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Full text of "The Parisians ; [and] The pilgrims of the Rhine"

THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 

GIFT OF 
Ada Nisbet 




ENGLISH READING ROOM 



JUL 17 1986 



\ 




THE PARISIANS. 



THE PARISIANS 



BY 




NEW YORK 

THE CASSELL PUBLISHING CO. 
31 BAST 17 ST. (UNION SQUARE) 



TH2 MERRHON COMPANY PRESS, 
RAHWAY, N. J. 



INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER. 



THEY who chance to have read " The Coming Race " may perhaps re- 
member that I, the adventurous discoverer of the land without a sun, con- 
cluded the sketch of my adventures by a brief reference to the malady which, 
though giving no perceptible notice of its encroachments, might, in the opin- 
ion of my medical attendant, prove suddenly'fatal. 

I had brought my little book to this somewhat melancholy close a few 
years before the date of its publication, and, in the mean while, I was in- 
duced to transfer my residence to Paris, in order to place myself under the 
care of an English physician, renowned for his successful tieatment of com- 
plaints analogous to my own. 

I was the more readily persuaded to undertake this journey, partly be- 
cause I enjoyed a familiar acquaintance with the eminent physician referred 
to, who had commenced his career and founded his reputation in the United 
States, partly because 1 had beome a solitary man, the ties of home broken, 
and dear friends of mine were domiciled in Paris, with whom I should be 
sure of tender sympathy and cheerful companionship. I had reason to be 

thankful for this change of residence : the skill of Dr. C soon restond 

me tu health. Brought much into contact with various circles of Parisian 
society, I became acquainted with the persons, and a witness of the events, 
that form the substance of the tale I am about to submit to the public, which 
has treated my former book with so generous an indulgence. Sensitively 
tenacious of that character for strict and unalloyed veracity, which, I flatter 
myself, my account of the abodes and manners of the Vrilaya has estab- 
lished, I could have wished to preserve the following narrative no less jeal- 
ously guarded than its predecessor from the vagaries of fancy. But Truth 
undisguised, never welcome in any civilized community above ground, is ex- 
posed at this time to especial dangers in Paris ; and my life would not be 
worth an hour's purchase if I exhibited her in puris naturalibis to the 
eyes of a people wholly unfamiliarized to a spectacle so indecorous. That 
care for one's personal safety, which is the first duty of thoughtful man, 
compels me therefore to reconcile the appearance of la Fi/rzY/ to the 
KeiuAttua of the polished society in which la /./for //admits no opinion not 
dressed after the last fashion. 

Attired as fiction. Truth may be peacefully received ; and, despite the 
necessity thus imposed by prudence, I indulge the modest hope that I do 
not in these pages unfai hfully represent certain prominent types of t'ie bril- 
liant population which has invented so many varieties of Koom-Posh ; * 

* Koom-Posh, Glek-Xas. For the derivation of these terms and their metaphorical sig- 
nification, I must refer the reader to " The Coming Race," chapter xii., on the language of 
the Vril-ya. To those who have not read or have forgotten that historical composition, it 
may be convenient to state briefly that Koom-Pcsh with the Vr.l-ya is the name of the gov- 
ernment of the many, or the ascendancy of the most ignorant or hollow, and may be 
joosely rendered Hollow-Bosh. When Koom-Posh degenerates from popular ignorance 
into the popular ferocity which precedes its decease, the name for that state of things ii 
Glek-Nas, viz , the universal strife-rot. 



IV INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER. 

and even when it appears hopelessly lost in the slough of a Glek-nas, re- 
emerges fresh and lively as if from an invigorating plunge into the Fountain 
of Youth. O Paris, foyer des idfas, et ceil du monde ! animated contrast to 
the serene tranquillity of the Vril-ya, which, nevertheless, thy noisiest philos- 
ophers ever pretend to make the goal of their desires of all communities on 
which shines the sun and descend the rains of heaven, fertilizing alike wis- 
dom and folly, virtue and vice, in every city men have yet built on this 
enrth, mayest thou, O Paris, be the last to brave the wants of the Coming 
Race and be reduced into cinders for the sake of the common good ! 

TlSH. 
PARIS, A ugust 28, 1872. 



THE PARISIANS. 



BOOK I. 



CHAPTER I. 

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

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

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

Nevertheless there was about him that air of dignity or dis- 
tinction which those who are reared from their cradle in the 
pride of birth acquire so unconsciously that it seems hereditary 
and inborn. It must also be confessed that the young man 
himself was endowed with a considerable share of that nobility 
which Nature capriciously distributes among her favorites, with 
little respect for their pedigree and blazon the nobility of form 
and face. He was tall and well-shaped, with graceful length 



6 THE PARISIANS. 

of limb and fall of shoulders ; his face was handsome, of the 
purest type of French masculine beauty the nose inclined to 
be aquiline, and delicately thin, with finely cut open nostrils ; 
the complexion clear, the eyes large, of a light hazel, with dark 
lashes, the hair of a chestnut brown, with no tint of auburn, the 
beard and moustache a shade darker, clipped short, not dis* 
guising the outline of lips which were now compressed, as if 
smiles had of late been unfamiliar to them ; yet such compres- 
sion did hot seem in harmony with the physiognomical charac- 
ter of their formation, which was that assigned by Lavater to 
temperaments easily moved to gayetyand pleasure. 

Another man, about his own age, coming quickly out of one of 
the streets of the Chaussee d'Antin, brushed close by the stately 
pedestrian above described, caught sight of his countenance, 
stopped short, and exclaimed, " Alain ! " The person thus 
abruptly accosted turned his eye tranquilly on the eager face, 
of which all the lower part was enveloped in black beard ; and 
slightly lifting his hat, with a gesture of the head that implied, 
"Sir, you are mistaken ; I have not the honor 4o know you," 
continued his slow indifferent way. The would-be acquaint- 
ance was not so easily rebuffed. " Pcste" he said, between his 
teeth, " I am certainly right. He is not much altered ; of 
course / am ; ten years of Paris would improve an orang- 
outang." Quickening his step, and regaining the side of the 
man he had called " Alain," he said, with a well-bred mixture 
of boldness and courtesy in his tone and countenance : 

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

" True, sir ; but " 

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

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

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

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

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

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



THE PARISIANS. 7 

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

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

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

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

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

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

" I have no intention to restore Rochebriant. The walls are 
solid ; they have weathered the storms of six centuries ; they 
will last my time, and with me the race perishes." 

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

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

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

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



8 THE PARISIANS. 

" Apropos, where do you lodge r " 

" Rue de 1'Universite, Numero ." 

" A fine street, but tiiste. If you have no longer your family 
hotel, you have no excuse to linger in that museum of mum- 
mies, the Faubourg St Germain ; you must go into one of the 
new quarters by the Champs Elysees. Leave it to me ; I'll 
find you a charming apartment. I know one to be had a 
bargain a bagatelle 500 naps a year. Cost you about two 
or three thousand more to furnish tolerably, not showily. 
Leave all to me. In three days you shall be settled. Apropos ! 
horses ! You must have English ones. How many ? Three 
for the saddle, two for your coupe" ? I'll find them for you. 
I will write to London to-morrow. Reese (Rice) is your man." 

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

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

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

" I don't quite understand you," said Lemercier. " Jf you 
think that because your father and grandfather were Legiti- 
mists, you have not the fair field of living ambition open to 
you under the Empire, you never were more mistaken. Moyen 



THE PARISIANS. 9 

Age, and even rococo, are all the rage. You have no idea how 
valuable your name would be either at the Imperial Court or in 
a Commercial Company. But with your fortune you are inde- 
pendent of all but fashion and the Jockey Club. And apropos 
of that pardon me what villain made your coat ? Let me 
know ; I will denounce him to the police." 

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

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



CHAPTER II. 

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

Lemercier spontaneously and unrequested ordered the din- 
ner and the wines. 

W-hile waiting for their oysters, with which, when in season, 
French bon-virants usually commence their dinner, Lemercier 
looked round the salon with that air of inimitable, scrutinizing, 
superb impertinence which distinguishes the Parisian dandy. 
Some of the ladies returned his glance coquettishly, for Lemer- 
cier was beau garfon; others turned aside indignantly, and 
muttered something to the gentlemen dining with them. The 
said gentlemen, when old, shook their heads, and continued to 



10 THE PARISIANS. 

eat unmoved ; when young, turned briskly round, and looked 
at first fiercely at M. Lemercier, but, encountering his eye 
through the glass which he had screwed into its socket, notic- 
ing the hardihood of his countenance and the squareness of 
his shoulders, even they turned back to the tables, shook their 
heads, and continued to eat unmoved, just like the old ones. 

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

Mons. Duplessis, having first assured himself, like a prudent 
man, that his table was secure, having ordered his oysters, his 
chablis, and \\\?> potjge a la bisque, mow paced calmly and slowly 
across the salon, and halted before Lemercier. 

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

Frederic Lemercier is dressed, somewhat too showily, in the 
extreme of the prevalent fashion. He wears a superb pin in 
his cravat a pin worth 2000 francs ; he wears rings on his fin- 
gers, breloques to his watch-chain. He has a warm though dark 
complexion, thick black eyebrows, full lips, a nose somewhat 
turned up, but not small, very fine, large, dark eyes, a bold, 
open, somewhat impertinent expression of countenance ; withal 
decidedly handsome, thanks to coloring, youth, and vivacity of 
" regard." 

Lucien Duplessis, bending over the table, glancing first with 
curiosity at the Marquis de Rochebriant, who leans his cheek 
on his hand and seems not to notice him, then concentrating 
his attention on Frederic Lemercier, who sits square with his 
hands clasped Lucien Duplessis is somewhere between forty 
and fifty, rather below the middle height, slender, but not 
slight what in English phrase is called "wiry." He is dressed 
with extreme simplicity : black frock-coat buttoned up ; black 
cravat worn higher than men who follow the fashions wear their 
neck-cloths nowadays ; a hawk's eye and a hawk's beak ; hair 
of a dull brown, very short, and wholly without curl ; his cheeks 
thin and smoothly shaven, but he wears a moustache and im- 
perial, plagiarized from those of his sovereign, and, like all pla- 
giarisms, carrying the borrowed beauty to extremes, so that the 



THE PARISIANS. U 

points of moustache and '.mperial, stiffened and sharpened by 
cosmetics which must have been composed of iron, looked like 
three long strings guarding lip and jaw from invasion ; a pale, 
olive-brown complexion ; eyes small, deep-sunk, calm, piercing ; 
his expression of face at first glance not striking, except for quiet 
immovability. Observed more needfully, the expression was 
keenly intellectual ; determined about the lips, calculating about 
the brows : altogether the face of no ordinary man, and one not, 
perhaps, without fine and high qualities, concealed from the 
general gaze by habitual reserve, but justifying the confidence 
of those whom he admitted into his intimacy. 

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

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

" I think not ; nothing worth going for ; besides, I have found 
an old friend, to whom I consecrate this evening. Let me in- 
troduce you to the Marquis de Rochebriant. Alain, M. Du- 
plessis." 

The two gentlemen bowed. 

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

" Indeed ! " returned Rochebriant. " He had not visited 
Paris for many years before he died." 

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

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

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

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

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

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

" All clever men are birds of prey. The eagles are the heroes, 



12 THE PARISIANS. 

and the owls the sages. Duplessis is not an eagle nor an owl. 
1 should rather call him a falcon, except that I would not at- 
tempt to hoodwink him." 

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

" I am not so sure of that," answered Frederic, somewhat net- 
tled by the phlegm with which the provincial regarded the pre- 
tensions of the Parisian. " Duplessis, I repeat it, is an extraordi- 
nary man. Though unfilled, he descends from your old aris- 
tocracy ; in fact, I believe, as his name shows, from the same 
stem as the Richelieus. His father was a great scholar, and I 
believe he has read much himself.. Might have distinguished 
himself in literature or at the bar, but his parents died fearfully 
poor ; and some distant relations in commerce took charge of 
him, and devoted his talents to the Bourse. Seven years ago 
he lived in a single chamber, an quat>ieme, near the Luxembourg. 
He has now a hotel, not large but charming, in the Champs 
Elysees, worth at least 600,000 francs. Nor has he made his 
own fortune- alone, but that of many others ; some of birth as 
high as your own. He has the genius of riches, and knocks off 
a million as a poet does an ode, by the force of inspiration. 
He is hand-in-glove with the Ministers, and has been invited to 
Compiegne by the Emperor. You will find him very useful." 

Alain made a slight movement of incredulous dissent, and 
changed the con versation to reminiscences of old schoolboy days. 

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

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

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

" None till eleven o'clock, when I have promised to go to a 
soiree to which I do not offer to take you ; for it is one of those 
Bohemian entertainments at which it would do you harm in the 



THE PARISIANS. 1$ 

Faubourg to assist at least until you have made good your posi- 
tion. Let me see, is not the Duchesse de Tarascon a relation 
of yours ? " 

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

" I congratulate you. Ties grande dame. She will launch 
you in pura c&fa, as Juno might have launched one of her young 
peacocks." 

" There has been no acquaintance between our houses," re- 
turned the Marquis drily, ''since the me'salliance of her second 
nuptials." 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Florentine cabinets freshly retouched by the exquisite skill 
of Mombro, costly specimens of old Sevres and Limoges ; 
pictures and bronzes and marble statuettes, all well chosen 
and of great price, reflected from mirrors in Venetian frames, 
made a coup d'cdl very favorable to that respect which the 
human mind pays to the evidences of money. Nor was com- 
fort less studied than splendor. Thick carpets covered the 
floors, doubled and quilted portieres excluded all draughts 
from chinks in the doors. Having allowed his friend a few 
minutes to contemplate and admire the sAlk-b-mangtr ttv& salon 
which constituted his more state apartments, Frederic then 



14 ; THE PARISIANS. 

Conducted him into a small cabinet, fitted up with scarlet cloth 
and gold fringes, whereon were artistically arranged trophies 
of Eastern weapons and Turkish pipes with amber mouth- 
pieces. 

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

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

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

"Ever since. My poor father died of that illness. "Hi? 
fortune proved much larger than was suspected ; my share 
anfounted to an income from investments in stocks, houses; 
etc., to upwards of 60,000 francs a year ; and- as I wanted six 
years to my majority, of course the capital on attaining my 
majority would be increased by accumulation. My mother 
desired to keep me near her ; my uncle, who was joint 
guardian with her, looked with disdain on our poor little pro- 
vincial cottage ; so promising an heir should acquire his finish- 
ing education under masters at Paris. Long before I was of 
age, I was initiated into politer mysteries of our capital than 
those celebrated by Eugene Sue. When I took possession of 
my fortune five years ago, I was considered a Crcesus ; and 
really for that partriarchal time I was wealthy. Now, alas, my 
accumulations have vanished in my outfit ; and 60,000 francs 
a year is the least a Parisian can live upon. It is not only 
that all prices have fabulously increased, but that the dearer 
things become the better people live. When I first jcame out, 
the world speculated upon me ; now, in order to keep my 
standing, I am forced to speculate on the world. Hitherto I 
have not lost, Duplessis let me into a few good things this 
year, worth 100,000 francs or so. Crcesus consulted the Del- 
phic Oracle. Duplessis was not alive in the time of Crcesus, 
or Crcesus \vould have consulted Duplessis." 

Here there was a ring at the outer door of the apartment, 
and in another minute the valet ushered in a gentleman some- 
where about, the age of thirty, of prepossessing countenance, 
and with the indefinable air of good-breeding and usage du 



THE PARISIANS. t5 

monde. Frederic started up to greet cordially the new-comer, 
and introduced him to the Marquis under the name of " Sare 
Grarm Yarn." 

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

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

MR. GRAHAM VANE, 
No. Rue d'Anjou. 

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

That gentleman made another attempt at the barbarian 
appellation. 

" 'Grar ham Varne.' Cest (a! I triumph ! all difficulties 
yield to French energy." 

Here the coffee and liqueurs were served ; and after a short 
pause the Englishman, who had very quietly been observing 
the silent Marquis, turned to him and said : " Monsieur le 
Marquis, I presume it was your father whom I remember as an 
acquaintance of my own father at Ems. It is many years ago ; 
I was but a child. The Count de Chambord was then at that 
enervating little spa for the benefit of the Countess's health. 
If our friend Lemercier does not mangle your name as he 
does mine, I understand him to say that you are the Marquis 
de Rochebriant." 

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

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

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



l6 THE PARISIANS. 

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

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

"I have not seen the lady you describe," answered Lemer- 
cier, feeling humiliated by the avowal ; " in fact, I have not 
been in that sequestered part of the Bois for months ; but I 
will go to-morrow: three o'clock you say leave it to me; to- 
morrow evening, if she is a Parisienne, you shall know all about 
her. But, mon cher, you are not of a jealous temperament to 
confide your discovery to another." 

" Yes, I am of a very jealous temperament," replied the 
Englishman ; " but jealousy comes after love, and not before 
it. 1 am not in love ; lam only haunted. To-morrow even- 
ing, then, shall we dine here at Philippe's, seven o'clock ?" 

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

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

At these signals of departure the Englishman, who did not 
want tact nor delicacy, thought that he had made himself de 
trepm the tte-a-tete of two friends of the same age and nation ; 
and, catching up his paletot, said hastily : " No, Marquis, do 
not go yet, and leave our host in solitude ; for I have an engage- 
ment which presses, and only looked in at Lemercier's for a 
moment, seeing the light at his windows. Permit me to hope 
that our acquaintance will not drop, and inform me where I 
may have the honor to call on you." 

" Nay," said the Marquis ; " I claim the right of a native to 



THE PARISIANS. 17 

pay my respects first to the foreigner who visits our capital, 
and," he added in a lower tone, " who speaks so nobly of those 
who revere its exiles." 

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

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

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

" Not the right Duval ? Diable! she answered your descrip- 
tion exactly." 

" Not at all." 

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

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

" Ah, so you did ; but some ladies are always young. 'Age,' 
says a wit in the Figaro, ' is a river which the women compel 
to reascend to its source when it has flowed onward more than 
twenty years.' Never mind soyez tranquille I will find your 
Duval yet if she is to be found. But why could not the friend 
who commissioned you to inquire choose a nameless common ? 
Duval ! every street in Paris has a shop-door over which is 
inscribed the name of Duval." 

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

Lemercier returned to the Marquis. "Such a pity you can't 
dine with us to-morrow. I fear you made but a poor dinner 
to-day. But it is always better to arrange the menu before- 



l8 THE PARISIANS 

hand. I will send to Philippe's to-morrow. Do not be 
afraid." 

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

" My dear Frederic, your world and mine are not and cannot 
be the same. Why should I be ashamed to own to my old 
schoolfellow that 1 am poor very poor ; that the dinner I have 
shared with you to-day is to me a criminal extravagance? I 
lodge in a single chamber on the fourth story ; I dine off a 
single plat at a small restaurateur s ; the utmost income I can 
allow to myself does not exceed 5000 francs a year : my for- 
tunes I cannot hope much to improve. In his own country 
Alain de Rochebriant has no career." 

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

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



CHAPTER III. 

ALAIN reached the house in which he lodged. Externally a 
fine house, it had been the hotel of a great' family in the old 
regime. On the first floor were still superb apartments, with 
ceilings painted by Le Brun, with walls on which the thick 
silks still seemed fresh. These rooms were occupied by a rich 
agent de change ; but, like all such ancient palaces, the upper 



THE PARISIANS. 10 

stories were wretchedly defective even in the comforts which 
poor men demand nowadays : a back staircase, narrow, dirty, 
never lighted, dark as Erebus, led to the room occupied by the 
Marquis, which might be naturally occupied by a needy student 
or a virtuous grisette. But there was to him a charm in that 
old hotel, and the richest locataire therein was not treated with 
a respect so ceremonious as that which attended the lodger on 
the fourth story. The porter and his wife were Bretons ; they 
came from the village of Rochebriant ; they had known Alain's 
parents in their young days ; it was their kinsman who had 
recommended him to the hotel which they served : so, when he 
paused at the lodge for his key, which he had left there, the 
porter's wife was in waiting for his return, and insisted on 
lighting him upstairs and seeing to his fire, for, after a warm 
day, the night had turned to that sharp, biting cold which is 
more trying in Paris than even in London. 

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

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

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

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

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

''''Bon repos, M. le Marquis! beaux rfoes, et bel arenir." 

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

Alain de Rochebriant had not been reared to the expectation 
of poverty. The only son of a father whose estates were large 
beyond those of most nobles in modern France, his destined 
heritage seemed not unsuitable to his illustrious birth. Educated 
at a provincial academy, he had been removed at the age of 



2O THE PARISIANS. 

sixteen to Rochebriant, and lived there simply and lonely 
enough, but still in a sort of feudal state, with an aunt, an eld- 
er and unmarried sister to his father. 

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

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

She was very rich ; she lived semi-royally. Hers was just 
the house in which it suited the Marquis to be the enfant gate'. 
I suspect that, cat-like, his attachment was rather to the house 
than to the person of his mistress. Not that he was domiciled 
with the Princess ; that would have been somewhat too much 
against the proprieties, greatly too much against the Marquis's 
notions of his own dignity, He hid his own carriage, his own 
apartments, his own suite, as became so grand a seigneur, and 
the lover of so grand a dame. His estates, mortgaged before 
he came to them, yielded no income sufficient for his wants ; 
he mortgaged deeper and deeper, year after year, till he could 



THE PARISIANS. 21 

mortgage them no more. He sold his hotel at Paris ; he ac- 
cepted without scruple his sister's fortune ; he borrowed with 
equal sang-froid the two hundred thousand francs which his son 
on coming of age inherited from his mother. Alain yielded 
that fortune to him without a murmur ; nay, with pride ; he 
thought it destined to go towards raising a regiment for the 
fleur-de-lis. 

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

This was an accident which the Marquis had never counted 
upon. He was still young enough to consider himself young ; 
in fact, one principal reason for keeping Alain secluded in 
Bretagne was his reluctance to introduce into the world a son 
"as old as myself," he would say pathetically. The news of 
his death, which happened at Baden after a short attack of 
bronchitis caught in a supper al fresco at the old castle, was 
duly transmitted to Rochebriant by the Princess ; and the 
shock to Alain and his aunt was the greater because they had 
seen so little of the departed that they regarded him as a heroic 
myth, an impersonation of ancient chivalry, condemning him- 
self to voluntary exile, rather than do homage to usurpers. 
But from their grief they were soon roused by the terrible 
doubt whether Rochebriant could still be retained in the 
family. Besides the mortgagees, creditors from half the capitals 
in Europe sent in their claims ; and all the movable effects 
transmitted to Alain by his father's confidential valet, except 
sundry carriages and horses which were sold at Baden for what 
they would fetch, were a magnificent dressing-case, in the 
secret drawer of which were some bank-notes amounting to 
thirty thousand francs, and three large boxes containing the 
Marquis's correspondence, a few miniature female portraits, 
and a great many locks of hair. 

Wholly unprepared for the ruin that stared nim in the face, 
the young Marquis evinced the natural strength of his charac- 
ter by the calmness with which he met the danger, and the in- 
telligence with which he calculated and reduced it. 

By the help of the family notary in the neighboring town, he 



22 THE PARISIANS. 

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

For two years and more, however, Alain met his difficulties 
with prudence and vigor; he retrenched the establishment 
hitherto kept at the chateau, resigned such rural pleasures as 
he had been accustomed to indulge, and lived like one of his 
petty farmers. But the risks of the future remained undi- 
minished. 

"There is but one way, Monsieur le Marquis," said the 
family notary, M. Hebert, " by which you can put your estate 
in comparative safety. Your father raised his mortgages from 
time to time, as he wanted money, and often at interest above 
the average market interest. You may add considerably to 
your income by consolidating all these mortgages into one at a 
lower percentage, and in so doing pay off this formidable mort- 
gagee, M. Louvier, who, I shrewdly suspect, is bent upon be- 
coming the proprietor of Rochebriant. Unfortunately, those 
few portions of your land which were but lightly charged, and, 
lying contiguous to small proprietors, were coveted by them, 
and could be advantageously sold, are already gone to pay the 
debts of Monsieur the late Marquis. There are, however, two 

small farms which, bordering close on the town of S , I 

think I could dispose of for building purposes at high rate's ; 
but these lands are covered by Monsieur Louvier's general 
mortgage, and he has refused to release them unless the whole 
debt be paid. 'Were that debt therefore transferred to another 
mortgagee, we might stipulate for their exception, and in so 
doing secure a sum of more than 100,000 francs, which you 
could keep in reserve fora pressing or unforeseen occasion, and 
make the nucleus of a capital devoted tc the gradual liquida- 



THE PARISIANS. 23 

tion of the charges on the estate. For with a little capital, 
Monsieur le Marquis, your rent-roll might be very greatly in- 
creased, the forests and orchards improved, those meadows 

round S drained and irrigated. Agriculture is beginning 

to be understood in Bretagne, and your estate would soon 
double its value in the hands of a spirited capitalist. My ad- 
vice to you, therefore, is to go to Paris, employ a good avou/, 
practised in such branch of his profession, to- negotiate the 
consolidation of your mortgages upon terms that will enable 
you to sell outlying portions, and so pay off the charge by in- 
stalments agreed upon ; to see if some safe company or rich 
individual can be found to undertake for a term of years the 

management of your forests, the draining of the S meadows, 

the superintendence of your fisheries, etc. They, it is true, 
will monopolize the profits for many years perhaps twenty ; 
but you are a young man ; at the end of that time you will 
re-enter on your estate with a rental so improved that the 
mortgages, now so awful, will seem to you comparatively 
trivial." 

In pursuance of this advice, the young Marquis had come to 
Paris fortified with a letter from M. Hubert to an avout Q{ emi- 
nence, and with many letters from his aunt to the nobles of 
the Faubourg connected with his house. Now one reason why 
M. Hebert had urged his client to undertake this important 
business in person, rather than volunteer his own services in 
Paris, was somewhat extra-professional. He had a sincere 
and profound affection for Alain ; he felt compassion for that 
young life so barrenly wasted in seclusion and severe priva- 
tions ; he respected, but was too practical a man of business 
to share, those chivalrous sentiments of loyalty to an exiled 
dynasty which disqualified the man for the age he lived in, 
and, if not greatly modified, would cut him off from the hopes 
and aspirations of his eager generation. He thought plausibly 
enough that the air of the grand metropolis was necessary to 
the mental health, enfeebled and withering amidst the feudal 
mists of Bretagne ; that once in Paris, Alain would imbibe the 
ideas of Paris, adapt himself to some career leading to honor 
and to fortune, for which he took facilities from his high birth, 
an historical name too national for any dynasty not to welcome 
among its adherents, and an intellect not yet sharpened by 
contact and competition with others, but in itself vigorous, 
habituated to thought, and vivified by the noble aspirations 
which belong to imaginative natures. 

At the least, Alain would be at Paris in the social position 



24 THE PARISIANS. 

which would afford' him the opportunities of a marriage, in 
which his birth and rank would be readily accepted as an 
equivalent to some ample fortune that would serve to redeem 
the endangered seigneuries. He therefore warned Alain that 
the affair for which he went to Paris might be tedious, that 
lawyers were always slow, and advised him to calculate on 
remaining several months, perhaps a year ; delicately suggest- 
ing that his rearing hitherto had been too secluded for his age 
and rank, and that a year at Paris, even if he failed in the ob- 
ject which took him there, would not be thrown away in the 
knowledge of men and things that would fit him better to 
grapple with his difficulties on his return. 

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

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

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



THE PARISIANS. 2$ 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"No, I don't say that, Marquis. I will look with care into 
the matter. Doubtless you have with you an abstract of the 
necessary documents, the conditions of the present mortgages, 
the rental of the estate, its probable prospects, and so forth." 

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

The Marquis said this with nai've simplicity, as if his word 
were quite sufficient^ set that part of the question at rest. 



26 THE PARISIANS. 

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

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

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

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

Since then the two families had often intermarried. "The 



THE PARISIANS. 27 

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

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

Handsome young men, with the lofty look of the old race, 
dressed with the punctilious care of person which is not fop- 
pery in men of birth, but seems part of the self-respect that 
appertains to the old chivalric point of honor. The horse of 
one of these cavaliers made a caracole which brought it nearly 
upon Alain as he was about to cross. The rider, checking his 
steed, lifted his hat to Alain, and uttered a word of apology in 
the courtesy of ancient high-breeding, but still with condescen- 
sion as to an inferior. This little incident, and the slighting 
kind of notice received from coevals of his own birth, and 
doubtless his own blood for he divined truly that they were 
the sons of the Count de Vandemar disconcerted Alain to a 
degree which perhaps a Frenchman alone can comprehend. 
He had even half a mind to give up his visit and turn back. 
However, his native manhood prevailed over that morbid 
sensitiveness which, born out of the union of pride and poverty, 
has all the effects of vanity, and yet is not vanity itself. 

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

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

As Alain, however, proceeded, simply and without false 
shame, to communicate the object of his visit to Paris, the 
extent of his liabilities, and the penury of his means, the smile 
vanished from the Count's face ; he somewhat drew back his 
fauteuil in the movement common to men who wish to estrange 
themselves from some other man's difficulties ; and when Alain 
came to a close, the Count remained some moments seized 
with a slight cough ; and gazing intently on the carpet, at 



28 THE PARISIANS. 

length he said : " My dear young friend, your father behaved 
extremely ill to you dishonorably, fraudulently." 

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

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

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

Alain bowed his head in assent. 

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

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

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

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

" Your name would still remain, and you would be just as 
well received in Paris, and your noblesse just as implicitly con- 
ceded, if all Judrea encamped upon Rochebriant. Consider 
how few of us gcntilshommes of the old regime have any domains 
left to MS. Our names alone survive ; no revolution can efface 
\kern? 



THE PARISIANS. 2$ 

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

" I proceed to the third course. Keep the chateau and 
give up its traditions; remain de facto Marquis of Rochebriant, 
but accept the new order of things. Make yourself known to 
the people in power. They will be charmed to welcome you ; 
a convert from the old noblesse is a guarantee of stability to the 
new system. You will be placed in diplomacy ; effloresce into 
an ambassador, a minister and ministers nowadays have op- 
portunities to become enormously rich." 

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

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

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

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

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

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

" Adieu, Count," said Alain, rising ; "I do not thank you 



50 THE PARISIANS. 

less for your advice because I have not the wit to profit 
by it." 

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER IV. 

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

" Pr-r ! mon cher ; what superb exercise for the health' 
How it must strengthen the muscles and expand the chest \ 



THE PARISIANS. 3! 

After this, who should shrink from scaling Mont Blanc ? 
Well, well. I have been meditating on your business ever 
since we parted. But I would fain know more of its details. 
You shall confide them to me as we drive through the Bois. 
My coupe is below, and the day is beautiful come." 

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

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

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

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

"No, except that M. Hebert told me that he was very rich." 

" Rich ! I should think so ! One of the Kings of Finance. 
Ah ! observe those young men on horseback." 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



32 THE PARISIANS. 

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

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

"On the contrary, I believe that, though masters of their 
weapons, they are too brave to abuse their skill ; and I must 
add, that though they are sleeping partners in a shop, they 
would not cheat you of a farthing. Benign stars on earth, as 
Castor and Pollux were in heaven." 

" But partners in a shop ! " 

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

kept a shop, and added the profits of bon-bons to his revenue, 
you may form some idea of the spirit of the age. 1 f young nobles 
are not generally sleeping partners in shops, still they are more 
or less adventurers in commerce. The Bourse is the profession 
of those who have no other profession. You have visited the 
Bourse ! " 

" No." 

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

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

The coup stops at the Bourse, our friends mount the steps, 
glide through the pillars, deposit their canes at a place destined 
to guard them, and the Marquis follows Frederic up a flight of 



THE PARISIANS. 33 

stairs till he gains the open gallery round a vast hall below. 
Such a din ! Such a clamor ! Disputations, wrangling, wrathful. 

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

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

Bulls and bears screaming, bawling, gesticulating, as if one 
were about to strangle the other ; the whole, to an uninitiated 
eye, a confusion, a Babel, which it seems absolutely impossible 
to reconcile to the notion of quiet mercantile transactions, the 
purchase and sale of shares and stock's. As Alain gazed be- 
wildered, he felt himself gently touched, and, looking round, 
saw the Englishman. 

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

*' Js your Bourse in London like this ? " 

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

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

" And the Emperor has done wisely, at least for the time," 
continued the Englishman, with a more thoughtful accent. 
" He has found vent thus for that very dangerous class inParis 
society to which the subdivision of property gave birth, viz., 



34 THE PARISIANS. 

the crowd of well-born, daring young men without fortune and 
without profession. He has opened the Bourse and said : 
' There, I give you employment, resource, an avenir.' He has 
cleared the byways into commerce and trade, and opened new 
avenues of wealth to the noblesse, whom the great Revolution 
so unwisely beggared. What other way to rebuild a noblesse in 
France, and give it a chance of power because an access to 
fortune ? But to how many sides of your national character 
has the Bourse of Paris magnetic attraction ! You Frenchmen 
are so brave that you coo.ild not be happy without facing danger, 
so covetous of distinction that you would pine yourselves away 
without a dash, iofite que coiite, at celebrity and a red ribbon. - 
Danger ! Look below at that arena there it is ; danger, daily, 
hourly. But there also is celebrity ; win at the Bourse, as of 
old in a tournament, and" paladins smile on you, and ladies 
give you their scarves, or, what is much the same, they allow 
you to buy their cachemires. Win at the Bourse what follows? 
the Chamber, the Senate, the Cross, the Minister's portefcuillc. 
I might rejoice in all this for the sake of Europe, could it last, 
and did it not bring the consequences that follow the demoral- 
ization which attends it. The Bourse and the Credit Mobilicr 
keep Paris quiet ; at least a? quiet as it can be. These are the 
secrets of this reign of splendor ; these the two lions couchants 
on which rests the throne of the Imperial reconstructor." 

