 
roused by the existence of a husband, seeing that one has no 
grounds for quarrelling with a woman who possesses a husband, 
however jealous one may be of him. One day she received a 
letter from her husband announcing his return. I almost went 
mad. I went to one of my friends employed in the War Ofl^ce ; 
three times the leave of absence, which was ready to be sent 
off, disappeared ; it was either torn up or burnt by him. The 
husband did not return. What I suffered during that time of 
suspense, I could not attempt to describe, although twenty-four 
years have («ssed over, since that love departed the way of the 
poet VtUon's " old moons." But read Antony : that will tell 
jrou wliat I suffered ! 

Antony is not a drama, nor a tragedy I not even a theatrical 
piece ; Antony is a description of love, of jealousy and of anger, 
iu five acts. Antony was myself, leaving out the as&^hâ&vnaxxoRi^ 



250 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

and Adèle was my mistress, leaving out the flight Therefore, 
I took Byron's words for my epigram, "People said Childe 
Harold was myself . . . it does not matter if they did I" I put 
the following verses as my preface ; they are not very good ; I 
could improve them now : but I shall do nothing of the kind, 
they would lose their flavour. Poor as they are, they depict 
two things well enough : the feverish time at which they were 
composed and the disordered state of my heart at that period. 

" Qne de fob tu m'as dit, mux heures du délire. 
Quand mon Iront tout à coup deraiait soucieux: 
'Sur ta bouche pourquoi cet effrayant sourire? 
Pourquoi ces larmes dans tes yeux?' 

Pourquoi? C'est que mon cœur, au milieu des délices. 
D'un souvenir jaloux constamment oppressé. 
Froid an bonheur présent, va chercher ses supplices 
Dans l'avenir et le passé I 

Jusque dans tes baisers je retrouve des peines, 
Tu m'accables d'amour ! . . . L'amour, je m'en souviens. 
Pour la première fois s'est glissé dans tes veines 
Sous d'autres baisers que les miens 1 

Du feu des voluptés vainement tu m'enivres ! 
Combien, pour un beau jour, de tristes lendemains ! 
Ces charmes qu'à mes mains, en palpitant, tu livres. 
Palpiteront sous d'autres mains 1 

Et je ne pourrai pas, dans ma fureur jalouse, 
De l'infidélité te réserver le prix; 
Quelques mots à l'autel t'ont faite son épouse, 
Et te sauvent de mon mépris. 

Car ces mots pour toujours ont vendu tes caresses; 
L'amour ne les doit plus donner ni recevoir; 
L'usage des époux à réglé les tendresses. 
Et leurs baisers sont un devoir. 

Malheur, malheur à moi, que le ciel, en ce monde, 
A jeté comme un hâte à ses lois étranger ! 
A moi qui ne sais pas, dans ma douleur profonde, 
Sooflnr longtemps sans me venger I 



ri 



ANTONY AND MORALITY 



251 



Malheur ! ou une voix qui n'a tien de la terre 
M'a dit : ' Puur ton bonheur, c'est sa mort qu'il te ijtut ? ' 
Et cette voix m'a lait comprendre le mystère 
Et du mcurlte et de l'échafaud. . . . 

Viens donc, ange du mal, dont la voix me convie. 
Cat il est des irutants où, si je te voyais, 
Je pourrais, pour son SAng, l'abandonner ma vie 
Et mon &me ... si j'y croyais I " 

^Vhat do you think of my lines ? They are impiotis, blasphem- 
ous and atheistic, and, in fact, I will proclaim it, as I copy them 
here nearly a quarter of a century after they were made, they 
would be inexcusably poor if they had been written in cold 
blood. But they were written at a time of passion, at one of 
those crises when a man feels driven to give utterance to his 
sorrows, and to describe his sufferings in another language 
than his ordinary speech. Therefore, I hope they may earn 
the indulgence of both poets and philosophers. 

Now, was Antony really as immoral u work as certain of the 
papers made out ? No ; for, in all things, says an old French 
proverb (and, since the days of Sancho Panra, we know that 
proverbs contain the wisdom of nations), we must see the end 
first before passing judgment. Now, this is how Antony ends. 
Antony is engaged in a guilty intrigue, is carried away by an 
adulterous passion, and kills his mistress to save her honour as 
a wife, and dies afterwards on the scaffold, or at least is sent to 
the galleys for the rest of his days. Very well, 1 ask you, are 
there many young society people who would be disposed to 
fling themselves into a sinful intrigue, to enter upon an adulter- 
ous passion, — to become, in short, Antonys and Adtles, with 
the prospect in view, at the end of their passion and romance, 

,of death for the woman and of the galleys for the man? 
People will answer me, that it is the form in which it is put that 

lb dangerous, that Antony makes murder admirable, and Adèle 
justifies adultery. 

But what would you have! I cannot make my lovers 

b'liidoous in character, unsightly in looks and repulsive in 
nanners, The love-making between Quas\TQo4o Mvà ViOOi'Sufe 



252 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

would not be listened to bejrond the third scene! Take 
Molière for instance. Does not Angélique betray Georges 
Dandin in a delightful way ? And Valère steal from his father 
in a charming fashion ? And Don Juan deceive Dona Elvire 
in the most seductive of language ? Ah ! Molière knew as 
well as the modems what adultery was! He died from its 
effects. What broke his heart, the heart which stopped beating 
at the age of fifty-three? The smiles given to the young 
Baron by la Béjart, her ogling looks at M. de Lauzun, a letter 
addressed by her to a third lover and found the morning of 
that ill-fated representation of the Malade imaginaire which 
Molière could scarcely finish ! It is true that, in Molière's 
time, it was called cuckoldty and made fun of; that nowadays, 
we style it adultery, and weep over it Why was it called 
cuckoldry in the seventeenth century and adultery in the 
nineteenth? I will tell you. Because, in the seventeenth 
century, the Civil Code had not been invented. The Civil 
Code ? What has that to do with it ? You shall see. In the 
seventeenth century there existed the rights of primogeniture, 
seniority, trusteeship and of entail ; and the oldest son in- 
herited the name, title and fortune ; the other sons were either 
made M. le Chevalier or M. le Mousquetaire or M. l'Abbé, as the 
case might be. They decorated the first with the Malta Cross, 
the second they decked out in a helmet with bufialo tails, 
they endowed the third with a clerical collar. While, as for 
the daughters, they did not trouble at all about them; they 
married whom they liked if they were pretty, and anybody who 
would have them if they were plain. For those who either 
would not or could not be married there remained the convent, 
that vast sepulchre for aching hearts. Now, although three- 
quarters of the marriages were manages de convenance, and 
contracted between people who scarcely knew each other, the 
husband was nearly always sure that his first male child was 
his own. This first male child secured, — that is to say, the son to 
inherit bb name, title and fortune, when begotten by him, — what 
did it matter who was the father of M. le Chevalier, M. le Mous- 
quetaiie or M. l'Abbé ? It was all the same to him, and often 



DISTANCE LENDS ENCHANTMENT 253 



he did not even inquire into the matter ! Look, for example, at 
the anecdote of Saint-Simon and of M. de Mortemart. 

But in our days, alas, it is very différent ! The law has 
abolished the right of primogeniture ; the Code forbids senior- 
ities, entail and trusteeships. Fortunes are divided equally 
between the children ; even daughters are not left out, but 
have the same right as sons to the paternal inheritance. Now, 
from the moment that the çuem nuptiœ dtmonitrant knows 
that children born during wedlock will share his fortune in 
equal portions, he takes care those children shall be his own ; 
for a child, not his, sharing with his legitimate heirs, is simply 
a thief. And this is the reason why adultery is a crime in the 
nineteenth century, and why cuckoldom was only treated as a 
joke in the seventeenth. 

Now, what is the reason that people do not exclaim at the 
immorality of Angélique, who betrays Georges Dandin, of 
albre who robs his papa, of Don Juan who deceives 
Oiarlotte, Mathurine and Dofia Elvire all at the same time ? 
Because all those characters — Georges Dandin, Harpagon, Don 
Carlos, Don Alonzo and Pierrot — lived two or three centuries 
before us, and did not talk as we do, nor were dressed as we 
dress ; because they wore breeches, jerkins, cloaks and plumed 
hats, so that we do not recognise ourselves in them. But 
directly a modem author, more bold than others, takes 
manners as they actually are, passion as it really is, crime from 
its secret hiding-places and presents them upon the stage in 
white ties, black coats, and trousers with straps and patent 
leather boots — ah ! each one sees himself as in a mirror, and 
sneers instead of laughing, attacks instead of approving, groans 
instead of applauding. Had I put Adèle into a dress of the 
time of Isabella of Bavaria and Antony into a doublet of the 
time of Louis d'Oriéans, and if I had even made the adultery 
between brother-in-law and sister-in-law, nobody would have 
objected. What critic dreams of calling Œdipus immoral, 
who kills his father and marries his mother, whose children arc 
his sons, grandson and brothers all at the same time, and 
ends by putting out his own eyes to punish tvinv^^,). 'v\x\.'\«. 



MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



action, since the whole thing was looked upon as the work 
fate ? Not a single one ! But would any poor devil be so 
silly as to recognise a likeness of himself under either a 
Grecian cloak or a Theban tunic? I would, indeed, like to 
have the opinion of some of the moralists of the Press who 

condemned Antony ; that, for instance of M. who, at 

that time, was living openly with Madame (1 nearly 

said who). If I put it before my readers, the revelation would 
not fail to interest them. I can only lay my hands on one 
article ; true, I am at Brussels and write these lines after two 
in the morning. 1 e.\hume that article from a very honest 
and innocent book — the Annuaire historique et universel by M. 
Charles Louis-Lesur. Here it is — it is one of the least bitter 
of the criticisms. 

•' Théâtre de la Porte-Saint-Martin (3 May). 

" First performanu of Antony, a dratiui in five acts by M. 
Alexandre Dumas. 

" In an age and in a country where bastardy would be a 
stain bearing the stamp of the law, sanctioned by custom and 
a real social curse, against which a man, however rich in talent, 
honours and fortune would struggle in vain, the moral aim of 
the drama of Antony could easily be explained; but, nowa- 
days when, as in France, all special privileges 0/ birth are done 
away with, those of plebeian as well as of illegitimate origin, 
why this passionate pleading, to which, necessarily, there cannot 
be any contradiction and reply ? Moral aim being altogether 
non-existent in Antony, what else is there in the work ? Only 
the frenzied portrayal of an adulterous passion, which stops at 
nothing to satisfy itself, which plays with dangers and murder 
and death." 

Then follows an unamiable analysis of the piece and the 
criticism continues — 

"Such a conception no more bears the scrutiny of good 

common sense than a crime brought before the .Assize-courts 

can sustain the scrutiny of a jury. The author, by placing 

himself in an unusual situation of ungovernable and cruel 

passions, which spare neither teats nor blood, removes himself 



1 



4 

4 



ADVERSE CRITICISM 



2SS 



outside the pale of literature ; his work is a moristrosity, 
although we ought in fairness to say that some parts are de- 
picted with an uncommon degree of strength, grace and beauty. 
Bocage and Madame Dorval distinguished themselves by the 
talent and energy with which they played the two leading parts 
of Antony and Adèle." 



Ka 



My dear Monsieur Lesur, I could answer your criticism 
from beginning to end ; but I will only reply to the statements 
1 have underlined, which refer to bastardy, with which you 
start your article. Well, dear sir, you are wrong ; privileges of 
birth are by no means overcome, as you said. I myself know 
and you also knew, — I sa.y you knew, because I believe you are 
dead, — you, a talented man — nay, even more, a man of genius, 
who had a hard struggle to make your fortune, and who, in spite 
of talent, genius, fortune, were constantly reproached with the 
fatal accident of your birth. People cavilled over your age, 
your name, your social status . . . Where ? Why, in that inner 
circle where laws are made, and where, consequently, they 
ought not to have forgotten that the law proclaims the equality 
of the French people one with another. Well ! that man, 
with the marvellous persistence which characterises him, will 
;ain his object : he will be a Minister one day. Well, at that 
y what will they attack in him ? — His opinions, schemes, 
Utopian ideas ? Not at all, only his birth ! — And who will attack 
it ? — Some mean rascal who has the good luck to possess a 
father and a mother, who, unfortunately, have reason to blush 
for him ! 

But enough about Antony, which we will leave, to continue 
its run of a hundred performances in the midst of the political 
disturbances outside ; and let us return to the events which 
caused these disturbances. 




CHAPTER VII 

A word on criticism — Moliire estimated by Bossuet, by Jean-Jacques 
Rousseau and by Bourdaloue — An anonymous Ubel^Critics of the 
seventeenth and nineteenth centuries — M. François de Salignac de la 
Motte de Fénelon — Origin of the word Tartufft — M. Tascherean and 
M. Etienne 

MAN proposes and God disposes. We ended our last 
chapter with the intention of going back to political 
events ; but, behold, since we have been talking of criticism, 
we are seized with the desire to dedicate a whole short chapter 
to the worthy goddess. There will, however, be no hatred nor 
recrimination in it We are only incited with the desire to 
wander aside for a brief space, and to place before our readers 
opinions which are either unknown to them or else forgotten. 
The following, for instance, was written about Molière's 
comedies generally: — 

"We must, then, make allowances for the impieties and 
infamous doings with which Molière's comedies are packed, as 
honestly meant ; or we may not put on a level with the pieces 
of to-day those of an author who has declined, as it were, 
before our very eyes and who even yet fills all our theatres 
with the coarsest jokes which ever contaminated Christian 
ears. Think, whether you would be so bold, nowadays, as 
openly to defend pieces wherein virtue and piety are always 
ridiculed, corruption ever excused and always treated as a joke. 

" Posterity may, perhaps, see entire oblivion cover the works 
of that poet-actor, who, whilst acting his Malade imaginaire, 
was attacked by the last agonies of the disease of which he died 
a few hours later, passing away from the jesting of the stage, 
amidst which he breathed almost his last sigh, to the tribunal 
afOae who said, Woe to ye who laugh, for ye shall weep ' I " 



MOLIÈRE 



257 



By whom do you suppose this diatribe against one wlioni 
modern criticism styles the great moraliit was written? By 
some Geoffroy or Charles Maurice of the day ? Indeed ! 
well you are wrong: it was by the eagle of Meaux, M. de 
Bossuet.' Now listen to what is said about Georges Dandin : 

"See how, to multiply his jokes, this man disturbs the 
whole order of society ! With what scandals does he upheave 
the most sacred relations on which it is founded ! How he 
turns to ridicule the venerable rights of fathers over their 
children, of husbands over their wives, masters over their 
servants ! He makes one laugh ; true, but he is all the more 
to be blamed for comp)elling, by his invincible charm, even 
wise |)ersons to listen to his sneers, which ought only to rouse 
their indignation. I have heard it said that he attacks vices ; 
but 1 would far rather people compared those which he attacks 
with those he favours. Which is the criminal? A peasant who 
is fool enough to marry a young lady, or a wife who tries to 
bring dishonour upon her husband ? What can we think of a 
piece when the pit applauds infidelity, lies, impudence, and 
laughs at the stupidity of the punished rustic." 

By whom was that criticism penned? Doubtless by some 
intolerant priest, or fanatical prebte ? By no means. It was 
by the author of the Con/eisioHS and of the NouvelU HHohe, 
by Jean-Jacques Rousseau ! ' Perhaps the Misanthrope, at any 
rate, may find favour with the critics. It is surely admitted, is 
it not, that this iplay is a masterpiece ? Let us see what the 
unctuous Bourdaloue says about it, in his Lettre à F Académie 
Française. It is short, but to the point. 

" Another fault in Molière that many clever people forgive 
in him, but which I have not allowed myself to forgive, is that 
he makes vice fascinating and virtue ridiailously rigid and 
odious I " 

Let ui pass on to r Avare, and return to Jean-Jacques 
Rousseau. 

" It is a great vice to be a miser and to lend upon usury, 



I itAximtt ft Rtfteslons tur la cemMii. 
» iMirt à ^Alcmbert tnr les i f tt t at Ui. 



v.— I J 



258 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

said the Genevan philosopher, but is it not a still greater for a 
son to rob his father, to be wanting in respect to him, to insult 
him with innumerable reproaches and, when the annoyed father 
curses him, to answer in a bantering way, ' Qt^il n'a que faire 
de ses dons' ' I have no use for your gifts.' If the joke is a 
good one, is it, therefore, any the less deserving of censure? 
And is not a piece which makes the audience like an insolent 
son a bad school for manners ? " ' 

Let us take a sample from an anonymous critic : Don Juan 
and Tartuffe, this time ; then, after that, we will return to a 
well-known name, to a poet still cutting his milk teeth and to 
a golden-mouthed orator. We will begin by the anonymous 
writer. Note that the precept of Horace was still in vogue at 
this time : Sugar the rim of the cup to make the drink less bitter ! 

" I hope," said the critic, " that Molière will receive these 
observations the more willingly because passion and interest 
have no share in them : I have no desire to hurt him, but only 
to be of use to him." 

Good ! so much for the sugaring the rim of the cup ; the 
absinthe is to come, and, after the absinthe, the dregs. Let us 
continue : 

" We have no grudge against him personally, but we object 
to his atheism ; we are not envious of his gain or of his reputa- 
tion ; it is for no private reasons, but on behalf of all right- 
thinking people ; and he must not take it amiss if we openly 
defend the interests of God, which he so openly attacks, or 
because a Christian sorrowfully testifies when he sees the theatre 
in rebellion against the Church, comedy in arms against the 
Gospel, a comedian who makes game of mysteries and fun of 
all that is most sacred and holy in religion ! 

"It is true that there are some fine passages in Molière's 
works, and I should be very sorry to rob him of the admiration 
he has earned. It must be admitted that, if he succeeds but 
ill in comedy, he has some talent in farce ; and, although he 
has neither the witty skill of Gauthier-Garguille, nor the im- 
promptu touches of Turlupin, nor the power of Capitan, nor the 
naïveté of Jodelet, nor the retort of Gros-Guillaume, nor the 
science of Docteur, he does not fail to please at times, and to 
• Ltltit à ^AUmhert sur les sfeetacles. 



ANONYMOUS CRITICISM 



259 



amuse in his own way. He speaks Frencli passably well ; he 
translates Italian fairly, and does not err deeply in copying 
other authors ; but he does not pretend to have the gift of 
invention or a genius for poetry. Things that make one laugh 
when said often look silly on pajxfr, and we might compare his 
comedies with those women who look perfect frights in undress, 
but who manage to please when they are dressed up, or with 
those tiny figures which, having left off their high-heeled shoes, 
look only half-sized. At the same time, we must not deny that 
Molière is either very unfortunate or very clever in managing 
to pass off his false coin successfully, and to dupe the whole of 
I'aris with his poor pieces. Those, in short, are the best and 
most favourable things we can say for Molière. 

" If that author had set forth only affected characterisations, 
and had stuck entirely to doublets and large frills, he would not 
have brought upon himself any public censure and he would 
not have roused the indignation of every religious-minded 
person. But who can stand the boldness of a farce- writer who 
makes jokes at religion, who upholds a school of libertinism, 
and who treats the majesty of God as the plaything of a stage- 
manager or a callboy. To do so would be to betray the cause 
of religion openly at a time when its glory is publicly attacked 
and when faith is exposed to the insults of a buffoon who 
trades on its mysteries and profanes its holy things ; who 
confounds and upsets the very foundations of religion in the 
heart of the Louvre, in the home of a Christian prince, before 
wise magistrates zealous in God's cause, holding up to derision 
numberless good pastors as no better than Tartuffes ! And 
this under the reign of the greatest, the most religious monarch 
in the world, whilst that gracious prince is exerting every effort 
to uphold the religion that Molière labours to destroy I The 
■Icing destroys temples of heresy, whilst Molière is raising altars 
*to atheism, and the more the prince's virtue strives to establish 
in the hearts of his subjects the worship of the true God, by the 
example of his own acts, so much the more does Molière's 
libertine humour try to ruin faith in people's minds by the 
f license of his works. 

"Surely it must be confessed that Molière himself is a 

finished Tartuffe, a veritable hyiwcrite ! If the true object of 

comedy is to correct men's faults while amusing them, Molière's 

bplan is to send them laughing to perdition. Like those snakes 

lie poison of whose deadly bite sends a false gleam of ^lea&va^ 



26o MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



across the face of its victim, it is an instrument of the devil ; it 
turns both heaven and hell to ridicule ; it traduces religion, 
under the name of hypocrisy ; it lays the blame on God, and 
brags of its impious doings before the whole world ! Alter 
spreading through people's minds deadly poisons which stifle 
modesty and shame, after taking care to teach women to 
become coquettes and giving girls dangerous counsel, after 
producing schools notoriously impure, and establishing others 
for licentiousness — then, when it has shocked all religious feeling, 
and caused all right-minded people to look askance at it, it 
composes its Tartuffe with the idea of making pious people 
appear ridiculous and hypocritical. It is indeed all very well 
for Molitre to talk of religion, with which he had little to do, 
and of which he knew neither the practice nor the theory. 

" His avarice contributes not a little to the incitement of his 
animus against religion ; he is aware that forbidden things 
excite desire, and he openly sacrifices all the duties of piety to 
his own interests ; it is that which makes him lay bold hands 
on the sanctuary, and he has no shame in wearing out the 
patience of a great queen who is continually striving to reform 
or to suppress his works. 

" Augustus put a clown to death for sneering at Jupiter, and 
forbade women to be present at his comedies, which were more 
decent than were those of Molière. Theodosius flung to the 
wild beasts those scoffers who turned religious ceremonies into 
derision, and yet even their acts did not approach Molière's 
violent outbursts against religion. He should pause and con- 
sider the extreme danger of playing with God ; that impiety 
never remains unpunished ; and that if it escapes the fires of this 
earth it cannot escape those of the next world. No one should 
abuse the kindness of a great prince, nor the piety of a religioi» 
queen at whose expense he lives and whose feelings he glories 
in outraging. It is known that he boasts loudly that he means 
to play his Tartuffe in one way or another, and tliat the dis- 
pleasure the great queen has signified at this has not made 
any impression upon him, nor put any limits to his insolence. 
But if he had any shadow of modesty left would he not be 
sorry to be the butt of all good people, to pass ''or a libertine in 
the minds of preachers, to hear every tongue animated by the 
Holy Spirit publicly condemn his blasphemy ? Finally, I do 
not think that I shall be putting forth too bold a judgment in 
stating that no man, however ignorant in matters of faith, 



i 



TARTUFFE 



26 1 



» 



knowing the content of that play, could maintain that Molière, 
in the capacity of its author, is worthy to participate in the 
Sacraments, or that he should receive absolution witliout a 
public separation, or that he is even fit to enter churches, after 
the anathemas that the council have fulminated against authors 
of imprudent and sacrilegious spectacles ! " 

Do you not observe, dear reader, that this anonymous libel, 
addressed to King Louis xiv. in order to prevent the perform- 
ance of Tartuffe, is very similar to the petition addressed to King 
Charles x. in order to hinder the performance of Heiiri III. ? 
except that the author or authors of that seventeenth century 
libel had the modesty to preserve their anonymity, whilst the 
illustrious Academicians of the nineteenth boldly signed their 
names: Viennet, Lemercier, Arnault, Etienne Jay, Jouy and 
Onésime Leroy. M. Onésime Leroy was not a member of the 
Academy, but he was very anxious to be one ! Why he is not 
u a question I defy any one to answer. These insults were 
at any rate from contemporaries and can be undestood ; but 
Bossuet, who wrote ten years after the death of Molière; 
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who wrote eighty years after the pro- 
duction of Tartuffe ; and Bourdaloue and Fénelon ... Ah ! 
I must really tell you what Fénelon thought of the author of 
the Pricituscs ridicules. After the Eagle of Meaux, let us have 
the Swan of Cambrai ! There are no fiercer creatures when 
U>ey are angered than woolly fleeced sheep or white-plumed 
birds] 

"Although Molièit; thought rightly he often expressed 
hiœself badly ; he made use of the most strained and un- 
natural phrases. Terence said in four or five words, and with 
the most exquisite simplicity, what it took Molière a multitude 
of metaphors approaching to nonsense to say. / much prefer 
his prose to his poetry. For example, l'Avare is less badly 
► written than the pla)*s which are in verse; but, taken 
' altogether, it seems to me, that even in his prose, he does not 
(peak in simple enough language to express all passions." 

Remark that this was written twenty years after the death of 
Molière, and that Fénelon, the authoi o( Té<è«aqut,"\x\syc^- 



262 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

ing to the Academy, which applauded with those noddings of 
the head which did not hinder their naps, boldly declared 
that the author of the Misanthrope, of Tartuffe and of the 
Femmes Savants did not know how to write in verse. O my 
dear Monsieur François de Salignac de la Motte de Fénelon, 
if I but had here a certain criticism that Charles Fourier 
wrote upon your Tilimaque, how I should entertain my 
reader ! In the meantime, the man whom seventeenth and 
eighteenth century criticism, whom ecclesiastics and philo- 
sophers, Bossuet and Jean -Jacques Rousseau, treated as 
heretical, a corrupter and an abomination ; who, according to 
the anonymous writer of the letter to the king, spoke French 
passably well; who, according to Fénelon did not know how to 
write in verse — that man, in the nineteenth century, is con- 
sidered a great moralist, a stem corrector of manners, an 
inimitable writer ! 

Yet more: men who, in their turn, write letters to the 
descendant of Louis xiv., in order to stop the heretics, cor- 
rupters of morals, abominable men of the nineteenth century 
from having their works played, grovel on their knees before 
the illustrious dead ; they search his works for the slenderest 
motives he might have had or did not have, in writing them ; 
they poke about to discover what he could have meant by such 
and such a thing, when he was merely giving to the world the 
fruits of such inspiration as only genius possesses ; they even 
indulge in profound researches concerning the man who 
furnished the type for Tartuffe and into the circumstances 
which gave him the name of Tartuffe (so admirably appropriate 
to that personage, that it has become not only the name of a 
man, but the name of men). 

"We have pointed out where Molière got his model; it 
now remains to us to discuss the origin of the title of his 
play. To trace the derivation of a word might seem going 
mto unnecessary detail in any other case ; but nothing which 
concerns the masterpiece of our stage should be devoid of interest. 
Several commentators, among others Bret, have contended 
tfaat MoUkie, busy over the work he was meditating, one day 



ORIGIN OF THE WORD TARTUFFE 263 

happened to be at the house of the Papal Nuncio where many 
saintly persons were gathered. A truffle-seller came to the 
door and the smell of his wares wafted in, whereupon the 
sanctimonious contrite expression on the faces of the courtiers 
of the ambassador of Rome lit up with animation, 'Tart- 
UFOLi, Sigftor Numio I Tartufoli 1 ' they exclaimed, 
pointing out the best to him. According to this version, it 
was the word tartufoli, pronounced with earthly sensuality by 
the lips of mystics, which suggested to Molière the name of 
his impostor. We were the first to dispute that fable and we 
quote below the opinion of one of the most distinguished of 
literary men, who did us the honour of adopting our opinion. 

" In the time of Molière, the word truffer was generally used 
for tromper (i.e. to deceive), from which the word truffe was 
taken, a word eminently suitable to the kind of eatable it 
describes, because of the difficulty there is in finding it. Now, 
it is (juite certain that, formerly, people used the words truffe 
and tartuffe indiscriminately, for we find it in an old French 
translation of the treatise by Platina, entitled De honcstà 
xwluf'tatf, printed in Paris in «505, and quoted by le Duchat, 
in his edition of Méntage's Dictionnaire Étymologique. One 
of the chapters in Book ix. of this treatise is entitled, Des 
truffes ou tartuffes, and as le Duchat and other etymologists 
look upon the word truffe as derived from truffer, it is pro- 
bable that people said tartuffe for truffe in the fifteenth and 
sixteenth centuries, just as they could equally say tartuff'er 
for truffer." 

That is by M. Taschereau, whose opinion, let us hasten to 
1 say, is worth nothing in the letter to Charles x., but which is 
of great weight in the fine study he has published upon 
Molière. But here is «hat M. Etienne says, the author of 
Dtux Gendres, a comedy made in collaboration with 
Shakespeare and the Jesuit Conaxa: 

" The word truffes, says M. Etienne, of the French Academy, 
corner, then, from tartufferie, and perhaps it is not because 
they are difl^cult to find that this name was given them but 
beauise they are a powerful means of seduction, and the object 
'of seduction is deception. Thus, in accordance with an 
ancient tradition, great dinner-parties, which exercise to-day 
such a profound influence in affairs of Stale, sV\OM\<i Nat «>vcv- 



264 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

posed of Tartuffes. There are many more irrational deriva- 
tions than this." 

Really, my critical friend, or, rather, my enemy — ^would it 
not be better if you were a little less flattering to the dead and 
a little more tolerant towards the living ? You would not then 
have on your conscience the suicide of Escousse, and of 
Lebias, the drowning of Gros and the suspension of Antony. 



CHAPTER VIII 

Thennoinetcr of Social Crises — Interview with M. Thier» — His intentions 
with regard to the Théalie- Français — Our conventions — Antony comes 
back to the rue dc Richelieu — Tht Constitulionwl — Its leader against 
Komanlicisin iu general, and against my drama in particular — Morality 
of the ancient theatre — Parallel between the Théâtre-Français and 
that of the Forte-Soiot-Mutin — First suspension of Antony 



THE last chapter etided with these words: "And the 
suspension of Antony." What suspension ? my reader 
may, perhaps, ask : that ordered by M. Thiers ? or llie one 
confjnned by M. Duchâtel? or that which M. de Pcrsigny 
bad just ordered? Aniuny, as M. Lesur aptly put it, is an 
abnormal being — un nionsfre ; it was created in one of those 
crises of extravagant emotion which ensue after revolutions, 
when that moral institution called the censorship had not 
yet had time to be settled and in working order; so that 
whenever society was being shaken to its foundations, Antony 
was played; but directly sodety was settled, and stocks 
went up and morality triumphed, Antony was suppresscd- 
I had taken advantage of the moment when society was 
topsy-turvy to get Antony put on the stage, as I was wiscj 
for, if I had not done so, the moral government which was 
crucified between the Cubicres trial and the Praslin assas- 
sination would, most certainly, never have allowed the 
roprescn talion. 

But Antony had been played thirty times; Antony had 
acdimatised itself; it had made its mark and done its worst, 
and there did not seem to be any reason to be anxious, 
until M. Thiers summoned me one morning to tlie Home 
Orticc. M. Thiers is a delightful man -, I \>a.Nc Vcvo'^ra. Ww 

»»s 



266 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

more agreeable talkers and few listeners as intelligent We 
had seen each other many times, and, furthermore, he and 
I understood one another, because "he was he and I 
was I." 

"My dear poet," he said to me, "have you noticed 
something?" 

"What, my dear historian?" 

"That the Théâtre-Français is going to the devil?" 

" Surely that is no news ? " 

" No, I mention it merely as a misfortune." 

" Pooh ! . . ." 

" What do you advise in the case of the Théâtre-Français ? " 

" What one applies to an old structure — a pontoon." 

" Good I Do you believe, then, that it can no longer stand 
against the sea?" 

" Oh ! certamly, with a new keel, new sails and a different 
gear." 

" Exactly my own opinion : it reminds me of the horse 
which, in his madness, Roland dragged by the bridle; it 
had all the attributes of a horse, only, all these attributes 
were useless on account of one small misfortune : it was dead ! " 

" Precisely the case." 

"Well, Hugo and you have been very successful at the 
Porte-Saint-Martin ; and I want to do at the Théâtre-Français 
what they have done at the Musée*, to open it on Sunday 
to enable people to come there to see and study the works 
of dead authors, and to reserve all the rest of the week for 
living authors and for Hugo and you specially." 

"Well, my dear historian, that is the first time I have 
heard a Home Minister say anythmg sensible upon a 
question of art Let me note the dme of day and the 
date of the month, I must keep it by me . . . 15 March 
1834, at seven a.m." 

"Now, what would you want for a comedy, a tragedy, or 
a drama of five acts at the Théâtre-Français ? " 

"I should first of all need actors who can act drama: 
Madame Dorval, Bocage, FrédéricL" 



GREAT PROMISES 



267 



"You cannot have everything at once. I will allow you 
Madame Dorval ; the others must come afterwards." 

" All right ! that is something at all events . . . Then 1 
must have some reparation in respect of Antony. Therefore I 
desire that Madame Dorval shall resume her rôle of Adèle." 

" Granted . . . what else ? " 

"That is all." 

" Oh, you must give us a fresh piece." 

" In three months' time." 

" On what terms ? " 

" Why on the usual terms." 

" There I join issue : they will give you five thousand 
francs down ! " 

" Ah ! five thousand francs ! " 

" Well, I will approach Jouslin de la Salle . . . and you shall 
approach Madame Dorval ; only, tell her to be reasonable." 

" Oh ! never fear 1 to act at the Français and to play 
Antony there, she would make any sacrifices . . . Then, it 
is settled ? " 

"Yes." 

" Let us repeat the terms." 

" Very good" 

" Hugo and I are to enter the Théâtre-Français by a breach, 
as did M. de Richelieu's litter." 

" ExacUy." 

" We are each to write two pieces a year . . . ? " 

"Agreed." 

"Dorval is engaged? Bocage and Frederick shall be 
later?" 

"Granted." 

" And Don*al shall make her début in Antony ? " 

" She shall have that specified in her agreement." 

" Excellent ! . . . Here's to the first night of the revival of 
that immoral play 1 " 

" To-day I will engage my box in order to secure a place." 

Wc parted and I ran to Madame Dorval's house to announce 
this good news. She had not been rc-tingiiÈ^ «^-^ ^'^ "^oitv».- 



268 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Saint-Martin; she was, therefore, free and conld go to the 
Théâtre-Français without delay. The following day she 
received a call from Jouslin de la Salle. The terms did 
not take long to discuss; for, as I had said, to be engaged 
at the Théâtre-Français, and to play Antony there, Dorval 
would have engaged herself for nothing. The rehearsals 
b^an immediately. I had signed my contract with the 
manager, and it was specified in this contract that, by order 
of the government, Antony was revived at the Comédie- 
Française, and that Dorval was to make her début in that 
drama. Antony re-appeared on the bills in the rue de 
Richelieu ; and, this time, the odds were a hundred to 
one that it would be performed, since it was to re-appear 
under Government commands. The bill announced the 
piece and Dorval's appearance for 28 April 1834. But we 
were reckoning without The ConstitutionneL That paper 
had an old grudge against me, concerning which I did 
not trouble myself much : I thought it could no longer bite. 
I was the first who had dared, — in this very Antony, — to 
attack its omnipotence. 

It will be remembered that, in Antony, there is a stout 
gentleman, who, no matter what was said to him, invariably 
answered, "Nevertheless, monsieur, The Constitutionnel . . ." 
without ever giving any other reason. Moessard acted this 
stout gentleman. That was not all. A piece called la Tour 
de Babel had been produced at the Variétés. The scene that 
was the cause of scandal in that play was the one where 
subscription to The Constitutionnel is discontinued, which 
they naturally laid at my door, on account of my well-known 
dislike of that journal. I had not denied it, and I was, if 
not the actual father, at least the putative sire. 

On the morning of 28 April 1834, as I had just done 
distributing my tickets for the performance that night, my 
son, who had just turned ten, came to me with a number 
of The Constitutionnel in his hands. He had been sent to 
me by Goubaux, with whom he was at school, and who 
cried out to me, like Assas, A vous I àest l'ennemi J "To 



SCATHING CRITICISM 



269 



» 



arms ! the enemy is upon you ! " I unfolded the estimable 
paper and read, — in the leading article if you please, — the 
following words. A literary event was thus considered as 
important as a political one. 

"Paris, 28^1/71/1834 

"The Théâtre- Français is subsidised by the Slate Budget to 
the amount of two hundred thousand francs. It is a con- 
siderable sum ; but, if we reflect upon the influence which that 
theatre must exercise, in the interests of society, in the matter 
of taste and manners, and its influence on good dranuitic 
literature, the grunt does not seem too large. The Théâtre- 
Français, enriched by many cheJs-iTieuvre which have contributed 
to the progress of our civilisation is, like the Musée, a national 
institution wliich should neither be neglected nor degraded. 
It ought not to descend from tlie height to which the genius 
of our great authors has lifted it, to those grotesque and 
immoral exhibitions that are the disgrace of our age, alarming 
public modesty and spreading deadly poison through society ! 
There is no longer any curb put to the depravity of the stage, 
on which all morality and all decorum is forgotten ; violation, 
adultery, incest, crime in their most revolting forms, are the 
elements of the poetry of this wretched dramatic period, 
which, deserving of all scorn, tries to set at nought the great 
masters of art, and takes a fiendish pleasure in blasting every 
noble sentiment, in order to spread corruption among the 
people, and expose us to the scorn of other nations ! " 

This is well written, is it not? True, it is written by an 
Academician. I will proceed — 

" Public money is not intended for the encouragement of a 
pernicious system. The sum of two hundred thousand francs 
is only granted to the Théâtre-Français on condition that it 
I «hall keep itself pure from all defilement, that the artistes 
Connected with that theatre, who are still the best in Europe, 
shall not debase themselves by lending the support of their 
talent to those works which are unworthy to be put on the 
national stage, works the disastrous tendency of which should 
arouse the anxiety of the Government, for it is responsible for 
public morality as well as for the carrying out of laws. Well, 
who would believe it? At tliis very moment the principal 
■ctors of the I'orte^aint-Miutin are being transft-rrcd tn the 



270 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Théâtre-Français, and silly and dirty melodnuDas are to be 
naturalised there, in order to replace the dramatic master-fneoes 
whidi form an important part of oar glorious literature. A 
plague of blindness appears to have afflicted this unhappy 
theatre. The production of Antoity is officially annoimced by 
JTu Monitrur for to-morrow, Monday: Antony, the most 
brazenly obscene play which has appeared in éiese obscene 
times ! Antony, at the first appearance of which respectable 
fathers of families exclaimed, ' For a lot^ time we luive not 
been able to take our daughters to the theatre ; now, we can 
no longer take our wives!' So we are going to see at the 
theatre of Corneille, Racine, Molière and Voltaire, a woman 
flung into an alcove with her mouth gagged ; we are to witness 
violation itself on the national stage : the day of this repre- 
sentation is fixed. What a school of morality to open to the 
public ; what a spectacle to which to invite die youth of the 
cotmtry ; you boast that you are elevating them, but they will 
soon recognise neither rale nor control! It is not its own 
fault ; but that of superior powers, which take no steps to stem 
this outbreak of immorality. There is no country in the world, 
however free, where it is permissible to poison the wells of 
public morality. In ancient republics, the presentation of a 
dramatic work was the business of the State ; it forbade all 
that could change the national character, undermine the 
honour of its laws and outrage public modes^^." 

Witness the Lysistrata of Aristophanes, of which we wish to 
say a few words to our readers, taking care, however, to trans- 
late into Latin those parts which cannot be reproduced in 
French, 

" Le latin dans les mots brave l'honnêteté ! " 

It will be seen I quote Boileau when he serves my purpose. 
Poor Boileau ! What a shame for him to be forced to come 
to the rescue of the author of Henri III. and Antony ! 

We are at Athens. The Athenians are at war with the 
Lacedaemonians; the women are complaining of that inter- 
minable Peloponnesian War, which keeps their husbands away 
from them and prevents them from fulfilling their conjugal 
duties. The loudest in her complaints is Lysistrata, wife of 
one of the principal citizens of Athens ; so she calls together 



LYSISTRATA 



271 



all the matrons not only of Athens, but also from I^ccdasmon, 
Anagyrus and Corinth. She has a suggestion to make to 
them. We will let her speak. She is addressing one of the 
wives convoked by her, who has come to the place of 
meeting.* 

" LiSlSTKATA. — Salut, Lampito ! Lacé<léinonienne chérie, que tu es 
belle I Ma douce amie, quel teint frais I quel air de santé ! Tu étran- 
glerais un Uureau ! 

"Lautito. — Par Castor et Pollux, je le croîs bien: je m'exeroe au 
Cymnose. et je me frappe du lalon dans le derrière." 

The dance to which Lampito alludes, with a naïveté in 
keeping with the Doric dialect natural to her, was called 
Cibasis. Let us proceed : 

" LiSfSTRATA, lui prtnant la gorgt. — Que ta as une belle gorge I 

" Lampito. — Vous me tâtez comme une victime. 

" LlsisrRATA.— Et cette autre jeune fille, de quel pays est^lle? 

" Lampito. — C'est une Béotienne des plus nobles qui nous arrive. 

" LlSlSTRATA.— Ah ! oui, c'est une Béotienne ? . . Elle a un joli jardin ! " 

That reminds me, I forgot to say — and it was the word 
jardin which reminded me of that omission — that Lampito 
and Kalonike, the Bœotian, play their parts in the costume 
Eve wore in the earthly paradise before she sinned. 

" Calonicb. — Et parfaitement soigné I on eu a arraché le pouliot." 

Here the learned translator informs us that the pouliot was 
■ plant which grew in abundance in Bocotia. Then he adds : 
Sed inlflligit hortum muliebrem undi pilot educere aut tvellere 
soUbant. Lysistrata continues, and lays before the meeting her 
reason for convening it 

" LlSISTBATA. — Ne rcgreltei-vous pas que les pères de vo» enfants 
soient retenus loin de vous par la guerre ? Car je sais que nous avons 
toutes nos maris absenta. 

' We bave borrowed the following quotations from M. Arland's ex- 
cellent translation. If we had translated it ourselves, in the first place the 
IranUatlro would be \jaii, then jteupic mi(;hl have accused us of straining 
the Greek to say more than it mcanL 



272 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

" Calonice. — Le mien est en Thrace depuis cinq mois. 

" LisiSTRATA. — Le mein est depuis sept mois à Pylos. 

" Lampito. — Le mien revient à peine de l'armée, qu'il reprend son 
bouclier, et repart. 

" LisiSTRATA. — Sed nu machi rtlicta est scintilla l ex que enim nts 
pndiderunt Milesi ne olisbum quidem vidi ocio digiles longum, qui nobis 
esset (onAceum auxilium." 

Poor Lysistrata ! One can well understand how a wife in 
such trouble would put herself at the head of a conspiracy. 
Now, the conspiracy which Lysistrata proposed to her 
companions was as follows: 

" LisiSTRATA. — II faut nous abstenir des hommes ! . . . Pourquai dé- 
tournez-vous les yeux ? ou allez-vous ? . . . Pourquoi vous mordre les lèvres, 
et secouer la tête? Le ferez-vous ou ne le ferez-vous pas? . . . Que 
décidez- vous ? 

" MiRRHiNE. — Je ne le ferai pas ! Que la guerre continue. 

" Lampito. — Ni moi non plus 1 Que la guerre continue. 

" LisiSTRATA. — O sexe dissolu ! Je ne m'étonne plus que nous four- 
nissions des sujets de tragédie: nous ne sommes bonnes qu'à une seule 
chose I ... O ma chère Lacédémonienne, — car tu peux encore tout sau- 
ver en t'unissant à moi, — je tien prie, seconde mes projets I 

"Lampito. — Cest qu'il est bien difficile pour des femmes de dormir 
sine mentula 1 II faut cependant s'y résoudre, car la poix doit passer avant 
tout. 

" LisiSTRATA. — La paix, assurément ! Si nous nous tenions chez noas 
bien fardées, et sans autre vêtement qu'une tunique fine et transparente, 
incenderemus glabra cunnû, arrigtrent viri, et coïre muèrent!" 

The wives consent. They decide to bind themselves by an 
oath. This is the oath : 

" LisiSTRATA. — Mettez toutes la main sur la coupe, et qu'une seals ré- 
pète, en votre nom à toutes, ce que je vais vous dire : Aucun amant ni 
aucun époux. . . . 

" MiRRHiNB. — Aucun amant ni aucun époux. . . . 

" LisiSTRATA. — Ne pourra m'approcher rigente nerval — Repète." 

Myrrine repeats. 

" LisiSTRATA. — Et, s'il emploie la violence. . • . 
" MiRRHiNK.— Oui, s'il emploie la violence. . . . 
" LisiSTRATA.— ^o/«ï non addaml " 



THE CRITIC ON IMMORALITY 273 

One can imagine the result of such an oath, which is 
scrupulously kept. 

My readers will remember M. de Pourceaugnac's flight 
followed by the apothecaries? Well, that will give you some 
idea of the mise en schie of the rest of the piece. The wives 
play the rôle of M. de Pourceaugnac, and the husbands that 
of the apothecaries. And that is one of the plays which, 
according to the author of Joconde, gave such a high tone to 
ancient society I It is very extraordinary that people know 
Aristophanes so little when they are so well acquainted with 
Conaxal 

"In the ancient republics," our censor continues with 
assurance, " spectacular games were intended to excite noble 
liassions, not to excite the vicious leanings of human nature ; 
their object was to correct vice by ridicule, and, by recalling 
glorious memories, energetically to rouse souls to the emulation 
of virtue, enthusiasm for liberty and love of their country ! 
Well, we, proud of our equivocal civilisation, have no such 
exalted thoughts ; all we demand is to have at least one single 
theatre to which we can take our children and wives without 
their imaginations being contaminated, a theatre which shall be 
really a school of good taste and manners." 

Was it at this theatre that Joconde was to be played ? 

" We do not look for it in the direction of the Beaux- Arts ; a 
romantic coterie, the sworn enemy of our great literature, reigns 
supreme in that quarter ; a coterie which only recognises its own 
specialists and flatterers and only bestows its favours upon them ; 
an undesigning artiste is forgotten by it. It wants to carry out 
its own absurd theories : it hunts up from the boulevards its 
director, its manager, its actors and its plays, which are a dis- 
grace to the French stage : that is its chief object ; and those are 
the methods it employs. We are addressing these remarks to 
M. Thiers, Minister for Home Affairs, a distinguished man of 
letters and admirer of those sublime geniuses which are the glory 
of our country ; it is to him, the guardian of a power which 
should watch over the safety of this noble inheritance, that wc 
«ppeal to prevent it falling into hostile hands, and to oppose that 
outburst of evil morals which is invading the theatre, perverting 
the youth in our colleges, throwing it out upon the world eager 
for precocious pleasures, impatient of any kind of t^vnusx^ ^sA 
v.— 18 



274 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS . 

making it soon tired of life. This disgust with life almost at 
the b^inning of it, this terrible phenomenon hitherto unpre- 
cedented, is largely owing to the baneful influence of ^ose 
dangerous spectacles where the most unbridled passions are 
exhibited in all their nakedness, and to that new school of 
literature where everything worthy of respect is scofied at To 
permit this corruption of youth, or rather to foster its corrup- 
tion, is to prepare a stormy and a troubled future ; it is to com- 
promise the cause of Liberty, to poison our growing institutions 
in the bud; it is, at the same time, the most justifiable and 
deadly reproach that can be made against a government. . . ." 

Poor Antony ! it only needed now to be accused of having 
violated the Charter of 1830 ! 

"And we are here stating the whole truth: it is not 
Republican pamphlets which have lent their support to this 
odious system of demoralisation ; whatever else we may blame 
them for, we must admit that they have repulsed this Satanic 
literature and immoral drama with indignation, and have 
remained faithful to the creed of natiorud honour. It is the 
journals of the Restoration, it is the despicable management 
of the Beaux-Arts, which, under the eyes of the Ministry, causes 
such great scandal to the civilised world : the scandal of con- 
tributing to the publicity and success of these monstrous pro- 
ductions, which take us back to barbarous times and which will 
end, if they are not stopped, in making us blush that we are 
Frenchmen. , . ." 

Can you imagine the author of Joconde blushing for being a 
Frenchman because M. Hugo wrote Marion Delomu, and 
M. Dumas, Antony, and compelled to look at la Coloiuu to 
restore his pride in his own nationality ? 

" But why put a premium upon depravity ? Why encnmber 
the state budget with the sum of 200,000 francs for the en- 
couragement of bad taste and immorality ? Why not, at leasts 
divide the sum between the Théâtre-Français and the Porte- 
Saint-Martin ? There would be some justice in that, for their 
ri|;ht8 are equal ; very soon, even the former of these theatns 
will be but a branch of the other, and this last will indeed 
deserve all the sympathies of the directors of the Bttuai-Artk 



THEATRE REPERTORIES 275 

It would, tlien, be shocking negligence on their part to leave it 
jt in the cold." 

You are right this lime, Monsieur l'Académicien. A subsidy 
ought to be granted to the theatre which produces literary 
works which are remembered in following years and remain in 

I the repertory. Now, let us see what pieces were running at 
the Théâtre Français concurrently with those of the Porte-Saint- 
Martin, and then tell me which were the piects during this 

I period of four years which you remember and which remain on 

I its repertory? 

^^ Th£.\tre-Franç.\is 

^^ Charlotte Curday — Camille Desmoulins^ te Clerc et le Théo- 
logien — Pierre III. — Le Prince et la Grisette — Le Sophiste — ■ 
G nid'} Reni — Le Presbytère — Caïus Gracchus, ou le Sénat et le 
Peuple — La Conspiration de Ctllamare — La Mort de Figaro — 
Le Marquis de Rieux — Les Dernières Seines de la Fronde — 
Mademoiselle de Montmortney. 

TnêÀTRE DE LA PoRTE-SaINT-MaRTIN 

Antony — Marion Delorme — Richard Darlin^on — La Tour 
de Nesle — Perrinet Leclerc — Lucrèce Borgia — Angèle — Marie 
Tudor — Catherine Howard. 

True, we find, without reckoning les Enfants d'Edouard and 
Louis XL by Casimir Delavignc, Bertrand et Raton and la 
l'assion secrète by Scribe, who had just protested against that 
harvest of unknown, forgotten and buried works, flung into the 
common grave without epitaph to mark their resting-places, — 
it is true, I say, that we find four or five pieces more at the 
Théâtre- Fran<jais than at the T 1 '-Martin ; but that docs 

not prove that they played th.- at the ThéAtre-Français 

for a longer period than those ot the Porte-Saint-Martin, 
especially when we carefully reflect that the Thédtre-Françaia 
only plays its new pieces for two nights at a time, and grves 
each year a hundred and fifty representations of its old stand- 
ing repertory ! You are therefore pert'eclly cort««:X, MonnotT 



276 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

reuaditniden : it was to the Porte-Saint-Maitin and not to the 
Théâtre-Fnmçais that the subsidy ought to have been granted, 
seeing that, with the exception of two or three works, it was at 
the PoTte-Saint-Maitin that genuine literature was produced. 
We inll proceed, or, rather, the author of/oconde shall proceed : 

" If the Chamber of Deputies is not so eager to vote for 
laws dealing with financial matters, we must hope, that in so 
serious a matter as this one, so intimately connected with good 
order and the existence of civilisation, some courageous voice 
will be rused to protest against such an abusive use of public 
funds, and to recall the Minister to the duties with which he is 
charged. The deputy who would thus speak would be sure of 
a favourable hearing from an assembly, whose members every 
day testify against the unprecedented license of the theatres, 
destructive of all morality, and who are perfectly cognisant oif 
all the dangers attached thereto." 

But you were a member of the Chamber, illustrious author 
0Î Joœnde\ Why did you not take up the matter yourself? 
Were you afraid, perchance, that they might think you still 
held, under the sway of the younger branch of the Bourbon 
family, the position of dramatic critic which you exerdsed so 
agreeably under Napoléon ? 

" We shall return to this subject," continues the ex-dramatic 
censor, " which seems to us of the highest importance for the 
peace of mind of private families and of society in general 
We have on our side every man of taste, all true friends of our 
national institutions and, in fact, all respectable persons in all 
classes of society I " 

"Well ! That is a polite thmg, indeed, to say to the spectators 
who followed the one hundred and thirty performances of 
Antony, the eighty representations of Marion Delorme, the 
ninety of Richard Darlington, the six hundred of la Tour de 
Nesle, the ninety productions of Perrinet-Letlerc, the one 
hundred and twenty of Lucrice Borgia, one hundred of AngiU, 
seventy of Marie Tudor and fifty of Catherine Howard \ 
What were these people, if your particular specimens are "men 



ANTONY FORBIDDEN 



277 



of taste," the "true friends of our national institutions," and 
" respectable persons " ? They must be blackguards, subverters 
of government, thieves and gallows-birds ? The deuce I Take 
care ! For 1 warn you that the great majority of these people 
were not only from Paris, but from the provinces. This is 
how the moralist of the Constitutionnel ends : 

"We are convinced that even the artistes of the Théâtre- 
Français, who see with satisfaction the enlightened portion of 
the public rallying to their side, will decide in favour of the 
successful efforts of our protests. It will depend on the 
Chamber and on the Home Minister. Political preoccupa- 
tions, as is well known, turned his attention from the false and 
ignoble influences at work at the Théâtre-Français ; there is no 
longer any excuse for him, now that he knows the truth." 

ETIENNE ["A. Jay"]» 

Perhaps you thought, when you began to read this denuncia- 
tion, that it was anonymous or signed only with an initial 
or by a masonic sign, or by two, three or four asterisks ? No 
indeed I It was signed by the name of a man, of a deputy, 
of a dramatic author, or, thereabouts, of an académicien, M. 
Etienne ! [M. Jay]. Now, the same day that this article 
appeared, about two in the afternoon, M. Jouslin de I..asalle, 
director of the Théâtre- Français, received this little note, short 
but dear. 

"The Théâtre-Français is forbidden to play Antony to-night. 

" Thiers " 

I took a cab and gave orders to the driver to take me to the 
Home Minister. 

' Transi-ator's Notb.— The Brussels edition gives Etienne: the 
current Patis cdiliuo, A. Jay. 



CHAPTER IX 

My discosdon with M. Thien — Why he had been compelled to 

Ant4>tty — Letter of Madame Dorvsl to the ConstittUien$ul — M. Jay 
crowned with roses — My lawsuit with M, Jouslin de Lasalle — Tbeie 
are still judges in Berlin I 

AT four o'clock, I got down to the door of the Home 
Office. I went in at once and reached the Minister's 
private office, without any obstacle preventing me ; the office- 
boys and ushers who had seen me come there three or four 
times during the past fortnight, that is to say during the 
period M. Thiers had been Home Minister, did not even think 
of asking me where I was going. M. Thiers was at work with 
his secretary. He was exceedingly busy just at that time ; for 
Paris had only just come out of her troubles of the 13 and 14 
April, and the insurrection of the Lyons Mutualists was scarcely 
over; the budget of trade and of public works was under 
discussion, for, in spite of a special department, these accounts 
remained under the care of the Home Office ; finally, they 
were just passing to the general discussion of the Fine Arts, 
and consequently had entered upon the particular discussion 
of the subsidising of the Théâtre-Français. 

At the noise I made opening the door of his room, M. 
Thiers raised his head. 

" Good ! " he said, " I was expecting you." 

"I think not," I replied. 

" What do you mean ? " 

" Because, if you had expected me, you would have known 

my reasons for coming, and would have forbidden my entrance." 

" And what are your reasons for coming ? " 

278 



DUMAS AND M. THIERS 



î79 



"I have come simply to ask an explanation of the man who 
fails to keep his promise as a Minister." 

" You do not know, then, what passed in the Chambers ? " 

"No! I only know what has happened at the Théâtre- 
Français." 

" I was obliged to suspend Antony r 

" Not to suspend, but to stop it." 

" To stop or to suspend. . . ." 

" Do not mean the same thing." 

"Well, then, I was obliged to stop Antony." 

" Obliged ? A Minister ! How could a Minister be obliged 
to stop a piece which he had himself taken out of the hands of 
llie prompter of another theatre, when, too, he had engaged 
his own box to see the first representation of that piece ? " 

"Yes — obliged, I was compelled to do it ! " 

" By the article in the Constitutionnel} " 

" Bah ! if it had only been that article I should, indeed, 
have made myself a laughing-stock, although good ink went 
to the writing of it." 

"You call that good ink, do you? 1 defy you to suck 
M. Jay's [Kticnne's] pen, without having an attack of the 
cohc." 

"Well, call it bad ink, if you like . . . But it was the 
Chamber!" 

" How do you make that out ? " 

"Oh ! I had the whole Chamber against mc I If Antony 
had been allowed to be played to-night, the Budget would not 
hare passed." 

" The Budget would not have passed ? " 

"No . . . Remember that such people as Jay, Etienne, 
Viennet and so forth . . . can command a hundred votes in 
the Chamber, a hundred people who vote like one man. I 
was pitined into a corner — ' Antony and no budget I ' or, * A 
budget and no Antony ! ' . . . Ah ! my boy, remain a dram.itic 
siithor and take good care never to become a Minister ' " 

" Oh ! come I do you really think matters can rest 
thus?" 