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

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

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

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

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

"No," said the Englishman ; "on consideration, I should be 
very much obliged to any one with whom she would fall in 
love. That would disenchant me. Take the Marquis by all 
means." 



THE PARISIANS. 35 

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

" Ah, Marquis ! " said Graham Vane, " are you gazing at 
Duplessis ? He is the modern genius of Paris. He is at once 
the Cousin, the Guizpt, and the Victor Hugo of speculation. 
Philosophy, Eloquence, audacious Romance ; all Literature 
now is swallowed up in the sublime epic of Agiotage, and Du- 
plessis is the poet of the Empire." 

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

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

CHAPTER V. 

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

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

" Pooh ! The best way to exorcise Satan is to get rich enough 
not to be tempted by him. The fiend always loved to haunt 



36 THE PARISIANS. 

empty places ; and of all places nowadays he prefers empty 
purses and empty stomachs." 

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

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

"Crowds are thus attracted to Paris, resolved to venture a 
small capital in the hope of a large one ; they live on that 
capital, not on their income, as gamesters do. There is an 
idea among us that it is necessary to seem rich in order to be- 
come rich. Thus there is a general ex-travagance and profu- 
sion. English milords marvel at our splendor. Those who, 
while spending their capital as their income, fail in their 
schemes of fortune, after one, two, three, or four years, vanish. 
What becomes of them, I know no more than I do what be- 
comes of the old moons. Their place is immediately supplied 
by new candidates. Paris is thus kept perennially sumptuous 
and splendid by the gold it engulfs. But then some men 
succeed succeed prodigiously, preternaturally they make 
colossal fortunes, which are magnificently expended. They 
set an example of show and pomp, which is of course the more 
contagious because so many men say, 'The other day those 
millionnaires were as poor as we are ; they never economized ; 
why should we?' Paris is thus doubly enriched : by the 
fortunes it swallows up, and by the fortunes it casts up ; the 
last being always reproductive, and the first never lost except 
to the individuals." 

" I understand ; but what struck me forcibly at the scene 
we have left was the number of young men there ; young men 
whom I should judge by their appearance to be gentlemen, 
evidently not mere spectators, eager, anxious, with tablets in 



THE PARISIANS. 37 

% 

their hands. That old or middle-aged men should find a 
zest in the pursuit of gain I can understand, but youth and 
avarice seem to me a new combination, which Moliere never 
divined in his 'Avare.'" 

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

Alain felt himself more and more behind his generation. 
The acute reasoning of Lemercier humbled his amour prof>re. 
At college Lemercier was never considered Alain's equal in 
ability or book-learning. What a stride beyond his schoolfel- 
low had Lemercier now made ! How dull and stupid the 
young provincial felt himself to be as compared with the easy 
cleverness and half-sportive philosophy of the Parisian's fluent 
talk ! 

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

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



CHAPTER VI. 

" I BELIEVE," said Lemercier, as the coupe rolled through the 
lively alleys of the Bois de Boulogne, "that Paris is built on a 
loadstone, and that every Frenchman with some iron globules 
in his blood is irresistibly attracted towards it. The English 
never seem to feel for London the passionate devotion that we 
feel for Paris. On the contrary, the London middle class, the 



38 THE PARISIANS. 

4 

commercialists, the shopkeepers, the clerks, even the superior 
artisans compelled to do their business in the capital, seem al- 
ways scheming and pining to have their home out of it, though 
but in a suburb." 

" You have been in London, Frederic ?" 

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

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

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

"What are the amusements of the lowest class?" 

"Getting drunk." 

"Nothing else ?" 

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

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



CHAPTER VII. 

THE lady in the pearl-colored dress '. Certainly it was a 
face that might well arrest the eye and linger long on the re- 
membrance. 

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



THE PARISIANS. 39 

soul, or of heart, without which the most beautiful face is but 
a beautiful picture. This lady was not, one of those "beauty- 
women." Her features taken singly were by no means per- 
fect, nor were they set off by any brilliancy of coloring ; but 
the countenance aroused and impressed the imagination with a 
belief that there was some history attached to it which you 
longed to learn. The hair, simply parted over a forehead un- 
usually spacious and high for a woman, was of lustrous dark- 
ness ; the eyes, of a deep violet blue, were shaded with long 
lashes. 

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

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

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

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

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

" I hope so, for a girl of her age, if comme ilfaut, can scarce- 
ly walk alone in the Bois, and would not have acquired that 
look, so intelligent more than intelligent so poetic." 

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

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



40 THE PARISIANS. 

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

" Quick, quick ! " cried Lemercier, running towards his own 
coupe. " We must give chase." 

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

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

the pleasant suburb of A ; a porter emerged from the 

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

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

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

They entered the little cafe, and in a few minutes Lemercier, 
with the easy savoir vivre of a Parisian, had extracted from the 
garfon as much as probably any one in the neighborhood knew 
of the inhabitants of the villa. 

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

It was for her the coupe was hired from Paris. The elder 
lady very rarely stirred out during the day, but always accom- 
panied the younger in any evening visits to the theatre or the 
houses of friends. 

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

The younger lady was in delicate health, and under the 
care of an English physician famous for skill in the treatment 
of pulmonary ccwrtplaints. It was by his advice that she took 
daily walking exercise in the Bois. The establishment consisted 
of three servants, all Italians, and speaking but imperfect French. 
Tbe0/rf0* did not know whether either of the ladies was mar- 
ried, but their mode of life was free from all scandal or sus- 
picion ; they probably belonged to the literary or musical 
world, as the gar (on had observed as their visitors the eminent 







THE PARISIANS. 4! 

author M. Savarin and his wife ; and, still more frequently, 
an old man not less eminent as a musical composer. 

" It is clear to me no\v," said Lemercier, as the two friends 
reseated themselves in the carriage, "that our pearly ange is 
some Italian singer of repute enough in her own country to 
have gained already a competence ; and that, perhaps on 
account of her own health or her friend's, she is living quietly 
here in the expectation of some professional engagement, or 
the absence of some foreign lover." 

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

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

" You have promised the Englishman ?" 

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

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

" Yes, I hear he is very rich now ; that an uncle lately left 
him an enormous sum of money. He was attached to the 
English Embassy many years ago, which accounts for his 
good French and his knowledge of Parisian life. He comes 
to Paris very often, and I have known him some time. Indeed 
he has intrusted to me a difficult and delicate commission. 
The English tell me that his father was one of the most 
eminent members of their Parliament, of ancient birth, very 
highly connected, but ran out his fortune and died poor ; that 
our friend had for some years to maintain himself, I fancy, by 
his pen ; that he is considered very able ; and, now that his 
uncle has enriched him, likely to enter public life and run a 
career as distinguished as his father's." 

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



CHAPTER VIII. 

Letter from Isaura Cicogna to Madame de Grantmesnil. 

VILLA D' . A 



I CAN never express to you, my beloved Eulalie, the strange 
charm which a letter from you throws -over my poor little 



42 THE PARISIANS. 

lonely world for days after it is received. There is always ii 
it something that comforts, something that sustains, but alsc 
a something that troubles and disquiets me. I suppose Goeth* 
is right, " that it is the property of true genius to disturb all 
settled ideas," in order, no doubt, to lift them into a higher 
level when they settle down again. 

Your sketch of the new work you are meditating amid the 
orange groves of Provence interests me intensely ; yet, do you 
forgive me when I add that the interest is not without terror. 
I do not find myself able to comprehend how, amid those 
lovely scenes of nature, your mind voluntarily surrounds itself 
with images of pain and discoid. I stand in awe of the calm 
with which you subject to your analysis the infirmities of 
reason and the tumults of passion. And all those laws of the 
social state which seem to be so fixed and immovable you treat 
with so quiet a scorn, as if they were but the gossamer threads 
which a touch of your slight woman's hand could brush away. 
But I cannot venture to discuss such subjects with you. It is 
only the skilled enchanter who can stand safely in the magic 
circle, and compel the spirits that he summons, even if they 
are evil, to minister to ends in which he foresees a good. 

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

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

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

We went to dine with him last week ; he invited to meet us 

Madame S , who has this year conquered all opposition, 

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

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

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

course. Then she herself graciously turned to me, said how 
much she had h-eard from the Maestro in my praise, and so- 



THE PARISIANS. 43 

and-so. I was persuaded to sing after her. I need not say to 
what disadvantage. But I forgot my nervousness ; I forgot 
my audience ; I forgot myself, as I always do when once my 
soul, as it were, finds wing in music, and buoys itself in air, re- 
lieved from the sense of earth. I knew not that I had suc- 
ceeded till I came to a close, and then my eyes resting on 
the face of the grand prima donna, I was seized with an inde- 
scribable sadness, with a keen pang of remorse. Perfect 
artiste though she be, and with powers in her own realm of art 
which admit of no living equal, I saw at once that I had pained 
her ; she had grown almost livid ; her lips were quivering, and 
it was only with a great effort that she muttered out some faint 
words intended for applause. I comprehended by an instinct 
how gradually there can grow upon the mind of an artist the 
most generous that jealousy which makes the fear of a rival 

annihilate the delight in art. If ever I should achieve S 's 

fame as a singer, should I feel the same jealousy ? I think 
not now, but I have not been tested. She went away abruptly. 
I spare you the -recital of the compliments paid to, me by my 
other auditors, compliments that gave me no pleasure ; for on 
all lips, except those of the Maestro, they implied, as the height 

of eulogy, that I had inflicted torture upon S . " If so," 

said he, " she would be as foolish as a rose that was jealous of 
the whiteness of a lily. You would do yourself great wrong, 
my child, if you tried to vie with the rose in its ow*h color." 

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

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

Our only other gayety since I last wrote was a soiree at M. 
Louvier's. That republican millionnaire was not slow in at- 
tending to the kind letter you addressed to him recommending 
us to his civilities. He called at once, placed his good offices 
at our disposal, took charge of my modest fortune, which he 
has invested, no doubt, as safely as it is advantageously in point 
of interest, hired our carriage for us, and in short has been 
most amiably useful. 

At his house we met many to me most pleasant, for they 



44 THE PARISIANS. 

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

He addressed to me these tremendous questions with an ef- 
feminate lisp, and harangued on them with small, feeble* ges- 
ticulations of pale, dainty fingers covered with rings. 

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

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

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

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

From the Same to the Same. 

Eulalie, Eulalie ! What mocking spirit has been permitted 
in this modern age of ours to place in the heart of woman the 
ambition which is the prerogative of men ? You indeed, so richly 
endowed with a man's genius, have a right to man's aspirations. 
But what can justify such ambition in me? Nothing but this 
one unintellectual, perishable gift t>f a voice that does but 
please in uttering the thoughts of others. Doubtless I could 
make a name familiar for its brief time to the talk ofEurope 
a name, what name ? A singer's name. Once I thought thaf 



THE PARISIANS. 45 

name a glory. Shall I ever forget the day when you first shone 
upon me ; when, emerging from childhood as from a dim and 
solitary bypath, I stood forlorn on the great thoroughfare of 
life, and all the prospects before me stretched sad in mists and 
in rain ? You beamed on me then as the sun coming out from 
the cloud and changing the face of earth ; you opened to my 
sight the fairy-land of poetry and art ; you took me by the 
hand and said : " Courage ! There is at each step some green 
gap in the hedgerows, some soft escape from the stony thorough- 
fare. Beside the real life expands the ideal life to those who 
seek it. Droop not, seek it ; the ideal life has its sorrows, but 
it never admits despair ; as on the ear of him who follows the 
winding course of a stream, the stream ever varies the note of 
its music ; now loud with the rush of the falls ; now low and 
calm as it glides by the level marge of smooth banks ; now 
sighing through the stir of the reeds ; now bubbling with a 
fretful joy as some sudden curve on the shore stays its flight 
among the gleaming pebbles so to the soul of the artist is the 
voice of the art ever fleeting beside and before him. Nature 
gave thee the bird's gift of song ; raise the gift into art, and 
make the art thy companion. 

"Art and Hope were twin-born, and they die together." 
See how faithfully I remember, methinks, your very words. 
But the magic of the words, which I then but dimlytThder- 
stood, was in your smile and in your eye, and the queen- 
like wave of your hand as if beckoning to a world which 
lay before you, visible and familiar as your native land. And- 
how devotedly, with what earnestness of passjon, I gave my- 
self up to the task of raising my gift into an art ! I thought 
of nothing else, dreamed of nothing else ; and oh, how sweet 
to me then were words of praise! "Another year yet," at 
length said the masters, " and you ascend your throne among 
the queens of song." Then then I would have changed for 
no other throne on earth my hope of that to be achieved in 
the realms of my art. .And then came, that long fever: my 
strength broke down, and the Maest/o said, "Rest, or your 
voice is gone, and your throne is lost forever." How hate- 
ful that rest seemed to me ! You again came to my aid. 
You 'said: "The time you think lost should be but time im- 
proved. Penetrate your mind with other songs than the trash 
of libretti. The more you h'abituate yourself to the forms, the 
more you imbue yourself with the spirit, in which passions have 
been expressed and character delineated by great writers, the 
more completely you will accomplish yourself in your own spe- 



46 THE PARISIANS. 

cial art of singer and actress." So, then, you allured me to a 
new study. . Ah ! in so doing did you dream that you diverted 
me from the old ambition ? My knowledge of French and Ital- 
ian, and my rearing in childhood, which had made English 
familiar to me, gave me the keys to the treasure houses of three 
languages. Naturally I began with that in which your master- 
pieces are composed. Till then I had not even read your works. 
They were the first I chose. How they impressed, how they 
startled me ! What depths in the mind of man, in the heart of 
woman, they revealed to me ! But I owned to you then, and I 
repeat it now, neither they nor any of the works in romance and 
poetry which form the boast of recent French literature, satis- 
fied yearnings for that calm sense of beauty, that divine joy in 
a world beyond this world, which you had led me to believe it 
was the prerogative of ideal art to bestow. And when I told 
you this with the rude frankness you had bid me exercise in 
talk with you, a thoughtful, melancholy shade fell over your 
face, and you said quietly : " You are right, child ; we, the French 
of our time, are the offspring of revolutions that settled nothing, 
unsettled all : we resemble those troubled States which rush into 
war abroad in order to re-establish peace at home. Our books 
suggest problems to men for reconstructing some social system 
in which the calm that belongs to art may be found at last : but 
such books should not be in your hands ; they are not for the 
innocence and youth of women, as yet unchanged by the sys- 
tems which exist." And the next day you brought me Tasso's 
great poem, the Gentsalemme Liberata, and said, smiling : ''Art 
in its calm is here." 

You remember that I was then at Sorrento by the order of 
my physician. Never shall I forget the soft autumn day when 
I sat amongst the lonely rocklets to the left of the town, the 
sea before me, with scarce a ripple ; my very heart steeped in 
the melodies of that poem, so marvellous for a strength dis- 
guised in sweetness, and for a symmetry in which eacn propor- 
tion blends into the -other with tnt perfectness of a Grecian 
statue. The whole place seemed co me filled with the pres- 
ence of the poet to whom it had given birth. Certainly the 
reading of that poem formed an era in my existence .; to this 
day I cannot acknowledge the faults or weaknesses which your 
criticisms pointed out I believe because they are in unison 
with my own nature, which yearns for harmony, and, finding 
that rests contented. I shrink from violent contrasts, and can 
discover nothing tame and insipid in a continuance of sweet- 
jiess and serenity. But it was not till after I had read La Geru- 



THE PARISIANS. 47 

again and again, and then sat and brooded over it, 
that I recognized the main charm of the poem in the religion 
which clings to it as the perfume clings to a flower a religion 
sometimes melancholy, but never to me sad. Hope always 
pervades it. Surely if, as you said, " Hope is twin-born witii 
art," it is because art at its highest blends itself unconsciously 
with religion, and proclaims its affinity with hope by its faith 
in some future good more perfect than it has realized in the past. 

Be this as it may, it was in this poem, so pre-eminently 
Christian, that I found the something which I missed and 
craved for in modern French masterpieces, even yours a 
something spiritual, speaking to my own soul, calling it rorth ; 
distinguishing it as an essence apart from mere human reason ; 
soothing, even when it excited ; making earth nearer to 
heaven. And when I ran on in this strain to you after my own 
wild fashion, you took my head between your hands and kissed 
me, and said : " Happy are those who believe ! Long-may 
that happiness be thine ! " Why did I not feel in Dante the 
Christian charm that I felt in Tasso ? Dante in your eyes, as 
in those of most judges, is infinitely the greater genius, but re- 
flected on the dark stream of that genius the stars are so 
troubled, the heavens so threatening. 

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

He make's fate so cruel that we lose sight of the mild deity 
behind her. Compare, in this, Corneille's " Polyeucte " with the 
"'Hamlet." In the first an equal calamity befalls the good, 
but in their calamity they are blessed. The death of the 
martyr is the triumph of his creed. But when we have put 
down the English tragedy when Hamlet and Ophelia arc 
confounded in death with Polonius and the fratricidal king, 
we see not what good end for humanity is achieved. ' The 
passages that fasten on our memory do not make us happier 



48 THE PARISIANS. 

and holier; they suggest but terrible problems, to which 
give us no solution. 

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

hither two months since, ostensibly for the advice of Dr. C , 

but really in the desire to commune with my own heart, and 
be still. 

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

I must confide to you one ambition which during the lazy 
Italian summer took possession of me ; I must tell you the 
ambition, and add that I have renounced it as a vain one. I 



THE PARISIANS. 49 

had hoped that I could compose, T mean in music. I was 
pleased with some things I did ; they expressed in music what 
I could not express in words ; and one secret object in coming 
here was to submit them to the great Maestro, He listened to 
them patiently ; he complimented me on my accuracy in the 
mechanical laws of composition ; he even said that my favorite 
airs were " touchants et gracieux." 

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

" You mean as a professional composer ? " 

" Well, yes." 

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

"Yes." 

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

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

ISAURA. 

From the Same to the Same. 

No letter from you yet, and I have left you in peace for ten 
days. How do you think I have spent them ? The Maestro 
called on us with M. Savarin, to insist on our accompanying 
them on a round of the theatres, I had not been to one since 
my arrival. I divined that the kind-hearted composer had a 
motive in this invitation. He thought that in witnessing the 



50 THE PARISIAN? 

applauses bestowed on actors, and sharing in the fascination 
in which the theatrical illusion holds an audience, my old pas- 
sion for the stage, and with it the longing for an artiste 's fame, 
would revive. 

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

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

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

me say a word or two on the plays. 

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

The impression left on my mind by the performance I wit- 
nessed is, that the French people are becoming dwarfed. The 
comedies that please them are but pleasant caricatures of petty 
sections in a corrupt society. They contain no large types of 
human nature ; their witticisms convey no luminous flashes of 
truth ; their sentiment is not pure and noble, it is a sickly and 
false perversion of the impure and ignoble into travesties of 
the pure and noble. 

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

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

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



THE PARISIANS. 5-1 

But now to the opera. S in Norma ! The house was 

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

tell me that S never rivalled Pasta, but certainly her Norma 

is a great performance. Pier voice has lost less of its freshness 
than I had been told, and what is lost of it her practised man- 
agement conceals or carries off. 

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

On our return that night, when I had seen the Venosta to 
bed, I went into my own room, opened the window, and looked 
out. A lovely night, mild as in spring at Florence ; the moon 
at her full, and the stars looking so calm and so high beyond 
our reach of their tranquillity. The evergreens in the gardens 
of the villas around me silvered over, and the summer boughs, 
not yet clothed with leaves, were scarcely visible amid the 
changeless smile of the laurels. At the distance lay Paris, 
only to be known by its innumerable lights. And then I said 
to myself : 

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

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

From the Same to the Same. 

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

I fear I must give up my solitary walks in the Bois de 
Boulogne : they were very dear to me, partly because the quiet 
path to which I confined myself was that to which you directed 



52 THE PARISIANS. 

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

Six days ago the first person I encountered in my walk was 
a man whom I did not then heed. He seemed in thought, or 
rather in revery, like myself ; we passed each other twice or 
thrice, and I did not notice whether he was young or old, tall 
or short ; but he came the next day, and a third day, and then I 
saw that he was young, and, in so regarding him, his eyes became 
fixed on mine. The fourth day he did not come, but two other 
men came, and the look of one was inquisitive and offensive. 
They sat themselves down on a bench in the walk, and though I 
did not seem to notice them I hastened home ; and the next day, 
in talking with our kind Madame Savarin, and alluding to these 
quiet walks of mine, she hinted, with the delicacy which is her 
characteristic, that the customs of Paris did not allow demoi- 
selles comme il faut to walk alone even in the most sequestered 
paths of the Bois. 

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

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

We met at dinner an American and his wife a Colonel and 
Mrs. Morley ; she is delicately handsome, as the American 



THE PARISIANS. 53 

women I have seen generally are, and with that frank vivacity 
of manner which distinguishes them from English women. 
She seemed to take a fancy to me, and we soon grew very 
good friends. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



54 THE PARISIANS. 

fame. Enough if I felt that he was worthy of it, and happier 
niethinks to console him when he failed than to triumph with 
him when he won. Tell me, have you felt this? When you 
loved did you stoop as to a slave, or did you bow down as to a 
master ? 

From Madame de Grantmesnil to Isaura Cicogna. 

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

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

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

Have you, who are so naturally observant, and of late have 
become so reflective, never remarked that authors, however 
absorbed in their own craft, do not wish their children to adopt 
it ? The most successful author is perhaps the last person to 
whom neophytes should come for encouragement. This I 
think is not the case with the cultivators of the sister arts. 
The painter, the sculptor, the musician, seem disposed to invite 
disciples and welcome acolytes. As for those engaged in the 
practical affairs of life, fathers mostly wish their sons to be as 
they have been. 

The politician, the lawyer, the merchant, each says to his 
children, "Follow my steps." All parents in practical life 
would at least agree in this, they would not wish their sons to 
be poets. There must be some sound cause in the world's 



THE PARISIANS. 55 

philosophy for this general concurrence of digression from a 
road of which the travellers themselves say to those whom they 
love best, " Beware ! " 

Rbmance in youth is, if rightly understood, the happiest 
nutriment of wisdom in after-years ; but I would never invite 
any one to look upon the romance of youth as a thing 
" To case in periods and embalm in ink." 

Enfant, have you need of a publisher to create romance ? Is 
it not in yourself ? Do not imagine that genius requires for 
its enjoyment the scratch of the pen and the types of the printer. 
Do not suppose that the poet, the romancier, is most poetic, 
most romantic, when he is striving, struggling, laboring, to 
check the rush of his ideas, and materialize the images which 
visit him as souls into such tangible likenesses of flesh and 
blood that the highest compliment a reader can bestow on them 
is to say that they are lifelike. No : the poet's real delight is 
not in the mechanism of composing ; the best ^part of that 
delight is in the sympathies he has established with innumera- 
ble modifications of life and form, and art and nature sympa- 
thies which are often found equally keen in those whohave not 
the same gift of language. The poet is but the interpreter. 
What of ? Truths in the hearts of others. He utters what 
they feel. Is the joy in the utterance ? Nay, it is in the feel- 
ing itself. So, my dear, dark-bright child of song, when I 
bade thee open, out of the beaten thoroughfare, paths into the 
meads and river-banks at either side of the formal hedgerows, 
rightly dost thou add that I enjoined thee to make thine art 
thy companion. In the culture of that art for which you are 
so eminently gifted, you will find the ideal life ever beside the 
real. Are you not ashamed to tell me that in that art you do 
but utter the thoughts of others ? You utter them in music ; 
through the music you not only give to the thoughts a new 
character, but you make them reproductive of fresh thoughts 
in your audience. 

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

How little a libretto interprets an opera ; how little we care 
even to read it ! It is the music that speaks to us ; and how ? 
Through the human voice. We do not notice how poor are the 
words which the voice warbles. It is the voice itself interpret- 
ing the soul of the musician which enchants and enthrals us. 



56 THE PARISIANS. 

And you who have that voice pretend to despise the gift. 
What ! Despise the power of communicating delight ! The 
power that we authors envy, and rarely, if ever, can we give 
delight with so little alloy as the singer. 

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

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

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

There, have 1 scolded you sufficiently ? I should scold you 
more, if 1 did not see in the affluence of your youth and your 
intellect the cause of your restlessness. Riches are always 
restless. It is only to poverty that the gods give content. 

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

In the history of the passions each human heart is a world 
in itself ; its experience profits no others. In no two lives does 
love play the same part or bequeath the same record. 

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

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

Love proportioned, adorns the homeliest existence ; love dis- 
proportioned, deforms the fairest. 

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

E G . 



THE PARISIANS. 57 

BOOK II. 



CHAPTER I. 

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

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

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

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

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

His father, the representative of a very ancient family, came 
into possession, after a long minority, of what may be called a 
fair squire's estate, and about half a million in moneyed invest- 
ments, inherited on the female side. Both land and money 
were absolutely at his disposal, unencumbered by entail or set- 
tlement. He was a man of a brilliant, irregular genius, of 
princely generosity, of splendid taste, of a gorgeous kind of 
pride closely allied to a masculine kind of vanity. As soon as 
he was of age he began to build, converting his squire's hall 
into a ducal palace. He then stoqd for^ the county ; and in 
days before the first Reform Bill, when a county election was 
the estate of a candidate what a long war is to the debt of a 
nation. He won the election ; he obtained early successes in 
Parliament. It was said by good authorities in pojitical circles 
that, if he chose, he might aspire to lead his party, and ulti- 
mately to hold the first rank in the government of his country. 



58 <THE PARISIANS. 

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

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

This gentlemen, at the age of forty, married the dowerless 
daughter of a poor but distinguished naval officer, of noble fam- 
ily, first cousin to the Duke of Alton. 

He settled on her a suitable jointure, but declined to tie up 
any portion of his property for the benefit of children by the 
marriage. He declared that so much of his fortune was invested 
either in mines, the produce of which was extremely fluctuating, 
or in various funds, over rapid transfers in which it was his 
amusement and his interest to have control, unchecked by ref- 
erence to trustees, that entails and settlements on children were 
an inconvenience he declined to incur. 

Besides, he held notions of his own as to the wisdom of keep- 
ing children dependent on their father. "What numbers of 
young men," said he, " are ruined in character and in fortune 
by knowing that when their father dies they are certain of the 
same provision, no matter how they displease him ; and in the 
meanwhile forestalling that provision by recourse to usurers." 
These arguments might not have prevailed over the bride's 
father a year or two later, when, by the death of intervening 
kinsmen, he became Duke of Alton ; but in his then circum- 
stances the marriage itself was so much beyond the expectations 
which the portionless daughter of a sea-captain has the right to 
form, that Mr. Vane A\ad k all his own way, and he remained 
absolute master of his whole fortune, save of that part of his 
landed estate on which his wife's jointure was settled ; and even 
from this encumbrance he was very soon freed. His wife died 
in the second- year of marriage, leaving an only son Graham. 
He grieved for her loss .with all the passion of an impression- 
able, ardent, and powerful nature. Then for a while he sought 



THE PARISIANS. 59 

distraction to his sorrow by throwing himself into public life 
with a devoted energy lie had not previously displayed. 

His speeches served to bring his party into power, and he 
yielded, though reluctantly, to the unanimous demand of that 
party that he should accept one of the highest offices in the new 
Cabinet. He acquitted himself well as an administrator, but 
declared, no doubt honestly, that he felt like Sindbad released 
from the old man on his back, when, a year or two afterwards, 
he went out of office with his party. No persuasions could in- 
duce him to come in again ; nor did he ever again take a very 
active part in debate. " No," said he, " I was born to the free- 
dom of a private gentleman ; intolerable to me is the thraldom 
of a public servant. But I will bring up my son' so that he may 
acquit the debt which I decline to pay to my country." There 
he kept his word. Graham had been carefully educated for 
public life, the ambition for it dinned into his ear from child- 
hood. In his school-vacations his father made him learn and 
declaim chosen specimens of masculine oratory ; engaged an 
emineni actor to give him lessons in elocution ; bade him fre- 
quent theatres, and study there the effect which words derive 
ftom looks and gesture; encouraged him to take part himself 
in. private theatricals. To all this the boy lent his mind with 
delight. He had the orator's inborn temperament ; quick, yet 
imaginative, and loving the sport of rivalry and contest. Being 
also, in his boyish years, good-humored and joyous, he was not 
more a favorite with the masters in the schoolroom than with 
the boys in the playground. Leaving Eton at seventeen, he 
then entered at Cambridge, and became, in his first term, the 
most popular speaker at the Union. 

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

His father was killed by a fall from his horse in hunting ; 
and when his affairs were investigated, they were found to be 
hopelessly involved ; apparently the assets would not suffice 
for the debts. The elder Vane himself was probably not 
aware of the extent of his liabilities. He had never wanted 



60 THE PARISIANS. 

ready money to the last. He could always obtain that from a 
money-lender, or from the sale of his funded investments. 
But it became obvious, on examining his papers, that h^ 
knew .at least how impaired would be the heritage he 
should bequeath to a son whom he idolized. For that reason 
he had given Graham a profession in diplomacy, and for that 
reason he had privately applied to the Ministry for the Vice- 
royalty of India, in the event of its speedy vacancy. He was 
eminent enough not to anticipate refusal, and with economy 
in that lucrative post much of his pecuniary difficulties might 
have been redeemed, and at least an independent provision 
secured for his son. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. King could not, indeed, boast of noble ancestry, nor 
was he even a landed proprietor ; but he was a not undis- 
tinguished member of Parliament, of irreproachable character, 



THE PARISIANS. 6l 

and ample fortune inherited from a distant kinsman, who had 
enriched himself as a merchant. It was on both sides a mar- 
riage of love. 

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

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

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

When that brief-lived administration ceased, he felt the same 
sensation of relief that Vane had felt, and came to the same 
resolution never again to accept office, but from different rea- 
sons, all of which need no.t now be detailed. Amongst them, 
however, certainly this: He 'was exceedingly sensitive to 
opinion, thin-skinned as to abuse, and very tenacious of the re- 
spect due to his peculiar character of sanctity and philanthropy. 
He writhed under every newspaper article that had made " the 
blameless King" responsible for the iniquities of the govern- 
ment to which he belonged. In the loss of office he seemed 
to recover his former throne. 

Mr. King heard Graham's resolution with a grave approving 
smile, and his interest in the young man became greatly in- 
creased. He devoted himself strenuously to the object of sav- 
ing to Graham some wrecks of his paternal fortunes, and having 
a clear head and great experience in the transaction of busi- 
ness, he succeeded beyond the most sanguine expectations 
formed by the family solicitor. A rich manufacturer was found 
to purchase at a fancy price the bulk of the estate with the 
palatial mansion, which the estate alone could never have 
sufficed to maintain with suitable establishments. 

So that when all debts were paid, Graham found himself in 
possession of a clear income of about $oo a year, invested in 
a mortgage secured on a part of the hereditary lands, on which 
was seated an old hunting-lodge bought by a brewer. 



62 THE PARISIANS. 

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

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

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

He resigned the diplomatic career, not merely because the 
rise in that profession is slow, and in the intermediate steps the 
chances of distinction are slight and few, but more because he 
desired to cast his lot in the home country, and regarded the 
courts of other lands as exile. 

It was not true, however, as Lemercier had stated on report, 
that he lived on his pen. Curbing all his old extravagant 
tastes, -$oo a year amply supplied his wants. But he had 
by his pen gained distinction, and created great belief in 
his abilities for a public career. He had written critical arti- 
cles, read with much praise, in periodicals of authority, and 
had published one or two essays on political questions, which 
had created yet more sensation. It was only the graver litera- 



THE PARISIANS. 63 

ture, connected more or less with his ultimate object of a 
public career, in which he had thus evinced his talents of 
composition. Such writings were not of a nature to bring him 
much money, but they gave him a definite and solid station. 
In the old time, before the first Reform Bill, his reputation 
would have secured him at once a seat in Parliament ; but the 
ancient nurseries of statesmen are gone, and their place is not 
supplied. 

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

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

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



64 THE PARISIANS. 

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

To the side of Richard King his Janet had been as the 
guardian angel. His love for her was almost worship ; with 
her, every object in a life hitherto so active and useful seemed 
gone. He evinced no noisy passion of sorrow. He shut him- 
self up, and refused to see even Graham, But after some 
weeks had passed, he admitted the clergyman in whom, on- 
spiritual matters, he habitually confided, and seemed consoled 
by the visits ; then he sent for his lawyer, and made his will ; 
after which he allowed Graham to call on him daily, on the 
condition that there should be no reference to his loss. He 
spoke to the young man on other subjects, rather drawing him 
out about himself, sounding his opinion on various grave mat- 
ters, watching his face while he questioned, as if seeking to 
dive into his heart, and sometimes pathetically sinking into 
silence, broken but by sighs. So it went on for a few more 
Aveeks ; then he took the advice of his physician to seek change 
of air and scene. He went away alone, without even a servant, 
not leaving word where he had gone.. After a little while he 
returned, more ailing, more broken than before. One morning 
he was found insensible, stricken by paralysis. He regained 
consciousness, and even for some days rallied strength. He 
might have recovered, but he seemed as if he tacitly refused 
to live. He expired at last, peacefully, in Graham's arms. 

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

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

Two children had been born from the marriage of Richard 
King ; they had died young, it is true, but Lady Janet at the 
time of her own decease was not too advanced in years for the 



THE PARISIANS. 65 

reasonable expectation of other offspring ; and even after 
Richard King became a widower, he had given to Graham no 
hint of his testamentary dispositions. The young man was no 
blood-relation to him, and naturally supposed that such rela- 
tions would become the heirs. But in truth the deceased 
seemed to have no blood-relations ; none had ever been known 
to visit him ; none raised a voice to question the justice of his 
will. 