280 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

"No, I am well aware I owe you an indemnity; fix it 
yourself and I will pass for payment any sum you may 
exact I " 

"A fig for your indemnity I t)o you think I work only to 
earn indemnities ? " 

" No, you work to earn author's rights." 

"When my pieces are played, not when they are 
forbidden." 

" However, you have a right to compensation." 

"The Court will fix that" 

" Trust in me and do not have recourse to law-suits." 

"Why?" 

" Because the same thmg will happen to you that happened 
to Hugo with regard to the Rot Camuse : the tribunal will de- 
clare itself incompetent." 

"The Government did not interfere with the contract of the 
Rot Camuse, as you have in the case of Antony^ 

« Indirectly." 

" The Court will appreciate that point" 

"This will not prevent you from writing a new piece for 
us." 

" Good I So that they may refuse you the budget of 1835 ? 
Thanks!" 

" You will think better of your determination." 

"I ? I will never set foot in your offices again ! " 

And out I went, sulking and growling; which I would 
certainly not have done had I known that in I^s than two 
years' time, this same Thiers would break his word to Poland, 
by letting the Austrians, Prussians and Russians occupy Cracow; 
to Spain, by refusing to intervene; and to Switzerland by 
threatening to blockade her. What was this paltry little broken 
promise to a dramatic author in comparison with these three 
great events ? 

I rushed to Dorval, whom the ministerial change of front hit 
more cruelly than it did me. Indeed, Antony was only banned 
by the Théâtre-Français; elsewhere, its reputation was well 
established, and its revival could not add anything to mine. 



DISAPPOINTMENT 



281 



But it was difTerent in the case of Dorval : she had never had 
a part in which she had been so successful as she had been in 
that of Adèle ; none of her old rôles could supply the place of 
this one, and there was no probability that any new part would 
give her the chance of success, which the suppression of Antony 
took away from her. She began by writing the following letter 
to the Constitutionnel: — 

" Monsieur, — When I was engaged at the Français, it was 
on the express condition that I should begin in Antony. That 
condition was ratified in my agreement as the basis of the 
contract into which I entered with the management of the 
Théâtre Richelieu. Now, the Government decides that the 
piece received at the Théâtre- Français in 1830, censured undca- 
the Bourbons, played a hundred times at the Porte-Saint-Martin, 
thirty times at the Odéon and once at the Italiens, cannot be 
acted by the king's comedians. A lawsuit between the author 
and M. Thiers will settle the question of rights. But, imtil 
that law-suit is decided, I feel myself compelled to cease 
appearing in any other piece. I am anxious, at the same time, 
to make dear that there is nothing in my refusal which can 
injure the authors of une Liaison, to whom I owe particular 
thanks for their generous dealings with me. 

"Marie Dorval" 

This was the serious and sod side to the situation ; then, 
when she had accomplished this duty towards herself, — and 
especially to her family, of wliom she was the only support, — 
Dorval was desirous of repaying M. Etienne [M. Jay], after her 
own fashion, not h.iving the least doubt that I should also pay 
him back in my own way some day or other. I came aaoaa 
the fact that I am going to relate in an album which the poor 
woman sent me when dying, and which I have tenderly pre- 
served. 



" On 28 April «834, my appearance in Antony at the Théâtr(>- 

Fra!)<,ais was forbidden, at the solicitation, or rather upon the 

denunciation, of M, Antoine Jay [M. Etienne], author of 

JiKonde xnà editor of the Constitutionnel, I conceived the idea 

of sending him a crown of roses. I put the cto^tv "vcv ^ cw\- 



282 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

board box with a little note tied to it with a white favour. 
The letter contained these words : 

" ' Monsieur, — Here is a crown which was flung at my feet 
in Antony, allow me to place it on your brow. I owe you 
that homage. 

" ' Personne ne sait davantage 
Combien vous l'avez mérite t ' " 

"Marie Dorval" 

Below the signature of that good and dear friend, I dis- 
covered two more lines, and the following letter : — 

" M. Jay [M. Etienne] sent back the box, the crown and the 
white favour with this note — 

" ' Madame, — The epigram is charming, and although it is 
not true it is in such excellent taste that I cannot refrain from 
appropriating it. As for the crown, it belongs to grace and talent, 
so I hasten to lay it again at your feet 

" A. Jay [Etienne] 

" 30 ^/r./ 1834" 

As I had warned M. Thiers I appealed from his decision to 
the tribunal de commerce. The trial was fixed for the 2nd June 
following. My friend Maître Mermilliod laid claim on my 
behalf for the representation of Antony, or demanded 13,000 
francs damages. Maitre Nouguier, M. Jouslin de Lasalle's 
advocate, offered, in the name of his client, to play Antony, but 
on condition that I should produce the leave of the Home 
Office. Maitre Legendre, attorney to the Home Office, disputed 
the jurisdiction of the tribunal, his plea being that acts of 
administrative authority could not be brought before a legal 
tribunal for decision. It was quite simple, as you see : the 
Government stole my purse ; and, when I claimed restitution 
it said to me " Stop, you scamp ! I am too grand a seigneur 
to be prosecuted I " Happily, the Court did not allow itself to 
be intimidated by the grand airs of Maître Legendre, and 
directed that M. Jouslin de Lasalle should appear in person at 
the bar. The case was put off till the fifteenth. Now I will 
open the Gazettt des Tribunaux, and copy from it. 



THE TRIAL 



283 



"TRIBUNAL DE COMMERCE DE PARIS 

"Bearing ^o /une, 1834 

" President— M. Vassal 

'M. Alexandre Dumas against Jouslin de Lasalle. 

"Maître Henry Nouguier, Counsel for the Comédie 
Française 

" The Court having directed the parties to come in person to 
lay their case b;fore it, M. Jouslin de I..asalle only appears 
out of deference to the court, but protests against that appear- 
ance, on the grounds that it will establish a precedent which 
will lead to M. Jouslin de Lasalle having to appear in person 
in all disputes which may concern the Comddie- Française, and 
to reveal his communications with administrative authority; and 
he leaves the merits of this protest to be decided by reference 
to previous decisions. 

"M. Alexandre Dumas. — As plaintiff, I plead first, when the 
Home Ministry formed the plan of regenerating or re-organising 
the Thdâtre- Français, it first of all decided to appoint a good 
manager and to call in, I will not say authors of talent, but 
authors who could draw good houses. The intention of the 
(iovemment was, at first, to begin by re-establishing the old 
material prosperity of the theatre. It order to attain that end, 
it was needful that it should have plays in its répertoire which 
should attract the public and bring in good receipts in 
addition to tlie subsidy it proposed to grant. M. Thiers 
procured an exceedingly clever manager in the person of 
M. Jouslin de Lasalle. He bethought himself also of me as 
one enjoying a certain degree of public favour. The Minister, 
thcrcfort-, sent for me to his cabinet, and suggested I should 
work for the Théâtre-Français, even going so far as to offer 
me a premium. I asked to be treated like other authors 
in respect of future plays, and I demanded no other con- 
dition before I gave my consent than the promise that three 
of my old dramas should be played, Antony, Henri III. and 
Christine. M. Thiers told me he did not know Antony, 
although that drama had been represented eighty times ; that 
he had seen Christine, which had given him much pleasure, 
and th.1t he had even made it the subject of an article when 
Ihc play appeared. My condition was accepted wiiUoal axv) 



284 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

reservation. Thus, I was in treaty with the Mmister before 
the manager of the Théâtre-Français had an interview with me. 
M. Jouslui de Lasalle even found me in the office of M. 
Thiers. The latter indicated the clauses of the contract and 
charged M. Jouslin to put them down in writing. In con- 
formity with the agreements then anived at, Antony was put in 
rehearsal and announced in the bills. 

" However, in that work, using the liberty of an author, I had 
rallied the Constitutionnel and its old-fashioned doctrines. 
The Constitutionnel, which, before 1830, had been something 
of a power, took offence at the gibes of a young dramatic 
author, and, in its wrath, it thundered forth in an article 
wherein it pretended to show that Antony was an immoral 
production, and that it was scandalous to allow its representa- 
tion at the leading national theatre. The journal's anger might 
not, perhaps, have exerted great influence over the Minister for 
Home Affairs had not MM. Jay and Etienne happened at that 
time to be concerned with the theatre budget These worthy 
deputies, whose collaboration in the Constitutionnel is well 
known, imagined that the epigrams of Antony referred to 
them personally; having this in mind, they informed the 
Minister that they would cause the theatre budget to be 
rejected if my satirical play was not prohibited at the Théâtre- 
Français. Antony was to have been played on the very day 
upon which these threats were addressed to M. Thiers. That 
Minister sent to M. Jouslin de Lasalle, at four o'clock in the 
afternoon, the order to stop the representation ; I was informed 
of this interdict some hours later. I knew that M. Jouslin de 
Lasalle bad acted in good faith, and that he had done all that 
rested with him, concerning the preparation of my play. The 
injury came from the Government alone, which had placed 
Antony on the Index, without his knowledge, as he himself said 
before the tribune. That ministerial interdict has been fatal to 
my interests, for Prefects of the Départements have, following in 
the footsteps of their chief, striven to have my play prohibited. 
It is no longer even allowed to be played at Valenciennes. 
M. Jouslin de Lasalle has offered to stage any other play I 
might choose in place of Antony, but that would not be the 
same thing as the execution of the signed contract ; moreover, I 
cling to the representation of Antony, which is my favourite work, 
and that of many young writers who are good enough to r^ard 
me as their representative. Upon the faith of these ministerial 



THE PLEADING 



285 



promises, and of the agreement made with M. Jouslin de 
Lasalle, I withdrew Antony forcibly from the repertory of the 
Porte-Saint-Martin, where it was bringing in large sums. I am 
thus deprived of my author's rights, which came in daily. It 
is, consequently, only just that M. Jouslin should compensate 
me for the harm he has done me by the non-execution of the 
contract. The Government are sure to provide him with the 
necessary funds. The private quarrel I had with the Conslilu- 
tionnel ought not to be permitted to cause the manager of the 
Théâtre-Français, much less the Government, to stop the produc- 
tion of a piece which forms a part of my means of livelihood ; 
that would be nothing short of spoliation. If M. Thiers had 
not intended to treat with me, he should not have sent for me 
to call upon him a dozen to fifteen times ; he should not have 
taken upon himself the arrangement of theatrical details which 
are outside the scope of a Minister. M. Jouslin was evidently 
but an intermediary. 

" M. Jouslin de Lasalul — I drew up the agreement with 
M. Alexandre Dumas in my office. The Minister knew I had 
done so, but he was not acquainted with the details of that 
contract. I did all in my power to fulfil the compact The 
prohibition of the Minister came suddenly without my having 
received previous notice, and that alone prevented the carrying 
out of my promise. It was an act oi force majeure for which I 
do not hold myself responsible. 

" M. Alexandre Dumas. — Did you not meet me at the 
Minister's ? 

" M. TousLiN DK Lasalle. — Yes, a fortnight ago. 
"Maître Mermilliod. — The Minister knew that Antony 
formed part of Madame Dorval's repertory, and that she was lo 
make her appearance in that piece. 

"M. Alexandre Dumas. — Madame Dorval made it a 
special stipulation in her engagement, 

" M. Jouslin de Lasalle. — Madame Dorval was engaged 
Iwo or three months before the treaty with M. Alexandre 
Dumas. No stipulation was then made relative to Antony. 
After the contract with the plaintiff, M. Merle, Madame 
Dorval's husband, came and begged me to add the clause to 
which reference has just been made ; I did not refuse that act 
of compliance Ijecause I did not foresee that Antony wm to be 
forbidden. I added the clause at the fool of the dramatic 
contract 



286 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

" M. Alexandre Dumas. — Had the additional clause any 
definite date attached? 

" M. JousLiN DE Lasalle. — No. 

•'Maître Mkrmilliod. — M. Jouslin de Lasalle receives a 
subsidy from the Government, and is in a state of dependence 
which prevents him from explaining his position openly. 

" M. Jouslin de Lasalle. — I am not required to explain 
my relations with the Government ; and it would be unseemly 
on my part to do so. 

"M. LE Président. — Are you bound, in consequence of 
the subsidy you receive, only to play those pieces which suit 
the Government ? 

"M. Jouslin de Lasalle. — No obligation of that kind 
whatever is imposed on mc. I enjoy, in that respect, the 
same liberty that all other m.aruigers have; but, like them, 
I am bound to submit to any prohibitions issued by the state. 
There is no difference in this respect between my confrères and 
myself. 

"After these explanations, the manager of the Théâtre- 
Français at once left the Court. The president declared that 
the Court would adjourn the case for consideration, and that 
judgment would be pronounced in a fortnight's time." 



I 



" Hearing of \a, July 

"The Court taking into consideration the connection 
between the cases, decides to join them, and gives judgment 
upon both at one and the same time. Concerning the principal 
claim : It appearing that, if it had been decided by the Court 
that the prohibition to produce a piece which was opposed to 
good manners and public morality, legally made by a competent 
Minister, might be looked upon as a case o{ force majeure, thus 
doing away with the right of appeal of the author against the 
manager, the tribunal has only been called upon to deal with 
the plea of justification which might have been put forward in 
respect to new pieces where their performance would seem 
dangerous to the administration : 

"It appearing that in the actual trial the parties found them- 
selves to be in totally different positions with respect to the 
matter, and it is no longer a question of the production of a new 
play, subject to the twofold scrutiny of both the public and the 
Government, but of a work which, being in the repertory of 



HEARING OF 14 JULY 



287 



* 



another theatre, would there have had a great number of {jcr- 
formances, without let or hindrance on the part of the Govern- 
ment ; with regard to the position of M. Jouslin, manager of a 
theatre subsidised by the Government, it is right to examine him 
in this case, as the decisions in previous cases are not applicable 
to this action : 

" It appearing from the documents produced, and the plead- 
ings and explanations given in public by the parties themselves, 
that the Home Minister, in the interests of the prosperity of the 
Théâtre Français, felt it necessary to associate M. Alexandre 
Dumas's talent with that theatre, and that to this end a verbal 
agreement was come to between Jouslin de Lasalle and 
Alexandre Dumas, and that the first condition of the said 
agreement was that the play of Antony should be performed at 
the Théâtre-Français : 

" Further, it appearing, that the play of Antony belonged to 
the repertory of the Porte- Saint-Martin ; that it had been played 
a great number of times without any interference or hindrance 
from authority ; that it is consequently correct to say that Jouslin 
de Lasalle knew the gist of the agreement to be made with 
Alexandre Dumas, and that it was at his risk and peril that he 
was engaged : 

" It appearing that, if Jouslin de Lasalle thought it his duty 
to submit, without opposition or protest on his part, to the 
mere notice given him by the Government, in its decision to 
stop the production of Antony at the Théâtre-Français on 28 
April, the said submission of Jouslin de Lasalle must be looked 
upon as an act of compliance which was called forth by his 
own personal interests, and on account of his position as a 
subsidised manager, since he did not feel it his duty to enter a 
protest against the ministerial prohibition ; that we cannot 
recognise here any case oi force majeure; that this act of com- 
pliance was not sufficient warranty for prejudicing the rights of 
Alexandre Dumas; that his contract with Jouslin de Lasalle 
ought therefore to have been fulfilled or cancelled with the 
consequent indemnity : 

" It further appearing that it is for the tribunal to settle the 
îum to which Alexandre Dumas is entitled is damages for the 
wrong that has been done him up to this present date by the 
Don-performance by Jouslin de Lasalle of the contract made 
between them, the amount is fixed at 10,000 francs; there- 
fore in giving judgment on the first count the Court directs 



288 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Jouslin de Lasalle to pay to Alexandre Dumas the said sum of 
10,000 francs in full satisfaction of all damages : 

" Further, deciding upon the additional claim of Alexandre 
Dumas : It appearing that it was not in the tatter's power to 
be able to oppose the prohibition relative to the production 
of the play of Antony, but was the business of the subsidised 
manager to do so, since he had engaged the plaintiff at his own 
risk and peril : 

" The Court orders that, during the next fortnight Jouslin de 
Lasalle shall use his power with the authority responsible, to 
get the Government to remove the prohibition ; otherwise, and 
failing to do this during the said period, after that time, until 
the prohibition is removed, it is decided, and without any 
further judgment being necessary, that Jouslin de Lasalle shaU 
pay Alexandre Dumas the sum of 50 francs for each day of the 
delay ; it further orders Jouslin de Lasalle to pay the costs : 

" In the matter of the claim of indemnity between Jouslin de 
Lasalle and the Home Minister : As it is a question of decid- 
mg upon an administrative act, this Court has no jurisdiction 
to deal with the matter, and dismisses the cases, and as the 
parties interested, who ought to have known this, have brought 
it before the Court, condemns M. Jouslin de Lasalle to pay the 
costs of this claim. . . ." 

We do not think it necessary to make any commentary on 
this decision of the Court 



CHAPTER X 



Republicaa banquet at the Vendangv dé Bourgogne — The toasts — Tg 
Ltuis-PKilipft ! — Gathering of those who were decorated in July — 
Formation of the board — Protests — Fifty yards of ribbon — A diucnticnt 
— Contradiction in the Monittur — Tiial of Évsrisle Gallois— His 
examination — His acquittai 

LET US skip over the reception of M. Viei^net imo the 
Académie Française, which fact M. Viennet doubtless 
Jeamt from his porter, as he learned later, from the same porter, 
I he was made a peer of France, and let us return to our 
riends, acijuhted amidst storms of applause and enthusiastically 
escorted to tlicir homes on the night of i6 April. It was 
decided that we should give them a banquet by subscription. 
This was fixed for 9 May and took place at the Vendanges de 
Bourgogne. There were two hundred subscribers. It would 
have been difticuk to find throughout the whole of Paris two 
hundred guests more hostile to the Government than were these 
who gathered together at five o'clock in the afternoon, in a 
long dining-room on the ground-floor looking out on the garden. 
I vixi placed between Raspail, who had just declined the cross, 
*nd an actor from the Théâtre-Français, who had come willi 
e far less from political conviction than from curiosity. 
•St was the dej)ositary of the official toasts which were to 
"ercd, and it had been decided that none should be drunk 
but such as had been approved by the president 

Things went smoothly enough throughout two-thirds of the 
dinner ; but, at the f»opping of the Iwttles of champagne, which 
hcuun to simulate a well-sustained discharge of uiusketry, 
spirits rose; the con^^r^tion, naturally of a purely political 
character, resolved itself into a most dangerous dialogue, and, 
V. — 19 



^_»nd at 
^kie fa 



290 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

in the midst of official toasts, there gradually slipped private 
toasts. 

The first illicit toast was offered to Raspail, because he had 
declined the Cross of the Légion d'Honneur. Fontan, who 
had just obtained it, took the matter personally, and began to 
entangle himself in a speech, the greater part of which never 
reached the ears of the audience. Poor Fontan had not the 
gift of speech and, luckily, the applause of his friends drowned 
the halting of his tongue. 

I had no intention of ofiering any toast : I do not like speak- 
ing in public unless I am carried away by some passion or 
other. However, shouts of " Dumas ! Dumas ! Dumas ! " 
compelled me to raise my glass. I proposed a toast which 
would have seemed very mild, if, instead of coming before the 
others, it had come after. I had completely forgotten what the 
toast was, but the actor whom I mentioned just now came to 
dine with me a week ago and recalled it to me. It was : 
" To Art ! inasmuch as the pen and the paint-brush contribute 
as efficaciously as the rifle and sword to that social regeneration 
to which we have dedicated our lives and for which cause we 
are ready to die ! " 

There are times when people will applaud everything : they 
applauded my toast. Why not? They had just applauded 
Fontan's speech. It was now Etienne Arago's turn. He rose. 

" Tû the sun of i8$i !" he said ; " may it be as warm as that 
of 1830 and not dazzle us as that did ! " 

This deserved and obtained a triple salvo of cheers. 
Then came the toasts of Godefroy and Eugène Cavaignac I 
blame myself for having forgotten them; especially do I 
regret foi^etting Eugene's, which was most characteristia 
Suddenly, in the midst of a private conversation with my left- 
hand neighbour, the name of Louis-Philippe, followed by five 
or six hisses, caught my ear. I turned round. A most 
animated scene was going on fifteen or twenty places fi-om me. 
A young fellow was holding his raised glass and an open 
dagger-knife in the same hand and trying to make himself 
heard. It was Évariste Gallois, who was afterwards killed in 



ÉVARISTE GALLOIS 



291 



COl( 



a duel by Pescheux d'Herbinville, that delightful young man 
who wrapped his cartridges in tissue-paper, tied with rose- 
coloured favours. Évariste Gallois was scarcely twenty-three 
9r twenty-four years of age at that time ; he was one of the 
Bercest of Republicans. The noise was so great, that the 
luse of it could not be discovered because of the tumult. 
}ut I could gather there was danger threatening ; the name 
of Louis-Philippe had been uttered — and the open knife 
plainly showed with what motive. This far exceeded the 
limits of my Republican opinions : I yielded to the persuasion 
of the neighbour on my left, who, in his capacity as king's 
comedian, could not dare to be compromised, and we leapt 
, through the window into the garden. I returned home very 
neasy : it was evident that this affair would have consequences, 
and, as a matter of fact, Evariste Gallois was arrested two or 
three days later. We shall meet him again at the end of the 
dapter before the Court of Assizes. This event happened 
"^at the same time as another event which was of some gravity 
to us, I have related that the decree concerning the Cross of 
July instituted the phrase. Given by the King of tht French, 
.and imposed the substitution of the blue ribbon edged with 
Ired, for the red edged with black. The king had signed this 
order in a fit of ill-temper. At one of the meetings at which 
I was present as a member of the committee, one of the 
king's aide-de<amps, — M. de Rumigny, so far as I can remember, 
although I cannot say for certain, — presented himself, asking, 

I in the king's name and on behalf of the king, for the decoration 
of the Three Days, which had been accorded with much 
enthusiasm to La Fayette, Laffitte, Dupont (de l'Eure) and 
Béranger. This proceeding had surprised us, but not dis- 
concerted us ; we launched into discussion and decided, 
unanimously, that, the decoration being specially reserved for 
the combatants of the Three Days, or for citizens, who, without 
fighting, had during those three days taken an active part in the 
Revolution, the king, who had not entered Paris until the 
night of the 30th, had, therefore, no sort of right either to 
, the decoration or to tin- nit-dal. This decision was immediately 



^Ihrc 
^Bine 

^thn 
Hcha 
^att 

t 

J 



292 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

transmitted to the messenger, who tnuismitted it instantly to 
his august principal. Now, we never doubted that our refosal 
was the cause of the decree of 30 April I believe I have also 
mentioned that a protest was made by us against the colour 
of the ribbon, the subscription and the oath. 

Two days before the banquet at the Vendanges de Bourgogne, 
a general assembly had taken place in the hall of the Grande- 
Chaumûre in the passage du Saumon. The total number of 
the decorated amounted to fifteen hundred and twenty-eight 
Four hundred belonged to the départements, the remainder to 
Paris. Notices having been sent to each at his own house, all 
those decorated were prompt in answering the appeal ; there 
were nearly a thousand of us gathered together. We proceeded 
to form a board. The president was elected by acclamation. 
He was one of the old conquerors of the Bastille, aged 
between seventy and seventy-five, — who wore next the decora- 
tion of 14 July 1789 the Cross of 29 July 1830. M. de 
Talleyrand was right in his dictum that nothing is more 
dangerous than enthusiasm; we learnt afterwards that 
the man we made president by acclamation was an old 
blackguard who had been before the assizes for violating a 
young girl 

Then we proceeded to the voting. The board was to be 
composed of fourteen members, one for each arrondissement ; 
the thirteenth and fourteenth arrondissements represented the 
outlying dependencies. By a most wonderful chance, I have 
discovered the list of members of that board dose to my 
hand ; here it is — 

"First arrondissement, Lamoure; second, Etienne Arago; 
third, Trélat; fourth, Moussette; fifth, Higonnet; sixtk. 
Bastide; seventh, Gamier - Pages ; eighth, Villeret; ninth, 
Grèau ; tenth, Godefroy Cavaignac ; eleventh, Raspail ; twelfth, 
Bavoux ; thirteenth, Geibel ; fourteenth, Alexandre Dumas." 

The names of the fourteen members were given out and 
applauded; then we proceeded with the discussion. The 
meeting was first informed of the situation; next, different 



\ 



DECORATIONS 



293 



questions were put upon which the meeting was asked to 
deliberate. All these queries were put to the vote, for and 
against, and decided accordingly. The following minutes 
of the meeting were immediately dispatched to the three 
papers, the Temps, the Courritr and the National. 

" No oath, inasmuch as the law respecting national awards 
had not prescribed any such oath. 

"No superscription of Donnée far U rot; the Cross of July 
is a national award, not a royal. 

" All those decorated for the events of July pledge themselves 
to wear that cross, holding themselves authorised to do so by 
the insertion of their names upon the list of national awards 
issued by the committee. 

" The king cannot be head of an order of which he is not 
even chevalier. 

" Even were the king a chevalier of July, and he is not, 
his son, when he comes to the throne, would not inherit that 
decoration. 

" Further, there is no identity whatever between his position 
^With r^ard to the decoration of July and his position with 

gard to the Légion d'Honneur and other orders which are 
inherited with the kingdom. 

" T\\ii right won at the place de Grève, at the Louvre and at 
the Caserne de Babylon is anterior to all other rights : it is not 
possible, without falling into absurdity, to imagine a decoration 
to have been given by a king who did not exist at that time, 
and for whose person, we publicly confess we should not have 
fought for then. 

" With regard to the ribbon, as its change of colour docs not 
change any principle, the ribbon suggested by the Government 
jinay be adopted." 

This last clause rou.4ed a long and heated discussion. In 
[my opinion, the colour of the ribbon was a matter of indifTcr- 
[ence ; moreover, to cede one point showed that wc had not 
previously made up our minds to reject everything. I gained 
a hearing, and won the majority of the meeting over to my 
opinion. A» soon as this jjoint had been settled by vote, I 
drew from my pocket three or four yards of blue ribbon edged 
with red, with which I had provided myself in advance, and I 



294 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

decorated the board and those members of the order who were 
nearest me. Among them was Charras. I did not see him 
again after that for twenty-two years — and then he was in exile. 
Hardly was it noticed that a score of members were decorated, 
before everybody wished to be in the same case. We sent out 
for fifty yards of ribbon, and the thousand spectators left the 
passage du Saumon wearing the ribbon of July in their button- 
holes. This meeting of 7 May made a great sUr in Paris. 
The Moniteur busied itself with lying as usual It armounced 
that the resolutions had not been unanimously passed, and 
that many of those decorated had protested there and then. 
On the contrary, no protests of any kind had been raised. 
This was the only note which reached the board — 

" I ask that all protests against all or part of the decree 
relative to the distribution of the Cross of July shall be decided 
by those who are interested in the matter, and that no general 
measure shall be adopted and imposed on everyone ; each of 
us ought to rest perfectly free to protest or not as he likes. 

Huet" 

This note was read aloud and stopped with hootings. We 
sent the following contradiction to the Moniteur signed by our 
fourteen names — 

" To the Editor of the Moniteur Universal 

" Sir, — You state that the account of the meeting of those 
wearing the July decoration is false, although you were not 
present thereat and took no part whatever in the acts of the 
combatants of the Three Days. We affirm that it contained 
nothing but the exact truth. We will not discuss the illegality 
of the decree of 30 April : it has been sufficiently dwelt upon 
by the newspapers. 

"We will only say that it is a lie that any combatant of 
1789 and of 1830 was brought to that meeting by means of 
a prearranged surprise. Citizen Decombis came of his own 
accord to relate how the decoration of 1789 had been dis- 
tributed, and at the equally spontaneous desire of the meeting 
he was called to the board. It was not, as you state, a small 
number of men who protested agunst the decree ; the gathering 



ARREST OF GALLOIS 



295 






composed of over a thousand decorated people. The 
illegality of the oath and of the superscription Dontiie par U roi, 
was recognised unanimously. None of the members present 
raised a hand to vote against it ; all rose with enthusiasm to 
refuse to subscribe to that twofold illegality ; this we can 
absolutely prove; for, in case any of the questions had not 
been thoroughly understood, each vote for and against the 
notions was repeated. 
' Furthermore : all those decorated remained in the hall for 
hour after the meeting, waiting for ribbons, and during 
that time no objections were raised against the conclusions 
arrived at during the deliberations. 

" And this we affirm, we who have never dishonoured our 
pens or our oaths. 

I" Signed: Lamoure, St. Arago, Trélat, Moussette, 
I HiGONNET, Bastide, Garnikr - Pages, Vii-leret, 
I Grèau, g. Cavaignac, Raspail, Bavoux, Geibel, 
I Ai£x. Dumas." 
F The aflair, as I have said, made a great noise ; and had 
somewhat important consequences : an order of Republican 
knighthood was instituted, outside the pale of the protection 
and oversight of the Government. A thousand knights of this 
order rose up solely of their own accord, pledged only to their 
own conscience, able to recognise one another at a sign, always 
on the alert with their July guns ready to hand. The Govern- 
ment recoiled. 

On 13 May the king issued an order decreeing that the 
Cross of July should be remitted by the mayors to the citizens 
of Paris and of the outskirts included in the ttat nominatif imA 
in the supplementary list which the commission on national 
awards had drawn up. To that end, a register was opened 
at all municipal offices to receive the oaths of the decorated. 
The mayors did not have much business to do and the 
registers remained almost immaculate. Each one of us paid 
for his own decoration, and people clubbed together to buy 
\ crosses for those who could not afford that expense. The 
Î Government left us all in undisturbed peace. I have said that 
Gallois was arrested. His trial was rapidly hurried on : on 



296 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

15 June, he appeared before the Court of Assizes. I never 
saw anything simpler or more straightforward than that trial, 
in which the prisoner seemed to make a point of famishing 
the judges with the evidence of which they might be in need. 
Here is the writ of indictment — it furnishes me with facts of 
which I, at anyrate, did not yet know. Carried away in other 
directions by the rapidity of events, I had not troubled myself 
about that stormy evening. People lived fast and in an 
exceedingly varied way at that period. But let us listen to 
the king's procurator — 

" On 9 May last, a reunion of two hundred persons assembled 
at the restaurant Vendanges de Bourgogne, in the faubourg da 
Temple to celebrate the acquittal of MM. Trélat, Cavaignac 
and Guinard. The repast took place in a dining-room on the 
ground-floor which opened out on the garden. Divers toasts 
were drunk, at which the most hostile opinions against the 
present Government were expressed. In the middle of this 
gathering Évariste Gallois rose and said in a loud voice, on 
his own responsibility : ' To Louis-Philippe I ' holding a d^^er 
in his hand meantime. He repeated it twice. Several 
persons imitated his example by raising their hands and 
shouting similarly: ' To Louis-Philippe I ^ Then hootings were 
heard, although the guests wish to disclaim the wretched 
affair, suggesting, as Gallois declares, that they thought he was 
proposing the health of the king of the French ; it is, however, 
a well-established fact that several of the diners loudly con- 
demn what happened. The dagger-knife had been ordered by 
Gallois on 6 May, from Henry, the cutler. He had seemed 
in a great hurry for it, giving the false excuse of going a 
journey." 

We will now give the examination of the prisoner in its 
naked simplicity — 

"The President. — Prisoner Gallois, were you present at 
the meeting which was held on 9 May last, at the Vendanges 
de Bourgogne ? 

" The Prisoner. — Yes, Monsieur le Président, and if you 
will allow me to instruct you as to the truth of what took place 
at it, I will save you the trouble of questioning me. 



CROSS-EXAMINATION 



297 



" The President. — We will listen, 

"The Prisoner. — This is the exact truth of the incident to 
which I owe the hnuour of appearing before you. I had a 
knife which had been used to carve with throughout the 
banquet ; at dessert, I raised this knife and said : ' For Lottis- 
Philippe . . . if h< tuna traitor.' These last words were only 
heard by my immediate neighbours, because of the fierce 
hoolings that were raised by the first part of my speech 
and the notion that I intended to propose a toast to that 
man. 

" D.' — Then, in your opinion, a toast proposed to the king's 
health was proscribed at that gathering ? 

" R.— To be sure ! 

" D. — A toast offered purely and simply to Louis-Philippe, 
king of the French, would have excited the animosity of that 
assembly ? 

" R. — Assuredly. 

" D. — Your intention, therefore, was to put King Louis- 
Philippe to the dagger ? 

" R. — In case he turned traitor, yes, mon'^ieur. 

"D. — Was it, on your jiart, the expression of your own 
[personal sentiment to set forth the king of the French as 
deserving a dagger - stroke, or was your real intention to 
provoke the others to a like action? 

"R. — I wished to incite them to such a deed if Louis- 
Philippe proved a traitor, that is to say, in case he ventured to 
depart from legal action. 

" D. —Why do you suppose the king is likely to act illegally ? 

" k. — Everybody unites in thinking that it will not be long 
before he makes himself guilty of thut crime, if he has not 
already done so. 

" D. — Explain yourself. 

"R. — I should have thought it clear enough. 

•*D. — No matter! Explain it 

"R. — Well, I say then, that the trend of Government action 
le to suppose that I/Ouis-Philippe will some day be 
Bcrous if he has not alread)' been so." 



It win be understood that with such lucid questions and 
answers the proceedings would be brief. The jury retired to a 

' TllANSl.*TOIt'3 NOTt — 

D= PtmtntU (Question}. R=X/ftmst (Answer). 



xg» irnrooLâ of 



IRE DLTIAS 



tiief fiiimiifw ("îafliiHf ami, cr m.ul. dK^ of bis opÔEnan? 
*-"^^"'" WB aisaDtârsK se Tiwii il Be wbiC stxsjifit to die 
diedc on wfaidL biB IcnK lay ogm as Auiuluj^ eriaatae, packed 
it np^ dmc i^ ynz. x in. ais jjiii'it^, ounuE tn tbe ^"' *■ and 

I C^DBfl^ 3ZQB& WBC '^ "IWfl QmCtl ^ ii^|y BSdL 

\mt JQK «ÔL rrmili'cr BécaogBr s waag aba^ La Pmu. 



CHAPTER XI 

The incomijatibility of litemtare with riolings — Im Maréchale ifAncrt — 
My opinion concerning that piece — Farruck U Maure — The début of 
Henry Monnier at the Vaudeville — I leave Paris — Kuuen — Havre — I 
meditate going to explore Trouville — What is Trouvillc ? — The con- 
sumptive English lady — Honflenr — By land or by sea 



IT was a fatiguing life we led ; each day brought its emotions, 
either political or literary. Antony went on its successful 
course in the midst of various disturbances. Every night, 
without any apparent motive whatsoever, a crowd gathered on 
the boulevard. The rallying place varied between the Théâtre- 
Gymnase and that of the Ambigu. At first composed of five or 
six persons, it grew progressively ; policemen would next appear 
and walk about with an aggressive air along the boulevard ; the 
gutter luchins threw cabbage stumps or carrot ends at them, 
which was quite sufficient after half an hour or an hour's 
proceedings to cause a nice little row, which began at five 
o'clock in the afternoon and lasted till midnight. This daily 
popular irritation attracted many people to the boulevard and 
very few to the plays. Antony was the only piece which defied 
the disturbances and the heat, and brought in sums of between 
twelve thousand and fifteen thousand francs. But there was such 
stagnation in business, and so great was the fear that spread over 
the book-trade, that the same publishers who had offered me six 
thousand francs for Henri III., and twelve thousand francs for 
Christine, hardly dared offer to print Antony for half costs and 
half profits. I had it printed, not at half costs by a publisher, 
but entirely at my own expense. 

There was no way possible for me to remain in Paris at\y 
longer : riots swallowed up too much time and money. Antony 



300 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

did not bring in enough to keep a man going; also, I 
was being goaded by the demon of poetry, which urged me to 
do something fresh. But how could one work in Paris, in the 
midst of gatherings at the Grande- Chaumûre, dinners at the 
Vendanges de Bourgogne and lawsuits at the Assize Courts? 
I conferred with Cavaignac and Bastide. I learnt that there 
would be nothing serious happening in Paris for six months or 
a year, and I obtained a holiday for three months. Only two 
causes kept me still in Paris : the first production of the Mart- 
ehale d^ Ancre and the début of Henry Monnier. De Vigny, 
who had not yet ventured anything at the theatre but his 
version of Othello, to which I referred in its right place, was 
about to make his real entry in the Marichale d^ Ancre. It was 
a fine subject ; I had been on the point of treaUng it, but had 
renounced it because my good and learned friend Paul Lacroix, 
better known then under the name of the bibliophile Jacobs 
had begun a drama on the same subject. 

Louis XIII., that inveterate hunter after la pie-grièche, escaping 
from the guardianship of his mother by a crime, proclaiming 
his coming of age to the firing of pistols which killed the 
favourite of Marie de Médicis, resolving upon that infamous 
deed whilst playing at chess with his favourite, de Luynes, who 
was hardly two years older than himself; a monarch timid in 
council and brave in warfare, a true Valois astray among the 
Bourbons, lean, melancholy and sickly-looking, with a profile 
half like that of Henri iv. and half like Louis xiv., without the 
goodness of the one and the dignity of the other ; this Louis xiii. 
held out to me the promise of a curious royal figure to take as a 
model, I who had already given birth to Henri III. and was 
later to bring Charles IX. to the light of day. But, as I have 
said, I had renounced it De Vigny, who did not know Paul 
Lacroix, or hardly knew him, had not the same reason for 
abstaining, and he had written a five-act drama in prose on 
this subject, which had been received at the Odéon. Here 
was yet another battle to fight. 

De Vigny, at that time, as I believe he still does, belonged 
to the Royalist party. He had therefore two things to fight — 



LA MARÉCHALE D'ANCRE 



301 



r Di 



Ihi 



enemies which his opinions brought him, and those who 
ere envious of his talent, — a talent cold, sober, charming, 
more dreamy than virile, more intellectual than passionate, 
more nervous than strong. The piece was excellently well put 
on : Mademoiselle Georges took the part of the Maréchale 
d'Ancre ; Frederick, that of Concini ; Ligier, Boigia ; and 
Noblet, Isabelle. The difference between de Vigny's way of 
treating drama and mine shows itself in the very names of the 
characters. One looked in vain for Louis xiii. I should have 
made him my principal personage. Perhaps, though, the 
absence of Louis xiii. in de Vigny's drama was more from 
political opinion than literary device. The author being, as I 
say, a Royalist, may have preferred to leave his royalty behind 
the wings than to show it in public with a pale and bloodstained 
face. The AlarhhaU SAncrt is more of a novel than a play ; 
the plot, so to speak, is too complicated in its corners and too 
simple in its middle spaces. The Maréchale falls without a 
struggle, without catastrophe, without clinging to anything : she 
slips and falls to the ground ; she is seized ; she dies. As to 
Concini, as the author was much embarrassed to know wliat to 
do with him, he makes him spend ten hours at a Jew's, waiting 
for a young girl whom he has only seen once ; and, just when 
be learns that Borgia is with his wife, and jealousy lends him 
Tigs to fly to the Louvre, he loses himself on a staircase. 
During the whole of the fourth act, whilst his wife is being 
taken to the Bastille, and they are trying her and condemning 
her, he is groping about to find the bannisters and seeking the 
door; when he comes out of Isabelle's room at the end of the 
third act, he does not reappear again on the stage till the 
ginning of the fifth, and then only to die in a comer of the 
e de la Ferronnerie. That is the principal idea of the drama. 
According to the author, Concini is the real assassin of Henry 
IV. ; Ravaillac is only the instrument. That is why, instead of 
being killed within the limits of the court of the Louvre, the 
Maréchal d'Ancre b killed clo.se- to the rue de la Ferronnerie, 
on the same spot where the assassin waited to give the tcnible 
dagger-stroke of Friday, 14 May 1610. In other respects 1 



302 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

agree with the author ; I do not think it at all necessary that a 
work of art should possess as hall-mark, " un parchemin par 
crime et un in-folio par passion." For long I have held that, 
in theatrical matters specially, it seems to me permissible to 
violate history provided one begets offspring thereby; but to 
let Condni kill Henri iv. with no other object than that 
Concini should reign, after the death of Béarnais, by the queen 
and through the queen, is to give a very small reason for so 
great a crime. Put Concini behind Ravaillac if you will, but, 
behind Concini, place the queen and Épemon, and behind 
the queen and Epemon place Austria, Uie eternal enemy of 
France I Austria, who has never put out her hand to France 
save with a knife in it, the blade of Jacques Clément, the 
dagger of Ravaillac and the pen-knife of Damiens, knowing 
well it would be too dangerous to touch her with a sword-point 

It did not meet with much success, in spite of the high order 
of beauty which characterised the work, beauty of style par- 
ticularly. An accident contributed to this : after the two first 
acts, the best in my opinion, I do not know what caprice 
seized Georges, but she pretended she was ill, and the stage- 
manager came on in a black coat and white tie to tell the 
spectators that the remainder of the representation was put off 
until another day. As a matter of fact, the Marichak i Ancre 
was not resumed until eight or ten days later. It needs a 
robust constitution to hold up against such a check 1 The 
Maréchale tT Ancre held its own and had quite a good run. 
Between the Maréchale d'Ancre and Henry Monnier's first 
appearance a three-act drama was played at the Porte-Saint- 
Martin, patronised by Hugo and myself: this was Farruck le 
Maure, by poor Escousse. The piece was not good, but owing 
to Bocage it had a greater success than one could have ex- 
pected. It afterwards acquired a certain degree of importance 
because of the author's suicide, who, in his turn, was better 
"mown by the song, or rather, the elegy which Béranger wrote 

x>ut him, than by the two plays he had had played. We 

all return to this unfortunate boy and to Lebras his fellow- 

idde. 



HENRY MONNIER 



303 



It was on s July that Henry Monnier came out. I doubt 
if any début ever produced such a literary sensation. He 
was then about twenty-six or twenty-eight years of age ; he 
was known in the artistic world on three counts. As painter, 
pupil of Girodet and of Gros, he had, after his return from 
travel in England, been instrumental in introducing the first 
wood-engraving executed in Paris, and he published Macun 
administratives, Griseltes and lUustrations de Etranger. As 
author, at the instigation of his friend Latouche, he printed 
his Sànes populaires, thanks to which the renown of the 
French gendarme and of the Parisian //'/;' spread all over 
the world. Finally, as a private actor in society he had 
been the delight of supper-parties, acting for us, with the 
aid of a curtain or a folding-screen, his Halte d'une diligence, 
his Étudiant and his Grisette, his Femme qui a trop chaud 
and his Ambassade de M. de Cobenizel. 

On the strength of being applauded in drawing-rooms, he 
thought he would venture on the stage, and he wrote for 
himself and for his own début, a piece called La FamilU 
improvisée, which he took from his Seines populaires. Two 
types created by Henry Monnier have lasted and will last : 
his Joseph Prudhomme, professor of writing, pupil of Btard 
and Saint Omer; and Coquerel, lover of la Duthé and of 
la Briand. I have spoken of the interior of the Théâtre- 
Français on the day of the first performance of Henri III. ; 
that of the Vaudeville was not less remarkable on the 

|«vening of 5 July ; all the literary and artistic celebrities 

' seemed to have arranged to meet in the rue de Chartres. 
Among artists and sculptors were, Picot, Gérard, Horace 

pVemet, Carle Vcrnet, Delacroix, Boulanger, Pradier, Desbteufs, 
tie lubeys, Thiolier and I know not who else. Of poets 

[there were Chateaubriand, Lamartine, Hugo, the whole of 
as in fact. For actresses, Mesdemoiselles Mars, Duchesnois, 
Leverd, Dorval, Perlet and Nourrit, and every actor who 
was not taking part on the stage that night Of society 
notabilities there were Vaublanc, Momay, Blancménil, 
' Yoimg workman of the rajUinn bubourgs. 



304 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Madame de la Bourdonnaie, the witty Madame O'Donnell, 
the ubiquitous Madame de Fontécoulant, Châteauvillars, 
who has the prerc^ative of not growing old either in face 
or in mind, Madame de Castries, all the faubourg Saint- 
Germain, the Chaussée-d'Antin and the faubourg Saint-Honoré. 
The whole of the journalist world was there. It was an 
immense success. Henry Monnier reappeared twice, being 
called first as actor then as author. This, as I have said, 
was on 5 July, and from that day until the end of December 
the piece was never taken off the bills. 

I went away the next day. Where was I going? I did 
not know. I had flung a feather to the wind ; it blew that day 
from the south, so my feather was carried northwards. I set 
out therefore, for the north, and should probably go to Havre. 
There seems to be an invincible attraction leading one back 
to places one has previously visited. It will be remembered 
that I was at Havre in 1828 and rewrote Christine, as far 
as the plot was concerned, in the coach between Paris and 
Rouen. Then, too, Rouen is such a beautiful town to see 
with its cathedral, its church of Saint-Ouen, its ancient houses 
with their wood-carvings, its town-hall and hôtel Bourgtheroude, 
that one longs to see it all again ! I stopped a day there. 
Next day the boat left at six in the morning. At that time 
it still took fourteen hours to get from Paris to Rouen by 
diligence, and ten hours from Rouen to Havre by boat 
Now, by express train it only takes three and a half! True, 
one departs and arrives — when one does arrive — but one does 
not really travel; you do not see Jumiéges, or la Meilleraie 
or Tancarville, or all that charming country by Villequier, 
where, one day, ten years after I was there, the daughter of 
our great poet met her death in the midst of a pleasure party. 
Poor Léopoldine! she would be at Jersey now, completing 
the devout colony which provided a family if not a country 
for our exiled Dante, dreaming of another inferno ! Oh ! if 
only I were that mysterious unknown whose elastic arm 
could extend from one side of the Guadalquiver to the 
other, to offer a light to Don Juan's cigar, how I would 



A SEASIDE RETREAT 



305 



stretch out each morning and evening my arm from Brussels 
to Jersey to dasp the beloved hand which wrote the finest 
verse and the most vigorous prose of this century ! 

We no longer see Honfleur, with its fascmating bell-tower, 
built by the English; an erection which made some bishop 
or other, travelling to improve his mind, say, "I feel sure 
tliat was not made here ! " In short, one goes to Havre and 
returns the same day, and one can even reach Aix-la-Chapelle 
the next morning. If you take away distance, you augment 
the duration of time. Nowadays we do not live so long, 
but we get through more. 

When I reached Havre I went in search of a place where 
I could spend a month or six weeks ; I wanted but a village, 
a comer, a hole, provided it was close to the sea, and I was 
recommended to go to Sain le- Adresse and Trouville. For a 
momeiU I wavered between the two districts, which were 
both equally unknown to me ; but, upon pursuing my 
inquiries further, and having learnt that Trouville was even 
more isolated and hidden and solitary than Sainte-Adresse, 
I decided upon Trouville. Then I recollected, as one does 
in a dream, that my good friend Huet, the landscape painter, 
a painter of marshes and beaches, had told me of a charming 
village by the sea, where he had been nearly choked with a 
fish bone, and that the village was called Trouville. But 
he had forgotten to tell me bow to get to it I therefore had 
to make inquiries. There were infinitely more opportunities 
for getting from Havre to Rio-de-Janeiro, Sydney or the 
coast of Cororaandel than there were to Trouville. Its 
latitude and longitude were, at that time, almost as little 
known as those of Robinson Crusoe's island. Sailors, going 
from Honfleur to Cherbourg, had pointed out Trouville in 
the distance, as a little settlement of fishermen, which, 00 
doubt, traded with la Délivrande and Pont l'Évéque, its nearest 
neighbours ; but that was ail they knew about iL As to the 
tongue those fisheifolk talked they were completely ignoi&nt, 
the only relations they had hitherto bad with then had been 
held from afar and by signs. I hare always bad a passion 
L V. — 20 



3o6 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

for discoveries and explorations ; I thereupon dedded, if not 
exactly to discover Trouville, at least to explore it, and to 
do for the river de la Touque what Levaillant, the beloved 
traveller of my childhood, had done for the Elephant River. 
That resolution taken, I jumped into the boat for Honfleur, 
where fresh directions as to the route I should follow would 
be given me. We arrived at Honfleur. During that two 
hours' crossing at flood-tide, everybody was seasick, except 
a beautiful consumptive English lady, with long streaming 
hair and cheeks like a peach and a rose, who battled 
against the scourge with large glasses of brandy! I have 
never seen a sadder sight than that lovely figure standing 
up, walking about the deck of the boat, whilst everybody 
else was either seated or lying down ; she, doomed to death, 
with every appearance of good health, whilst all the other 
passengers, who looked at the point of death, regained their 
strength directly they touched the shore again, like many 
another Antaeus before them. If there are spirits, they 
must walk and look and smile just as that beautiful English 
woman walked and looked and smiled. When we landed 
at Honfleur, just as the boat stopped, her mother and a 
young brother, as fair and as rosy as she seemed, rose up 
as though from a battlefield and rejoined her with dragging 
steps. She, on the contrary, whilst we were sorting out our 
boxes and portmanteaux, lightly cleared the drawbridge which 
was launched from the landing-stage to the side of the miniature 
steam-packet, and disappeared round a comer of the rue de 
Honfleur. I never saw her again and shall never see her 
again, probably, except in the valley of Jehoshaphat; but, 
whether I see her again, there or elsewhere — in this world, 
which seems to me almost impossible, or in the other, 
which seems to me almost improbable — I will guarantee 
that I shall recognise her at the first glance. 

We were hardly at Honfleur before we were making inquiries 
as to the best means of being transported to Trouville. There 
were two ways of going, by land or by sea. By land they 
ofiered us a wretched wagon and two bad horses for twenty 



JOURNEY TO TROUVILLE 307 

francs, and we should travel along a bad road, taking five hours 

to reach Trouville. Going by sea, with the outgoing tide, it 

would take two hours, in a pretty barque rowed by four vigorous 

oarsmen ; a picturesque voyage along the coast, where I should 

see great-quantities of birds, such as sea-mews, gulls and divers - 

on the right the infinite ocean, on the left immense cliffs. Then 

if the wind was good — and it could not fail to be favourable, 

sailors never doubt that! — it would only take two hours to 

cross. It was true that, if the wind was unfavourable, we should 

have to take to oars, and should not arrive till goodness knows 

when. Furthermore, they asked twelve francs instead of 

twenty. Happily my travelling companion — for I have forgotten 

to say that I had a travelling companion — was one of the most 

economical women I have ever met ; although she had been 

very sick in crossing fi:om Havre to Honfleur, this saving of 

eight francs appealed to her, and as I had gallantly left the 

choice of the two means of transport to her she decided on the 

boat. Two hours later we left Honfleur as soon as the tide 

began to turn. 



CHAPTER XII 

Appearance of Trouville — Mother Oseraie — How people are accommodated 
at TronviUe when they are married — The price of painters and of the 
community of martyrs — Mother Oseraie's acquaintances — How she had 
laved the life of Huet, the landscape painter — My room and my neigh- 
bour's — A twenty-franc dinner for fifty sous — A walk by the seashore — 
Heroic resolution 

THE weather kept faith with our sailois' promise : the 
sea was calm, the wind in the right quarter and, afler 
a delightful three hours' crossing — following that picturesque 
coast, on the cliffs of which, sixteen years later. King Louis- 
Philippe, against whom we were to wage so rude a war, was to 
stand anxiously scanning the sea for a ship, if it were but a 
rough barque like that Xerxes found upon which to cross the 
Hellespont— our sailors pointed out Trouville. It was then 
composed of a few fishing huts grouped along the right bank of 
the Touque, at the mouth of that river, between two low ranges 
of hills enclosing a charming valley as a casket encloses a set of 
jewels. Along the left bank were great stretches of pasture- 
land which promised me magnificent snipe-shooting. The tide 
was out and the sands, as smooth and shining as glass, were dry. 
Our sailors hoisted us on their backs and we were put down 
upon the sand. 

The sight of the sea, with its bitter smell, its eternal moan- 
ing, has an immense fascination for me. ^Vhen I have not 
seen it for a long time I long for it as for a beloved mistress, 
and, no matter what stands in the way, I have to return to it, to 
breathe in its breath and taste its kisses for the twentieth time. 
The three happiest months of my life, or at any rate the 
most pleasing to the senses, were those I spent with my Sicilian 

Jo8 



TROU VILLE 



309 



sailors in a sfemnare, during my Odyssey in the Tynhenian 
Sea. But, in this instance, I began my maritime career, and 
it must be conceded that it was not a bad beginning to discover 
a seaport like Trouville. The beach, moreover, was alive and 
animated as though on a fair day. Upon our left, in the 
middle of an archipelago of rocks, a whole collection of children 
were gathering baskets full of mussels ; upon our right, women 
were digging in the sand with vigorous plying of spades, to 
extract a small kind of eel which iresembled the fibres of the 
salad called ùar/ie de capucin (i.e. wild chicory) ; and all round 
our little barque, which, although still afloat, looked as though 
it would soon be left dry, a crowd of fishermen and fisher- 
women were shrimping, walking with athletic strides, with the 
water up to their waists and pushing in front of them long- 
handled nets into which they reaped their teeming harvest. 
We stopped at every step ; everything on that unknown sea- 
shore was a novelty to us. Cook, landing on the Friendly 
Isles, was not more absorbed or happy than was I. The 
sailors, noticing our enjoyment, told us they would carry our 
luggage to the inn and tell them of our coming. 

" To the inn ! But which inn ?" I asked. 

"There is no fear of mistake," replied the wag of the 
company, " for there is but one." 

" What is its name ? " 

" It has none. Ask for Mother Oseraie and the first person 
you meet will direct you to her house." 

We were reassured by this information and had no further 
hesitation about loafing to our heart's content on the beach of 
Trouville. An hour later, various stretches of sand having 
boen crossed and two or three directions asked in French and 
answered in Trouvillois, we managed to land at our inn. A 
woman of about forty — plump, clean and comely, with the 
quizzical smile of the Norman peasant on her lips — came uj) to 
us. This was Mother Oseraie, who probably nevt:r susj^ected 
the celebrity which one day the Parisian whom she received 
with an almost sneering air was to give her. Poor Mother 
Oseraie I had she suspected such a thing, perhaj» she woald 



3IO MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

have treated me as Plato in his JRepublic sAHses that poets shall 
be dealt with : crowned with flowers and shown to the door ! 
Instead of this, she advanced to meet me^ and after gazing at 
me with curiosity from head to foot, she said — 

" Good ! so you have come ? " 

" What do you mean by that ?" I asked. 

" Well, your luggage has arrived and two rooms engaged for 
you." 

" Ah ! now I understand." 

" Why two rooms ? " 

" One for madame and one for myself." 

"Oh! but with us when people are married they sleep 
together ! " 

" First of all, who told you that madame and I were married? 
. . . Besides, when we are, I shall be of the opinion of one of 
my friends whose name is Alphonse Karr ! " 

" Well, what does your friend whose name is Alphonse Kair 
say?" 

" He says that at the end of a certain time, when a man and 
a woman occupy only one room together, they cease to become 
lover and mistress and become male and female ; that is what 
he says." 

"Ah ! I do not understand. However, no matter ! you 
want two rooms ? " 

" Exactly." 

" Well, you shall have them ; but I would much rather you 
only took one [prissiez]." 

I will not swear that she said prissiez, but the reader will 
forgive me for adding that embellishment to our dialogue. 

" Of course, I can see through that," I replied ; " you would 
have made us pay for two and you would have had one room 
left to let to other travellers." 

" Precisely ! — I say, you are not very stupid for a Parisian, I 
declare ! " 

I bowed to Mother Osende. 

" I am not altogether a Parisian," I replied ; " but that is a 
mere matter of detail." 



TARIFF FOR ARTISTS 311 

" Then you will have the two rooms ? " 

"I will." 

" I warn you they open one out of the other." 

"Capital!" 

"You shall be taken to them." 

She called a fine strapping lass with nose and eyes and 
petticoats turned up. 

" Take madame to her room," I said to the girl ; " I will 
stop here and talk to Mother Oseraie." 

"Why?" 

" Because I find your conversation pleasant" 

" Gammon ! " 

" Also I want to know what you will take us for per day." 

" And the night does not count then ? " 

"Night and day." 

"There are two charges : for artists, it is forty sous." 

"What ! forty sous ... for what?" 

" For board and lodging of course ! " 

"Ah ! forty sous ! . . . And how many meals for that?" 

" As many as you like ! two, three, four — according to your 
hunger — of course ! " 

" Good ! you say, then, that it is forty sous per day ? " 

" For artists — Are you a painter? " 

" No." 