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

For days and days Graham went his way lonelily to the 
cemetery. He might be seen standing motionless by that tomb, 
with tears rolling down his cheeks ; yet his was not a weak 
nature, not one of those that love indulgence of irremediable 
grief. On the contrary, people who did not know him well 
said " that-he had more head than heart," and the character of 
his pursuits, as of his writings, was certainly not that of a senti- 
mentalist. He had not thus visited the tomb till Richard King 
had been placed within it. Yet his love for his aunt was 
unspeakably greater than that which he could have felt for her 
husband. Was it, then, the husband that he so much more 
acutely mourned ; or was there something that, since the hus- 
band's death, had deepened his reverence for the memory of 
her whom he had not only loved as a mother, but honored as 
a saint ? 

These visits to the cemetery did not cease till Graham was 
confined to his bed by a very grave illness the only one he 
had ever known. His physician said it was nervous fever, and 
occasioned by moral shock or excitement ; it was attended 
with delirium. His recovery was slow, and when it was suffi- 
ciently completed he quitted England ; and we find him now, 
with his mind composed, his strength restored, and his spirits 
braced, in that gay city of Paris, hiding, perhaps, some earnest 
purpose amid his participation in its holiday enjoyments. 

He is now, as I have said, seated before his writing-table in 
deep thought. He takes up a letter which he had already 
glanced over hastily, and reperuses it with more care. 

The letter is from his cousin, the Duke of Alton, who had 
succeeded a few years since to the family honors an able 
man, with no small degree of information, an ardent politician, 
but of very rational and temperate opinions ; too much occu- 
pied by the cares of a princely estate to covet office for him- 
self ; too sincere a patriot not to desire office for those to 
whose hands he thought the country might be most safely 



66 THE PARISIANS. 

entrusted ; an intimate friend of Graham's. The contents of 
the letter are these : 

MY DEAR GRAHAM : 

I trust that you will welcome the brilliant opening into pub- 
lic life which these lines are intended" to announce to you. 
Vavasour has just been with me to say that he intends to resign 
his seat for the county when Parliament meets, and agreeing 
with me that there is no one so fit to succeed him as yourself, 
he suggests the keeping his intention secret until you have 
arranged your committee and are prepared to take the field. 
You cannot hope to escape a contest ; but I have examined 
the Register, and the party has gained rather than lost since 
the last election, when Vavasour was so triumphantly returned. 
The expenses for this county, where there are so many out- 
voters to bring up, and so many agents to retain, -are always 
large in comparison with some other counties ; but that con- 
sideration is all in your favor, for it deters Squire Hunston, the 
only man, who could beat you, from starting ; and to your 
resources a thousand "pounds more or less are a trifle not worth 
discussing. You know how difficult it is nowadays to find a 
seat for a man of moderate opinions like yours and mine. Our 
county would exactly suit you. The constituency is so evenly 
divided between the urban and rural populations, that its repre- 
sentative must fairly consult the interests of both. He can be 
neither an ultra-Tory nor a violent Radical. He is left to the 
enviable freedom, to which you say you aspire, of considering 
what is best for the country as a whole. 

Do not lose so rare an opportunity. There is but one draw- 
back to your triumphant candidature. It will be said that you 
have no longer an acre in the county in which the Vanes have 
been settled so long. That drawback can be removed. It is 
true that you can never hope to buy back the estates which 
you were compelled to sell at your father's death the old 
manufacturer gripes them too firmly to loosen his hold ; and 
after all, even were your income double what it is, you would 
be overhoused in the vast pile in which your father buried so 
large a share of his fortune. But that beautiful old hunting- 
lodge, the Stamm Schloss of your family, with the adjacent 
farms, can be now repurchased very reasonably. The brewer 
who bought them is afflicted with an extravagant son. whom 

he placed in the Hussars, and will gladly sell the property 

for ^5000 more than he gave : well worth the difference, as 
he has improved the farm -buildings and raised the rental. I 



THE PARISIANS. 67 

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

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

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

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

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

" The same, monsieur." 

" Admit him, of course." 

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

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



68 THE PARISIANS. 

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

" Ah Louise ! " 

" Yes, the daughter of a perfumer, aged twenty-eight. She, 
therefore, is not the Louise you seek. Permit me to refer to 
your instructions." Here M. Renard took out a note-book, 
turned over the leaves, and resumed " Wanted, Louise Duval, 
daughter of Auguste Duval, a French drawing-master, who 
lived for many years at Tours, removed to Paris in 1845, lived 
at No. 12 Rue de S at Paris for some years, but after- 
wards moved to a different quartier of the town, and died, 

1848, in Rue L , No. 39. Shortly after his death, his 

daughter Louise left that lodging, and could not be traced. 
In 1849 official documents reporting her death were forwarded 
from Munich to a person (a friend of yours, monsieur). Death, 
of course, taken for granted ; but nearly five years afterwards, 
this very person encountered the said Louise Duval at Aix-la- 
Chapelle, and never heard nor saw more of her. Demande 
submitted, to find out said Louise Duval or any children of 
hers born in 1848-9 ; supposed in 1852-3 to have one child, a 
girl, between four and five years old. Is that right, mon- 
sieur ? " 

"Quite right." 

"And this is the whole information given to me. Monsieur 
on giving it asked me if I thought it desirable that he should 
commence inquiries at Aix-la-Chapelle, where Louise Duval 
was last seen by the person interested to discover her. I 
reply, No ; pains thrown away. Aix-la Chapelle is not a place 
where any Frenchwoman not settled there by a marriage 
would remain. Nor does it seem probable that the said Duval 
would venture to select for her residence Munich, a city in 
which she had contrived to obtain certificates of her death. 
A Frenchwoman who has once known Paris always wants to 
get back to it ; especially, monsieur, if she has the beauty 
which you assign to this lady. I therefore suggested that our 
inquiries should commence in this capital. Monsieur agreed 
with me, and I did not grudge the time necessary for investi- 
gation." 

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

"Naturally. Permit me to return to my notes. Monsieur 
informs me that twenty-one years ago, in 1848, the Parisian 



THE PARISIANS. 6<) 

police were instructed to find out this lady and failed, but gave 
hopes of discovering her through her relations. He asks rne 
to refer to our archives ; I tell him that is no use. However, 
in order to oblige him, I do so. No trace of such inquiry ; it 
must have been, as monsieur led me to suppose, a strictly 
private one, unconnected with crime or with politics ; and as I 
have the honor to tell monsieur, no record of such investiga- 
tion is preserved in our office. Great scandal would there be, 
and injury to the peace of families, if we preserved the results 
of private inquiries intrusted to us by absurdly jealous hus- 
bands, for instance. Honor, monsieur, honor forbids it. 
Next I suggest to monsieur that his simplest plan would be an 
advertisement in the French journals, stating, if I understand 
him right, that it is for the pecuniary interest of Madame or 
Mademoiselle Duval, daughter of Auguste Duval, artiste en 
dcssin, to come forward. Monsieur objects to that." 

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

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

:< I have no reason to think that she has ; and there are 
reasons against the supposition that she married after 1849." 

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

" I have given you all the details I can, and, aware of the 
difficulty of tracing a person with a name so much the reverse 
of singular, I adopted your advice in our first interview, of ask- 
ing some Parisian friend of mine, with a large acquaintance in 
the miscellaneous societies of your capital, to inform me of 
any ladies of that name whom he might chance to encounter ; 
and he, like you, has alighted upon one or two, who. alas ! 
resemble the right one in name, and nothing more." 

" You do wisely to keep him on the watch as well as myself. 



7O THE PARISIANS. 

If it were but a murderess or a political incendiary, then you 
might trust exclusively to the enlightenment of our corps, but 
this seems an affair of sentiment, monsieur. /Sentiment is not 
in our way. Seek the trace of that in the haunts of pleasure." 

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

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

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

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

MY DEAR COUSIN : 

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

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



CHAPTER II. 

AT about the same hour on the same day in which the En- 
glishman held the conference with the Parisian detective just 
related, the Marquis de Rochebriant found himself by appoint- 
ment in the cabinet d'affaires of his avoue 1 M. Gandrin : that 
gentleman had hitherto not found time to give him a definitive 
opinion as to the case submitted to his judgment. The avoue 
received Alain with a kind of forced civility, in which the 



iHE PARISIANS. 71 

natural intelligence of the Marquis, despite his inexperience of 
life, discovered embarrassment. 

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

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

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

"Monsieur," said the Marquis, with that inborn- imperturb- 
able loftiness of sang-froid which has always in adverse circum- 
stances characterized the French noblesse, "be kind enough to 
restore my papers. I see that you are not the man for me. 
Allow me only to thank you, and inquire the amount of my 
debt for the trouble I have given." 

" Perhaps you are quite justified in thinking I am not the 
man for you, Monsieur le Marquis ; and your papers shall, if 
you decide on dismissing me, be returned to you this evening. 
But as to my accepting remuneration where I have rendered 
no service, I request M. le Marquis to put that out of the ques- 
tion. Considering myself, then, no longer your avoue, do not 
think I take too great a liberty in volunteering my counsel as a 
friend or a friend at least to M. Hebert, if you do not 
vouchsafe my right so to address yourself."- 

M Gandrin spoke with a certain dignity of voice and manner 
which touched and softened his listener. 

" You nvake me your debtor far more than I pretend to repay," 
replied Alain. " Heaven knows I want a friend, and I will 
heed with gratitude and respect all your counsels in that char- 
acter." 

" Plainly and briefly, my advice is this : Monsieur Lottvier 
is the principal mortgagee. He is among the six richest capital- 



71 THE PARISIANS. 

ists of Paris. He does not, therefore, want money, but, like 
most self-made men, he is very accessible to social vanities. He 
would be proud to think he had rendered a service to a Roche- 
briant. Approach him, either through me, or, far better, at 
once introduce yourself, and propose to consolidate all your 
other liabilities in one mortgage to him, at a rate of interest 
lower than that which is now paid to some of the small mort- 
gagees. This would add considerably to your income and 
would carry out M. Hebert's advice." 

"But does it not strike you, dear M. Gandtin, that such 
going cap-in-hand to one who has power over my fate, while I 
have none over his, would scarcely be consistent with my self- 
respect, not as Rochebriant only, but as Frenchman?" 

" It does not strike me so in the least ; at all events, I could 
make the proposal on your behalf, without compromising your- 
self, though I should be far more sanguine of success if you 
addressed M. Louvier in person." 

"I should nevertheless prefer leaving it in your hands : but 
even for that I must take a few days to consider. Of all the 
mortgagees, M. Louvier has been hitherto the severest and 
most menacing, the one whom Hebert dreads the most ; and 
should he become sole mortgagee, my whole estate would pass 
to him if, through any succession of bad seasons and failing 
tenants, the interest was not punctually paid." 

" It could so pass to him now." 

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

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

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

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

The Marquis had no sooner quitted the house than M. Gan- 



THE PARISIANS. 73 

drin opened a door at the side of his office, and a large, portly 
man strode into the room stride it was rather than step firm, 
self-assured, arrogant, masterful. 

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

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

u To-morrow I dine with my friend O , to meet the chiefs 

of the Opposition," said Mons." Louvier, with a sort of careless, 
rollicking pomposity. " Thursday with Pereire ; Saturday I 
entertain at home. Say Friday. Your hour? " 

" Seven." 

" Good ! Show me those Rochebriant papers again ; there is 
something I had forgotten to 'note. Never mind me. Go on 
with your work as if I were not here." 

Louvier took up the papers, seated himself in an arm-chair 
by the fireplace, stretched out his legs, and read at his ease, 
but with a very rapid eye, as a practised lawyer skims through 
the technical forms of a case to fasten upon the marrow of it. 

" Ah ! as I thought. The farms could not pay even the 
interest on my present mortgage ; the forests come in for that. 
If a contractor for the yearly sale o'f the woods, was bankrupt 
and did not pay, how could I get my interest ? Answer me 
that, Gandrin." 

" Certainly you must run the risk of that chance." 

" Of course the chance occurs, and then I foreclose * I 
seize Rochebriant and its seigneuries are mine." 

As he spoke he laughed, not sardonically a jovial laugh 
and opened wide, to reshut as in a vise, the strong iron hand 
which had doubtless closed over many a man's all. 

"Thanks. On Friday, seven o'clock." He tossed the papers 
back on the bureau, nodded a royal nod, and strode forth 
imperiously as he had strided in. 



CHAPTER III. 

MEANWHILE the young Marquis pursued his way thoughtfully 
through the streets, and entered the Champs Elyse"es. Since 

* For the sake of the general reader, English technical words arc here, as elsewhre, 
substituted as much as possible for French. 



74 ' THE PARISIANS. 

we first, nay, since we last saw him, he is strikingly improved 
in outward appearances. He has unconsciously acquired 
more of the easy grace of the Parisian in gait and bearing. 
You would no longer detect the Provincial ; perhaps, how- 
ever, because he is now dressed, though very simply, in habil- 
iments that belong to the style of the day. Rarely among 
the loungers in the Champs Elysees could be seen a finer form, 
a comelier face, an air of more unmistakable distinction. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

" And am I to be left alone to achieve a conquest, in which, 
if I succeed, I shall change into hate and envy the affection 
of my two best friends ? Be it so. 

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

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

" Bah ! " cried Frederic ; " come, franc jeu cards on the 



THE PARISIANS. 75 

table M. Gram Varn was going into the Bois at my suggestion 
on the chance of having another look at the pearl-colored 
angel ; and you, Rochebriant, can't deny that you were going 
into the Bois for the same object." 

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

" Adieu, then, recreants ; I go alone. Victory or death." 
' The Parisian beckoned his coachman, entered his carriage, 
and with a mocking grimace kissed his hand to the companions 
thus deserting or deserted. 

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

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

Alain smiled. " No. Frederic's real nature is an admirable 
one ; and if he ever do anything that he ought to be ashamed 
of, 'twill be from the pride of showing how finely he can do it. 
Such was his character at college, and such it still seems at 
Paris. But it is true that the lady has forsaken her former 
walk ; at least I I have not seen her since the day I first 
beheld her in company wilh Frederic. Yet yet, pardon me, 
you were going to the Bois on the chance of seeing her. Per- 
haps she has changed the direction of her walk, and and " 

The Marquis stopped short, stammering and confused. 

The Englishman scanned his countenance with the rapid 
glance of a practised observer of men and things, and after a 
short pause, said : "If the lady has selected some other spot 
for her promenade, I am ignorant of it; nor have I even volun- 
teered the chance of meeting with her, since I learned first 
from Lemercier, and afterwards from others that her destina- 
tion is the stage. Let us talk frankly. Marquis. I am accus' 



}6 THE PARISIANS. 

tomed to take much exercise on foot, and the Boisis my favorite 
resort. One day I there found myself in the allee which the 
lady we speak of used to select for her promenade, and there 
saw her. Something in her face impressed me ; how shall I 
describe the impression ? Did you ever open a poem, a romance, 
in some style wholly new to you, and before you were quite 
certain whether or not its merits justified the interest which 
the novelty inspired, you were summoned away, or the book 
was taken out of your hands ? If so, did you not feel an intel- 
lectual longing to have another glimpse of the book? That 
illustration describes my impression, and I own that I twice 
again went to the same allee. The last time I only caught 
sight of the young lady as she was getting into her carriage. 
As she was then borne away, I perceived one of the custodians 
of the Bois ; and learned, on questioning him, that the lady 
was in the habit of walking always alone in the same allee at 
the same hour on most fine days, but that he did not know 
her name or address. A motive of curiosity perhaps an idle 
one then made me ask Lemercier, who boasts of knowing his 
Paris so intimately, if he could inform me who the lady was. 
He undertook to ascertain." 

" But," interposed the Marquis, "he did not ascertain who 
she was ; he only ascertained where she lived, and that she 
and an elder companion were Italians, whom he suspected, 
without sufficient ground, to be professional singers." 

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

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

him incidentally if he knew the fair neighbor whose face had 
so attracted me ; and Mrs. Morley being present, and over- 
hearing me, I learned from both what I now repeat to you. 

" The young lady is a Signorina Cicogna at Paris, exchang- 
ing (except among particular friends), as is not unusual, the 
outlandish designation of signorina for the more conventional 
one of mademoiselle. Her father was a member of the noble 
Milanese family of the same name, therefore the young lady is 
well-born. Her father has been long dead ; his widow married 
again an English gentleman settled in Italy, a scholar and 
antiquarian ; his name was Selby. This gentleman, also dead, 
bequeathed the Signorina a small but sufficient competence. 
She is now an orphan, and residing with a companion, a Sig- 



THE PARISIANS. *y 

nora Venosta, who was once a singer of some repute at ihr 
Neapolitan Theatre, in the orchestra of which her husband wan 
principal performer ; but she relinquished the stage several 
years ago on becoming a widow, and gave lessons as a teacher 
She has the character of being a scientific musician, and ol 
unblemished private respectability. Subsequently she was 
induced to give up general teaching, and undertake the musical 
education and the social charge of the yonng lady with her. 
This girl is said to have early given promise of extraordinary 
excellence as a singer, and excited great interest among a 
coterie of literary critics and musical cognoscenti. She was to 
have come out at the Theatre of Milan a year or t\vo ago, bu* 
her career has been suspended in consequence of ill-health, for 
which she is now at Paris under the care of an English physi- 
cian, who has made remarkable cures in all complaints of the 

respiratory organs. M , the great composer, who knows 

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

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

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

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

" Lemercier's account was not strictly accurate. He stopped 
his carriage to speak to me on quite another subject, on which 
I have consulted him, and then proposed to take me on to the 
Bois. I assented ; and it was not till we were in the carriage 
that he suggested the idea of seeing whether the pearly-robed 
lady had resumed her walk in the allee. You may judge how 
indifferent I was to that chance when I preferred turning back 
with you to. going on with him. Between you and me, Marquis, 
to men of our age, who have the business of life before them, 
and feel that if there be aught in which noblesse oblige it is a 
severe devotion to noble objects, there is nothing more fatal 
to such devotion than allowing the heart to be blown hither 
and thither at every breeze of mere fancy, and dreaming our- 
selves into love with some fair creature whom we never could 
marry consistently with the career we have set before our 



?8 THE PARISIANS. 

ambition. I could not marry an actress ; neither, I presume, 
could the Marquis de Rochebriant ; and the thought of a 
courtship which excluded the idea of marriage to a young 
orphan of name unblemished, of virtue unsuspected, would 
certainly not be compatible with 'devotion to noble objects.'" 

Alain involuntarily bowed his head in assent to the proposi- 
tion, and, it may be, in submission to an implied rebuke. The 
two men walked in silence for some minutes, and Graham first 
spoke, changing altogether the subject of conversation. 

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

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

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

"Mine?" 

"Yes ; Duplessis, the rising financier who rather to my sur- 
prise was not only present among these official and decorated 
celebrities, but apparently quite at home among them asked 
the Duchess if she had not seen you since your arrival at Paris. 
She replied : ' No ; that though you were among her nearest 
connections, you had not called on her ' ; and bade Duplessis 
tell you that you were a monstre for not doing so. Whether ot- 
not Duplessis will take that liberty 1 know not ; but you must 
pardon me if 1 do. She is a very charming woman, full of 
talent ; and that stream of the world which reflects the stars, 
with all their mythical influences on fortune, flows through her 
salons." 

" I am not born under those stars. I am a Legitimist." 

" I did not forget your p^itical creed ; but in England the 
leaders of opposition attend the salons of the Prime Minister. 
A man is not supposed to compromise his opinions because he 
exchanges social courtesies with those to whom his opinions 
are hostile. Pray excuse me if I am indiscreet I 'speak as a 
traveller who asks for information but do the Legitimists really 
believe that they best serve their cause by declining any mode 
of competing with its opponents ? Would there not be a fairer 
chance for the ultimate victory of their principles if they made 



THE PARISIANS. 79 

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

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

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

" Beautifully said ! " exclaimed the Marquis. 

" Not if Le beau est toujours le vrai. My father, no inex- 
perienced nor unwise politician, in repeating the royal words, 
remarked : ' The fallacy of the Count's argument is in its 
metaphor. A man is not a shore. Do you not think that the 
seamen on board the wrecks would be more grateful to him who 



8o THE PARISIANS. 

did not complacently compare himself to a shore, but con- 
sidered himself a human being like themselves, and risked his 
own life in a boat, even though it were a cockle-shell, in the 
chance of saving theirs ? ' ' 

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

The Englishman resumed : " Need I say, my dear Marquis, 
that I am not a Legitimist ? I am not an Imperialist, neither 
am I an Orleanist, not a Republican. Between all those politi- 
cal divisions it is for Frenchmen to make their choice, and for 
Englishmen to accept for France that government which France 
has established. I view things here as a simple observer. 
But it strikes me that if I were a Frenchman in your position, 
I should think myself unworthy my ancestors if I consented 
to be an insignificant looker-on." 

"You are not in my position," said the Marquis, half mourn- 
fully, half haughtily, "and you can scarcely judge of it even 
in imagination." 

"I need not much task my imagination ; I judge of it by 
analogy. I was very much in your position when I entered 
upon what I venture to call my career ; and it is the curious 
similarity between us in circumstances, that made me wish for 
your friendship when that similarity was made known to me 
by Lemercier, who is not less garrulous than the true Parisian 
usually is. Permit me to say that, like you, I was reared in 
some pride of no inglorious ancestry. I was reared also in 
the expectation of great wealth. Those expectations were not 
realized : my father had the fault of noble natures generosity 
pushed to imprudence : he died poor and in debt. You retain 
the home of your ancestors ; Fbad to resign mine." 

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

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

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



THE PARISIANS. 8l 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

" Hcin ! I doubt his leniency," said Alain. "I have prom- 
ised my avoue to meet him at dinner. Do you think I did 
wrong ? " 

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

Lemercier's coupe stopped beside the footpath. " What tid- 
ings of the Belle Inconnue 1 }" asked the Englishman. 

" None ; she was not there. But I am rewarded such an 
adventure a dame of the haule voice I believe she is a duch- 
ess. She was walking with a lap-dog, a pure Pomeranian. A 
strange poodle flew at the Pomeranian, I drove off the poodle, 



82 THE PARISIANS. 

rescued the Pomeranian, received the most gracious thanks, 
the sweetest smile -fetnme superbe, middle aged. I prefer 
women of forty. Au revoir, I am due at the club." 

Alain felt a sensation of relief that Lemercier had not seen 
the lady in the pearl-colored dress, and quitted the English- 
man with a lightened heart. 



CHAPTER IV. 

" Piccola, piccolo, ! com I cortese ! another invitation from M. 
Louvier for next Saturday conversazione" This was said in 
Italian by an elderly lady bursting noisily into the room 
elderly, yet with a youthful expression of face, owing perhaps 
to a pajr of very vivacious black eyes. She was dressed after 
a somewhat slatternly fashion, in a wrapper of crimson merino 
much the worse for wear, a blue handkerchief twisted turban- 
like round her head, and her feet encased in list slippers. The 
person to whom she addressed herself was a young lady with 
dark hair, which, despite its evident redundance, was restrained 
into smooth, glossy braids over the forehead, and at the crown 
of the small graceful head into the simple knot which Hor- 
ace has described as "Spartan." Her dress contrasted the 
speaker's by as exquisite neatness. We have seen her before 
as the lady in the pearl-colored robe, but seen now at home 
she looks much younger. She was one of those whom, en- 
countered in the streets or in society, one might guess to be 
married probably a young bride ; for thus seen there was 
about her an air of dignity and of self-possession which suits 
well with the ideal of chaste, youthful matronage ; and in the 
expression of the face there was a pensive thoughtfulness be- 
yond her years. But as she now sat by the open window ar- 
ranging flowers in a glass bowl, a book lying open on her lap, 
you would never have said : " What a handsome woman ! " 
You would have said : " What a charming girl ! " All about 
her was maidenly, innocent, and fresh. The dignity of her 
bearing was lost in household ease, the pensiveness^of her ex- 
pression in an untroubled, serene sweetness. 

Perhaps many of my readers may have known friends en; 
gaged in some absorbing cause of thought, and who are in the 
habit when they go out, especially if on solitary walks, to take 
that cause of- thought with them. The friend may be an ora- 
tor meditating his speech, a poet his verses, a lawyer a difficult 
case, a physician an intricate malady. If you have such a 

\ 



THE PARISIANS. 83 

friend, and you observe him thus away from his home, his face 
will seem to you older and graver. He is absorbed in the care 
that weighs on him. When you see him in a holiday moment 
at his own fireside, the care is thrown aside ; perhaps he mas- 
tered while abroad the difficulty that had troubled him ; he is 
cheerful, pleasant, sunny. This appears to be very much the 
case with persons of genius. When in their own houses we 
usually find them very playful and childlike. Mest persons of 
real genius, whatever they may seem out of doors, are very 
sweet-tempered at home, and sweet temper is sympathizing and 
genial in the intercourse of private life. Certainly, observing 
this girl as she now bends over the flowers, it would be diffi- 
cult to believe her to be the Isaura Cicogna whose letters to 
Madame de Grantmesnil exhibit the doubts and struggles of an 
unquiet, discontented, aspiring mind. Only in one or two pas- 
sages in those letters would you have guessed at the writer in 
the girl as we now see her. 

It is in those passages where she expresses her love of har- 
mony, and her repugnance to contest ; those were character- 
istics you might have read in her face. 

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

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



84 THE PARISIANS. 

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

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

There are two kinds of neatness : one is too evident, and 
makes everything about it seem trite and cold and stiff, and an- 
other kind of neatness disappears from our sight in a satisfied 
sense of completeness like some exquisite, simple, finished 
style of writing, an Addison's or a St. Pierre's. 



THE PARISIANS. 85 

This last sort of neatness belonged to Isaura, and brought to 
mind th"e well-known line of Catullus when on recrossing his 
threshold he invokes its welcome a line thus not inelegantly 
translated by Leigh Hunt : 

" Smile every dimple on the cheek of Home." 

I entreat the reader's pardon for this long descriptive digres 
sion ; but Jsaura is one of those characters which are called 
many-sided, and therefore not very easy to comprehend. She 
gives us one side of her character in her correspondence with 
Madame de Grantmesil, and another side of it in her own home 
with her Italian companion, half nurse, half chaperon. 

" Monsieur Louvier is indeed very courteous," said Isaura, 
looking up from the flowers with the dimpled smile we have 
noticed. "But I think, madre, that we should do well to stay 
at home on Saturday ; not peacefully, for I owe you your re- 
venge at euchre." 

"You can't mean it, Piccolo, ! " exclaimed the Signora in 
evident consternation. " Stay at home ! Why stay at home ? 
Euchre is very well when there is nothing else to do ; but 
change is pleasant ; le bon Dieu likes it : 

' Ne caldo ne gelo 
Resta mai in cielo.' 

And such beautiful ices one gets at M. Louvier's. Did you 
taste the pistachio ice? What fine rooms, and so well lit up ! 
I adore light. And the ladies so beautifully dressed ; one sees 
the fashions. Stay at home, play at euchre indeed ! ficcola, 
you cannot be so cruel to yourself ; you are young." 

" But, dear madre, just consider : we are invited because we 
are considered professional singers ; your reputation as such is 
of course established, mine is not : but still I shall be asked to 

sing as I was asked before ; and you know Dr. C forbids 

me to do so except to a very small audience ; and it is so un- 
gracious always to say 'No'; and besides, did you not yourself 
say, when we came away last time from M. Louvier's, that it 
was very dull ; that you knew nobody ; and that the ladies had 
such superb toilettes that you felt mortified and " 

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

"But, dear madre, the jacket is certainly very handsome, and 
will make an effect in a little dinner at the Savarins or Mrs. 



86 THE PARISIANS. 

Morley's. But in a great formal reception like M. Louvier's 
will it not look " 

" Splendid ! " interrupted the Signora. 

" But singolare." 

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

Isaura sighed. Now the jacket of the Signora was a subject 
of disquietude to her friend. It so happened that a young 
English lady of the highest rank and the rarest beauty had ap- 
peared at M. Louvier's, and indeed generally in the beau monde 
of Paris, in a Greek jacket that became her very much. That 
jacket had fascinated, at M. Louvier's, the eyes of the Signora. 
But of this Isaura was unaware. The Signora, on returning 
home from M. Louvier's, had certainly lamented much over 
the mesquin appearance of her old-fashioned Italian habiliments 
compared with the brilliant toilette of the gay Parisiennes ; 
and Isaura quite woman enough to sympathize with woman 
in such womanly vanities proposed the next day to go with 
the Signora to one of the principal couturicres of Paris, and 
adapt the Signora's costume to the fashions of the place. But 
the Signora having predetermined on a Greek jacket, and 
knowing by instinct that Isaura would be disposed to thwart 
that splendid predilection, had artfully suggested that it would 
be better to go to the couturiere with Madame Savarin, as being 
a more experienced adviser and the coupe only held two. 

As Madame Savarin was about the same age as the Signora, 
and dressed as became her years, and in excellent taste, Isaura 
thought this an admirable suggestion ; and pressing into her 
chaperon's hand a billet ds banque sufficient to re-equip her cap- 
ci-pie, dismissed the subject from her mind. But the Signora 
was much too cunning to submit her passion for the Greek 
jacket to the discouraging comments of Madame Savarin. 
Monopolizing the coupe", she became absolute mistress of the 
situation. She went to no fashionable couturicres- She went 
to a magasin that she had seen advertised in the Pctites Affichcs 
as supplying superb costumes for fancy-balls and amateur per- 
formers in private theatricals. She returned home triumphant, 
with a jacket still more dazzling to the eye than that of the 
English lady. 

When Isaura first beheld it, she drew back in a sort of super- 
stitious terror, as of a comet or other blazing portent. 

" Cosa stupenda ! " (stupendous thing !) She might well be 
dismayed when the Signora proposed to appear thus attired in 



THE PARISIANS. 87 

M. Louvier's salon. What might be admired as coquetry of 
dress in a young beauty of rank so great that even a vulgarity 
in her would be called distinguee, was certainly an audacious 
challenge of ridicule in the elderly ci-devant music-teacher. 

But how could Isatira, how can any one of common humanity, 
say to a woman resolved upon wearing a certain dress : " You 
are not young and handsome enough for that ? " Isaura could 
only murmur : " For many reasons I would rather stay at home, 
dear madre." 

" Ah ! T see you are ashamed of me," said the Signora, 
in softened tones ; "very natural. When the nightingale sings 
no more, she is only an ugly brown bird "; and therewith the 
Signora Venosta seated herself submissively, and began to cry. 

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

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

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

CHAPTER V. 

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

The avoud had scarcely finished this little speech when M. 
Louvier was announced. He entered with a beaming smile, 
which did not detract from his imposing presence. His flat* 



88 THE PARISIANS. 

terers had told him that he had a look of Louis Philippe ; 
therefore he had sought to imitate the dress and the bonhomie 
of that monarch of the middle class. He wore a wig, elabo- 
rately piled up, and shaped his whiskers in royal harmony with 
the royal wig. Above all, he studied that social frankness of 
manner with which the able sovereign dispelled awe of his 
presence or dread of his astuteness. Decidedly he was a man 
very pleasant to converse and to deal with so long as there 
seemed to him something to gain and nothing to lose by being 
pleasant. He returned Alain's bow by a cordial offer of both 
expansive hands, into the grasp of which the hands of the aris- 
tocrat utterly disappeared. " Charmed to make your ac- 
quaintance, Marquis ; still more charmed if you will let me be 
useful during your sejour at Paris. Ma foi, excuse my blunt- 
ness, but you are a. fort beau garcon. Monsieur, your father 
was a handsome man, but you beat him hollow. Gandrin, my 
friend, would not you and I give half our fortunes for one year 
of this fine fellow's youth spent at Paris ! Peste! What love- 
letters we should have, with no need to buy them by billets de 
banque /" Thus he ran on, much to Alain's confusion, till 
dinner was announced. Then there was something grandiose 
in the frank bourgeois style wherewith he expanded his napkin 
and twisted one end into his waistcoat ; it was so manly a re- 
nunciation of the fashions which a man so repandu in all circles 
might be supposed to follow ; as if he were both too great and 
too much in earnest for such frivolities. He was evidently a 
sincere bon vivant, and M. Gandrin had no less evidently taken 
all requisite pains to gratify his taste. The Montrachet served 
with the oysters was of precious vintage. That vin de madere 
which accompanied the potage a la bisque would have contented 
an American. And how radiant became Louvier's face, when 
amongst the entrees he came upon laitances de carpes! " The 
best thing in the world," he cried, " and one gets it so seldom 
since the old Rocher de Cancale has lost its renown. At 
private houses what does one get now blanc de poulel flavor- 
less trash. After all, Gandrin, when we lose the love-letters, it 
is some consolation that laitances de carpes and sautes de foie 
gras are still left to fill up the void in our hearts. Marquis, 
heed my counsel ; cultivate betimes the taste for the table ; that 
and whist are the sole resources of declining years. You never 
met my old friend Talleyrand ah, no ! He was long before 
your time. He cultivated both, but he made two mistakes, 
No man's intellect is perfect on all sides. He confined him- 
self to one meal a day, and he never learned to play well at 



THE PARISIANS. 89 

whist. Avoid his errors, my young friend avoid them. 
Gandrin, I guess this pine-apple is English, it is superb." 

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

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

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

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

" I am so advised," said the Marquis. 