" Well, then it will be fifty sous for you and fifty for your 
lady — a hundred sous together." 

I could not believe the sum. 

"Then it is a hundred sous for two, three or four meals and 
two rooms?" 

" A hundred sous — Do you think it is too dear ? " 

" No, if you do not raise the price." 

" Why should I raise it, pray ? " 

" Oh well, we shall see." 

" No ! not here ... If you were a painter it would only be 
forty sous." 

"What is the reason for this reduction in favour of 
artists ? " 



312 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

"Because they are such nice lads and I am so fond of 
them. It was they who began to make the reputation of 
my inn." 

" By the way, do you know a painter called Decamps ? " 

" Decamps ? I should think so ! " 

"Andjadin?" 

" Jadin ? I do not know that name." 

I thought Mother Oseraie was bragging ; but I possessed a 
touchstone. 

"AndHuet?"Iasked. 

" Oh, yes ! I knew him." 

'* You do not remember anything in particular about him, 
do you ? " 

" Indeed, yes, I remember that I saved his life." 

" Bah ! come, how did that happen ? " 

" One day when he was choking with a sole bone. It doesn't 
take long to choke one's self with a fish bone ! " 

" And how did you save his life." 

" Oh ! only just in time. Why, he was already black in the 
face." 

" What did you do to him ? " 

" I said to him, ' Be patient and wait for me.' " 

" It is not easy to be patient when one is choking." 

" Good heavens ! what else could I have said ? It wasn't 
my fault. Then I ran as fast as I could into the garden; 
I tore up a leek, washed it, cut off its stalks and stuffed 
it right down his throat. It is a sovereign remedy for fish 
bones ! " 

" Indeed, I can well believe it." 

"Now, he never speaks of me except with tears in his 
eyes." 

" All the more since the leek belongs to the onion family." 

"All the same, it vexes me." 

"What vexes you? That the poor dear man was not 
choked?" 

" No, no, indeed ! I am delighted and I thank you both in 
his name and in my own : he is a friend of mine, and, besides, 



MOTHER OSERAIE 



3«3 



man of great talent. But I am vexed that Trouville has 
been discovered by three artists before being discovered by a 
poet." 

t" Are you a poet, then ? " 
" Weil, I might perhaps venture to say that I am." 
" What is a poet ? Does it bring in an income ? " 
"No." 
" Well, then, it is a poor sort of business." 
I saw I had given Mother Oseraie but an indifferent idea of 
myself. 
L " Would you like me to pay you a fortnight in advance ? " 
^ "What for?" 

^y " Why ! In case you are afraid that as I am a poet I may 
^go without paying you ! " 

^^ " If you went away without paying me it would be all the 
^Morsc for you, but not for me." 
B "How so?" 

^P " For having robbed an honest woman ; for I am an honest 
woman, 1 am." 

" I begin lo believe it, .Mother Oseraie ; but I, too, you see, 
am not a bad lad." 

" VVcU, I don't mind telling you that you give me that 
impression. Will you have dinner?" 
" Rather ! Twice over rather than once." 
"Then, go upstairs and l&ive me to attend to my business." 
" But what will you give us for dinner? " 
" Ah ! that is my busine-ts." 
" How is it your business? " 

" Because, if I do not satisfy yon, you will go elsewhere." 
" But there is nowhere c-lse to go I " 

" Which is ax good as to say that you will put up with what 
I have got, my good friend. . . . Come, off to your room I* 

I began to adapt myself to the manners of Mother C 
it was what is called in the moraie en lution and in e -, 

of anecdotes "la franchise villageoise" (country frankness). 
I should much have preferred "l'urbanité parisienne " (Parisian 
tirfaanity) ; but Mother Oseraie was liuih on other lines, and I 



314 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

was obliged to take her as she was. I went up to my room : 
it was quadrilateral, with lime-washed walls, a deal floor, a 
walnut table, a wooden bed painted red, and a chimney-piece 
with a shaving-glass instead of a looking-glass, and, for 
ornament, two blue elaborately decorated glass vases ; further- 
more there was the spray of orange-blossom which Mother 
Oseraie had had when she was twenty years of age, as fresh as 
on the day it was plucked, owing to the shade, which kept it 
from contact with the air. Calico curtains to the window and 
linen sheets on the bed, both sheets and curtains as white as 
the snow, completed the furnishings. I went into the adjoining 
room ; it was furnished on the same lines, and had, besides, a 
convex-shaped chest of drawers inlaid with different coloured 
woods which savoured of the bygone days of du Barry, and 
which, if restored, regilded, repaired, would have looked better 
in the studio of one of the three painters Mother Oseraie 
had just mentioned. The view from both windows was 
magnificent. From mine, the valley of the Touque could be 
seen sinking away towards Pont-l'Évêque, which is surrounded 
by two wooded hills; from my companion's, the sea, flecked 
with little fishing-boats, their sails white against the horizon, 
waiting to return with the tide. Chance had indeed favoured 
me in giving me the room which looked on to the valley : if I had 
had the sea, with its waves, and gulls, and boats, its horizon 
melting into the sky always before me, I should have found it 
impossible to work. I had completely forgotten the dinner 
when I heard Mother Oseraie calling me — 

" I say, monsieur poet ! " 

"Well! mother !" I replied. 

" Come ! dinner is ready." 

I offered my arm to my neighbour and we went down. 
Oh ! worthy Mother Oseraie ! when I saw your soup, your 
mutton cutlets, your soles en matelote, your mayonnaise of 
lobster, your two roast snipe and your shrimp salad, how I 
regretted I had had doubts of you for an instant ! Fifty sous 
for a dinner which, in Paris, would have cost twenty francs ! 
True, wine would have accoimted for some of the difference ; 



SUNSET ON THE SEA 



3JS 



but wc might drink as much cider as we liked free of charge. 
My travelling companion suggested taking a lease of three, six, 
or nine years with Mother Oseraie ; during which nine years, 
in her opinion, we could economise to the extent of a hundred 
and fifty thousand francs ! Perhaps she was right, poor 
Mélanie ! but how was Paris and its revolutions to get on 
without me? As soon as dinner was finished we went back 
to the beach. It was high tide, and the barques were coming 
into the harbour like a flock of sheep to the fold. Women 
were waiting on the shore with huge baskets to carry off the 
fish. E^ch woman recognised her own boat and its rigging 
from afar ; mothers called out to their sons, sisters to their 
brothers, wives to their husbands. All talked by signs before 
the boats were near enough to enable them to use their voices, 
and it was soon known whether the catch had been good or 
bad. All the while, a hot July sun was sinking below the 
horizon, surrounded by great clouds which it fringed with 
purple, and through the gaps between the clouds it darted its 
golden rays, Apollo's arrows, which disappeared in the sea. 
I do not know anything more beautiful or grand or magnificent 
than a sunset over the ocean ! We remainetl on the beach until 
it was completely dark. I was perfectly well aware that, if I 
did not from the beginning cut short this desire for con- 
I temptation which had taken possession of me, I should spend 
my days in shooting sea-birds, gathering oysters among the 
rocks and catching eels in the sand. I therefore resolved to 
combat this sweet enemy styled idleness, and to set myself to 
work that very evening if possible. 

I was under an agreement with Harel; it had been 
ananged that I should bring him bark a play in verse, of 
five acts, entitled Charles VII. chet sts g^rands vassaux. M. 
Granier, otherwise de Cassagnac, published, in 1833, a work 
I mc, since continued by M. Jacquot, otherwise de Mirccourt, 
*ork in which he {winted out tlie sources whence I had 
ill the plots for my plays, and taken all the ideas for 
tJOiTels. I intend, as I go on with these Memoirs, to 
underuke that work myself, and I guarantee that it shall be 




5i6 MEXOrSS OF ATFXAXPRE DUMAS 



c^mpies jncf ^icie -.bim i iiCDiis **nn dut of mj two 
saDDwoed crtacs: mi^. I bnpe my leadas wiS not demand 
diac X abail 'ae k ikhtcjccs. 3iic let ok idse bov die idea 
ot «Ecn^ ClksrùH- rL."^ .am: x 3ie. md of wbat heterogeneoos 
! t3ac ■''^'"-' vss ccniDcseiz. 



CHAPTER XIII 

A reading st Nodier's — The heareis and the readers — tWbut — Lm Marrent 
du feu — La Camargo and the AbW Deàderio — Genealogy of a 
dramatic idea — Orestes and Hcrmione — Chimcne and Don Sancho— 
Goel» von BerlUhingtH — Fragmenls — How I render to Casar the 
things that are Casar's 



TOWARDS the dose of 1830, or the beginning of 1831, 
we were invited to spend an evening with Nodier. A 
young fellow of twenty-two or twenty-three was to read some 
portions of a book of poems he was about to publish. This 
young man's name was then almost unknown in the world of 
letters, and it was now going to be given to the public for the 
6rst time. Nobody ever failed to attend a meeting called by 
our dear Nodier and our lovely Marie. We were all, there- 
fore, punctual in our appearance. By everybody, I mean our 
ordinary circle of the Arsenal : Lamartine, Hugo, de Vigny, 
Jules de Rességuier, Sainte-Beuve, Leftbvre, Taylor, the two 
Johannots, Louis Boulanger, Jal, Laverdant, Bixio, Amaury 
Duval, Francis Wey, etc ; and a crowd of young girls with 
flowers in their dresses, who have since become the beautiful 
and devoted mothers of famiUes. About ten o'clock a young 
man of ordinary height — thin, fair, with budding moustache and 
long curling hair, thrown back in clusters to the sides of his 
head, a green, tight-fitting coat and light-coloured trousers — 
entered, alTccting a very easy demeanour which, perhaps, was 
meant to conœal actual timidity. This was our poet. Very 
few among os knew him personally, even by sight or name. 
A table, glass of water and two candles had been put ready 
for him. He «at down, and, so far as I can remember, he 



318 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

read from a printed book and not from a manuscript From 
the very start that assembly of poets trembled with excite- 
ment ; they felt they had a poet before them, and the volume 
opened with these lines, which I may be permitted to quote, 
although they are known by all the world. We have said, and 
we cannot repeat it too often, that these memoirs are not 
only Memoirs but recollections of the art, poetry, literature 
and politics of the first fifty years of the century. When we 
have attacked, severely, perhaps, but honestly and loyally, 
things that were base and low and shameful ; when we have 
tracked down hypocrisy, punished treachery, ridiculed 
mediocrity, it has been both good and sweet to raise our eyes 
to the sky, to look at, and to worship in spirit, those beautiful 
golden clouds which, to many people, seem but flimsy vapours, 
but which to us are planetary worlds wherein we hope our 
souls will find refuge throughout eternity; and, even though 
conscious that we may, perhaps, be wrong in so doing, we 
hail their uncommon outlines with more pride and joy than 
when setting forth our own works. I am entirely disinterested 
in the matter of the author of these verses ; for I scarcely knew 
him and we hardly spoke to one another a dozen times. I 
admire him greatly, although he, I fear, has not a great 
affection for me. The poet began thus — 

"Je n'ai jamais aimé, pour ma part, ces bégueules 
Qui ne sauraient aller au Prado toutes seules ; 
Qu'une duègne toujours, de quartier en quartier, 
Talonne, comme fait sa mule un muletier ; 
Qui s'usent, à prier, les genoux et la lèvre, 
Se courbent sur le grès plus pâles, dans leur fièvre. 
Qu'un homme qui, pieds nus, marche sur un serpent. 
Ou qu'un faux monnayeur au moment qu on le pend. 
Certes, ces femmes-là, pour mener cette vie. 
Portent un cœur châtré de tout noble envie ; 
Elles n'ont pas de sang et pas d'entrailles ! — Mais, 
Sur ma tête et mes os, frère, je vous promets 
Qu'elles valent encor quatre fois mieux que celles 
Dont le temps se dépense en intrigues nouvelles. 
Celles-là vont au bal, courent les rendez-vous. 
Savent dans un manchon cacher un billet doux, 



ALFRED DE MUSSET 



319 



SenTtr un ruban noir sur un beau flanc qui ploie, 
Jeter d'un balcon d'or une échelle de soie, 
Suivre l'imbroglio de ces amours mignons 
Poussa dans une nuit comme des champignons ; 
Si charmantes d'ailleurs ! Aimant en enragées 
I.CS moustaches, les chiens, la valse et les dragées. 
Mais, oh I la triste chose et l'étrange malheur. 
Lorsque dans leurs filets tombe un homme de cccur 1 
Frète, mieux lui vaudrait, comme ce statuaire 
Qm\ pressait de ses bras son amante de pierre, 
Réchauffer de baisers un marbre ! Mieux vaudrait 
Une louve enragée en quelque âpre forêt I , . ." 



You see he was not mistaken in his own estimate ; these 
lines were thoughtful and well-constructed ; they march with 
a proud and lusty swing, hand-on-hip, slender - waisted, 
splendidly draped in their Spanish cloak. They were not 
like Lamartine, or Hugo or de Vigny : a flower culled from 
the same garden, it is true ; a fruit of the same orchard even ; 
but a flower possessed of its own odour and a fruit with a taste 
of its own. Good ! Here am I, meaning to relate worthless 
things concerning myself, saying good things about Alfred de 
Musset. Upon my word, I do not regret it and it is all the 
better for myself.* I have, however, do not let us forget, 
yet to explain how that dramatic pastiche which goes by the 
name of Charles VII. came to be written. The night went by 
in a flash. Alfred de Musset read the whole volume instead 
of a few pieces from it : Don Paes, Porcia, the Andalouse, 
Madrid, the Ballade à la lune, Mardoche, etc., probably about 
two thousand lines; only, I must admit that the young girls 
who were present at the reading, whether they were with their 
mammas or alone, must have had plenty to do to look after 
their eyelids and their fans. Among these pieces was a kind 
of comedy entitled the Marrons du feu. La Camargo, that 
Belgian dancer, celebrated by Voltaire, who was the delight of 
the opera of 1734 to 1751, is its heroine; but, it must be said, 
the poor girl is sadly calumniated in the poem. In the first 

' See our study on Alfred de Musset in Us Moris vont vil; vol, ii. 
p. 85. 



320 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

place, the poet imagines she was loved to distinction by a 
handsome Italian named Rafaël Garud, and that this love was 
stronger at the end of two years than it bad ever been. 
Calumny number one. Then, he goes on to suppose that 
Seigneur Garuci, tired of the dancer, gives his clothes to the 
Abbé Annibal Desiderio, and tells him how, he can gain access 
to the beautiful woman. Calumny number two — but not so 
serious as the first, Seigneiu' Rafaël Garuci having probably 
never existed save in the poef s brain. Finally, he relates 
that, when she finds herself face to face with the abbé dis- 
guised as a gentleman, and finds out that it is Rafaël who has 
provided him with the means of access to her, whilst he 
himself is supping at that very hour with la Cydalise, la 
Camaigo is furious against her faithless lover, and says to 
the abbé — 

" Abbé, je veux du sang ! j'en suis plus altérée 
Qu'une corneille au vent d'un cadavre attirée ! 
Il est là-bas, dis-tu ? Cours-y donc I coupe-lui 
La gorge, et tire-le par les pieds jusqu'ici I 
Tords-lui le cœur, abbé, de peur qu'il n'en réchappe ; 
Coupe-le en quatre, et mets les morceaux dans la nappe t 
Tu me l'apporteras; et puisse m'écraser 
La foudre, si tu n'as par blessure un baiser I . . . 
Tu tressailles, Romain? C'est une faute étrange, 
Si tu te crois conduit ici par ton bon ange I 
Le sang te fait-il peur? Pour t'en faire un manteau 
De cardinal, il faut la pointe d'un couteau ! 
Me jugeais-tu le coeur si large, que j'y porte 
Deux amours à la fois, et que pas un n'en sorte ? 
C'est une faute encor: mon coeur n'est pas si grand, 
Et le dernier venu ronge l'autre en entrant ..." 

The abbé has to fight Rafaël on the morrow ; he entreats 
her to wait at least until after that. 

" Et s'il te tu 
Demain? et si j'en meurs? si j'en suis devenue 
Folle ? si le soleil, de prenant à pâlir, 
De ce sombre horizon ne pouvait plus sortir? 
On a vu quelquefois de telles nuits au monde ! 
Demain I le vais-je attendre à compter, par seconde. 



LA CAMARGO 321 

Les heures sur mes doigts, ou ser les batiemenls 
De mon cœur, comme un juif qui calcule le temps 
D'un prêt? Demain, ensuite, inJ-je, pour te plaire. 
Jouer à croii ou pile, et mettre ma colirc. 
Au bout d'un pistolet qui tremble avec ta main? 
Non pas I non I Aujourd'hui est à nous, mais demain 
Est a Dieu ! . . ." 

The abbé ended by giving in to the prayers, caresses and 
tears of la Camargo, as Orestes yielded to Hermione's 
promises, transports and threats ; urged on by the beautiful, 
passionate courtesan, he killed Rafaël, as Orestes killed Pyrrhus ; 
and, like Orestes, he returned to demand from la Camargo 
recompense for his love, the price of blood. Like Hermione, 
she failed to keep her word to him. Calumny number three. 

La Camargo is at her harpsichord ; the abbé rapa at the door. 

" Entrez ! 

L'abbé tnlrt tt lui prismU son peinard ; ta Camargo le 
considère quelque temps ^ puis se live.) 
A-t-il souffert beaucoup? 

— Bon I c'est l'affiùre 
D'un moment I 

— Qu'*-t-U dit? 

— Il a dit que la terre 
Tournait, 

— Quoi 1 rien de plu»? 

— Ah I qu'il donnait son bien 
A son bouffon Pippo. 

— Quoi I rien de plus ? 

— Non, rien. 
— Il porte au petit doigt un diamant : de gr&ce. 
Allez me le chercher I 

— Je ne le puis. 

— La place 
Où vous l'avez laissé n'est pas si loin. 

— Non, mais 
Je ne le puis. 

— Abt>^, tout œ que je prpncts. 
Je le tiens. 

— Pas ce soit I . , . 

— Pourquoi? 

— Mais . . . 

— MUénUe 

V.— 31 




322 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Tu ne l'as pas taé I 

— Moi? Que le del m'accable 
Si je ne l'ai pas &it, madame, en vérité I 

— En ce cas, pourquoi non? 

— Ma foi, je l'ai jeté 
Dans la mei. 

— Quoi ! ce soir, dans la mer? 

— Oui, madame. 

— Alors, c'est un malheur pour tous, car, sur mon Ame, 
Je voulais cet anneau. 

— Si vous me l'aviez dit. 
Au moins ! 

— Et sur quoi donc t'en croirai-je, maudit 
Sur quel honneur vas-tu me jurer ? sur laquelle 
De tes deux mains de sang? oii la marque en est elle? 
La chose n'est pas sûre, et tu peux te vanter t 
Il fallait lui couper la main, et l'apporter. 

— Madame, il lassait nuit, la mer était procludne . . . 
Je l'ai jeté dedans. 

— Je n'en suis pas certaine. 

— Mais, madame, ce fer est chaud, et saigne encor ! 

— Ni le feu ni le sang ne sont rares! 

— Son corps 
N'est pas si loin, madame ; il se peut qu'on se charge . . . 

— La nuit est trop épaisse, et l'Océan trop large ! 

— Mais je suis pâle, moi tenez ! 

— Mon cher abbé, 
L'étais-je pas, ce soir, quand j'ai joué Thisbé, 
Dans l'opéra? 

— Madame, au nom du ciel I 

— Peut-être 
Qu'en y regardant bien, vous l'aurez. . . , Ma fenêtre 
Donne sur la mer. 

{Elle sort.) 

— Mais elle est partie ! . . . O Dieu t 
J'ai tué mon ami, j'ai mérité le feu, 

J'ai taché mon pourpoint, et l'on me congédie! 
C'est la moralité de cette comédie." 

llie framework of this scene, far removed from it though it 
"^ form, is evidently copied from this scene in Racine's 



ANDROMAQUE 



325 



" Hbkmionb. 

Je veux qu'^ mon départ toute l'Épire pleure ! 
Mais, si vous me vengez, vengez-moi dans une heure. 
Tous vos relardements sont pour moi des refus. 
Cour«x au temple ! Il faut immoler . . . 



OUSTB. 



Qui? 



Hbkmionb. 

Pyrrhus ! 
— Pyrrhus, madame? 

— Ili quoi 1 votre haine chAnceile ! 
Ah I couret, et craignez que je ne vous rappelle ! 

Ne vous suflfit-il pas que je l'ai condamné? 
Ne vous suHit-il pas que ma gloire offensée 
Demande une victime i moi seule adressée ; 
Qu'Hcrmione est le prix d'un tyran opprimé ; 
Que je le hais ! enfin, seigneur, que je l'aimai ? 
Malgré la juste horreur que son crime me donne. 
Tant qu'il vivra, craignez que je ne lui pardonne ! 
Doutez jusqu'à sa mort d'un courroux incertain. 
S'il ne meurt aujourd'hui je peux l'aimer demain ! 



— Mais, madame, songez . . . 

— Ah ! c'en est trop, seigneur 
Tant de raisonnements offensent ma colère. 
J'ai voulu vous donner les moyens de me plaire. 
Rendre Oreste content ; mais, enfin, je vois bien 
(l^u'il veut toujours se plaindre, et ne mériter rieiu 
Je m'en vais seule au temple on leur hymen s'apprtte, 
Où vous n'osez aller mériter ma cooquCte ; 
Ll, de u>on ennemi je saurai m'approcher ; 
Je percerai le cccur que je n'ai pu toucher. 
Et mes sanglantes mains, sur moi-même toors^ei. 
Aussitôt, malgré lui, joindront noc destinées; 
Et, tout ingrat qu'il est, il me sera plut doux 
De mourir avec lui que de vivre avec vous | 

— Non, je vous priverai de ce plaisir funeste. 
Madame, il ue mourra que de la main d'Orcste I 
Vos ennemis par moi vuus vont être immolés. 
Et vons reooanaltiez mes soins, si vous vgukt!" 



324 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

And Orestes departs, kills Pyrrhus, then returns with his 
bloody sword in his hand to find Hermione. 

" — Madame, e'en est fiut, et vous êtes seme : 
Pyrrhus rend à l'autel son infidèle vie I 

— Il est mort? . . . 

— Il expire, et nos Grecs, irrités, 
Ont lavé dans son sang ses infidélifts 1 
• ••••••■ • 

Mais c'est moi dont l'ardeur leur a servi d'exemple ; 
Je les ai pour vous seule entraînés dans le temple, 
Madame, et vous pouvez justement vous flatter 
D'une mort que leurs bras n'ont £ùt qu'exécuter : 
Vous seule avez porté les coups 1 

— Tais-toi, perfide I 
Et n'impute qu'à toi lâche parricide I 
Va faire chez les Grecs admirer ta fureur. 
Va I je te désavoue, et tu me fais horreur ! . . . 
Barbare! qu'as-tu fait? Avec quelle furie 
As-tu tranché le cours d'une si belle vie? 
Avez-vous pu, cruels, l'immoler aujourd'hui. 
Sans que tout votre sang se soulevât pour lui? 
Mais parle I De son sort qui t'a rendu l'arbitre ? 
Pourquoi l'assassiner? qu'a-t-il fait? à quel titre? 
Qui te l'a dit? 

— O dieux ! quoi ! ne m'aver-vous pas 
Vous-même, ici, tantôt, ordonné son trépas? 

— Ah I fallait-il en croire une amante insensé ? . , ." 

It is the same passion, we see, in both women: Opera 
dancer and Spartan princess, they speak differently, but act 
in the same manner. True, both have copied la Chimène 
in the Cid. Don Sancho enters, sword in hand, and prostrates 
himself before Chimène. 

" — Madame, à vos genoux j'apporte cette épée . . . 

— Quoi I du sang de Rodrigue encor toute trempée? 
Perfide ! oses-tu bien te montrer il mes yeux 

Après m'avoir ôté ce que j'ainuds le mieux? 
Éclate, mon amour 1 tu n'as plus rien à craindre ; 
Mon père est satisfait ; cesse de te contnùndre I 
Un même coup a mis ma gloire en sûreté, 
Mon âme au désespoir, ma flamme en liberté ! 

— D'un esprit plus rassis . . . 



GOETZ VON BERLICHINGEN 325 

— Tu me parles encore, 
Exécrable assassin du hiros que j'adore ! 
Vu, tu l'as pris en trattre t Un gucnier si vaillant 
N'eût jamstis succombé sous un tel assaillant ! 
N'espère rien de moi j tu ne m'as point servie ; 
En croyant me venger, tu m'as 6té la vie ! . . ." 

True, Corneille borrowed this scene from Guilhem de 
Castro, who took it from the romancers of the Cid. Now, 
the day I listened to that reading by Alfred de Musset, I 
had had already, for more than a year, a similar idea in 
my head. It had been suggested to me by the reading 
of Goethe's famous drama Goetz von Berlichingen. Three 
or four scenes are buried in that titanic drama, each of 
which seemed to me sufficient of themselves to make 
separate dramas. There was always the same situation of 
the woman urging the man she does not love to kill the 
one she loves, as Chiraène in the Cid, as Hermione in 
Andromaque. The analysis of Goelt von BerlUhingen would 
carry us too far afield, we will therefore be content to quote 
these three or four scenes from our friend Marmier's translation : 

^' KDtLK\o%, ftmmt dt WeislingtH ; F KAHTZ, pagt de WeislingtH. 

Anii.AlDE. — Ainsi, les deux expéditions sont en marche ? 
Frantz. — Oui, madame, et mon maître a la joie de combattre vo( 
ennemis. . . . 

— Comment va-t-il ton maître ? 

— A merrcillc ! il m'a chargé de vous baiser la main. 

— La voici . . . Tes lèvres sont brfllantes t 

— C'est ici que je brûle. (Il mft ia main sur jo» .-,tur.) Madame, %'os 
domesti<|aes sont les plus heureux des hommes t . . . Adieu I il faut que 
je reparle. Ne m'ouliliet pas ! 

— Mange d'abord (juclque chose, et prends un peu repos. 

— A quoi bun f Je vous ai vue, je ne me seiu ni faim ni fittigue. 

— Je sais que lu c» un garçon plein de lile. 

— Oh I madame I 

— Mai* tn n'y tiendrais pas . . . KepoM-toi, te dis-je, et prends quel- 
que nourriture. 

— (Jue lie soin* posr on paoTM jeane homme I 

— lia les lamiet aux| yeux ... Je l'aime de lout men conir I Jamais 
personne ne m'a montra tant d'attachement 1 



326 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



ADiLAÏDX, Frantz, tHtrttitl u$u lettre à la main. 

Frantz. — Void poor vous, madame. 

ADiLAÏDB, — Est-ce Charles Ini-méme qui te l'a remise? 

— Oui. 

— Qu'as-tu donc ? Tu parus triste 1 

— Vous voulez absolument me ûdre périr de langueur . . . Oui,jemonr- 
rai dans l'âge de l'espérance, et c'est vous qui en serez cause ! 

— Il me fiùt de la peine ... Il m'en coûterait si peu pour le rendre 
heureux I — Prends courage, jeune homme, je connais ton amour, ta 
fidélité; je ne serai point ingrate. 

— Si vous en étiez capable, je mourrab I Mon Dieu ! moi qui n'ai 
pas une goutte de sang qui ne soit à vous I moi qui n'ai de sens que 
pour vous aimer et pour obéir i ce que vous désirez I 

— Cher en£uit 1 

— Vous me flattez 1 et tout cela n'aboutit qu'a s'en voir préférer 
d'autres . . . Toutes vos pensées tournées vers Charles I . . . Aussi, je 
ne le veux plus . . . Non, je ne veux plus servir d'entremetteur ! 

— Frantz, ta t'oublies 1 

— Me sacrifier ! . . . sacrifier mon maître I mon cher maître ! 

— Sortez de ma présence I 

— Madame. ... 

— Va, dénonce-moi a ton cher maître . . . J'étais bien folle de te 
prendre pour ce que tu n'es pas. 

— Chère noble dame, vous savez que je vous aime ! 

— Je t'aimais bien aussi ; tn étais pris de mon cœur . . . Va, trahis- 
moi I 

— Je m'arrachertùs plutôt le sein ! . . . Pardonnez-moi, madame ; mon 
ime est trop pleine, je ne suis plus maître de moi I 

— Cher enfant I excellent coeur 1 

(Elle lui prend Us mains, F attire à elle; leurs bouthes se rencontrent; 
il se jette à son cou en pleurant.) 

— Laisse-moi ! . . . Les murs ont des yeux . . . Laisse-moi . . . 
Elle se dégage.) Aime-moi toujours ainsi; sois toujours aussi fidèle; la 
plus belle récompense t'attend! {Elle sort.) 

— La plus belle récompense ! Dieu, làisse-moi vivre jusque 1 ... Si 
mon père me disputait cette place, je le tuerais I 



Wbislingen, Frantz. 

Wrislingbn. — Frantz I 
Frantz. — Monseigneur I 

— Exécute ponctuellement mes ordres : tu m'en réponds sur ta vie. 
Remets-lui cette lettre ; il &ut qu'elle quitte la cour, et se retire dans 



EXTRACT CONTINUED 



327 



mon chateau i t'instaot mime. Tu U verms partir, et aussUAt tu le- 
viendras m'annonccr son depart. 

— Vos ordres seront suivis. 

— Dis-lui bien qu'il faut qu'elle le veuille ... Va ! 

Ad&uudk, Fkantz. 

{AditàiJe litul à la main la Utlrt th son mari apportét par Fratitt.) 

AuttAÏOB. — Lui ou moi ! . . . L'insolent ! me menacer ! Nous sauroiu 
le prévenir . , . Mais qui se glisse dans le salon? 

Frantz, se jetant à ton ecu. — Ah ! madame t obère madame ! , . . 

— Écervelé ! si quelqu'un t'avait entendu ! 

— Oh 1 tout dort I . . . tout le monde dort 1 

— Que veux-tu ? 

— Je n'ai point de sommeil : les meivaces de mon maître . . . votre 
sort . . . mon cceur . . . 

— n était bien en colère quand tu l'as quitté ? 

— Comme jamais je ne l'ai vu ! ' Il faut qu'elle porte pour mon 
chitcku ! a-t-il dit ; il faut qu'elle le veuille I ' 

— Et . . . nous obéirons ? 

— Je n'en sais rien, madame. 

— Pauvre enfant, dupe de ta bonne foi, tu ne vois (tas où cela mène I 
Il sait qu'ici je suis en sûreté ... Ce n'c^i pus d'atijininrhui qu'il en 
veut & mon indépendance ... Il me (ait aller doiu tes domaines parce 
que, li, il aura le pouvoir de me traiter an gré de son aversion. 

— Il ne le Fera pat I 

— Je vois dans l'avenir toute ma nûsère ! Je ne mterai pu» longtemps 
dans son chltcau : U m'en arrachera pour m'enfermer dans un cloître ! 

— O mort ! à enfer I 

— Me tanvenu-tu ? 

— Tout I tout plutôt qoe cela ! 

— Frantz I {£» fltun il rtmiraisant.) Oh I Frani^ : |miii nuux 
mnver. . . . 

— Otii, il tombera . . . U tombas tous mes coupe I je le foolemi au 
pieds! 

— Point d'emportement ! Teins, remets-lui plutAt un UUet plein d* 
respect, où je l'atsure de mon entière stiumituon il ses ordres ... Et cette 
fiole . . . cette fiole, vidcla dons son verre. 

— Uonnei, vous sem lihrc ! 



Wki«i.incbi«, puit FiAim. 

W>HLt!<OEM. — Je sois H malade, si faible I . . . ma os «ont brii£i 1 
Qoe Sèvrc ardente en a eatmaié k notik I Ni pois ni tftvc, h Joar 
lUuit . . . aBa»snI<MauMUasiUd«rt«««cmpoiMBné». . . , 



5ri: MŒîMSS OF ALEXâXIMLE DUMAS 

j: :iBxiL' jt warn «hue. ii£iir 
. . .. Trc inac j^BSts: ansiic 

XBS » -. - ^QBliS ^"*^' Q^vmOtK Use SHBDC 

jc jw^nt tmnnr ' . . - 

rsjLxrtu aiB-'mc ABC- 2c Mr / whel tg^aaam. — Xa 

— IkiiBr- 

— X>c siooiac . . . ôt jinauit & » iu c imaae ... Moi, c'est moi ! 
iJT -'nfint , mtjmmtmc an âm âmmm^^fl^~ 

— C «K ôos jt àèin . . . C& : où. ic > aan ... le ■oityte ! la 
mav . . . .Tjaiine JB iaB>.> Xbsc: ie l'etpàt pbs'. jewaeaal . . . 
Tg sans ; . . . «L imaRBK. .v ae pœ aaaa âe «inc ... Oh ! dans 
m Kfimx s:mcac at U tk e «e Ik racei. x r a teas les wppBcrs de 




Xcv âa: :bf teùct b» 2aad pbaed befcre him all these 
ranees capaeos cwc GmH nn* Strsickà^tM, the Gd, 
A*^'fi*:V»i* xad âe Jlftonmrns à ,«3^ «fajda the genius of 
four poets — Gccdbe, CcgnfsBr, Rirdse and Alfred de Musset — 
have ghvn cs. be «iH odensazsd die anatogj-, the famfly 
likeness vhSd: exiss Skwms àe diSaent scenes; they are 
not entiie-Iy alike, bet dïer aie sâïetSL 

Now, as I have saSd, the» fev passages from G<)f/s von 
Bfrù'Mmgm had îain dcn&ant in my memory; neither the 
CiJ nor AitJn?maçtit had arocsed them : the insular, 
passionate, \xnA poetry of Alfied de Musset galvanized them 
into Ufe, and from that moment I felt I must put them to use. 

About the same time, too, I read Qiumtin Durward and was 
much impressed by the character of Maugrabin ; I had taken 
note of several of his [biases full of Oriental poetry. I 
decided to place my drama in the centre of the Middle Ages 
and to make my two principal personages, a lovely and austere 
lady of a manor and an Arab sla>-e who, whilst sighing after 
his native land, is kept tied to the land of exile by a stronger 
chain than that of slavery. I therefore set to work to hunt 
about in chronicles of the fifteenth century to find a peg 
^ which to hang my picture. I have always upheld the 

mirable adaptibility of history in this respect; it never 

e* the poet in the lurch. Accordingly, my way of dealing 

histoiy is a curious one. I begin by making up a story ; 

to make it romantic, tender and dramatic, and, when 



CHRONICLES OF KING CHARLES VIL 329 



sentiment and imagination are duly provided, I hunt through 
history for a framework in which to set them, and it is in- 
variably the case that history furnishes me with such a setting ; 
a setting so perfect and so exactly suited to the subject, that 
it seems as though the frame had been made to fit the picture, 
and not the picture to fit the frame. And, once more, chance 
favoured me and was more than kind. See what I found on 
page five of the Chronicles of King Charla VII., by Maitre 
Alain Chartier homme trl-s-honorable : 

" And at that lime, it happened to a knight called Messire 
Charles de Savoisy that one of his horse-boys, in riding a horse 
to let him drink at the river, bespattered a scholar, who, with 
others, was going in procession to Saint Katherine, to such an 
extent that the scholar struck the said horse-boy ; and, then, 
the servants of the aforesaid knight sallied forth from his castle 

E armed with cudgels, and followed the said scholars right away 
to Saint Katherine ; and one of the servants of the aforesaid 
knight shot an arrow into the church as far as to the high 
altar, where the priest was saying Mass; then, for this fact, 
the University made such a pursuit after the said knight, that 
the house of the said knight was smitten down, and the said 
knight was banished from the kingdom of France and ex- 
communicated. He betook himself to the pope, who gave him 
absolution, and he armed four galleys and went over the seas, 
making war on the Saracens, and there gained much possessions. 
Then he returned and made his peace, and rebuilt his house in 
Paris, in fashion as before ; but he was not yet finished, and 
caused his house of Signelay (Seignelais) in Auxerrois to be 
beautifully built by the .Saracens whom he had brought from 
across the sea ; the which château is three leagues from Auxerre." 

It will be seen that history had thought of everything for 
me, and provided me with a frame which bad been waiting 
for its picture for four hundred years. 

It was to this event, related in the Chronicle of Maître Alain 
Chartier, that Yaqoub alludes when he says to Bérengbre : 

" Malbeureux ? . . . nulheureux, en cfTet ; 
Car, pour soafTtii ■insi, ditcs-rooi, qu'ù-je fait? . . . 
EtI-ce ma (aute, à moi, si rotre ^poux cl mahre, 
I'uuikuivant im vassal, nuilgic les cris du piitre. 



330 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Entim dans one ^lue, et, U, d'un conp mortel, 

Le finppa? Si le sang jaillit jusqu'à l'autel. 

Est-ce ma &ate ? Si sa colire imbécile, 

Oublia que l'église était un lien d'asile, 

Est-ce ma &ute? Et si, pai l'Univemté, 

A venger ce forfait le saint-père excité. 

Dit que, pour désarmer le céleste colère, 

n âiUait que le comte arm&t une galère, 

Et, portant sur nos bords la désolation. 

Nous fit esclaves, nous, en expiation, 

Est-ce ma faute encore? et puis-je pas me plaindre 

Qu'an fond de mon désert son crime aille m'atteindre? ..." 

This skeleton found, and my diama now having, so to 
speak, in the characters of Savoisy, Bérengère and Yaqoub, 
its head, heart and legs, it was necessary to provide arms, 
muscles, flesh and the rest of its anatomy. Hence the need 
of history ; and history had in reserve Charles vii., Agnes and 
Dunois ; and the whole of the great struggle of France against 
England was made to turn on the love of an Arab for the wife 
of the man who had made him captive and transported him 
from Africa to France. I think I have exposed, with sufficient 
clearness, what I borrowed as my foundation, from Goethe, 
Corneille, Racine and Alfred de Musset; I will make them 
more palpable still by quotations ; for, as I have got on the 
subject of self-criticism, I may as well proceed to the end, 
rather than remain before my readers, solus, pauper et nudus, 
as Adam in the Earthly Paradise, or as Noah under his 
vine-tree I 

"BiRBNGiRE, Yaqoub. 

— Yaqoub, si vos paroles 
Ne vous échappent point comme des sons frivoles, 
Vous m'avez dit ces mots : ' S'il était, par hasard, 
Un homme dont l'aspect blessât votre regard ; 
Si ses jours sur vos jours avaient cette influence 
Que son trépas pût seul finir votre souffrance; 
De Mahomet lui-même eût-il reçu ce droit. 
Quand il passe, il &udrait me le montrer du doigt 
Vous avez dit cela? 

— Je l'ai dit ... Je inssonne 
Mais un homme par moi fat excepté. 



DUMAS' CHARLES VH. 



33' 



— Personne. 

— Un homme à ma vengeance a le droit d'échapper . . . 

— Si c'était celui-là qu'il te fallût frapper? 

S'il billait que sur lui la vengeance fût prompte? . . . 

— Son nom? 

— Le comte, 

— Enfer ? je m'en doutais ; le comte ? 

— Entendez-vous ? le comte ! ... Eh bien ? 

— Je ne le pois \ 

— Adieu donc pour toujours I 

— Resta, ou je vous tais. 

— J'avais cru jusqu'ici, quelle croyance folle ! 

Que les chrétiens eux seuls manquaient 1 leur parole. 
Je me trompais, c'est touL 

— Madame . . . 

— Laissez-moi? 
Oh 1 mais vous mentiez donc ? 

— Vous savez bien pourquoi 
Ma vengeance ne peut s'allier i la v6ire : 
U m'a sauvé la vie ... Oh I nommez-moi tout autre 1 



Un instant, Bérengire, écoulez-moi I 

— J'écoule: 
Dites vite. 

— J'ai cru, je me trompais sans donte, 
Qu'ici vous m'aviez dit, ici m£me . . . Pardon 1 

— Quoi? 
— Que vous m'aimiez ! 

— Oui, je l'ai dit. 

— Eh bien, donc, 
Puisque même destin, même amour nous rassemble, 
Bérengère, ce soir . . . 

— Eh bien? 

— Fuyons ensemble I 

— Sans frapper? 

— Ses remords vous vengeront-ils pas? 

— Eaclave, me crois-tu le cour placé si bas. 

Que je puisse souffrir qu'en ce monde où nous sommes. 
J'aie été lour à tour l'amante de deux liommcs. 
Dont le premier m'iniulte, et que tous deux vivront. 
Sans que de celuiU m'ait vengé le second? 
Crois-tu que, dans un oeur ardent comme le ndtre. 
Un amoul (luitse entrer sans qu'il dévore l'autre? 
Si tu l'as espéré, l'e^oit est insultant \ 

— Bèrengerc I 





332 MEMOIS5 OF ALEXASDKE DUMAS 

■^ Eaot ssm, line ctt £n ... ■ a-ccs * 

<^ fam poor 4e ris « ^at, la, à 

Ta limtm fm ck ^k poor de Fa 

Et. /a s'cB éiât fM^ )e 

Ite «t aMHin 

Me c^HCr aa aaiSes da frmr», des «alets, 

Qm Ibacat lea cposz de lean : 

Et le* iuBe snater, oei .-«Juii» trop 

Ea vuaat œ flif dmi It iii^g des w w w S 

— !>■ pgiaoD? 

— Dapaooo: >faâ( ne vieaa pfas, afaô, 
Etdar^ mt p»M%e* Stmaat ct de Relets ! 
KeteeMa tMJoon? . . . D le lette m qant dliente. 
CeM eooote ^ba de temps qnH n'en £nt poar qn^ mente. 
Un qaatt dlwate ! . . Répinds, moom-t-il de u main ? 
Es4a prêt 7 Réponds-moi, car j'j vais. Dix ! 

— Demain ! 

— Demain I Et, cette nuit, dans cette dBunbre même, 
Ain« qu'il me l'a dit, il loi dira : Je t'aime ! 
lJ«main I Et, d'ici la, qne feni-je? Ah ! tn veux. 
Cette nuit, qu'à deux mains j'anadie mes cfaevenz ; 
<^ue je tjrise mon front i toutes les murailles ; 

<)viK je devienne foUe 7 Ah ! demain I mais ta railles ! 

Kt si ce ynu ^tait le àenàa de nos jours ? 

Si cette nuit d'enfer allait dorer toujours? 

Dieu le peut ordonner, si c'est sa fimtaisie. 

Demain ? Et si je suis morte de jaloiuie ? 

Tu n'es donc pas jaloux, toi? tu ne l'es donc pas?" 

I refrain from quoting the rest of the scene, the methods 
employed being, I believe, those peculiar to myself. Yaqoub 
yield» : he dashes into the Comte's chamber ; Bérengère flings 
herself behind a pric-Uieu ; the Comte passes by with his new 
wife ; he enters his room ; a shriek is heard. 

" BtKBNoftRB, puis Yaqoub tt Lb Comtb. 

BAKBNCftRB. 

Le voilà qui tombe 1 
SiivuUy, relient-mol ma place dons ta tombe 1 
(Rlh apa/» It ptison qtitlU avait mmtré à Yagtub.) 



THE SAME 333 

Yaqoub. 

. . . FujKms ! il vient 
{L* ctmtt paraît, sauvant tt se crampottMOHt à la tapisserU.) 

LX COMTR. 

Cest toi. 
Yaqoab, qui m'as tué I 

BiKBNGftKR. 

Ce n'est pas lui : c'est moi ! 

Lr Comtb. 
Bérengète I ... Au secours ! Je meurs I 

Yaqoub. 

Maintenant, femme, 
Fais-moi tout oublier, car c'est vraiment infime ! 
Viens donc I ... Tu m'as promis de venir ... Je t'attends . , 
D'être à moi pour toujours ! 

BâRKNGftKB. 

Encor quelques instants, 
Et je t'appartiendrai tout entière. 

Yaqoub. 

Regarde! 
Ils accourent aux cris qu'il a poussés . . . Prends garde. 
Nous ne pourrons plus fuir, il ne sera plus temps. 
Ils viennent, Bérengire I 

BftRBNGftRR. 

Attends, encore, attends! 

Yaqoub. 

Oh ! viens, viens I tonte attente à cette heure est moitelle ! 

La cour est pleine, vois . . . Mais viens donc I . . , Que bùt-elle ? 

Bérengire, est-ce ainsi que tu gardes ta foi I 

Bérengire, entends-tu? viens! 

BiRBNcftRB, rendant U dtmitr tampir. 

Me voici . . . Prends m<n 



334 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Yaqoub. 

Oh I malédiction 1 ... «on front devient livide . . . 

Son cœui ? ... Il ne bat plus I ... Sa main ? Le flacon vide I . . ." 

It will be seen that this contains three imitations ; the imita- 
tion of Racine's Andromague ; that of Goethe's Goetz von 
BerlicMngen ; and that of Al&ed de Musset's Marrons ie feu. 
The reason is that Charles VII. is, first of all, a study, a 
laboriously worked up study and not a work done on the spur 
of the moment ; it is a work of assimilation and not an orighud 
drama, which cost me infinitely more laboiu: than Antony, 
but it does not therefore mean that I love it as much as 
Antony. Yet a few more words before I finish the subject 
Let us run through the imitations in detail. I said I borrowed 
different passages from Maugrabin in Quentin Durward. 
Here they are : — 

'"Unhappy being!' Quentin Durward exclaims. 'Think 
better ! . . . What canst thou expect, dying in such opinions, 
and impenitent ? ' 

'"To be resolved into the elements,' said the hardened 
atheist ; my hope, trust and expectation is, that the mysterious 
frame of humanity shall melt into the general mass of nature, 
to be recompounded in the other forms with which she daily 
supplies those which daily disappear, and return under different 
forms, — the watery particles to streams and showers, the 
earthly parts to enrich their mother earth, the airy portions to 
wanton in the breeze ; and those of fire to supply the blaze of 
Aldeboran and his brethren — In this faith have I lived, and I 
wiU die in it ! '" 

Yaqoub is condemned to death for having killed Raymond 
the Comte's archer. 

" Lb Comtb. 

Esclave, si tu meuis en de tels sentiments, 
Q'espères-tu ? 

Yaqoub. 

De rendre un corps aux éléments, 
Masse commune oik l'homme, en ezpinuit, rapporte 
Tout ce qu'en le créant la nature en emporte. 



QUENTIN DURWARD 335 

Si Ia terre, si l'eau, si l'air et si le feu 
Me formèrent, aux mains du hasard ou de Dieu, 
La venl, en dispersant ma poussière en sa course. 
Saura bien reporter chaque chose i sa source I " 

The second imitation examined in detail is again borrowed 
from Walter Scott, but from The Talisman this time, not 
from Quentin Durward. The Knight of the Leopard and the 
Saracen, after fighting against one another, effect a truce, and 
take lunch, chatting together, by the fountain called the 
Diamond of the Desert. 

"'Stranger,' asked the Saracen, — 'with how many men 
didst thou come on this warfare ? ' 

" ' By my faith,' said Sir Kenneth, ' with aid of friends and 
kinsmen, I was hardly pinched to furnish forth ten well- 
appointed lances, with maybe some fifty more men, archers 
and varlets included.' 

" ' Christian, here I have five arrows in my quiver, each 
feathered from the wing of an eagle. When I send one of 
them to my tents, a thousand warriors mount on horseback. 
When I send another, an equal force will arise — for the five, 
1 can command five thousand men ; and if I send my bow, 
ten lliousand mounted riders will shake the desert.' " 



" Yaijoub. 

Car mon père, au Said, n'est point nn chef vulgaire. 
Il a dans son carquois quatre flèches de guerre, 
El, lorsqu'il tend son arc, et que, vers quatre bats, 
Il le lance en signal à ses quatre tribus, 
Chacune à loi fournir cent cavaliers fidèle» 
Met le temps que met l'aigle & déployer Mt aile*," 

There, thank Heaven, my confession is ended ! It has l>een 
a long one ; but then Ckarlts VII., as an assimilative and 
imitative work, is my greatest sin in that rcrspcct. 



CHAPTER XIV 

Poetry is the Spirit of God — Tlie Conservatoire and l'École of Rome — 
Letter of counsel to my Son — Employment of my time at Trouville — 
Madame de la Garenne — The Vend^an Bonnechose — M. Beudin — 
I am pursued by a fish — What came of it 

IF I had not just steeped my readers in literature, during 
the preceding chapters, I should place a work before 
them which might not perhaps be uninteresting to them. It 
would be the ancient tradition oiPhidre, which is to Euripides, 
for example, what the Spanish romancer's is to Guilhem de 
Castro. Then I would show what Euripides borrowed from 
tradition; then what, five hundred years later, the Roman 
Seneca borrowed from Euripides; then finally, what, sbcteen 
centuries later still, the French Racine borrowed from both 
Euripides and Seneca. At the same time I should show how 
the genius of each nation and the emotional taste of each age 
brought about changes from the original character of the 
subject. One last word. Amongst all peoples, literature 
always begins with poetry ; prose only comes later. Orpheus, 
Homer, Hesiod — Herodotus, Plato, Aristotle. 

" In the beginning, says Genesis, God created the heavens. 
And the earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon 
the face of the deep ; and the Spirit of God moved upon the 
face of the waters." 

Poetry is the Spirit of God, or, rather, it is primeval poetic 

substance, impersonal and common property; it floats in 

space like the cosmic essence of which Humboldt speaks, a 

kind of luminous matter, mother of old worlds, germ of 

worlds to come ; indestructible, because it is incessantly being 

336 



MEN OF GENIUS 



337 



renewed, each element faithfully giving back to it that which 
it has borrowed. 

Gradually, however, this matter settles round the great 
personalities, as clouds settle round great mountains, and in 
like manner as clouds dissolve into springs of living waters, 
spreading over plains, satisfying bodily thirst, so does this 
cosmic element resolve itself into poetry, hymns, songs and 
tragedies which satisfy the thirst of the soul. The inference 
to be drawn from the foregoing analogy is, that human genius 
creates and individual genius applies. Thus, when a critic 
happened to accuse Shakes[>eare of having taken a scene or 
phrase or idea from a contemporary writer, he said : " I have 
but rescued a child from evil company to put it among better 
companions." Again, Molière answered, even more naively 
still, when people made the same reproach with regard to 
him : " I take my treasure wherever I find it ! " Now, 
Shakespeare and Molière were right : the man of genius — 
need I point out that I mean the great masters, not myself? 
(I am well aware that I shall not be of any importance until 
after my death I) — the man of genius, I repeat, does not steal, 
he conquers : he makes a colony, as it were, of the province 
he takes ; he imposes his own laws upon it and peoples it with 
his own subjects ; he extends his golden sceptre over it, and 
not a soul, seeing his fine kingdom, dares to say to him 
(except, of course, the jealous, who are subject to no one and 
will not recognise even genius as supreme ruler), " This portion 
of territory does not belong to your patrimony." It is «n 
absurd notion that this arbitrary spirit should accord its pro- 
tection to letters : it means that it prohibits foreign literature 
and discourages contemporary literature. In a country like 
France, which is the brain of Europe, and whose language is 
spoken throughout the whole world, owing to the equipoise of 
consonants and vowels, which disconcert neither northern nor 
southern nations, there ought to lie a universal literature 
besides its national one. Everything of beauty that has been 
produced in the whole world, from ^schylus down to Alfieri, 
from Sakouatdla to Romeo, from the romancero of the Cid 
V. — 2 a 



338 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

down to Schiller's Brigands, — all ought to belong to France, if 
not by right of inheritance, at least by right of conquest 
Nothing that an entire people has admired can be without 
value, and everything that has a value ought to find its place 
in that vast casket entitled French intelligence. It is on 
account of this false system that there is a Conservatoire and 
an École at Rome. We have already, in connection with the 
mise-en-scine of Soulié's Juliette, said a few words about this 
Conservatoire, which has the unique object of teaching youi^ 
men to scan Molière and to recite Racine's Corneille. We 
will now complete the sketch begun. As a result of the 
invariable programme, adopted by the government, every pupil 
of the Conservatoire, after three years' study, leaves the rue 
Bergère incapable of appreciating any modern or foreign 
literature ; acquainted with the songe of Athalie, the récit of 
Théramène, the monologue of Auguste, the scene between 
Tartuffe and Elmire, that of the Misanthrope and Oronte, of 
Gros-René and Marinette ; he is completely ignorant that there 
existed at Athens people of the names of ^schylus, Euripides, 
Sophocles and Aristophanes ; at Rome, Ennius, Plautus, 
Terence and Seneca ; in England, Shakespeare, Otway, 
Sheridan and Byron; in Germany, Goethe, Schiller, Uhland 
and Kotzebue; in Spain, Guillem de Castro, Tirso de 
Molina, Calderon and Lope de Vega; in Italy, Macchiavelli, 
Goldoni, Alfieri ; that these men have left a trail of light across 
twenty-four centuries and among five different peoples, con- 
sisting of stars called Orestes, Alcestis, Œdipus at Colonus, Tke 
Knights, Aulularia, Eunuchus, Hippolytus, Romeo and Juliet, 
Venice Preserved, The School for Scandal, Manfred, Goetz von 
Berlichingen, Kabale und Liebe, les Pupilles, Menschenhass und 
Peue, The Cid, Don Juan, le Chien du Jardinier, le Médecin 
de son honneur, le Meilleur Alcade âest le Roi, la Man- 
dragora, le Bourra bienfaisant, and Philippe IL You will 
see that I only quote one masterpiece by each of these 
men; also that the pupils of the Conservatoire are utterly 
ignorant, behind the times and of no use on any stage except 
those which play Molière, Racine and Corneille. And, 




THE CHANGEABLE ART 



furthermore ! . . . None of the great actors of our time have 
come from the Conservatoire ; neither Talma, nor Mars, 
Firmin, Potier, Vernet, Bouffé, Rachel, Frédérick-LemaStre, 
Bocage, Dorval, Mélingue, Amal, Numa, Bressant, Déjazet, 
Rose Chéri, Duprez, M asset, nor any prominent person what- 
soever. What is to be said about a mill which goes round 
and says tic-tac but does not grind ? 

Ah ! well, the same vice exists in the École of Rome as in 
the Conservatoire. If there is a changeable art it is that of 
painting. Each artist sees a colour which is not that of his 
neighbour ; one calls it green, another yellow, another blue, 
another red : one inclines towards the Flemish School, another to 
the Spanish and yet another to tlie German. You would think 
they would send each student, according as his bent might be, 
to study Rubens at Anvers, Murillo at Madrid, Cornelius at 
Munich ? Nothing of the sort ! They all go to Rome to 
study Raphael or Michael Angelo ! Not a painter, not a 
single original sculptor of our time was a 
neither Delacroix, nor Rousseau, Diaz, 
Boulanger, Miiller, Isabey, Brascassat, 
Clésinger, Gavami, Rosa Bonheur, nor . . . 
was tempted to say — nor anybody ! 
absurd it will still continue to e.\ist 



pupil at Rome; 
Dupré, Cabot, 
Giraud, Barrye, 
upon my word, I 
But as the institution is 
With half the money to 
spend they could turn out twice as many actors, painters and 
sculptors ; only, they would turn them out capable instead of 
incapable. 

We have travelled a long way from Trouville I What would 
you have me do ? Fancy has the wings of Icarus, the horses 
of Hippolytus : she goes as far as she dare towards the sun, as 
near as she dare without dashing herself against the rocks. Let 
us return to Charlts VII., the first cause of all this digression. 
Whatever may have been the cause ; when I returned to 
Mother Oseraie's inn, at nine o'clock on the evening of 7 July, 
I wrote the first lines of that scene. By the following mominK, 
the first hundred lines of the drama were ' 
them were the thirty-six or thirty-eiat 
hunt. They should rank among I 



340 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

have writtea On the other hand, in order that an exact idea 
may be formed of the value I put upon my own poetry, I may 
be allowed to transcribe here a letter which I wrote, fifteen or 
sixteen years ago, to my son, who asked my advice on the 
poetry he ought to read and on the ancient and modem poets 
he ought to study. 

"My dear Boy, — Your letter gave me great pleasure, as 
every letter from you does which shows you are doing what is 
right You ask me the use of the Latin verses — ^whicb you are 
forced to compose ; they are not very important ; nevertheless, 
you learn metre by so doing, and that enables you to scan properly 
and to understand the music of Virgil's poetry and the freedom 
and ease of Horace. Again, this habit of scanning will come in 
useful, if you ever have to talk Latin in Hungary, where every 
peasant speaks it. Learn Greek steadily and thoroughly, so as 
to be able to read Homer, ^schylus, Sophocles, Euripides, 
and Aristophanes in the original, and you will then be able to 
learn modem Greek in three months. Practise yourself well in 
the pronunciation of German ; later you will leam English and 
Italian. Then, when you know all these, we will decide together 
what career you shall follow. At the same time do not neglect 
drawing. Tell Charlieu to give you not only Shakespeare 
but Dante and Schiller as well. Do not place much reliance 
on the verses they make you read at school: professor's 
verses are not worth a sou ! Study the Bible, as a religious 
book, a history and a poem ; Sacy's translation, although very 
poor, is the best ; look, for the magnificent poetry contained 
beneath all those ambiguous veilings and obscurities j in 
Saul and Joseph, and especially in Job, a poem which is one 
long human wail. Read Corneille ; leam portions of him by 
heart. Corneille is not always poetical, he is at times petti- 
fogging; but he always uses fine, picturesque and concise 
language. Tell Charpentier, from me, to give you André 
Chénier : he is the poet of solitude and the night, akin to the 
nightingales. Charpentier lives in the rue de Seine ; you can 
get his address from Buloz. Tell Collin to give you, through 
Hachette, four volumes entitled, Rome au SiicU (T Auguste; 
it is a dry but learned work on ancient times. Read all Hugo ; 
read Lamartine, but only the Meditations and the Harmonies, 
Then write an essay on the passages you think beautiful and 
those you think bad ; and show it to me on my return. Finally, 



ADVICE TO HIS SON 



341 



always keep yourself occupied, and rest yourself by the variety 
of your occupations. Take care of your health and be wise. 

Good-bye, my dear lad. I told D to give you twenty francs 

for a New Year's gift. Alexandre Dumas" 

P.S. — Tell Collin that, as soon as my piece is received, I 
will write to Buloz to arrange the business of his introduction 
to the Théâtre- Français. Go to Tresse, at the Palais Royal; 
get from him at my expense the poems of Hugo, and his 
dramas, and Molière of the Panthéon ; the Lamartine I will 
give you on my return. Read Molière often, much, always; 
with Saint-Simon and Madame Sévigné he is the supreme 
type of the language of the time of Louis xiv. Learn by heart 
certain passages of Tartuffe, the Femmes savantes and the 
Misanthrope : there have been and there will be other master- 
pieces of style, but nothing will ever exceed these in beauty. 
Learn by heart the monologue of Charles Quint from Hemani, 
all Marion Delorme, the monologue of Saint- Vallier and that of 
Triboulet in Le Roi s'amuse, the speech of Angelo on Venice ; 
in conclusion, although I have few things to mention in 
comparison with the works I have just pointed out to you, learn 
the recital of Stella, in my Caligula ; Yaqoub's lion-hunt, as 
well as the whole scene between the Comte, the King and Agnes 
Sorel, in the third act of Charles VII. Read de Vigny's 
Othello and Romeo; read de Musset without being carried 
away by his great facility and his inaccuracy, which in him 
might almost be reckoned a virtue, but which, in another, would 
be a serious fault. These are the ancient and modern writers 
I advise you to study. Later you shall pass on from these to 
a wider range. Adieu, you see I am treating you as though 
you were a grown-up youth and reasoning with you. You will 
soon be fifteen, and what I have said is quite easy to understand 
— your health, your health before all things : health is the 
foundation of everything in your future, and especially of talent. 

"A. D." 



I hope the sincerity and impartiality of my opinion upon 
others will be believed, when it is seen with what sincerity and 
impartiality I speak of myself. 

From that day our life began to assume the uniformity and 
monotony of the life of the waters. I bethought me that I 
ought to introduce myself to the mayor, M. Guétier, a brave 



340 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

have written. On the other hand, in order that an exact idea 
may be formed of the value I put upon my own poetry, I may 
be allowed to transcribe here a letter whidi I wrote, fifteen or 
sixteen years ago, to my son, who asked my advice on the 
poetry he ought to read and on the ancient and modem poets 
he ought to study. 

"Mv DKAR Bov, — Your letter gave me great pleasure, as 
every letter from you does which shows you are doing what is 
right You ask me the use of the Latin verses — ^which you are 
forced to compose ; they are not very important ; neverthdess, 
you learn metre by so doing, and that enables you to scan properiy 
and to understand the music of Virgil's poetry and the freedom 
and ease of Horace. Again, this habit of scaiming will come in 
useful, if you ever have to talk Latin in Hungary, where every 
peasant speaks it Learn Greek steadily and thoroughly, so as 
to be able to read Homer, ^schylus, Sophocles, Euripides, 
and Aristophanes in the original, and you will then be able to 
learn modem Greek in three months. Practise yourself well in 
the pronunciation of German ; later you will learn English and 
Italian. Then, when you know all these, we will decide together 
what career you shall follow. At the same time do not neglect 
drawing. Tell Charlieu to give you not only Shakespeare 
but Dante and Schiller as well. Do not place much reliance 
on the verses they make you read at school: professor's 
verses are not worUi a sou ! Study the Bible, as a religious 
book, a history and a poem ; Sacy's translation, although very 
poor, is the best; look, for the magnificent poetry contained 
beneath all those ambiguous veilmgs and obscurities; in 
Saul and Joseph, and especially in Job, a poem which is one 
long human wail. Read Corneille ; learn portions of him by 
heart Corneille is not always poetical, he is at times petti- 
fogging; but he always uses fine, picturesque and concise 
language. Tell Charpentier, from me, to give you André 
Chénier : he is the poet of solitude and the night, akin to the 
nightingales. Charpentier lives in the rue de Seine ; you can 
get his address from Buloz. Tell Collin to give you, through 
Hachette, four volumes entitled, £ome au SiicU (t Auguste; 
it is a dry but learned work on ancient times. Read all Hugo ; 
read Lamartine, but only the Méditations and the Harmonies. 
Then write an essay on the passages you think beautiful and 
those you think bad ; and show it to me on my return. Finally, 



ADVICE TO HIS SON 



34» 



always keep yourself occupied, and rest yourself by the variety 
of your occupations. Tsîke care of your health and bt wise. 

Good-bye, my dear lad. I told D to give you twenty francs 

for a New Year's gift Alexandre Dlmas " 

P.S. — ^Tell Collin that, as soon as my piece is received, I 
will write to Buioz to arrange the business of his introduction 
to the Théâtre-Français. Go to Tresse, at the Palais Royal ; 
get from him at my expense the poems of Hugo, and his 
dramas, and Molière of the Panthéon ; the Lamartine I will 
give you on my return. Read Molière often, much, always ; 
with Saint-Simon and Madame Sévigné be is the supreme 
type of the language of the time of Louis xiv. Learn by heart 
certain passages of Tarhiffe, the Femmes savantes and the 
Misanthrope : there have been and there wiU be other master- 
pieces of style, but nothing will ever exceed these in beauty. 
Learn by heart the monologue of Charles Quint from Htmani, 
all Marion Delomu, the monologue of Saint- Vallier and that of 
Triboulet in Le Roi s'amuse, the speech of Angelo on Venice ; 
in conclusion, although I have few things to mention in 
comparison with the worics I have just [>ointed out to you, learn 
the recital of Stella, in my Caligula ; Yaqoub's lion-hunt, as 
well as the whole scene between the Comte, the King and Agnes 
Sorel, in the third act of Charles VII. Read de Vign/s 
Othello and Homio; read de Musset without being carried 
away by his great facility and his inaccuracy, which in him 
might almost be reckoned a virtue, but which, in another, would 
be a serious fault. These are the ancient and modem writers 
I advise you to study. Later you shall pass on from these to 
a wider range. Adieu, you see I am treating you as though 
you were a grownup youth and reasoning with you. You will 
soon be fifteen, and what I have said is quite easy to understand 
— your health, your health before all things : health is the 
foundation of everything in your future, and especially of talent 

"A. D." 



I hope the sincerity and impartiality of my opinion upon 
others wiû be believed, when it is seen with what smcerity and 
impartiality I speak of myself. 

From that day our life began to assume the uniformity and 
monotony of the life of the waters. I bethought me that I 
ought to introduce myself to the mayor, M. Guétier, a brave 



340 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

have «rittea On the other hand, in order that an exact idea 
may be formed of the value I put upon my own {toetry, I may 
be aUowed to transcribe here a letter which I wrote, fifteen or 
sixteen years ago, to my son, who asked my advice on the 
poetry he ought to read and on the ancient and modem poets 
he ought to study. 

"My dear Boy, — Your letter gave me great pleasure, as 
every letter from you does which shows you are doing what is 
right You ask me the use of the Latin verses — which you are 
forced to compose ; they are not very important ; nevertheless, 
you leam metre by so doing, and that enables you to scan properly 
and to understand the music of Virgil's poetry and the freedom 
and ease of Horace. Again, this habit of scaiming will come in 
useful, if you ever have to talk Latin in Hungary, where every 
peasant speaks it Leam Greek steadily and thoroughly, so as 
to be able to read Homer, iîlschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, 
and Aristophanes in the original, and you will then be able to 
leam modem Greek in three months. Practise yourself well in 
the pronunciation of German ; later you will leam English and 
Italian. Then, when you know all these, we will decide together 
what career you shall follow. At the same time do not n^lect 
drawing. Tell Charlieu to give you not only Shakespeare 
but Dante and Schiller as well. Do not place much reliance 
on the verses they make you read at school: professor's 
verses are not worth a sou ! Study the Bible, as a religious 
book, a history and a poem ; Sac/s translation, although very 
poor, is the best; look, for the magnificent poetry contained 
beneath all those ambiguous veilings and obscurities; in 
Saul and Joseph, and especially in Job, a poem which is one 
long human wail. Read Comeille; leam portions of him by 
heart. Comeille is not always poetical, he is at times petti- 
fogging; but he always uses fine, picturesque and concise 
language. Tell Charpentier, from me, to give you André 
Chénier : he is the poet of solitude and the night, akin to the 
nightingales. Charpentier lives in the me de Seine ; you can 
get his address from Buloz. Tell Collin to give you, through 
Hachette, four volumes entitled, Rome au Siècle i Auguste; 

is a dry but leamed work on ancient times. Read all Hugo ; 

*4 Lamartine, but only the Meditations and the Harmonies. 
n write an essay on the passages you think beautiful and 
e you think bad ; and show it to me on my return. Finally, 



ADVICE TO HIS SON 



34 « 



always keep yourself occupied, and rest yourself by the variety 
of your occupations. Take care of your health and bt wise. 

Good-bye, my dear lad. I told D to give you twenty francs 

for a New Year's gift. Alexandre Dumas" 

P.S. — Tell Collin that, as soon as my piece is received, 1 
will write to Buloz to arrange the business of his introduction 
to the Théâtre-Français. Go to Tresse, at the Palais Royal ; 
get from him at my expense the poems of Hugo, and his 
dramas, and Molière of the Panthéon; the Lamartine I will 
give you on my return. Read Molière often, much, always ; 
with Saint-Simon and Madame Sévigné he is the supreme 
type of the language of the time of Louis xiv. Learn by heart 
certain passages of Tartuffe, the Femmes savantes and the 
Misanthrope : there have been and there will be other master- 
pieces of style, but nothing will ever exceed these in beauty. 
Learn by heart the monologue of Charles Quint from Hcmani, 
all Marion Deiorme, the monologue of Saint-Vallier and that of 
Triboulet in Le Roi s'amuse, the speech of Angelo on Venice ; 
in conclusion, although I have few things to mention in 
comparison with the works I have just pointed out to you, learn 
the recital of Stella, in my Caligula ; Yaqoub's lion-hunt, as 
well as tlie whole scene between the Comte, the King and Agnes 
Sorel, in the third act of Charles VII. Read de Vigny's 
Othello and Roméo; read de Musset without being carried 
away by his great facility and his inaccuracy, which in him 
might almost be reckoned a virtue, but which, in another, would 
be a serious fault. These arc the ancient and modern writers 
I advise you to study. Later you shall pass on from these to 
a wider range. Adieu, you see I am treating you as though 
you were a grown up youth and reasoning with you. You will 
soon be fifteen, and what I have said is quite easy to understand 
— your health, your health before all things: health is the 
foundation of everything in your future, and especially of talent. 

"A. D." 



I hope the sincerity and impartiality of my opinion upon 
others will be believed, when it is seen with what sincerity and 
impartiality I speak of myself. 

From that day our life began to assume the uniformity and 
monotony of the life of the waters. I bethought me that I 
ought to introduce myself to the mayor, M. Guétier, a brave 






34^ MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

and excellent man, who I believe played a somewhat active 
part in 1848, in the embarking of King Louis-Philippe. He 
gave me free leave to hunt over the communal marshes, which 
leave I took advantage of from that very day. The rising 
sun shot through the window of my room, and, although the 
curtains were drawn, it woke me in my bed. I opened my 
eyes, stretched out my hand for my pencil and set to work. 
At ten o'clock, Mother Oseraie came and told us breakfast 
was ready ; at eleven, I took my gun and shot three or four 
snipe; at two, I began work agtdn until four; at four, I went 
for a swim till five ; and at half-past five dinner was ready for 
us ; from seven until nine o'clock we went for a walk on the 
shore; at nine o'clock work was begun again and continued 
until eleven o'clock or midnight. Charles VII. advanced at 
the rate of a hundred lines per day. Undiscovered though 
Trouville was, nevertheless a few Normandy, Vendéan or 
Breton bathers came there. Among these was a charming 
woman, accompanied by her husband and her son; I re- 
member nothing more about her than her name and face: 
she was gracious and prepossessing in expression, with a 
slightly aristocratic air ; her name was Madame de la Garenne. 
From the day of her arrival, directly she knew I was living at 
the hotel, she began the preliminaries of making an acquaint- 
anceship by boldly lending me her album. I had just finished 
the great scene in the third act between the Comte de Savoisy 
and Charles vii., and I copied it out for her, newly bom from 
my brain. A good sort of young fellow had come with them, 
who concealed some degree of knowledge and great determina- 
tion under the retiring air of a country gentleman. He was a 
sportsman, which similarity of tastes rapidly made us congenial 
companions if not exactly friends. He was the unfortunate 
Bonnechose, who was hung during the Vendéan insurrection of 
1832. Whilst we were walking and hunting in the nuu^h lands 
round Trouville, Madame la Duchesse de Berry obtained 
permission from King Charles x. to make an attempt on 
France, under the title of regent ; she left Edinburgh, went 
through Holland, stayed a day or two at Mayence, and the 



LA DUCHESSE DE BERRY 



343 



same at Frankfort, crossed the frontier of Switzerland and 
entered Piedmont ; then, finally, under the name of the 
Comtesse de Sagana, she stopped at Sestri, a small town 
a dozen leagues from Genoa, in the provinces of King 
Charles-Albert Thus, all unsuspected by Bonnechose, death 
was postponed for one year ! Meantime, the report began to 
spread in Paris that a new seap)Ort had been discovered 
between Honfleur and la Délivrande. The result was that 
from time to time a venturesome bather would arrive who 
would ask timidly, " Is there a village called Trouville about 
here, and is that it with the belfry tower?" And I would 
reply yes, to my great regret : for I foresaw the time when 
Trouville would become another Dieppe or Boulogne or 
Ostend. I was not mistaken. Alas ! Trouville has now ten 
inns ; and land which could be bought at a hundred francs the 
arpent,* to-day fetches five francs per foot. One day among 
these venturesome bathers, these wandering tourists, these 
navigators without compass, there arrived a man of twenty- 
eight to thirty years of age, who gave out that his name was 
Beudin and that he was a banker. On the very evening of his 
arrival I was bathing a long distance off in the sea, when 
about ten yards from me, on the crest of a wave, I perceived 
a fish which realised the dream of Marécot in the Ours tt It 
Pacha — that is to say, it was a huge enormous fish such as one 
scarcely ever sets, the like of which many never have seen. 
Had I possessed a little more vaiuty, I might Itave taken it for 
a dolphin and imagined it had taken me for another Anon ; 
but I simply took it for a fish of gigantic proportions, and, I 
confess, its proximity disturbed me — I set to work to swim to 
the shore as hard as I could. I was a good swimmer, in those 
days, but my neighbour, the fish, could swim still better ; 
accordingly, without any apparent effort, it followed me, always 
keeping an equal distance from n>e. Two or three times, feel- 
ing fatigued — mostly from want of breath — I thought of taking 
to my feet, but I was afraid of becoming nervous if I found too 

■ Tkanslatok's Notb.— An old French nuasiuc vxying In cUflirtent 
provinces from 3 roods to a Englùh acres. 



344 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

great a depth of water beneath me. I therefore continued to 
swim until my knees ploughed into the sand. The other 
swimmers were looking at me in astonishment ; my fish was 
following me as though I held it in leash. When I got to the 
point of touching the sand with my knees I stood up. My 
fish made somersault after somersault and seemed overjoyed 
with satisfaction. I turned round and looked at it more 
closely and calmly. I saw it was a porpoise. Instantly I ran 
to Mother Oseraie's house. I ran through the village just as I 
was, in my bathing drawers. Although Mother Oseraie was 
not very impressionable, she was not accustomed to receive 
travellers in so light a costume and she uttered a cry. 

" Don't mind me, Mother Oseraie," I said to her, " I have 
come to get my gun." 

"Good Lord!" she said, "are you going to hunt in the 
happy hunting fields ? " 

Had I been in less of a hurry, I would have stopped and 
complimented her on her wit; but I only thought of the 
porpoise. Upon the stairs I met Madame de la Garenne; 
the staircase was very narrow and I drew aside to let her pass. 
I thought of asking how her husband and son were, but I 
reSected that the moment for holding a conversation was ill- 
chosen. Madame de la Garenne passed by and I flew into my 
room and seized hold of my carbine. The chamber-maid was 
making my bed. 

"Ah! monsieur, instead of taking your gun hadn't you 
better take some clothes ? " 

It seemed as though my costume inspired wit in all who saw 
me. I ran full tilt down the road to the sea. My porpoise 
was still turning somersaults. I went up to my waist in the 
water until I was about fifty feet from him ; I was afiraid I might 
frighten him if I went any nearer ; besides, I was just at the 
right range. I took aim and fired. I heard the dull sound of 
the ball penetrating the flesh. The porpoise dived and dis. 
appeared. Next day, the fishermen found it dead among the 
mussel-covered rocks. The bullet had entered a little below 
the eye and gone through the head. 



CHAPTER XV 

Why M. Beudin came to Trouville — How I knew him under another name 
— Prologue of n ilramn — What remained to be done — Division into 
three fxirts — I finish Charlts VII. — Departing from Trouville— In 
wlml manner I leam of the first performance of Marion Dtlorme 



THE night of that adventure, the fresh bather came up to 
me and complimented me on my skill. It was an 
excuse for beginning a conversation. We sat out on the beach 
and chatted. After a few remarks had been exchanged he 
said to me : 

" Well I there is one thing you have no idea of." 

"What is that?" I asked. 

"That I have come here almost on your account." 

" How so?" 

" You do not recognise me under my name of Beudin ? " 

" I confess I do not." 

" But you may, perhaps, recognise mc under that of 
Dinaux?" 

" Wliat ! Victor Ducange's collaborator ! " 

" Exactly." 

" The same who wrote Trtntt ans ou ta vie d'un Joueur with 
him?" 

" l'hat was I ... or rather us." 

"Why us?" 

"There were two of us : Goubaux and myself." 

"Ah ! I knew Goubaux ; he is a m«n of boundless merit" 

" Thanks ! " 

" Pardon . . . one cannot be skilful both with gun and in 
conversation . . . With the gun, now, I should not have missed 
you!" 

MS 



346 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

"You have not missed me as it is; in the first shot you 
brought me down by saying that Goubaux was a clever man 
and that I was an idiot 1 " 

" Confess that you never thought I meant anything of the 
kind?" 

" Upon my word, no t " And we burst out laughing. 

" Well," I resumed, "as you probably did not hunt me out 
to receive the compliment I have just given you, tell me why 
you did" 

"To talk to you about a play which Goubaux and I did not 
feel equal to bringing to a satisfactory conclusion, but which, 
in your hands, would become — plus the style— equal to the 
JoueurP 

I bowed my thanks. 

" No, upon my word of honour, I am certain the idea will 
take your &ncy 1 " continued Beudin. 

" Have you any part done or is it still in a nebulous state ? " 

" We have done the prologue, which is in quite a tangible 
shape. . . . But, as for the rest, you must help us to do it" 

" Have you the prologue with you ? " 

"No, nothing is written down yet; but I can relate it to 
you." 

" I am listening." 

"The scene is laid in Northumberland, about 1775. An 
old physician whom, if you will, we will call Dr. Grey and his 
wife separate, the wife to go to bed, the husband to work part 
of the night Scarcely has the wife closed the door of her 
room, before a carriage stops under the doctor's windows and a 
man inquires for a doctor. Dr. Grey reveals his profession ; 
the travellers asks hospitality for some one who cannot go any 
further. The doctor opens his door and a masked man, carry- 
ing a woman in his arms, enters upon the scene, telling the 
postilion to unharness the horses and hide both them and 
the carriage." 

" Bravo ! the b^inning is excellent 1 . . . We can picture 
the masked man and the sick woman." 

The woman is near her confinement ; her lover is carrying 



UNUSUAL PLOTS 



347 



her away and they are on their way to embark at Shields 
when t)>e {mngs of childbirth come upon the fugitive ; it is 
important to conceal all trace of her ; her father, who is the 
all-powerful ambassador of Spain in London, is in pursuit of 
her. The doctor attends to them with all haste : he points 
out a room to the masked man who carries the patient into 
it ; then he rouses his wife to help him to attend to tlie sick 
woman. At this moment they hear the sound of a carriage 
passing at full gallop. The cries of the woman call the doctor 
to her side ; the masked man comes back on the stage, not 
having the courage to witness his mistress's sufferings. After 
a short time the doctor rushes to find his guest : the unkno«m 
woman has just given birth to a boy, and mother and child are 
both doing well." 

The narrator interrupted himself. 

"Do you think," he asked me, "that this scene would be 
possible on the stage t " 

It was possible in Terence's day." 



' Why not ? It 
'In what way?' 
' Thus : 



■ Pamphila. 



Miicnm me t dUTernr deloritms ! 
Juno Lucina, fer open ! Sem* me, obsecro ! 

Rkuio. 
Numnam ills, qunrso, panurit t . . . Han I 

Tamphila. 

Oh I unhappy wretch ! My poiiu overcome roe ! 

Juno Lucioo, come to my aid t save roe. I entreat thee. 

RlKilO, 

Hullo, I my, b the about to be confined 7 " 



"Is that in Terence?" 

" Certainly." 

" Then we arc saved I ' 



348 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

" I quite believe it ! It is as purely classical as Amphitryon 
and r Avare.*" 

" I will proceed, then." 

"And I will listen!" 

" Just as the masked man is rushing into the chamber of the 
sick woman, there is a violent knocking at Dr. Grey's door. 
' Who is there ? Open in the name of the law ! ' It is the 
father, a constable and two police-officers. The doctor is 
obliged to admit that he has given shelter to the two fugitives ; 
the father declares that he will carry his daughter away instantly. 
The doctor opposes in the name of humanity and his wife ; the 
father insists ; the doctor then informs him of the condition of 
the sick woman, and both beg him to be merciful to her. 
Fury of the father, who completely ignores the situation. At 
that moment, the masked man comes joyfully out of the sick- 
room and is aghast to see the father of the woman he has 
carried off; the father leaps at his throat and demands his 
arrest. The noise of the struggle reaches the accouchée, who 
comes out half-fainting and falls at her father's feet : she vows 
she will follow her lover everywhere, even to prison ; that he is 
her husband in the eyes of men. The father again and more 
energetically calls into requisition the assistance of the constable 
and takes his daughter in his arms to carry her away. The 
doctor and his wife implore in vain. The masked man 
comes forward in his turn . . . and the act finishes there ; 
stay, I have outlined the last scene . . . Let us suppose 
that the masked man has assumed the name of Robertson, 
that the father is called Da Sylva and the young lady 
Caroline : — 



"Robertson, putting kit hatul on Da Syhnt's shoulder.— Ijtvit 
her alone. 

Carolinb.— Oh, father! ... my Robertson! . . . 

Da Svlva.— Thy Robertson, indeed 1 . . . Look, all of you and I wUl 
show you who thy Robertson is . . . Off with that mask." (He snatches 
it from Robertson's foce). — " Look he is . . ." 

"Robertson. — Silence; in the name of and for the sake of youi 
daughter," 



PLOT TAKEN FROM SCOTT 



349 



■ 



" You understand," Beudin went on " he quickly puts his 
mask on again, so quickly tliat nobody, except the audience 
whom he is facing, has time to see his countenance." 

"Well; after that?" 

"After?" 

"You are right," says Da Sylva; "she ■lone shall know who you 
are. , . . This man." 

"Well?" aslu Caroline anxiously. 

"This man," says Da Sylva leaning close to his daughter's ear ; " this 
man is the executioner 1 " 

" Caroline shrieks and falls. That is the end of the prologue." 

" Wait a bit," I said, " surely I know something similar to that 
. . . yes ... no. Yes, in the Chnmicles of the Canongale I " 

" Yes ; it was, in fact, Walter Scott's novel which gave us the 
idea for our play." 

" Well, but what then ? There is no drama in the remainder 
of the novel." 

" No. ... So we depart completely from it here." 

" Good ! And when we leave it what follows ? " 

"There is an interval of twenty six years. The stage re- 
presents the same room ; only, everything has grown older in 
twenty-six years, personages, furniture and hangings. The man 
whose face the audience saw, and whom Da Sylva denounced 
in a whisper to his daughter, as the executioner, is playing 
chess with Dr. Grey ; Mrs. Grey is sewing ; Richard, the child 
of the prologue, isi standing up writing ; Jenny, the doctor's 
daughter, watches him as he writes." 

"Stay, that idea of everybody twenty-six years older is 
capital." 

"And then?" 

" Ah 1 plague take it I That is all there is," said Beudin. 

" What, you stop there ? " 

"Yes . . . the deuce! you know well enough that if the 
play were concluded we should not want your assistance ! " 

" Quite so . . . but still, you must have some idea concern- 
ing the rest of the play ? " 

"Yes . . . Ricljard has grown up under his father's taxfc 



3 so MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Richard is ambitious, and wants to become a member of the 
House of Commons. Dr. Grey's influence can help him : 
he pretends to be in love with his daughter . . . We will have 
the spectacle of an English election, which will be out of the 
common." 

"And then?" 

" Well then, you must invent the rest." 

" But, come, that means that there is nearly the whole thing 
to finish ! " 

" Yes, very nearly . . . But that won't trouble you ! " 

"That's all very well; but, at this moment, I am busy on my 
drama, Charles VII., and I cannot give my mind to anything 
else." 

" Oh ! there is no desperate hurry for it ! meantime 
Goubaux will work away at it whilst I will do likewise . . . You 
like the idea?" 

"Yes." 

" All right ! when you return to Paris we will have a meeting 
at your house or at mine or at Goubaux's and we will fix our 
plans." 

" Granted, but on one condition." 

"What?" 

"That it shall be under your names and I shall remain 
behind the curtain." 

"Why so?" 

"Because, in the first place, the idea is not mine; and, 
secondly, because I have decided never to let my name be 
associated with any other name." > 

" Then we will withhold our names." 

" No, indeed ! that is out of the question." 

' I resolutely stuck to this decision until the time when my great friend- 
ship with Maquet determined me to spring the surprise upon him of 
putting forth his name with mine as the author of the drama of Lts 
Mowqueiains. Thb was but fidr, however, since we did not only the 
drama, but also the romance, in collaboration. I am delighted to l>e 
able to add, that, although we have not worked together now for a 
couple of years, the friendship is just the same, at all events on my 
side. 



I 



RICHARD DARLINGTON 



351 



" Very well, as you will ! We will settle the point when 
we liave come to it. . . . You will take half slxare ? " 
" Why half, when there are three of us ? " 
" Because we are leaving you the trouble of working out the 
plot." 

" I will compose the play if you wish ; but I will only take 
a third of the profits." 

" We will discuss all that in Paris." 

" Precisely so ! But do not forget that I make my reserva- 
tions." 

"Then, this 24 July, at five o'clock in the afternoon, it is 
agreed that you, Goubaux and I shall write Richard Darlington 
between us." 

" To-day, 24 July, my birthday, it is agreed, at five o'clock 
in the afternoon, that Goubaux, you and 1 shall write Richard 
Darlington." 

" Is to-day your birtliday ? " 
" I was twenty-nine at four o'clock this morning." 
" Bravo 1 that will bring us good luck ! " 
" 1 hope so I " 

" When shall you be in Paris ? " 
"About 15 August." 
"That will suit perfectly!" 

" Now, jot down the plan of the prologue for me on a slip 
of paper." 
"Why now?" 

" Because I shall come to the rendezvous with the prologue 
completed. . . . The more there is done the less will there 
be to do." 

" Capital ! you shall have the outline to-morrow." 
" Oh ! it will do if I have it just before I leave ; if I have 
it to-morrow, I shall finish it the day after to-murmw, and thai 
will cause trouble in the matter of the drama I am writing." 
" Very well ; I will keep it ready for you." 
"Ah ! one more favour." 
"Which is?" 
" Do not let us speak of JUJutrd Dariimgtom again ; 1 »h 



352 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

think of it quite enough, you need not fear, without talking 
about it" 

" We will not mention it again." 

And, as a matter of fact, from that moment, there was no 
reference made between us to Richard Darlington — I will not 
say as though it had never existed, but as though it never were 
to exist On the other hand, Charles VI J. went on its way. 
On lo August I wrote the four last lines. 

"Vous qui, nés sur U tenre. 
Portez comme des chiens, U cbaine hëréditùie, 
Demetuez en hurlant pràs du sépulcre ou vert . . . 
Poui Yakoub, il est litoe, et letooroe an désert ! " 

When the work was finished, I read it over. It was, as I 
have said, more in the nature of a pastiche than a true drama ; 
but there was an immense advance in style between Christine 
and Charles VJI. True, Christine is far superior to Charles 
VII. in imagination and in dramatic feeling. 

Nothing further kept me at Trouville. Beudin had pre- 
ceded me to Paris several days before. We took leave of 
M. and Madame de la Garenne ; we settled our accounts with 
Madame Oseraie and we started for Paris. Bonnechose 
accompanied us as far as Honfleur. He did not know how 
to part with us, poor fellow ! He might have guessed that 
we were never to see each other again. The same night we 
took diligence from Rouen. Next day, at dawn, the travellers 
got down to climb a hillside ; I thought I recognised, among 
our fellow-passengers, one of the editors of the Journal des 
Débats. I went up to him as he was coming towards me, and 
we got into conversation. 

" Well ! " he said, " you have heard ? " 

"What?" 

" Marion Delorme has been performed." 

"Ah really? . . . And here am I hurrying to be present at 
the first performance ! " 

" You will not see it . . . and you will not have lost much." 

It was a matter of course that the editor of a joonud 



MARION DE LOR ME 



353 



so devoted an admirer of Hugo as was ihc Journal des Dèbals 
should speak thus of the great poeL 

"Why do I not miss much? Has the play not suc- 
ceeded ? " 

" Oh I yes indeed I but coldly, coldly, coldly ; and no 
money in it." 

My companion said this with the intense gratification of the 
critic taking his revenge upon the author, of the eunuch with 
his foot on the sultan's neck. 

" Cold ? No money ?" I repeated. 

" And besides, badly played ! " 

" Badly played by Bocage and Dorval ! Come now ! " 

" If the author had had any common-sense he would have 
withdrawn the play or he would have had it performed after 
the July Revolution, while things were warm after the rejection 
of MM. do Polignac and de la Bourdonnaic" 

" But as to poetry ? . . ." 

" Weak ! Much poorer than Hemani ! " 

" Ah ! say you so," I burst forth, " a drama weak in poetry 
that contains such lines as these ! " — 

"Lt Roi. 
je sus raflSûre, assa q'ave* voas • me dire? 



Lb Marquis d> Nanois. 

Je dis qu'il est bien temps que vous y (OQ^tx, tire: 
Que le cardÏDil-duc a de sombres projets, 
Et qu'il luit le meilleur du sang de vos sujets. 
Votre père Henri, de nicmuirc myalc, 
N'eut point ainsi livré sa noblesse loyale ; 
n ne La frappait point sans y fort regarder, 
El, bien gardé par elle, il «avait la garder; 
n savait qu'on peut faire, avec des gens d'épees. 
Quelque chose de mieux que des t^tes couples ; 
Qu'ils sont bons à la guerre I II ne l'ignorait point. 
Lui, dont plus d'une halle a troué le pouqioint. 
Ce temps était le bon ; j'en fus, et je l'honore ; 
Un peu de icigneuri* y («Ipitait «neor*. 
V. — »3 



354 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Jamais à des seigneurs un prêtre n'eût touché ; 
On n'avait point alors de tête à bon marché. 
Siie, en des jours mauvais comme ceux où nous sommes. 
Croyez un vieux ; gardez un peu de gentilshommes. 
Vous en aurez besoin peut-fitre k votre tour I 
Hélas 1 vous gémirez peut-être, quelque jour I 
Que la place de Grève ait été si fêtée, 
Et que tant de seigneurs, de valeur indomptée; 
■Vers qui se tourneront vos regrets envieux. 
Soient morts depuis longtemps, qui ne seraient pas vieux I 

Car nous sommes tout chauds de la guerre dvile. 

Et le tocan d'hier gronde encor dans la ville 

Soyez plus ménager des peines du bourreau : 

Cest lui qui doit garder son estoc an fourreau, 

Non pas nous I D'écha&uds montrez vous économe ; 

Craignez d'avoir, un jour, à pleurer tel brave homme. 

Tel vaillant de grand cœur dont, à l'heure qu'il est. 

Le squelette blanchit aux chaînes d'un gibet I 

Sire, le sang n'est pas un bonne rosée ; 

Nulle moisson ne vient sur la grève arrosée ; 

Et le peuple des rois évite le balcon, 

Quand, aux dépens du Louvre, ils peuplent Montfaucon. 

Meurent les courtisans, s'il faut que leur voix aille 

Vous amuser, pendant que le bourreau travaille t 

Cette voix des flatteurs qui dit que tout est bon. 

Qu'après tout, on est fils d'Henri Quatre, et Bourbon, 

Si haute qu'elle soit, ne couvre pas sans peine 

Le bruit sourd qu'en tombant &it une tête humaine. 

Je vous en donne avis, ne jouez pas ce jeu, 

Roi, qui serez, un jour, face a face avec Dieu. 

Donc, je vous dis, avant que rien ne s'accomplisse. 

Qu'à tout prendre, il vaut mieux un combat qu'un supplice, 

Que ce n'est pas la joie et l'honneur des États 

De voir plus de besogneaux bourreaux qu'aux soldats I 

Que ce n'est un pasteur dur pour la France oii vous êtes. 

Qu'un prêtre qui se paye une dime de têtes. 

Et que cet homme, illustre entre les inhumains. 

Qui touche à votre sceptre, a du sang à ses mains ! " 

" Why 1 you know it by heart then ? " 

" I hope so, indeed I " 

" Why the deuce did you leam it ? " 

" I know nearly the whole of Marion Delorme by betrt." 



IN PRAISE OF HUGO'S PLAY 



355 



And I quoted almost the whole of the scene between Didier 
and Marion Uclorme, in the island. 

" Ah ! that is indeed odd ! " he said. 

" No ! there is nothing odd about it. I simply think Marion 
Dehrme one of the most beautiful things in the world. I had 
the manuscript at my disposal and have read and re-read it. 
The lines I have just recited have remained in my memory 
and I repeated them to you in support of my opinion." 

" Then, too," continued my critic, " the plot is taken from 
de Vigny's novel. . . ." 

*' Good ! that is exactly where Hugo shows his wisdom. 
I would willingly have been his John the forerunner in this 
instance." 

" Do you mean to say that Savemy and Didier are not 
copied from Cinq-Mars and de Thou ? " 

"As man is copied from man and no further I " 

" And Didier is your Antony." 

" Rather say that Antony is taken from Didier, seeing that 
Marion Dehrme was made a year before 1 dreamt of Antony." 

"Ah ! well, one good thing has come out of it." 

"What is that?" 

" Vour defence of Victor Hugo." 

" Why not ? I like him and admire him." 

" A colleague ! " said the critic in a tone of profound pity, 
and shrugging his shoulders. 

" Take your seats, gentlemen ! " shouted the conductor. 

We remounted, the editor of the Journal ties Débats in- 
side, 1 in the coupé, and the diligence resumed a monotonous 
trot, favourable to meditation. 



CHAPTER XVI 

Marion Delorme 

I FELL into meditation. What was the reason the public was 
not of my way of thinking about Marion Delormel I 
had remarked to Taylor on the night of the reading at 
Devéria's — 

" If Hugo makes as much dramatic progress as is usual in 
ordinary dramatic development, we shall all be done for ! " 

The first act of Marion, in style and argument, is one of the 
cleverest and most fascinating ever seen on the stage. All the 
characters take part in it : Marion, Didier and Savemy. The 
last six lines forecast the whole play, even including the con- 
version of the courtesan. Marion remains in a reverie for a 
while, then she calls out — 

" Marion. 
Dame Rose 

(Montrant la fenfire.) 
Fermez . . . 

Dame Rose, à fart. 

On dirait qu'elle pleure ! 
{ffaut.) 
Il est temps de dormir, madame. 

Marion. 

Oui, c'est votre heure, 
A vous autres . . . 

{Dffaisanl ses cheveux.) 

Venez m'accommoder. 

Damb Rose (la cUsabillant). 

Eh bien. 
Madame, le monsieur de ce soir est-il bien? . . . 
Riche? . . . 

356 



LINES FROM MARION DELORME 357 

Marion. 
Non. 

Dams Rosb. 
Galant? 

Masion. 

Non, Kotc : it ne m'a pu même 
Baùj la main! 

Damb Rose. 
Alors, qu'en faites-vous? 

MaKION, ftntivt. 

Je l'aime ! . . ." 

The second act scintillates with wit and poetry. The very 
original character of Langely, which is unfolded in the fourth 
act, is inserted as neatly as possible. 

As regards poetry I know none in any other language coa- 
stnicled like this — 

" Monsieur vient de Paris? Dit -on quelques nouvelles? 
— Point ! Corneille toujours met en l'air les cervelles ; 
Guiche a l'Ordre, Ast est duc Puis des riens ii foisson : 
De trente huguenots on a fait pendaison. 
Toujours nombre de duels. Le trois, c'était Angeruic* 
Contre Arquien, pont avoir porté du point de G^nci. 
Lavardin avec Pons s'est rencontré te dix. 
Pour avoir pris a Pons la femme de Sourdis ; 
Sourdis avec d'AiUy, pour une du thé&tre 
De Mondori ; le neuf, Notent avec la Châtre, 
Pour avoir mal écril trois vers a Colletet ; 
Gorde avec Margatllon, pour l'heure qu'il était ; 
D'Ilumière avec Goitdi, pour le pas i l'église ; 
El puis tous les Brissac contre tous les Suubise, 
A propos du pu! d'un cheval contre un chien ; 
Enfin, Caussade avec la Toamelle, pour rien, 
Poir le plaisir I Caunade a tu^ la Tournclle. 

— Refais nous donc la liste 
De loua ces duels . . . Qu'en dit le roi ? 



358 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

— Le cardinal 

Est faiietix, et yeux un prompt remède an mal I 
— Point de courrier du camp? 

— Je crois que, par surprise, 

Nous avons pris Figuière ... ou bien qu'on nous l'a prise . . . 
C'est a nous qu'on l'a prise! 

— Et que dit de ce coup 
Le roi? 

— Le cardinal n'est pas content du tout I 

— Que &it la cour? le roi se porte bien, sans doute? 

— Non pas: le cardinal a la fièvre et la goutte, 
Et ne va qu'en litière. 

— Étrange original I 
Quand nous te parlons roi, tu réponds cardinal I 
— Ah I c'est la mode I " 

In order to understand the value of the second act, we must 
quote line after line. The whole play, in fact, has but one 
defect: its dazzling poetry blinds the actors; players of the 
first order are necessary for the acting of the very smallest 
parts. There is a M. de Bouchavannes who says four lines, I 
think ; the first two upon Corneille — 

"Famille de robins, de petits avocats, 
Qui se sont fait des sous en rognant des ducats I " 

And the other two upon Richelieu — 

"Meure le Richelieu, qui déchire et qui flatte! 
L'homme a la main sanglante, à la robe écarlate ! " 

If you can get those four lines said properly by a super- 
numerary you will indeed be a great teacher ! Or if you can 
get them said by an artiste, you will indeed be a clever 
manager I Then all the discussion upon Corneille and 
Gamier, which I imitated in Christine, is excellently appro- 
priate. It had, in fact, come to open fighting from the 
moment they accused us of offending against good taste the 
theme supported by M. Etienne, M. Viennet and M. Onésime 
Leroy, and of placing before the public the opinion held about 
Corneille, when Cardinal Richelieu influenced the Academy 
to censure the Cid in the same way that we in our turn had 



THE FOURTH ACT 



359 



■ 



censured it I When I say the same way, I mean the same as 
regards sequence of time and not of affiliation : Academicians 
do not reproduce ; as is well-known, it is only with difficulty 
that they even manage to produce. In conclusion, the second 
act is admirably summed up in this line of Langely — 

" Ca I qui dirait qu'id c'est moi qui suis le fou ? " 

Then comes the third act, full of imagination, in which 
Laffemas, Richelieu's black servant, affords contrast to the 
grey figure of His Eminence ; where Didier and Marion come 
to ask hospitality from the Marquis de Nangis, lost in the 
midst of a troop of mountebanks ; when Didier learns from 
Savcrny that Marie and Marion are one and the same woman, 
and where, his heart broken by one of the greatest sorrows that 
can wring man's soul, he gives himself up to the guilty lieutenant. 

The fourth act is a masterpiece. It has been objected that 
this act no more belongs to the play than a drawer does to a 
chest of drawers ; granted ! But in that drawer the author 
has enclosed the very gem of the whole play : the character of 
Louis XIII., the wearied, melancholy, ill, weak, cruel and 
superstitious king, who has nobody but a clown to distract his 
thoughts, and who only talks with him of scaffolds and of 
beheadings and of tombs, not daring to complain to anyone 
else of the state of dependence in which the terrible Cardinal 
holds him. 

Listen to this — 

"Lamckly. — Votre Majesti done loulfie bien? 
Lb Roi. — ^Je m'enniue I 

Moi, le premio d« Fiance, en être le derniei ! 

Je changcMÎs mon tort au sort d'un braconnier. 

Oh ! chaxKf toot le jour en vos allures franches ; 

N'svuii rien qui vous gène, et dointir &uus les liraachas ; 

Kiic des gens du roi, chanter pendant l'^ciair, 

Et vivre libre au bois, comme l'oiseau dan» l'ait I 

Le manant est, du moin», inallte et rui dans sun bouge. 

Mais toujours tous les yeux avnir cet heaume rouge ; 

Toujours U, gnve et dur, me dûiant à toiûr : 

'Sue, U £u>t que ceci soit votre boa (>laiiti.' 



36o MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Dérision 1 cet liomme au people me dérobe ; 
Comme on bit d'un en&nt, 11 me met dans sa robe ; 
Et, lorsqu'un passant dit : ' Qu'est-ce donc que je voi 
Dessous le caidinal?' on répond: 'Cest le nil' 
Puis ce sont, tous les jouis, quelques nouvelles listes : 
Hier, des huguenots, aujourd'hui, des duellistes. 
Dont il lui faut la t£te ... Un duel I le grand for&it I 
Mais des têtes, toujours t qu'est-ce donc qu'il en (ait ? . . ." 

In a moment of spite you hear him say to Langely — 
" Crois-tu, si je voulais, que je serais le maître ? " 

And Langely, ever faithful, replies by this line, which has 
passed into a proverb — 

"Montaigne dit: 'Que sais-je ?' Et Rabelais: 'Peut-être I'" 

At last he breaks his chain for a second, picks up a pen ; 
and when on the point of signing a pardon for Didier and 
Savemy, to his jester, who says to him — 

"Toute grâce est un poids qu'un roi du cœur s'enlève!" 

he replies — 

" Tu dis vrai : j'ai toujours souffert, les jours de Grève ! 
Nangis avait raison, un mort jamais ne sert, 
Et Mont&ucon peuplé rend le Louvre désert. 
C'est une trahison que de venir, en face, 
Au fils du roi Henri nier son droit de grâce I 
Que fais-je ainsi, déchu, détrôné, désarmé. 
Comme dans un sépulcre en cet homme enfermé? 
Sa robe est mon linceul, et mes peuples me pleurent . . . 
Non t non I je ne veux pas que ces deux enfants meurent ! 
Vivre est un don du ciel trop visible et trop beau I 
Dieu, qui sait où l'on va, peut ouvrir un tombeau; 
Un roi, non ... Je les rends tous deux à leur &mille ; 
Ils vivront ... Ce vieillard et cette jeune fille 
Me béniront ! Cest dit 
(// sisne.) 

J'ai signé, moi, le roi t 
Le cardinal sera furieux ; mais, ma foi I 
Tant pis I cela fera plaisir à Bellegarde." 



ACT FIFTH 



361 



ftd Langely says half aloud — 

" On peut bien, une fois, être roi, poi mégaidc ! " 

What a masterpiece is that act ! And then one remembers 
that because M. Crosnier was closely pressed, and had to 
change his spectacle, he suppressed that act, which, in the 
words of the critic, faisait longueur I . . . 

Ah well ! . . . 

In the fifth act the pardon is revoked. The young people 
must die. They are led out into the courtyard of the prison 
for a few minutes' fresh air. Didier converses with the spectre 
of death visible only to himself; Saverny sleeps his last sleep. 
By prostituting herself to Laffemas, Marion has secured from 
the judge the life of her lover, and as she enters, bruised still 
from the judge's mauling, she says — 

"Sa lèvre est un Ter rouge, et m'a toute maïquée 1" 

Suppose Mademoiselle Mars, who did not want to say — 

" Vous êtes, mon lioo, laperbe et gàijreux I" 

had had such a line as that to say, think what a struggle 
there would have been between her and the author. But 
Durval found it easy enough, and she said the line with 
admirable expression. 

As for Bocage, the haired, pride and scorn which he displayed 
were truely sujxjrb, when, not able to contain himself longer, 
he lets the secret escape, which until then had been gnawing his 
entrails as the fox the young Spartan's, he exclaimed — 

"* Matie ... ou Maiioo ? 

— Didier, soyet element I 

— Madame, on n'entre pas ici fsdleiiicnt ; 

Ixs bastilles d'État aonl null et jour gardces ; 
Les portes sont de fci, les murs ont vingt coudces I 
Tour que denni vos pas la porte s'ouvre ainsi, 
A qui ïou» f le»-viiu» prrj»titu<c Ici ? 
— Didier, ijui vous a dit ? 



362 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

— Personne ... Je devine ! 
— Didier, j'en jure ici par la bont^ diyine. 
C'était pour vous sauver, vous arracher d'id. 
Pour fléchir les bourreaux, pour vous sauver . . . 

— Merci! 
Ah I qu'on soit jusque-là sans pudeur et sans ftme, 
Cest véritablement une honte, madame I 
Où donc est le marchand d'opprobre et de mépris 
Qui se fait a<:heter ma t£te à de tek prix? 
Où donc est le geôlier, le juge? où donc est l'homme? 
Que je le bn»e ici I qui je l'écrase . . . comme 
Cecil 

(77 briu le portrait de Marion.) 
Le juge I Allez, messieurs, fiùtes des lois. 
Et jugez 1 Que m'importe, à moi, que le faux poids 
Qui &it toujours pencher votre balance infâme 
Soit la t£te d'un homme ou l'honneur d'une femme ! " 

I challenge anyone to find a more powerful or affecting 
passage in any language that has been written since the day 
when the lips of man uttered a first cry, a first complaint 
Finally, Didier forgives Marion for being Marion, and, for a 
moment, the redeemed courtesan again becomes the lover. 
It is then that she speaks these two charming lines, which 
were suppressed at the performance and even, I believe, in 
the printed play — 

"De l'autre Marion rien en moi n'est resté, 
Ton amour m'a re&it one virginité I " 

Then the executioner enters, the two young people walk to 
the scaffold, the wall falls, Richelieu passes through the 
breach in his litter, and Marion Delorme, laid on the ground, 
half-fainting, recognises Didier's executioner, rises, exclaiming 
with a gesture of menace and of despair — 

" Regardez tous I void l'homme rouge qui passe t " 

It is twenty-two years ago since I meditated thus in the 
coupé of my diligence, going over in memory the whole play 
of Marion Delorme. After twenty-two years I have just re- 



THE PLAY BADLY ACTED 



363 



read it in order to write this chapter; my appreciation of it 
has not changed; if anything, I think the drama even more 
beautiful now than I did then. Now, what was the reason 
that it was less successful than Htrnani or than Lucrèce Borgia ? 
This is one of those mysteries which neither the sibyl of 
Cumœ nor the pythoness of Delphi will ever explain, — 
nor Ifu soul of the earth, which speaks to M. Hennequin. 
Well, I say it boldly, there is one thing of which I am u 
happy now as I was then : in reading that beautiful drama 
again, for each act of which I would give a year of my life, 
were it possible, I have felt a greater admiration for my dear 
Victor, a more fervent friendship towards him and not one atom 
of envy. Only, I repeat at my desk in Brussels what I said 
in the Rouen diligence : "Ah ! if only I could write such lines 
as these since 1 know so well how to construct a play ! , . ." 
I reached Paris without having thought of anything else but 
Marion Delorme. I had completely forgotten Charles VII. 
1 went to pay my greetings to Bocage and Dorval the very 
evening of my arrival. They promised to act for me, and 1 
took my place m the theatre. Exactly what 1 expected had 
happened to spoil the play; except for Bocage, who played 
Didier ; Dorval, Marion ; and Chéri, Savcmy ; the rest of the 
play was ruined. The result of course was that all the 
marvellous poetry was extinguished, as a breath extinguishes 
the clearness of a miiror. I left the theatre with a heavy 
heart 



CHAPTER XVII 

Collaboration 

I HAD to let a few days go by before I had the courage to 
return to my own verses after having heard and re-read 
those of Hugo. I felt inclined to do to Charles VII. what 
Harel had asked me to do to Christine : to put it into prose. 
Finally, I gathered together some friends at my house, and 
read them my new drama. But, whether I read badly or 
whether they came to me with biased minds, the reading did 
not have the effect upon them that I expected. This want of 
success discouraged me. Two days later, I had to read to 
Harel, who had already sent me my premium of a thousand 
francs, and also to Georges, to whom the part of Bérengère 
was allotted. I wrote to Harel not to count on the play and 
I sent him back his thousand francs. I decided not to have 
my drama played. Harel believed neither in my abnegation 
nor in my honesty. He came rushing to me in alarm. I laid 
my reasons before him, taking as many pains to depreciate my 
work as another would have done to exalt his. But to 
everything I said Harel took exception, repeating — 

" It is not that ... it is not that ... it is not that 1 " 

" What, then, is it ?" I exclaimed. 

" The Théâtre-Français had offered you five thousand francs 
premium ! " 

"Me?" 

"I know it." 

" Me, five thousand francs premium ? " 

" I tell you I know it, and in proof . . ." He drew five 
one-thousand franc notes from his pocket. 

3«4 



CHARLES VII. 



36s 



"The proof lies here in the five thousand francs 1 bring 
you." And he held out the five notes to me. 

I took one of them. 

"All right," I said, "there is nothing to change in the 
programme ; 1 will read it the day after to-morrow. Only, tell 
Lockroy to be at the reading." 

" Well, what about the remaining four thousand francs ? " 

" They do not belong to me, ray dear fellow ; therefore you 
must take them back." 

Harel scratched his ear and looked at me sideways. It was 
evident he did not understand. 

Poor Harel ! how sharp he was ! 

Two days later, before Harel, Georges, Janin and Lockroy 
I read the play with immense success. It was at once put in 
rehearsal and was to appear soon after a drama of Mirabeau, 
which was being studied. I would fain say what the drama 
of Mirabtau was like, but I cannot now remember. All I 
know is that the principal part was for Fnîdérick, and that 
they thought a great deal of the work. 

Charles VII. was distributed as follows ; — Savoisy, Ligier ; 
Bérengère, Georges ; Yaqoub, Lockroy ; Charles vii., Delafosse : 
Agnfcs Sorel, Noblet. This business of the distribution done, 
I immediately turned to Richard; its wholly modem colouring, 
[X)litical theme, vivid and rather coarse treatment was more in 
accord with my own age and special tastes than studies of the 
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Let me hasten to say that 
I was then not anything like as familiar with those periods as 
I am now. 

I wrote to Goubaux that I was at his disposition if it pleased 
him to come, either next day to breakfast at my house, or at 
his own if he preferred. We had become neighbours ; I had 
left my lodgings in the rue de l'Université and had taken a 
third floor in the square d'Orléans, a very fine house just 
built in the rue Saint-Lazare, 42, where several of my friends 
already lived, Zinimermann, Etienne Arago, Robert Fleury 
and Gué. I believe Zimmermann and Robert Fleury still 
live there : Gué is dead and Etienne Arago is in exile. 



366 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Goubaux, who lived at No. 19 rue Blanche, fixed a rendezvous 
there for six in the evening. We were to dine first and talk 
of Richard Darlington afterwards. I say talk, because, at the 
time of reading, it was found that hardly anything had been 
written. However, Goubaux had /ound several guide-posts to 
serve as beacons for our three acts. There were, pre-eminently, 
traits of character to suit ambitious actors. One of the 
principal was where Dr. Grey recalls to Richard and Mawbray, 
when Ridiard is about to marry Jenny, the circumstances of 
the famous night which formed the subject of the prologue, 
relating how a carriage stopped at the door. "Had that 
carriage a coat of arms}" asked Richard. Another item, still 
more remarkable, was given me to make what I liked of it : 
the daughter of Da Sylva, Caroline, Richard's mother, has 
married a Lord Wilmor; it is his daughter who is to marry 
Richard, led away by the king determined to divorce Jenny. 
Only, Caroline, who sees no more in Richard than an influential 
Member of Parliament, one day destined to become a minister, 
demands an interview with Richard to reveal a great secret to 
him ; the secret is the existence of a boy who was lost in the 
little village of Darlington, and who, being her son, has the 
right to her fortune. Richard listens with growing attention ; 
then, at one particular passage, Wilmor's recital coincides 
so remarkably with that of Mawbray as to leave no room for 
doubt in his mind ; but, instead of revealing himself, instead 
of flinging himself into the arms of the woman who confesses 
her shame and weeps, asking for her child back again, he 
gently disengages himself from her in order to say to himself 
in a whisper, " She is my mother ! " and to ask himself, still in 
a whisper, "Who can my father be?" Finally, Richard 
accepts the king's proposals ; he must get rid of his wife, no 
matter at what price, even were it that of a crime. This is 
about as far as the work had progressed at our first talk with 
Goubaux. I kept my word and brought the prologue entirely 
finished. I had done it exactly as Goubaux had imagined it 
should be written ; I had, therefore, but to take courage and to 
continue. While Goubaux talked, my mind was gathering up 



THE DÊNOCMENT 



367 



all the thrcaJs ho held, and, like an active weaver, in less than 
an hour, I had almost entirely sketched out the plan on my 
canvas. I shared my mental travail with him, all unformed 
as it was. The divorce scene between Richard and his wife, 
in especial, delighted me immensely. A scene of Schiller had 
returned to my memory, a scene of mar\'ellous beauty and 
vigour. I saw how I could apply the scene between Philip n. 
and Elizabeth, to Richard and Jenny. I will give the two 
scenes in due course. All this preparatory work was settled 
between us ; — in addition to this, it was decided that Goubaux 
and Beudin should write the election scene together, for which 
I had not the necessary data, while Beudin had been present 
at scenes of this nature in London. Then Goubaux looked 
at me. 

" Only one thing troubles me now," he said 

"Only one?" 

" Yes ; I see all the rest of the play, which cannot fail to turn 
out all right in your hands." 

" Then what is the thing that troubles you ? " 

"The <*««<«}«*«/." 

"Why the dinoumtttfi We have got that already. 
Mawbray comes forward as witness and says to Richard, who is 
about to sign : ' You are my son, and I am the executioner I ' 
Richard falls to the ground and a fit of apoplexy sends him to 
the devil, which is the right place for him." 

"No, that is not it at all," said Goubaux, shaking his 
head. 

" What is it then ? " 

" It is the way in which he gets rid of his wife." 

" Ah ! " I said. " And you have no idea how that is to be 
done?" 

" I had indeed some idea of making him put poison in her 
tea." 