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

Here Gandrin returned with the cigars ; but Alain at that 
time never smoked, and Louvier excused himself, with a laugh 
and a sly wink, on the plea that he was going to pay his 
respects as doubtless that joli garfon was going to do, like- 
wise to a belle dame who did not reckon the smell of tobacco 
among the perfumes of Houbigant or Arabia. 

" Meanwhile," added Louvier, turning to Gandrin, " I have 
something to say to you on business about the contract for that 
new street of mine. No hurry ; after our yourfg friend has 
gone to his ' assignation.' " 

Alain could not misinterpret the hint ; and in a few moments 
took leave of his host, more surprised than disappointed that 



90 THE PARISIANS. 

the financier had not invited him, as Graham had assumed he 
would, to his soiree the following evening. 

When Alain was gone, Louvier's jovial manner disappeared 
also, and became bluffly rude rather than bluntly cordial. 

"Gandrin, what did you mean by saying that that young 
man was no muscadin ? Muscadin aristocrate offensive from 
top to toe." 

"You amaze me ! You seemed to take to him so cordially." 

"And pray, were you too blind to remark with what cold re- 
serve he responded to my condescensions? How he winced 
when I called him Rochebriant ! How he colored when I 
called him 'dear boy' ! These aristocrats think we ought to 
thank them on our knees when they take our money, and" 
here Louvier's face darkened "seduce our women." 

" Monsieur Louvier, in all France I do not know a greater 
aristocrat than yourself.'' 

I don't know whether M. Gandrin meant that speech as a 
compliment, but M. Louvier took it as such, laughed compla- 
cently, and rubbed his hands. "Ay, ay, millionnaires are the 
aristocrats, for they have power, as my beau Marquis will soon 
find. I must bid you good-night. Of course I shall see Ma- 
dame Gandrin and yourself to-morrow. Prepare for a motley 
gathering lots of democrats and foreigners, with artists and au- 
thors, and such creatures." 

"Is that the reason why you did not invite the Marquis?" 

" To be sure ; I would not shock so pure a Legitimist by 
contact with the sons of the people, and make him still colder 
to myself. No ; when he comes to my house he shall meet 
lions and inveurs of the haut ton, who will play into my hands 
by teaching him how to ruin himself in the quickest manner 
and in \.\\Q genre Rtfgence. Bon soir, monvieux" 



CHAPTER VI. 

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



THE PARISIANS. QI 

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

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

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

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

Louvier then became an ardent democrat, and recruited the 
fortune he had impaired by the aforesaid marriage, launched 
into colossal speculations, and became enormously rich. His 
aspirations for social rank now revived, but his wife- sadly in- 
terfered with them. She was thrifty by nature ; sympathized 
little with her husband's genius for accumulation ; always said 
he would end in a hospital ; hated Republicans ; despised au- 
thors and artists ; and by the ladies of the beau monde was 
pronounced common and vulgar. 

So long as she lived, it was impossible for Louvier to realize 
his ambition of having one of the salons which at Paris estab- 
lish celebrity and position. He could not then command 
those advantages of wealth which he especially coveted. He 
was eminently successful in doing this now. As soon as she 
was safe in Pere la Chaise, he enlarged his hotel by the pur- 
chase and annexation of an adjoining house ; redecorated 
and refurnished it, and in this task displayed, it must be said 
to his credit, or to that of the administrators he selected for 
the purpose, a nobleness of taste rarely exhibited nowadays. 
His collection of pictures, was not large, and consisted exclu- 
sively of the French school, ancient and modern, for in all 
tilings Louvier affected the patriot. But each of those pictures 
was a gem ; such Watteaus, such Greuzes, such landscapes by 
Patel, and, above all, such masterpieces by Ingres, Horace 
Vernet, and Delaroche, were worth all the doubtful originals 
of Flemish and Italian art which make the ordinary boast of 
private collectors. 

These pictures occupied two rooms of moderate size, built 



92 v THE PARISIANS. 

for their reception, and lighted from above. The great salon 
to which they led contained treasures scarcely less precious ; 
the walls were covered with the richest silks which the looms of 
Lyons could produce. Every piece of furniture here was a work 
of art in its way : console-tables of Florentine mosaic, inlaid 
with pearl and lapis-lazuli ; cabinets in which the exquisite 
designs of the renaissance were carved in ebony ; colossal 
vases of Russian malachite, but wrought by French artists. 
The very nick-nacks scattered carelessly about the room might 
have been admired in the cabinets of the Palazzo Pitti. Beyond 

this room lay the salle de dame, its ceiling painted by , 

supported by white marble columns, the glazed balcony and 
the angles of the room filled~with tiers of exotics. In the 
dining-room, on the same floor, on the other side of the land- 
ing-place, were stored in glazed buffets, not only vessels and 
salvers of plate, silver and gold, but, more costly still, match- 
less specimens of Sevres and Limoges, and mediaeval varieties 
of Venetian glass. On the ground floor, which opened on the 
lawn of a large garden, Louvier had his suite of private apart- 
ments, furnished, as he said, "simply, according to English 
notions of comfort." Englishmen would have said, " accord- 
ing to French notions of luxury." Enough of these details, 
which a writer cannot give without feeling himself somewhat 
vulgarized in doing so, but without a loose general idea of 
which a reader would not have an accurate conception of 
something not vulgar of something grave, historical, possibly 
tragical, the existence of a Parisian millionnaire at the date of 
this narrative. 

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

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

M. Louvier had his set evenings for popular assemblies. At 
these were entertained the Liberals of every shade, from tricolor 
to rouge, with the artists and writers most in vogue, pek-mele 



THE PARISIANS. 93 

with decorated diplomatists, ex-ministers, Orleanists, and 
Republicans, distinguished foreigners, plutocrats of the Bourse, 
and lions male and female from the arid nurse of that race, the 
Chaussee d'Antin. Of his more select reon-ions something will 
be said later. 

" And how does this poor Paris metamorphosed please 
Monsieur Vane?" asked a Frenchman with a handsome, intel- 
ligent countenance, very carefully dressed, though in a some- 
what bygone fashion, and carrying off his tenth lustrum with 
an air too sprightly to evince any sense of the weight. 

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

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

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

" Vicomte," answered Graham, " I have had the honor to 
know you since I was a small boy at the preparatory school 



94 THE PARISIANS. 

home for the holidays, and you were a guest at my father's 
country-house. You were then fete as one of the most prom- 
ising writers among the young men of the day, especially 
favored by the princes of the reigning family. I shall never 
forget the impression made on me by your brilliant appearance 
and your no less brilliant talk." 

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

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

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

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

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

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

'''Ah, nwn cher, vous tes trop aimable." 

" And therefore I venture to say this, if the archangel Gabriel 
were permitted to descend to Paris and form the best govern- 
ment for France that the wisdom of seraph could devise, it 
would not be two years I doubt if it would be six months 



THE PARISIANS. 95 



before out of this Paris, which you call the Foyer des 
would emerge a powerful party, adorned by yourself and other 
homines de plume, in favor o f a revolution for the benefit of 
ce bon Satan and ce cher petit Beelzebub." 

"What a pretty vein of satire you have, mon cfier/"sa.\d 
the Vicomte good-humoredly ; " there is a sting of truth in 
your witticism. Indeed, I must send you some articles of mine 
in which I have said much the same thing Ics beaux esprits se 
rencontrent. The fault of us French is impatience, desire of 
change ; but then it is that desire which keeps the world going 
and retains our place at the head of it. However, at this time 
we are all living too fast for our money to keep up with it, and 
too slow for our intellect not to flag. We vie with each other 
on the road to ruin, for in literature all the old paths to fame 
are shut up." . 

Here a tall gentleman, with whom the Vicomte had been con- 
versing before he accosted Vane, and who had remained beside 
])e Breze' listening in silent attention to this colloquy, inter- 
posed, speaking in the slow voice of one accustomed to meas- 
ure his words, and with a slight but unmistakable German ac- 
cent : " There is that, M. de Breze, which makes one think 
gravely of what yo'u say so lightly. Viewing things with the 
unprejudiced eyes of a foreigner, I recognize much for which 
France should be grateful to the Emperor. Under his sway 
her material resources have been marvellously augmented ; her 
commerce has been placed by the treaty with England on 
sounder foundations, and is daily exhibiting richer life ; her 
agriculture has made a prodigious advance wherever it has al- 
lowed room for capitalists, and escaped from the curse of petty 
allotments and peasant proprietors a curse which would have 
ruined any country less blessed by Nature ; turbulent factions 
have been quelled ; internal order maintained ; the external 
prestige of France, up at least to the date of the Mexican war, 
increased to an extent that might satisfy even a Frenchman's 
amour propre ; and her advance in civilization has been mani- 
fested by the rapid creation of a naval power which should put 
England on her mettle. But, on the other hand " 

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

" On the other hand there are in the imperial system two 
causes of decay and of rot silently at work. They may not be 
the faults of the Emperor, but they are such misfortunes as 
may cause the fall of the Empire. The first is an absolute di- 
vorce between the political system and the intellectual culture 
of the nation. The throne and the system rest on universal 



96 THE PARISIANS. 

suffrage ; on a suffrage which gives to classes the most ignorant 
a power that preponderates over all the healthful elements of 
knowledge. It is the tendency of all ignorant multitudes to 
personify themselves, as it were, in one individual. They can- 
not comprehend you when you argue for a principle ; they do 
comprehend you when you talk of a name. The Emperor Na- 
poleon is to them a name ; and the prefects and officials who 
influence their votes are paid for incorporating all principles in 
the shibboleth of that single name. You have thus sought the 
well-spring of a political system in the deepest stratum of pop- 
ular ignorance. To rid popular ignorance of its normal revo- 
lutionary bias, the rural peasants are indoctrinatetl with the 
conservatism that comes from the fear which appertains to 
property. They have their roods of land or their shares in a 
national loan. Thus you estrange the crassitude of an ignorant 
democracy still more from the intelligence of the educated 
classes by combining it with the most selfish and abject of all 
the apprehensions that are ascribed to aristocracy and wealth. 
What is thus embedded in the depths of your society makes it- 
self shown on the surface. Napoleon III. has been compared 
to Augustus ; and there are many startling similitudes between 
them in character and in fate. Each succeeds to the heritage 
of a great name that had contrived to unite autocracy with 
the popular cause. Each subdued all rival competitors, and 
inaugurated despotic rule in the name of freedom. Each min- 
gled enough of sternness with ambitious will to stain with blood- 
shed the commencement of his power ; but it would be an 
absurd injustice to fix the same degree of condemnation on the 
coup d'etat as humanity fixes on the earlier cruelties of Augustus. 
Each, once firm in his seat, became mild and clement: Augus- 
tus perhaps from policy, Napoleon III. from a native kindli- 
ness of disposition which no fair critic of character can fail to 
acknowledge. Enough of similitudes ; now for one salient dif- 
ference. Observe how earnestly Augustus strove, and how 
completely he succeeded in the task, to rally round him all the 
leading intellects in every grade and of every party : the fol- 
lowers of Antony, the friends of Brutus ; every great captain, 
every great statesman, every great writer, every man who could 
lend a ray of mind to his own Julian constellation, and make 
the age of Augustus an era in the annals of human intellect and 
genius. But this has not been the good fortune of your Em- 
peror. The result of his system has been the suppression of 
intellect in every department. He has rallied round him not 
one great statesman ; his praises are hymned by not one great 



THE PARISIANS. 97 

noet. The cclebritds of a former day stand aloof ; or, preferring 
exile to constrained allegiance, assail him with unremitting mis- 
siles from their asylum in foreign shores. His reign is sterile 
of new cttebrite's. The few that arise enlist themselves against 
him. Whenever he shall venture to give full freedom to the 
press and to the legislature, the intellect' thus suppressed or 
thus hostile will burst forth in collected volume. His partisans 
have not been trained and disciplined to meet such assailants. 
They will be as weak as no doubt they will be violent. And 
the worst is, that the intellect thus rising in mass against him 
will be warped and distorted, like captives who, being kept in 
chains, exercise their limbs, on escaping, in vehement Jumps, 
without definite object. The directors of emancipated opinion 
may thus be terrible enemies to the Imperial Government, but 
they will be very unsafe councillors to France. Concurrently 
with this divorce between the Imperial system and the national 
intellect a divorce so complete that even your salons have lost 
their wit, and even your caricatures their point a corruption 
of manners which the Empire, I own, did not originate, but in- 
-herit, has become so common that every one owns and nobody 
blames it. The gorgeous ostentation of the Court has perverted 
the habits of the people. The intelligence obstructed from 
other vents betakes itself to speculating for a fortune ; and the 
greed of gain and the passion for show are sapping the noblest 
elements of the old French manhood. Public opinion stamps 
with no opprobrium a minister or favorite who profits by a job ; 
and I fear that you will find that jobbing pervades all your ad- 
ministrative departments." 

" All very true," said De Breze, with a shrug of the shoul- 
ders and in a tone of levity that seemed to ridicule the asser- 
tion he volunteered ; "Virtue and Honor banished from courts 
and salons and the cabinets of authors, ascend to fairer heights 
in the attics of ouvriers." 

" The ouvners, ouvriers of Paris ! " cried this terrible Ger- 
man. 

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

" Monsieur," replied the German, " in the eyes of a states- 
man there are no petites gens, and in those of a philosopher no 
petites choses. We in Germany have too many difficult prob- 
lems affecting our working classes to solve, not to have in- 
duced me to glean all the information I can as to the ouvriers 
of Paris. They have among them men of aspirations as noble 



98 THE PARISIANS. 

as can animate the souls'of philosophers and poets, perhaps not 
the less noble because common-sense and experience cannot 
follow their flight. But, as a body, the ouvriers of Paris have 
not been elevated in political morality by the benevolent aim 
of the Emperor to find them ample work and good wages in- 
dependent of the natural laws that regulate the markets of 
labor. Accustomed thus to consider the State bound to main- 
tain them, the moment the State fails in that impossible task, 
they will accommodate their honesty to a rush upon property 
under the name of social reform. Have you not noticed how 
largely increased within the" last few years is the number of 
those who cry out, ' La Propriety cest le vol' ? Have you- con- 
sidered the rapid growth of the International Association ? I 
do not say that for all these evils the Empire is exclusively 
responsible. To a certain degree they are found in all rich 
communities, especially where democracy is more or less in the 
ascendant. To a certain extent they exist in the large towns 
of Germany ; they are conspicuously increasing in England ; 
they are acknowledged to be dangerous in the United States of 
America; they are, I am told on good authority, making them- 
selves visible with the spread of civilization in Russia. But 
under the French Empire they have become glaringly rampant, 
and I venture to predict that the day is not far off when the 
rot at work throughout all layers and strata of French society 
will insure a fall of the fabric at the sound of which the world 
will ring. 

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

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

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

"Goethe, of course trls joli Jcrivain" 

" Goethe said to some one who was making much the same 
remark as yourself : ' We Germans are in a state of revolution 
now, but we do things so slowly that it will be a hundred years 
before we Germans shall find it out. But when completed, it 
will be the greatest revolution society has yet seen, and will last 



THE PARISIANS. 99 

like the other revolutions that, beginning, scarce noticed, in 
Germany, have transformed the world." 

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

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

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

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

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

" A solemn pedant," answered the lively Vicomte ; " a Ger 
man count, que voulez-voits de plus? " 



100 THE PARISIANS. 



CHAPTER VII. 

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

Muttering "What she-mountebank have we here?" he sank 
into a chair behind the door, and fell into an absorbed revery. 
From this he was aroused by the cessation of the music, and 
the hum of subdued approbation by which it was followed. 
Above the hum swelled the imposing voice of M. Louvier, as 
he rose from a seat on the other side of the piano, by which his 
bulky form had been partially concealed. 

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

A voice so sweetly modulated, that if there were any sarcasm 
in the words it was lost in the softness of pathos, answered : 
"Nay, M. Louvier, he rather overtasks the words at my com- 
mand in thankfulness to those who, like yourself, so kindly 
regard me as something else than a singer." 

It was not the she-mountebank who thus spoke. Graham 
rose and looked round with instinctive curiosity. He met the 
face that he said had haunted him. She too had risen, stand- 



THE PARISIANS. IOI 

ing rieaf the piano, with one hand tenderly resting on the she- 
mountebank's scarlet and gilded shoulder the face that haunted 
him, and yet with a difference. There was a faint blush on 
the clear, pale cheek, a soft yet playful light in the grave, dark- 
blue eyes, which had not been visible i:i the countenance of 
the young lady in the pearl-colored robe. Graham did not 
hear Louvier's reply, though no doubt it was loud enough for 
him to hear. He sank again into revery. Other guests now 
came into the room, among them Frank Morley, styled Colonel 
(eminent military titles in the United States do not always 
denote eminent military services), a wealthy American, and his 
sprightly and beautiful wife. The Colonel was a clever man, 
rather stiff in his deportment, and grave in speech, but by no 
means without a vein of dry humor. By the French he was 
esteemed a high-bred specimen of the kind of grand seigneur 
which democratic republics engender. He spoke French like 
a Parisian, had an imposing presence, and spent a great deal 
of money with the elegance of a man of taste and the generos- 
ity of a man of heart. His high breeding was not quite so 
well understood by the English, because the English are apt to 
judge breeding by little conventional rules not observed by the 
American Colonel. He had a slight nasal twang, and intro- 
duced "sir" with redundant ceremony in addressing English- 
men, however intimate he might be with them, and had the 
habit (perhaps with a sly intention to startle or puzzle them) 
of adorninghis style of conversation with quaint Americanisms. 
. Nevertheless, the genial amiability and the inherent dignity 
of his character made him acknowledged as a thorough gentle- 
man by every Englishman, however conventional in tastes, 
who became admitted into his intimate acquaintance. 

Mrs. Morley, ten or twelve years younger than her husband, 
had no nasal twang, and employed no Americanisms in her 
talk, which was frank, lively, and at times eloquent. She had 
a great ambition to be esteemed of a masculine understand- 
ing : Nature unkindly frustrated that ambition in rendering 
her a model of feminine grace. Graham was intimately ac- 
quainted with Colonel Morley ; arfd with Mrs. Morley had 
contracted one of those cordial friendships, which, perfectly 
free alike from polite flirtation and Platonic attachment, do 
sometimes spring up between persons of opposite sexes with- 
out the slightest danger of changing their honest character into 
morbid sentimentality or unlawful passion. The Morleys 
stopped to accost Graham, but the lady had scarcely said three 
words to him before, catching sight of the haunting face, she 



102 THE PARISIANS. 

darted towards it. Her husband, less emotional, bowed at the 
distance, and said : " To my taste, sir, the Signorina Cicogna 
is the loveliest girl in the present bee,* and full of mind, sir." 

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

"I. have no't heard her sing," replied the American drily ; 
"and the words 'singing mind' are doubtless accurately 
English, since you employ them ; but at Boston the collocation 
would be deemed barbarous. You fly off the handle. The 
epithet, sir, is not in concord with the substantive." 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Poor dear madre" she murmured to herself in Italian. 

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

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

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



THE PARISIANS. IO3 

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

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

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

"There is nothing to forgive, monsieur." 

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

" How lovely Mrs. Morley is ! " 

" Yes, and I like the spirit and ease of her American manner : 
have you known her long, Mademoiselle ? " 

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

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

" What, you have heard her on that subject ?" 

" I have rarely heard her on any other, though she is the best 
and perhaps the cleverest friend I have at Paris ; but that may 
l>e my fault, for I like to start it. Id| s a relief to the languid 
small-talk of society to listen to any one thoroughly in earnest 
upon turning the world topsy-turvy." 

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

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

" I scarcely know what her opinions are, but " 

" Yes but ? " 

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

" Indeed ? A persuasion, a sentiment, for instance, that a 
woman should have votes in the choice of legislators, and, I 
presume, in the task of legislation ? " 

" No, that is not what I mean. Still, that is an opinion, 
right or wrong, which grows out of the sentiment I speak of." 

" Pray explain the sentiment." 

" It is always so difficult to define a sentiment, but does it 
wot strike you that in proportion as the tendency of modern 
civilization has been to raise women more and more to an in- 
tellectual equality with men in proportion as they read and 
study and think an uneasy sentiment, perhaps querulous, 
perhaps unreasonable, grows up within their minds that the 
conventions of the world are against the complete development 
of the faculties thus aroused and the ambition thus animated ; 



1O4 THE PARISIANS. 

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

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

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

" I believe," said Graham, after a pause, " that I compre- 
hend your sentiment much better than I do Mrs. Morley's 
opinions ; but permit me one observation. You say, truly, 
that the course of modern civilization has more or less affected 
the relative position of woman cultivated beyond that level on 
which she was formerly contented to stand the nearer per- 
haps to the heart of man because not lifting her head to his 
height ; and hence a sense of restlessness, uneasiness. But do 
you suppose that, in this whirl and dance of the atoms which 
compose the rolling ball of the civilized world, it is only 
women that are made restless and uneasy ? Do you not see 
amid the masses congregated in the wealthiest cities of the 



THE PARISIANS. 105 

world, writhings and struggles against the received order of 
things? In this sentiment of discontent there is a certain 
truthfulness, because it is an element of human nature ; and 
how best to deal with it is a problem yet unsolved. But in the 
opinions and doctrines to which, among the masses, the senti- 
ment gives birth, the wisdom of the wisest detects only the 
certainty of a common ruin, offering for reconstruction the 
same building materials as the former edifice materials not 
likely to be improved because they may be defaced. Ascend 
from the working classes to all others in which civilized cul- 
ture prevails, and you will find that same restless feeling ; the 
fluttering of untried wings against the bars between wider 
space and their longings. Could you poll all the educated 
ambitious young men in England, perhaps in Europe, at least 
half of them, divided between a reverence for the past and a 
curiosity as to the future, would sigh : " I am born a century 
too late or a century too soon ! " 

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

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



CHAPTER VIII. 

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

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

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



106 THE PARISIANS. 

Madame Savarin and Signora Venosta had each found their 
cavaliers, the Italian still retaining held of the portly connois- 
seur, and the Frenchwoman accepting the safeguard of the 
Vicomte de Breze. As they descended the stairs, Mrs. Mor- 
ley asked Graham what he thought of the young lady to whom 
she had presented him. 

" I think she is charming," answered Graham. 

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

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

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

" It strikes me that he would then have uttered a platitude 
more stolid than mine. Every Christian knows that the dullest 
human being has a soul. But, to speak frankly, I grant that 
my answer did not do justice to the Signorina, nor to the im- 
pression she makes on me ; and putting aside the charm of 
the face, there is a charm in a mind that seems to have gathered 
stores of reflection which I should scarcely have expected to 
find in a young lady brought up to be a professional singer." 

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

" I suppose I must not say, ' I shall be charmed," " answered 
Vane, " but I shall be." 

" Bon Dicu ! That horrid fat man has deserted Signora 
Venosta looking for his own cloak, I dare say. Selfish mon- 
ster ! Go and hand her to her carriage quick, it is an- 
nounced ! " 

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

The Signora grappled to him with a confiding familiarity. 

" I am afraid," she said in Italian, as they passed along the 
spacious hall to the porte cochtre ; " I am afraid that I did not 
make a good effect to-night ; I was nervous ; did not you per- 
ceive it ? " 



THE PARISIANS. 107 

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

" How amiable you are to say so ! You must think that I 
sought for a compliment. So I did ; you gave me more than 
I deserve. Wine is the milk of old men, and praise of old 
women. But an old man may be killed by too much wine, 
and an old woman lives all the longer for too much praise 
bii'ina no tie" 

Here she sprang, lithesomely enough, into the carriage, and 
Isaura followed, escorted by M. Savarin. As the two men 
returned towards the shawl-room, the Frenchman said : " Ma- 
dame Savarin and I complain that you have not let us see 
so much of you as we ought. No doubt you are greatly sought 
after ; but are you free to take your soup with us the day 
after to morrow ? You will meet the Count von Rudesheim 
and a few others more lively, if less wise." 

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

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

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

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

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

* A notion. 



IO8 THE PARISIANS. 

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

How our lives may be colored by that which seems to us 
the most trivial accident, the merest chance ! Suppose that 
Alain de Rochebriant had been invited to the reunion at M. 
Louvier's, and Graham Vane had accepted some other invita- 
tion and passed his evening elsewhere, Alain would probably 
have been presented to Isaura what then'' might have hap- 
pened ? The impression Isaura had already made upon the 
young Frenchman was not so deep as that made upon Graham ; 
but then, Alain's resolution to efface it was but commenced 
that day, and by no means yet confirmed. And if he had been 
the first clever young man to talk earnestly to that clever 
young girl, who can guess what impression he might have 
made upon her ? His conversation might have had less phil- 
osophy and strong sense than Graham's but more of poetic 
sentiment and fascinating romance. 

However, the history of events that do not come to pass is 
not in the chronicle of the Fates. 



BOOK III. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE next day the fjueste at the Morleys' had assembled 
when Vane entered. His apology for unpunctuality was cut 
short by the lively hostess : " Your pardon is granted without 
the humiliation of asking for it ; we know that the character- 
istic of the English is always to be a little behindhand." 

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

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

" No." 

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

" Why so ? " 



THE PARISIANS. 109 

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

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

Isaura colored, and turning to Graham, asked him in a low 
voice if he were fond of music. 

" I ought of course to say 'yes,' " answered Graham in the 
same tone; "but I doubt if that 'yes' would be an honest 
one. In some moods, music if a kind of music I like affects 
me very deeply ; in other moods, not at all. And I cannot 
bear much at a time. A concert wearies me shamefully ; even 
an opera always seems to me a great deal too long. But I 
ought to add that 1 am no judge of music ; that music was 
never admitted into my education ; and, between ourselves, 
I doubt if there be one Englishman in five hundred who would 
care for opera or concert if it were not the fashion to say he 
did. Does my frankness revolt you ? " 

"On the contrary, I sometimes doubt, especially of late, if I 
am fond of music myself." 

" Signorina pardon me it is impossible that you should 
not be. Genius can never be untrue~to itself, and must love 
that in which it excels; that ly \\ hich it communicates joy, 
and," he added, with a half-suppressed sigh, "attains to glory." 

" Genius is a divine word, and not to be applied to a singer," 
said Isaura, with a humility in which there was an earnest sad- 
ness. 

Graham was touched and startled ; but before he could 
answer, the American Minister appealed to him across the 
table, asking if he had quoted accurately a | assnge in a speech 
by Graham's distinguished father, in regard to tbe share which 
England ought to take in the political affaiis of Europe. 

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

Isaura listened to him with admiration. She was struck by 
what seemed to her a nobleness of sentiment which elevated 
his theme above the level of commonplace polemics. She was 
pleased to notice, in the attentive silence of his intelligent list- 
eners, that they shared the effect produced on herself. In 



110 THE PARISIANS. 

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

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

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

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

" But what recesses of mind, of heart, of soul, this untrans- 
latable language penetrates and brightens up ! How incom- 
plete the grand nature of man though man the grandest 
would be, if you struck out of his reason the comprehension o( 
poetry, music, and religion ! In each are reached and are 
sounded deeps in his reason otherwise concealed from himself. 
History, knowledge, science, stop at the point in which mys- 
tery begins. There they meet with the world of shadow. 
Not an inch of that world can they penetrate without the aid 
of poetry and religion, two necessities of intellectual man 
much more nearly allied than the votaries of the practical and 
the positive suppose. To the aid and elevation of both those 
necessities comes in music, and there has never existed a re- 
ligion in the world which has not demanded music as its ally. 
If, as I said. frankly, it is only in certain moods of my mind 
that I enjoy music, it is only because in certain moods of my 



THE PARISIANS. Ill 

mind I am capable of quitting the' guidance of prosaic reason 
for the world of shadow ; that I am so susceptible as at every 
hour, were my nature perfect, I should be to the mysterious 
influences of poetry and religion. Do you understand what I 
wish to express ?" 

" Yes, I do, and clearly." 

" Then, Signorina, you are forbidden to undervalue the gift 
of song. You must feel its power over the heart, when you 
enter the opera-house ; over the soul, when you kneel in a 
cathedral." 

" Oh," cried Isaura with enthusiasm, a rich glow mantling 
over her lovely face, " how I thank, you! Is it you who say 
you do not love music? How much better you understand it 
than I did till this moment ! " 

Here Mrs. Morley, joined by the American poet, came to 
the corner in which the Englishman arid the singer had niched 
themselves. The poet began to talk, the other guests gathered 
round, and every one listened reverentially till the party broke 
up. Colonel Morley handed Isaura to her carfiage, the she- 
mountebank again fell to the lot of Graham. 

" Signer," said -she, as he respectfully placed her shawl round 
her scarlet-and-gilt jacket, "are we so far from Paris that you 
cannot spare the time to call ? My child does not sing in 
public, but at home you can hear her. It is not every woman's 
voice that is sweetest at home." 

Graham bowed, and said he would call on the morrow. 

Isaura mused in silent delight over the words which had so 
extolled the art of the singer. Alas, poor child ! She could 
not guess that in those words, reconciling her to the profession 
of the-stage, the speaker was pleading against his own heart. 

There was in Graham's nature, as I think it commonly is in 
that of most true orators, a wonderful degree of intellectual con- 
science which impelled him to acknowledge the benignant in- 
fluences of song, and to set before the young singer the noblest 
incentives to the profession to which he deemed her assuredly 
destined. But in so doing he must have felt that he was widen- 
ing the gulf between her life and his own ; perhaps he wished 
to widen it in proportion as he dreaded to listen to any voice 
in his heart which asked if the gulf might not be overleapt. 



112 THE PARISIANS. 



CHAPTER II. 

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

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

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

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

But Graham was not at this time disposed to judge the poor 
Venosta kindly or fairly. Isaura had taken high rank in his 
thoughts. He felt an impatient resentment mingled with 
anxiety and compassionate tenderness at a companionship which 
seemed to him derogatory to the position he would have as- 
signed to a creature so gifted, and unsafe as a guide amidst 
the perils and trials to which the youth, the beauty, and the 
destined profession of Isaura were exposed. Like most En- 
glishmen especially Englishmen wise in the knowledge of 
life he held in fastidious regard the proprieties and conven- 
tions by which the dignity of woman is fenced round ; and of 
those proprieties and conventions the Venosta naturally ap- 
peare.d to him a very unsatisfactory guardian and represen- 
tative. 

Happily unconscious of these hostile prepossessions, the 
elder Signora chatted on very gayly to the visitor. She was in 
excellent spirits ; people had been very civil to her both at 
Colonel Morley's and M. Louvier's. The American Minister 
had praised the scarlet jacket. She was convinced she had 



THE PARISIANS. 113 

made a sensation two nights running. When the amour proprc 
is pleased, the tongue is freed. 

The Venosta ran on in praise of Paris and the Parisians, of 
Louvier and his soiree and the pistachio ice ; of the Americans 
and a certain creme de maraschino which she hoped the Signor 
Inglese had not failed to taste the creme de maraschino led her 
thoughts back to Italy. Then she grew mournful : how she 
missed the native beau del ! Paris was pleasant, but how ab- 
surd to call it " Le Paradis des Femmes" as if les Fernmes 
could find Paradise in a biouillard ! 

" But," she exclaimed, with vivacity of voice and gesticula- 
tion, " the Signor does not come to hear the parrot talk. He 
is engaged to come that he may hear the nightingale sing. A 
drop of honey attracts the fly more than a bottle of vinegar." 

Graham could not help smiling at this adage. " I submit," 
said he, "to your comparison, as regards myself ; but certainly 
anything less like a bottle of vinegar than your amiable con- 
versation I cannot well conceive. However, the metaphor 
apart, I scarcely know how I dare ask Mademoiselle to sing 
after the confession I made to her last night." 

" What confession ? " asked the Venosta. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

But the first note of the voi.ce held him spellbound : in itself, 
the organ was of the rarest order, mellow and rich, but so soft 
that its power was lost in its sweetness, and so exquisitely fresh 
in every note. 

But the singer's charm was less in voice than in feeling ; she 
conveyed to the listener so much more than was said by the 
words, or even implied by the music. Her song in this caught 



114 E PARISIANS. 

the art of the painter who impresses the mind with the con- 
sciousness of a something which the eye cannot detect on the 
canvas. 

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

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

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

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

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

" Yet," said Isaura, in a tone yet sadder, " I was told in my 
childhood, by one whose genius gives authority to her words, 
that beside the real world lies the ideal. ,The real world then 
seemed rough to me. ' Escape,' said my counsellor, 'is grant- 
ed from that stony thoroughfare into the fields beyond its 
formal hedgerows. The ideal world has its sorrows, but it 
never admits despair.' That counsel, then, methought, de- 
cided my choice of life. I know not now if it has done so." 

"Fate," answered Graham slowly and thoughtfully "Fate, 
which is not the ruler but the servant of Providence, decides our 
choice of life, and rarely from outward circumstances. Usual- 
ly the motive power is within. We apply the word genius to 
the minds of a gifted few ; but in all of us there is a genius 
that is inborn, a pervading something which distinguishes our 
very identity, and dictates to the conscience that which we are 
best fitted to 1 do and to be. In so dictating it compels our 
choice of life ; or if we resist the dictate, we find at the close 
that we have gone astray. My choice of life thus compelled 
is on the stony thoroughfares, yours is the green fields." 

As he thus said, his face became clouded and mournful. 

The Venosta, quickly tired of a conversation in which she 



THE PARISIANS. Jig 

had no part, and having various little household matters to at- 
tend to, had during this dialogue slipped unobserved from the 
room ; yet neither Isaura nor Graham felt the sudden con- 
sciousness that they were alone which belongs to lovers. 