It was now my turn to shake my head. 

"The death of Jenny must be caused by something in the 
situation, an act of frenzy, not by premediution." 

" Oh, yes ! I am well aware of that ... bat thbk of a 



368 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

dagger thrust . . . Richard is not an Antony, he does not 
carry daggers about in his coat pockets ! " 

"Then," said I, "he shall not stab her." 

" But if be does not poison her or stab her what shall he 
do?" 

" Chuck her out of the window ! " 

"What?" 

I repeated my phrase. 

" I must have misunderstood you," said Goubaux. 

" No." 

" But, my dear friend, you must be out of your mind." 

" Leave it to me." 

" But it is impossible ! " 

" I see the scene . . . just when Richard thinks Jenny has 
been carried off by Tompson, he finds her hidden in the 
cupboard of the very room where they are going to sign the 
contract ; at the same moment he hears the steps of Da Sylva 
and his daughter on the staircase. In order not to be surprised 
with Jenny, there is but one way out of the difficulty — to throw 
her out of the window. So he throws her out of the wmdow." 

" I must confess you frighten me with your methods of 
procedure ! In the second act, he breaks Jenny's head against 
the furniture ; in the third act he flings her out of the window. 
... Oh ! come, come ! " 

" Listen, let me finish the thing as I like — then, if it is absurd, 
we will alter it." 

" Will you listen to reason ? " 

"I ? Set your mind at rest ; when I am convinced, I will, if 
necessary, reconstruct the whole play from beginning to end." 

" When will the first act be ready ? " 

" What day of the week is this ? " 

" Monday." 

" Come and dine with me on Thursday : it will be done." 

" But your rehearsals at the Odéon ? " 

" Bah ! The parts are being collated to-day ; for a fortnight 
they will read round a table or rehearse with the parts in their 
hands. By the end of the fortnight Richard will be finished." 



COLLABORATION 



369 



''Ame»\" 

" Adieu." 

" Are you going already ? " 

" I must get to work." 

"At what?" 

"Why at Richard, of course! Do you think I have too 
much time? Our first act i.^ not an easy one to begin." 

" Don't forget the part of Tompson ! " 

" You needn't be anxious, I have it . . . When we come to 
the scene where Mawbray kills him we will give him a Shake- 
spearian death I " 

" Mawbray kills him then ? " 

" Yes . . . Did I not tell you that ? " 

"No." 

"The deuce ! does it displease you, then, that Mawbray kilb 
Tompson ? " 

"I ? Not the slightest." 

" You will leave it to me? Tompson?" 

"Certainly." 

" Then he is a dead man. Adieu." 

I ran off and got into bed. At that time 1 still maintained 
the habit of writing my dramas in bed. Whilst I wrote the 
first scene of the first act, Goubaux and Bcudin did the election 
scene, a lively, animated scene, full of cliaractcr. When 
Goubaux came to dine with me, on the following Thursday, 
everything was ready and the two scenes could be fitted 
together. I then began on the second act, that is to say, uixin 
the vital part of the drama. Richard's talent has caused him 
to reach the front rank of the Opposition, and he refuses 
all offers made him by the ministers ; but he is cleverly brought 
in contact with an unknown benefactor, who makes him such 
offers and promises that Richard scUs his conscience to become 
the son-in-law of Lord Wilmor and to be a minister. It is in 
the second scene of that act that the divorce incident lakes 
place between Richard and Jenny, which was imitated from 
Schiller. On the Tuesday following we had a fresh meeting. 
All went swimmingly, except ilie scene between the king and 
v.— »4 



370 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Richard. I had completely failed in this, and so Goubaux 
undertook to remould it, and he made it what it is, that is to 
say, one of the best and cleverest in the work. Here is the 
scene imitated from Schiller — 

"ACTE IV.— Scene ix. 

Le Roi. — Je ne me connais plus moi-même ! je ne req>ecte plus aucune 
voix, aucune loi de la nature, aucun droit des nations I 

La Reine. — Combien je plains Votre Majesté I 

Le Roi. — Me plaindre ? La pitié d'une impudique I 

L'infante, se jetant tout effrayée dans les bras de sa mere.— he roi est 
en colère, et ma mère chérie pleure ! {Ze roi arrache Finfante des bras de 
sa mere.) 

La Reine, avec douceur et dignité mais dune voix- tremblante.— ^^ dois 
pourtant garantir cette enfant des mauvais traitements ! . . . Viens avec 
moi, ma fille ! {^Elle la prend dans ses bras. ) Si le roi ne veut pas te recon- 
naîtra, je ferai venir de l'autre côté des Pyrénées des protecteurs pour 
défendre notre cause I 

{Elle veut sortir.) 

Le Roi, trouble. — Madame ! 

La Reine. — Je ne puis plus supporter . . . C'en est trop ! {£lle 
s'avance vers la porte, meus s' évanouit et tombe avec F infante.) 

Le Roi, courant a elle avec effroi. — Dieu ! qu'est-ce donc ? 

L'infante, avec des cris de frayeur. — Hélas ! ma mère saigne ! (Elle 
s'enfuit en pleurant. ) 

Le Roi, avec anxiété. — Quel terrible accident ! Du sang ! . . . Ai-je 
mérité que vous me punissiez si cruellement ? . . . Levez-vous ! remettez- 
vous I . . . On vient . . . levez-vous . . . On vous surprendra . . . 
levez-vous ! . . . Faut-il que toute ma cour se repaisse de ce spectacle ? 
Faut-il donc vous prier de vous lever? ..." 

Now to Richard. Richard wants to force Jenny to sign the 
act of diyorce and she refuses. 

"Jenny. — Mais que voulez-vousdonc, alors? Expliquez- vous clairement ; 
car tantôt je comprends trop, et tantôt pas assez. 

Richard. — Pour vous et pour moi, mieux vaut un consentement 
mutuel. 

Jenny.— Vous m'avez donc crue bien lâche? Que, moi, j'aille devant 
un juge, sans y être traînée par les cheveux, déclarer de ma voix, signer 
de ma main que je ne suis pas digne d'être l'épouse de sir Richard? 
Vous ne me connaissez donc pas, vous qui croyez que je ne sub bonne 
qu'aux soins d'un ménage dédaigné ; que me croyez anéantie par l'absence ; 



SCENES FROM RICHARD DARLINGTON 371 



qui (lensez que je ploieru piuve (]ue vous appuierez le poing sur ma tcte ; 
Dans le temps de mon bonheur, oui, cela aurait pu être ; mois mes larmes 
ont retrempé mon cœur ; mes nuits d'insomnie ont affermi mon courage } 
le malheur enfin m'a fait une volonté ! Ce que je suis, je vous le dois, 
Richard ; c'est votre faute ; ne vous en prenez donc qu'a vous . . . Main- 
tenant, voyons t à qui aaru le plus de courage, du faible ou du fori. Sir 
Richard, je ne veux pas I 

Richard.— Madame, jusqu'ici, je n'ai fait entendre que des paroles de 
conciliation. 

Jbnnv. — Essayez d'avoir recours k d'autres ! 

Richard, manhant à tilt. — ^Jenny ! 

Jbnnv, fnUemont.—VMhaxA I 

Richard. — Malheureuse ! savez-vous ce dont je suis capable ? 

JïSNV.— Je le devine. 

Richard. — Et vous ne tremblez pas? 

JBNNY.— Voyez. 

RlCHARti, lui firenaut la inaitu. — Femme ! 

Jennv, tombant à gtMoux dt la uamtst, — ^Ah I . . . 

Richard. — A genoux ! 

Jenny, Us mains au cUl. — Mon Dieu, ayez pitié de lui I {Elit st 
relive.) 

Richard. — Ah î c'est de vous qu'il a pitié, car je m'en vois . . . Adieu, 
Jcnny ; demandez au ciel que ce soit pour toujours I 

Jennv. courant à lui, tt Itu Jstaitt Its inu oit/ottr du <«».— Richard I 
Richard I ne t'en va pas 1 

Richard. — Laissez-moi partir. 

Jbnnv. — Si tu savais comme je t'aime ! 

Richard. — Prouvez-le-moi. 

Jbnnv.— Ma mère ! ma mire ! 

Richard — Voulez-vous? 

Jknnv. — Tu me l'avais bien dit ! 

Richard.- Un dernier root. 

Jbnnv. — Ne le dis pas. 

R I CH AR D. — Cbnseiu-tu ? 

Jbnnv. — Écoute-moi. 

Richard.— Consens-tu? {/emny tt lait.) Cest bien. Mais plus de 
messages, plus de lettres, . . Que rien ne vous rappelle 1 moi, que je ne 
sache mteie pas que vous existez ! Je vous laisse une jeunesse sans époux, 
une viôllesse sans enfant. 

JENXV. — Pas d'imprécations I pat d'imprécations ! 
Richard.— Adieu ! 

Jbn.sv. -Vous ne partirez pu I 
Richard.— Damnation I 
Jbnnv.- Vous me tuerez plutôt ! 



372 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Richard. — Ah I laissez-moi I (Jenny, refoussie, va tomber la lite sur 
r angle cPttn meuble.) 

Jbnny.— Ahl . . . (Elle se relive tout ensanglantée.) Ah I Richard I 
. . . {Elle chaiuelle en étendant les bras de son c6U, et retombe.) H&utque 
je vous aime bien I (Elles Évanouit.) 

Richard. — Evanouie I . . . blessée I ... du sang ! . . . Malédiction I 
. . . Jenny 1 . . . Jenny t (Il la porte sur un fauteuil.) Et ce sang qui ne 
s'arrête pas. . . (// titanche avec son mouchoir.) Je ne peux cependant 
pas rester éternellement id. (// se rapproche et elle.) Jenny, finissons. . . 
Je me retire. , . Tu ne veux pas répondre ? . . . Adieu donc I . . ." 

There remained the last act; it was composed of three 
scenes : the first takes place in Richard's house in London, the 
second in a forest, the third in Jenny's chamber. My reader 
knows the engagement I had undertaken, to have Jenny thrown 
out of the window. Very well, I boldly prepared myself to keep 
it, and I wrote the scene in my bed, as usual. This is the 
situation : Mawbray has killed Tompson, who carried Jenny 
off, and has brought her into the room where in the second act 
the scene between her and her husband took place. This room 
has only two doors : one leading to the stairs, the other into a 
cupboard, and one window, the view from which looks deep 
down into a precipice. Scarcely is Jenny left alone with her 
terror, — for she has no doubt that it is her husband who has had 
her carried off, — than she hears and recognises Richard's step. 
Not able to flee she takes refuge in the cabinet Richard 
enters. 

" Richard. — J'arrive à temps 1 A peine si je dois avoir, sur le marquis et 
sa famille, une demi-heure d'avance. — James, apportez des flambeaux, et 
tenez-vous à la porte pour conduire ici les personnes qui arriveront dans un 
instant. . . Bien. . . Allez I (Tirant sa montre.) Huit heures ! Tompson 
doit être maintenant à Douvres, et, demain matin, il sera à Calais. Dieu 
le conduise ! . . . Voyons si rien n'indique que cet appartement a été 
habité par une femme. (Apercevant le chapeau et le châle que Jenny vient 
de déposer sur une chaise.) La précaution n'était pas inutile. . . Que faire 
de cela ? Je n'ai pas la clef des armoires. . . Les jeter par la fenêtre : on 
les retrouvera demain. . . Ah I des lumières sur le haut de la montagne 
. . . C'est sans doute le marquis ; il est exact. . . Mais où diable mettre 
ces chiffons? Ahl ce cabinet. . . j'en retirerai la clef. (// ouvre le 
cabinet.) 
JllNMY.— Ah I 



MELODRAMA 



373 



Richard, la saisissant far le bras. — Qui est la ? 

Jennv. — Moi, moi, Richard. . . Ne tne faites point de mal ! 

Richard, f attirant tttr U tA/âtre.—Jenay I mais c'est donc un démon 
qui me la jette à la face toutes les fois que je crois être débarrassé d'elle ? 
. . , Que faiics-vous ici ? qui vous y ramène ? Parlez vite. , . 

Jknnv. — Mawbray I 

Richard.— Mawbiay I tonjoors Mawbray ! Où esl-il, que je ma venge 
enfin sur un homme ? 

Jrnnv. — Il est loin. . , bientloin. . . reparti pour Londres. . . Grice 
pour lui I 

Richard. —Eh bien ? 

Jbnnv. — Il a arrêté la voiture. 

Richard.- Après? ... Ne voyet-vons pos que je brûle? 

Jrnnv. — Et moi, que je. , . 

Richard. — Après? vous dis-je ? 

Jbnny.— Ils se sont bottas. 

Richard.— Et? . . . 

Jknny. — Et Mawbray a tué Tompson. 

Richard. — Enfer I . , . Alors, il vous a ramenée ici? 

Jknmv. — Oui. . . oui. . pardon I 

Richard.— Jenny, écoutez I 

Jennv. — C'est le roulement d'une voirurc. 

Richard. — Cette voiture. . . 

Jknny. — Eh bien? 

Richard. — Elle amène ma femme et sa Cunille. 

Jbnky. — Votre femme et sa bmille ! ... Et moi, moi, que (nis-je 
donc? 

Richard. — Vous, Jenny? vous? . . . Vous êtes mon mauvais génie I 
vous £tc3 l'abîme oii vont s'engloutir toutes mes opéninces I vous êtes le 
démon qui me pousse K l'écha^ud, car je ferai un crime ! 

jBNîfV.— Oh I mon Oicu I 

Richard. — Ces» qu'il n'y ik plus a reculer, voyez-vous I vous n'avex pas 
voulu signer le divorce, vous n'avez pas voulu quitter l'.Xnglctcrre. . . 

Jbnnv. — Oh ! maintenant, maintenant, je veux tout ce que vous voudrez. 

Richard. — Eh I mainleiuint, il est trop tard I 

Jenny. — Qu'allez-vous donc faire alors ? 

Richard. — Je ne saiv . . mais priez Dieu ! 

Jbnny.— Richard ! 

R ICN ARD, /eu mettant la wtain mr la bowhi. — Silence I ne les enlemlei* 
^Touspas? nelci cnteudcz-vuus pas? Ils montent! . . . Ut monleni \ ■ . . 
'Ib root trouver une femme ici ! " 



Here I stopped short. I had gone as for as I couU! —^ 
13ut there was the question of keeping my promise to Gou! 



374 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

I leapt out of my bed. It is impossible! I cried out to 
myself, and Goubaux said well. Richard is to be forced to 
take bis wife, and drag her towards the window; she will 
defend herself; the public will not bear the sight of that 
struggle and it will be perfectly right . . . Besides, when he 
lifts her up over the balcony, Richard will give the spectators 
a view of his wife's 1^ : the spectators will laugh, which is 
much worse than if they hissed . . . Decidedly I am a fooL 
There must be some way out of the difficulty I . . . But it was 
not easy to find means. I racked my brains for a fortnight all 
in vain. Goubaux had no notion of the time it took me to 
compose the third act He wrote me letter after letter. I 
did not wish to tell him the real cause of my delay ; I made 
all sorts of excuses : I was busy with my rehearsals ; I had 
gone to see my daughter at her nurse's house; I had a 
shooting party and all sorts of other things ; — all pretexts nearly 
as valid as those which Pierre Schlemihl gave in excuse for 
not having a shadow. Finally, one fine night, I woke up with 
a start, crying like Archimedes Ev^n^xa! and in the same 
costume as he, I ran, not through the streets of Syracuse, but 
into the comers and recesses of my bedroom to find a tinder- 
box. When the candles were lit, I got back into bed and 
took hold of my pencil and manuscript, shrugging my 
shoulders in disgust at myself. Good Heavens! said I, it 
is as simple as Christopher Columbus's egg ; only, one must 
break the end ofif! The end was broken; there was no more 
difficulty, Jenny no longer would have to risk showing her 
ankles and Richard would still throw his wife out of the 
window. Behold the mechanism thereof! After the words: 
" Ik vont trouver une femme ici ! " Richard ran to the door, 
closed it and double-locked it Meanwhile, Jermy ran to the 
window and cried from the balcony, " Help ! help 1 " Richard 
followed her precipitately ; Jenny fell on her knees. A noise 
was heard on the stairs ; Richard closed the two shutters of the 
window on himself, shutting himself out with Jenny on the 
balcony. A cry was heard. Richard, pale and wiping his 
brow, reopened the two shutters with a blow of his fist ; he 



A DIFFICULTY SOLVED 



375 



was alone on the balcony; Jenny had disappeared! The 
trick was taken. 

By eight o'clock next morning I was writing the last line 
of the third act of Richard, and, by nine, I was with Goubaux ; 
by ten, he had acknowledged that the window was, indeed, 
Jenny's only way of exit. 



BOOK IV 



CHAPTER I 

The feudal edifice and the industrial — The workmen of Lyons — M. 
Bouvier-Dumolard — General Roguet — Discussion and signing of the 
tariff regulating the price of the workmanship of fiibrics — The makers 
refuse to submit to it — Artifieial prices for silk-workers — Insurrection 
of Lyons — Eighteen millions on the civil list — ^Timon's calculations — 
An unlucky saying of M. de Montalivet 

DURING this time three political events of the gravest 
importance took place: Lyons broke into insurrec- 
tion; the civil list was debated; the Chamber passed the 
law abolishing the heredity of the peerage. We will pass 
these three events in review as rapidly as possible, but we 
owe it to the scheme of these Memoirs to make a note of the 
principal details. It must be clear that every time the country 
has been in trouble we have listened to its cry. Let us begin 
with Lyons. 

Everybody knows Lyons, a poor, dirty town with a canopy 
of smoke and a jumble of wealth and misery, where people 
dare not drive through the streets in carriages, not for fear of 
running over the passengers but for fear of being insulted; 
where for forty thousand unfortunate human beings the twenty- 
four hours of the day contain eighteen hours of work, noise 
and agony. You remember Hugo's beautiful comparison in 
the fourth act of Hemani — 

"Un édifice avec deux hommes au sommet, 

Deux chefs élus auxquels tout roi-né se soumet. 

Etre ce qui commence, 

Seul,'' debout au plus haut de la spirale immense, 
376 



LYONS 377 

D'une foute d'ÉUts l'un sur l'autre iiagh 

Etre la clef de voûte, et voir sous sui rangés 

Les rois, et sur leurs fronts essuyer ses sandales. 

Voir, au-dessous des rois, les maisons féodales. 

Margraves, cardinaux, doges, ducs k fleurons; 

Puis évéques, abbés, chefe de clans, hauts barons ; 

l'uis clercs et soldats ; puis, loin du faite où nous sommes. 

Dans l'ombre, tout au fond de l'abîme, les hommes," 

Well, in comparison with this aristocratie pyramid, crowned 
by fAose two halves of God, llu Pupe and the Emperor, re- 
splendent with gold and diamonds on everyone of its stages, 
put the popular pyramid, by the aid of which we are going to 
try to make you understand wliat Lyons is like, and you will 
have, not an exact pendant to it but, on the contrary, a 
terrible contrast So, imagine a spiral composed of three 
stages : at the top, eight hundred manufacturers ; in the 
middle, ten thousand foremen; at the base, supporting this 
immense weight which rests entirely on them, forty thousand 
workmen. Then, buzzing, gleaning, picking about this spiral 
like hornets round a hive, are the commissionaires, the 
parasites of the manufacturers, and those who supply raw 
materials to the trade. Now, the commercial mechanism of 
this immense machine is easy to understand. These com- 
missionaires live on the manufacturers ; the manufacturers 
live on the foremen; the foremen live on the workpeople. 
Add to this the Lyonnais industry, the only one by which 
these fifty to sixty thousand souls live, attacked at all points 
by competition — England producing and striking a double 
blow at Lyons, first because she has ceased to supply herself 
from there, and, secondly, because she is producing on her 
own account — Zurich, Bile, Cologne and Berne, all setting up 
looms, arid becoming rivals of the second town of France. 
Forty years ago, when the continental system of 1810 com- 
pelled the whole of France to supply itself from Lyons, the 
workman earned from four to six francs a day. Then he 
could easily provide for his wife and the numerous family 
which nearly always results from the improvidence of the 
working-man. But, since the fall of the Empire, for the put 



378 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

seventeen years wages have been on the decline, from foiir 
francs to forty sous, then to thirty-five, then to thirty, then to 
twenty-five. Finally, at the time we have now reached, the 
ordinary weaving operative only earns eighteen sous per day 
for eighteen hours work. One sou per hour! ... It is a 
starvation wage. 

The unfortunate workmen struggled in silence for a long 
time, trying, as each quarter came round, to move into smaller 
rooms, to more noxious quarters; trying, day by day, to 
economise something in the shape of their meals and those 
of their children. But, at last, when they came face to face 
with the deadening effect of bad air and of starvation for want 
of bread, there went up from the Croix-Rousse, — appropriate 
names, are they not ? — that is to say, from the working portion 
of the city — a great sob, like that which Dante heard when he 
was passing through the first circle of the Inferno. It was the 
cry of one hundred thousand sufferers. Two men were in 
command at Lyons, one representing the civil power, the 
other the military: a préfet and a general. The préfet was 
called Bouvier-Dumolard ; the general's name was Roguet 
The first, in his administrative capacity, came in contact with 
all classes of society, and was able to study that dark and 
profound misery; a misery, all the more terrible, because no 
remedy could be found for it, and because it went on increasing 
every day. As for the general, since he knew his soldiers had 
five sous per day, and that each of them had a ration 
sufficiently ample for a canut (silk-weaver) to feed his wife 
and children upon, he never troubled his head about anything 
else. The cry of misery of the poor famished creatures 
therefore affected the general and the préfet very differently. 
They made their separate inquiries as to the cause of this 
cry of misery. The workpeople demanded a tariff. General 
Roguet called a business meeting and demanded repressive 
measures. M. Bouvier-Dumolard, on the contrary, seeing 
the tradespeople in council, asked them for an increase of 
salary. On ii October this council issued the following 
minute : — 



MINIMUM WAGES 



379 



"As it is a matter of public notoriety that many of the 
manufacturers actually pay for their fabrics at too low a rate, 
it is advisable that a iruaimum tariff be fixed for the price of 
fabrics." 



Consequently, a meeting was held at the Hôtel de la 
Préfecture on 1 5 October. The tariff was discussed on both 
sides by twenty-two workmen apjjointed by their comrades, 
and twenty-two manufacturers who were appointed by the 
Chamber of Commerce. 

That measure, presuming that it needed a precedent before 
it could be legalised, had been authorised in 1789, by the 
Constituent Assembly, in 1793 by the Convention and, finally, 
in 1811 by the Empire. Nothing was settled at the first 
meeting. On 21 October a new assembly was convoked at 
the same place, and with the same object. The manufacturers 
were less pressing th.in the workmen : that is conceivable 
enough : they have to give and the workmen to receive ; they 
have to lose and the workmen to gain. The manufacturers 
said that having been officially appointed they could not bind 
their confrères. A third meeting was arranged to give them 
time to obtain a power of attorney. Meanwhile workpeople 
died of hunger. This meeting was fixed for 15 October. 
The life or death of forty thousand operatives, that of their 
fathers and mothers, tlieir wives and their children, the very 
existence of over one hundred thousand persons was to be 
discussed at that sitting. So, the unusual, lamentable and 
fearful sj)eclacle was to be seen, at ten in the morning, of this 
unfortun.ate |x;oplc waiting outside in the place de la Préfecture 
to hear their sentence. But there was not a single weapon to 
be seen among those thousands of supplicants! A weapon 
would have prevented them from joining their hands together, 
and they only wanted to pray. 

The préfet, terrified by tlial multitude, teirified of its very 
silence, came fonn-ard. Amongst all that sixty to eighty 
Uiousand persons of all ages and of both sexes, there were 
nearly thirty tliousand men. 



38o MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

" My good people," said the préfet to them, " I b^ you to 
withdraw — it will be to your own interests to do so. If you 
stay there the tariff will seem to have been imposed by your 
presence. Now, in order to be valid, the deliberations most 
be doubly free : free in reality and free in appearance." 

All these famished voices with laboured breathings 
summoned strength to shout, "Vive le préfet!" Then they 
humbly retired without complaint or comment 

The tariff was signed : the result was an increase of twoity- 
five per cent — not quite five sous per day. But five sous per 
day meant the lives of two children. So there was great joy 
throughout that poor multitude : the workmen illuminated 
their windows, and sang and danced far into the night 
Their joy was very innocent, but the manufacturers thought 
the songs were songs of triumph and the Carmagnole dances 
meant a second '93. And they were made the means 
of refusing the tariff. A week had not gone before there were 
ten or a dozen refusals to carry it out The Trades Council 
censured those who refused. The manufacturers met and 
decided that instead of a partial refusal they would all protest 
And so a hundred and four manufacturers protested, declaring 
that they did not think themselves compelled to come to the 
assistance of men who were bolstered up by artifictal prias 
{des besoins factices). Artificial prices, at eighteen sous per day ! 
what sybarites ! The préfet, who was a goodhearted fellow 
but vacillating, drew back before that protest The Trades 
Council in turn drew back when they saw that the préfet had 
given way. Both Trades Council and préfet declared that 
the tariff was not at all obligatory, and that those of the 
manufacturers who wished to avoid the increase of wage 
imposed had the right to do it Six to seven hundred, out of 
the eight hundred manufacturers, took advantage of the per- 
mission. The unfortunate weavers then decided to go on strike 
for a week, during which time they walked the town as 
unarmed suppliants, making no demonstration beyond 
affectionate and. grateful salutations to those of the manu- 
facttuers who were more humane than the others and had 



ON STRIKE 



381 



observed Ihe taritT. This humble attitude only hardened the 
liearls of the manufacturers : one of them received a deputation 
of workmen with pistols on his table; another, when the 
wretched men said to him, " For two days we have not had 

a morsel of bread in our stomachs," replied, " Well then, 

we must thrust bayonets into them ! " General Roguet, also, 
who was ill and, consequently, in a bad temper, placarded 
the Riot Act The préfet realised all the evils that would 
accrue from putting such a measure into force, and went to 
General Roguet to try to get him to withdraw it. General 
Roguet declined to receive him. There are strange cases of 
bUndness, and military leaders arc especially liable to such 
fits. 

Thirty thousand workpeople — unarmed, it is true, but one 
knows how rapidly thirty thousand men can arm themselves — 
were moving about the streets of Lyons ; General Roguet had 
under his command only the 66th regiment of the line, three 
squadrons of dragoons, one battalion of the 13th and some 
companies of engineers : barely three thousand soldiers in 
all. He persisted in his policy of provocation. It was 19 
November ; the general, under the pretext of a reception for 
General Ordomont, commanded a review on the place 
Bellecour to be held on the following day. It was difficult not 
to sec an underlying menace in that order. Unfortunately, 
those threatened had begun to come to the end of their 
patience. What one of their number had said was no poetic 
metaphor — many had not tasted food for forty-eight hours. 
Two or three more days of patience on the part of the military 
authority, and they need have had no more fear : the people 
would be dead. On 21 November — it was a Monday — four 
hundred silk-workers gathered at the Croix-Rousse. They 
proceeded to march, headed by their syndics, and with no 
other arms but sticks. They realised things had come to a 
crisis and they resolved to go from workshop to workshop, and 
to pei^uade their comrades to come out on strike with them 
until the tarifT should be adopted in a serious and definitive 
manner. Suddenly, as they turned the corner of a street, they 




382 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

found themselves face to face with sixty or so of the National 
Guard on patrol. An officer, carried away by a warlike impulse, 
shouted when he saw them, " Lads, let us sweep away all that 
canaille." And, drawing his sword, he sprang upon the 
workmen, the sixty National Guards following him with fixed 
bayonets. Twenty-five of the sixty National Guards were 
disarmed in a trice ; the rest took to flight Then, satisfied 
with their first victory, without changing the wholly peacdiil 
nature of their demonstration, the workmen took each other's 
arms again and, marching four abreast, began to descend what 
is known as la Grante-Côte. But the fugitives had given the 
alarm. A column of the National Guard of the first l^on, 
entirely composed of manufacturers, took up arms in hot 
haste, and advanced resolutely to encounter the workmen. 
These were two clouds, charged with electricity, hurled against 
each other by contrary currents and the collision meant 
lightning. 

The column of the National Guard fired; eight workmen 
fell. After that, it was a species of extermination — blood had 
flowed. At Paris, in 1830, the people had fought for an idea, 
and they had fought well; at Lyons, in 1831, they were going 
to fight for bread and they would fight better still. A terrible, 
formidable, great cry went up throughout the whole of the 
labour quarter of the city : To arms ! They are murdering 
our brothers ! 

Then anger set that vast hive buzzing which hunger had turned 
dumb. Each household turned into the streets every man 
that it contained old enough to fight ; all had arms of one sort 
or another : one had a stick, another a fork, some had guns. 
In the twinkling of an eye barricades were constructed by the 
women and children ; a group of insurgents, amidst loud cheers, 
carried off' two pieces of cannon belonging to the National 
Guard of the Croix-Rousse ; the National Guard not only let 
the cannon be taken but actually offered them. If it did 
not pursue the operatives into their intrenchments it would 
remain neutral ; but if the barricades were attacked it would 
defend them with guns and cartridge. Next evening, foc^ 



RESORT TO ARMS 



383 



thousand men were armed ready, hugging the banners 
whicli bore these words, the most ominous, probably, evtr 
traced by the bloody hand of civil war — 



h 



VIVRE EN TRAVAILLANT 

OU 

MOURIR EN COMBATTANT I 



They killed each other through the whole of the night of the 
jist, and the whole day of the 22nd. Oh! how fiercely do 
compatriots, fellow-citizens and brothers kill one another! 
Fifty years hence civil war will be the only warfare possible. 
By seven o'clock at night all was over, and the troops beat a 
retreat before the people, vanquished at every point At mid- 
night, General Roguet, lifted up bodily on horseback, where he 
shook with fever, left the town, which he found impossible to 
hold any longer. He withdrew by way of the faubourg Saint- 
Clair, under a canopy of fire, through a hail of bullets. The 
smell of powder revived the strength of the old soldier : he sat 
up on his horse, and rose in his stimips — 

" Ah ! " he said, " now I can breathe once more I I feel 
better here than in the Hotel de Ville drawing-rooms." 

Meantime, the people wcrc knocking at the doors of that 
same Hotel de Ville wliich the préfet and members of the 
municipality had abandoned. ^Vhen at the Hôtel de Ville, thai 
palace of the people, the people felt they were the masters. 
But they scarcely realised this before they were afraid of their 
power. This power was deputed to eight persons : Lachapellc, 
Frédéric, Charpentier, Perenon, Rosset, Gamier, Derviemc and 
FiUiol. The three first were workmen whose only thought was 
to maintain the tariff; the five others were Republicnns who 
thought of political questions and not merely of pecuniary. 
The next day after that on which the eight delegates of the 
people liad established a provisional administration, the pro- 
trisional administrators were at the |X)int of killing one another. 
Some wanted boldly to follow the path of insurrection ; others 
wanted to join the party of civil authority. The latter carried 



384 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

the day, and M. Bouvier-Dumolard was reinstalled. On 3 
December, at noon, the Prince Royal and Maréchal Soull 
took possession once more of the second capital of the kingdom, 
and re-entered with drums beating and torches lit The work- 
people were disarmed and fell back to confront their necessities 
and the besoins factices they had created, at eighteen sous pei 
diem. The National Guard was disbanded and the town 
placed in a state of siege. M. Bouvier-Dumolard was 
dismissed. 

What was the king doing during this time ? His ministers, 
at his dictation, were preparing a minute in which he asked 
the Chamber for eighteen million francs for the civil list, 
fifteen hundred thousand francs per month, fifty thousand 
francs per day ; without reckoning his private income of five 
millions, and two or three millions in dividends fix>m special 
investments. 

M. Laffitte had already, a year before, submitted to the 
committee of the Budget a minute proposing to fix the king's 
civil list at eighteen million francs. The committee had 
read the minute, and this degree of justice should be given to 
it : it had been afraid to bring it forward. Even that minute 
had left a very bad impression, so disturbing, that it had been 
agreed between the minister and the king, that the king should 
write a confidential letter to the minister, saying he had never 
thought of so high a sum as eighteen millions, and that the 
demand should be attributed to too hasty courtiers, whose 
devotion compromised the royal power they thought to serve. 
That confidential letter had been shown in confidence and had 
produced an excellent efiect. But when it was learnt at court 
that the revolt at Lyons was not political, and that the canuts 
were only rising because they could not live on eighteen sous 
per twenty-four hours, it was deemed that the right moment had 
come to give the king his fifty thousand francs per day. They 
■sked for one single man that which, a hundred and twenty 
leagues away, was sufficient to keep fifty-four thousand men. 
[t was thirty-seven times more than Bonaparte had asked as 
^acHt Consul, and a hundred and forty-eight times more than 



SHARP CONTRASTS 



385 



the President of the United States handled. The time was all 
the more ill chosen in that, on i January 183», — we are 
anticipating events by three months, — the Board of Charity 
of the 1 2th Arrondissement published the following circular — 

" Twenty-four thousand persons are inscribed on the registers 
of the 12th Arrondissement of Paris as in need of food and 
clothing. Many are asking for a few trusses of straw on which 
to sleep." 

True, the request for eighteen millions of Civil List were 
stated to be for royal necessities, — people's necessities differ. 
Thus, whilst five or six thousand wretched people of the i ath 
Arrondissement were asking for a few trusses of straw on 
which to sleep, the king ivas in nted of forty-eight thousand 
francs for the medicaments necessary to his health ; the king 
was in needo/thiee million seven hundred and seventy-three 
thousand five hundred francs for his personal service ; the 
king was in nee J 0/ a million two hundred thousand francs to 
provide fuel for the kitchen fires of the royal household. 

It must be admitted that these were a fair number of 
remedies for a king whose health had become proverbial, and 
who knew enough about medicine to pass a doctor's degree, in 
his ordinary indispositions; it was a great luxury for a king 
who had suppressed the offices of chief equerry, master of the 
^H hounds, mastL-r of ceremonies and all the great state expenses, 
^V and who had set forth the programme, new to France, of a 
small court half-bourgeois and half-military ; also it was a good 
deal of wood and coal to allow a king who possessed the finest 
forests in the state, cither by right of inheritance or as apparjage. 
True, it was calculated that the sale of wood annually made by 
the king, which would be sufficient to warm a tenth part of 
Prance, was not sufficient to warm the underground kitchen 
fires of the Palais-Royal. People calculated differently. It 
was the time of calculations. There was, at that (Kriod, a 
■great calculator, since dead, called Timon the misanthrope. 
' Ah ! if only he were still alive 1 ... He reckoned that 
eighteen miUions of Civil List amounted to the fiftieth part of 

b V. — 25 ■ 



386 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

the Budget of France ; the contribution of three of our most 
densely populated departments, — Seine, Seine-Inférieure and 
Nord ; the land tax paid to the state by eighteen other depart- 
ments ; four times more than flowed into the state coffers from 
Calais, Boulonnais, Artois and their six hundred and forty 
thousand inhabitants, by way of contributions of every kind 
in a year ; three times more than the salt tax brought in ; 
twice more than the government winnings from its lottery; 
half what the monopoly of the sale of tobacco produced ; half 
what is annually granted for the upkeep of our bridges, roads, 
harbours and canals — an expenditure which gives work to over 
fifteen thousand persons; nine times more than the whole 
budget for public education, including its support, subsidies, 
national scholarships; double the cost of the foreign office, 
which pays thirty ambassadors and ministers-plenipotentiary, 
fifty secretaries to the embassies and legations, one hundred 
and fifty consuls-general, consuls, vice-consuls, dragomans and 
consular agents ; ninety head clerks and office clerks, under- 
clerks, employees, copyists, translators and servants; the pay 
of an army of fifty-five thousand men, ofiicers of all ranks, non- 
commissioned ofl5cers, corporals and soldiers, a third more 
than the cost of the whole staff of the administration of justice ; 
— note that in saying that justice is paid for, we do not mean 
to say that it ought to be given up. In short, a sum sufi^dent 
to provide work for a whole year to sixty-one thousand six 
hundred and forty-three workmen belonging to the country! . . . 
Although the bourgeoisie were so enthusiastic over their king, 
this calculation none the less made them reflect 

Then, as if it seemed that every misfortune were to be 
piled up because of that fatal Civil List of 1832, M. de 
Montalivet must needs take upon himself to find good 
reasons for making the contributors support the Budget by 
saying in the open Chamber — 

" If luxury is banished from the king's palace, it will lOon 
be banished from the homes of his subjects/" 

At these words there was a prompt and loud explosion, as 
though the powder magazine at Grenelle had been set on fire. 



SCENES IN THE CHAMBER 



387 



"Men who make kings are not the subjects of the kings 
they create ! " exclaims M. Marchai 

" There are no more subjects in France." 

"There is a king, nevertheless," insinuates M. Dupin, who 
held a salary direct from that king. 

"There are no more subjects," repeats M. Leclerc-Lasalle. 
"Order! order! order!" 

" I do not understand the importance of the interruption," 
replies M. de MontaliveL 

" It is an insult to the chamber," cries M. Labôissière. 

"Order! order! order!" The president rings his bell. — 
"Order!! order!! order!!" 

The president puts his hat on. "Order!!! order!!! 
order III" 

The president breaks up the sitting. The deputies go 
out, crying " Order ! order ! order ! " 

The whole thing was more serious than one would have 
supposed at the first glance : it was a slur on the bourgeois 
reputation which had made Louis-Philippe King of France. 
On the same day, under the presidency of Odilon Barrot, 
a hundred and sixty-seven members of the Chamber signed 
a protest against the word subjtet. The Civil List was 
reduced to fourteen millions. A settlement was made on 
the queen in case of the decease of the king ; an annual 
allowance of a million francs was granted to M. le due 
d'Orléans. This was a triumph, but a humiliating trium[ih ; 
the debates of the Chamber upon the word subjtct, M. de 
Cor's letters — Heavens ! what were we going to do? We were 
confusing Timon the misanthrope with M. de Cormenin! — 
the letters of Timon, Dupont (de I'Eure's) condemnation, the 
jests of the Republican papers, all these had in an important 
degree taken the place of the voice of tlie slave of old who 
cried behind the triumphant emperors, "Gesar, remember 
that thou art mortal ! " At tlie same time a voice cried, 
" Peerage, remember that thou art morul ! " It was the 
voice of the Monittur proclaiming the abolition of heredity 
in the peerage. 



CHAPTER II 

Death of Atirabeau — ^The accessories of Charles VII, — A shooting portjr — 
Montereau — A temptation I cannot resist — Critical position in which 
my shooting companions and I find ourselves — We introduce ourselves 
into an empty house by breaking into it at night — Inspection of the 
premises — Improvised supper — As one makes one's bed, so one lies on 
it — I go to see the dawn rise — Fowl and duck shooting — Preparations 
for breakfast — Mother Galop 

IT will be seen the times were not at all encouraging for 
literature. But there was through that highly strung 
period such a vital turgescence that enough force remained 
in the youth of the day, who had just been making a political 
disturbance on the boulevard Saint-Denis or the place 
Vendôme, to create a literary disturbance at the Théâtre 
Porte-Saint-Martin or the Odéon. I think I have said that 
Mirabeau had been played, and had passed like a shadow 
without even being able, when dying, to bequeathe the name 
of its author to the public: the company of the Odéon, 
therefore, was entirely at the disposal of Charles VII. 

Whether Harel had returned to my opinion, that the play 
would not make money, or whether he had a fit of niggardli- 
ness, a rare happening, I must confess, when Mademoiselle 
Georges was taking part in a play, he would not risk any 
expense, not even to the extent of the stag that kilk 
Raymond in the first act, not even for the armour which 
clothes Charles vii. in the fourth. The result was that I 
was obliged to go to Raincy myself to kill a stag, and to 
get it stuffed at my own expense; then I had to go and 
borrow a complete set of armour from the Artillery Museum, 
which they obligingly lent me in remembrance of the service 



THE SHOOTING PARTY 



389 



that I had rendered their establishment on 29 July 1830, 
by saving a portion of the armour of Francis 1. However, 
the rehearsals proceeded with such energy that, on 5 September, 
the opening day of the shooting season having arrived, I 
had no hesitation about leaving Charles VJI. to the strength 
of the impetus that I had given it, .ind, as M. Etienne would 
say, I went to woo Diana at the expense of the Muses. 
True, our Muses, if the illustrious Academician is to be 
believed, were but sorry ones ! 

I had decided to undertake this cyn^etic jollification 
because of an unlimited permission from Bixio. That per- 
mission had been given to us by our common friend 
Dupont-Delporte, who, by virtue of our discretionary powers, 
we liad just made sub-lieutenant in the army, together with 
a delightful lad called Vaillant, who, with I^oub Desnoyers, 
managed a paper called the Journal Rose, and also the son 
of Mademoiselle Duchesnois, who, I believe, died bravely in 
Algeria. As to Vaillant, I know not what became of him, 
or whether he followed up his military career ; but, if he be 
still living, no matter where he may be, I offer him greeting, 
although a quarter of a century has rolled by. Now this 
permission was indeed calculated to tempt a sportsman. 
Dupont-Delporte introduced us to his father, and begged 
him to place his château and estates at our disposition. 
The chateau was situated three-quarters of a league from 
Montigny, a little village whidi itself was three leagues from 
Montereau. We left by diligence at six o'clock on the 
morning of 4 September, and we reached Montereau about 
four in the afternoon. I was not yet acquainted with 
Montereau, doubly interesting, historically, by reason of the 
assassination of the Duke of Burgundy Jean Sans- Peur, and 
from the victory which, in the desperate struggle of 1814, 
Napoleon won there over the Austrians and the Wiirtemburgcrs. 
Our caravan was made up of Viardot, author of the Hùloirt 
det Arabes tn Espagne, and, later, husband of that adorable and 
all round actress called Pauline Garcia : of Bessas-Lamégie, 
tlien deputy-mayor of the lolh arrondissement; of BtxiOv 



io MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



t 



and of Louis Boulanger. Whilst Budo, who knew the toire, 
vent in search of a carriage to take us to Moatigny, 
Boulanger, Bessas-Lamégie, Viardot and I set to work 
to turn over the two important pages of history etnbedded 
in the little town, written four centuries ago. The position 
of the bridge perfectly explained the scene of the assassinatioo 
of the Duke of Burgundy. Boulanger drew for me on the 
spot a rough sketch, which served me later in my romance 
of Isabeau dt Baviire, and in my legend of the Sire ie Giat, 
Then we went to see the sword of the terrible duke, whidi 
hung in the crypt of the church. If one formed an idea 
of the man by the sword one would be greatly deceived: 
imagine the ball swords of Francis ir. or of Henri til. 1 
When we had visited the church we had finished with the 
memories of 1417, and we passed on to those of 1814. We 
rapidly climbed the ascent of Surville, and found ourselvei 
on the plateau where Napoleon, once more an artilleryman, 
thundered, with pieces of cannon directed by himself, against 
the Wiirtemburgers fighting in the town. It was there that, 
in getting off his horse and whipping his boot with his 
horse-whip, he uttered this remarkable sentence, an appeal 
from Imperial doubt to Republican genius — 
" Come, Bonaparte, let us save Napoleon ! " 
Napoleon was victor, but was not saved : the modem Sisyphus 
bad the rock of the whole of Europe incessantly falling back 
upjon him. 

It was five o'clock. We had three long leagues of country 
to cover ; three leagues of country, no matter in what depart- 
ment, were it even in that of Seine-et-Marne, always means; 
five leagues of posting. Now, five leagues of posting in 
country stage-waggon is at least a four hours' journey. Wi 
should only arrive at M. Dupont- Delporte's house, whom] 
not one of us knew, at nine or half-past nine at night. Was h' 
a loving enough father to forgive us such an invasion, planting' 
ourselves on him at unawares? Bixio replied that, with the 
son's letter, we were sure to be made welcome by the father, no 
matter at what hour of the day or night we knocked at his door, 



4 



POACHING 



39» 



We started in that belief, ourselves and our dogs all heaped 
together in the famous stage-waggon in question, which very 
soon gave us a sample of its powers by taking an hour and a 
quarter to drive the first league. We were just entering upon 
the second when, in passing by a field of lucerne, I was seized 
with the temptation to go into it with the dog of one of my 
fellow-sportsmen. I do not know by what misfortune I had 
not my own. My companions sang out to me that shooting 
had not yet begun ; but my sole reply was that that was but 
one reason more for finding game there. And I added that, 
if I succeeded in killing a brace of partridges or a hare, it 
would add some sauce to the supper which M. Dupont- 
Delporte would be obliged to give us. This argument won 
over my companions. The waggon was stopped ; I took 
Viardot's dog and entered the field of lucerne. If any sort of 
gamekeeper appeared, the waggon was to proceed on its way, 
and I undertook to outdistance the above-mentioned game- 
keeper. Those who knew my style of walking had no uneasi- 
ness on this score. The journey I made there and back from 
Crcpy to Paris, shooting by the way with my friend Faillet, 
will be recalled to mind. Scarcely had I taken twenty steps 
in the field of lucerne before a great leveret, thrce-t^uarters 
face, started under the dog's nose. It goes without saying 
that that leveret was killed. As no gamekeeper had appeared 
on the scene at the noise of my firing, I took my leveret by 
its hind legs and quietly remounted the stage-waggon. What 
a fine thing is success 1 Everybody congratulated me, even 
the most timorous. Three-quarters of a league farther on was 
a second field of lucerne. A fresh temptation, I'resh argument, 
and fresh yielding. At the very entrance into the field the 
dog came across game, and stopped, pointing. A covey of a 
dozen or so of partridges started up ; I fired my fir^t shot into 
the very middle of the aivey : two fell, and a third fell down at 
my second shot. TliLs would make us a roast which, if not 
quite sufficient, would at least be presentable. Again 1 
climbed into the coach in the midst of the cheering of the 
travellers. You will see directly that these details, trivial aa 



392 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

they may appear at the first glance, are not without their 
importance. I had a good mind to continue a hunt which 
seemed like becoming the parallel to the miraculous draught 
of fishes ; but night was falling, and compelled me to content 
myself with my leveret and three partridges. We drove on for 
another couple of hours, until we found ourselves opposite a 
perfectly black mass. This was the château of M. Dupont- 
Delporte. 

" Ah ! " said the driver, " here we are." 

"What, have we arrived ? " 

"Yes." 

" Is this the château d'Esgligny ? " 

" That is the château d'E^ligny." 

We looked at one another. 

" But everybody is asleep," said Bessas. 

" We will create a revolution," added Viardot 

" Messieurs," suggested Boulanger, " I think we should do 
well to sleep in the carriage, and only present ourselves to- 
morrow morning." 

" Why ! M. Dupont-Delporte would never forgive us," said 
Bixio, and, jumping down from the carriage, he resolutely 
advanced towards the door and rang. 

Meanwhile the driver, who was paid in advance, and who 
had shuddered at Boulanger's suggestion of using his stage- 
waggon for a tent, quietly turned his horse's head towards 
Montigny, and suddenly departed at a trot which proved that 
his horse felt much relieved at getting rid of his load. For a 
moment we thought of stopping him, but before the debate 
that began upon this question was ended, driver, horse and 
vehicle had disappeared in the darkness. Our boats were 
burned behind usl The situation became all the more pre- 
carious in that Bixio had rung, knocked, flung stones at the 
door, all in vain, for nobody answered. A terrifying idea 
began to pass through our minds: the château, instead of 
containing sleeping people, seemed to contain nobody at alL 
This was a melancholy prospect for travellers not one of whom 
Jcnew the country, and all of whom had the appetites of ship- 



THE EMPTY CHÂTEAU 



393 



ted men. Bixio ceased ringing, ceased knocking, ceased 
throwing stones ; the assault had lasted a quarter of an hour, 
and had not produced any effect : it was evident that the 
château was deserted. We put our heads together in council, 
and each advanced his own view. Bixio persisted in his of 
entering, even if it meant scaling the walls ; he answered for 
M. Dupont- Dclporte's approval of everything he did. 

" Look here," I said to him, " will you take the responsi- 
bility on yourself?" 

" Entirely." 

" Will you guarantee us, if not judicial impunity, at all events 
civil absolution ? " 

" Yes." 

" Very well ; will somebody light a bit of paper to give me 
light?" 

A smoker (alas ! from about that period there were smokers 
to be found everywhere) drew a match - box from his 
pocket, twisted up half a newspaper, and lighted me with his 
improvised beacon. In a trice I had pulled off the lock, 
by the help of my screw - driver. The door opened by 
itself when the lock was off. We found ourselves inside the 
park, Before going farther we thought we ought to put back 
the lock in its place. Then, feeling our way through the 
tortuous walks, we attained the main entrance. By chance 
the emigrants, probably counting on the first door to be a 
sufficient obstacle, had not shut that of the château. So we 
entered the château and wandered about among the salons, 
bedrooms and kitchens. Evcrj-where we found traces of a 
hasty departure, and that it had been incomplete owing to the 
haste with which it had been undertaken. In the kitchen the 
turnspit was in position, and there were two or three saucepans 
and a stove. In the dining-room were a dozen chairs and a 
table ; eighteen mattresses were in the linen-room ; and, in the 
cupboard of one room thirty pots of jam ! Each fresh dis- 
covery led to «bouts of joy equal to those uttered by Robinson 
Crusoe on his various visits to the wrecked vessel. Wc had 
the wherewitltal to cook a meal, to sit down and to sleep ; 



394 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

furthermore, there'were thirty pots of jam for our dessert. It is 
true we had nothing for our supper. But at that moment I 
drew my hare and the partridges from my pocket, aimoundng 
that I was prepared to skin the hare if the others would pluck 
the partridges. When hare and partridges were skiimed and 
plu(±ed I undertook to put them all in the spit We only 
wanted bread. Here Boulanger came on the scene with a 
shout of joy. In order to draw the view of the bridge of 
Montereau, or, rather, in order to rub out the incorrect lines 
in his sketch, he had sent an urchin to fetch some crumbly 
bread. The lad had brought him a two-pound loaf. The loaf 
had been stuffed into someone or other's game bag. We 
searched all the game bags, and the loaf of bread was found in 
Bessas-Lamégie's bag. At this sight we all echoed Boulanger's 
shout of joy. The two pounds of bread were placed under an 
honourable embargo ; but, for greater security, Bixio put in his 
pocket the key of the sideboard in which the bread was 
enclosed. After this I began to skin my hare, and my 
scullion-knaves began to pluck the partridges. 

Bessas-Lamégie, who had announced that he had no culinary 
proclivities, was sent with a lantern to find any available kind 
of fuel. He brought back two logs, stating that the wood- 
house was abundantly stocked, and that consequently we 
need not be afraid of making a good fire. The hearth-place 
flamed with joy after this assurance. In a kitchen table drawer 
we found a few old iron forks. We were not so particular 
as to insist upon silver ones. The table was laid as daintily 
as possible. We each had our knife, and, what was more, a 
flask full of wine or brandy or kirsch. I, who drink but little 
wine and am not fond of either brandy or kirsch, had goose- 
berry syrup. I was therefore the only one who could not 
contribute to the general stock of beverages ; but they forgave 
me in virtue of the talents I showed as cook. They saw 
clearly that I was a man of resource, and they praised my 
adroitness in killing the game and my skill in roasting it It 
was nearly one in the morning when we lay down in our 
clothes on the mattresses. The Spartans took only one 



SCAVENGING 



39S 



mattress ; the Sybarites took two. I was the first to wake, 

when it was scarcely daylight. In the few moments that 

elapsed between the extinction of the light and the coming of 

sleep I had reflected about the future, and promised myself as 

soon as I waked to look about for a village or hamlet where 

we could supply ourselves with provisions. Therefore, like 

Lady Malbrouck, I climbed up as high as I could get, not, 

however, to a tower, but to the attics. A belfry tower was just 

visible in the distance, through the trees, probably belonging 

to the village of Montigny. The distance at which it was 

situated inspired me with extremely sad reflections, but just 

then, dropping my eyes, melancholy-wise towards the earth, I 

saw a fowl picking about in a pathway ; then, in another path, 

another fowl; then a duck dabbling in a kind of |X)nd. It 

was evident that this was the rearguard of a poultry yard 

which had escaped death by some intelligent subterfuge. I 

went downstairs into tlie kitchen, got my gun, put two charges 

of cartridges in my pocket, and ran out into the garden. Three 

shots gave me possession of the duck and fowls, and wc had 

food for breakfast. Furthermore, we would dispatch two of 

our party to a village for eggs and bread, wine and butter. At 

the sound of my three shots the windows opened, and I saw 

a row of heads appear which looked like so many notes of 

interrogation. I showed my two fowls in one hand and my 

duck in the other. The result w:is immediate. At the sight 

of my simple gesture shouts of admiration rose from the 

spectators. At supjwr the night before, we had had roast 

meals ; at breakfast, we were going to have both roast and 

stew. I thought I would stew the duck with turnips, as it 

seemed of a lipc age. Enthusiasm produces great devotion : 

when 1 suggested drawing lots as to who should go to the 

village of Montigny to find butter, eggs, bread and wine, two 

men of goodwill volunteered from the ranks. These were 

Boulanger and Hixio, who, not being cither shooters or cooks, 

desired to make themselves useful to society according to 

their limited means. Their services were accepted ; an old 

basket was discovered, tlie bottom of which was made strong 



396 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

with twine ! Bixio set the example of humility by taking the 
empty basket, — Boulanger undertook to carry back the full 
basket. I set the rest of my people to work to pluck the 
fowls and the duck, and I undertook a voyage of discovery. 
It was impossible that a château so well provisioned, even 
in the absence of its owners, should not include among its 
appurtenances an orchard and a kitchen-garden. It was 
necessary to discover both. I was without a compass, but, 
by the aid of the rising sun, I could make out the south from 
the north. Therefore the orchard and the kitchen-garden 
would, naturally, be situated to the south of the park. When 
I had gone about a hundred yards I was walking about among 
quantities of fruit and vegetables. I had but to make my 
choice. Carrots and turnips and salads for vegetables — pears, 
apples, currants for fruit. I returned loaded with a double 
harvest. Bessas-Lamégie, who saw me coming from afar, took 
me for Vertumnus, the god of gardens. Ten minutes later 
the god of gardens had made room for the god of cooking. 
An apron found by Viardot round my body, a paper cap con- 
structed by Bessas on my head, I looked like Comus or 
Vatel. I possessed a great advantage over the latter in that, 
not expecting any fish, I did not inflict on myself the punish- 
ment of severing my carotid artery because the fishmonger was 
late. To conclude, my scullion lads had not lost any time ; 
the fowls and the duck were plucked, and a brazier of Homeric 
proportions blazed in the fireplace. 

Suddenly, just at the moment when I was spitting my two 
fowls, loud cries were heard in the courtyard, then in the ante- 
chamber, then on the stairs, and a furious old woman, bonnet- 
less and thoroughly scared, ran into the kitchen. It was 
Mother Galop. 



\ 



CHAPTER III 

Who Mother Galop wm— Why M. Dupont-Dclporte w«s absent— How I 
qiuuTclIed with V'iaidnl — Kalielùs's fjiiarler of an hour — Providence 
No. I. — The punUhincnl o( Tantalus — A waiter who had not reiid 
Socrates — Providence No. 2— A hrcaktast for four — Return to Paris 



MOTHER GALOP was M. Dupont- Delporte's kitchen- 
maid ; she was specially employed to go errands 
between the chateau and the village, and they called her 
Mother Galop because of the proverbial rapidity with which 
she accomplished this kind of commission. I never knew 
her other name, and never had the curiosity to inquire what 
it was. Mother Galop had seen a column of smoke coming 
out of the chimney in comparison with which the column that 
led the children of Israel in the desert was but as a vapour, 
and she had come at a run, never doubting that her master's 
chateau was invaded by a band of incendiaries. Great was 
her astonishment when she saw a cook and two or three 
kitchen-lads spitting and plucking chickens. She naturally 
asked us who wc were and what we were doing in her kiUhtH. 
We replied that M. Dupont-Delporte's son, being on the eve 
of marrying, and intending to celebrate his nuptials at the 
chateau, had sent us on in adi>'ance to take possession of the 
culinary dep.artments. She could believe what she liked of 
the story ; my opinion is tliat she did not believe very much 
of it ; but what did that matter to us ? She was not able to 
prevent u» ; we could, indeed, have shown her Dupont- Deljwrtc's 
letter, but two reasons prevented us from doing so. In the 
first place, because Bixio had it in his pocket and h.id carried 
it off to the market; secondly, because Mother Galop did 

not know bow to read 1 We in our turn interrogated Mother 

1» 



398 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Galop, with all the tact of which we were capable, concerning 
the absence of all the family, and the desertion of the diateau. 
M. Dupont-Delporte, senior, had been appointed préfet of 
Scine-Inféneure, and he had moved house npidLj a week ago^ 
leaving his chateau and what remained therein under the 
surveillance of Mother Galop. As has been seen. Mother 
Galop fulfilled her orders scrupulously. The arrival of Mother 
Galop had its good side as well as its bad : it was a censorship; 
but, at the same time, it meant a housekeeper for us. The 
upshot of it was that, in consideration of a five-franc piece 
which was generously granted her by myself, we had both 
plates and serviettes at our dejeuner. Bixio and Boulanger 
arrived as the fowls were accomplishing their final turn on the 
spit, and as Mother Galop was serving up the stewed dud. 
An omelette of twenty-four eggs completed the meaL Tbea, 
admirably fortified, we set off on our shooting expedition. We 
had not * fired four shots before we saw the gamekeeper 
running up in hot haste. This was just what we hoped would 
happen ; he could read : he accepted our sub-lieutenant's letter 
as bona-fide, undertook to take us all over the estate, and to 
reassure Mother Galop, whom our metamorphoses from coob 
to sportsmen had inspired with various fresh fears in addition 
to those which had troubled her at first, and which had never 
been entirely allayed. A sportsman minus a dog (it will be 
recollected that this was my social position) is a very dis- 
agreeable being, seeing that, if he wants to kill anything, be 
must be a Pollux or a Pylades or a Pythias to some shoota 
who has a dog. I began by giving the dubious advantage of 
my proximity to Bessas-Lamégie, the shooting companion witk 
whom I was the most intimately connected. .JVJi'"'-.'*i 
Bessas had a new dog which was makir" •' 
which was in its first season. Generall" ' 
at least — hunt with their noses down ^ 
Bessas's dog had adopted the opr 
was that he looked as though he 1 
legs of a riding-master, and not frc 
such an extent that, at the end a 



A SPORTING ERROR 



399 



Bessas to saddle his dog or harness him, but not to shoot 
with him any more. Viardot, on the other hand, had a 
delightful little bitch who pointed under the muzzle of the 
gun, standing like a stock and returning at the first call of the 
whistle. I abandoned Bessas and began to play with Viardot, 
whom I knew least, the scene between Don Juan and M. 
Dimanche ! In the very middle of the scene a covey of 
partridges started up. Viardot fired two shots after them .and 
killed one. I did the same ; only, I killed two. We continued 
to shoot and to kill in this proportion. But soon I made a 
mistake. A hare started in front of Viardot's dog. I ought 
to have given him time to fire his two shots, and not to have 
fired until he had missed. I drew first and the hare rolled over 
before Viardot had had time to put his gun to his shoulder. 
Viardot looked askance at me; and with good reason. We 
entered a field of clover. I fired my two shots at a couple of 
partridges, both of which fell disabled. The services of a dog 
were absolutely necessary. I called Viardot's; but Viardot 
also called her, and Diane, like a well-trained animal, followed 
her master and took no notice of me and my two partridges. 
No one is so ready to risk his soul being sent to perdition as a 
sportsman who loses a head of game : with still greater reason 
when he loses two. I called the dog belonging to Bessas- 
Lamégie, and Romeo came ; that was his name, and no doubt 
it was given him because he held his head up, searching for 
his Juliet on every balcony. Romeo then came, pawed, 
pranced about and jumi>ed, but did not deign for an instant to 
trouble himself about my two partridges. I swore by all the 
of Paradise, — my two partridges were lost, and I had 
• with Vi.irdot ! Viardot, indeed, left us next day, 
lie had an appointment to keep in Paris which he 
CO. I have never had the chance of making it up 
~. '.',^ vx that day, and twenty years have now passed by. 
""'••««wAli. he is « charming person with whom I do not 
' ''Q' I»», nj5(_ ix to remain estranged, I here tender him my 
^^'^^*x»\iH]^^polopcs and my very sincere regards. Next 
P o^ to tht tt,^ \ ^ho left us. He hac 
«">» ho» t„ ' *•'< 



had DO need to search for 



400 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

an excuse; his dog provided him with a most plausible one. 
I again advised him to have Romeo trained for the next 
steeple-chas^ and to bet on him at Croix-de-Bemy, but to 
renoimce working him as a shooting dog. I do not know if 
he took my advice. I remained the only shooter, and 
consequently the only purveyor to the party, which did me 
the justice to say that, if they ran any risk of dying of hunger, 
it would not be at the château d'Esgligny. But it was at 
Montereau that this misfortune nearly happened to us all. 
We had settled up our accounts with Mother Galop ; we had 
Uquidated our debt with the gamekeeper; we had paid the 
peasants the thousand and one contributions which diey levy 
on the innocent sportsman, for a dog having crossed a potato 
field, or for a hare which has spoiled a patch of beetroot ; we 
had returned to Montereau : here we had supped abundantly; 
finally, we had slept soundly in excellent beds, when, next 
day, in making up our accounts, we perceived that we were 
fifteen francs short, even if the waiter was not tipped, to be 
even with our host. Great was our consternation when this 
deficit was realised. Not one of us had a watch, or possessed 
the smallest pin, or could lay hands on the most ordinary bit 
of jewellery. We gazed at one another dumbfounded ; each of 
us knew well that he had come to the end of his own resources, 
but he had reckoned upon his neighbour. The waiter came 
to bring us the bill, and wandered about the room expecting 
his money. We withdrew to the balcony as though to take 
the air. We were stopping at the Grand Monarque I — a 
magnificent sign-board represented a huge red head sur- 
mounted by a turban. We had not even the chance, seized 
by Gérard, at Montmorency, of proposing to our host to paint 
a sign for him ! I was on the point of frankly confessing our 
embarrassment to the hotel-keeper, and of offering him my rifle 
as a deposit, when Bixio, whose eyes were mechanically 
scanning the opposite house, uttered a cry. He had just read 
these words, above three hoops from which dangled wooden 
candles — 

CARRÉ, DEALER IN GROCERIES 



A LUCKY CHANCE 



401 



In desperate situations everything may be of importance. 
We crowded round Bixio, asking him what was the matter with 
him. 

" Listen," he said, " I do not wish to raise false iiopes ; but 
I was at school with a Carré who came from Montereau. If, 
by good fortune, the Carré of that sign happens to be the same 
as my Carré, I shall not hesitate to ask him to lend me the 
fifteen francs we need." 

" Whilst you are about it," I said to Bixio, " ask him for 
thirty." 

" ^Vhy thirty ? " 

" I presume — you have not reckoned that we must go ofl 
foot?" 

" Ah ! good gracious ! that is tnie ! Here goes for thirty, 
then ! Gentlemen, pray that he may be my Carré ; I will go 
and see." 

Bixio went downstairs, and we stayed behind upon the 
balcony, full of anxiety ; the waiter still hanging round. Bixio 
went out of the hotel, passed two or three limes up and down 
in front of the shop unostentatiously ; then, suddenly, he 
rushed into it ! And, through the transparent window-panes, 
we saw him clasp a fat youth in his arms, who wore a round 
jacket and an otter-skin cap. The sight was so touching that 
tears came into our eyes. Then we saw no more ; the two 
old school-fellows disappeared into the back of the shop. Ten 
minutes later both came out of the shop, crossed the street 
and entered the hotel. It was evident that Bixio had 
succeeded in his borrowing ; otherwise, had he been refused, 
we presumed that the Rothschild of Montereau would not 
have had the face to show himself. We were not mistaken. 

"Gentlemen," said Bixio, entering, "let me introduce to 
you M. Carré, my school friend, who not only is $0 kind as 
to get us out of our difficulty by lending us thirty francs, but 
also invites us to take a glass of cogruc or of curaçao at his 
house, according to your several tastes." 

The school friend was greeted enthusiastically. Boulanger, 
wlxim we had elected our banker, who for half an hout 
V. — a6 



402 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

enjoyed a sinecure, settled accounts with the waiter, generouslj 
giving him fifty centimes for himself, and put fourteen francs 
ten sous into his pocket in reserve for the boat Then we 
hurried down the steps, extremely happy at having extricated 
ourselves even more cleverly than M. Alexandre Duval's 
Henri V. The service which we had just received from our 
friend Carré — he had asked for our friendship, and we had 
hastened to respond — did not prevent us from doing justice 
to his cognac, his black-currant cordial and his curaçao ; they 
were excellent In fact, we took two glasses of each liqueur to 
make sure that it was of good quality. Then, as time was 
pressing, we said to our new friend, in the phrase made £unous 
by King Dagobert : " The best of friends must part," and we 
expressed our desire to go to the boat Carré wished to do 
us the honours of his natal town to the last, and offered to 
accompany us. We accepted. It was a good thing we did. 
We had been misinformed about the fares of places in the 
boat : we wanted nine francs more to complete the necessary 
sum for going by water. Carré drew ten francs from his 
pocket with a lordly air, and gave them to Bixio. Our debt 
had attained the maximum of forty francs. There remained 
then twenty sous for our meals on board the boat It was a 
modest sum ; but still, with twenty sous between four people, 
we should not die of hunger. Besides, was not Providence 
still over us? Might not one of us also come across his 
Carré? Expectant of this fresh manifestation of Providence, 
we each pressed Bixio's friend in our arms, and we passed from 
the quay to the boat. It was just time ; the bell was ringing 
for departure, and the boat was beginning to move. Our 
adieux lasted as long as we could see each other. Carré 
flourished his otter-skin cap, while we waved our handker- 
chiefs. There is nothing like a new friendship for tenderness ! 
At length the moment came when, prominent objects though 
Carré and his cap had been, both disappeared on the horizon. 
We then began our examination of the boat; but after 
taking stock of each passenger we were obliged to recognise, 
for the time being at anyrate, that Providence had failed us. 



DUMAS' SLEEPING POWERS 



403 



That certainty led to all the greater sadness among us, as each 
stomach, roused by the exhilarating morning air, began to 
clamour for food. We heard all round us, as though in 
mockery of our wretchedness, a score of voices shouting — 

" Waiter ! two cutlets ! . . . Waiter ! a beefsteak ! . . . 
Waiter ! ttn Ihi complet I " 

The waiters ran about bringing the desired comestibles, 
and calling out in their turn as they passed by us — 

" Do not you gentlemen require anything ? No lunch? You 
are the only gentlemen who have not asked for something ! " 

At last I replied impatiently : " No ; we are waiting for some 
one who should joinus at the landing-stage of Fontainebleau." 
Then, turning to my companions in hunger, I said to Ihcm — 

" U|)on my word, gentlemen, he who sleeps dines ; now, the 
greater includes the less, so I am going to take my lunch 
sleeping." 

I settled myself in a corner. I had even tlien the faculty 
which I have since largely perfected, I can sleep pretty nearly 
when I like. Hardly was I resting on my elbow before I was 
asleep. I do not know how long I had been given up to the 
deceptive illusion of sleep before u waiter came up to me and 
repealed tliree times in an ascending scale — 

"Monsieur! monsieur!! monsieur!!!" 

I woke up. 

" What is it?" I said to him. 

" Monsieur said that he and bis frieitds would breakfast with 
a |>erson he expected at the landing-place at Fontainebleau." 

" Did I say tliat ? " 

" Monsieur said so." 

" You are sure ? " 

" Yes." 

"Well?" 

" Well then, it' is time monsieur ordered hi» lunch, seeia^ 
that we are approaching FuiitainiMt-aii " 

"Already?" 

'• Ah ! monsieur has slepl a long iirnc ' " 

" You might have left mc to sleep stiU lon^jcr." 



404 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

" But monsieur's friend . . ." 

" Monsieur's friend would have found him if he came." 

" But is not monsieur sure, then, of meeting his friend?" 

" Waiter, when you have read Socrates you will know how 
rare a friend is, and, consequently, how little certainty there 
is of meeting one ! " 

" But monsieur can still order lunch for three ; if monsieur's 
friend comes, another cover can be added." 

" You say we are nearing Fontainebleau ?" I replied, eluding 
the question. 

" In five minutes we shall be opposite the landing-stage." 

"Then I will go and see if my friend is coming." 

I went up on the deck, and mechanically glanced towards 
the landing-stage. We were still too bx off to distinguish 
anythii^; but, assisted by tide and steam, the boat rapidly 
advanced. Gradually individuals grouped on the bank could 
be separately distinguished Then outlines could be more 
clearly seen, then the colour of their clothes, and, finally, 
their features. My gaze was fastened, almost in spite of 
myself, upon an individual who was waiting in the middle of 
ten other persons, and whom I believed I recognised. But it 
was most unlikely I . . . However, it was very like him, . . . 
if it were he, what luck. . . . No, it seemed impossible. . . . 
Nevertheless, it was, indeed, his shape and figure and 
physiognomy. The boat approached nearer still. The indi- 
vidual who was the object of my attention got into the boat 
to come on board the steamer, which stopped to take up 
passengers. When half-way to the steamer the individual 
recognised me and waved his hand to me. 

" Is that you ?" I shouted. 

" Yes, it is I," he replied. 

I had found my Carré, only his name was Félix Deviolaine ; 
and, instead of being just an ordinary school-fellow, he was 
my cousin. I ran to the ladder and flung myself into his 
arms with as much efiusion as Bixio had into Carre's. 

" Are you alone ? " he asked me. 

"No ; I am with Bixio and Boulanger." 



MORE GOOD LUCK 



405 



" Have you lunched ? " 

"No." 

"Well, shall I have lunch with you?" 

"Say, rather, may we have lunch with you?" 

" It is the same thbg." 

" Nothing of the kind." 

I explained the difference between his lunching with us and 
we with him. He understood perfectly. The waiter stood 
by, serviette in hand; the amusing fellow had followed me 
as a shark follows a starving ship. 

" Lunch for four I " I said, and, provided that it includes two 
bottles of burgundy, eight cutlets, a fowl and a salad, you can 
then add what you like in the way of hors-d'oeuvre and entremets " 
Lunch lasted until we reached Melun. At four that afternoon 
we landed at the quay of the Hôtel de Ville, and next day I 
resumed my rehearsals of Charles VII. 



CHAPTER IV 

Le Masque defer — Georges' sappers — The garden of the Luzembouig bjr 
moonlight — M. Scribe and the CUrc de la Basoche — M. d'Épagny and 
Le Clerc et le Théologien — Classical performances at the Théitre- 
Français — Les Guelfes, by M. Arnault — Parenthesis — Dedkatoiy 
epistle to the prompter 

IN those days nothing had yet tarnished the spirit of 
that juvenile love of the capital which had induced me 
to overcome many obstacles in order to transport myself 
thither. Three or four days spent away from the literary and 
political whirlpool of Paris seemed to me a long absence. 
During the month I had stayed at Trouville I felt as though 
the world had stood still. I took but the time to fly home to 
change my shooting dress, — as regards the game, my travelling 
companions had seen to that, — to make inquiries about things 
that might have happened affecting myself, and then I went to 
the Odéon. It took me a good half-hour's fast walking, and 
an hour in a fly, to go from my rue Saint-Lazare to the Odéon 
Theatre. Railways were not in existence then, or I might have 
followed the method pursued by a friend of mine who had an 
uncle living at the barrière du Maine. When he went to see 
his uncle — and this happened twice a week, Thursdays and 
Sundays — he took the railway on the right bank and arrived 
by the railway on the left bank. He only had Versùlles to 
cross through, and there he was at his uncle's house ! 

They had rehearsed conscientiously, but the rehearsals had 
not been hurried at alL The last piece to be performed was 
the Masque de fer, by MM. Arnault and Foumier. Lockroy 
had been magnificent in it, and although the play was acted 

without Georges it brought in money. I say, although it was 

406 



THE ODÉON COMPANY 



407 



played without Georges, because it was a superstition at the 
Odéon, a superstition accredited by Harel, that no piece paid 
if Georges was not acting in it. Ligier, a most conscientious 
actor, though almost always compelled to struggle against the 
drawback of being too small in figure and having too coarse a 
voice, had been a genuine success in his part, greater than I 
can remember any actor to have had in a tôle created by him- 
self. What a capital company the Odéon was at that period ! 
Count up on your fingers those I am about to name, and you 
will find six or eight players of the first rank : Frédérick- 
Lemaitre, Ligier, Lockroy, Duparay, Stockleit, Vizentini, 
Mademoiselle Georges, Madame Moreau-Sainti who was 
privileged always to remain beautiful, and Mile. Noblet who 
imfortunately was not equally privileged to remain for ever 
virtuous. Mile. Noblet, poor woman, who had just played 
Paula for me, and who was about to play Jenny ; Mile. 
Noblet, whose great dark eyes and beautiful voice and 
melancholy face gave birth to hopes which now are so 
utterly quenched at the Theatre- Français that, although she 
is still young, people have not known for the past ten years 
whether she, who was so full of promise, is still alive or dead I 

Why were these eclipses of talent so frequent at the theatre 
of Richelieu? This is a question which we will examine on 
the first suitable opportunity that presents itself. Let Bres- 
sant, who has played the Prince of Wales admirably for me 
in Kean during the past fifteen or sixteen years, look to his 
laurels and cling tight to his new repertory, or probably he 
will be lost sight of like the others. 

I stayed behind to supper with Georges. I have already 
said how very charming her supper-parties were, — very unlike 
those of Mile. Mars, although often both were attended by the 
same people. But, in this case, the guests in general took 
their cue from the mistress of the house. Mademoiselle Mars 
I always a little stiff and somewhat formal, and she seemed 
as though she were puttmg her hand over the mouths of even 
her most intimate friends, not letting them give vent to their 
wit beyond a certain point. While Georges, a thoroughly gw>d 



4o8 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

sort beneath her imperial airs, allowed every kind of wit, and 
laughed unrestrainedly. Mile. Mars, on the other hand, for 
the greater part of the time, only smiled half-heartedly. Then, 
how scatter-brained, extravagant, abandoned we were at 
Georges' suppers 1 How evident it was seen that all the convivial 
spirits — Harel, Janin, Lockroy — did not know how to contain 
themselves! When Becquet, who was a leading light at 
MUe. Mars', adventured into our midst at Mile. Georges', 
he passed into the condition of a mere looker-on. And 
the type of mind was entirely different — Harel's, caustic 
and retaliating ; Janin's, good-natured and merry ; LockToy*!, 
refined and aristocratic. Poor Becquet ! one was obliged to 
wake him up, to prick him and to spur him. He reminded 
one of a respectable drunkard asleep in the midst of fireworks. 
Then, after these suppers, which lasted till one or two in the 
morning, we went into the garden. The garden had a door in 
it leading out on the Luxembourg and the Chamber of Peers, 
the key of which Cambacérès lent Harel on the strength of his 
having once been his secretary. The result was that we had 
a royal park for the discussion of our dessert Gardens of 
classical architecture, like Versailles, the Tuileries and the 
Luxembourg are very fine seen by night and by the light of 
the moon. Each statue looks like a phantom ; each fountain 
of water a cascade of diamonds. Oh ! those nights of 1829 
and 1830 and 1831 ! Were they really as glorious as I think 
them? Or was it because I was only twenty-seven or twenty- 
eight years of ^e that made them seem so fragrant, so peaceful 
and so full of stars ? . . . 

But to return. The Théâtre-Français, to our great joy, 
continued, by its failures, to afford a melancholy contrast to 
the success of its confreres of the boulevards and the outre- 
Seine. They had just played a five-act piece entitled the 
Clerc et le Théologien, which had simply taken as its subject the 
death of Henri iii., a subject treated with much talent by 
Vitet in his Seines historiques. Those who have forgotten the 
États de Blois and the Mort d'Henri III. can re-read the two 
works, that have had a great influence on the literary re- 



HAREL AND SCRIBE 



409 



nascence of 1830, which, according 
has yet to produce its fruit. M. P- 



to the amiable M. P- 



is a gentleman whom 



I propose to take by the collar and give a thorough good 
shaking, when I happen to have eau de Cologne on my hand- 
kerchief and gloves on my hands. 

A strange incident preceded the performance of the Cltrc et 
le Théologien. The play, written in collaboration by MM. 
Scribe and d'Épagny, and accepted by the Odéon Theatre, had 
been stopped by the censor of 1830. Good old Censorship! 
It is the same in all ages ! There indeed come moments when 
it cuts its fingers with its own scissors ; but censors are a race 
of polypii, — their fingers merely grow again. The censor had, 
then, stopped MM. Scribe and d'Epagny's drama. The 
vessel which bore their twofold banner, upon which the 
Minister of the Interior had put his embargo by the medium 
of his custom officers, was at anchor in the docks of the rue de 
Grenelle. The Revolution of 1830 set it afloat again. 

We have said that Hard received the work in 1829. Be- 
coming possessed of his own work again by the events of the 
revolution of July, Scrilie thought no more of Harel and took 
his play to the Théâtre-Français. But Scribe, who usually 
reckoned carefully, had this time reckoned without HareL 
Harel had far too good a memory to forget Scribe. He 
pursued author and play, writ in hand and a sherifTs officer 
behind him. It need hardly be said that the officer 
stopped both the play and the author just when they were 
turning the comer of the rue dc Richelieu. SherifTs officers 
are very fast rutuiers! A law-suit ensued, and Harel lost. 
But the trial inspired Scribe's imagination ; in that twofold 
insistence of the Th(fàtre- Français and the Thédtre-Odéon he 
saw a means of killing two birds with one stone and of making 
one play into twa In this way M. Scribe would hare his 
drama, M. d'Épagny his drama; the Théâtre Français its 
drama, and the Odéon its drama. The play, consequently, 
was reduplicated like a photograph : the Théâtre-Français, 
ffhich was down on its luck, came in for the Clerc et le Thio- 
\Bs,ien by M. d'ÉjKigny ; Harel drew Scribe aside by his coat- 



4IO MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



tails just as the Clerc de la Basoe/u and be were entering, 
à remlom, on the second French stage. It is to be understood 
that I use this rather ambitious locution, the tetonde taut 
française, to avoid putting Odéott so close to reculons. Both 
the dramas were failures, or pretty nearly so. I did not see 
either of them, and I shall therefore take good care to refrain 
from expressing my opinion upon them. 

But our true fete days — I hope I may be forgiven for this 
harmless digression — were when it was the turn of one of the 
gentlemen from the Institute — Lemexcier, Viennet or Anuult 
— to produce a work. Then there was general hilarity. We 
would all arrange to meet in the orchestra of the Théâtre- 
Français to be present at the spectacle of a work falling flat, 
sometimes with very little assistance, at others gently aided in 
its fall by a bitter blast of hisses ; a spectacle sad enough for 
the author's friends, but very exhilarating to his enemies, and 
the gentlemen above mentioned had treated us as enemies. 

M. Arnault was the cleverest of the three autliors 1 have 
just named, a man, as I have said elsewhere, of immense worth 
and eminent intellect. But everyone has his own hobby-horse, 
as Tristram Shandy says, and M. Arnault's hobby-horse was 
tragedy. But his hobby was roaring, broken-winded, foundered, 
to such an extent that, in spite of its legs being fired by the 
Comtitutionful, it could rarely get to the last line of a fifth act ! 

We asked that these gentlemen's pieces should be played 
with as much fervour as they employed in stating that ours 
should not. They, on their side, clamoured loudly to be 
played, and, as they had the government to back them up, 
specially since the July Revolution, their turn to be represented 
arrived, in spite of the timid opposition of the Théàtre-Fran<^s, 
in spite, too, of sighs from members of the staff and the 
groans of the cashier. True, the torture did not last long ; it 
was generally restricted to the three customary performances, 
even if it attained to three. Often the first performance was 
not ended ; witness Pertinax and Arbogaile. It was very 
strange, in this case, to see the excuses which these gentlemen 
made up for tlieir failure. Those made by M. Arnault were 



1 
1 



LE PROSCRIT 



411 



delightful, since nobody could possibly have a readier wit than 
he. For instance, he liad made the Théâtre-Français take up 
again an old piece of his, played, I believe, under the Empire 
the Proscrit, or ks Guel/es et let Gihtlins. The piece fell flat. 
Who did the furious Academician blame for it ? — Firmin ! 
Why Firmin ? Firmin, delightful, enthusiastic aiid conscien- 
tious player, who enjoyed much lasting favour from the public, 
although his memory b^an to fail him, — Firmin played the 
part of Tébaldo, head of the Ghibellines and brother of Uberti, 
head of the Guelfs, in the play. The other parts were played 
by Ligier, Joanny and Duchesnois. So, we see, M. Arnault 
had nothing to grumble at : the Comédie-Française liad lent 
him of its best ; perhaps it had a conviction it would not be 
for long. Very well, M. Arnault made Firmin's memory, or, 
rather, want of memory, the excuse for this failure, and he 
dedicated his play to the prompter. We have this curious 
dedication before us, and are going to quote it ; it will, we 
hope, have for our readers at least the attraction of a hitherto 
unpublished fragment. This time we are not afraid of being 
mistaken in the name of the author du fiutum as not long 
since happened to us concerning an article in the Constitu- 
tionnel reproduced by us, which, by a copyist's error, we 
ascribed to M. Etienne, whilst it was only by M. Jay.' 

And, by the way, as a relation of M. Etienne, a son-in-law or 
rather, I think, it was a nephew, — protested in the papers, let 
mc be allowed a word of explanation, which will completely 
re-establish my good faith, I live part of my life in Brussels, 
part in Paris ; the rest of the time I live in the railway between 
Brussels and Paris, or Paris and Brussels. Besides, I have 
already said that I am writing my Mcmoini without notes. 
The consequence is that, when I am in Paris, I have my 
information close at hand ; but when I am in Brussels I am 
obliged to have it sent from Paris. Now, I needed the article 
that had been published against Antony the very morning of 
the day it was to have been played at the Théitre-Français. 
I wrote to V'ielloi, my secretary — a delightful fellow who never 
' Sw p. S77 •»•) foocnute. 



412 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

thought of spreading the report that he was my collaborator, — 
to unearth the Constitutionnel from the cataœmbs of 1834, to 
copy out for me the above-mentioned article and to send it 
me. Viellot went to the Bibliothèque, that great common 
grave where journals of all sorts of parties and colours and 
times are entered. He borrowed the file from the rag- 
merchant of Pyat who was taking it away, and who, when he 
learnt what was wanted, would not let it off his hook for love 
or money until he was told that it was in order to do me a 
service ; then he lent it, and Viellot picked off from its curved 
point the Constitutionnel ior 28 April 1834. Then he returned 
home and copied out the article. Only, in copying it I do 
not know what hallucination he was possessed with, whether 
the style flew to his head, or the wit got into his brain, or the 
form upset his senses, anyhow, he imagined that the article 
was by M. Etienne, and signed it with the name of the author 
of Brueys et Palaprat and of the Deux Gendres. I, seeing the 
copy of the article, believed, — I was at a distance of seventy 
leagues from the scene of action, as they say poetically in 
politics, — the signature to be as authentic as the rest; I 
therefore fell upon the unfortunate article, and rent it in 
pieces — I was going to say tooth and nail, but no, I am too 
cautious for that 1 — with might and main, both article and 
signature. My error, though involuntary, was none the less an 
error on that account, and deserved that I should acknowledge 
it publicly. Thereupon, reparation be made to M. Etienne, 
and homage paid to M. Jay ! Honour to whom honour is due ! 
Let us return to M. Arnault and his dedication, which, I 
remember, at the time made my poor Firmin so unhappy that 
he wept over it like a child ! 

"Dedicatory Epistle 
To THE Prompter of the Théâtre-Français i 

"Monsieur, — Authors are by no means all ungrateful 
beings. I know some who have paid homage for their success 

' Three persons are honoured with this title; they differ, however, in im- 
portance, not by reason of the relative importance of their duties, which 



TO THE PROMPTER 



4«3 



to the player to whom they were particularly indebted. 1 
imitate this noble example : I dedicate the Guel/es to you. 
Mademoiselle Duchesnois, M. Joanny, M. Ligicr have, without 
doubt, contributed to the success of that work by a «cal as 
great as their talent ; but whatever they may have done for 
me, have they done as much as you, monsieur? 

" ' To prompt is not lo play,' M. Firmin will say, who is even 
stronger at the game of draughts than at the game of acting.' 
To that I reply with Sganarelle : ' Yes and no ! ' When the 
prompter merely gives the word to the actor, when he only jogs 
the memory of the player, no, certainly, to prompt is not to play ! 
But when the player takes everything from the prompter, every- 
thing from the first to the last hne of his part ; when your 
voice covers his ; when it is yours alone which is heard whilst 
he gesticulates, certainly this [splaying through the prompter I Is 
it not this, monsieur, which \âs happened, not only at the first, 
but even at every performance of the Guelfes t Is it not you 
who really played M. Firmin's \aii ? 

" ' His memory,' he says, ' is of the worsL' It is conceivable, 
according to the system which places the scat of memory in 
the head.' But, under the circumstances, docs not M. Firmin 

ue always ihc siunc, but according to lliat of (he kind of wutk us which 

thcit talents ajc applied. Given the ctise of k wo>k of i special nature, a 

Bmanlic work like Lom'i IX. or Emilia, the proraptei-in-chief takes the 

niufript, and not a trace of that noble prose reaches the ears of the 

■yers before it has passed tlitough hi» \\\i& ; but if it U a rjiicslion of a 

sical work, a work in verse, standing then on his dignity, like the 

xeculioner who would only execute gentle folk, he s«)t ; you can carry 

through this hit of husinee, you fellows, passing the plc)>cian copy-liook 

his substitutes. \N'hen it is a question of high comedy he delegates 

duties to the second prompter, and tragedy is given over to a third, 

at is to say lo the industrious and modest man to whoa this lattet is 

dicated. 

' The game of (i> ' dames) — it is the game that is meant— is in 

fact (hit actor's rni r<, although he is not a 6r«t rate player. He 

kno»^, however, how lu reconcile that pusiion with hi» duties, and i» 
scaiccly less eager to ijuit his game in order to go upon the stage when it 
I» a public ptifomunce that is in question, ttun lo quit the stage to resume 
his game ; when merely authors are concerned, II is Irue, he does not 
exercise to much alacrity \ but as it is only a matter nl rcticanala, doe» he 
not always arrive quite soon enough . . . when he docs come ? 

' The «cat of mcinury varies according lo the individual. It Uy in the 
•lomach of that cvmediau tu whoip Voltaiit *«nt hu VarimmUs in a çu<^. 



414 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

blame his memory for the infirmity of his will ? And why, you 
will say to me, is M. Firmin wanting in kindly feeling towards 
you, who feel kindly disposed to everybody? Towards you, 
who, from your age, perhaps also from your misfortunes, if 
not on account of past successes, had a right at least to that 
consideration which is not refused to the scholar who makes 
his first appearance ? Such are indeed the rights which I knew 
M. Firmin's good nature would accord you, rights which I 
thought to strengthen in him by offering one of the most 
important parts in my tr^edy, the part that you have prompted, 
or that you have played : it is a case of six of one and a half- 
dozen of another. I was, indeed, far from suspecting that the 
honour done to M. Firmin's talent was an insult to his ex- 
pectations. Yet that is what has happened. 

" The succession to Talma was open for competition. When 
the empire of the world came to be vacant, all who laid claim 
to the empire of Alexander were not heroes : I ought to have 
remembered this ; but does one always profit by the lessons of 
history? I did not imagine that the heir to the dramatic 
Alexander would be the one among his survivors who least 
resembled him. Nature had shown great prodigality towards 
Talma. His physical gifts corresponded with his moral endow- 
ments, a glowing soul dwelt in his graceful body ; a vast intellect 
animated that noble head ; his powerful voice, with its pathetic 
and solemn intonation, served as the medium for his inexhaust- 
ible sensitiveness, for his indefatigable energy. Talma possesses 
everything nature could bestow; besides all that art could 
acquire. Although M. Firmin has eminent gifts, does he com- 
bine in himself all perfections ? His somewhat slender personal 
appearance does not ill-become all youthful parts, but does it 
accord with the dignity required by parts of leading importance? 
His voice is not devoid of charm in the expression of senti- 
ments of affection ; but has it the strength requisite for serious 
moods and violent emotions ? His intellect is not wanting in 
breadth ; but do his methods of execution expand to that breadth 
when he wants to exceed the limits with which nature has cir- 
cumscribed him ? The pride of the eagle may be found in the 
heart of a pigeon, and the courage of a lion in that of a poodle. 
But, by whatever sentiment it is animated, the rock-pigeon 
can only coo, the cur can but howl. Now, these accents have 

Mademoiselle Contât placed it in her heart, and her memory was an excellent 
one.» 



SARCASM 



415 



at all the same authority as the cry of the king of tlie air, 
or the roar of the king of the forests. 

" After these sage reflections, distributing the part of my 
tragedy to the actors who have abilities that are the most in 
keeping with the characters of those parts, I gave tliat of 
Uberti to M. Ligier, an actor gifted with an imposing figure 
and voice, and I reserved the part of the tender impassioned 
Tébaldo for M. Firmin. What the deuce possessed me ? Just 
as every Englishman says whenever he comes across salt water, 
'This belongs to us!' so does M. Firmin say whenever he 
comes across a jjart made for the physiognomy of Talma, This 
belongs to me/^ The part of Uberti was intended for Talma, 
and I did not offer it to M. Firmin ! The part of Uberti 
was claimed by M. Firmin, and I did not take it from 
M. Ligier I A twofold crime of Ihtmajesti. Alas ! How 
the majesty of M. Firmin has punished me for it ! He accejited 
the rôle that I offered him. Knowing the secrets of the 
Comédie, you know, monsieur, what has been the result of 
that act of complacency. Put into study in April, Les Gueljtt 
might have been produced in May, under the propitious in- 
fluence of spring ; it was only performed in July, during the 
heat of the dog-days. Thus had M. Firmin decided. Oh ! 
the power of the force of inertia ! When several ships sail in 
company, the common pace is regulated by that of the poorest 
sailer The common pace in this case wa.s regulated by the 
memory of M. Firmin, which unfortunately was regulated by 
his good will. Now, this good will thought fit to compromise 
the interests of my reputation. Uut ever)'thing has to be jwid 
for. At what point, monsieur, did it not ser>'e the interests of 
your fame ? All the newspapers kept faithful to it. Did it not 
exhume you from the pit, where hitherto you had buried your 
capacities, and reveal them to the public? Did it not, when 
raising you to the level of the actors behind whom you had 
hitherto been hidden, «ive thecii a mouthpiece in you ? 

" [>cclaiming, whilst M. Firmin gesticulated, you have, it is 
true, transferred from the boulevards to the Th 
an imitation of that singular combination of ■• 
orator who does not let himself be seen, and a geaticulator 

' In consequence of ihu right, M. Firmin in ptcparing to pl.iy lUmlct. 
He has even bought fot it, they Idl me. ihe dies Tain» wore m that port. 
Fancy his dreaming of «och ■ Ihin^ TfaM tWHIiiw WM Ml niAilo f'li liit 
figure, Olid txitdes, sll wiw wcw Uoa^ ridn» ate ool «iwayt.takcn Ua Uuœu 



4i6 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

who does not let himself be heard, co-operate in the execution 
of the same part. People of scrupulous taste are, it is true, 
offended by it ; but what matters that to you ? It is not you, 
monsieur, who, in these scenes, play the buffoon: and what 
does it matter to me, since, acting thus, you have saved my 
play? Moreover, is it the first borrowing, and the least 
honourable borrowing, that your noble theatre has made from 
those of the boulevards ? i 

" Thanks to that admirable agreement, the Guelfes has had 
several representations. But why has not the run, suspended 
by a journey taken by Mademoiselle Duchesnois, been resumed 
upon her return, as that great actress requested it should be, 
and as the play-bills announced.' 

" M. Firmin refused to proceed. The part of Tébaldo, he 
says, has slipped out of his memory. For that matter, it might 
as well never have entered it. But, after all, what is it to you 
or to me whether he knows his part or not ? Can he not make 
the same shift in the future as he has in the past ? Need his 
memory fail him so long as you do not fail him ? Is his 
memory not at the tip of your tongue, which, one knows, is by 
no means paralysed ? But do not these difficulties, monsieur, 
that are said to come from M. Firmin, come from yourself? 
Accustomed to working underground, was it not you who stirred 
them up in secret ? You have not the entire part, like M. Firmin ; 
paid for prompting when you take the part of an actor, and of 
a principal actor, did you not get tired, at the last, of becoming 
out of breath for glory alone, and did you not behind the scenes 
oppose the revival of a play during the performance of which 

' Louis XI, and Entilia, whose merits we fully appreciate, seem indeed to 
have been borrowed, if not actually robbed, from the theatres of the boule- 
vards. If, during the performance of these pieces, the orchestra perchance 
woke out of its lethargy, whether to announce by a fanfare of trumpets the 
entrance or departure of exalted personages, whether to explain by a short 
symphony what speech had failed to make clear, and even when one 
was in the precincts consecrated to Racine, Corneille and Voltaire, one 
was willing enough to fancy oneself at the Ambigu-Comique or at the 
Gaieté : it needed nothing more than this to complete the illusion. Let ns 
hope that the regenerators of this theatre will take kindly to the remark 
and will profit by it for the perfecting of the French stage. 

• For the last six months, and even to-day, the bill announces ; " Until 
the performance of Lts Guelfes et Les Giielins " ; probably to-morrow it 
will DO longer contain the announcement. 



LETTER CONTINUED 



4«7 



. O 



you had not time to breathe ? Justice, monsieur, justice I No 
doubt M. Firmin owes you an indemnity : claim it, but do not 
compromise the interests of the Théâtre-Français by impeding 
his services in preventing him from doing justice to an author's 
rights ; that may lead to consequences, remember : the numljer 
of authors dissatisfied with him on just grounds is already but 
too great ; be careful not to increase it. The second Théâtre- 
Français, although people are doing their best to kill it, is 
not yet dead. Would it be impossible to put it on its feet 
again ? Will not the players who have been drawn off to block 
the first theatre (which pays them less for playing at it than for 
not playing any part at all) grow tired in the end of a state of 
things which reduces them from the status of parish priests to 
that of curates, or, rather, from being the bishofK they were 
degrades them to the rank of millers ? In conclusion, is there 
not a nucleus of a tragedy-playing company still left at the 
Odéon ? And are there no pupils at the school of oratory 
ho could swell the number? 

" Think of it, monsieur, the tragedy which they seem to wish 
to stifle in the rue de Richelieu might find a home in the fau- 
bourg Saint-Germain, which was its cradle and that also of the 
Théâtre-Français. You would not do badly to drop a hint of 
this to the members of the committee. Further, happen what 
may, remember, monsieur, the obligations that I owe you will 
never be erased from my memory, which is not as ungrateful as 
that of M. Firmin. 

" If only I could express my gratitude to you by some homage 
more worthy your acceptance ' — Dedicate a tragedy to you, a 
tragedy in verse, written at top speed ! ' But each must pay in 
his own coin : monsieur, do not refuse to take mine. 



' Il is especUlly Kgunst tmgediet ia veoe that the umpires of good Usie 

to-ilay protest. Their repugnance in reipect of poetry ever outweighs Ihcir 

ove for romanticism. If, in llut series of cha(Xert — enlilled scenes — 

f)\ine whole foruis a novel called a drama, which is sold under the 

Stle of Louis XI. ; if, in Louis XL, the Scoilish prose of Sir Waller Scott 

tjeen put into rhymed rene ; that drama would not have been more 

ily recdred by them than a poadiumoua tragedy of Kacioe, alitiough 

ommon tense woald be scuoely mate renected there than in a melcdraroa. 

: is lu the alicence of rhyme alio that Emilia owes the ' ' li 

hese gentlemen have honouivd it. When he had hear<l i 

' work, one of the most influential roemben of the tribunal by which i! hiid 

been judged, exclaimed ; " ThifrùhUm it sohtd! TktpniUm is tfhtd! 

V.—tJ 



4i8 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

" Remember, monsieur, that Benedict xiv. did not scorn the 
dedication of Mahomet. I am not a Voltaire, I know ; but 
neither are you a Pope. All things considered, perhaps the 
relation between us is equivalent to that which existed between 
those two personages. Meanwhile, take this until something 
better turns up. Classic by principle and by habit I have not 
hitherto believed myself possessed of sufficient genius to dis- 
pense with both rhyme and reason. But who knows? Perhaps, 
some day, I shall be in a condition to try my hand at the 
romantic guerre : if I put myself at a distance from the £^e when 
people rave extravagantly I shall draw nearer to that of dotage. 
Patience then ! — I am, with all the consideration which is due 
to you, monsieur, your very humble and very obedient servant, 

" Arnault " 

We have at last a tragedy in frète I " The Comédiens Français fonnerly 
gave a bundled louis to Thomas Corneille for putting a comedy of Molière's, 
Le Festin de Pierre, into verse. The Comédiens Français will, it is said, 
to-day give a thousand louis to an academician for putting the tragedies of 
Corneille, Racine and of Voltaire into prose. Is it indeed necessary that 
they should address themselves to an academician for that? Do not a 
good many of them perform that parody every day of their lives ? 

Verse and rhyme are not natural, say lovers of nature. Clothes, gentle- 
men, are not natural, and yet you wear them to distinguish yourself ftom 
the savage ; furthermore, you wear clothes of fine materials to distinguish 
yourselves from the rabble, and, when you are rich enough to enable you to 
do so, you adorn them with trimmings to distinguish yourself even from 
well-to-do people. That which one does for the body permit us to do for 
the intellect ; allow us to do for the mind that which you do for matter. 



CHAPTER V 



M. Amaiill's Pertinax — Pitarrt, l)y M. Fulchiron — M. Fulchiron as • 
politician — M. K^ulchiron as magic poci — A word about M. Viennet — 
My opposite neighbour at llie performance of Pertimu — Splendid 
(ailvire of the play — Quarrel with roy vii-à-vis — The newspapers take 
it up— My reply in iht/oumaj tie Puns — Advice of M. Pillet 



A' 



LAS ! there are two things for which I have searched in 
vain ! And verily, God knows, how thoroughly 1 search 
when I begin ! These are Firmin's answer to M. Arnault and 
the tragedy of Ptrtinax. Neither answer nor tragedy exist any 
longer. Why Pertinax ? What is Pertinax ? And what is the 
successor to Commodus doing here? Rather ask what the 
unfortunate being was doing at the Théitre- Français ! He fell 
there beneath the hissings of the pit, as he fell beneath the 
swords of the pnetorians. Here is the history of his second 
death, his second fall. After a lapse of seventeen years I 
cannot say much about the first ; but, after an interval of 
twenty-four years, I can relate the second, at which I was 
present. 

After those unlucky Guelfes had obstinately remained on 
the bills for nine months they finally disappeared. M. Arnault 
demanded compensation for Finnin's defective memory. The 
committee decided that, although Pertinax had only been 
received eleven years ago, it should be put in rehearsal. 

Eleven years ago? You repeat, and you think I am mistaken, 
do you not ? But it is you who are mistaken. Arbcgaste, by 
M. Viennet, received in 1825, was only played in 1S41 ! 
Pitarrt, by M. Fulchiron, received in 1S03, has not yet been 
played I Let mc put in a parenlhesit in favour of poor Pitarrt 
and the unfortunate M. Fulchiron. 



420 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

M. Fulchiron, you know him well? — ^Yes. Well, then, h 
had had a tragedy, Pizarre, received at the Comédie-Français 
in the month of August 1803 — Ah! really? And what ha 
the Comédie-Française been dobg the last fifty years ? — It ha 
not played M. Fulchiron's tragedy. And what did this sam 
M. Fulchiron do during those fifty years ? — He asked to hav 
his piece played. Come! come! come! — What more coul 
you expect ? Hope supported him I They had promised i 
when they accepted it, timt it would have its turn. 

Those are the actual words I Look at the roisters of th 
Comédie-Française if you don't believe me. True, the polio 
of the Consulate suspended the work; but the censorship ofth 
Empire was better informed as to the tragedy and returned i 
to its author. 

Hence it arose that, contrary to the opinion of many peopl 
who preferred the First Consul to the Emperor, M. Fulchiro 
preferred the Emperor to the First Consul. 

During the whole of the Empire, — that is to say, from 180 
to 1 8 14 — during the whole of the Restoration — that is to sa] 
from 18x5 to 1830 — M. Fulchiron wrote, begged, prayed witl 
it must be admitted, that gentleness which is indissolubl 
bound up with his real character. In 1830, M. Fulchiro 
became a politician. Then he had an excuse to offer. T 
his friends — M. Fulchiron actually took those people for hi 
friends ! think of it ! — who asked him — 

" Why, then, dear Monsieur Fulchiron, did you not get yoi 
Pizarre played when so many good things had been said aboi 
it for a long time ? " 

He replied — " Because I am a politician, and one canm 
be both a politician and a man of letters at the same time." 

" Bah ! look at M. Guizot, M. Villemain, M. Thiers ! " 

" M. Guizot, M. Villemain and M. Thiers have their ow 
ideas on the subject ; I have mine." 

" Oh ! influence in high quarters, then ! " 

M. Fulchiron blushed and smiled; then, with that a 
which M. Viennet puts on, when talking of Louis-Philippe, b 
said, Mon illustre ami — 



M. FULCHIRON 



421 



"Well, yes," replied M. Fulchiron, "the king took hold of 
the button of my coat, which is a habit of his, as you know." 

" No, I did not know." 

" Ah ! that is because you are not one of the frequenters of 
the chateau." 

" There are people who lay great stress on being intimates of 
a chateau ! You understand ? " 

"When he took me by my coat button," continued M. 
Fulchiron, "the king said to me, 'My dear Fulchiron, in spite 
of the beauties it contains, do not have your tragedy played.' 
' But why not ? ' ' How can one make a man a minister who 
has written a tragedy ? ' ' Sire, the Emperor Napoleon said, 
" If Corneille had lived in my day, I should have made him a 
prince ! " ' ' I am not the Emperor Napoleon, and you are not 
Corneille.' 'Nevertheless, sire, when one has had a tragedy 
calling from the deeps for the last thirty years . . .' ' You 
shall read it to me, M. Fulchiron ..." 'Ah I sire, your 
Majesty's desires are commands. When would your Majesty 
like me to read Pizarrt ? ' ' Some day . . . when all these 
devils of Republicans leave me a bit of respite ! ' " 

The Republicans never left Louis-Philippe, who, you will 
agree, was an intelligent man, any respite. That is why 
M- Fulchiron hated Republicans so much. What ! was that 
the reason ? Yes I You thought that M. Fulchiron hated 
Republicans because they tended to usurp power, to disturb 
order, to put, as Danton i^xpressed it in his curt description of 
the Republic, à mettre eUssus « qui est dessous} You arc 
mistaken ; M. Fulchiron hated Republicans because by means 
of all their riots — their 5 June, 14 April, etc. etc. etc — 
upon my word, I forget all the dates ! — they prevented him 
from reading his play to Louis-PhiHppe. So, on 24 February 
1848, however devoted he seemed to be to the established 
government, M. Fulchiron allowed Ixjuis-Philippe to fall. 

See on what slend«îr threads hang great events ! If Louis- 
Philippe had lieard the reading of Piitirrt, M. Fulchiron would 
have supported the Government of July, and perhaps Louis- 
Philippe might still be on the throne. So, after the fall of 



422 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Louis-Philippe, M. Fulchiron was as happy as the Prince of 
Monaco when they took away his principality from faim. 

" My political career is a failure," says M. Fulchiron, " and 
you see me once more a literary man I I shall not be a 
minister, but I will be an academician." 

"Indeed!" say you; "then why is not M. Fulchiron an 
academician ? " 

" Because Pizarre has not been played." 

" Good ! Was not M. Dupaty received into the Academy on 
condition that his tragedy Isabelle should not be played ? " 

"Oh! really?" 

" They were already sufficiently troubled by the fact that his 
Seconde Botanique had been played ! That youthful indiscre- 
tion delayed his entry for ten years . . . But ten years are not 
fifty." 

So M. Fulchiron began to be impatient, as impatient, that is, 
as he can be. From time to time he appears at the Théâtre- 
Français, and, with that smile which, it seems to me, should 
prevent anyone from refusing him anything, he says — 

" About my Pizarre, it must be high time they were putting 
it in hand ! " 

" Monsieur," says Verteuil to him — the secretary of the 
Comédie-Française, a clever fellow, whom we have already had 
occasion to mention, through whose hands many plays pass, 
but who does not compose any himself — " Monsieur, they are 
even now busy with it." 

" Ah ! very good ! " 

And M. Fulchiron's smile becomes still more winning. 

"Yes, and as soon as M. Viennet's Achille, now undei 
rehearsal, has been played, Pizarre will occupy the stage." 

" But, if I remember rightly, M. Viennet's Achille was only 
accepted in 1809, and, consequently, I have the priority." 

" Doubtless ; but M. Viennet had two tours défaveur and 
you only one." 

"Then I was wrong to complain." 

And M. Fulchiron goes away always smiling, takes his visit 
ing-card in person to M. Viennet, and writes in pencil on il 



PERTINAX 



423 



^ 



these few words, " Dear colleague, hasten your rehearsals of 
Achillt ! " 

Thus he leaves his card with M. Viennet's porter, the same 
porter who informed the said M. Viennet that he was a peer 
of France ; and M. Viennet, who is horribly spiteful, has not 
bowed to M. Fulchiron since the second card. He treats the 
seven pencilled words of M. Fulchiron as an epigram and says 
to everybody — 

" Fulchiron may, perhaps, be a Martial, but I swear he is 
not an /Eschylus ! " 

And M. Fulchiron, his arms hung down, continues to 
walk abroad and through life, as Hamlet says, never doubt- 
ing that if he is no .■Eschylus it is all owing to M. Viennet.' 

I will close ray parenthesis about M. Fulchiron, and return 
to M. Arnault and Perlinax, which the ungrateful prompter, in 
spite of the dedicatory epistle to the Guel/ts, has never called 
anything but Phe Tignace (Daddy Tignace). 

Perlinax, then, was played as some compensation for the 
disappearance of the Guel/es. Oh ! what a pity it is that 
Pertinax has not been printed I How I would like to have 
given you sp)ecimens of it and then you would understand the 
merriment of the pit ! AU I recollect is, that at the decisive 
moment the Emperor Commodus called for his secretary. I 
had in front of me a tall man whose broad shoulders and thick 
locks hid the actor from me every time he happened to be in 
the line of sight. Unluckily, I did not possess the scissors of 
Sainte-Foix. By his frantic applause I gathered that this 
gentleman understood many things which I did not 'I'he 
upshot of it was that, when the Emperor Commodus called his 
secretary, the play upon words seemed to me to require an 
explanation, and I leant over towards the gentleman in front, 
and, with all the politeness I could command, I said to him — 

"Pardon me, monsieur, but it seems to me that this is a 
piht à tiroirs ! " (Comedy made up of unconnected episodes.) 

lie jumped up in his stall, uttered a sort of roar but con- 
trolled himself. True, the curtain was on the point of falling, 
' See note at end of chapter. 



424 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



aad before h haé actaaOj ùljen our nilhiniât l «as ihoiiting 
with aH his isight — - Aabor '. ~ 

UnfoitanaU^y, enajboâj was bj no meuis as eager to 
know the anthor as was mj odg^boar in fiant. Something 
like tfaiee-qiuuteis of the boose — and, prrhaps, among these 
were M. Amaulfs own friends — did not at all wish him to 
be named. Placed in the orchestra between M. de Jony and 
Viâor HugO) feehng, on my left, the elbows of Romanticism 
and, on my right, those of C/assitùm, if I may be allowed to 
coin a word, I waited patiently and courageously until they 
stopped hissing, just as M. Arnault had acted towards me in 
turning the cold shoulder towards me after Henri ///., leaving 
me the privilege of neutrality. 

But man proposes and God disposes. God, or rather the 
devil, inspired the neighbour to whom I had perhaps put an 
indiscreet, although very innocent question, to point me out to 
his friends, and, consequently, to M. Arnault, as the .£olus at 
whose signal all the winds had been let loose which blew from 
the four cardinal points of the theatre in such different ways. 
A quarrel ensued between me and the tall man, a quarrel 
which instantly made a diversion in the strife that was going 
on. Next day all the journals gave an account of this quarrel, 
with their usual impartiality, generosity and accuracy towards 
me. It was imperative that I should reply. I chose the 
Journal de Paris in which to publish my reply j it was edited, 
at that period, by the father of Léon Fillet, a friend of mine. 
Therefore, the following day, the Journal it Paris published 
my letter, preceded and followed by a few bitter and sweet 
lines. This is the exordium. After my letter will come the 
peroration. 

" In reporting the failure which the tragedy of Ptrtinax met 
with at the hands of the critics, we mentioned that a dispute 
took place in the centre of the orchestra. M. Alexandre 
Dumas, one of the actors in this little drama, which was more 
exciting than the one that had preceded it, has addressed a 
'fitter to us on this subject We hasten to publish it without 
idûng to constitute ourselves judges of the accompanying 



LETTER TO THE PAPER 



425 



accusations which the author of Henri III. brings against the 
newspapers. 

" ' Friday, jg May 1829 

" ' In spite of the fixed resolution I had taken and have 
adhered to until to-day, of never replying to what the papers 
say of me, I think it my duty to ask you to insert this letter 
in your next issue. It is a reply to the short article which 
forms the complement of the account in your issue of 
yesterday, in which you give an account of Pertinax. Your 
article is couched in these terms — 

" ' " Ai we were leaving the house, a lively contest arose in the 
orchestra, between an old white-haired man and a very youthful 
author, in other words, doubtless, between a * classic' and a 
' romantic' Let us hope that that altercation will not lead to 
unpleasant consequences." 

" ' It is I, monsieur, who have the misfortune to be the very 
youthful author, to whom it is of great importance, from the 
very fact of his being young and an author, that he should lay 
down the facts exactly as they happened. I was in the 
orchestra of the Français, between M. de Jouy and M. Victor 
Hugo, during the whole of the performance of Pertinax. 
Obliged, in a manner, as a student of art and as a student of 
all that which makes masters to listen, I had listened attentively 
and in silence to the five acts which had just concluded, when, in 
the middle of the lively dispute th.it was going on between some 
spectators who wished M. Arnault to be called and others who 
did not, I was impudently apostrophised, whilst sitting quite 
silent, by a friend of M. Arnault, who stood up and pointed at 
me with his finger. I will repeat what he said word for 
word — 

" ' " // « not surprising that they art hissing in tht orchestra 
when M. Dumas is there. Are you not ashamed, monsieur, to 
make yourself the ringleader of a cabal V 

" ' And when I replied that I had not said one word, he 
added — 

" ' " That does not matter, it is you who dirtet the whole 
league I" 

"'As some persona may believe this stupid accusation I 
have appealed to the testimony of MM. de Jouy and Victor 
Hugo. This testimony is, as it was inevitable tliat it would be, 

inimous. 

exonerate myself. But, 



enough, I think, 



426 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

whilst I have the pen in my hand, monsieur, as it is probably 
the first and, perhaps, the last time that I write to a newspaper,^ 
I desire to add a few words relative to the absurd attacks my 
drama of Henri III. has brought down on me; such a 
favourable occasion' as this one may, perhaps, never present 
itself again : allow me, therefore, to take advantage of it 

" ' I think I understand, and I honestly believe that I accept, 
true literary criticism as well as anyone. But, seriously, 
monsieur, are the facts I have just quoted really literary 
criticism ? 

" ' The day after the reception of my drama Henri III. at 
the Comédie-Française, the Courrier des Théâtres, which did 
not know the work, denounced it to the censorship, in the 
hope, so it was said, that the censor would not suffer the 
scandal of such a performance. That seems to me rather a 
matter for the police than for Uterature. Is it not so, 
monsieur ? I will not speak of a petition which was presented 
to the king during my rehearsals pleading that the Théâtre- 
Français should return to the road of the really beautiful? 

'"It is stated that the august personage to whom it was 
addressed replied simply, " What can I do in a question of 
this nature 1 I only have a place in the pit, like all other 
Frenchmen" I have not really the courage to be angered 
against the signatories of a denunciation which has brought us 
such a reply. Besides, several of us would have blushed, 
since, for what they had done, and have said that they 
thought they were signing quite a different thing. Then 
came the day of the representation. It will be granted that, 
on that day alone, the newspapers had the right to speak of 
the work. They made great use of their privileges ; but 
several of them, as they themselves confessed, were not choice 
in their style of criticism. The Constitutionnel and the 
Corsaire said much kinder things the first day than the play 
deserved. A week later, the Constitutionnel compared the 
play with the Pie Voleuse, and accused the author of having 

' Like Buonaparte on 15 Vendémiaire, I was far from being able to see 
clearly into my future. 