" Why," asked Isaura, with that magic smile reflected in 
countless dimples which, even when her words were those of 
man's reasoning, made them seem gentle with a woman's senti- 
ment ; "Why must your road through the world be so exclu- 
sively the stony one? It is not from necessity, it cannot be 
from taste. And whatever definition you give to genius, surely 
it is not your own inborn genius that dictates to you a constant 
exclusive adherence to the commonplace of life." 

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

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

" Let us dismiss the word orator : as applied to English pub- 
lic life, it is a very deceptive expression. The Englishman 
who wishes to influence his countrymen by force of .words 
spoken must mix with them in their beaten thoroughfares ; 
must make himself master of their practical views and inter- 
ests ; must be conversant with their prosaic occupations and 
business ; must understand how to adjust their loftiest aspi- 
rations to their material welfare ; must avoid, as the fault most 
dangerous to himself and to others, that kind of eloquence 
which is called oratory in France, and which has helped to 
make the French the worst politicians in Europe. Alas, Mad- 
emoiselle, I fear that an English statesman would appear to 
you a very dull orator." 

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

"Yet what?" 

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

" How so ? " 

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

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

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



Il6 THE PARISIANS. 

nature has fitted you to be were it not " He paused 
abruptly. 

This outburst took Isaura utterly by surprise. She had been 
accustomed to the language of compliment till it had begun to 
pall, but a compliment of this kind was the first that had ever 
reached her ear. She had no words in answer to it ; involun- 
tarily she placed her hand on her heart as if to still its beatings. 
But the unfinished exclamation, " Were it not," troubled her 
more than the preceding words had flattered ; and mechani- 
cally she murmured, " Were it not what ? " 

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

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

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

Isaura had turned away her face to hide tears that would 
force their way, but she held out her hand to him with a child- 
like frankness, and said softly, " I am not offended." Graham 
did not trust himself to continue the same strain of conversa- 
tion. Breaking into a new subject, he said, after a constrained 
pause : '' Will you think it very impertinent in so new an ac- 
quaintance, if I ask how it is that you, an Italian, know our 
language as a native? And is it by Italian teachers that you 
have been trained to think and to feel?" 

" Mr. S-lby, my second father, was an Englishman, and did 
not speak any other language with comfort to himself. He 
was very fond of me, and had he been really my father I could 
not have loved him more : we were constant companions till 
till I lost him." 

" And no mother left to console you." Isaura shook her 
head mournfully, and the Venosta here re-entered. 



THE PARISIANS. 117 

Graham felt conscious that he had already stayed too long, 
and took leave. 

They knew that they were to meet that evening at the 
Savarins. 

To Graham that thought was not one of unmixed pleas- 
ure ; the more he knew of Isaura, the more he felt self- reproach 
that he had allowed himself to know her at all. 

But after he had left Isaura sang low to herself the song 
which had so affected her listener ; then she fell into abstracted 
revery, but-she felt a strange and new sort of happiness. In 
dressing for M. Savarin's dinner, and twining the classic ivy 
wreath into her dark locks, her Italian servant exclaimed, 
" How beautiful the Signorina looks to-night ! " 



CHAPTER III. 

M. SAVARIN was one of the most brilliant of that galaxy of 
literary men which shed lustre on the reign of Louis Philippe. 

His was an intellect peculiarly French in its lightness and 
grace. Neither England nor Germany nor America has pro- 
duced any resemblance to it. Ireland has, in Thomas Moore ; 
but then in Irish genius there is so much that is French. 

M. Savarin was free from the ostentatious extravagance which 
had come into vogue with the Empire. His house and establish- 
ment were modestly maintained within the limit t f an income 
* chiefly, perhaps entirely, derived from literary profits. 

Though he gave frequent dinners, it was but to few at a time, 
and without show or pretence. Yet the dinners, though simple, 
were perfect of their kind ; and the host so contrived to infuse 
his own playful gayety into the temper of his guests, that the 
feasts at his house were considered the pleasantest at Paris. 
On this occasion the party extended to ten, the largest number 
his table admitted. 

All the French guests belonged to the Liberal party, though 
in changing tints of the tricolor. Place anx dames, first to be 
named were the Countess de Craon and Madame Vertot, both 
without husbands. The Countess had buried the Count, 
Madame Vertot had- separated from Monsieur. The Countess 
was very handsome, but she was sixty. Madame Vertot was 
, twenty years younger, but she was very plain. She had quar- 
relled with the distinguished author for whose sake she had 
separated from Monsieur, and no man had since presumed to 



Il8 THE PARISIANS. 

think that he could console a lady so plain for the loss of an 
author so distinguished. 

Both these ladies were very clever. The Countess had writ- 
ten lyrical poems entitled " Cries of Liberty," and a drama 
of which Danton was the hero, and the moral too revolutionary 
for admission to the stage ; but at heart the Countess was not 
at all a revolutionist ; the last person in the world to do or 
desire anything that could bring a washerwoman an inch nearer 
to a countess. She was one of those persons who play with 
fire in order to appear enlightened. 

Madame Vertot was of severer mould. She had knelt at 
the feet of M. Thiers, and went into the historico-political line. 
She had written a remarkable book upon the modern Carthage 
(meaning England), and more recently a work that had ex- 
cited much attention upon the Balance of Power, in which 
she proved it to be the interest of civilization and the necessity 
of Europe that Belgium should be added toFrance, and Prussia 
circumscribed to the bound of its original margraviate. She 
showed how easily these two objects could have been effected 
by a constitutional monarch instead of an egostistical Emperor. 
Madame Vertot was a decided Orleanist. 

Both these ladies condescended to put aside authorship in 
general society. Next amongst our guests let me place the 
Count de Passy and Madame son e'foitse : the Count was 
seventy-one, and, it is needless to add, a type of Frenchman 
rapidly vanishing, and not likely to find itself renewed. How 
shall I describe him so as to make my English reader under- 
stand ? Let me try by analogy. Suppose a man of great birth 
and fortune, who in his youth had been an enthusiastic friend 
of Lord Byron and a jocund companion of George IV. ; who 
had in him an immense degree of lofty, romantic sentiment 
with an equal degree of well-bred, worldly cynicism, but who, 
on account of that admixture, which is rare, kept a high rank 
in either of the two societies into which, speaking broadly, 
civilized life divides itself, the romantic and the cynical. The 
Count de Passy had been the most ardent among the young 
disciples of Chateaubriand, the most brilliant among the young 
courtiers of Charles X. Need I add that he had been a terri- 
ble lady-killer ? . 

But in spite of his admiration of Chateaubriand and his al- 
legiance to Charles X., the Count had been always true to 
those caprices of the French noblesse from which he descend- 
ed caprices which destroyed them in the old Revolution ; 
caprices belonging to the splendid ignorance of their nation in 



THE PARISIANS. 1 19 

general and their order in particular. Speaking without re- 
gard to partial exceptions, the French gentilhomnu is essen- 
tially a Parisian ; a Parisian is essentially impressionable to 
the impulse or fashion of the moment. Is it a la mode for the 
moment to be Liberal or anti-Liberal ? Parisians embrace and 
kiss each other, and swear through life and death to adhere 
forever to the mode of the moment. The Three Days were 
the mode of the moment ; the Count de Passy became an en- 
thusiastic Orleanist. Louis Philippe was very gracious to 
him. He was decorated, he was named prefet of his depart- 
ment ; he was created senator ; he was about to be sent minis- 
ter to a German court when Louis Philippe fell. The Re- 
public was proclaimed. The Count caught the popular con- 
tagion, and after exchanging tears and kisses with patriots 
whom a week before he had called canaille, he swore eternal 
fidelity to the Republic. The fashion of the moment suddenly 
became Napoleonic, and with the coup aetat the Republic was 
metamorphosed into an Empire. The Count wept on the 
bosoms of all the Vicilles Moustaches he could find, and re- 
joiced that the sun of Austerlitz had rearisen. But after the 
affair of Mexico the sun of Austerlitz waxed very sickly. Im- 
perialism was fast going out of fashion. ^ The Count trans- 
ferred his affection to Jules Favre, and joined the ranks of the 
advanced Liberals. During all these political changes, *be 
Count had remained very much the same man in private life; 
agreeable, good-natured, witty, and, above all, a devotee of the 
fair sex. When he had reached the age of sixty-eight he was 
still fort bel homme unmarried, with a grand presence and 
charming manner. At that age he said, " Je me range" and 
married a young lady of eighteen. She adored her husband, 
and was wildly jealous of him ; while the Count did not seem 
at all jealous of her, and submitted to her adoration with a 
gentle shrug of the shoulders. 

The three other guests who, with Graham and the two 
Italian ladies, made up the complement of ten, were the Ger- 
man Count von Rudesheim, a celebrated French physician 
named Bacon rt, and a young author whom Savarin had admit- 
ted into his clique, and declared to be of rare promise. This 
author, whose real name was Gustave Rameau, bnt who, to 
prove, I suppose, the sincerity of that scorn for ancestry which 
he professed, published his verses under the patrician designa- 
tion of Alphonse de Valcour, was about twenty-four, and 
might have passed at the first glance for younger ; but, looking 



120 THE PARISIANS. 

at him closely, the signs of old age were already stamped on 
his visage. 

He was undersized, and of a feeble, slender frame. In the 
eyes of women and artists the defects of his frame were re- 
deemed by the extraordinary beauty of the face. His black 
hair, carefully parted in the centre, and worn long and flowing, 
contrasted the whiteness of a high, though narrow forehead, 
and the delicate pallor of his cheeks. His features were very 
regular, his eyes singularly bright ; but the expression of the 
face spoke of fatigue and exhaustion ; the silky locks were 
already thin, and interspersed with threads of silver ; the 
bright eyes shone out from sunken orbits ; the lines round the 
mouth were marked as they are in the middle age of one who 
has lived too fast. 

It was a countenance that might have excited a compassion- 
ate and tender interest, but for something arrogant and super- 
cilious in the expression something that demanded not tender 
pity -but enthusiastic admiration. Yet that expression was 
displeasing rather to men than to women ; and one could well 
conceive that, among the latter, the enthusiastic admiration it 
challenged would be largely conceded. 

The conversation at dinner was in complete contrast to that 
at the American's the day before. There the talk, though 
animated, had been chiefly earnest and serious ; here it was all 
td*lich and go, sally and repartee. The subjects were the light 
on dits and lively anecdotes of the day, not free from literature 
and politics, but both treated as matters of persiflage, hovered 
round with a jest and quitted with an epigram. The two French 
lady authors, the Count de Passy, the physician, and the host, 
far outshone all the other guests. Now and then, however, the 
German Count struck in with an ironical remark condensing a 
great deal of grave wisdom, and the young author with ruder 
and more biting sarcasm. If the sarcasm told, he showed his 
triumph by a low-pitched laugh ; if it failed, he evinced his 
displeasure by a contemptuous sneer or a grim scowl. 

Isaura and Graham were not seated near each other, and 
were for the most part contented to be listeners. 

On adjourning to the salon after dinner, Graham, however, 
was approaching the chair in which Isaura had placed herself, 
when the young author, forestalling him,' dropped into the seat 
next to her, and began a conversation in a voice so low that it 
might have passed for a whisper. The Englishman drew back 
and observed them. He soon perceived, with a pang of jeal- 
ousy not unmingled with scorn, that the author's talk appeared 



THE PARISIANS. 121 

to interest Isanra. She listened with evident attention ; and 
when she spoke in return, though Graham did not hear her 
words, he could observe on "her expressive countenance an 
increased gentleness of aspect. 

" I hope," said the physician, joining Graham, as most of 
the other guests gathered round Savarin, who was in his liveli- 
est vein of anecdote and wit " I hope that the fair Italian 
will not allow that ink-bottle imp to persuade her that she has 
fallen in love with him." 

" Do young ladies generally find him so seductive ? " asked 
Graham, with a forced smile. 

" Probably enough. He has the reputation of being very 
clever and very wicked, and that is a sort of character which 
has the serpent's fascination for the daughters of Eve." 

" Is the reputation merited ? " 

" As to the cleverness, I am not a fair judge. I dislike that 
sort of writing which is neither manlike nor womanlike, and in 
which young Rameau excels. He has the knack of finding 
very exaggerated phrases by which to express commonplace 
thoughts. He writes verses about love in words so stormy that 
you might fancy that Jove was descending upon Semele. But 
when you examine his words, as a sober pathologist like myself 
is disposed to do, your fear for the peace of households vanishes : 
they are ' Vox et prater ea ni/ril'; no man really in love would 
use them. He writes prose about the wrongs of humanity. 
You feel for humanity. You say, ' Grant the wrongs, now for 
the remedy,' and you find nothing but balderdash. Still I am 
bound to say that both in verse and prose Gustave Rameau is 
in unison with a corrupt taste of the day, and therefore he is 
coming into vogue. So much as to his writings ; as to his 
wickedness, you have only to look at him to feel sure that he 
is not a hundredth part so wicked as he wishes to see.m. In a 
word, then, Mons. Gustave Rameau is a type of that somewhat 
numerous class among the youth of Paris, which I call 'the 
lost tribe of Absinthe.' There is a set of men who begin to 
live full gallop while they are still boys. As a general rule 
they are "originally of the sickly frames which can scarcely even 
trot, much less gallop, without the spur of stimulants, and no 
stimulant so fascinates their peculiar nervous system as ab- 
sinthe. The number of patients in this set who at the age of 
thirty are more worn out than septuagenarians, increases so 
rapidly as to make one dread to think what will be the next 
race of Frenchmen. To the predilection for absinthe young 
Rameau and the writers of his set add the imitation of Heine, 



122 THE PARISIANS. 

after, indeed, the manner of caricaturists, who effect a likeness 
striking in proportion as it is ugly. It is not easy to imitate 
the pathos and the wit of Heine p4jut it is easy to imitate his 
defiance of the Deity, his mockery of right and wrong, his re- 
lentless war on that heroic standard of thought and action 
which the writers who exalt their nation intuitively preserve. 
Rameau cannot be a ?Ieine, but he can be to Heine what a 
misshapen, snarling dwarf is to a mangled, blaspheming Titan. 
Yet he interests the women in general, and he evidently inter- 
ests the fair Signorina in especial." 

Just as Bacourt finished that last sentence, Isa*ura lifted the 
head which had hitherto bent in an earnest listening attitude 
that seemed to justify the Doctor's remarks, and looked 
round. Her eyes met Graham's with the fearless candor 
which made half the charm of their bright yet soft intelligence. 
But she dropped them suddenly with a half-start and a change 
of color, for the expression of Graham's face was unlike that 
which she had hitherto seen on it ; it was hard, stern, some- 
what disdainful. A minute or so afterwards she rose, and in 
passing across the room towards the group round the host, 
paused at a table covered with books and prints near to which 
Graham was standing, alone. The doctor had departed in 
company with the German Count. 

Isaura took up one of the prints. 

" Ah ! " she exclaimed, " Sorrento my Sorrento. Have you 
ever visited Sorrento, Mr. Vane?" 

Her question and her movement were evidently in concilia- 
tion. Was the conciliation prompted by coquetry, or by a 
sentiment more innocent and artless? 

Graham doubted, and replied coldly, as he bent over the 
print : 

" I once stayed there a few days, but my recollection of it is 
not sufficiently lively to enable me to recognize its features in 
this design." 

"That is the house, at least so they say, of Tasso's father ; 
of course you visited that?" 

"Yes, it was a hotel in my time ; I lodged there." 

"And I too. There I first read the ' Gerusalemme.'" The 
last words were said in Italian, with a low, measured tone, in- 
wardly and dreamily. 

A somewhat sharp and incisive voice speaking in French 
here struck in and prevented Graham's rejoinder: " Quel joli 
dessin! What is it, Mademoiselle?" 

Graham recoiled : the speaker was Gustave Rameau, who 



THE PARISIANS. 12$ 

had, unobserved, first watched Isaura, then rejoined her 
side. 

"A view of Sorrento, Monsieur, but it does not do justice 
to the place. I was pointing out the house which belonged to 
Tasso's father." 

"Tasso! Hein! And which is the fair Eleonora's ?" 

"Monsieur," answered Isaura, rather startled at that question 
from a professed homme de lettres, " Eleonora did not live at 
Sorrento." 

" Tant pis pour Sorrente" said the homme de lettres carelessly. 
" No one would care for Tasso if it were not for Eleonora." 

"I should rather have thought," said Graham, "that no one 
would have cared for Eleonora if it was not for Tasso." 

Rameau glanced at the Englishman superciliously. 

"Pardon, Monsieur, in every age a love-story keeps its inter- 
est ; but who cares nowadays for le clinquant du Tasse?" 

" Le clinquant du Tassef" exclaimed Isaura indignantly. 

"The expression is Boileau's, Mademoiselle, in ridicule of 
the ' Sot de qualite,' who prefers 

' Le clinquant du Tasse a tout 1'or de Virgile.' 

But for my part *I have as little faith in the last as the 
first." 

" I do not know Latin, and have therefore not read Virgil," 
said Isaura. 

"Possibly," remarked Graham, "Monsieur does not know 
Italian, and has therefore not read Tasso." 

"If that be meant in sarcasm," retorted Rameau, "I con- 
strue it as a compliment. A Frenchman who is contented to 
study the masterpieces of modern literature need learn no lan- 
guage and read no authors but his own." 

Isaura laughed her pleasant, silvery laugh. " I should admire 
the frankness of that boast, Monsieur, if in our talk just now 
you had not spoken as contemptuously of what we are accus- 
tomed to consider French masterpieces as you have done of 
Virgil and Tasso." 

"Ah, Mademoiselle, it is not my fault if you have had teach- 
ers of taste so rococo as to bid you find masterpieces in the 
tiresome, stilted tragedies of Corneille and Racine. Poetry of 
a court, not of a people ; one simple novel, one simple stanza 
that probes the hidden recesses of the human heart, reveals 
the sores of this wretched social state, denounces the evils of 
superstition, kingcraft, and priestcraft, is worth a library of the 
rubbish whicji pedagogues call 'the classics.' We agree, at 



124 THE PARISIANS. 

least, in one tiling, Mademoiselle ; we both do homage to the 
genius of your friend, Madame de Grantmesnil." 

" Your trend, Signorina ! " said Graham incredulously ; " Is 
Madame de Grantmesnil your friend? " 

" The dearest I have in the world." 

G rah. im's face darkened ; he turned away in silence, and in 
another minute vanished from the room, persuading himself 
that he felt not one pang of jealousy in leaving Gustave 
Rameau by the side of Isaura. " Her dearest friend Madame 
de Grantmesnil ! " he muttered. 

A word now on Isaura's chief correspondent. Madame de 
Grantmesnil was a woman of noble birth and ample fortune. 
She had separated from her husband in the second year after 
marriage. She was a singularly eloquent writer, surpassed 
among contemporaries of her sex in popularity and renown 
only by Georges Sand. 

At least as fearless as that great novelist in the frank exposi- 
tion of her view>, she had commenced her career in letters by 
a work of astonishing power and pathos, directed against the 
institution of marriage as regulated in Roman Catholic com- 
munities. I do not know that it said more on this delicate 
subject than the English Milton has said ; but then Milton did 
not write for a Roman Catholic community, nor adopt a style 
likely to captivate the working classes. Madame de Grant- 
rnesmil's first book was deemed an attack on the religion of 
the country, and captivated those among the working classes 
who had already abjured that religion. This work was followed 
up by others more or less in defiance of " received opinions "; 
some with political, some with social revolutionary aim and 
tendency, but always with a singular purity of style. Search 
all her bodies, and however you might revolt from her doctrine, 
you could not find a hazardous expresssion. The navels of 
English young ladies are naughty in comparison. Of late 
years, whatever might be hard or audacious in her political or 
social doctrines softened itself into charm amid the golden 
haze of romance. Her writings had grown more and more 
purely artistic poetizing what is good and beautiful in the 
realities of life, rather than creating a false ideal out of what 
is vicious and deformed. Such a woman, separated young 
from her husband, could not enunciate such opinions and lead 
a life so independent and uncontrolled as Madame de Grant- 
mesnil had done, without scandal, without calumny. Nothing, 
however, in her actual life, had ever been so proved against 
her as to lower the high position she occupied in right of birth, 



THE PARISIANS. 1 25 

fortune, renown. Wherever she went she wasfetie; as ins 
England foreign princes, and in America foreign authors, are 
fetes. Those who knew her well concurred in praise of her 
lofty, generous, lovable qualities. Madame de Grantmesnil 
had known Mr. Selby ; and when at his death, Isaura, in the 
inno-ent age between childhood and youth, had been left the 
most sorrowful and most lonely creature on the face of the 
earth, this famous woman, worshipped by the rich for her in- 
tellect, adored by the poor for her beneficence, came to the 
orphan's friendless side, breathing love once more into her 
pining heart, and waking for the first time the desires of 
genius, the aspirations of art, in the dim self-consciousness of 
a soul between sleep and waking. 

But, my dear Englishman, put yourself in Graham's place, and; 
suppose that you were beginning to fall in love with a gill 
whom for many good reasons you ought not to marry ; suppose 
that in the same hour in which you were angrily conscious of 
jealousy on account of a man whom it wounds your self-esteem 
to consider a rival, the girl tells you that her dearest friend is a 
woman who is famed for her hostility to the institution of 
marriage ! 



CHAPTER IV. 

ON the same day in which Graham dined with the Savarins, 
M. Louvier assembled round his table the elite of the young. 
Parisians who constituted the oligarchy of fashion, to meet 
whom he had invited his new friend the Marquis de Roche- 
briant. Most of them belonged to the Legitimist party the 
noblesse of the faubourg ; those who did not belonged to no 
political party at all indifferent to the cares of mortal States 
as the gods of Epicurus. Foremost among this jeunesse doree 
were Alain's kinsmen, Raoul and Enguerrand de Vandemar. 
To these Louvier introduced him with a burly parental bon- 
homie, as if he were the head of the family. "I need not bid 
you, young folks, to make friends with each other. A Vande- 
mar and a Rochebriant are not made friends, they are born 
friends." So saying he turned to his other guests. 

Almost in an instant Alain felt his constraint melt away in 
the cordial warmth with which his cousins greeted him. 

These young men had a striking family likeness to each 
other, and yet in feature, coloring, and expression, in all save 
that strange family likeness, they were contrasts. 



iz6 THE PARISIANS. 

Raoul was tall, and, though inclined to be slender, with 
sufficient breadth of shoulder to indicate no inconsiderable 
strength of frame. His hair worn short, and his silky beard 
worn long, were dark ; so were his eyes, shaded by curved 
drooping lashes ; his complexion was pale, but clear and 
healthful. In repose the expression of his face was that of a 
somewhat melancholy indolence, but in speaking it became 
singularly sweet, with a smile of the exquisite urbanity which 
no artificial politeness can bestow ; it must emanate from that 
native high breeding which has its source in goodness of heart. 

Enguerrand was fair, with curly locks of a golden chestnut. 
He wore no beard, only a small moustache rather darker than 
his hair. His complexion might in itself be called effeminate, 
its bloom was so fresh and delicate, but there was so much of 
boldness and energy in the play of his countenance, the hardy 
outline of the lips, and the open breadth of the forehead, that 
" effeminate " was an epithet no one ever assigned to his aspect. 
He was somewhat under the middle height, but beautifully 
proportioned, carried himself well, and somehow or other did 
not look short even by the side of tall men. Altogether he 
seemed formed to be a mother's darling, and spoiled by women, 
yet to hold his own among men with a strength of will more 
evident in his look and his bearing than it was in those of his 
graver and statelier brother. 

Both were considered by their young co-equals models in 
dress, but in Raoul there was no sign that care or thought upon 
dress had been bestowed ; the simplicity of his costume was 
absolute and severe. On his plain shirt front there gleamed 
not a stud, on his fingers there sparkled not a ring. Enguer- 
rand, on the contrary, was not without pretension in his attire ; 
the broderie in his shirt-front seemed woven by the Queen of 
the Fairies. His rings of turquoise and opal, his studs and 
wrist-buttons of pearl and brilliants, must have cost double the 
rental of Rochebriant, but probably they cost him nothing. 
He was one of those happy Lotharios to whom Calistas make 
constant presents. All about him was so bright that the at- 
mosphere around seemed gayer for his presence. 

In one respect at least the brothers closely resembled each 
other ; in that exquisite graciousness of manner for which the 
genuine French noble is traditionally renowned a gracious- 
ness that did not desert them even when they came reluctantly 
into contact with roiuriers or Republicans ; but the gracious- 
ne.ss became Sgalite, fraternile towards one of their caste and 
kindred. 



THE PARISIANS. 127 

" We must do our best to make Paris pleasant to you," said 
Raoul, still retaining in his grasp the hand he had taken. 

" Vilain cousin" said the livelier Enguerrand, " to have been 
in Paris twenty-four hours, and without letting us know;" 

" Has not your father told you that I called upon him ? " 

" Our father," answered Raoul, " was not so savage as to 
conceal that fact, but he said you were only here on business 
for a day or two, had declined his invitation, and would not 
give your address. Pauvre pcre ! we scolded him well for let- 
ling you escape from us thus. My mother has not forgiven 
him yet ; we must present you to her-to-morrow. I answer 
for your liking her almost as much as she will like you." 

Before Alain could answer dinner was announced. Alain's 
place at dinner was between his cousins. How pleasant they 
made themselves ! It was the first time in which Alain had 
been brought into such familiar conversation with countrymen 
of his own rank as well as his own age. His heart warmed to 
them. The general talk of the other guests was strange to his 
ear ; it ran much upon horses and races, upon the opera and 
the ballet ; it was enlivened with satirical anecdotes of persons 
whose names were unknown to the Provincial ; not a word was 
said that showed the smallest interest in politics or the slightest 
acquaintance with literature. The world of these well-born 
guests seemed one from which all that concerned the great 
mass of mankind was excluded, yet the talk was that which 
could only be found in a very polished society ; in it there was 
not much wit, but there was a prevalent vein of gayety, and the 
gayety was never violent, the laughter was never loud ; the 
scandals circulated might imply cynicism the most absolute, 
but in language the most refined. The Jockey Club of Paris 
has its perfume. 

Raoul did not mix in the general conversation ; he devoted 
himself pointedly to the amusement of his cousin, explaining 
to him the point of the anecdotes circulated, or hitting off in 
terse sentences the characters of the talkers. 

Enguerrand was evidently of temper more vivacious than his 
brother, and contributed freely to the current play of light 
gossip and mirthful sally. 

Louvier, seated between a duke and a Russian prince, said 
little, except to recommend a wine or an entree, but kept his 
eye constantly on the Vandemars and Alain. 

Immediately after coffee the guests departed. Before they 
did so, however, Raoul introduced his cousin to those of the 
party most distinguished by hereditary rank or social position. 



128 THE PARISIANS. 

/ 

With these the name of Rochebriant was too historically famous 
not to insure respect of its owner ; they welcomed him among 
them as if he were their brother. 

The French duke claimed him as a connection by an alli- 
ance in the .fourteenth century ; the Russian prince had 
known the late Marquis, and " trusted that the son would 
allow him to improve into friendship the acquaintance he had 
formed with the father." 

Those ceremonials over, Raoul linked his arm in Alain's, 
and said : " I am not going to release you so soon after we 
have caught you. You must come with me to a house in 
which I at least spend an hour or two every evening. I am at 
home there. Bah ! I take no refusal. Do not suppose I carry 
you off to Bohemia, a country which, I am sorry to say, En- 
guerrand now and then visits, but which is to me as unknown 
as the mountains of the moon. The house I speak of is coinme 
il faut to the utmost. It is that of the Contessa di Rimini ; 
a charming Italian by marriage, but by birth and in character 
on ne peut plus Fran$aise. My mother adores her.'' 

That dinner at M. Louvier's had already effected a great 
change in the mood and temper of Alain de Rochebriant ; he 
felt, as if by magic, the sense of youth, of rank, of station, 
which had been so suddenly checked and stifled, warmed to 
life within his veins. He should have deemed himself a boor 
had he refused the invitation so frankly tendered. 

But on reaching the coupe which the brothers kept in com- 
mon, and seeing it only held two, he drew back. 

" Nay, enter, man cher" said Raoul, divining the cause of 
his hesitation, " Enguerrand has gone on to his club." 



CHAPTER V. 

" TELL me," said Raoul, when they were in the carriage, 
"how you came to know M. Louvier." 

" He is my chief mortgagee." 

" H'm ! that explains it. But you might be in worse hands ; 
the man has a character for liberality." 

"Did" your father mention to you my circumstances, and 
the reason that brings me to Paris?" 

" Since you put the question point-blank, my dear cousin, he 
did." 

" He told you how poor I am, and how keen must be my 
lifelong struggle to keep Rochebriant as the home of my race." 



THE PARISIANS. If 9 

" He told us all that could make us still more respect the 
\ [arquis de Rochebriant, and still more eagerly long to know 
bdr cousin and the head of our house," answered Raoul, with 
a certain nobleness of tone and manner. 

Alain pressed his kinsman's hand with grateful emotion. 

" Yet," he said falteringly, " your father agreed with me 
that my circumstances would not allow me to " 

' Bah ! " interrupted Raoul with a gentle laugh ; " my father 
is a very clever man, doubtless, but he knows only the world 
of his own day, nothing of the world of ours. I and Enguer- 
rand will call on you to-morrow, to take you to my mother, 
and before doing so, to consult as to affairs in general. On, 
this last matter Enguerrand is an oracle. Here we are at the 
Contessa's.'- 

CHAPTER VI. 

THE Contessa di Rimini received her visitors in a boudoir 
furnished with much apparent simplicity, but a simplicity by 
no means inexpensive. The draperies were but of chintz, and 
the walls covered with the same material, a lively pattern, in 
which the prevalent tints were rose-color and white ; but the or- 
naments on the mantel-piece, the china stored in the cabinets or 
arranged on the shelves, the small nicknacks scattered on the 
tables, were costly rarities of art. 

The Contessa herself was a woman who had somewhat 
passed her thirtieth year, not strikingly handsome, bu>: exqui- 
sitely pretty. " There is," said a great French writer, " only 
one way in which a woman can be handsome, but a hundred 
thousand ways in which she can be pretty"; and it would be 
impossible to reckon up the number of ways in which Adeline 
di Rimini carried off the prize in prettiness. 

Yet it would be unjust to the personal attractions of the 
Contessa to class them all underthe word " prettiness." When 
regarded more attentively, there was an expression in her 
countenance that might almost be called divine, it spoke so 
unmistakably of a sweet nature and an untroubled soul. An 
English poet once described her by repeating the old lines : 

" Her face is like the milky way i' the sky 
A meeting of gentle lights without a name." 

She was not alone ; an elderly lady sate on an arm-chair by 
the fire, engaged in knitting ; and a man, also elderly, and 



130 THE PARISIANS. 

whose dress proclaimed him an ecclesiastic, sate at the opposite 
corner with a large Angora cat on his lap. 

" I present to you, Madame," said Raoul, " my new-found 
cousin, the seventeenth Marquis de Rochebriant, whom I am 
proud to consider, on the male side, the head of our house, 
representing its eldest branch : welcome him for my sake ; in 
future he will be welcome for his own." 

The Contessa replied very graciously to this introduction, 
and made room for Alain on the divan from which she had 
risen. 

The old lady looked up from her knitting ; the ecclesiastic 
removed the cat from his lap. Said the old lady : "I an- 
nounce myself to M. le Marquis ; I knew his mother well 
enough to be invited to his christening ; otherwise I have no 
pretension to the acquaintance of si beau a cavalier, being old, 
rather deaf, very stupid, exceedingly poor " 

"And," interrupted Raoul, "the woman in all Paris the 
most adored for bonte, and consulted for savoir vivre by the 
young cavaliers whom she deigns to receive. Alain, 'I present 
you to Madame de Maury, the widow of a distinguished au- 
thor and academician, and the daughter of the brave Henri 
de Gerval, who fought for the good cause in La Vendee. I 
present you also to the Abbe Vertpre, who has passed his life in 
the vain endeavor to make other men as good as himself." 

" Base flatterer ! " said the Abbe", pinching Raoul's ear with 
one hand, while he extended the other to Alain. " Do not let 
your cousin frighten you from knowing me, M. le Marquis ; 
when he was my pupil, he so convinced me of the incorrigi- 
bility of perverse human nature, that I now chiefly address my- 
self to the moral improvement of the brute creation. Ask the 
Contessa if I have not achieved a beau succes with her Angora 
cat. Three months ago that creature had the two worst pro- 
pensities of men. He was at once savage and mean ; he bit, 
he stole. Does he ever bite now ? No. Does he ever steal ? 
No. Why ? I have awakened in that cat the dormant con- 
science, and that done, the conscience regulates his actions : 
once made aware of the difference between wrong and right, 
the cat maintains it unswervingly, as if it were a law of nature. 
But if, with prodigious labor, one does awaken conscience in a 
human sinner, it has no steady effect on his conduct ; he con- 
tinues to sin all the same. Mankind at Paris, Monsieur le Mar- 
quis, is divided between two classes : one bites and the other 
steals ; shun both ; devote yourself to cats." 

The Abbe delivered this oration with a gravity of mien and 



THE PARISIANS. 13! 

tone which made it difficult to guess whether he spoke in sport 
or in earnest ; in simple playfulness or with latent sarcasm. 

But on the brow and in the eye of the priest there was a gen- 
eral expression of quiet benevolence, which made Alain incline 
to the belief that he was only speaking as a pleasant humorist ; 
and the Marquis replied gayly : 

" Monsieur 1'Abbe, admitting the superior virtue of cats, 
when taught by so intelligent a preceptor, still the business of 
human life is not transacted by cats ; and since men must deal 
with men, permit me, as a preliminary caution, to inquire in 
which class I must rank yourself. Do you bite or do you steal ? " 

This sally, which showed that the Marquis was already shak- 
ing off his provincial reserve, met with great success. 

Raoul and the Contessa laughed merrily ; Madame de Maury 
clapped her hands, and cried, "Bien ! " 

The Abbe replied, with unmoved gravity : " Both. I am a 
priest ; it is my duty to bite the bad and steal from the good, 
as you will see, M. le Marquis, if you will glance at this paper." 

Here he handed to Alain a memorial on behalf of an afflicted 
family who had been burnt out of their home, and reduced 
from comparative ease to absolute want. There was a list ap- 
pended of some twenty subscribers, the last being the Contessa, 
fifty francs, and Madame de Maury, five. 

"Allow me, Marquis," said the Abbe, "to steal from you; 
bless you twofold, monjtts!" (taking the napoleon Alain ex- 
tended to him) " first for your charity, secondly, for the effect 
of its example upon the heart of your cousin. Raoul de Van- 
demar, stand and deliver. Bah ! what ! only ten francs." 

Raoul made a sign to the Abbe, unperceived by the rest, as 
he answered : " Abbe, I should excel your expectations of my 
career if I always continue worth half as much as my cousin." 

Alain felt to the bottom of his heart the delicate tact of his 
richer kinsman in giving less than himself, and the Abbe re- 
plied : " Niggard, you are pardoned. Humility is a more dif- 
ficult virtue to produce than charity, and in your case an in- 
stance of it is so rare that it merits encouragement." 

The " tea equipage " was now served in what at Paris is 
called the English fashion ; the Contessa presided over it, the 
guests gathered round the table, and the evening passed away 
in the innocent gayety of a domestic circle. The talk, if not 
especially intellectual, was at least not fashionable ; books were 
not discussed, neither were scandals ; yet somehow or other, it 
was cheery and animated, like that of a happy family in a coun- 
try house. Alain thought still the better of Raoul that, Parisian 



IJ2 THE PARISIANS. X 

though he was, he could appreciate the charm of an evening so 
innocently spent. 

On taking leave, the Contessa gave Alain a general invita- 
tion to drop in whenever he was not better engaged. 

"I except only the opera nights," said she. "My husband 
has gone to Milan on his affairs, and during his absence I do 
not go to parties ; the opera I cannot resist." 

Raoul set Alain down at his lodgings. "Au revoir; to-mor- 
row at one o'clock expect Enguerrand and myself." 



CHAPTER VII. 

RAOUL and Enguerrand called on Alain at the hour fixed. 

"In the first place," said Raoul, ''I must beg you to accept 
my mother's regrets that she cannot receive you to-day. She 
and the Contessa belong to a society of ladies formed for visit- 
ing the poor, and this is their day ; but to-morrow you must 
dine with us en famille. Now to business. Allow me to light 
my cigar while you confide the whole state of affairs to Enguer- 
rand : whatever he counsels, I am sure to approve." 

Alain, as briefly as he could, stated his circumstances, his 
mortgages, and the hopes which his ?w//had encouraged him 
to place in the friendly disposition of M. Louvier. When he 
had concluded, Enguerrand mused for a few moments before 
replying. At last he said, " Will you trust me to call on Louvier 
on your behalf ? I shall but inquire if he is inclined to take 
on himself the other mortgages ; and if so, on what terms. 
Our relationship gives me the excuse for my interference; and 
to say truth, I have had much familiar intercourse with the 
man. I too am a speculator, and have often profited by Lou- 
vier's advice. You may ask what can be his object in serving 
me ; he can gain nothing by it. To this I answer, the key to 
his good offices is in his character. Audacious though he be as 
a speculator, he is wonderfully prudent as a politician. This 
belle France of ours is like a stage tumbler ; one can never be 
sure whether it will stand on its head or its feet. Louvier very 
wisely wishes to feel himself safe whatever party comes upper- 
most. He has no faith in the duration of the Empire ; and as 
at all events the Empire will not confiscate his millions, he 
takes no trouble in conciliating Imperialists. But on the prin- 
ciple which induces certain savages to worship the devil and 
neglect the bon Dieu, because the devil is spiteful and the bon 
Dicu is too beneficent to injure them, Louvier, at heart de- 



THE PARISIANS. 133 

testing as well as dreading a republic, lays himself out to secure 
friends with the Republicans of all classes, and pretends to es- 
pouse their cause. Next to them, he is very conciliatory to the 
Orleanists. Lastly, though he thinks the Legitimists have no 
chance, he desires to keep well with the nobles of that party, 
because they exercise a considerable influence over that sphere 
of opinion which belongs to fashion ; for fashion is never 
powerless in Paris. Raoul and myself are no mean authoities 
in salons and clubs ; and a good word from us is worth having. 

" Besides, Louvier himself in his youth set up for a dandy ; 
and that deposed ruler of dandies, our unfortunate kinsman, 
Victor de Mauleon, shed some of his own radiance on the 
money-lender's son. But when Victor's star was eclipsed, Lou- 
vier ceased to gleam. The dandies cut him. In his heart he 
exults that the dandies now throng to his soirees, Bref, the 
millionnaire is especially civil to me the more so as I know in- 
timately two or three eminent journalists ; and Louvier takes 
pains to plant garrisons in the press. I trust Thave explained 
the grounds on which I may be a better diplomatist to employ 
than your avoue / and with your leave I will go to Louvier 
at once." 

"Let him go," said Raoul. "Enguerrand never fails in any- 
thing he undertakes, especially," he added, with a smile half 
sad, half tender, "when one wishes to replenish one's purse." 

" I too gratefully grant such an ambassador all powers to 
treat," said Alain. "I am only ashamed to consign to him a 
post so much beneath his genius," and his "birth" he was 
about to add, but wisely checked himself. Enguerrand said, 
shrugging his shoulders : "You can't do me a greater kindness 
than by setting my wits at work. I fall a martyr to ennui when 
I am not in action," he said, and was gone. 

"It makes me very melancholy at times," said Raoul, fling- 
ing away the end of his cigar, "to think that a man so clever 
and so energetic as Enguerrand should be as much excluded 
from the service of his country as if he were an Iroquois In- 
dian. He would have made a great diplomatist." 

"Alas!" replied Alain, with a sigh, "I begin to doubt 
whether we Legitimists are justified in maintaining a useless 
loyalty to a sovereign who renders us morally exiles in the 
land of our birth." 

" I have no doubt on the subject," said Raoul. " We are 
not justified on the score of policy, but we have no option at 
present on the score of honor. We should gain so much for 
ourselves if we adopted the State livery and took the State 



134 THE PARISIANS. 

wages that no man would esteem us as patriots; we should 
only be despised as apostates. So long as Henry V. lives, and 
does not resign his claim, we cannot be active citizens ; we 
must be mournful lookers-on. But what matters it ? We 
nobles of the old race are becoming rapidly extinct. Under 
any form of government likely to be established in France we 
are equally doomed. The French people, aiming at an impos- 
sible equality, will never again tolerate a race of gentilshommes. 
They cannot prevent, without destroying commerce and capital 
altogether, a quick succession of men of the day, who form 
nominal aristocracies much more opposed to equality than any 
hereditary class of nobles. But they refuse these fleeting sub- 
stitutes of born patricians all permanent stake in the country, 
since whatever estate they buy must be subdivided at their 
death. My poor Alain, you are making it the one ambition of 
your life to preserve to your posterity the home and lands of 
your forefathers. How is that possible, even supposing you 
could redeem the mortgages? You marry someday ; you have 
children, and Rochebriant must then be sold to pay for their 
separate portions. How this condition of things, while render- 
ing us so ineffective to perform the normal functions of a 
noblesse in public life, affects us in private life, may be easily 
conceived. 

"Condemned to a career of pleasure and frivolity, we can 
scarcely escape from the contagion of extravagant luxury which 
forrrfs the vice of the time. With grand names to keep up, 
and small fortunes whereon to keep them, we readily incur 
embarrassment and debt. Then neediness conquers pride. 
We cannot be great merchants, but we can be small gamblers 
on the Bourse, or, thanks to the Credit Mobilier, imitate a cabi- 
net minister, and keep a shop under another name. Perhaps 
you have heard that Enguerrand and I keep a shop. Pray, 
buy your gloves there. Strange fate for men whose ancestors 
fought in the first Crusade mat's que voulez vous?" 

"I was told of the shop," said Alain, "but the moment I 
knew you I disbelieved the story." 

" Quite true. Shall I confide to you why we resorted to that 
means of finding ourselves in pocket-money ? My father gives 
us rooms in his hotel ; the use of his table, which we do not. 
much profit by ; and an allowance, on which we could not live 
as young men of our class live at Paris. Enguerrand had his 
means of spending pocket-money, I mine ; but it came to the 
same thing the pockets were emptied. We incurred debts. 
Two years ago my father straitened himself to pay them, 



THE PARISIANS. 135 

saying, ' The next time you come to me with debts, however 
small, you must pay them yourselves, or you must marry, and 
leave it to me to find you wives.' This threat appalled us both. 
A month afterwards, Enguerrand made a lucky hit at the 
Bourse, and proposed to invest the proceeds in a shop. I re- 
sisted as long as I could, but Enguerrand triumphed over me, 
as he always does. He found an excellent deputy in a bonne 
who had nursed us in childhood, and married a journeyman 
perfumer who understands the business. It answers well ; we 
are not in debt, and we have preserved our freedom." 

After these confessions Raoul went away, and Alain fell 
into a mournful revery, from which he was roused by a loud 
ring at his bell. He opened the door, and beheld M. Louvier. 
The burley financier was much out of breath after making so 
steep an ascent. It was in gasps that he muttered, " J5 on/our ; 
excuse me if I derange you." Then entering and seating him- 
self on a chair, he took some minutes to recover speech, roll- 
ing his eyes staringly round the meagre, unluxurious room, and 
then concentrating their gaze upon its occupier. 

" Peste, my dear Marquis ! " he said at last, " I hope the 
next time I visit you the ascent may be less arduous. One 
would think you were in training to ascend the Himalaya." 

The haughty noble writhed under this jest, and the spirit 
inborn in his order spoke in his answer. 

" I am accustomed to dwell on heights, M. Louvier ; the 
castle of Rochebriant is not on a level with the town." 

An angry gleam shot from the eyes of the millionnaire, but 
there was no other sign of displeasure in his answer. 

" Bien dit, won cher ; how you remind me of your father ! 
Now, give me leave to speak on affairs. I have seen your 
cousin Enguerrand de Vandemar. Homme de moyens though 
foli gar f on. He proposed that you should call on me. I said 
'no ' to the cher petit Enguerrand a visit from me was due to 
you. To cut matters short, M. Gandrin has allowed me to 
look into your papers. I was disposed to serve you from the 
first ; I am still more disposed to serve you now. I undertake 
to pay off all your other mortgages, and become sole mort- 
gagee, and on terms that I have jotted down on this paper, 
and which I hope will content you." 

He placed a paper in Alain's hand, and took out a box, 
from which he extracted a jujube, placed it in his mouth, 
folded his hands, and reclined back in his chair, with his eyes 
half closed, as if exhausted alike by his ascent and his gen- 
erosity. 



1^ THE PARISIANS. 

In effect, the terms were unexpectedly liberal. The reduced 
interest on the mortgages would leave the Marquis an income 
of ;iooo a year instead of ^400. Louvier proposed to take 
on himself the legal cost of transfer, and to pay to the Mar- 
quis 25,000 francs, on the completion of the deed, as a bonus. 
The mortgage did not exempt the building-land, as Hebert de- 
sired. In all else it was singularly advantageous, and Alain 
could but feel a thrill of grateful delight at an offer by which 
his stinted income was raised to comparative affluence. 

" Well, Marquis," said Louvier, " what does the caslle say to 
the town ? " 

"M. Louvier," answered Alain, extending his hand with 
cordial eagerness, "accept my sincere apologies for the indis- 
cretion of my metaphor. Poverty is proverbially sensitive to 
jests on it. I owe it to you if I cannot hereafter make that 
excuse for any words of mine that may displease you. The 
terms you propose are most liberal, and I close with them at 
once." 

"Bon" said Louvier, shaking vehemently the hand offered 
to him ; "I will take the paper to Gandrin, and instruct him 
accordingly. And now, may I attach a condition to the agree- 
ment which is not put down on paper? It may have surprised 
you perhaps that I should propose a gratuity of 25,000 francs 
on completion of the contract. It is a droll thing to do, and 
not in the ordinary way of business, therefore I must explain. 
Marquis, pardon the liberty I take, but you have inspired me 
with an interest in your future. With your birth, connections, 
and figure, you should push your way in the world far and fast. 
But you can't do so in a province. You must find your open- 
ing at Paris. I wish you to spend a year in the capital, and 
live, not extravagantly, like a nouveau riche, but in a way not 
unsuited to your rank, and permitting you all the social advan- 
tages that belong to it. These 25,000 francs, in addition to 
your improved income, will enable you to gratify my wish in 
this respect. Spend the money in Paris ; you will want every 
sou of it in the course of the year. It will be money well 
spent. Take my advice, cher Marquis. Au plaisir." 

The financier bowed himself out. The young Marquis for- 
got all the mournful reflections with which Raoul's conversa- 
tion had inspired him. He gave a new touch to his toilette, 
and sallied forth with the air of a man on whose morning of 
life a sun heretofore clouded has burst forth and bathed the 
landscape in its light. 



THE PARISIANS. 137 



CHAPTER VIII. 

SINCE the evening spent at the Savarins', Graham had seen 
no more of Isaura. He had avoided all chance of seeing her ; 
in fact, the jealousy with which he had viewed her manner to- 
wards Kameau, and the angry amaze with which he had heard 
her proclajm her friendship for Madame deGrantmesnil, served 
to strengthen the grave and secret reasons which made him de- 
sire to keep his heart yet free and his hand yet unpledged. 
But, alas, the heart was enslaved already ! It was under the 
most fatal of all spells first love conceived at first sight. He 
was wretched ; and in his wretchedness his resolves became 
involuntarily weakened. He found himself making excuses 
for the beloved. What cause had he, after all, for that jealousy 
of the young poet which had so offended him ? And if, in her 
youth and inexperience, Isaura had made her dearest friend of 
a great writer by whose genius she might be dazzled, and of 
whose opinions she might scarcely be aware, was it a crime that 
necessitated her eternal banishment from the reverence which 
belongs to all manly love ? Certainly he found no satisfactory 
answers to such self-questionings. And then those grave rea- 
sons known _only to himself, and never to be confided to 
another, why he should yet reserve his hand unpledged, were 
not so imperative as to admit of no compromise. They might 
entail a sacrifice, and not a small one to a man of Graham's 
views and ambition. But what is love if it can think any sacri- 
fice, short of duty and honor, too great to offer up unknown, 
uncomprehended, to the one beloved ? Still while thus softened 
in his feelings towards Isaura, he became, perhaps in conse- 
quence of such softening, more and more restlessly impatient 
to fulfil the object for which he had come to Paris, the great 
step towards which was the discovery of the undiscoverable 
Louise Duval. 

He had written more than once to M. Renard since the 
interview with that functionary already recorded, demanding 
whether Renard had not made some progress in the research 
on which he was employed, and had received short, unsatis- 
factory replies preaching patience and implying hope. 

The plain truth, however, was, that M. Renard had taken no 
further pains in the matter. He considered it utter waste of 
time and thought to attempt a discovery to which the traces 
were so faint and so obsolete. If the discovery were effected, 
it must be by one of those chances which occur without labor 



138 THE PARISIANS. 

or forethought of our own. He trusted only to such a chance 
in continuing the charge he had undertaken. But during the 
last day or two Graham had become yet more impatient than 
before, and peremptorily requested another visit from this dil- 
atory confidant. 

In that visit, finding himself pressed hard, and though natu- 
rally willing, if possible, to retain a client unusually generous, 
yet being, on the whole, an honest member of his profession, 
and feeling it to be somewhat unfair to accept large remuneration 
for doing nothing, M. Renard said frankly : " Monsieur, this 
affair is beyond me ; the keenest agent of our police could 
make nothing of it. Unless you can tell me more than you 
have done, I am utterly without a clue. I resign, therefore, 
the task with which you honored me, willing to resume it again 
if you can give me information that could render me of use." 

" What sort of information ? " 

" At least the names of some of the lady's relations who may 
yet be living." 

"But it strikes me that, if I could get at that piece of knowl- 
edge, I should not require the services of the police. The rela- 
tions would tell me what had become of Louise Duval quite as 
readily as they would tell a police agent." 

" Quite true, Monsieur. It would really be picking your 
pockets if I did not at once retire from your service. Nay, 
Monsieur, pardon me, no further payments ; I have already 
accepted too much. Your most obedient servant." 

Graham, left alone, fell into a very gloomy revery. He 
could not but be sensible of the difficulties in the way of the 
object which had brought him to Paris, with somewhat sanguine 
expectations of success founded on a belief in the omniscience 
of the Parisian police, which is only to be justified when they 
have to deal with a murderess or a political incendiary. But 
the name of Louise Duval is about as common in France as 
that of Mary Smith in England ; and the English reader may 
judge what would be the likely result of inquiring through the 
ablest of our detectives after some Mary Smith of whom you 
could give little more information than that she was the daughter 
of a drawing master who had died twenty years ago ; that it 
was about fifteen years since anything had been heard of her ; 
that you could not say if, through marriage or for other causes, 
she had changed her name or not, and you had reasons for 
declining resort to public advertisements. In the course of 
inquiry so instituted, the probability would be that you might 
hear of a great many Mary Smiths., in the pursuit of whom your 



THE PARISIANS. IJ9 

employe would lose all sight and scent of the one Mary Smith 
for whom the chase was instituted. 

In the midst of Graham's despairing reflections his laquais 
announced M. Frederic Lemercier. 

"Cher Grarm-Varn. A thousand pardons if I disturb you 
at this late hour of the evening ; but you remember the request 
you made me when you first arrived in Paris this season?" 

" Of course I do ; in case you should ever chance in your 
wide round of acquaintance to fall in with a Madame or 
Mademoiselle Duval of about the age of forty, or a year or so 
less, to let me know : and you did fall in with two ladies of 
that name, but they were not the right one not the person 
whom my friend begged me to discover' both much too 
young." 

" Eh bien, mon cher* If you will come with me to the bal 
champetre in the Champs Elysees to-night, I can show you a 
third Madame Duval ; her Christian name is Louise, too, of 
the age you mention ; though she does her best to look 
younger, and is still very handsome. You said your Duval was 
handsome. It was only last evening that I met this lady at a 
wir-Je given by Mademoiselle Julie Caumartin, coryphee dis- 
tingufay'vn. love with young Rameau." 

"In love with young Rameau? I am very glad to hear it. 
He returns the love ? " 

" I suppose so. He seems very proud of it. But apropos 
of Madame Duval, she has been long absent from Paris ; just 
returned, and looking out for conquests. She says she has a 
great penchant for the English ; promises me to be at this 
ball come." 

" Hearty thanks, my dear Lemercier. I am at your service." 



CHAPTER IX. 

THE bal champetre was gay and brilliant, as such festal 
scenes are at Paris. A lovely night in the midst of May 
lamps below and stars above : the society mixed, of course. 
Evidently, when Graham has singled out Frederic Lemercier 
from all his acquaintances at Paris, to conjoin with the official 
aid of M. Renard in search of the mysterious lady, he had 
conjectured the probability that she might be found in the 
Bohemian world so familiar to Frederic ; if not as an in- 
habitant, at least as an explorer. Bohemia was largely repre- 
sented at the $al champetre^ but not without a fair sprinkling 



140 THE PARISIANS. 

of what we call the " respectable classes," especially English 
and Americans, who brought their wives there to take care of 
them. Frenchmen, not needing such care, prudently left their 
wives at home. Among the Frenchmen of station were the 
Comte de Passy and the Vicomte de Breze". 

On first entering the gardens, Graham's eye was attracted 
and dazzled by a brilliant form. It was standing under a fes- 
toon of flowers extended from tree to tree, and a gas jet 
opposite shone full upon the face the face of a girl in all the 
freshness of youth. If the freshness owed anything to art, the 
art was so well disguished that it seemed nature. The beauty 
of the countenance was Hebe-like, joyous, and radiant, and 
yet one could not look at the girl without a sentiment of deep 
mournfulness. She was surrounded by a group of young men, 
and the ring of her laugh jarred upon Graham's ear. He 
pressed Frederic's arm, and directing his attention to the girl, 
asked who she was. 

"Who? Don't you know? That is Julie Caumartin. A 
little while ago her equipage was the most admired in the Bois, 
and great ladies condescended to copy her dress or her coiffure. 
But she has lost her splendor, and dismissed the rich admirer 
who supplied the fuel for its blaze, since she fell in love with 
Gustave Rameau. Doubtless she is expecting him to-night. 
You ought. to know her ; shall I present you ?" 

"No," answered Graham, with a compassionate expression 
in his manly face. "So young; seemingly so gay. How I 
pity her ! " 

"What! for throwing herself away on Rameau? True. 
There is a great deal of good in that girl's nature, if she had been 
properly trained. Rameau wrote a pretty poem on her which 
turned her head and won her heart, in which she is styled the 
' Ondine of Paris/ a nymph-like type of Paris itself." 

"Vanishing type, like her namesake; born of the spray, 
and vanishing soon into the deep," said Graham. " Pray go 
and look for the Duval ; you will find me seated yonder." 

Graham passed into a retired alley, and threw himself on a soli- 
tary bench, while Lemercier went in search of Madame Duval. 
In a few minutes the Frenchman reappeared. By his side was a 
lady well dressed, and as she passed under the lamps Graham 
perceived that, though of a certain age, she was undeniably 
handsome. His heart beat more quickly. Surely this was the 
Louise Duval he sought. 

He rose from his seat, and was presented in due form to the 
Jady, with whom Frederic then discreetly left him. 



THE PARISIANS. 141 

"Monsieur Lemercier tells me that you think that we were 
once acquainted with each other." 

" Nay, Madame ; I should not fail to recognise you were that 
the case. A friend of mine had the honor of knowing a lady 
of your name ; and should I be fortunate enough to meet that 
lady, I am charged with a commission that may not be unwel- 
come to her. M. Lemercier tells me your nom de bapteme is 
Louise." 

" Louise Corinne, Monsieur." 

"And I presume that Duval is the name you take from your 
parents ? " 

" No ; my father's name was Bernard. I married, when I 
was a mere child, M. Duval, in the wine trade at Bordeaux." 

" Ah, indeed ! " said Graham, much disappointed, but look- 
ing at her with a keen, searching eye, which she met with a 
decided frankness. Evidently, in his judgment, she was speak- 
ing the truth. 

" You know English, I think, Madame," he resumed, address- 
ing her in that language. 

" A leetle speak un pcu." 

" Only a little ? " 

Madame Duval looked puzzled, and replied in French with 
a laugh. " Is it that you were told that I spoke English by 
your countryman, Milord Sare Boulby ? Petit sc/lerat, I hope 
he is well. He sends you a commission for me so he ought : 
he behaved to me like a monster." 

" Alas, I know nothing of Milord Sir Boulby ! Were you 
never in England yourself? " 

" Never," with a coquettish side-glance ; " I should like so 
much to go. I have a foible for the English in spite of that 
vilain petit Boulby. Who is it gave you the commission for 
me ? Ha ! I guess le Capitaine Nelton." 

'" No. What year, Madame, if not impertinent, were you at 
Aix-la-Chapelle ?" 

" You mean Baden ? I was there seven years ago when I 
met le Capitaine Nelton bel homme aux cheveux rouges" 

" But you have been at Aix ? " 

" Never." 

" I have, then, been mistaken, Madame, and have only to 
offer my most humble apologies." 

" But perhaps you will favor me with a visit, and we may on 
further conversation find that you are not mistaken. 1 can't 
stay now, for I am engaged to dance with the Belgian of 
whom, no doubt, M. Lemercier has told you." 



142 THE PARISIANS. 

" No, Madame, he has not." 

" Well, then, he will tell you. The Belgian is very jealous. 
But I am always at home between three and four ; this is my 
card." 

Graham eagerly took the card, and exclaimed, " Is this your 
own handwriting, Madame ? " 

" Yes, indeed." 

" Tres belle ecriture" said Graham, and receded with a cere- 
monious bow. " Anything so unlike her handwriting. Another 
disappointment," muttered the Englishman as the lady went 
back to the ball. 

A few minutes later Graham joined Lemercier, who was talk- 
ing with De Passy and De Breze. 

" Well," said Lemercier, when his eye rested on Graham, " I 
hit the right nail on the head this time, eh ? " 

Graham shook his head. 

" What ! Is she not the right Louise Duval ? " 

" Certainly not." 

The Count de Passy overheard the name, and turned. 
" Louise Duval," he said ; " does Monsieur Vane know a Louise 
Duval ? " 

" No, but a friend asked me to inquire after a lady of that 
name whom he had met many years ago at Paris." The 
Count mused a moment, and said, " Is it possible that your 
friend knew the family De Mauleon ?" 

" I really can t say. What then ? " 

" The old Vicomte de Mauleon was one of my most inti- 
mate associates. In fact, our houses are connected. And he 
was extremely grieved, poor man, when his daughter Louise 
married her drawing-master, Auguste Duval." 

" Her drawing-master, Auguste Duval ? Pray say on. I 
think the Louise Duval my friend knew must have been her 
daughter. She was the only child of a drawing-master or 
artist named Auguste Duval, and probably enough her Chris- 
tian name would have been derived from her mother. A Mad- 
emoiselle de Mauleon, then, married M. Auguste Duval?" 

" Yes ; the old Vicomte had espoused en premieres voces 
Mademoiselle Camille de Chavigny, a lady of birth equal to 
his own ; had by her one* daughter, Louise. I recollect her 
well : a plain girl, with a high nose and a sour expression. 
She was just of age when the first Vicomtesse died, and by the 
marriage settlement she succeeded at once to her mother's for- 
tune, which was not large. The Vicomte was, however, so 
poor, that the loss of that income was no trifle to him. Though 



I-HE PAkisiANS, 143 

much past fifty, he was still very handsome. Men of that gen- 
eration did not age soon, Monsieur," said the Count, expand- 
ing his fine chest and laughing exultingly. 

" He married, en secondes noces, a lady of still higher birth 
than the first, and with a much larger dot. Louise was indignant 
at this, hated her stepmother ; and when a son was born by 
the second marriage she left the paternal roof, went to reside 
with an old female relative near the Luxembourg, and there 
married this drawing-master. Her father and the family did 
all they could to prevent it ; but in these democratic days, a 
woman who has attained her majority can, if she persist in her 
determination, marry to please herself and disgrace her ances- 
tors. After that mesalliance her father never would see her 
again. I tried in vain to soften him. All his parental affec- 
tions settled on his handsome Victor. Ah, you are too young 
to have known Victor de Mauleon during his short reign at 
Paris as roi des viveurs." 

" Yes, he was before my time ; but I have heard of him as 
a young man of great fashion : said to be very clever, a duellist, 
and a sort of Don Juan." 

" Exactly." 

" And then I remember vaguely to have heard that he com- 
mitted, or was said to have committed, some villanous action 
connected with a great lady's jewels, and to have left Paris in 
consequence." 

" Ah, yes a sad scrape. At that time there was a political 
crisis ; we were under a Republic ; anything against a noble 
was believed. But I am sure Victor de Mauleon was not the 
man to commit a larceny. However, it is quite true that he 
left Paris, and I don't know what has become of him since." 
Here he touched De Breze, who, though still near, had not 
been listening to this conversation, but interchanging jest and 
laughter with Lemercier on the motley scene of the dance. 

" De Breze, have you ever heard what became of poor dear 
Victor de Mauleon? You knew him." 

"Knew him? I should think so. Who could be in the 
great world and not know le beau Victor ? No ; after he van- 
ished I never heard more of him doubtless long since dead. 
A good-hearted fellow, in spite of all his sins." 

" My dear M. de Breze, did you know his half-sister ? ' 
asked <jraham ; "a Madame Duval?" 

"No, I never heard he had a half-sister. Halt there: I 
recollect that I met Victor once, in the garden at Versailles, 
walking arm-in-arm with the most beautiful girl I ever saw ; 



144 THE PARISIANS. 

and when I complimented him afterwards at the Jockey Club 
on his new conquest, he replied very gravely that the young 
lady was his niece. ' Niece !' said I; 'why, there can't be 
more than five or six years between you.' ' About that, I sup- 
pose,' said he; 'my half-sister, her mother, was more than 
twenty years older than I at the time of my birth.' I doubted 
the truth of his story at the time, but since you say he really 
had a sister, my doubt wronged him." 

" Have you never seen that same young lady since ? " 

" Never." 

" How many years ago was this ?" 

" Let me see about twenty or twenty-one years ago. How 
time flies ! " 

Graham still continued to question, but could learn no far- 
ther particulars. He turned to quit the gardens just as the 
band was striking up for a fresh dance, a wild German waltz 
air, and mingled with that German music his ear caught the 
sprightly sounds of the French laugh, one laugh distinguished 
from the rest by a more genuine ring of light-hearted joy the 
laugh that he had, heard on entering the gardens, and the 
sound of which had then saddened him. Looking towards the 
quarter from which it came, he again saw the " Ondine of 
Paris." She was not now the centre of a group. She had just 
found Gustave Rameau ; and was clinging to his arm with a 
look of happiness in her face, frank and innocent as a child's. 
And so they passed amid the dancers down a solitary lamp-lit 
alley, till lost to the Englishman's lingering gaze. 



CHAPTER X. 

THE next morning Graham sent again for M. Renard. 

"Well," he cried, when that dignitary appeared and took a 
sent beside him ; "chance has favored me." 

" I always counted on chance, Monsieur. Chance has more 
wit in its little finger than the Paris police in its whole body." 

" I have ascertained the relations, on the mother's side, of 
Louise Duval, and the only question is how to get at them." 

Here Graham related what he had heard, and ended by say- 
ing : "This Victor de Mauleon is therefore my Louise Duval's 
uncle. He was, no doubt, taking charge of her in the year 
that the persons interested in her discovery lost sight of her in 
Paris ; and surely he must know what became of her afterwards." 

" Very probably ; and chance may befriend us yet in the 



THE PARISIANS. 145 

discovery of Victor de Mauleon. You seem not to know the 
paiticulars of that story about the jewels which brought him 
into some connection with the police, and resulted in his dis- 
appearance from Paris." 

" No ; tell me the particulars." 

" Victor de Mauleon was heir to some 60,000 or 70,000 francs 
a year, chiefly on the mother's side ; for his father, though the 
representative of one of the most ancient houses in Normandy, 
was very poor, having little of his own except the emoluments 
of an appointment in the Court of Louis Philippe. 

" But before, by the death of his parents, Victor came intc . 
that inheritance, he very largely forestalled it. His tastes were 
magnificent. He took to ' sport '; kept a famous stud, was a 
great favorite with the English, and spoke their language 
fluently. Indeed, he was considered very accomplished, and 
of considerable intellectual powers. It was generally said that 
some day or other, when he had sown his wild oats, he would, 
if he took to politics, be an eminent man. Altogether he was 
a very strong creature. That was a very strong age under 
Louis Philippe. The viveurs of Paris were fine types for the 
heroes of Dumas and Sue ; full of animal life and spirits. 
Victor de Mauleon was a romance of Dumas incarnated." 

" M. Renard, forgive me that I did not before do justice to 
your taste in polite literature." 

" Monsieur, a man in my profession does not attain even to 
my humble eminence if he be not something else than a pro- 
fessional. He must study mankind wherever they are de- 
scribed even in les romans. To return to Victor de Mauleon. 
Though he was a ' sportsman,' a gambler, a Don Juan, a 
duellist, nothing was ever said against his honor. On the con- 
trary, on matters of honor he was a received oracle ; and even 
though he had fought several duels (that was the age of duels), 
and was reported without a superior, almost without an equal, 
in either weapon, the sword or the pistol, he is said never to 
have wantonly provoked an encounter, and to have so used his 
skill that he contrived never to slay, nor even gravely to wound, 
an antagonist. 

" I remember one instance of his generosity in this respect, 
for it was much talked of at the time. One of your country- 
men, who had never handled a fencing-foil nor fired a pistol, 
took offence at something M. de Maule'on had said in dispar- 
agement of the Duke of Wellington, and called him out. Vic- 
tor de Mauleon accepted the challenge, discharged his pistols, 
not in the air that might have been an affront but so as to 



PARISIANS; 

be wide of the mark, walked up to the lines to be shot at, and 
when missed, said : ' Excuse the susceptibility of a Frenchman, 
loth to believe that his countrymen can be beaten save by 
accident, and accept every apology one gentleman can make to 
another for having forgotten the respect due to one of the 
most renowned of your national heroes.' The Englishman's 
name was Vane. Could it have been your father ? " 

"Very probably; just like my father to call out any man 
who insulted the honor of his country, as represented by its 
men. I hope the two combatants became friends ?" 

" That I never heard ; the duel was over there my story 
ends." 

" Pray go on." 

"One day it was in the midst of political events which 
would have silenced most subjects of private gossip the beau 
mo tide was startled by the news that the Vicomte (he was then, 
by his father's death, Vicomte) de Mauleon had been given into 
the custody of the police on the charge of stealing the jewels of 

the Duchesse de (the wife of a distinguished foreigner). 