* I have forgotten to inscribe M. de Laville, author of Folliculaire and 
of Une Journée cP Elections, among the number of the signers of that 
petition, which I have cited in another part of these Memoirs. One of 
these signatories, who survives the others, has pointed out my error to me 
and I here repair it. 



JOURNALISTIC ATTACKS 



427 



danced a round dance in the green room of the Comédie- 
Française with some wild fanatics, about the bust of Racine — 
which stands with its back against the wall — shouting, " tiaànt 
is done for]" This was merely ridicule, and people shrugged 
their shoulders. The next day, the Corsaire said that the 
work was a monstrosity, and that the author was a Jesuit and 
a pensioner. This, it must be admitted, was an excellent 
joke, addressed to the son of a Republican general whose 
mother never received the pension which, it seems, was due 
to her, whether from the government of the Empire or from 
the king's government. TTiis was more than ridicule, it was 
contemptible. As for the Gazette lie France, I will do it the 
justice of saying that it has not varied for an instant from the 
opinion that M. de Martainville expressed in it on the first 
day. This journal made out that there was a flagrant 
conspiracy in the play against the throne and the altar ; while 
the journalist expressed the liveliest regret that he had not 
seen the author appear when he was called for. " People 
declare," he said, " that Ais /ace has a typically romantic air 
about it." Now, as Romanticism is M. de Martainville's Me 
Hoire, I can believe, without being too punctilious, that he 
had no intention of paying me a compliment. It is not 
merely impolite on M. de Martainville's part, but, worse still, 
it is indelicate : M. dc Martainville is very well aware that one 
can make one's reputation but that one cannot make one's 
own physiognomy. His own physiognomy is extremely 
respectable. I could go on explaining the causes of these 
alterations and insults, and make known various sufficiently 
curious anecdotes concerning certain individuals ; still more 
could I . . . But the twelve columns of your newspaper would 
not sul^ce. I will iherelorc conclude luy letter, monsieur, by 
asking advice of you, since you have great experience. What 

~l>ught an author to do in order to spare himself the quarrels 
arising out of first performances? I have had three of this 
nature during Ute last three months ; — three quarrels, that ia 
to say: had it been three repi«sentations I should not have 

i survived I 

" ' One concerning Isabelle de Baviire, with an admirer of 
M. de LainoUie-Langon, who made out that I had hissed. 

lOnc at the Elections, with an enemy of M. dc Laville, who 

'contended that I luid applauded. Lastly, one at Pertinax 
with a friend of M. Anuolt, because I neiilier clapped nor 



428 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



hissed. I await your kind advice, monsieur, and I gire 
my word that I will follow it, if it be anyway possible forj 
to do so. — I have the honour, etc' " 

After the last line of the above, the Journal it Pttrit 
attempted a sort of reply — 

"As to the advice which M. Alexandre Dumas is kind 
enough to ask us to give because of our experience concerning 
the line of conduct he should take to avoid disputes at first- 
night performances, we will reply to him that a young author, 
happy in the enjoyment of a real success, and who knows bow 
to conceal his joyous pride beneath suitable modesty; a 
student of art who, like M. Dumas, gives himself up to the 
study of the works of masters, including, therein, the author of 
Pertinax, — does not need to fear insulting provocations. If, 
in spite of these dispositions, natural, no doubt, to the 
character of M. Dumas, people persist on picking these 
Teuton or classic quanels with him, I should advise him 
treat them with contempt, the quarrels, I mean, not 
Teutons or the classics. Or, indeed, there is another 
pedient left him : rumely, to abstain from going lo 
performances." 

The advice, it will be admitted, was difficult, if not 
possible, to follow. I was too young, and my heart was too 
near my head, I had, as is vulgarly said, "la tête trop prës 
du bonnet " i.e. I was too hot-headed, to treat quarrels with 
contempt, whether with Teutons or classics, and I was too 
inquisitive not to attend first nights regularly. I have since 
been cured of this latter disease ; but it has been for want of 
time. And yet, it is not so much lack of time which has cured 
me ; it is the first performances themselves. 




NOTE 

I HAVE an apology lo make coDceining M. Fulchiron. It seems I «as 
in error, not about the date of the reception of Fitam; not upon the 
turn of favour which led to the performance of that piece in 1 803 ; 

[TKANStjkTOR'g Note. — Littr^ defines km tour lU faveur as the decisia 
of a theatrical committee or manager by virtue of which a piece is | 
(ueccdence over others received earlier.] 



AN APOLOGY 



429 



finally, upon the darkness of the spaces of Limbo in which i( balanced 
with eyes half shut, between death and life — but about the cause which 
prevented it from being played in 1803. 

First of all, let me say that no one claimed again in respect of 
M, Fulchiron, not even he himself. If he had claimed agpiin, my 
I pleasantries would have pained him, and ihen, I confess, I should have 
been as sad as, and even sadder than, he, to have given occasion for a 
protest on the part of so honourable a man and, above all, so unexocting 
an author. This is what happened. 

One day, recently, when entering the green room at the Th^ltie- 

François, where I was having a little comedy called Romulus rehearsed, 

which, in spite of its title, had nothing 10 do with the founder of 

Rome, I was accosted by Régnier, who plays the principal put in the 

' work. 

" Ah I " he said, " is that you ? ... I am delighted to see you ! " 

"And I to see you . . . Have you some good advice to give me 
about my play ? " 

I should tell you that, in theatrical matters, Régnier gives the wisest 
^advice I know. 

" Not about your play," he leplied, " but about yourself." 

"Oh come, my dear fellow ! I would have shaken bands with you 
'for advice about my play ; but for personal advice, I will embrace 

jOU. 

" You lay great MrcM on being impartial ? " 

"Why ! You might as well ask me if I am keen on living." 

"And when you have been unjust you are very anxious to repair 
your injustice?" 

"Indeed lam!" 

" Then, my dear friend, you have been nntur to M. Fulchiron : repair 
your injustice." 

" What I Was his tragedy by chance received in 1804, instead of 180J, 
as I thought?" 

•• No." 

"Will it be played without my knowmg anything about it, as was 
M. Viennct's Arifgaslt}" 

"No, but M. Fulchiron has given his turn of favottr to a young brief- 
(less barrister, wliu wrote a tragedy in his spue moments. M. Rmynouud 
Iwas the barrister ; lut Ttrnflitrt was the tragedy." 

" Are you telling me the truth I " 

" I am going to give you proof of it." 

"How will you do that?» 

" Come upstairs with me to the archives." 

"Show me the way." 

Régnier walked in front and I followed him as Dante's Borfaarioda 

Uowed Scarm^lione, bat without making so much notae as bet 



430 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Five minutes later, we were among the archives, and Régnier asked 
M. Laugier, the keeper of the records of the Théâtre-Français, for the 
file of autograph letters from M. Fulchiion, M, Laugier gave them to 
him. I was going to cany them off, and I stretched out my hand with 
that intention, when Régnier snatched them back from me as one 
snatches a bit of pie-crust from a clever dog who does not yet know 
how to count nine properly. 

"Well?" I asked him. 

"Wait." 

He pressed the palm of his hand on M. Fulchiron's letters, which 
were encased in their yellow boards. Please note carefully that the 
epithet is not a reproach ; I know people who, after fifty years of age, 
•re yellow in a quite different sense from that of M. Fulchiron's letter- 
book backs. 

"You must know, first of all, my dear friend," continued Régnier, 
"that formerly, particularly under the Empire, as soon as they pro- 
duced a new tragedy the receipts decreased." 

" I conjecture so ; but I am very glad to know it ofiicially." 

"The result is that the committee of the Comédie-Française had great 
difficulty in deciding to play fresh pieces." 

" I can imagine so " 

" A turn was therefore a precious possession." 

"A thing which had no price ! " as said Lagingeole. 

"Very well, now read that letter of M. Fulchiron's." 

I took the paper from Régnier's hands and read as follows — 

" To the Members of ike Administrative Committee of the 
Comidie- Française 

"Gentlemen, — I have just learnt that the prefect has given his 
permission to the Templiers. Desiring to do full justice and to pay 
all respect to that work and to its author, which they deserve, I hasten 
to tell you that I give up my turn to the tragedy ; but, at the same time, 
I ask that mine shall be taken up immediately after, so that the second 
tragedy which shall be played, reckoning from this present time, shall 
be one of mine ; if you will have the kindness to give me an actual 
promise of this in writing, it will confirm my definite a&ndonment of my 
turn. — I remain, gentlemen, respectiiilly yours, 

"FULCHIRON, fils" 

"Ah I but," said I to Régnier, "allow me to point out to you that 
the sacrifice was not great and its value was much depreciated owing 
to the precautions taken by M. Fulchiron to get one of his tragedies 
pUyed." 

"Wait a bit, though," resumed Régnier. "The suggestion made by 
M. Fulchiron was rejected. They made him see that the injustice 
which he did not wi^ done to himself would oppress a third party. 



GENEROSITY OF M. PULCHIRON 431 



ir he renounced his tum it would have to be a complete renunciation, 
and, if M. Fulcliiron fell out of rank, he must take his tum n^n at 
the end of the file. Now this was a serious matter. Suppose all the 
chances were favourable it would mean ten years at least I It must be 
confessed that M. Fulchiron took but little time to reflect, considering 
the gravity of the subject : then he said, " Well, gentlemen, I know the 
tragedy of the Templiers ; it is much better that it should be performed at 
once : and that Pitarrt should not have its tum for ten years. It was, 
thanks to this condescension, of which very few authors would be capable 
towards a colleague, that the tragedy of the TemplUrs wax played ; 
and, as one knows, that tragedy was one of the literary triumphs of the 
Empire. Lts Deux Getnirgj and (he Tyran dtmes/içtu complete the 
dramatic triology of the period. Almost as much as eighteen hundred 
yemn ago they 'rendered to Casar the things which were Cœsar's.' 
Why not render to M. Fulchiron the justice which is his due ?" 

" I am not the person to refuse this," I said to Régnier, "and I aiu 
delighted to have the opportunity to make M. Fulchiron a public 
apology I M. Fulchiron did better than write a good tragedy : he did a 
good deed ; whilst I, by sneering at him, did a bad action— without even 
the excuse of having written a good tragedy I " 



CHAPTER VI 

Chiteaubriand ceases to be a peer of Fnnoe — He lecves the coonby— 
B^canger's song thereupon — Chlteanbriand as venifier — First ni^t of 
Ckarlti Vit. — Delafosse's vizor — Yaqoub and Frederick- Lemaltre— 
Tkt Rtitu iTEspagnt — M. Henri de LatoDche — His worksi taknt 
and character— Interlude of TTu Rtimt ^Etpagiu — Fke&ce of ifae 
play — Reports of the pit collected by the anther 

PEOPLE were very full at this time of the resignation and 
exile of Chateaubriand, both of which were voliutaiy 
acts. The previous government bad caused his dismissal from 
the French peerage, by reason of its abolition of heredity 
in the peerage. The author of the Martyrs exiled him- 
self because the uproar caused by his opposition became 
daily less evident and he feared that it would die away 
altogether. 

" Do you know, madame, that Chateaubriand is growing 
deaf? " I said once to Madame O'Donnel, a witty woman, the 
sister and daughter of witty women. 

"Indeed!" she replied, "then it is since people have 
stopped talking about him." 

It must be confessed that a terrible conspiracy, that of 
silence, was on foot against Chateaubriand, who had not the 
strength to bear it He hoped that the echo of his great 
reputation, which once upon a time had nearly as much 
weight in the world as Napoleon's, would spread abroad. The 
newspapers made a great stir about this volimtary exile. 
Béranger made it the subject of one of his short poems, and 
he, Voltairian and Liberal, addressed lines to the author of 
Atalot Rent and the Martyrs, a Catholic and Royalist This 

43» 



CHATEAUBRIAND 



433 



poem of Béranger's it will be remembered began with these 
four lines — 

" ChAtmubriand, pourquoi fair U patrie, 

Fuir notre amour, notre encens et nos soins? 

N 'enteods-tu pas Ix Krancc qui s'écrie: 

' Mon beau ciel pleure une étoile de moins ! ' " 



cccer 
^■irere 

^^foree 



Chateaubriand had the good taste to reply in prose. The 
best verses are very far below Béranger's worst. It was one of 
the obsessions of Chateaubriand's life that he made such bad 
verses and he persisted in making them. He shared this 
eccentricity with Nodier ; these two geniuses of modem prose 
haunted by the demon of rhyme. Happily people will 
forget Moise and the Conies en vers, just as one has forgotten 
that Raphael played the violin. While Béranger sang, and 
Chateaubriand retired to Lucerne, — where eight or ten months 
later, 1 was to help him to feed his chickens, — the day for the 
first performance of Charles VII. arrived, jo October. 

I have already said what I thought of the merits of my 
play : as poetry, it was a great advance upon Christine ; as a 
dramatic work it was an imitation of Andromaque, the Cid and 
the Camargo. Ample justice was done to it : it had a great 
success and did not bring in a sou 1 Let us here state, in 
passing, that when it was transferred to the Théàtre-I"ran<,-ais, 
it was performed twenty or twenty-fivo tiroes, and made a 
btindred louis at each performance. The same thing 
happened later with regard to the Demoiselles de Sainl-Cyr. 
That comedy, represented in 184» or 1843 with creditable 
but not every remunerative success — although it then had 
Firmin, Mesdemoiselles Plessy and Anais as its t\y ' - 
bad, at its revival, six years later, twice the number ui 
ances which it bad had when it was a novelty, making an 
incredible amoimt of money during its odd Saint Martin's 
summer. But let us return to Charies VJJ. We haw 
mentioned what success the work met with ; a comic incident 
very nearly compromised it. Delafosse, one of the most 
conscientious oonediaiu I eraer knew, pUyed the part of 
v.— «8 



434 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Charles vii. As I have said, Harel did not want to go to any 
expense over the play (this time, indeed, he acted like a wise 
man) ; to such a degree that I had been obliged, as is known, 
to borrow a fifteenth-century suit of armour from the Artilleiy 
Museum ; this cuirass was, on a receipt from me, taken to the 
property room at the Odéon; there, the theatrical armourer 
had occasion, — not to clean it, for it shone like silver, — but to 
oil the springs and joints in order to bring back the suppleness 
which they had lost during a state of rigidity that had endured 
for four centuries. By degrees, the obliging cuirass was, 
indeed, made pliable, and Delafosse, whose shell at the proper 
moment it was to become, was able, although in an iron 
sheath, to stretch out his l^s and move his arms. The 
helmet alone declined all concessions ; its vizor had probably 
not been ndsed since the coronation of Charles vii. ; and, 
having seen such a solemnity as this it absolutely refused to be 
lowered. Delafosse, a conscientious man, as I have already 
indicated, looked with pain upon the obstinacy of his vizor, 
which, during the whole time of his long war-like speech did 
him good service by remaining raised, but which, when the 
speech was ended, and he was going off the stage, would give 
him when lowered a formidable appearance, upon which he 
set great store The armourer was called and, after many 
attempts, in which he used in turn both gentle and coercive 
measures, oil and lime, he got the wretched vizor to consent 
to be lowered. But, when this end was achieved, it was 
almost as difficult a task to raise it again as it had been to 
lower it. In lowering, it shpped over a spring, made in the 
head of a tuul, which, after several attempts, foimd an opening, 
resumed its working, and fixed the vizor in such a way that 
neither sword nor lance-thrusts could raise it again; this 
spring had to be pressed with a squire's dagger before it could 
be pushed back again into its socket, and permit the vizor to 
be raised. Delafosse troubled little about this difficulty; be 
went out with lowered vizor and his squire had plenty of time 
to perform the operation in the green room. Had Henri ii. 
but worn such a vizor he would not have died at the hand of 



» 



p 



A DROLL ACCIDENT 435 

Montgomery ! Behold on what things the fate of empires 
depend ! I might even say the same about the fate of plays I 
Henri 11. was killed because his vizor was raised. Charles vii. 
avoided this because his vizor remained lowered. In the 
heat of delivery, Delafosse made so violent a gesture that the 
vizor fell of itself, yielding, doubtless, to the emotion that it 
felt. This may have been its manner of applauding. What- 
ever the cause, Delafosse suddenly found himself completely 
prevented from continuing his discourse. The lines began in 
the clearest fashion imaginable ; they were emphasised most 
plainly, but ended in a lugubrious and unintelligible bellowing. 
The audience natunilly began to laugh. It is said that it is 
impossible for our closest friend to refrain from laughter 
when he sees us fall. It is no laughing matter, I can tell you, 
when a play fails, but my best friends began to laugh. Luckily, 
the squire of King Charles vu., or, rather, Delafosse's super 
(whichever you like), did not forget on the stage the part he 
played behind the scenes ; he rushed forward, dagger in hand, 
on the unfortunate king ; the public only saw in the acadent 
that had just happened a trick of the stage and, in the action 
of the super, a fresh-incident. The laughter ceased and the 
audience remained expectant The result of the pause was 
that in a few secundsi the vizor rose again, and showed Charles 
VII., as red as a peony and very nearly stifled. The play 
concluded without any other accident. Frédérick-Lemallre 
was angry with me for a long time because I did not give him 
the part of Yaqoub ; but he was certainly mistaken about the 
character of that personage, whom he took for an Othello. 
The sole resemblance between Othello and Yaqoub lies in the 
colour of the face ; the colour of the soul, if one may be 
allowed to say so, is wholly diflcrent. I should have made 
Othello — and I should have been very proud of it if I had 1 — 
jealous, violent, carried away by his passions, a man of 
initiative and of will{x>wer, leader of the Venetian galleys : an 
Othello with !' !\ûse, tliic!. ' uninent il s, 

frizzy hair; ai. <' ■'>, more n^ . . Arab, sh'^ ive 

given to Frederick. But my Othello, or, rather, my Yaqoub 




436 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



was more Arab than negro, a child of the desert, swarthy 
complexioiied rather than black, with straight nose, thin lips, 
and smooth and flat hair; a sort of lion, taken from his 
mother's breast and carried off from the red and burning sands 
of the Sahara to the cold and damp flagstones of a château 
in the AVest ; in the darkness and cold he becomes enervated, 
languid, poetical. It was the fine, aristocratic and rather sickly 
nature of Lockroy which really suited the part. And, according 
to my thinking, Lockroy played it admirably. The day after 
the first performance of Charles VII. I received a good number 
of letters of congratulation. The play had just enough 
secondary merit not to frighten anybody, and brought me the 
compliments of people who, whether unable or unwilling to pay 
them any longer to Ancelot, felt absolutely obliged to pay 
them to somebody. 

Meanwhile, the Théâtre-Français was preparing a play which 
was to cause a much greater flutter than my poor Charles VII. 
This was the Rein< d'Espagne, by Henri de Latouche. M. de 
Latouche, — to whom we shall soon have to devote our attention 
in connection with the appearance upon our literary horizon of 
Madame Sand, — was a sort of hermit, who lived at the 
Vallée-aux-Loups. The name of the hermitage quite sufficiently 
describes the hermit. M. de Latouche was a man of genuine 
talent ; he has published a translation of Hoffmann's Cardillac, 
and a very remarkable Neaf>olitan novel. The transbtion — 
M. de Latouche obliterated the name on his stolen linen — was 
called Olivier Brusson ; the Neapolitan novel was called 
Fragolelta. The novel is an obscure work, badly put together, 
but certain parts of it are dazzling in their colour and truth ; 
it is the reflection of the Neapolitan sun upon the rocks of 
Pausilippe. The Parthenopean Revolution is described 
therein in all its horrors, with the bloodthirsty and unblushing 
nakedness of the peoples of the South. M. de Latouche had, 
besides, rediscovered, collected and published the poetry 
of André Chénier. He easily made people believe that these 
poems were if not quite all his own, at least in a great measure 
his. We will concede that M. Henri de Latouche concocted 



I 



I 




M. DE LATOUCHE 



437 



a hemistich here and there where it was wanting, and joined up a 
rhyme which the pen had forgotten to connect, but that the 
verses of André Chénier are by M. de Latouche we will not grant ! 
We only knew M. de Latouche slightly ; at the same time, 
we do not beheve that there was so great a capacity for the 
renunciation of glory on his part as this, that he gave to André 
Chénier, twenty-five years after the death of the young poet, 
that Europiean reputation from which he was able to enrich 
himself. Yet M. de Latouche wrote very fine verse ; Frederick 
Soulié, who was then on friendly terms with him, told me at 
times that his poetry was of marvellous composition and 
supreme originality, In short, M. de Latouche, a solitary 
misanthrope, a harsh critic, a capricious friend, had just written 
a five-act prose comedy upon the most immodest subject in 
France and Spain ; not content with shaking the bells of 
Comus, as said the members of the Caveau, he rang a full peal 
on the bells of the theatre of the rue de Richelieu. This 
comedy took for its theme the jimpotence of King Charles il, 
and for plot, the advantage accruing to Austria supposing the 
husband of Marie-Louise d'Orléans produced a child, and the 
advantage to France supposing his wife did not have one. As 
may be seen it was a delicate subject. It must be admitted 
that M. de Latouche's redundant imagination had found a way 
of skating over the risks of danger which threatened ordinary 
authors. When one act is finished it is usually the same with 
the author as with the sufferer put to the rack : he has a rest, 
but lives in expectation of fresh tortures to follow. But M. de 
Latouche would not allow himself any moments of reptose ; be 
Bubstituted Interludes between the acts. We will reproduce 

llrcibatim the interlude between the second and the third act. 

lit is needless to explain the situation : the reader will easily 
guess that, thanks to the efforts of the king's physician, Austria 
is on the way to triumph over France. 

" lNTKRLtn)E 

" The personages go out, and after a few minutes interval, 
Ithe footlights are lowered ; night descends. The Chamberlain, 



^Sm 



438 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

preceded by torches, appears at the door of the Queen's apart- 
ment, and knocks upon it with his sword-hilt ; the head ladf- 
in-waiting comes to the door. They whisper together; the 
Chamberlain disappears ; then, upon a sign from the head 
lady-in-waiting, the Queen's women arrive successively and 
ceremoniously group themselves around their chief. A young 
lady-in-waiting holds back the velvet curtain over the Queen's 
bedroom. The king's cortège advances; two pages precede 
his Majesty, holding upon rich cushions the king's sword and 
the king's breeches. His Majesty is in his night attire of silk, 
embroidered with gold flowers, edged with ermine ; two crowns 
are embroidered on the lapels. Charles ii. wears, carried on a 
sash, the blue ribbon of France, in honour of the niece of Louis 
XIV. While passing in front of the line of courtiers, he makes 
sundry gestures of recognition, pleasure and satisfaction, and 
the recipients of these marks of favour express their delight 
Charles ii. stops a moment : according to etiquette he has to 
hand the candlestick borne by one of the officers to one of 
the Queen's ladies. His Majesty chooses at a glance the 
prettiest girl and indicates this favour by a gesture. Two 
ladies receives the breeches and the sword from the hands of 
the pages, the others allow the King to pass and quickly close 
up their ranks. When the curtain has fallen behind his Majesty, 
the nurse cries, Vive le roi ! This cry is repeated by all those 
present A symphony, which at first solemnly began with 
the air of the Folies ^Espagne, ends the concert with a 
serenade." 



The work was performed but once and it has not yet been 
played in its entirety. From that very night M. de Latouche 
withdrew his play. But, although the public forgot his drama, 
M. de Latouche was of too irascible and too vindictive a nature 
to let the public forget it He did pretty much what M. 
Arnault did : he appealed from the performance to the printed 
edition ; only, he did not dedicate the Reine {[Espagne to the 
prompter. People had heard too much of what the actors had 
said, from the first word to the last ; the play failed through a 
revolt of modesty and morality, and so the author contested the 
question of indecency and immorality. We will reproduce the 
pre&ce of our fellow-dramatist de Latouche. As annalist we 



RIBALD CRITICISM 



439 



relate the fact ; as keeper of archives, we find room for the 
memorandum in our archives.' 

The protest he made was not enough ; he followed it up by 
pointing out, in the printed play, every fluctuation of feeling 
shown in the pit and even in the boxes. Thus, one finds 
successively the following notes at the foot of his pages — 

. •. Here ihey begin to cough. 

. •. Whispers. The piece is alucked by persons as thoroughly informed 
f beforehand a& the author of the risks of this somewhat novel situation. 

As a matter of fact, the situation was so novel, that the 
public would not allow it to grow old. 

,*, Here the whispers redouble. 

.*. The pit rises divided between two opinions. 

. '. This delail of manners, accurately historic, excites lively disapproval. 

See, at page 56 of the play, the detail of manners. 

.'. Uproar. 

.'. A pretty general rising caused by a chaste interpretation suggested 
by the pit. 

See page 72, for the suggestion of this chaste interpretation. 

. •. Trolonged, Oi ! oh Ps. 

. '. They laugh. 

. '. Tlicy become indignant. A vtin : " It lakes two to moke a child t " 

.•. IntrmipUon. 

Movement of disapprobation ; the white hair of the old monk should, 
ver, put aside all ideas of indecency in this interview. 
Deserved disappttjval. 

.'. T)ie sentence is cut in two by an obscene interruption. 

See the sentence, on page 1 15. 

V. Disapproval. 

«*. After this xoene (/^ xnwM/i gf the fourtk act) the piece, scarcely 
glistened to at oil, wu not criticised any furttMr. 

This was the only attempt M. de Latouche made at the 
theatre, and, from that lime onwards, la Valléc-auxLoups more 
than ever deserved its name. 

' Sec end of volume. 



CHAPTER VII 

Victor Escousse and Auguste Lebru 

MEANWHILE, the drama of Pierre III. by the unfor- 
tunate Escousse was played at the Théâtre-Français. 
I did not see Pierre III. ; I tried to get hold of it to read it, 
but it seems that the drama has not been printed. 
This is what Lesur said about it in his Annuaire for 1831 — 

"Théâtre-Français (28 December). — First performance 
of Pierre III., a drama in five acts ; in verse, by M. Escousse. 

" The failure of this work dealt a fatal blow to its author ; 
carried away, as he probably was, with the success of Parruck 
le Maure. In Pierre III., neither history, nor probability, nor 
reason, was respected. It was a deplorable specimen of the 
fanatical and uncouth style of literature (these two epithets 
are my own), made fashionable by men possessed of too real 
a talent for their example not to cause many lamentable 
imitations. But who could suspect that the author's life was 
bound up in his work ? Yet one more trial, one more failure 
and the unhappy young man was to die ! . . ." 

And, indeed, Victor Escousse and Auguste Lebras in 
collaboration soon put on at the Gaieté the drama of 
Raymond, which also failed. Criticism must have been cruelly 
incensed against this drama, since we find, after the last 
words of the play, a postscript containing these few lines, 
signed by one of the authors — 

" P.S. — This work roused much criticism against us, and it must 
be admitted, few people have made allowances for two poor 
young fellows, the oldest of whom is scarcely twenty, in the 
attempt which they made to create an interesting situation with 

440 



 MA CHAMBRE 



441 



five characters, rejecting all the accessories of melodrama. 
But I have no intention of seeking to defend ourselves. I 
simply wish to proclaim the gratitude that I owe to Victor 
Escousse, who, in order to open the way for my entry into 
theatrical circles, admitted me to collaboration with himself; 
I also wish to defend him, as far as it is in my power, against 
the calumnious statements which are openly made against his 
character as a man ; imputing a ridiculous vanity to him which 
I have never noticed in him. I say it publicly, I have nothing 
but praise to give him in respect of his behaviour towards me, 
not only as collaborator, but still more as a friend. May these 
few words, thus frankly written, soften the darts which hatred 
has been pleased to hurl against a young man whose talent, I 
hop)e, will some day stifle the words of those who attack him 
without knowing him 1 Auguste Lebr.\s " 

Yet Escousse had so thoroughly understood the fact that 
with success would come struggle, and with the amelioration of 
material position would come a recrudescence in moral 
suifering, that, after the success in Farrutk U Maure, when he 
left his little workman's room to take rather more comfortable 
quarters as an honoured author, he addressed to that room, the 
witness of Ills first emotions as poet and lover, the lines here 
given — 

A MA CHAMBRE 

" De mon indépendance, 
Adinu, premier t^jour. 
Où mon adolescence 
A duré tuuiiis d'un jour I 
Bien (juc peu je levrette 
Un pus^ déchirant, 
foutant, ^niivre chunts«<te, 
Je veut ijuiiie en pirutant I 

Dn Mit, avec courage, 
J'ai totri loos les coopt ; 
Et, du incùns, mon partage 
N'a pu faire un jaloux. 
\jk bim, dans nu retraite. 
M'accueillait en rentrant . . . 
Pooitant, paurre chambiette, 
Je «ou quitte en pleurant I 



442 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Au sein de la détresse, 
Quand je suçais mon lait, 
Une tendre maltresse 
Point ne me consolait 
Solitaire couchette 
M'endormait soupirant . . . 
Pourtant, pauvre chambrette. 
Je vous quitte en pleurant 1 

De ma muse, si tendre, 
Un Dieu capricieux 
Ne venait point entendre 
Le sons ambitieux. 
Briller pour l'indiscrète. 
Est besoin dévorant . . . 
Pourtant, pauvre chambrette. 
Je vous quitte en pleurant I 

Adieu ! le sort m'appelle 
Vers un monde nouveau; 
Dans couchette plus belle, 
J'oubllrai mon berceau. 
Peut-être, humble poëte 
Lion de vous sera grand . . . 
Pourtant, pauvre chambrette. 
Je vous quitte en pleurant 1 " 

In fact, that set of apartments which Escousse had taken in 
place of his room, and where, it will be seen, he had not 
installed himself without pain, saw him enter on i8 February, 
with his friend Auguste Lebras, followed by the daughter of 
the porter, who was carrying a bushel of charcoal. He had 
just bought this charcoal from the neighboiuing greengrocer. 
While the woman was measuring it out, he said to Lebras — 

" Do you think a bushel is enough ? " 

" Oh, yes ! " replied the latter. 

They paid, and asked that the charcoal might be sent at 
once. The porter's daughter left the bushel of charcoal in the 
anteroom at their request, and, went away, little supposing she 
had just shut in Death with the two poor lads. Three days 
before, Escousse had taken the second key of his room from 
the portress on purpose to prevent any hmdrance to this pre- 



LE DÊNOÛMENT 



443 



arranged plan. The two friends separated. The same night 
Escousse wrote to Lebras — 

" 1 expect you at half-past eleven ; the curtain will be raised. 
Come, so that we may hurry on the dinoùment I " 

Lebras came at the appointed hour ; he had no thought of 
failing to keep the appointment : the fatal thought of suicide 
had been germinating for a long while in his brain. The char- 
coal was already lit. They stuffed up the duois and windows 
with newspapers. Then Escousse went to a table and wrote 
the following note : — 

" Escousse has killed himself because he does not feel he 
has any place in this life ; because his strength fails him at 
every step he takes forwards or backwards ; because fame does 
not satisfy his soul, if soul tkar btl 
I "I desire that the motto of my book may be — 



" ' Adieu, tiop inf^ondc Icite, 
KI^ux humains, solril gUc^ ! 
Comme un CuntAtnc solitaire, 
Innpcryu j'aurai pass^. 
Ailieu, les palmes immortelles, 
Vrai sungc d'une Sme de feu ! 
L'air manquait : J'ai ferm^ mes ailes, Adieu ! 



This, as wc have said, took place at half-past cloven. At 
midnight, Madame Adolphe, who had just been acting at the 
Thdllre Porte-Saint-Marlin, returned home ; she lodged on the 
same floor as Escousse, and the young man's suite of rooms was 
only separated from her's by a partition. A strange sound 
seemed to her to coroc from those rooms. She listened : she 
thought she heard a twofold noise as of raucous breathing. 
She called, she knocked on the partition, but she did not obtain 
any rvply. Escoussc's father also lived on the same floor, on 
which four doors opened ; these four <loors belonged to the 
rooms of Escousse, his father, Madame Adolphe and Walter, an 
actor I used to know well at that time, but of whom I have 
since lost sight Madame Adolphe ran to the father of Bacooaa^ 
awakened him (for he was already asleep), made him get itp 




I oie 

I 



St 



444 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

and come with her to listen to the raucous breathing which 
terrified her. It had decreased, but was still audible ; audible 
enough for them to hear the dismal sound of two breathin] 
The father listened for a few seconds ; then he laughingly s. 
to Madame Adolphe, "You jealous woman I" And he 
off to bed not wishing to listen to her observations any 
further. 

Madame Adolphe remamed by herself. Until two o'clock 
in the morning she heard this raucous sound to which she 
alone persisted in giving its true significance. Incredulous 
though Escousse's father had been, he was haunted by dismal 
presentiments all night long. About eight o'clock n 
morning he went and knocked at his son's door. No O) 
answered. He listened ; all was silent. Then the idea came 
to him that Escousse was at the Vauxhall baths, to which the 
young man sometimes went. He went to Walter's rooms, 
told him what had passed during the night, and of his uneasiness 
in the morning. Walter offered to run to Vauxliall, and the offer 
was accepted. At Vauxhall, Escousse had not been seen by 
anyone. The fatlier's uneasiness increased ; it was nearly his 
office hour, but he could not go until he was reassured 
by having his son's door opened. A locksmith was called 
in and the door was broken open with difficulty, for the key 
which had locked it from the inside was in the keyhole^ The 
key, being still in the lock frightened the poor father to such an 
extent that, when the door was open, he did not dare to cross 
the threshold. It was Walter who entered, whilst he remained 
leaning against the staircase bannisters. The inner door was, 
as we have said, stuffed up, but not closed either with bolt or 
key ; Walter pushed it violently, broke through the obstructing 
paper and went in. The fumes of the charcoal were still so dense 
that he nearly fell back. Nevertheless, he penetrated into the 
room, seized the first object to hand, a water-bottle, I believe, 
and hurled it at the window. A pane of glass was broken by 
the crash, and gave ingress to the outer air. Walter could 
now breathe, and he went to the window and opened it. 

Then the terrible spectacle revealed itself to him in all its 



SUICIDE 



44S 



fearful nakedness. The two young men were lying dead: 
Lebras on the floor, upon a mattress which he had dragged 
from the bed ; Escousse on the bed itself. Lebras, of weakly 
constitution and feeble health, had easily been overcome by 
death ; but with his companion it had been otherwise ; strong 
and full of health, the struggle had been long and must have 
been cruel ; at least, this was what was indicated by his legs 
drawn up under his body and his clenched hands, with the 
nails driven into the flesh. The father nearly went out of his 
mind. Walter often told me that he should always see the 
two poor youths, one on his mattress, the other on his bed. 
Madame Adolphe did not dare to keep her rooms : whenever 
she woke in the night, she thought she could hear the death- 
rattle, which the poor father had taken for the sighs of lovers ! 
The excellent elegy which this suicide inspired Béranger to 
write is well-known ; we could wish our readers had forgotten 
that we had given them part of it when we were speaking of 
the famous song-writer : that would have allowed us to quote 
the whole of it here ; but how can they have forgotten that we 
have already fastened that rich poetic embroidery on lo our 
rags of prose ? 



CHAPTER VIII 

Fint performance of Robert U Diable — Véron, manager of the Open — Hit 
Ofunion concerning Meyerbeer's music — My opinion concerning Véroa's 
intellect — My relations with him — His articles and Memoirs — Rossini's 
judgment of Robert le Diable — Nourrit, the preacher — Meyerbeer — 
First performance of the Fuite de Lam, by M. Mennechet — First 'per- 
formance of Richard Darlington — Frédérick-Lemaltre — Delafosse— 
Mademoiselle Noblet 

LED away into reminiscences of Escousse and of Lebras, 
whom we followed from the failure of Pierre III. to 
the day of their death, from the evening of 28 December 1831, 
that is, to the night of 18 February 1832, we have passed over 
the first performances of Richard Darlington and even of 
Tïrèsa. Let us go back a step and return to the night of 21 
October, at one o'clock in the morning, to Nourrit's dressing 
room, who had just had a fall from the first floor of the Opéra 
owing to an ill-fitting trap-door. 

The first representation of Robert le DiabU had just been 
given. It would be a curious thing to write the history of that 
great opera, which nearly failed at the first representation, 
now reckons over four hundred performances and is the doyen 
of all operas now born and, probably, yet to be bom. At first, 
Véron, who had passed from the management of the Revue de 
Paris to that of the Opéra, had from the first hearing of Meyer- 
beer's work, — in full rehearsal since its acceptance at the 
theatre of the rue Lepeletier, — declared that he thought the 
score detestable, and that he would only play it under com- 
pulsion or if provided with a suflîcient indemnity. The 
government, which had just made, with respect to that new 
management, one of the most scandalous contracts which 



ROBERT LE DIABLE 



447 



have ever existed ; the government, which at that period gave 
a subsidy to the Opéra or nine hundred thousand francs, 
thought Véron's demand quite natural ; and convinced, 
with him, that the music of Robert U Diable was execrable, 
gave to its well-beloved manager sixty or eighty thousand 
francs subsidy for playing a work which now provides at 
least a third of the fifty or sixty thousand francs income 
which Véron enjoys. Does not this little anecdote prove that 
the tradition of putting a man at the Opéra who knows nothing 
about music goes back to an epoch anterior to the nomination 
of Nestor Roqueplan, — who, in his letters to Jules Janin, 
boasts that he does not know the value of a semibreve or the 
signification of a natural ? No, it proves that Véron is a 
speculator of infinite shrewdness, and that his refusal to play 
Meyerbeer's opera was a clever sjieculation. Now, does Véron 
prefer that we should say that he was not learned in music ? 
Let him correct our statement It is common knowledge 
with what respect we submit to correction. There is one point 
concerning which we will not admit correction : namely, what 
we have just said about Véron's intellect. Wliat we here 
state we have repeated a score of times speaking to him in 
penttt, as a certain class of functionaries has it. Véron is a. 
cle^-er man, even a very clever man, and it would not be 
doubted if be had not the misfortune to be a millionaire. 
Véron and I were never on very friendly terms ; he has never, 
I believe, bad a high opinion of my talent. As editor of the 
Remit dt Paris he never asked me for a single article ; as 
manager of the Opéra, he has never asked me for anything but 
a single poem for Meyerbeer, and that on condition I wrote 
the poem in colbboration with Scribe; which nearly landed 
me in a quarrel with Meyerbeer and wholly in one with Scribe. 
Finally, as manager of tlie Constitutionnel, he only made 
use of me when the success whicli I had obtained on the 
Jôumai des Débats, the SiifU and the Presse had in some 
measure forced his hand. Our engagement lasted three yean. 
During those three years we had a lawsuit which lasted three 
months ; then, fioally, we amicably broke the contract, when 



u 



Ittfi 



448 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

I had still some twenty volumes to give him, and at the time 
of this rupture I owed him six thousand francs. It was agreed 
that I should give Véron twelve thousand lines for these six 
thousand francs. Some time after, Véron sold the Constitu- 
tionnel. For the first journal that Véron shall start, he can 
draw upon me for twelve thousand lines, at twelve days' sight : 
on the thirteenth day the signature shall be honoured. Our 
position with regard to Véron being thoroughly established, we 
repeat that it is Véron's millions which injure his reputation. 
How can it be admitted that a man can both possess mon^ 
and intellect 7 The thing is impossible ! 

"But," it will be urged, "if Véron is a clever man, who 
writes his articles ? Who composes his Memoirs}" 

Some one else will reply — " He did not ; they are written by 
Malitourae." 

I pay no regard to what may lie underneath. When the 
articles or the Memoirs are signed Véron, both articles and 
Memoirs are by Véron so far as I am concerned : what else can 
you do ? It is Véron's weakness to imagine that he can write. 
Good gracious ! if he did not write, his reputation as an 
intellectual man would be made, in spite of his millions ! But 
it happens that, thanks to these deuced articles and those 
blessed Memoirs, people laugh in my face when I say that 
Véron has intellect It is in vain for me to be vexed and 
angry, and shout out and appeal to people who have supped 
with him, good judges in the matter of wit, to believe me ; 
everybody replies, even those who have not supped with him : 
That is all very well ! You say this because you owe M. 
Véron twelve thousand lines ! As if because one owes a man 
twelve thousand lines it were a sufficient excuse for saying that 
he has intellect! Take, for example, the case of M. Tillot, 
of the Siicle, who says that I owe him twenty-four thousand 
lines ; at that rate, I ought to say that he has twice as much 
intellect as Véron. But I do not say so ; I will content myself 
with saying that I do not owe him those twenty-four thousand 
lines, and that he, on the contrary, owes me something like three 
or foiur hundred thousand francs or more, certainly not less. 



NOURRIT 



449 



^ 



But where on earth were we ? Oh I I remember ! we were 
talking about the first night of Robert le Diable. After the 
third act I met Rossini in the green-room. 

" Come now, Rossini," 1 asked him, " what do you think of 
that?" 

" Vat do I zink ? " replied Rossini. 
" Yes, what do you think of it ? " 

" Veil, I zink zat if my best friend vas vaiting for me at zc 
comer of a wood vis a pistol, and put zat pistol to my throat, 
zaying, ' Rossini, zu art going to make zur best opera I ' I 
should do it." 

"And suppose you had no one friendly enough towards you 
to render you this service?" 

" Ah ! in zat case all vould be at an end, and I azzure you 
zat I vould never write one zingle note of music again ! " 

Alas ! the friend was not forthcoming, and Rossini kept his 
oath. 

I meditated upon these words of the illustrious maestro 
during the fourth and fifth acts of Robert, and, after the fifth 
t, I went to the stage to inquire of Nourrit if he was not 
hurt. I felt a strong friendship towards Nourrit, and he, on 
his side, was much attached to me. Nourrit was not only 
an eminent actor, he was also a delightful man ; he had but 
^^ttie fault : when you paid him a compliment on his actinj^ or 
^Hn his voice, he would listen to you in a melancholy fashion, 
^Hod reply with his hand on your shoulder — 
^V " Ah ! my friend, I was not bom to be n singer or a 
[ comedian 1 " 

^K "Indeed ! Then why were you bom?" 
^H " I was bom to mount a pulpit, not a stage." 
^H" A pulpit I" 
^••Ycs." 
r " And what the deuce would you do in a pulpit ? " 

" I should guide humanity in the way of progress. . . . Oh ! 
you misjudge mc ; you do not know my real character." 

Poor Nourrit! He made « great mistake m wanting to 
have been or to appear other than he was: he was a 
V. — «9 



£^ 



Ldui 

^^UI 




4SO MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

delightful player! a dignified and noble and kindly natured 
man I He had taken the Revolution of 1830 very seriously, 
and, for three months, he appeared every other day on the 
stage of the Opera as a National Guard, singing the 
Marseillaise, flag in hand. Unluckily, his patriotism was 
sturdier than his voice, and he broke his voice in that 
exercise. It was because his voice had already become 
weaker that Meyerbeer put so little singing in the part of 
Robert Nourrit was in despair, not because of his failure, 
but because of that of the piece. In common with everyone 
else, he thought the work had failed. Meyerbeer was bimsdf 
quite melancholy enough! Nourrit introduced us to one 
another. Our acquaintance dates from that night 

Meyerbeer was a very clever man; from the first he had 
had the sense to place a great fortune at the service of an 
immense reputation. Only, he did not make his fortune 
with his reputation; it might almost be said that he made 
his reputation with his fortune. Meyerbeer was never for 
one instant led aside from his object, — whether he was by 
himself or in society, in France or in Germany, at the 
table of the hotel des Princes or at the Casmo at Spa, — 
and that object was success. Most assuredly, Meyerbeer 
gave himself more trouble to achieve success than in writing 
his scores. We say this because it seems to us that there 
are two courses to take. Meyerbeer should leave his scores 
to make their own successes; we should gain one opera 
out of every three. I admire the more this quality of 
tenacity of purpose in a man since it is entirely lacking in 
myself. I have always let managers look after their interests 
and mine on first nights; and, next day, upon my word! 
let people say what they like, whether good or ill! I have 
been working for the stage for twenty-five years now, and 
writing books for as long: I challenge a single newspaper 
editor to say he has seen me in his office to ask the favour 
of a single puff. Perhaps in this bdifference lies my strength. 
In the five or six years that have just gone by, as soon as 
my plays have been put on the stage, with all the care and 




w. 



RICHARD DARLINGTON 451 

intelligence of which I am capable, it has often happened 
that I have not been present at my first performance, but 
have waited to hear any news about it that others, more curious 
than myself, who had been present, should bring me. 

But at the lime of Rkhard Darlington I had not yet 
attained to this high degree of philosophy. As soon as the 
play was finished, it had been read to Harel, who had 
^just left the management of the Odéon to take up that of 
the Porte-Saint-Martin, and, be it said, Harel had accepted 
it at once ; he had immediately put it in rehearsal, and, 
after a month of rehearsals, all scnipulously attended by 
me, we had got to 10 December, the day fixed for the 
first performance. The Théâtre-Français was in competition 
with us, and played the same day La FuiU de Law, by 
M. Mennechet, ex-reader to King Charles x. In his capacity 
of ex-reader to King Charles x., Mennechet was a Royalist. 
I shall always recollect the sighs he heaved when he was 
compelled, as editor of Plutarqut français, to insert in it 
the biography of the Emperor Napoleon. Had he been in 
a position to consult his own personal feelings only, he 
would certainly have excluded from his publication the 
Conqueror of Marengo, of Austerlitz and of Jena; but he 
not the complete master of it: since Napoleon had 
taken Cairo, Berlin, Vienna and Moscow, he had sunly 
the right to monopolise fifty or sixty columns in the Plularque 
français. I know something about those sighs ; for he came 
to ask me for that bic^raphy of Napoleon, and it was I who 
drew it up. In spite of the competition of the Théâtre- 
nant^ais there was a tremendous stir over Richard. It was 
known beforehand that the play had a political side to it 
of great significance, and the feverishnes8 of men's minds 

IKt that period made a storm out of everything. People 
pushed at the doors to get tickets. \\ the rising of the 
burtain the house seemed full to overflowing. Frederick 
was llie pillar who supported the whole affair. He had 
■upporting him, Mademoiselle Noblet, Delafossc, Doligny 
tnd Madame Zélie-Paul. But so great was tlie power of 



■«as 




452 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

this fine dramatic genius that he electrified everybody. Every- 
one in some degree was inspired by him, and by contact 
with him increased his own strength without decreasing that 
of the great player. Frederick was then in the full zenith 
of his talent Unequal like Kean, — whose personality he 
was to copy two or three years later, — sublime like Kean, 
he had the same qualities he exhibits to-day, and, though in 
a lesser degree, the same defects. He was just the same 
then in the relations of ordinary life, — diflScult, unsociable, 
capricious, as he is to-day. In other respects he was a 
man of sound judgment; taking as much interest in the 
play as in his own part in the suggestions he proposed, and 
as much interest in the author as in himself. He had been 
excellent at the rehearsals. At the performance itself he was 
magnificent! I do not know where he had studied that 
gambler on the grand scale whom we style an ambitious 
man ; men of genius must study in their own hearts what they 
cannot know except in dreams. Next to Frederick, Doligny 
was capital in the part of Tompson. It was to the recollection 
I had of him in this rôle that the poor fellow owed, later, 
the sad privilege of being associated with me in my misfortunes. 
Delafosse, who played Mawbray, had moments of genuine 
greatness. One instance of it was where he waits at the 
edge of a wood, in a fearful storm, for the passing of the 
post-chaise in which Tompson is carrying off Jenny. An 
accident which might have made a hitch and upset the 
play at that juncture was warded off by his presence of mind. 
Mawbray has to kill Tompson by shooting him ; for greater 
security, Delafosse had taken two pistols; real stage-pistols, 
hired from a gunsmith, — they both missed fire ! Delafosse never 
lost his head : he made a pretence of drawing a dagger from 
his pocket, and killed Tompson with a blow from his fist, 
as he had not been able to blow out his brains. Mademoiselle 
Noblet was fascinatingly tender and loving, a charming and 
poetic being. In the last scene she fell so completely 
under Frederick's influence as to utter cries of genuine not 
feigned terror. The fable took on all the proportions of 



GENEROUS COLLABORATORS 453 



k 



reality for her. The final scene was one of the most terrible 
I ever saw on the stage. When Jenny asked him, "What 
are you going to do?" and Richard replied, "1 do not 
Jcnow ; but pray to God ! " a tremendous shudder ran all 
over the house, and a murmur of fear, escaping from every 
breast, became an actual shriek of tenor. At the conclusion 
of the second act Harel had come up to my avant-sàne : ' — 
I had the chief ctvaHt-sdne by right, and from it I could 
view the performance as though I were a stranger. Harel, 
I say, came up to entreat me to have my name mentioned 
with that of Dinaux : the name, be it known, by which 
Goubaux and Beudin were known on the stage. I refused. 
During the third act he came up again, accompanied this 
time by my two collaborators, and furnished with three 
bank-notes of a thousand francs each. Goubaux and Beudin, 
good, excellent, brotherly hearted fellows, came to ask me 
to have my name given alone. I had done the whole thing, 
ihey said, and my right to the success was incontestable, 
I had done the whole thing 1 — except finding the subject, 
except providing the outlines of the development, except, 
finally, the execution of the chief scene between the king 
and Richard, the scene in which I had completely failed. 
1 embraced them and refused. Harel offered me the three 
thousand francs. He had come at an opportune moment: 
tears were in my eyes, and I held a hand of each of my 
two friends in mine. I refused him, but I did not embrace 
him. The curtain fell in the midst of frantic applause. 
They called Richard before the curtain, then Jenny, Tompson, 
Mawbray, the whole company. I took advantage of the 
spectators being still glued to their places to go out and 
make for the door of communication. I wanted to take 
the actors in my arms on their return to the wings. I 
came across Musset in the corridor; he was very pale and 
very much moved. 

"Well," I asked him ; "what is the matter, my dear poet?" 

" I am suffocating I " he replied. 

' At the fiual of tbc uaK«.— Tkaw. 



454 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

It was, I think, the finest praise he could have paid the 
work, — the drama of Richard is, indeed, soffocating. I reached 
the wings in time to shake hands with everybody. And yet I 
did not feel the same emotion as on the nig^t of AHt<my\ 
The success had been as great, but the playos were nothhig 
like as dear to me. There is an abyss between my character 
and habits and those of Frederick which three triumphs in 
common have not enabled either of us to bridge. What a 
difference between my friendship with Bocage! Between 
Mademoiselle Noblet and myself, pretty and fascinating as she 
was at that date, there existed none but purely artistic rela- 
tions ; she interested me as a young and beautiful person of 
promising future, and that was all. What a difference, to be sure, 
from the double and triple feelings with which Dorval ins{Hred 
me! Although to-day the most active of these sentiments 
has been extinguished these twenty years ; though she herself 
has been dead for four or five years, and forgotten by most 
people who should have remembered her, and who did not 
even see her taken to her last resting-place, her name falls 
constantly from my pen, just as her memory strikes ever a 
pang at my heart ! Perhaps it will be said that my joy was not 
so great because my name remained unknown and my person- 
ality concealed. On that head I have not even the shadow of 
a regret I can answer for it that my two collab)orators were 
more sadly troubled at being named alone than I at not being 
named at all. Richard had an immense success, and it was 
just that it should : Richard, without question, is an excellent 
drama. I beg leave to be as frank concerning myself as I am 
with r^ard to others. 

Twenty-one days after the performance o{ Richard Darlington 
the year 1831 went to join its sisters in that unknown world 
to which Villon relegates dead moons, and where he seeks, 
without finding them, the snows of yester year. Troubled 
though the year had been by political disturbances, it had 
been splendid for art. I had produced three pieces,— one 
bad, Napoléon Bonaparte; one mediocre, Charles VIL; and 
one good, Richard Darlington. 



BALZAC 



455 



Hugo had put forth Marion Delorme, and had publislied 
Notre-Dame de Paris — something more than a roman, a book ! 
— and his volume the Feuilles d^ Automne. 

Balzac had published the Peau de chagrin, one of his most 
irritating productions. Once for all, my estimation of Balzac, 
both as a man and as an author, is not to be relied up)on : as a 
man, I knew him but little, and what I did know did not 
rouse in me the least sympathy ; as regards his talent, his 
manner of composition, of creation, of production, were so 
different from mine, that I am a bad judge of him, and I con- 
demn myself on this head, quite conscious that I can justly be 
called in question. 

But to continue. Does my reader know, omitting mention 
of M. Comte's theatre and of that of the Funambules, what 
was played in Paris from i January 1809 to 31 December 1831 ? 
Well, there were played 3558 theatrical pieces, to which Scribe 
contributed 135; Théaulor, 94; Brazier, 93; Dartois, 92, 
Mélesville, 80; Dupin, 56; Antier, 53; Dumersan, 55; de 
Courcy, 50. The whole world compared with this could not 
have provided a quarter of it ! Nor was painting far behind : 
|Vernet had reached the zenith of his talent ; Delacroix and 
Delaroche were ascending the upward path of theirs. Vcmet 
had exhibited . . . But before speaking of their works, let us 
say a few words of the men themselves. 



^^atam 



id& 



CHAPTER IX 

Horace Vemet 

VERNET was then a man of forty-two. You are ac- 
quainted with Horace Vemet, are you not ? I will not 
say as painter — pooh ! who does not know, indeed, the artist 
of the Bataille de Montmirail, of the Prise de Constantine, of 
the Déroute de la Smala? No, I mean as man. You will 
have seen him pass a score of times, chasing the stag or the 
boar, in shooting costume j or crossing the place du Carrousel, 
or parading in the court of the Tuileries, in the brilliant 
uniform of a staff officer. He was a handsome cavalier, a 
dainty, lithe, tall figure, with sparkling eyes, high cheek-bones, 
a mobile face and moustaches à la royale Louis XIII. 
Imagine him sonrething like d'Artagnan. For Horace looked 
far more like a musketeer than a painter; or, say, like a 
painter of the type of Velasquez, or Van Dyck, and, like the 
Cavalier Tempesta, with curled-up moustache, sword dangling 
against his heels, his horse snorting forth fire from its nostrils. 
The whole race of Vernels were of a similar type. Joseph 
Vemet, the grandfather, had himself bound to a ship's mast 
during a tempest. Karl Vemet, the father, would, I am 
certain, have given many things to have been carried off, like 
Mazeppa, across the Steppes of Ukraine on a furious horse, 
reeking with foam and blood. For, be it known, Horace 
Vemet brings up the rear of a quadruple series, the latest of 
four generations of painters, — he is the son of Karl, the grand- 
son of Joseph Vemet, the great-grandson of Antoine. Then, 
as though this were not enough, his maternal ancestor was the 

younger Moreau, that is to say, one of the foremost draughts- 

456 



EARLY GENIUS 



457 



ncn and ablest engravers of the eighteenth century. Antoine 
Vemet painted flowers upon sedan chairs. There are two 
chairs painted and signed by him at Marseilles. Joseph 
Vemet has adorned every museum in France with his sea 
pictures. He is to Havre, Brest, Lorient, Marseilles and 
Toulon what Canaletto is to Venice. 

Karl, who began by bearing off the grand prix of Rome 
with his composition of the Enfant prodigue, became, in 1 786, an 
enthusiastic painter of everything English. The Due d'Orléans 
bought at fabulous prices the finest of English horses. 
Karl Vernet became mad on horses, drew them, painted iheni, 
made them his speciality and so became famous. As for 
Horace, he was bom in 1789, the year in which his grandfather 
Joseph died and his father Karl was made an Academician, 
liom a painter, so to say, his first steps were taken in a studio. 

" Who is your master ?" I once asked him. 

" I never had one." 

" Bui who taught you to draw and paint?" 

" I do not know. . . . When I could only walk on all fours 
I used to pick up pencils and paint brushes. When I found 
paper I drew ; when I found canvas I painted, and one fine 
day it was discovered that I was a painter." 