It seems that some days before this event, the Due, wishing to 
make Madame his spouse an agreeable surprise, had resolved 
to have a diamond necklace belonging to her, and which was 
of setting so old-fashioned that she had not lately worn it, reset 
for her birthday. He therefore secretly possessed himself of a 
key to an iron safe in a cabinet adjoining her dressing-room 
(in which safe her more valuable jewels were kept), and took 
from it the necklace. Imagine his dismay when the jeweller 
in the Rue Vivienne to whom he carried it recognized the 
pretended diamonds as imitation paste which he himself had 
some days previously inserted into an empty setting brought to 
him by a monsieur with whose name he was unacquainted. 
The Duchesse was at that time in delicate health ; and as the 
Due's suspicions naturally fell on the servants, especially on the 
femme de chambre, who was in great favor with his wife, he did 
not like to alarm Madame, nor through her to put the servants 
on their guard. He resolved, therefore, to place the matter in 

the hands of the famous , who was then the pride and 

the ornament of the Parisian police. And the very night after- 
wards the Vicomte de Mauleon was caught and apprehended 
in the cabinet where the jewels were kept, and to which he had 
got access by a false key, or at least a duplicate key found in 
his possession. I should observe that M. de Mauleon occupied 
the entresol in the same hotel in which the upper rooms were 
devoted to the Due and Duchesse and their suite. As soon 



tHE PARISIANS. ttf 

as this charge against the Vicomte was made known (and 
it was known the next morning), the extent of his debts 
and the utterness of his ruin (before scarcely conjectured or 
wholly unheeded)became public through the medium of the 
journals, and furnished an obvious motive for the crime of 
which he was accused. We Parisians, Monsieur, are subject 
to the most startling reactions of feeling. The men we adore 
one day we execrate the next. The Vicomte passed at once 
from the popular admiration one bestows on a hero, to the pop- 
ular contempt with which one regards a petty larcener. Soci- 
ety wondered how it had ever condescended to receive into its 
bosom the gambler, the duellist, the Don Juan. However, 
one compensation in the way of amusement he might still 
afford to society for the grave injuries he had done it. Society 
would attend his trial, witness his demeanor at the bar, and 
watch the expression of his face when he was sentenced to the 
galleys. But, Monsieur, this wretch completed the measure of 
his iniquities. He was not tried at all. The Due and Duch- 
esse quitted Paris for Spain, and the Due instructed his lawyer 
to withdraw his charge, stating his conviction of the Vicomte's 
complete innocence of any other offence than that which he 
himself had confessed." 

" What did the Vicomte confess ! You omitted to state 
that." 

" The Vicomte, when apprehended, confessed that, smitten 
by an insane passion for the Duchesse, which she had, on his 
presuming to declare it, met with indignant scorn, he had 
taken advantage of his lodgment in the same house to admit 
himself into the cabinet adjoining her dressing-room by means 
of a key which he had procured, made from an impression of 
the keyhole taken in wax. 

" No evidence in support of any other charge against the 
Vicomte was forthcoming ; nothing, in short, beyond the in- 
fraction du domicile caused by the madness of youthful love, 
and for which there was no prosecution. The law, therefore, 
could have littte to say against him. But society was more 
rigid ; and, exceedingly angry to find that a man who had 
been so conspicuous for luxury should prove to be a pauper, 
insisted on believing that M. de Mauleon was guilty of the 
meaner, though not perhaps, in the eyes of husbands and 
fathers, the more heinous, of the two offences. I presume 
that the Vicomte felt that he had got into a dilemma from 
which no pistol-shot or sword-thrust could free him, for he 
left Paris abruptly, and has not since reappeared. The sale of 



148 THE PARISIANS. 

his stud and effects sufficed, I believe, to pay his debts, for \ 
will do him the justice to say that they were paid." 

" But though the Vicomte de Mauleon has disappeared, he 
must have left relations at Paris, who would perhaps know 
what has become of him and of his niece." 

" I doubt it. He had no very near relations. The near- 
est was an old cttibataire of the same name, from whom he 
had some expectations, but who died shortly after this esclamlre, 
and did not name the Vicomte in his will. M. Victor had 
numerous connections among the highest families the Roche- 
briants, Chavignys, Vandemars, Passys, Beauvilliers. But they 
are not likely to have retained any connection with a ruined 
vaurien, and still less with a niece of his who was the child of 
a drawing-master. But now you have given me a clue, I will 
try to follow it up. We must find the Vicomte, and I am not 
without hope of doing so. Pardon me if I decline to say more 
at present. I would not raise false expectations. But in a 
week or two I will have the honor to call again upon Monsieur." 

" Wait one instant. You have really a hope of discovering 
M. de Mauleon ?" 

" Yes. I cannot say more at present." 

M. Renard departed. 

Still that hope, however faint it might prove, served to re- 
animate Graham ; and with that hope his heart, as if a load 
had been lifted from its mainspring, returned instinctively to 
the thought of Isaura. Whatever seemed to promise an early 
discharge of the commission connected with the discovery of 
Louise Duval seemed to bring Isaura nearer to him, or at least 
to excuse his yearning desire to see more of her, to understand 
her better. Faded into thin air was the vague jealousy of 
Gustave Rameau which he had so unreasonably conceived ; he 
felt as if it were impossible that the man whom the " Ondine 
of Paris " claimed as her lover could dare to woo or hope to 
win an Isaura. He even forgot the friendship with the elo- 
quent denouncer of the marriage-bond, which, a little while 
ago had seemed to him an unpardonable offence : he remem- 
bered only the lovely face, so innocent, yet so intelligent ; only 
the sweet voice which had for the first time breathed music 
into his own soul ; only the gentle hand whose touch had for 
the first time sent through his veins the thrill which distin- 
guishes from all her sex the woman whom we love. He went 
forth elated and joyous, and took his way to Isaura's villa. As 
he went, the leaves on the trees under which he passed seemed 
stirred by the soft May breeze in sympathy with his own de- 



THE PARISIANS. 149 

light. Perhaps it was rather the reverse : his own silent de- 
light sympathized with all delight in awakening nature. The 
lover seeking reconciliation with the loved one, from whom 
some trifle has unreasonably estranged him, in a cloudless day 
of May, if he be not happy enough to feel a brotherhood in 
all things happy : a leaf in bloom, a bird in song then in- 
deed he may call himself lover, but he does not know what is 
love. 



BOOK IV. 



CHAPTER I. 

From Isaura Cicogna to Madame de Grantmesnil. 

IT is many days since I wrote to you, and but for your de- 
lightful note just received, reproaching me for silence, I should 
still be under the spell of that awe which certain words of M. 
Savarin were well fitted to produce. Chancing to ask him if 
he had written to you lately, he said, with that laugh of his, 
good-humoredly ironical : " No, Mademoiselle, I am not one of 
the Facheux whom Moliere has immortalized. If the meeting 
of lovers should be sacred from the intrusion of a third person, 
however amiable, more sacred still should be the parting be- 
tween an author and his work. Madame de Grantmesnil is in 
that moment so solemn to a genius earnest as hers ; she is bid- 
ding farewell to a companion with whom, once dismissed into 
the world, she can never converse familiarly again ; it ceases 
to be her companion when it becomes ours. Do not let us dis- 
turb the last hours they will pass together." 

These words struck me mucji. I suppose there is truth in 
them. I can comprehend that a work which has long been all 
in all to its author, concentrating his thoughts, gathering round 
it the hopes and fears of his inmost heart dies, as it were, to 
him when he has completed its life for others, and launched it 
into a world estranged from the solitude in which it was born 
and formed. I can almost conceive that, to a writer like you, 
the very fame which attends the work thus sent forth chills 
your own love for it. The characters you created in a fairy- 
land known but to yourself must lose something of their roys- 



150 THE PARISIANS. 

terious charm when you hear them discussed and cavilled at, 
blamed or praised, as if they were really the creatures of streets 
and salons. 

I wonder if hostile criticism pains or enrages you as it seems 
to do such other authors as I have known. M. Savarin, for 
instance, sets down in his-tablets as an enemy to whom ven- 
geance is due the smallest scribbler who wounds his self-love, 
and says frankly : " To me praise is food, dispraise is poison. 
Him who feeds me I pay ; him who poisons me I break on the 
wheel." M. Savarin is, indeed, a skilful and energetic admin- 
istrator to his own reputation. He deals with it as if it were a 
kingdom : establishes fortifications for its defence, enlists 
soldiers to fight for it. He is the soul and centre of a confed- 
eration in which each is bound to defend the territory of the 
others, and all those ^erritories united constitute the imperial 
realm of M. Savarin. Don't think me an ungracious satirist 
in what I am thus saying of our brilliant friend. It is not I 
who here speak ; it is himself. He avows his policy with the 
naivetf which makes the charm of his style as writer. "It is 
the greatest mistake," he said to me yesterday, " to talk of the 
Republic of Letters. Every author who wins a name is a 
sovereign in his own domain, be it large or small. Woe to 
any republican who wants to dethrone me ! " Somehow or 
other, when M. Savarin thus talks I feel as if he were betraying 
the cause of genius. I cannot bring myself to regard literature 
as a craft ; to me it is a sacred mission ; and in hearing this 
"sovereign" boast of the tricks by which he maintains his 
state, I seem to listen to a priest who treats as imposture the 
religion he professes to teach. M. Savarin's favorite dive now 
is a young contributor to his journal, named Gustave Rameau. 
M. Savarin said the other day in my hearing, " I and my set 
were Young France ; Gustave Rameau and his set are New 
Saris." 

"And what is the distinction between the one and the 
other?" asked my American friend Mrs. Morley. 

"The set of 'Young France,' " answered M. Savarin, "had in 
it the hearty consciousness of youth : it was bold and vehe- 
ment, with abundant vitality and animal spirits ; whatever may 
be said against it in other respects, the power of thews and 
sinews must be conceded to its chief representatives. But the 
set of ' New Paris ' has very bad health, and very indifferent 
spirits. Still, in its way, it is very clever ; it can sting and 
bite as keenly as if it were big and strong. Rameau is the 
most promising member of the set. He will be popular in his. 



THE PARISIANS. 151 

time, because he represents a good deal of the mind of his 
time, viz., the mind and the time of 'New Paris.'" 

Do you know anything of this young Rameau's writings ? 
You do not know himself, for he told me so, expressing a de- 
sire, that was evidently very sincere, to find some occasion on 
which to render you his homage. He said this the first time I 
met him at M. Savarin's, and before he knew how dear to me 
are yourself and your fame. He came and sate by me after 
dinner, and won my interest at once by asking me if I had 
heard that you were busied on a new work ; and then, without 
waiting for my answer, he launched forth into praises of you, 
which made a notable contrast to the scorn with which' he 
spoke of all your contemporaries, except, indeed, M. Savarin, 
who, however, might not have been pleased to hear his favor- 
ite pupil style him "a great writer in small things." I spare 
you his epigrams on Dumas and Victor Hugo, and my beloved 
Lamartine. Though his talk was showy, and dazzled me at 
first, I soon got rather tired of it, even the first time we met. 
Since then 1 have seen him very often, not only at M. Sava- 
rin's, but he calls here at least every other day, and we have 
become quite good friends. He gains on acquaintance so far 
that one cannot help feeling how much he is to be pitied. He 
is so envious ! And the envious must be so unhappy. And 
then he is at once so near and so far from all the things that 
he envies. He longs for riches and luxury, and can only as 
yet earn a bare competence by his labors. Therefore he hates 
the rich and luxurious. His literary successes, 'instead of 
pleasing him, render him miserable by their contrast with the 
fame of the authors whom he envies and assails. He has a 
beautiful head, of which he is conscious, but it is joined to a 
body without strength or grace. He is conscious of this too : 
but it is cruel to go on with this sketch. You can see at once 
the kind of person who, whether he inspires affection or dislike, 
cannot fail to create an interest painful but compassionate. 

You will be pleased to hear that Dr. C. considers my health 
so improved that I may next year enter fairly on the profes- 
sion for which I was intended and trained. Yet Instill feel 
hesitating and doubtful. To give myself wholly up to the art 
in which I am told I could excel, must alienate me entirely 
from the ambition that yearns for fields in which, alas ! it may 
perhaps never appropriate to itself a rood for culture ; only 
wander, lost in a vague fairyland, to which it has not the fairy's 
birthright. O thou great enchantress, to whom are equally 
subject the streets of Paris and the realm of faerie thou who 



152 THE PARISIANS. 

hast sounded to the deeps that circumfluent ocean called 
" practical human life," and hast taught the acutest of its navi- 
gators to consider how far its courses are guided by orbs in 
heaven canst thou solve this riddle which, if it perplexes me, 
must perplex so many ? What is the real distinction between 
the rare genius and the commonalty of human souls that feel 
to the quick all the grandest and divinest things which the 
rare genius places before them, sighing within themselves: 
" This rare genius does but express that which was previously 
familiar to us, so far as thought and sentiment extend ? " Nay, 
the genius itself, however eloquent, never does, never can, ex- 
press the whole of the thought or the sentiment it interprets : on 
the contrary, the greater the genius is the more it leaves 
a something of incomplete satisfaction on our minds ; it 
promises so much more than it performs ; it implies so much 
mere than it announces. I am impressed with the truth of 
what I thus say in proportion as I reperuse and restudy the 
greatest writers that have, come within my narrow range of 
reading. And by the greatest writers I mean those who are 
not exclusively reasoners (of such I cannot judge), nor mere 
poets (of whom, so far as concerns the union of words with 
music, I ought to be able to judge), but the few who unite rea- 
son and poetry, and appeal at once to the common-sense of 
the multitude and the imagination of the few. The highest 
type of this union to me is Shakspeare ; and I can compre- 
hend the justice of no criticism on him which does not allow this 
sense of incomplete satisfaction augmenting in proportion as 
the poet soars to his highest. I ask again, in what consists 
this distinction between the rare genius and the commonalty 
of minds that exclaim : " He expresses what we feel, but never 
the whole of what we feel." Is it the mere power over lan- 
guage, a larger knowledge of dictionaries, a finer ear for 
period and cadence, a more artistic craft in casing our thoughts 
and sentiments in well-selected words ? Is it true what Buff on 
says, " that the style is the man"? Is it true what I am told 
Goethe said, " Poetry is form " ? I cannot believe this ; and 
if you tell me it is true, then I no longer pine to be a writer. 
But if ifbe not true, explain to me how it is that the greatest 
genius is popular in proportion as it makes itself akin to us by 
uttering in better words than we employ that which was al- 
ready within us, brings to light what in our souls was latent, 
and does but correct, beautify, and publish the correspondence 
which an ordinary reader carries on privately every day, be- 
tween himself and his mind or his heart. Jf this, superiority 



TttE PARISIANS. 1$3 

in the genius be but style and form, I abandon my dream of 
being something else than a singer of words by another to the 
music of another. But then, what then ? My knowledge of 
books and art is wonderfully small. What little I do know I 
gather from very few books, and from what I hear said by the few 
worth listening to whom I happen to meet ; and out of these, 
in solitude and revery, not by conscious effort, I arrive at some 
results which appear to my experience original. Perhaps, in- 
deed, they have the same kind of originality as the musical 
compositions of amateurs who effect a cantata or a quartette 
made up of borrowed details from great masters, and consti- 
tuting a whole so original that no real master would deign to 
own it. Oh, if I could get you to understand how unsettled, 
how struggling my whole nature at this moment is ! I wonder 
what is the sensation of the chrysalis which has been a silk- 
worm, when it first feels the new wings stirring within its shell 
wings, alas ! they are but those of the humblest and shortest- 
lived sort of moth, scarcely born into daylight before it dies. 
Could it reason, it might regret its earlier life, and say, "Better 
be the silk-worm than the moth." 

From the Same to tJie Same. 

Have you known well any English people in the course of 
your life ? I say well, for you must have had acquaintance 
with many. But it seems to me so difficult to know an English- 
man well. Even I, who so loved and revered Mr. Selby I, 
whose childhood was admitted into his companionship by that 
love which places ignorance and knowledge, infancy and age, 
upon ground so equal that heart touches heart 1 cannot say 
that I understand the English character to anything like the 
extent to which I fancy I understand the Italian and the 
French. Between us of the Continent and them of the island 
the British Channel always flows. There is an Englishman 
here to whom I have been introduced, whom I have met, 
though but seldom, in that society which bounds the Paris 
world to me. Pray, pray tell me, did you ever know, ever 
meet him ? His name is Graham Vane. He is the only son, I 
am told, of a man who was a eele'brite' in England as an orator 
and statesman, and on both sides he belongs to the haute aris- 
tocratic. He himself has that indescribable air and mien to 
which we apply the epithet u distinguished." In the most 
crowded salon the eye would fix on him, and involuntarily fol- 
low his movements. Yet his manners are frank and simple, 
wholly without the stiffness or reserve which are said to charac- 



154 THE PARISIANS. 

terize the English. There is an inborn dignity in his bearing 
which consists in the absence of all dignity assumed. But 
what strikes me most in this Englishman is an expression of 
countenance which the English depict by the word 'open ' 
that expression which inspires you with a belief in the ex- 
istence of sincerity. Mrs. Morley said of him, in that poetic 
extravagance of phrase by which the Americans startle the 
English : "That man's forehead would light up the Mammoth 
Cave." Do you not know, Eulalie, what it is to us cultivators 
of art art being the expression of truth through fiction to 
come into the atmosphere of one of those souls in which Truth 
stands out bold and beautiful in itself, and needs no ideal- 
ization through fiction ? Oh, how near we should be to heaven 
could we live daily, hourly, in the presence of one the honesty 
of whose word we could never doubt, the authority of whose 
word we could never disobey ! Mr. Vane professes not to 
understand music not even to care for it, except rarely and 
yet he spoke of its influence over others with an enthusiasm 
that half charmed me once more back to my destined calling ; 
nay, might have charmed me wholly, but that he seemed to 
think that I that any public singer must be a creature apart 
from the world the world in which such men live. Perhaps 
that is true. 



CHAPTER II. 

IT was one of those lovely noons towards the end of May 
in which the rural suburb has the mellow charm of summer to 
him who escapes awhile from the streets of a crowded capital. 
The Londoner knows its charms when he feels his tread on the 
softening swards of the Vale of Health, or, pausing at Rich- 
mond under the budding willow, gazes on the river glittering 
in the warmer sunlight, and hears from the villa-gardens be- 
hind him the brief trill of the blackbird. But the suburbs 
round Paris are, I think, a yet more pleasing relief from the 
metropolis ; they are more easily reached, and I know not 
why, but they seem more rural, perhaps because the contrast 
of their repose with the stir left behind of their redundance 
of leaf and blossom, compared with the trim efflorescence of 
trees in the Boulevards and Tuileries, is more striking. 
However that may be, when Graham reached the pretty sub- 
urb in which Isaura dwelt, it seemed to him as if all the wheels 
of the loud, busy life were suddenly smitten still. The hour 



THE PARISIANS. J55 

was yet early ; he felt sure that he should find Isaura at home. 
The garden-gate stood unfastened and ajar ; he pushed it aside 
and entered. 1 think I have before said that the garden of 
the villa was shilt'out from the road, and the gaze of neigh- 
bors, by a wall and thick belts of evergreens ; it stretched 
behind the house somewhat far for the garden of a suburban 
villa. He paused when he had passed the gateway, for he heard 
in the distance the voice of one singing singing low, singing x 
plaintively. He knew it was the voice of Isaura ; he passed on, 
leaving the house behind him, and tracking the voice till he 
reached the singer. 

Isaura was seated within an arbor towards the further end of 
the garden an arbor which, a little later in the year, must 
indeed be delicate and dainty with lush exuberance of jessa- 
mine and woodbine ; now into its iron trelliswork leaflet and 
flowers were insinuating their gentle way. Just at the entrance 
one white rose a winter rose that had mysteriously survived 
its relations opened its pale hues frankly to the noonday sun. 
Graham approached slowly, noiselessly, and the last note of 
the song had ceased when he stood at the entrance of the 
arbor. Isaura did not perceive him at first, for her face was 
bent downward musingly, as was often her wont after singing, 
^especially when alone. But she felt that the place was dark- 
ened, that something stood between her and the sunshine. She 
raised her face, and a quick flush mantled over it as she ut- 
tered his name, not loudly, not as in surprise, but inwardly 
and whisperingly, as in a sort of fear. 

"Pardon me, Mademoiselle," said Graham, entering; "but 
I heard your voice as I came into the garden, and it drew me 
onward involuntarily. What a lovely air ! And what simple 
sweetness in such of the words as reached me ! I am 
so ignorant of music that you must not laugh at me if 1 ask 
whose is the music and whose are the words ? Probably both 
are so well known as to convict me of a barbarous ignorance." 

"Oh no," said Isaura, with a still heightened color, and in 
accents embarrassed and hesitating. " Both the words and 
music are by an unknown and very humble composer, yet not, 
indeed, quite original ; they have not even that merit ; at least 
they were suggested by a popular song in the Neapolitan dia- 
lect which is said to be very old." 

" I don't know if I caught the true meaning of the words, 
for they seemed to me to convey a more subtle and refined 
sentiment than is common in the popular songs of southern 
Italy." 



156 THE PARISIANS. 

" The sentiment in the original is changed in the paraphrase, 
and not, I fear, improved by the change." 

" Will you explain to me the sentiment in .both, and let me 
judge which I prefer?" 

" In the Neapolitan song a young fisherman, who has moored 
his boat under a rock on the shore, sees a beautiful face below 
the surface of the waters ; he imagines it to be that of a 
Nereid, and casts in his net to catch this supposed nymph of 
the ocean. He only disturbs the water, loses the image, and 
brings up a few common fishes. He returns home disappoint- 
ed, and very much enamoured of the supposed Nereid. The 
next day he goes again to the same place, and discovers that 
the face which had so charmed him was that of a mortal girl 
reflected on the waters from the rock behind him, on which 
she had been seated, and on which she had her home. The 
original air is arch and lively ; just listen to it." And Isaura 
warbled one of those artless and somewhat meagre tunes to 
which light-stringed instruments are the fitting accompani- 
ment. 

"That," said Graham, "is a different music indeed from the 
other, which is deep and plaintive, and goes to the heart." 

" But do you not see how the words have been altered ? In the 
song you first heard me singing, the fisherman goes again to 
the spot, again and again sees the face in the water, again and 
again seeks to capture the Nereid, and never knows to the last 
that the face was that of the mortal on the rock close behind 
him, and which he passed by without notice every day. 
Deluded by an ideal image, the real one escapes from his 
eye." 

" Is the. verse that is recast meant to symbolize a moral in 
love?" 

"In love? Nay, I know not ; but in life, yes at least the 
life of the artist." 

" The paraphrase of the original is yours,- Signorina words 
and music both. Am I not right ? Your silence answers 
' Yes.' Will you pardon me if I say that, though there can be 
no doubt of the new beauty you have given to the old song, I 
think that the moral of the old was the sounder one, the truer 
to human life. We do not go on to the last duped by an illu- 
sion. If enamoured by the shadow on the waters, still we do 
look around us and discover the image it reflects." 

Isaura shook her head gently, but made no answer. On the 
table before her there were a few myrtle-sprigs and one or two 
buds from the last winter rose, which she had been arranging 



THE PARISIANS. 157 

into a simple nosegay ; she took up these, and abstractedly be- 
gan to pluck and scatter the rose-leaves. 

" Despise the coming May flowers if you will, they will soon 
be so plentiful," said Graham ; "but do not cast away the few 
blossoms which winter has so kindly spared, and which even 
summer will not give again." And, placing his hand on the 
winter buds, it touched hers lightly, indeed, but she felt the 
touch, shrank from it, colored, and rose from her seat. 

" The sun has left this side of the garden, the east wind is 
rising, and you must find it chilly here," she said, in an altered 
tone ; "will you not come into the house ?" 

"It is not the air that I feel chilly," said Graham, with a 
half smile; " I almost fear that my prosaic admonitions have 
displeased you." 

" They were not prosaic ; and they were kind and very wise," 
she added, with her exquisite laugh laugh so wonderfully 
sweet and musical. She now had gained the entrance of the 
arbor ; Graham joined her, and they walked towards the house. 
He asked her if she had seen much of the Savarins since they 
had met. 

" Once or twice we have been there of an evening." 

" And encountered, no doubt, the illustrious young minstrel 
who despises Tasso and Corneille ? " 

" M. Rameau ? Oh, yes ; he is constantly at the Savarins. Do 
not be severe on him. He is unhappy ; he is struggling ; he 
is soured. An artist has thorns in his path which lookers-on 
do not heed." 

" All people have thorns in their path, and I have no great 
respect for those who want lookers on to heed them whenever 
they are scratched. But M. Rameau seems to me one of those 
writers very common nowadays, in France and even in En- 
gland ; writers who have never read anything worth studying, 
and are, of course, presumptuous in proportion to their igno- 
rance. I should not have thought an artist like yourself could 
have recognized an artist in a M. Rameau who despises Tasso 
without knowing Italian." 

Graham spoke bitterly ; he was once more jealous. 

" Are you not an artist yourself? Are you not a writer? 
M. Savarin told me you were a distinguished man of letters." 

" M. Savarin flatters me too much. I am not an artist, and I 
have a great dislike to that word as it is now hackneyed and 
vulgarized in England and in France. A cook calls himself an 
artist ; a tailor does the same ; a man writes a gaudy melo- 
drame, a spasmodic song, a sensational novel, and straightway 



158 THE PARISIANS. 

he calls ..imself an artist, and indulges in a pedantic jargon 
about 'essence' and 'form,' assuring us that a poet we can un- 
derstand wants essence, and a poet we can scan wants form. 
Thank heaven, I am not vain enough to call myself artist. 
I have written some very dry lucubrations in periodicals, chiefly 
political, or critical, upon other subjects than art. But why, 
apropos of M. Rameau, did you ask me that question respect- 
ing myself ? " 

" Because much in your conversation," answered Isaura, in 
rather a mournful tone, " made me suppose you had more 
sympathies with art and its cultivators than you cared to avow. 
And if you had such sympathies, you would comprehend what 
a relief it is to a poor aspirant to art like myself to come into 
communication with those who devote themselves to any art 
distinct from the common pursuits of the world ; what a relief it 
is to escape from the ordinary talk of society. There is a sort 
of instinctive freemasonry among us, including masters and 
disciples, and one art has a fellowship with other arts ; mine is 
but song and music, yet I feel attracted towards a sculptor, a 
painter, a romance-writer, a poet, as much as towards a singer, 
a musician. Do you understand why I cannot contemn M. 
Rameau as you do ? I differ from his tastes in literature ; I 
do not much admire such of his writings as I have read ; I 
grant that he overestimates his own genius, whatever that be, 
yet I like to converse with him : he is a struggler upward, 
though with weak wings, or with erring. footsteps, like myself." 

"Mademoiselle," said Graham earnestly, " I cannot say how 
I thank you for this candor. Do not condemn me for abusing 
it if " he paused. 

"If what?" 

"If I, so much older than yourself I do not say only in 
years, but in the experience of life I whose lot is cast among 
those busy and ' positive ' pursuits, which necessarily quicken that 
unromantic faculty called common-sense if, I say, the deep 
interest with which you must inspire all whom you admit into 
an acquaintance, even as unfamiliar as that now between us, 
makes me utter one caution, such as might be uttered by a 
friend or brother. Beware of those artistic sympathies which 
you so touchingly confess ; beware how, in the great events of 
life, you allow fancy to misguide your reason. In choosing 
friends on whom to rely, separate the artist from the human 
being. Judge of the human being for what it is in itself. Do 
not worship the face on the waters, blind to the image on the 
rock. In one word, never see in an artist like M. Rameau the 



THE PARISIANS. 159 

human being to whom you could intrust the destinies of your 
life. Pardon me, pardon me ; we may meet little hereafter, 
but you are a creature so utterly new to me, so wholly unlike 
any woman I have ever before encountered and admired, and 
to me seem endowed with such wealth of mind and soulj ex- 
posed to such hazard, that that " again he paused, and his 
voice trembled as he concluded "that it would be a deep sor- 
row to me if, perhaps, years hence, I should have to say, 'Alas ! 
by what mistake has that wealth been wasted ' ! " 

While they had thus conversed, mechanically they had 
turned away from the house, and were again standing before 
the arbor. 

Graham, absorbed in the passion of his adjuration, had no,t 
till now looked into the face of the companion by his side. 
Now, when he had concluded, and heard no reply, he bent 
down and saw that Isaura was weeping silently. 

His heart smote him. 

" Forgive me," he exclaimed, drawing her hand into his ; "I 
have had no right to talk thus ; but it was not from want of re- 
spect ; it was it was " 

The hand which was yielded to his pressed it gently, timidly, 
chastely. 

''Forgive!" murmured Isaura; ''Do you think that I, an 
orphan, have never longed for a friend who would speak to me 
thus ? " And so saying, she lifted her eyes, streaming still, to his 
bended countenance eyes, despite their tears, so clear in their 
innocent, limpid beauty, so ingenuous, so frank, so virgin- 
like, so unlike the eyes of "any other woman he had encoun- 
tered and admired." 

"Alas!" he said, in quick and hurried accents, "you may 
remember, when we have before conversed, how I, though so 
uncultured in your art, still recognized its beautiful influence 
upon human breasts ; how I sought to combat your own de- 
preciation of its rank among the elevating agencies of human- 
ity ; how, too, I said that no man could venture to ask you to 
renounce the boards, the lamps resign the fame of actress, of 
singer. Well, now that you accord to me the title of friend, 
now that you so touchingly remind me that you are an orphan 
thinking of all the perils the young and the beautiful of your 
sex must encounter when they abandon private life for public 
I think that a true friend might put the question, ' Can you re- 
sign the fame of actress, of singer ' ? " 

" I will answer you frankly. The profession which once seemed 
to me so alluring began to lose its charms in my eyes some 



160 THE PARISIANS. 

months ago. It was your words, very eloquently expressed, on 
the ennobling effects of music and song upon a popular audience, 
that counteracted the growing distaste to rendering up my whole 
life to the vocation of the stage. But now I think I should 
feel -grateful to the friend whose advice interpreted the voice 
of my own heart, and bade me relinquish the career of actress." 

Graham's face grew radiant. But whatever might have been 
his reply was arrested ; voices and footsteps were heard be- 
hind. He turned round and saw the Venosta, the Savarins, 
and Gustave Rameau. 

Isaura heard and saw also, started in a sort of alarmed con- 
fusion, and then instinctively retreated towards the arbor. 
% Graham hurried on to meet the Signoraand the visitors, giv- 
ing time to Isaura to compose herself by arresting them in the 
pathway with conventional salutations. 

A few minutes later Isaura joined th?m, and there was talk 
to which Graham scarcely listened, though he shared in it by 
abstracted monosyllables. He declined going into the house, 
and took leave at the gate. In parting, his eyes fixed them- 
selves on Isaura. Gustave Rameau was by her side. That 
nosegay which had been left in the arbor was in her hand ; and 
though she was bending over it, she did not now pluck and 
scatter the rose-leaves. Graham at that moment felt no jealousy 
of the fair-faced young poet beside her. 

As he walked slowly back, he muttered to himself : " But 
am I yet in the position to hold myself wholly free? Am I, 
am I ? Were the sole choice before me that between her and 
ambition and wealth, how soon it would be made ! Ambition 
has no prize equal to the heart of such a woman : wealth no 
sources of joy equal to the treasures of her love." 



CHAPTER III. 
From Isaura Cicogna to Madame de Grantmesnil. 

THE day after I posted my last, Mr. Vane called on us. I 
was in our little garden at the time. Our conversation was 
brief, and soon interrupted by visitors the Savarins and M. 
Rameau. I long for your answer. I wonder how he impressed 
you, if you have met him ; how he would impress, if you met 
him now. To me he is so different from all others ; and I 
scarcely know why his words ring in my ears, and his image 
rests in my thoughts. It is strange altogether ; for though he 
is young, he speaks to me as if he were so much older than I ; 



THE PARISIANS. l6l 

so kindly, so tenderly, yet as if I were a child, and much as the 
dear Maestro might do, if he thought I needed caution or 
counsel. Do not fancy, Eulalie, that there is any danger of 
my deceiving myself as to the nature of such interest as he 
may take in me. Oh no ! There is a gulf between us there 
which he does not lose sight of, and which we could not pass. 
How, indeed, I could interest him at all I cannot guess. A 
rich, high-born Englishman, intent on political life ; practical, 
prosaic no, not prosaic ; but still with the kind of sense which 
does not admit into its range of vision that world of dreams 
which is familiar as their daily home to Romance and to Art. 
It has always seemed to me that for love love such as I conceive 
it there must be a deep and constant sympathy between two 
persons, not, indeed, in the usual and ordinary trifles of taste 
and sentiment, but in those essentials which form the root of, 
character, and branch out in all the leaves and blooms that ex- 
pand to the sunshine and shrink from the cold ; that the world- 
ling should wed the worlding, the artist the artist. Can the 
realist and the idealist blend together, and hold together till 
death and beyond death ? If not, can there be true love be- 
tween them ? By true love, I mean the love which interpene- 
trates the soul, and once given can never die. Oh, Eulalie 
answer me answer ! 

P. S. I have now fully made up my mind to renounce all 
thought of the stage. 

From Madame de Grantmesnil to Isaura Cicogna. 

MY DEAR CHILD : 

How your mind has grown since you left me, the sanguine 
and aspiring votary of an art which, of all arts, brings the most 
immediate reward to a successful cultivator, and is in itself so 
divine in its immediate effects upon human souls ! Who shall 
say what may be the after-results of those effects which the 
waiters on posterity presume to despise because they are im- 
mediate? A dull man, to whose mind a ray of that vague star- 
light undetected in the atmosphere of workday life has never 
yet travelled ; to whom the philosopher, the preacher, the poet 
appeal in vain nay, to whom the conceptions of the grandest 
master of instrumental music are incomprehensible ; to whom 
Beethoven unlocks no portal in heaven ; to whom Rossini has 
no mysteries on earth unsolved by the critics of the pit sud- 
denly hears the human voice of the human singer, and at the 
sound of that voice the walls which enclosed him fall. The 
something far from and beyond the routine of his common- 



162 THE PARISIANS. 

place existence becomes known to him. He of himself, 
man, can make nothing of it. He cannot put it down on 
paper, and say the next morning, "I am an inch nearer to 
heaven than I was last night"; but the feeling that he is an 
inch nearer to heaven abides with him. Unconsciously he is 
gentler, he is less earthly, and. in being nearer to heaven, he is 
stronger for earth. You singers do not seem to me to under- 
stand that you have to use your own word, so much in vogue 
that it has become abused and trite a mission! When you 
talk of missions, from whom comes the mission ? Not from 
men. If there be a mission from man to men, it must be ap- 
pointed from on high. 