When ten years old, Horace sold his first drawing to a 
mtTchant : it was a tulip commissioned by Madame de 
l'érigord. This was the first money he had earned, twenty- 
four sous I And the merchant paid him these twenty-four 
sous in one of those white coins that were still to be seen 
about in t8i6, but which we do not see now and shall pro- 
bably not see again. This happened in 1799. From that 
moment Horace Vernet found a market for drawings, rough 
sketches and six-inch canvases. In 181 1 the King of West- 
phalia commissioned bis first two pictures : the Priu du camp 
rttranchi dc Galati and the Prise de Brtslau. I have seen 
them scores of times at King Jtfrome's palace ; they ore not 
your best work, my dear Horace 1 But they brought him in 
sixteen thousand francs. It was the first considerable sura of 
money he bad received ; it was the first out of whidi he could 



458 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

put something aside. Then came 1812, 1813 and 18 14, and 
the downfall of the whole Napoleonic edifice. The world 
shook to its foundations: Europe became a volcano, society 
seemed about to dissolve. There was no thought of painting, 
or literature, or art 1 What do you suppose became of Vemet, 
who could not then obtain for his pictures eight thousand 
ihuics, or four thousand, or a thousand, or five hundred, or a 
hundred, or even fifty? Vemet drew designs lot tài& Journal 
des Modes ; — three for a hundred francs : 33 francs 33 centimes 
each drawing 1 One day he showed me all these drawings, 
a collection of which he kept; I counted nearly fifteen 
hundred of them with feelings of profound emotion. The 
33 francs 33 centimes brought to my mind my 166 firancs 
65 centimes, — the highest figure my salary had ever reached. 
Vernet was a child of the Revolution ; but as a young man 
he knew only the Empire. An ardent Bonapartist in 18 15, 
more fervent still, perhaps, in 181 6, he gave many sword 
strokes and sweeps of the paint brush in honour of Napoleon, 
both exercised as secretly as possible. In 18 18, the Due 
d'Orléans conceived the idea of ordering Vemet to paint 
pictures for him. The suggestion was transmitted to the 
painter on the prince's behalf. 

" Willingly," said the painter, " but on condition that they 
shall be military pictures." 

The prince accepted. 

" That the pictures," added the painter, " shall be of the 
time of the Republic and of the Empire." 

Again the prince acceded. 

" Fiiudly," added the painter, " on condition that the soldiers 
of the Empire and of the Revolution shall wear tricolor 
cockades." 

" Tell M. Vemet," replied the prince to this, " that he can 
put the first cockade in my hat." 

And as a matter of fact the Due d'Orléans decided that the 
first picture which Vemet should execute for him should be of 
himself as Colonel of Dragoons, saving a poor refractory priest : 
a piece of good fortune which befell the prince in 1793, and 



FAMOUS BATTLE PICTURES 



459 



which has been related by us at length in our Hhloirt cU Louis 
Philippe. Horace Vernet painted the picture and had the 
pleasure of putting the first tricolor cockade ostentatiously on 
the helmet. About this time the Due de Berry urgently desired 
to visit the painter's studio, whose reputation grew with the 
rapidity of the giant Adamastor. But Vernet did not love the 
Bourbons, especially those of the Older Branch. With the 
Due d'Orléans it was different ; he had been a Jacobin. Horace 
refused admission to his studio to the son of Charles x. 

" Oh ! Good gracious ! " said the Due de Berry, " if in 
order to be received by M. Vernet it is but a question of 
putting on a tricolor cockade, tell him that, although I do 
not wear M. Laffitte's colours at my heart, I will put them in 
my hat, if it must be so, the day I enter his house." 

The suggestion did not come to anything either, because the 
painter did not accede to it; or because, the painter having 
acceded to it, the prince declined to submit to such an exact- 
ing condition. 

In less than eighteen months Vernet painted for the Due 
d'Orléans — the condition concerning the tricolor cockades 
being always respected — the fine series of pictures which con- 
stitute his best work : Monlmirail, in which he puts more than 
tricolor cockades, namely, the Emperor himself riding away 
into the distance on his white horse ; Ilanau, Jemappa and 
Valmy. But all these tricolor cockades, which blossomed on 
Horace's canvases like poppies, cornflowers and marguerites 
in a meadow, and above all, that detestable white horse, 
although it was no bigger than a pin's head, frightened the 
government of Louis xviil The exhibition of iSai declined 
Horace Vcmet's pictures. The artist held an exhibition at his 
iwn house, and Iwd a greater success by himself than the two 
thousand painters had who exhibited at the Salon. This was 
the lime of his great popularity. No one was allowed at that 
Dcriod, not e^-en his enemies, to dispute his talent. Vernet 

Ênore than â celebrated painter : he belonged to the nation, 
senting in tljc world of art tJie spirit of opposition which 
beginning to make the reputations of Déranger and of 



6" 

lb 
th 



Ml 



H 



460 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Casimir Delavigne in the world of poetiy. He lived in the rue 
de la Tour-des-Dames. All that quarter had just sprung into 
being ; it was the artists' quarter. Talma, Mademoiselle Mars, 
Mademoiselle Duchesnois, Arnault lived there. It was called 
La Nouvelle Athines. They all carried on the spirit of opposi- 
tion in their own particular ways : Mademoiselle Mars with her 
violets, M. Arnault with his stories, Talma with his Sylla wig, 
Horace Vernet with his tricolor cockades. Mademoiselle 
Duchesnois with what she could. One consecration was still 
lacking in the matter of Horace Vemet's popularity ; he ob- 
tained it, that is to say, be was appointed director of the École 
Française at Rome. Perhaps this was a means of getting him 
sent away from Paris. But the exile, if such it was, looked so 
much more like an honour that Vernet accepted it with joy. 
Criticism grumbled a little; — it was the time;of the raising of 
Voices ! — Some complained in the hoarse notes, others in the 
screaming tones which are the peculiar property of the envious, 
exclaiming that it was rather a risk to send to Rome the 
propagator of tricolor cockades, and rather a bold stroke to 
bring into juxtaposition Montmirail and The Transfiguration, 
Horace Vernet and Raphael ; but these voices were drowned 
in the universal acclamation which hailed the honour done to 
our national painter. It was certainly not Vernet's enemies 
who should have indulged in recrimination; but rather his 
friends who should have felt afraid. In fact, when Horace 
Vernet found himself confronted with |the masterpieces of the 
sixteenth century, even as Raphael when led into the Sistine 
Chapel by Bramante, he was seized with a spasm of doubt 
The whole of his education as a painter was called in question. 
He felt he had been self-deceived for thirty years of his life ; 
— at the age of thirty-two, Horace had already been a painter 
for thirty years ! — he asked himself whether, instead of those 
worthy full-length soldiers, clad in military capot and shako, he 
was not destined to paint naked giants ; the Iliad of Homer 
instead of the Iliad of Napoleon. The unhappy painter set 
himself to paint great pictures. The Roman school was in a 
flourishing state upon his arrival- — ^Vernet succeeded to 



VERNET AT ROME 



461 



Gudrin ; — under Vemet it became splendid. The indefatigable 
artist, the never-ceasing creator, communicated a portion of his 
fecund spirit to all those young minds. Like a sun be lighted up 
and warmed throughout and ripened everything with his rays. 
One year after his arrival in Rome he must needs erect an 
exhibition hall in the garden of the École. Féron, from whom 
the institute asked an eightecn-inch sketch, gave a twenty-feet 
picture, the Passagt des Alpes; Debay gave the Mort de 
Lucrèce ; Bouchot, a Bacchanale ; Rivière, a Peste apaisie par 
tes prières du pape. Sculptors created groups of statuary, or at 
the least statues, instead of statuettes ; Dumont sent Bacchus 
aux bras de sa nourrice ; Duret, the Invention de la Lyre. It 
was such an outpouring of .productions that the Academy was 
frightened. It complained that the École de Rome produced 
too much. This was the only reproach they had to bring against 
Vemet during his Ultramontane Vice-regency. He himself 
worked as hard as a student, two students, ten students. He 
sent his Raphael et Michel-Ange, his Exaltation du pape, his 
Arrestation du prince de Condi, his . . . Happily for Horace, I 
cannot recollect any more he sent in at that period. 

I repeat once more, the sight of the old masters had upset all 
hb old ideas ; — in the slang of the studio, Horace splashed 
about. I say this because I am quite certain that it is his own 
opinion. If it is possible that Horace could turn out any bad 
painting — if he has e\ex done so — and he alone has the right to 
say this — is it not the fact, dear Horace, that the bad painting 
which many artists point out with glee and triumph was done in 
Rome. But this period of relative inferiority for Horace, which 
was only below his own average in painting in what is termed 
the " grand style," was not without its profit to the artist ; he 
drank the wine of life from its main source, the eternal spring ! 
He returned to France strengtliened by a force invisible to all, 
unrealised by himself, and after seven years s{)ent in the 
Vatican and the Sistinc Chapel and the Farncsina, he found 
himself more at case among his barracks and battlefields, 
which many i>eople said, and said wrongly, that he ought not 
to have quitted. 



462 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



Ah I Horace led a fine life, dashing through Europe on 
borsebax±, across Africa on a dromedaty, ova the Meditenaoean 
in a ship ! A glorious, noble and loyal life at irtiich criticism 
may scoff, but in respect of which no reproadi can be uttered 
by France. 

Now, during this year — tiovs revenons à mus /nouions, as M. 
Berger puts it — Horace sent two pictures from Rome, namdy, 
those we have mentioned already : the Exaltation du pape, one 
of the best of his worst pictures, and the Arrestation du prina 
de Condi, one of the best of his best pictures. 



CHAPTER X 
Paul Delauocbe 

DELAROCIIE exhibited his three masterpieces at the 
Salon of 1831 : the Enfants tfÉdoyard; Cinç-mars 
et de Thou remontant le Rhine à ta remorque du Cardinal dt 
Xichelieu, and the Jeu du Carénai dt Mazarin à son lit de 
mort. 

It is hardly necessary to say that of these three pictures we 
prefer the Cinq-mars et de Thou remontant le Rhône. 

The biography of the eminent artist will not be long. His 
is not an eccentric character, nor one of those impetuous 
temperaments which sock adventures. He did not have his 
collar-bone broken when he was fifteen, three ribs staved in at 
thirty, and his head cut open at forty-five, as did Vernet ; he 
does not expose his body in every political quarrel; his re- 
creations are not those of fencing, horse-riding and shooting. 
He rests from work by dreaming, and not by some fresh 
fatiguing occupation ; for although his work is masterly, it is 
heavy, laboured and melancholy. Instead of saying before 
Heaven openly, when showing his pictures to men and thank- 
ing God for having given him the power to paint them, 
" Behold, I am an artist ! Vivent Raphael and Michael 
Angelo I " he conceals them, he hides them, he withdraws 
them from sight, murmuring, "Ah I I was not made for brush, 
canvas and colours ; I was made for political and diplomatic 
career. Vivent M. de Talleyrand and M. de Mettemich ! " 
Oh I how unliappy are those spirits, tlu>sc restless souls, who 
do one thing and torment themselves with the everlasting 
anxiety that they were created to do something clw. 



464 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

In 1831, Paul Delaroche was thirty-four, and jnst about at 
the height of his strength and his talent He was the second 
son of a pawnbroker. He early entered the studio of Gros, 
who was then in the zenith of his fame, and who, after his 
beautiful pictures of Jaffa, Aboukir and Eylau, was about to 
undertake the gigantic dome of the Pantheon. He made 
genuine and rapid advance in harmony with the design and 
taste of the master. Nevertheless, Delaroche began with 
landscape. His brother painted historical subjects, and the 
father did not wish both his two sons to apply themselves to 
the same kind of painting. Claude Lorraines and Ruysdaels 
were accordingly the studios preferred by Paul ; a woman \nth 
whom he fell in love, and whose portrait he persisted in paint- 
ing, changed his inclinations^ This portrait finished and 
found to be acceptable {bien venu), as they say in studio 
language, Delaroche was won over to the grand school of 
painting. He made his first appearance in the Salon of 1822, 
when he was twenty-five years of age, with a /oas arrathi du 
milieu des morts par Josabeth, and a Christ descendu de la croix. 
In 1824, he exhibited _/(?«««« d^ Arc interrogée dans son cachot 
par le Cardinal de Winchester, Saint Vincent de Paul prêchant 
pour les en/ants trouvés. Saint Sébastien secouru par Irene and 
Filippo Lippi chargé de peindre une vierge pour une convent, et 
devenant amoureux de la religieuse qui lui sert de modèle, 

The Jeanne d^Arc made a great impression. Instead of 
being talked of as a painter of great promise, Delaroche was 
looked upon as a master who had realised these hopes. 

In 1826 he exhibited his Mort de Carrache, Le Prétendant 
sauvé par Miss MacDonald, the Nuit de la Saint Barthélémy, 
the Mort cP Elisabeth and the full-length portrait of the 
Dauphin. 

The whole world stood to gaze at Elizabeth, pallid, dying, 
dead already from the waist down. I was riveted in front of 
the young Scotch girl, exquisitely sympathetic and admirably 
romantic in feeling. Cinq-Mars and Miss MacDonald were 
alone enough to make Delaroche a great painter. What 
delicious handling there is in the latter picture, sweet, tender. 



DELAROCHE 



465 



10 

I hi 

P 



moving ! What suppleness and morbidezta in those golden 
fifteen years, born on the wings of youth, scarcely touching 
the earth ! O Delaroche ! you are a great painter ! Hut if 
you had only painted four pictures equal to your Miss 
MiuDonald, how you would have betn adored ! 

In 1827, he first produced a political picture, the Prise du 
Troeadéro ; then the Alart du President Duranii, a great and 
magnificent canvas, three figures of the first order : the 
president, his wife and his child ; the figure of the child, in 
particular, who is holding up — or, rather, stretching up — its 
hands to heaven; and a ceiling for the Charles x. Museum, 
of which I will not speak, as I do not remember it Finally, 
in 1831, the period we have reached, Delaroche exhibited Lei 
Enfants d'Edouard, Cinq-Mars el de Thou, the Jeu de 
Mazarin, the [Kirtrait of Mile. Sontag and a Le(turt. The 
painter's reputation, as we have said, had then reached its 
height. You remember those two children sitting on a bed, 
one sickly, the other full of health ; the little barking dog ; tlie 
ray of light that comes into the prison through the chink 
beneath the door. You remember the Richelieu — ill, cough- 
ing, attenuated, with no more strength to cause the death of 
others ; the beautiful figure of Cinq-Mars, calm, in his exquisite 
costume of white satin, pink and white under his pearl-grey 
hat; the grave de Thou, in his dark dress, looking at the 
scafTold in the distance, which was to assume for him so 
terrible an aspect on nearer view ; those guards, those rowers, 
the soldier eating and tlie other who is spluttering in the water. 
The whole is exquisitely com[)osed and cxcojted, full of 
intellect and thought, and particularly full of skill— skill, yea ! 
for Delaroche par excellence is the dexterous painter. He 
possesses the expertness of Casimir Delavigne, with whom he 
has all kinds of points of resemblance, although, in our 
^opinion, he strikes us as being stronger, as a painter, than 
!asimir Delavigne as a dramatic author. Every artist has his 
double in some kindred contemporary. Hugo and Delacroix 
have many points of contact; I pride myself upon my re- 
blance to Vernet. 
v.— 30 



466 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

Delaroche's skill is, indeed, great ; not that we think it the 
fruit of studied calculation, such cleverness is intuitive, and, 
perhaps, not so much an acquired quality as a natural gift, a 
gift that is doubtless rather a negative one, from the point of 
view of art I prefer certain painters, poets and players who 
are inclined to err on the side of being awkward rather than too 
skilful But, just as all the studying in the world will not 
change clumsiness into skilfulness, so you cannot cure a clever 
man of his defect. Therefore, although it is a singular state- 
ment to make, Delaroche has the defect of being too skilfiiL 
If a man is going to his execution, Delaroche will not choose 
the shuddering moment when the guards open the doors of 
the prison, nor the terror-stricken instant when the victim 
catches sight of the scaffold. No, the resigned victim will pass 
before the window of the Bishop of London ; as he descends 
a staircase, will kneel with downcast eyes and receive the 
benediction bestowed on him by two white aristocratic 
trembling hands thrust through the bars of that window. If 
he paints the assassination of the Due de Guise, he does not 
choose the moment of struggle, the supreme instant when the 
features contract in spasms of anger, in convulsions of agony ; 
when the hands dig into the flesh and tear out hair; when 
hearts drink vengeance and daggers drink blood. No, it is the 
moment when all is over, when the Due de Guise is laid dead 
at the foot of the bed, when daggers and swords are wiped 
dean and cloaks have hidden the rending of the doublet, when 
the murderers open the door to the assassin, and Henri in. 
enters, pale and trembling, and recoils as he comes in 
murmuring — 

" Why, he must have been ten feet high ? — he looks taller 
lying down than standing, dead than alive!" 

Again, if he paints the children of Edward, he does not 
choose the moment when the executioners of Richard iii. rush 
upon the poor innocent boys and stifle their cries and their 
lives with bedding and pillows. No, he chooses the time irben 
the two lads, seated on the bed which is to become their grave, 
are terrified and trembling by reason of a presentiment o{ the 




A POPULAR PAINTER 



467 



Tootsteps of Death, as yet unrecognised by thera, but noted by 
their dog. Death is approaching, as yet hidden behind tlie 
prison door, but his pale and cadaverous light is already creep- 
ing in through the chinks. 

It is evident that this is one side of art, one aspect of genius, 
LMhich can be energetically attacked and conscientiously dc- 
^tended. It does not satisfy the artist supremely, but it gives 
the middle classes considerable pleasure. That is why Delaroche 
had, for a time, the most universal reputation, and the one 
that was least disputed among all his colleagues. It also ex- 
plains why, after having been too indulgent towards him, and from 
the very fact of being over-indulgent, criticism has become too 
severe. And this is why we are putting the artist and his works 
in their true place and light. We say, then : Delaroche must 
not be so much blamed for his skill as felicitated for it. It 
is an organic part not merely of his talent, but still more of his 
temperament and character. He does not look all round his 
subject to tind out from which side he can see it the best. 
HHe sees his subject immediately in just that particular pose ; 
and it would be impossible for the painter to realise it in any 
other way. Along with this, Delaroche puts all the con- 
l^sciousness of whid) he is cap>able into his work. Here is 
^^yet another point of resemblance between him and Casimir 
Delavigiie ; only, lie does not pour his whole self out as does 
Dclavigne; ho does not need, as does Dclavigne, friends to 
encourage him and give him strength ; — he is more prolific : 
Casimir is ctuining; Delaroche is merely freakish. Then, 
^ Casimir shortens, contracts and is niggardly. He treats the 
P^same subject as does Delaroche; but why does he treat it? 
Not by any means because the subject is a magnificent one ; 
or because it moves llie heart of the masses and stirs up the 
Past of a People ; or because Shakespeare has created a sub- 
lime drama from it, but because Delaroche has made a fine 
picture out of it. Thus the fifteen more or less lengthy acts 
of Shakespeare become, under the pen of Casimir Dclavigne, 
three short acts ; tlierc is no mention whatever of the king's 
sion, the scene between Richard iii. and Queen Aaiic, 




468 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

the apparition of the victims between the two armies, the fight 
between Richard iii. and Richmond. Delavigne's three acts 
have no other aim than to make a tableau-vivant framed in 
the harlequin hangings of the Théâtre-Français, representing 
with scrupulous exactitude, and in the manner of a deceptive 
painting of still-life, the canvas of Delaroche. It happens, 
therefore, that the drama finds itself great, even as is the 
Academy, not by any means because of what it possesses, but 
by what it lacks. Then, although, in the case of both, their 
convictions or, if you prefer it, their prejudices exceed the 
bounds of obstinacy and amount to infatuation, Delaroche, 
being the stronger of the two, rarely giving in, although he does 
occasionally ! while Casimir never does so 1 To give one in- 
stance, — I have said that each great artist has his counterpart 
in a kindred contemporary art; and I have said that 
Delaroche resembled Casimir Delavigne. This I maintain. 
This is so true that Victor Hugo and Delacroix, the two least 
academic talents imaginable, both had the ambition to be of 
the Academy. Both competed for it : Hugo five times and 
Delacroix ten, twelve, fifteen. ... I cannot count how many 
times. Very well, you remember what I said before; or 
rather, lest you should not remember it, I will repeat it 
During one of the vacancies in the Academy I took it upon 
myself to call on some academicians, who were my friends, on 
Hugo's behalf. One of these calls was in the direction of 
Menus-Plasirs, where Casimir Delavigne had rooms. I have 
previously mentioned how fond I was of Casimir Delavigne, 
and that this feeling was reciprocated. Perhaps it will be a 
matter for surprise that, being so fond of him, and boasting of 
his affection for myself, I speak ill of him. In the first place, 
I do not speak /// of his talent, I merely state the truth about it 
That does not prevent me from liking the man Casimir personally. 
I speak well of the talent of M. Delaroche, but does that prove 
that I like him ? No, I do not like M. Delaroche ; but my 
friendship for the one and my want of sympathy with the other 
does not influence my opinion of their talent It is not for me 
either to blame or to praise their talent, and I may be per- 



ARTISTIC JEALOUSIES 



469 



mitted both to praise and to blame individuals. I put all these 
trifles on one side, and I judge their works. With this explana- 
tion I return to Casimir Delavigne, who liked me somewhat, 
and whom I liked much. I had decided to make use of this 
friendship on behalf of Hugo, whom I loved, and whom 
I still love with quite a different affection, because admiration 
makes up at least two kinds of my friendship for Hugo, whilst 
I have no admiration for Casimir Delavigne at all. So I went 
to find Casimir Delavigne. I employed all the coaxing which 
friendship could inspire, all the arguments reason could prompt 
to persuade him to give his vole to Hugo. He refused obstin- 
ately, cruelly and, worse still, tactlessly. It would have been 
a stroke of genius for Casimir Delavigne to have voted for 
Hugo. But he would not vote for him. Cleverness, in the 
case of Casimir Delavigne, was an acquired quality, not a 
natural gift. Casimir gave his vote to I know not whom — to 
M. Dupaty, or M. Flourens, or M. Vatout. Well, listen to this. 
The same situation occurred when Delacroix paid his visits as 
when Hugo was trying to get himself placed among applicants 
for the Academy. Once, twice, Delaroche refused his vote to 
Delacroix. Robert FIcury, — you know that excellent painter 
of sorrowful situations and supreme anguish, an apparently 
ideal person to be an impartial appreciator of Delacroix and 
of Delaroche I Well, Robert Tlcury sought out Delaroche and 
did what I had done in the case of Casimir Delavigne, he begged, 
implored Delaroche to give his vote to Delacroix. Delaroche 
at first refused with shudders of honor and cries of indignation ; 
and he showed Robert FIcury to the door. But when he 
was by himself his conscience began to speak to him ; softly at 
first, then louder and still louder ; he tried to struggle against 
it, but it grew bigger and bigger, like the shadow of Messina's 
fiancée ! He sent for Fltury. 

"Vod can tell Delacroix he has my vote!" he burst oui 
— "all things considered, he is a great painter." 

And he fled to his bed-chamber as a vanquished lion retires 

nto his cave, as titc sulky Achilles witlidrew into liis tent. 

Now, in exchange for that concession made to his conscience 




470 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



when it said to him : " You are wrong ! " let us show Delaroche's 
stubbornness when conscience said, " You are right ! " Delaroche 
was not only a great painter, but, as you will see, he was still 
more a very fine and a very great character. 

In 1835, Delaroche, who was commissioned to point six 
pictures for the dome of the Madeleine, learnt that M. Ingres, 
who also had been commissioned to paint the dome, had 
drawn back from the immense task and retired. He ran off 
to M. Thiers, then Minister of the Interior. 

" Monsieur le Ministre," he said to him, " M. Ingres is 
withdrawing ; my work is bound up with his, I am at one with 
him concerning it; he discussed his plans with me, and I 
showed him my sketches ; his task and mine were made to 
harmonise together. It may not be thus with his successor. 
May I ask who his successor is, in order that I may know 
whether we can work together as M. Ingres and I have 
worked together ? In case you should not have any person in 
view, and should wish me to undertake the whole, I will do 
the dome for nothing, that is to say, you shall pay me the sum 
agreed upon for my six pictures and I will give you the dome 
into the bargain." 

M. Thiers got up and assumed the attitude of Orosmane, 
and said as said Orosmane — 

"Chrétien, te serais tu flatté, 
D'effiuxr Orosmane en générosité ? " . . . 

The result of the conversation was that the Minister, after 
having said that there might not perhaps be any dome to 
paint, and that it was possible they might content themselves 
with a sculptured frieze, passed his word of honour to Delaroche 
— the word of honour which you knew, which I knew, which 
Rome and Spain knew I — that, if the dome of the Madeleine 
had to be painted, he, Delaroche, should paint it Upon that I 
assurance Delaroche departed joyously for Rome, carrying! 
with him the hope of his life. That work was to be his life'sj 
work, his Sistine Chapel. He reached Rome ; he shut hintself 
up, as did Poussin, in a Camaldule monastery, copied monks'l 



4 



TREACHEROUS DEALINGS 471 

heads, made prodigious studies and admirable sketches — and 
the sketches of Delaroche are often worth more than his 
pictures — painted by day, designed by night and returned with 
huge quantities of material. On his return he learned that 
the dome was given to Ziégler! Even as I after the inter- 
diction of Antony, he took a cab, forced his way to the 
presence of M. Thiers, found him in bis private room, and 
stopped in front of his desL 

"Monsieur le Ministre, I do not come to claim the work 
you had promised me ; I come to return you the twenty-five 
thousand francs you advanced me." 

And, flinging down the banknotes for that sum upon the 
Minister's desk, he bowed and went out 

This was dignified, noble and grand! But it was dismal. 
The unhappiness of Delaroche, let us rather say, his mis- 
anthropy, dates from that day. 



. CHAPTER XI 
'Engine Delacioiz 

EUGENE DELACROIX had exhibited in the Salon 
of 1 83 1 his Tiffres, his Liberté, his Mort de FÉvique de 
Liège. Notice how well the grave and misanthropie face of 
Delaroche is framed between Horace Vemet, who is life and 
movement, and Delacroix, who is feeling, imagination and 
fantasy. Here is a painter in the full sense of the term, à la 
bonne heure/ Full of faults impossible to defend, full of 
qualities impossible to dispute, for which friends and enemies, 
admirers and detractors can cut one another's throats in all 
conscience. And all will have right on their side : those who 
love him and those who hate him ; those who admire, those 
who run him down. To battle, then! For Delacroix is 
equally a. fait de guerre and a cos de guerre. 

We will try to draw this great and strange artistic figure, 
which is like nothing that has been and probably like nothing 
that ever will be ; we will try to give, by the analysis of his 
temperament, an idea of the productions of this great painter, 
who bore a likeness to both Michael Angelo and Rubens ; not 
so good at drawing as the first, nor as good at composition as 
the second, but more original in his fancies than either. 
Temperament is the tree; works are but its flowers and 
fruit. 

Eugène Delacroix was bom at Charenton near Paris, — at 
Charenton-les-Fous ; nobody, perhaps, has painted such fools 
as did he: witness the stupid fool, the timid fool and the 
angry fool of the Prison du Tasse. He was bom in 1 798, in 
the full tide of the Directory. His father was first a Minister 

47» 



CHILDISH ADVENTURES 



473 



during the Revolution, then préfet at Bordeaux, and was 
later to become préfet at Marseilles. Eugène was the last of 
his family, the culot — the nestling, as bird-nest robbers say ; 
his brother was twenty-five years old when he was bom, and 
his sister was married before he was born. It would be 
difficult to find a childhood fuller of events than that of 
Delacroix. At three, he had been hung, burned, drowned, 
poisoned and strangled ! He must have been made very 
tough by Fate to escape all this alive. One day his father, 
who was a soldier, took him up in his arms, and raised him to 
the level of his mouth ; meantime the child amused itself by 
twisting the cord of the cavalryman's forage cap round his 
neck ; the soldier, instead of putting him down on the ground, 
let him fall, and behold there was Delacroix hung. Happily, 
they loosened the cord of the cap in time, and Delacroix 
was saved. One night, his nurse left the candle too near his 
mosquito net, the wind set the net waving and it caught fire ; 
the fire spread to the bedding, sheets and child's nightshirt, 
and behold Delacroix was on fire 1 Happily he cries ; and, 
at his cries people come in, and Delacroix is extinguished. 
It was high time, the man's back is to this day marked 
all over with the bums which scarred the child's skin. His 
father passed from the prefecture of Bordeaux to that of 
Marseilles, and they gave an inaugural fêle to the new prdfct 
in the harbour ; while passing from one boat to another, the 
serving lad who carried the child made a false step, dropped 
him and there was Delacroix drowning! Luckily, a sailor 
jumped into the sea and fished him out just when the serving 
lad, thinking of his own salvation, was about to drop him. A 
little later, in his father's study, be found some vert-Jt-gris which 
was used to dean geographical maps ; the colour pleased his 
fancy, — Dclacrout has always been a colourist; — he swallowed 
the veridt-gris, and there he was poisoned I Happily, his 
father came back, found the bowl empty, suspected what had 
happened and called in a doctor; the doctor ordered an 
emetic and freed the child from the poison. Once, when he 
I had been very good, his mother gave him a bunch of dried 



474 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

grapes ; Delacroix was greedy ; instead of eating his grapes one 
by one, he swallowed the whole bunch ; it stuck in his throat, 
and he was being suffocated in exactly the same way as was 
Paul Huet with the fish bone ! Fortunately, his mother 
stuffed her hand into his mouth up to the wrist, caught hold 
of the bunch by its stalk, managed to draw it up, and 
Delacroix, who was choking, breathed again. These Tarious 
events no doubt caused one of his biographers to say that he 
had an unhappy childhood. As we see, it should rather have 
been said exciting. Delacroix was adored by his father and 
mother, and it is not an unhappy childhood to grow up and 
develop surrounded by the love of father and mother. They 
sent him to school at eight, — to the Lycée Impérial There 
he stayed till he was seventeen, making good progress with his 
studies, spending his holidays sometimes with his father and 
sometimes with his uncle Riesener, the portrait-painter. At his 
uncle's house he met Guérin. The craze to be a painter had 
always stuck to him : at six years old, in 1804, when in the 
camp at Boulogne, he had made a drawing with white chalk 
on a black plank, representing the Descente des Français en 
Angleterre ; only, France figured as a mountain and England 
as a valley ; and a company of soldiers was descending the 
mountain into the valley : this was the descent into England. 
Of the sea itself there was no question. We see that, at six years 
of age, Delacroix's geographical ideas were not very clearly 
defined. It was agreed upon between Riesener and the composer 
of Cfymnestre and Pyrrhus that, when Delacroix left college, 
he should enter the studio of the latter. There were, indeed, 
some difficulties raised by the family, the father inclining to 
law, the mother to the diplomatic service ; but, at eighteen, 
Delacroix lost his fortune and his father ; he had only forty 
thousand francs left, and liberty to make himself a painter. 
He then went to Guérin, as soon as it could be arranged, and, 
working like a negro, dreamed, composed and executed his 
picture of Dante. This picture, not the worst of those he has 
painted, — strong men sometimes put as much or even more 
into their first work as into any afterwards, — came under the 



IP 



THIERS AS ART CRITIC 



475 



notice of Géricault The gaze of the young master when in process 
of painting his Naufrage de ia Méduse was like the rays of a 
hot sun. Géricault often came to sec the work of Delacroix ; 
the rapidity and original fancy of the brush of his young rival, 
or, rather, of his young disciple, amused him. He looked over 
his shoulder — Delacroix is of short and Géricault of tall 
stature, — or he looked on seated astride a chair. Géricault 
was so fond of horses that he always sat astride something. 
When the last stroke of the brush was put to the dark 
crossing of hell, it was shown to M. Guérin. M. Guérin bit 
bis lips, frowned and uttered a little growl of disapprobation 
accompanied by a negative shake of the head And that was all 
Delacroix could extract from him. The picture was exhibited. 
Gérard saw it as he was passing by, stopped short, looked at 
it a long time and that night, when dining with Thiers, — who 
was making his first campaign in literature, as was Delacroix 
in painting, — he said to the future Minister — 

" \We have a new painter ! " 

"What is his name?" 

" Eugène Delacroix." 
L "What has he done?" 

" A Dante passant fAcMron avec Virgile. Go and see his 
picture." 

Next day Thiers goes to liie Louvre, seeks for the picture, 
finds it, gazes at it and goes out entranced 

Intellectually, Thiers possessed genuine artistic feeling, even 
if it did not spring from the heart He did what he could for 
art ; and when he displeased, wounded and discouraged an 
artist, the fault has lain with his environment, his family, or 
some salon coterie, and even when causing pain to an artist, 
and in failing to keep his promises, he did his utmost to 
spare the artist any pain he may have had to cause him, at the 
cost of pain to himself. He was lucky, also, in bis dealings, 
if not always just ; it was \ivi idea to send Sigalon to Rome. 
True, Sigalon died there of cholera ; but not till after he had 
sent from Rome his beautiful copy of the Jugement dernier. 
I^Bo Thiers went buck delighted with Delacroix's picture; he 



476 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

was then working on the staff of the Constitutionnel, and he 
wrote a splendid article on the new painter. In short, the 
Dante did not raise too much envy. It was not suspected 
what a family of reprobates the exile from Florence dragged in 
his wake! The Government bought the picture for two 
thousand francs, upon the recommendation of Gérard and Gros, 
and had it taken to the Luxembourg, where it still is. You 
can see it there, one of the finest pictures in the palace. 

Two years flew by. At that time exhibitions were only held 
every two or three years. The salon of 1824 then opened. 
All eyes were turned towards Greece. The memories of our 
young days formed a kind of propaganda, recruiting und^ its 
banner, men, money, poems, painting and concerts. People 
sang, painted, made verses, begged for the Greeks. Whoever 
pronounced himself a Turkophile ran the risk of being stoned 
like Saint Stephen. Delacroix exhibited his famous Massacre 
de Scio. 

Good Heavens! Have you who belonged to that time 
forgotten the clamour that picture roused, with its rough and 
violent style of composition, yet full of poetry and grace? 
Do you remember the young girl tied to the tail of a horse ? 
How frail and fragile she looked ! How easily one could see 
that her whole body would shed its fragments like the petals 
of a rose, and be scattered like flakes of snow, when it came 
in contact with pebbles and boulders and bramble thorns ! 

Now, this time, the Rubicon was passed, the lance thrown 
down, and war declared. The young painter had just broken 
with the whole of the Imperial School. When clearing the 
precipice which divided the past from the future, his foot had 
pushed the plank into the abyss below, and had he wished to 
retrace his steps it was henceforth an impossibility. From 
that moment — a rare thing at twenty-six years of age ! — Dela- 
croix was proclaimed a master, started a school of his own, and 
had not only pupils but disciples, admirers and fanatical 
worshippers. They hunted out someone to stand in opposition 
to him ; they exhumed the man who was least like him in all 
points, and rallied round him ; they discovered Ingres, exalted 



DELACROIX VERSUS INGRES 477 



^Bim, proclaimed him and crowned him in their hatred of 
Delacroix. As in the age of the invasion of the Huns, the 
Burgundians and the Visigoths, they called upon the savages 
to help them, they invoked St. Geneviève, they adjured the 
king, they implored the pope ! Ingres, certainly, did not owe 
his revived reputation to the love and admiration which his 
grey monochromes inspired, but to the fear and hatred which 
were inspired by the flashing brush of Delacroix. All men 
above the age of fifty were for Ingres ; all young people below 
the age of thirty were for Delacroix. 

We will study and examine and appreciate Ingres in his 
turn, never fear ! His name, flung down in passing, shall not 
remain in obscurity ; although we warn our readers beforehand 
— and let them now take note and only regard our judgment 
for what it is worth — that we are not in sympathy with either 
the man or his talents. 

Thiers did not fail the painter of the Massacrt de Sao, any 
more than he had failed the creator of Dante. Quite as 
eulogistic an article as the first, and a surprising one to find 
in the columns of the classic Constilutionnei, came to the aid 
of Delacroix in the battle where, as in the times of the Iliad, 
the gods of art were not above fighting like ordinary mortals. 
The Government had its hands forced, in some measure, 
by Gérard, Gros and M. de Forbin. The latter bought the 
Massacre de Scio in tlie name of the king for six thousand 
francs for the Luxembourg Museum. 

(îéricault died just when Delacroix received his six thousand 
franc5. Six thousand francs ! It was a fortune. The fortune 
was spent in buying sketches at tlie sale of the famous dead 
painter's works, and in making a journey to England. England 
is the land of fine private collections, the immense fortunes 
of certain gentlemen permitting them — either because it is the 
fashion or from true love of art — to satisfy their taste for 
painting. 

Delacroix bethought himself once more of the Old Mus<-uni 
Napoléon, the museum which the conquest bad overthrown 
in 1 8 18; it abounded in Flemish and Italian art Tlut old 




478 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

museum was a wonderful place, with its collection of master- 
pieces from all over Europe, and in the midst of which the 
English cooked their raw meat after Waterloo. 

It was during this period of prosperity — ^public talk about 
art always signifies prosperity ; if it does not lead to fortune, 
it gratifies pride, and gratified pride assuredly brings keener 
joy than the acquiring of a fortune ; — it was during this period 
of prosperity, we repeat, that Delacroix painted his first Hamkt, 
his Giaour, his Tasse dans la prison des fous, his Griee sur les 
ruines de MissolongJù and Marino Faliero. I bought the first 
three pictures; they are even now the most beautiful Dela- 
croix painted. The Grice was bought by a provincial museum. 
Marino Faliero had a singular fate. Criticism was furious 
against this picture. Delacroix would have sold it, at the 
time, for fifteen or eighteen hundred francs; but nobody 
wanted it. Lawrence saw it, appreciated it, wished to have 
it and was about to purchase it when he died. The picture 
remained in Delacroix's studio. In 1836, I was with the 
Prince Royal when he was going to send Victor Hugo a 
snuff-box or a diamond ring or something or other, I forget 
what, in thanks for a volume of poetry addressed by the 
great poet to Madame la duchesse d'Orléans. He showed 
me the object in question, and told me of its destination, 
letting me understand that I was threatened with a similar 
present. 

" Oh ! Monseigneur, for pity's sake ! " I said to him, " do 
not send Hugo either a ring or snuff-box." 

"Why not?" 

" Because that is what every prince does, and Monse^neur 
le duc d'Orléans, my own particular Due d'Orléans, is not 
like other princes ; he is himself a man of intellect, a sincere 
man and an artist" 

" What would you have me send him, then ? " 

" Take down some picture from your gallery, no matter how 
unimportant a one, provided it has belonged to your Highness. 
Put underneath it, 'Given by the Prince Royal to Victor 
Hugo,' and send him that." 



MARINO FALIERO 



479 



"Very well, I will. Belter still, hunt out for me among 
your artist friends a picture which will please Hugo ; buy it, 
have it sent to me, I will give it him. Then two people will 
be pleased instead of one ; the painter from whom I buy it, 
and the poet to whom I give it" 

" I will do what you wish, Monseigneur," 1 said to the 
prince. 

I took my hat and ran out. I thought of Delacroix's 
Marino Faliero, I crossed bridges, I climbed the one 
hundred and seventeen steps to DelacroLx's studio, who then 
Uved on the quai Voltaire, and I felt into his studio utterly 
breathless. 

" Hullo ! " he said to me. " Why the deuce do you come 
upstairs so fast ? " 

" 1 have good news to give yoa" 

"Good ! " exclaimed Delacroix ; " what is it?" 

" I have come to buy your Marino Faliero." 

" Ah !" he said, sounding more vexed than pleased. 

" Whax I Are you not delighted ! " 

" Do you want to buy it for yourself? " 

" If it were for myself, what would the price be?" 

" Whatever you like to give me : two thousand Cranes, fifteco 
hundred francs, one thousand francs." 

"No, it is not for myself; it is for the Due d'Orléans. How 
much for him ? " 

" Four, five, six thousand francs, according to the gallery in 
which he will place it." 

" It is not for himself." 

" For whom ? " 

" It is for a present," 

"To whom?" 

" I am not authorised to tell you ; I tsa only authorised to 
offer you six thousand francs." 

" My Marino Faliero is not for sale." 

"Why is it not for sale? Just now you would have given 
it me for a thousand francs." 

"To you, yc«." 



48o MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

"To the prince for four thousand I" 

"To the prince, yes ; but only to the prince or you." 

"Why this choice?" 

"To you, because you are my friend; to the prince, because 
it b an honour to have a place in the gallery of a royal artist 
as intelligent as he is ; but to any one eke save you two, no." 

" Oh ! what an extraordinary notion ! " 

" As you like ! It is my own." 

" But, really, you must have a better reason." 

"Very likely." 

" Would you sell any other picture for which you could gel 
the same price ? " 

" Any other, but not that one." 

" And why not this one ? " 

" Because I have been told so often that it is bad that I 
have taken an affection for it, as a mother loves her poor, 
weakly, sickly deformed child. In my studio, poor pariah that 
it is ! it stands for me to look it in the face when people look 
askance at it; to comfort it when people humiliate it; to 
defend it when it is attacked. With you, it would have at all 
events a guardian, if not a father ; for, if you were to buy it, 
it would be because you love it, as you are not a rich maa 
In the case of the prince, in place of sincere praise thae 
would be that of courtiers: 'The painting is good, because 
Monseigneur has bought it. Monseigneur is too much of an 
artist and a connoisseur to make a mistake. Criticism must 
be at fault, the old witch I Detestable old Sibyl ! ' But in 
the hands of a stranger, an indifferent person, whom it cost 
nothing and who had no reason for taking its part, no, no, no. 
My poor Marino Faliero, do not be anxious, thou shalt not 
go!" 

And it was in vain that I begged and prayed and urged him ; 
Delacroix stuck to his word. Certain Ûiat the Due d'Orléans 
should not think my action wrong, I went as far as eight 
thousand francs. Delacroix obstinately refused The picture 
is still in his studio. That was just like the man, or, rather, the 
artist! 



SARDANAPALE 



481 



At the Solon of 1826, which lasted six months, and was 
three times replenished, Delacroix exhibited a Juslinten and 
Christ au jardin dts Oliviers, wonderful for their pain and 
sadness ; they can now be seen in the rue Saint- Antoine and 
the Church of St. Paul on the right as you enter. I never 
miss going into the church when I pass that way, to make my 
oblation as a Christian and an artist should before the picture. 
All these subjects were wisely chosen ; and as they were 
beautiful and not bizarre they did not raise a stir. People 
indeed said that Justinien looked like a bird, and the Christ, 
like . . . some thing or other; but they were harking back 
more to the past than the present But, suddenly, at the final 
replenishing, arrived . . . what? Guess ... Do you not 
remember? — No — The SardanapaU. Ah! so it did! This 
time there was a general hue-and-cry. 

The King of Assyria, his head wrapped round with a turban, 
clad in royal robes, sitting surrounded with silver vases and 
golden water-jugs, pearl collars and diamond bracelets, bronze 
tripods with his favourite, the beautiful Mirrha, upon a pile of 
faggots, which seemed Uke slipping down and falling on the 
public. All round the pile, the wives of the Oriental monarch 
were killing themselves, whilst the slaves were leading away 
and killing his horses. The attack was so violent, criticism 
had so many things to find fault with in that enormous 
canvas — one of the largest if not the largest in the Salon — that 
the attack drowned defence : his fanatical admirers tried indeed 
to rally in square of battle about their chief; but the Academy 
itself, the Old Guard of Classicism, charged determinedly ; the 
unlucky partizans of SardanapaU were routed, scattered and 
cut to pieces ! They disappeared like a water-spout, vanished 
like smoke, and, like Augustus, Delacroix called in vain for his 
legions I Thiers had hidden himself, nobody knew where. 
The creator of SardanapaU, — it goes without saying that 
Delacroix was no lofiger remembered as the painter of Dante, 
of the Massatrt de Sao or of Gr^f^ sur Us mims de Afissolongi, 
or of Christ au jardin des Oliviers, no, he was the creator of 
SardanapaU and of no other work whatever ! — was for five years 
v.— 31 



482 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 



without an order. Finally, in 183 1, as we haye already said, 
he exhibited his Tigres, his Liberti and his Assassinat de 
fÉvique de Litge, and, rotind these three most remarkable 
works, those who had survived the last defeat began to rally. 
The Due d'Orléans bought the Assassinat de FÊviçue de Ziigt, 
and the govenunent, the lÀbertt. The Hgns remained with 
its Creator. 



CHAPTER XII 

Three portniu in one finne 






NOW — judging by myself at least — next to the appreciation 
of the work of great men, that which rouses the most 
curiosity is their method of working. There are museums 
where one can study all the phases of human gestation ; con- 
servatories where one can almost by the aid of the naked eye 
alone follow the development of plants and flowers. Tell me, 
is it not just as curious to watch the varying phenomena of the 
working of the intellect ? Do you not think that it is as 
interesting to see what is passing in the brain of man, especially 
if that man be an artist like Vemet, or Delaroche or Delacroix ; 
a scientist like Arago, Humboldt or Berzélius; a poet like 
Goethe, Hugo or Lamartine, as it is to look through a glass 
shade and see what is happening inside a bee-hive ? 

One day I remarked to one of my misanthropic friends that, 
amongst animals, the brain of tlie ant most resembled that of 
man. 

" Your statement is not very complimentary to the ant ! " 
splied the misanthrope. 

I am not entirely of my friend's way of thinking. I believe, 
on the contrary, that the brain of man is, of all brains, the most 
interesting tn examine. Now, as it is the brain — so far, at least, 
as our present knowledge permits us to dogmatise — which creates 
thought, thought which controls action and action which pro- 
duces deeds, we can boldly say that to study character, to 
examine the execution of works which arc the pro<luclions of 
temperament, is to study the brain. We have described 
Horace Vcraet's physical appearance: small, thin, slight. 




484 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

pleasant to look at, good to Ibten to, with his unusual hair, his 
thick eyebrows, his blue eyes, his long nose, his smiling mouth 
beneath its long moustache, and his beard cut to a point He 
is, we added, all life and movement Vemet, at the end of 
his career, will, indeed, be one who has lived a full life, and, 
when he stops, he will have gone farthest ; thanks to the post, 
to horses, camels, steamboats and the raihoad, he has cer- 
tainly, by now (and he is sixty-five), travelled farther than the 
Wandering Jew ! True, the Wandering Jew goes on foot, his 
five sous not permitting him rapid ways of locomotion, and his 
pride declining gratuitous locomotion. Vemet, we say, had 
already travelled farther than the Wandering Jew had done in 
a thousand years ; his work itself is a sort of journey : we saw 
him paint the Smala with a scaffold mounting as high as the 
ceiling and terraces extending the whole length of the room ; 
it was curious to see him, going, coming, climbing up, descend- 
ing, only stopping at each station for five minutes, as one stops 
at Osnières for five minutes, at Creil for ten minutes and at 
Valenciennes for half an hour — and, in the midst of all this, 
gossiping, smoking, fencing, riding on horseback, on mules, on 
camels, in tilburys, in droschkys, in palanquins, relating his 
travels, planning fresh ones, impalpable, becoming apparently 
almost invisible : he is flame, water, smoke — ^a Proteus ! Then 
there was another odd thing about Vemet : he would start for 
Rome as he would set out for Saint-Germain ; for China as if 
for Rome. I have been at his house six or seven times ; the 
first time he was there — the oddness of the thing fascinated 
me; the second time he was in Cairo; the third, in St 
Petersburg ; the fourth, in Constantinople ; the fifth, in Warsaw; 
and the sixth, in Algiers. The seventh time — namely, the day 
before yesterday — I found him at the Institute, where he had 
come after following the hunt at Fontainebleau, and was giving 
himself a day's rest by varnishing a little eighteen-inch picture 
representing an Arab astride an ass with a still bleeding lion- 
skin for saddle-cloth, which had just been taken from the body 
of the animal ; doing it in as sure and easy a manner as though 
he were but thirty. The ass is crossing a stream, unconscious 



VERNETS' ARAB 



48S 



of the terrible burden it bears, and one can almost hear the 
stream prattling over the pebbles ; the man, with his head in 
the air, looks absently at the blue sky which appears through 
the leaves ; the flowers with their glowing colours twining up 
the tree-trunks and falling down like trumpets of mother-of- 
pearl or purple rosettes. This Arab, Vernet had actually come 
across, sitting calm and indifferent upon his ass, fresh from 
killing and skinning the lion. This is how it had happened. 
The Arab was working in a little field near a wood ; — a wood 
is always a bad neighbour in Algeria; — a slave woman was 
sitting twenty paces from him, with his child. Suddenly, the 
woman uttered a cry ... A lion was by her side. The Arab 
flew for his gun, but the woman shouted out to him — 

" Let me alone ! " 

I am mistaken, it was not a slave woman, but the mother 
who called out thus. He let her alone. She took her child, 
put it between her knees and, turning to the lion, she said to 
it, shaking her fist at the animal — 

" Ah, you coward ! to attack a defenceless woman and 
child ! You think to terrify roe ; but I know you. Go and 
attack my husband instead, who is down there with a gun . . . 
Go, I tell you ! You dare not ; you wretch ! It is you who 
are afraid I Go, you jackal ! Off with you, you wolf, you 
hysena I You have a lion's akin on your back but you are 
no lion 1 " 

The lion withdrew, but, unfortunately, it met the Arab's 
mother, who was bringing him his dinner. It leapt on the 
old woman and began to eat her. At the cries of his mother 
the Arab tan up with his gun, and, whilst the lion was quietly 
cracking the bones and flesh with its teeth, he put the muzzle 
of his gun into the animal's car and killed it outright In 
conclusion, the Arab did not seem to be any the sadder for 
being an orplian, or in better spirits for having killed a lion. 
Vernet told mc this whilst putting the finishing touches to bis 
picture, which ought to be completed by now. 

Delaroche worked iii a very different way ; he led no such 
adventurous life; he bad not too much time for his work. 



486 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

With Delaroche, work is a constant study and not a game. 
He was not a bom painter, like Vemet ; he did not play with 
brushes and pencils as a child ; he leamt to draw and to paint, 
whilst Vemet never leamt anything of the kind. Delaroche is 
a man of fifty-six, with smooth hair, once black and now turn- 
ing grey, a broad bare forehead, dark eyes fuller of intelligence 
than of vivacity, and no beard or whiskers. He is of middle 
height, well-set up, even to gracefulness; his movements are 
slow, his speech is cold ; words and actions, one clearly feels, 
are subjected to reflection, and, instead of being spontaneous, 
like Vemefs, only come, so to speak, as the result of thought 
Just as Vemet's life is turbulent, emotional and, like a leaf, 
carried unresistingly by the wind that blows, so the life of 
Delaroche, of his own free will, was tranquil and sedentary. 
Every time Delaroche went a journey, — and he went very few, 
I believe, — it was necessity which compelled him to leave his 
studio : it was some real, serious, artistic business which called 
him away. Wherever he goes, he stays, plants himself down 
and takes root, and it costs him as much pain to go back as 
it did to come. No one could less resemble Vemet in his 
method of working than Delaroche. Vemet knows all his 
sitters through and through, from the aigrette on the schako to 
the gaiter-buttons. He has so often lived under a tent, that 
its cords and piquets are familiar objects to him ; he has seen 
and ridden and drawn so many horses, that he knows every 
kind of harness, from the rough sheep-skin of the Baskir to the 
embroidered and jewel-bespangled saddle-cloths of the pacha. 
He has, therefore, hardly any need of preparatory studies, no 
matter what his subject may be. He scarcely sketches them 
out beforehand : Constantine cost him an hour's work ; the 
Smala, a day. Furthermore, what he does not know, he 
guesses. It is quite the reverse with Delaroche. He himts 
a long time, hesitates a great deal, composes slowly ; Vemet 
only studies one thing, the locality ; this is why, having painted 
nearly all the battlefields of Europe and of Africa, he is always 
riding over hill and dale, and travelling by rail and by 
boat 



DELAROCHE 



487 



Delaroche, on the contrary, studies everything: draperies, 
clothing, flesh, atmosphere, light, half-tones, all the effects of 
Delaroche are laboured, calculated, prepared ; Vemet's are 
done on the spur of the moment. \\'hen Delaroche is 
pondering on a picture, everything is laid under contribution 
by him : the library for engravings, museums for pictUR-s, old 
clothes' shops for draperies ; he tires himself out with making 
rough sketches, exhausts himself in first attempts, and often 
puts his finest talent into a sketch. A certain feeling of 
laboriousness in the picture is the result of this preparatory 
fatigue, which, however, is a virtue and not a fault in the 
eyes of industrious people. 

Like all men of transition [jeriods Delaroche was bound to 
have great successes, and he has had them. During the 
exhibitions of 1826, 1831 and 1834, everyone, before venturing 
to go to the Salon, asked, " Has M. Delaroche exhibited ? " 
But from the period, the intermediate year, in which he united 
the classical school of painting with the romantic, the past 
with the future, David with Delacroix, people were unjust to 
him, as they are towards all who live in a state of transition. 
Besides, Delaroche does not exhibit any longer; he scarcely 
even works now. He has done one composition of foremost 
excellence, his hémicycle of the Palais des Bcaux-Arls, and 
that composition, which, in 1831, was run after by the whole 
of Paris and annoyed most artists. Why ? Has Delaroche» 
talent become feebler since the time when people stood in 
rows before his pictures and fought in front of his paintings? 
No, on the contrary, he has improved ; he has become more 
elevated and masterly. But, what would you expect I I hav« 
compared Paul Delaroche with Casimir DelaWgne, and the 
same thing happened to the poet as to the painter ; only, with 
this difference, that the genius of the [>oet had decreased, 
whilst that of the painter not only did not remain stationarf, 
but went on progressing constantly. At the present time, one 
needs to be among the most intimate of the friends of 
Delaroclie to have U>e right to enter his studio. Besides, he 
is not even any longer in Paris : he is at Nice ; he is said to be 



488 MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS 

ill. Hot sun, beautiful starlit nights, an atmosphere sparkling 
with fireflies, will cure the soul, and then the body will soon 
be cured I . . . 

There is no sort of physical resemblance between Delacroix 
and his two rivals. He is like Vernet in figure, almost as 
slender as he, very neat and fashionable and dandified. He is 
fifty-five years old, his hair, whiskers and moustache, are as 
dark as when he was thirty; his hair waves naturally, his 
beard is scanty, and his moustache, a little bristly, looks like 
two wisps of tobacco ; his forehead is broad and prominent, 
with two thick eyebrows below, over small eyes, which flash 
like fire between the long black eyelashes ; his skin is brown, 
swarthy, mobile and wrinkled like that of a lion ; his lips are 
thick and sensual, and he smiles often, showing teeth as white 
as pearls. All his movements are quick, rapid, emphatic ; bis 
words are pictures, his gestures speaking ; his mind is subtle, 
argumentative, quick at repartee ; he loves a discussion, and is 
ever ready with some fresh, sparkling, telling and brilliant 
hit ; although of an adventurous, fanciful, erratic talent, at 
the same time he is wise, tempmrate in his use of paradox 
even classical; one might say that Nature, which tends to 
equilibrium, has posed him as a clever coachman, reins well in 
hand, to restrain those two fiery steeds called imagination and 
fancy. His mind at times overflows its bounds; speech 
becomes inadequate, his hand drops the brush, incapable of 
expressing the theory it wishes to uphold, and seizes the pen. 
Then those whose business it is to make phrases and style and 
appreciate the value of words are amazed at the artist's facility 
in constructing sentences, in handling style, in bringing out 
his points ; they forget the Dante, the Massacre de Scio, the 
Hamlet, the Tasso, the Giaour, the Évêque de Liège, the 
Femmes d'Alger, the frescoes of the Chamber of Deputies, 
the ceiling of the Louvre; they regret that this man, who 
writes so well and so easily and so correctly, is not an author. 
Then, immediately, one remembers that many can write like 
Delacroix, but none can paint as he does, and one is ready to 
snatch the pen from his hand in a movement of terror. 



DELACROIX 



489 



aa 



I whi 



Delacroix holds ihe middle course between Vemet and 
Delaroche as regards rapidity of working: he works up his 
sketches more carefully than the former, less so than the 
latter. He is incontestably superior to both as a colourist, 
but strikingly inferior in form. He sees the colour of flesh as 
violet, and, in the matter of form, he sees rather the ugly than 
the beautiful ; but his ugliness is always made poetical by deep 
feeling. Entirely different from Delaroche, he is attracted by 
extremes. His struggles are terrible, his battles furious; all 
the suppleness aiid strength and extraordinary movements of 
the body are drawn on his canvas, and he even adds thereto, 
like a strange varnish which heightens the vivid qualities of his 
picture, a certain automatic impossibility which does not in 
the least disconcert him. His figiiters seem actually to be 
fighting, strangling, biting, tearing, hacking, cleaving one 
another in two and pounding one another about ; his swords 
are broken in two, his axes bloody, his heaps of bodies 
damp with crushed brains. Look at the BnUiilU de 
"ailkhourg, and you will have an idea of the strength of his 

nius : you can hear the neighing of the horses, the shouts of 
men, the clashing of steel. You will find it in the great gallery 
of Versailles; and, although Louis-Philippe curtailed the 
canvas by six inches all round be