Think of all this ; and in being faithful to your art, be true 
to yourself. If you feel divided between that art and the 
heart of the writer, and acknowledge the first to be too exact- 
ing to admit a rival, keep to that in which you are sure to 
excel. Alas, my fair child, do not imagine that we writers feel 
a happiness in our pursuits and aims more complete than that 
which you can command ! If we care for fame (and, to be 
frank, we all do), that fame does not come up before us face 
to face, a real, visible, palpable form, as it does to the singer, 
to the actress. I grant that it may be more enduring, but an 
endurance on the length of which we dare not reckon. A 
writer cannot be sure of immortality till his language itself be 
dead ; and then he has but a share in an uncertain lottery. 
Nothing but fragments remain of the Phrynichus who rivalled 
^schylus ; of the Agathon who perhaps excelled Euripides ; 
of the Alcoeus in whom Horace acknowledged a master and a 
model ; their renown is not in their works, it is but in their 
names. And, after all, the names of singers and actors last 
perhaps as long. Greece retains the name of Polus, Rome of 
Roscius, England of Garrick, France of Talma, Italy of Pasta, 
more lastingly than posterity is likely to retain mine. You 
address to me a question which I have often put to myself : 
" What is the distinction between the writer and the reader, 
when the reader says, 4 These are my thoughts, these are my 
feelings ; the writer has stolen them, and clothed them in his 
own words"? And the more the reader says this, the more 
wide is the audience, the more genuine the renown, and, para- 
dox though it seems, the more consummate the originality of 
the writer. But no, it is not the mere gift of expression, it is 
not the mere craft of the pen, it is not the mere taste 
in arrangement of word and cadence, which thus en- 
ables the one to interpret the mind, the heart, the soul of 



THE PARISIANS. 163 

the many. It is a power breathed into him as he lay in his 
cradle, and a power that gathered around itself, as he grew up, 
all the influences he acquired, whether from observation of 
external Nature, or from study of men and books, or from that 
experience of daily life which varies with every human being. 
No education could make two intellects exactly alike, as no 
culture can make two leaves exactly alike. How truly you 
describe the senses of dissatisfaction which every writer of su- 
perior genius communicates to his admirers ! How truly do 
you feel that the greater is the dissatisfaction in proportion to 
the writer's genius, and the admirer's conception of it ! But 
that is the mystery which makes let me borrow a German 
phrase the cloud/and between the finite and the infinite. The 
greatest philosopher, intent on the secrets of Nature, feels that 
dissatisfaction in Nature herself. The finite cannot reduce 
into iQgic and criticism the infinite. 

Let us dismiss these matters, which perplex the reason, and 
approach that which touches the heart which in your case, my 
child, touches the heart of woman. You speak of love, and 
deem that the love which lasts the household, the conjugal 
love should be based upon such sympathies of pursuit that 
the artist should wed with the artist. 

This is one of the questions you do well to address to me ; 
for whether from my own experience, or from that which I have 
gained from observation extended over a wide range of life, 
and quickened and intensified by the class of writing that I cul- 
tivate, and, which necessitates a calm study of the passions, I 
am an authority on such subjects, better than most women can 
be. And alas, my child, I come to this result ! There is no 
prescribing to men or to women whom to select, whom to re- 
fuse. I cannot refute the axiom of the ancient poet, " In love 
there is no wherefore." But there is a time it is often but a 
moment of time in which love is not yet a master, in which 
we can say : " I will love I will not love." 

Now, if I could find you in such a moment, I would say to 
you : " Artist, do not love, do not marry, an artist." Two ar- 
tistic natures rarely combine. The artistic nature is wonder- 
fully exacting. I fear it is supremely egotistical so jealously 
sensitive that it writhes at the touch of a rival. Racine was 
the happiest of husbands ; his wife adored his genius, but could 
not understand his plays. Would Racine have been happy if 
he had married a Corneille in petticoats ? I who speak have 
loved an artist, certainly equal to myself. I am sure that he 
"loved me. That sympathy in pursuits of which you speak drew 



164 THE PARISIANS. 

us together, and became very soon the cause o* antipathy. To 
both of us the endeavor to coalesce was misery. 

I don't know your M. Rameau. Savarin has sent me some 
of his writings ; from these I judge that his only chance of 
happiness would be to marry a commonplace woman, with sep- 
aration de biens. He is, believe me, but one of the many with 
whom New Paris abounds, who, because they have the infirm- 
ities of genius, imagine they have its strength. 

I come next to the Englishman. I see how serious is your 
questioning about him. You not only regard him as a being 
distinct from the crowd of a salon ; he stands equally apart in 
the chamber of your thoughts ; you do not mention him in tire 
same letter as that which treats of Rameau and Savarin. He 
has become already an image not to be lightly mixed up with 
others. You would rather not have mentioned him at all to 
me, but you could not resist it. The interest you feel in him 
so perplexed you that in a kind of feverish impatience you cry 
out to me, "Can you solve the riddle? Did you ever know 
well Englishmen ? Can an Englishman be understood out of 
his island?" etc., etc. Yes, I have known well many English- 
men. In affairs of the heart they are much like all other men. 
No ; I do not know this Englishman in particular, nor any one 
of his name. 

Well, my child, let us frankly grant that this foreigner has 
gained some hold on your thoughts, on your fancy, perhaps 
also on your heart. Do not fear that^he will love you less 
enduringly, orthat you will become alienatedfrom him, because 
he is not an artist. If he be a strong nature, and with some 
great purpose in life, your ambition will fuse itself in his ; and 
knowing you as I do, I believe you would make an excellent 
wife to an Englishman whom you honored as well as loved ; 
and sorry though I should be that you relinquished the singer's 
fame, I should be consoled in thinking you safe in the woman's 
best sphere a contented home, safe from calumny, safe from 
gossip. I never had that home ; and there has been no part 
in my author's life in which I would not have given all the 
celebrity it won for the obscure commonplace of such woman 
lot. Could I move human beings as pawns on a chess-board, 
I should indeed say that the most suitable and congenial mate 
for you, for a woman of sentiment and genius, would be a well- 
born.and well-educated German ; for such a German unites, 
with domestic habits and a strong sense of family ties, a romance 
of sentiment, a love of art, a predisposition towards the poetic 
side of life which is very rare among Englishmen of the same 



THE PARISIANS. 165 

class. But as the German is not forthcoming, I give my vote 
for the Englishman, provided only you love him. Ah, child, 
be sure of that. Do not mistake fancy for love. All women 
do not require love in marriage, but without it that which is 
best and highest in you would wither and die. Write to me 
often and tell me all. M. Savarin is right. My book is no 
longer my companion. It is gone from me, and I am once 
more .alone in the world. Yours affectionately. 

P.S. Is not your postscript a woman's ? Does it not require 
a woman's postscript in reply ? You say in yours that you have 
fully made up your mind to renounce all thoughts of the stage. 
I ask in mine, " What has the Englishman to do with that 
determination ? " 

CHAPTER IV. 

SOME weeks have passed since Graham's talk with Isaura in 
the garden ; he has not visited the villa since. His cousins 
the D'Altons have passed through Paris on their wav to Italy, 
meaning to stay a few days ; they stayed nearly a month, and 
monopolized much of Graham's companionship. Both these 
were reasons why, in the habitual society of the Duke, Gra- 
ham's persuasion that he was not yet free to court the hand of 
Isaura became strengthened, and with that persuasion neces- 
sariljLcame a question equally addressed to his conscience. 
" If not yet free to court her hand, am I free to expose myself 
to the temptation of seeking to win her affection ?" But when 
his cousin was gone his heart began to assert its own rights, to 
argue its own case, and suggest modes of reconciling its dictates 
to the obligations which seemed to oppose them. In this hesi- 
tating state of mind he received the following note : 

VILLA , LAC D'ENGHIEN. 

MY DEAR MR. VANE : 

We have retreated from Paris to the banks of this beautiful 
little lake. Come and help to save Frank and myself from 
quarrelling with each other, which, until the Rights of Women 
are firmly established, married folks always will do when left 
to themselves, especially if they are still lovers, as Frank and 
I are. Love is a terribly quarrelsome thing. Make us a 
present of a few days out of your wealth of time. We will 
visit Montmorency and the haunts of Rousseau, sail on the 
lake at moonlight, dine at gipsy restaurants under trees not 
yet embrowned by summer heats, discuss literature and politics, 



l6<5 THE PARISIANS. 

' Shakspeare and the musical glasses/ and be as sociable and 
pleasant as Boccaccio's tale-tellers at Fiesole. We shall be 
but a small party, only the Savarins, that unconscious sage and 
humorist Signora Venosta, and that dimple-cheeked Isaura, 
who embodies the song of nightingales and the smile of sum- 
mer. Refuse, and Frank shall not have an easy moment til* 
he sends in his claims for thirty millions against the Alabama. 
Yours, as you behave, 

LIZZIE MORLEY. 

Graham did not refuse. He went to Enghien for four day? 
and a quarter. He was under the same roof as Isaura. Oh 
those happy days ! So happy that they defy description. Bur 
though to Graham the happiest days he had ever known, the) 
were happier still to Isaura. There were drawbacks to hH 
happiness, none to hers ; drawbacks partly from reasons the 
weight of which the reader will estimate later ; partly from 
reasons the reader may at once comprehend and assess. In 
the sunshine of her joy, all the vivid colorings of Isaura's 
artistic temperament came forth, so that what I may call the 
homely, domestic woman-side of her nature faded into shadow. 
If, my dear reader, whether you be man or woman, you have 
come into familiar contact with some creature of a genius to 
which, even assuming that you yourself have a genius in its 
own way, you have no special affinities have you not felt shy 
with that creature ? Have you not, perhaps, felt how intensely 
you could love that creature, and doubted if that creature 
could possibly love you ? Now I think that shyness and that 
disbelief are common with either man or woman, if, however 
conscious of superiority in the prose of life, he or she recognizes 
inferiority in the poetry of it. And yet this self-abasement is 
exceedingly mistaken. The poetical kind of genius is so 
grandly indulgent, so inherently deferential, bows with such 
unaffected modesty to the superiority in which it fears it may 
fail (yet seldom does fail) the superiority of common-sense. 
And when we come to women, what marvellous truth is con- 
veyed by the woman who has had no superior in intellectual 
gifts among her own sex ! Corinne, crowned at the Capitol, 
selects out of the whole world, as the hero of her love, no rival 
poet and enthusiast, but a cold-blooded, sensible Englishman. 

Graham Vane,. in his strong, masculine form of intellect, 
Graham Vane, from whom I hope much, if he live to fulfil his 
rightful career had, not unreasonably, the desire to dominate 
the life of the woman whom he selected as the partner of his 



THE PARISIANS. 167 

own. But the life of Isaura seemed to escape him. If at 
moments, listening to her, he would say to himself, '' What a 
companion ! Life could never be dull with her " at other 
momeats he would say, "True, never dull, but would it be 
always safe ? " And then comes in that mysterious power of love 
which crushes all beneath its feet, and makes us end self-com- 
mune by that abject submission of reason, which only murmurs, 
"Better be unhappy with the one you love, than happy witl> 
one whom you do not." All such self-communes were unknown 
to Isaura. She lived in the bliss of the hour. If Graham 
could have read her heart, he would have dismissed all doubt 
whether he could dominate her life. Could a Fate or an angel 
have said to her "Choose, on one side I promise you the 
glories of a Catalani, a Pasta, a Sappho, a De Stae'l, a Georges 
Sand, all combined into one immortal name : or, on the other 
side, the whole heart of the man who would estrange himself 
from you if you had such combination of glories," her an- 
swer would have brought Graham Vane to her feet : all scru- 
ples, all doubts would have vanished ; he would have exclaimed, 
with the generosity inherent in the higher order of man : "Be 
glorious, if your nature wills it so. Glory enough to me that 
you would have resigned glory itself to become mine." But 
how is it that men worth a woman's loving become so diffident 
when they love intensely? Even in ordinary cases of love 
there is so ineffable a delicacy in virgin woman, that a man, be 
he how refined soever, feels himself rough and rude and coarse 
in comparison. And while that sort of delicacy was pre-emi- 
nent in this Italian orphan, there came, to increase the humility 
of the man so proud and so confident in himself when he had 
only men to deal with, the consciousness that his intellectual 
nature was hard and positive beside the angel-like purity and 
the fairy-like play of hers. 

There was a strong wish on the part of Mrs. Morley to bring 
about the union of these two. She had a great regard and a 
great admiration for both. To her mind, unconscious of all 
Graham's doubts and prejudices, they were exactly suited to 
each other. A man of intellect so cultivated as Graham's, if 
married to a commonplace English "Miss," would surely feel 
as if life had no sunshine and no flowers. The love of an Isaura 
would steep it in sunshine, pave it witli flowers. Mrs. Morley 
admitted all American Republicans of gentle birth do admit 
the instincts which lead " like " to match with " like," an equality 
of blood and race. With all her assertion of the Rights of 
Woman, I do not think that Mrs. Morley would ever have con- 



168 THE PARISIANS. 

ceived the possibility of consenting that the richest, and pret- 
tiest, and cleverest girl in the States could become the wife of a 
son of hers if the girl had the taint of negro blood, even though 
shown nowhere save in the slight distinguishing hue of her finger- 
nails. So, had Isaura's merits been threefold what they were, 
and she had been the wealthy heiress of a retail grocer, this 
fair Republican would have opposed (more strongly than many 
an English duchess, or at least a Scotch duke would do, the 
wish of a son), the thought of an alliance between Graham Vane 
and the grocer's daughter ! But Isaura was a Cicogna, an off- 
spring of a very ancient and very noble house. Disparities of 
fortune, or mere worldly position, Mrs. Morley supremely de- 
spised. Here were the great parities of alliance parities in 
years and good looks and mental culture. So, in short, she, 
in the invitation given to them, had planned for the union be- 
tween Isaura and Graham. 

To this plan she had an antagonist, whom she did not even 
guess, in Madame Savarin. That lady, as much attached to 
Isaura as wa's Mrs. Morley herself, and still more desirous of 
seeing a girl, brilliant and parentless, transferred from the 
companionship of Signora Venosta to the protection of a hus- 
band, entertained no belief in the serious attentions of Graham 
Vane. Perhaps she exaggerated his worldly advantages ; per- 
haps she undervalued the warmth of his affections ; but it was 
not within the range of her experience, confined much to 
Parisian life, nor in harmony with her notions of the frigidity 
and morgue of the English national character, that a rich and 
high-born young man, to whom a great career in practical 
public life was predicted, should form a matrimonial alliance 
with a foreign orphan girl who, if of gentle birth, had no use- 
ful connections, would bring no corresponding dot, and had 
been reared and intended for the profession of the stage. She 
much more feared that the result of any attentions on the part 
of such a man would be rather calculated to compromise the 
orphan's name, or at least to mislead her expectations, than to 
secure her the shelter of a wedded home. Moreover, she had 
cherished plans of her own for Isaura's future. Madame 
Savarin had conceived for Gustave Rameau a friendly regard, 
stronger than that which Mrs. Morley entertained for Graham 
Vane, for it was more motherly. Gustave had been familiar- 
ized to her sight and her thoughts since he had first been 
launched into the literary world under her husband's auspices; 
he had confided to her his mortification in his failures, his joy 
in his successes. His beautiful countenance, his delicate 



THE PARISIANS. 169 

health, his very infirmities and defects, had endeared him to 
her womanly heart. Isaura was the wife of all others who, in 
ftjadame Savarin's opinion, was made for Rameau. Her for- 
tune, so trivial beside the wealth of the Englishman, would be 
a competence to Rameau ; then that competence might swell 
into vast riches if Isaura succeeded on the stage. She found with 
extreme displeasure that Isaura's mind had become estranged 
from the profession to which she had been destined, and 
divined that a deference to the Englishman's prejudices had 
something to do with that estrangement. It was not to be 
expected that a Frenchwoman, wife to a sprightly man of let- 
ters, who had intimate friends and allies in every department 
of the artistic world, should cherish any prejudice whatever 
against the exercise of an art in which success achieved riches 
and renown. But she was prejudiced, as most Frenchwomen 
are, against allowing to unmarried girls the same freedom and 
independence of action that are the rights of women French 
women when married. And she would have disapproved the 
entrance of Isaura on her professional career until she could 
enter it as a wife the wife of an artist, the wife of Gustave 
Rameau. 

Unaware of the rivalry between these friendly diplomatists 
and schemers, Graham and Isaura glided hourly more and more 
down the current, which as yet ran smooth. No words by 
which love is spoken were exchanged between them ; in fact, 
though constantly together, they were very rarely, and then 
but for moments, alone with each other. Mrs. Morley artfully 
schemed more than once to give them such opportunities for 
that mutual explanation of heart which, she saw, had not yet 
taken place ; with art more practised and more watchful, 
Madame Savarin contrived to baffle her hostess's intention. 
But, indeed, neither Graham nor Isaura sought to make oppor- 
tunities for themselves. He, as we know, did not deem him- 
self wholly justified in uttering the words of love by which a 
man of honor binds himself for life ; and she ! What girl, 
pure-hearted and loving truly, does not shrink from seeking 
the opportunities which it is for the man to court ? Yet Isaura 
needed no words to tell her that she was loved ; no, nor even 
a pressure of the hand, a glance of the eye ; she felt it instinct- 
ively, mysteriously, by the glow of her own being in the pres- 
ence of her lover. She knew that she herself could not so love 
unless she were beloved. 

Here woman's wit is keener and truthfuller than man's. 
Graham, as I have said, did not feel confident that he had 



170 THE PARISIANS. 

reached the heart of Isaura : he was conscious that he had 
engaged her interest, that he had attracted her fancy ; but 
often, when charmed by the joyous play of her imagination, he 
would sigh to himself, " To natures so gifted what single mortal 
can be the all in all ? " 

They spent the summer mornings in excursions round the 
beautiful neighborhood, dined early, and sailed on the calm 
lake at moonlight. Their talk was such as might be expected 
from lovers of books in summer holidays. Savarin was a critic 
by profession ; Graham Vane, if not that, at least owed such 
literary reputation as he had yet gained to essays in which the 
rare critical faculty was conspicuously developed. 

It was pleasant to hear the clash of these two minds encoun- 
tering each other; they differed perhaps less in opinions than 
in the mode by which opinions are discussed. The English- 
man's range of reading was wider than the Frenchman's, and 
his scholarship more accurate ; but the Frenchman had a com- 
pact neatness of expression, a light and nimble grace, whether 
in the advancing or the retreat of his argument, which covered 
deficiencies, and often made them appear like merits. Graham 
was compelled, indeed, to relinquish many of the forces of 
superior knowledge or graver eloquence, which, with less lively 
antagonists, he could have brought into the field, for the witty 
sarcasm of Savarin would have turned them aside as pedantry 
or declamation. But though Graham was neither dry nor 
diffuse, and the happiness at his heart brought out the gayety 
of humor which had been his early characteristic, and yet 
rendered his familiar intercourse genial and playful, still there 
was this distinction between his humor and Savarin's wit, that 
in the first there was always something earnest, in the last 
always something mocking. And in criticism Graham seemed 
ever anxious to bring out a latent beauty, even in writers com- 
paratively neglected. Savarin was acutest when dragging forth 
a blemish never before discovered in writers universally read. 

Graham did not perhaps notice the profound attention with 
which Isaura listened to him in these intellectual skirmishes 
with the more glittering Parisian. There was this distinction 
she made between him and Savarin : when the last spoke she 
often chimed in with some happy sentiment of her own ; but 
she never interrupted Graham ; never intimated a dissent from 
his theories of art, or the deductions he drew from them ; and 
she would remain silent and thoughtful for some minutes when 
his voice ceased. There was passing from his mind into hers 
an ambition which she imagined, poor girl, that he would be 



THE PARISIANS. i;i 

pleased to think he had inspired, and which might become a 
new bond of sympathy between them. But as yet the ambi- 
tion was vague and timid ; an idea or a dream to be fulfilled 
in some indefinite future.. 

The last night of this short-lived holiday time, the party, 
after staying out on the lake toji later hour than usual, stood 
lingering still on the lawn of the villa ; and their host, who was 
rather addicted to superficial studies of the positive sciences, 
including, of course, the most popular of all, astronomy, kept 
his guests politely listening to speculative conjectures on 
probable size of the inhabitants of Sirius, that very distant and 
very gigantic inhabitant of heaven who has led philosophers 
into mortifying reflections upon the utter insignificance of 
our own poor little planet, capable of producing nothing greater 
than Shakspeares and New-tons, Aristotles and Caesars, mani- 
kins, no doubt, beside intellects proportioned to the size of the 
world in which they flourish. 

As it chanced, Isaura and Graham were then standing close 
to each other and a little apart from the rest. " It is very 
strange," said Graham, laughing low, " how little I care about 
Sirius. He is the sun of some other system, and is perhaps not 
habitable at all, except by salamanders. He cannot be one of 
the stars with which I have established familiar acquaintance, 
associated with fancies and dreams and hopes, as most of us do, 
for instance, with Hesperus, the moon's harbinger and comrade. 
But amid all those stars there is one not Hesperus which 
has always had, from my childhood, a mysterious fascination 
for me. Knowing as little of astrology as I do of astronomy, 
when I gaze upon that star I become credulously superstitious, 
and fancy it has an influence on my life. Have you, too, any 
favorite star?" 

"Yes," said Isaura ; "and I distinguish it now, but I do not 
even know its name, and never would ask it." 

" So like me. I would not vulgarize my unknown source of 
beautiful illusions by giving it the name it takes in technical 
catalogues. For fear of learning that name I never have 
pointed it out to any one before. I too at this moment dis- 
tinguish it apart from all its brotherhood. Tell me which is 
yours." 

Isaura pointed and explained. The Englishman was startled. 
By what strange coincidence could they both have singled out 
from all the host of heaven the same favorite star ? 

" Cher Vane," cried Savarin, " Colonel Morley declares that 
what America is to the terrestrial system Sirius is to the 



172 THE PARISIANS. 

heavenly. America is to extinguish Europe, and then Sirius 
is to extinguish the world." 

"Not for some millions of years ; time to look about us," 
said the Colonel gravely. " But I certainly differ from those 
who maintain that Sirius recedes from us. I say that he ap- 
proaches. The principles of a body so enlightened must be 
those of progress." Then addressing Graham in English, he 
added, " There will be a mulling in this fogified planet some 
day, I predicate. Sirius is a keener ! " 

"I have not imagination lively enough to interest myself in 
the destinies of Sirius in connection with our planet at a date 
so remote," said Graham, smiling. Then he added in a whis- 
per to Isaura : " My imagination does not carry me farther 
than to wonder whether this day twelvemonth the 8th of 
July we two shall both be singling out that same star, and 
gazing on it as now, side by side." 

This was the sole utterance of that sentiment in which the 
romance of love is so rich that the Englishman addressed to 
Isaura during those memorable summer days at Enghien. 



CHAPTER V. 

THE next morning the party broke up. Letters had been 
delivered both to Savarin and to Graham, which, even had the 
day fof departure not been fixed, would have summoned them 
away. On reading his letter, Savarin's brow became clouded. 
He made a sign to his wife after breakfast, and wandered away 
with her down an alley in the little garden. His trouble was 
of that nature which a wife either soothes or aggravates, accord- 
ing sometimes to her habitual frame of mind, sometimes to the 
mood of temper in which she may chance to be a household 
trouble, a pecuniary trouble. 

Savarin was by no means an extravagant man. His mode 
of living, though elegant and hospitable, was modest compared 
to that of many French authors inferior to himself in the fame 
which at Paris brings a very good return in francs. But his 
station itself as the head of a powerful literary clique necessi- 
tated many expenses which were too congenial to his extreme 
good-nature to be regulated by strict prudence. His hand was 
always open to distressed writers and struggling artists, and his 
sole income was derived from his pen and a journal in which 
he was chief editor and formerly sole proprietor. But that 
journal had of late not prospered. He had sold or pledged a 



THE PARISIANS. 173 

Considerable share in the proprietorship. He had been com- 
pelled also to borrow a sum large for him, and the debt ob- 
tained from a retired bourgeois who lent out his moneys, " by 
way," he said, " of maintaining an excitement and interest in 
life," would in a few days become due. The letter was tfot 
from that creditor, but it was from his publisher, containing a 
very disagreeable statement of accounts, pressing for settlement, 
and declining an offer of Savarin's for a new book (not yet be- 
gun) except upon terms that the author valued himself too 
highly to accept. Altogether, the situation was unpleasant. 
There were many times in which Madame Savarin presumed to 
scold her distinguished husband for his want of prudence and 
thrift. But those were never the times when scolding could be 
of no use. It would clearly be of no use now. Now was the 
moment to cheer and encourage him, to reassure him as to his 
own undiminished powers and popularity, for he talked deject- 
edly of himself as obsolete and passing out of fashion ; to con- 
vince him also of the impossibility that the ungrateful publisher 
whom Savarin's more brilliant successes had enriched could 
encounter the odium of hostile proceedings ; and to remind 
him of all the authors, all the artists, whom he, in their earlier 
difficulties, had so liberally assisted, and from whom a sum suf- 
ficing to pay off the bourgeois creditor when the day arrived 
could now be honorably asked and would be readily contributed. 
In this last suggestion the homely, prudent good sense of Ma- 
dame Savarin failed her. She did not comprehend that deli- 
cate pride of honor which', with all his Parisian frivolities and 
cynicism, dignified the Parisian man of genius. Savarin could 
not, to save his neck from a-rope, have sent round the begging- 
hat to friends whom he had obliged. Madame Savarin was one 
of those women with large-lobed ears, who can be wonderfully 
affectionate, wonderfully sensible, admirable wives and mothers, 
and yet are deficient in artistic sympathies with artistic natures. 
Still, a really good honest wife is such an incalculable bless- 
ing to her lord, that, at the end of the talk in the solitary alle'e, 
this man of exquisite finesse, of the undefinably high-bred 
temperament, and, alas ! the painfully morbid susceptibility, 
which belong to the genuine artistic character, emerged 
into the open sunlit lawn with his crest uplifted, his lip 
curled upward in its joyous mockery, and perfectly persuaded 
that somehow or other he should put down the offensive pub- 
lisher, and pay off the unoffending creditor when the day 
for payment came. Still he had judgment enough to know 
that to do this he must get back to Paris, and could not 



174 THE PARISIANS, 

dawdle away precious hours in discussing the principles of 
poetry with Graham Vane. 

There was only one thing, apart from " the begging-hat," in 
which Savarin dissented from his wife. She suggested his 
starting a new journal in conjunction with Gustave Rameau, 
upon whose genius and the expectations to be formed from it 
(here she was tacitly thinking of Isaura wedded to Rameau, 
and more than a Malibran on the stage) she insisted vehemently. 
Savarin did not thus estimate Gustave Rameau : thought him 
a clever, promising young writer in a very bad school of writing, 
who might do well some day or other. But that a Rameau 
could help a Savarin to make a fortune ! No ; at that idea he 
opened his eyes, patted his wife's shoulder, and called her 
"enfant." 

Graham's letter was from M. Renard, and ran thus : 

" MONSIEUR : 

" I had the honor to call at your apartment this morning, and 
I write this line to the address given to me by your concierge to 
say that I have been fortunate enough to ascertain that the re- 
lation of the missing lady is now at Paris. I shall hold myself 
in readiness to attend your summons. Deign to accept, Mon- 
sieur, the assurance of my profound consideration. 

"J. RENARD." 

This communication sufficed to put Graham into very high 
spirits. Anything that promised success to his research seemed 
to deliver his thoughts from a burthen and his will from a fet- 
ter. Perhaps in a few days he might frankly and honorably 
say to Isaura words which would justify his retaining longer, 
and pressing more ardently, the delicate hand which trembled 
in his as they took leave. 

On arriving at Paris, Graham despatched a note to M. 
Renard requesting to see him, and received a brief line in re- 
ply that M. Renard feared he should be detained on other and 
important business till the evening, but hoped to call at eight 
o'clock. A few minutes before that hour he entered Graham's 
apartment. 

" You have discovered the uncle of Louise Duval ! " ex- 
claimed Graham ; " of course you mean M. de Mauleon, and 
he is at Paris?" 

" True so far, Monsieur ; but do not be too sanguine as to 
the results of the information I can give you. Permit me, as 
briefly as possible, to state the circumstances. When you ac- 



THE PARISIANS. 175 

quuinted me with the fact that M. cle Mauleon was the uncle 
of Louise Duval, I told you that 1 was not without hopes of 
finding him out, though so long absent from Paris. I will now 
explain why. Some months ago, one of my colleagues engaged 
in the political department (which I am not) was sent to Lyons, 
in consequence of some suspicions conceived by the loyal au- 
thorities there of a plot against the Emperor's life. The sus- 
picions were groundless, the plot a mare's nest. But my col- 
league's attention was especially drawn towards a man, not 
mixed up with the circumstances from which a plot had been 
inferred, but deemed in some way or other a dangerous enemy 
to the government. Ostensibly he exercised a modest and 
small calling as a sort of courtier or agent d'affaires; but it was 
noticed that certain persons familiarly frequenting his apart- 
ment, or to whose houses he used logo at night, were disaffected 
to the government not by any means of the lowest rank 
some of them rich malcontents who had been devoted Orlean- 
ists ; others, disappointed aspirants to office or the "cross"; 
one or two well-born and opulent fanatics dreaming of another 
Republic. Certain very able articles in the journals of the ex- 
citable Midi, though bearing another signature, were composed 
or dictated by this man articles evading the censure and 
penalties of the law, but very mischievous in their tone. All 
who had come into familiar communication with this person 
were impressed with a sense of his powers ; and also with a 
vague belief that he belonged to a higher class in breeding and 
education than that of a petty agent d'affaires. My colleague 
set himself to watch the man, and took occasions of business 
at his little office to enter into talk with him. Not by personal 
appearance, but by voice, he came to a conclusion that the man 
was not wholly a stranger to him ; a peculiar voice with a slight 
Norman breath of pronunciation, though a Parisian accent, a 
voice very low yet very distinct, very masculine yet very gen- 
tle. My colleague was puzzled, till late one evening he ob- 
served the man coming out of the house of one of these rich 
malcontents, the rich malcontent himself accompanying him. 
My colleague, availing himself of the dimness of light, as the 
two passed into a lane which led to the agent's apartment, con- 
trived to keep close behind and listen to their conversation. 
But of this he heard nothing ; only, when at the end of the 
lane, the rich man turned abruptly, shook his companion 
warmly by the hand, and parted from him, saying, ' Never fear ; 
all shall go right with you, my dear Victor.' At the sound of 
that name ' Victor,' my colleague's memories, before so con- 



fjG THE PARISIANS. 

fused, became instantaneously clear. Previous to entering our 
service, he had been in the horse business a votary of the turf ; 
as such he had often seen the brilliant ' sportman,' Victor de 
Mauleon ; sometimes talked to him. Yes, that was the voice ; 
the slight Norman intonation (Victor de Mauleon's father had 
it strongly, and Victor had passed some of his early childhood 
in Normandy), the subdued modulation of speech which had 
made so polite the offence to men, or so winning the courtship 
to women ; that was Victor de Mauleon. But why there in that 
disguise? What was his real business and object? My con- 
frbre had no time allowed to him to prosecute such inquiries. 
Whether Victor or the rich malcontent had observed him at 
their heels, and feared he might have overheard their words, I 
know not, but the next day appeared in one of the popular 
journals circulating among the ouvriers, a paragraph stating 
that a Paris spy had been seen at Lyons, warning all honest 
men against his machinations, and containing a tolerably accu- 
rate description of his person. And that very day, on ventur- 
ing forth, my estimable colleague suddenly found himself 
hustled by a ferocious throng, from whose hands he was with 
great difficulty rescued by the municipal guard. He left Lyons 
that night ; and for recompense of his services received a sharp 
reprimand from his chief. He had committed the worst offence 
in our profession, trop de zele. Having only heard the outlines 
of this story from another, I repaired to my confrere after my last 
interview with Monsieur, and learned what I now tell you from 
his own lips. As he was not in my branch of the service, I could 
not order him to return to Lyons ; and I doubt whether his chief 
would have allowed it. But I went to Lyons myself, and there as- 
certained that our supposed Vicomte had left that town for Paris 
some months ago, not long after the adventure of my colleague. 
The man bore a very good character generally ; was said to be 
very honest and inoffensive ; and the notice taken of him by 
persons of higher rank* was attributed generally to a respect for 
his talents, and not on account of any sympathy in political 
opinions. I found that* the confrere mentioned, and who alone 
could identify M. de Mauleon in the disguise which the Vicomte 
had assumed, was absent on one of those missions abroad in 
which he is chiefly employed. I had to wait for his return, and 
it was only the day before yesterday that I obtained the fol- 
lowing particulars : M. de Mauleon bears the same name as he 
did at Lyons that name is Jean Lebeau ; he exercises the 
ostensible profession of a ' letter-writer,' and a sort of adviser 
on business among the workmen and petty bourgeoisie, and he 



THE PARISIANS. 177 

nightly frequents the Cafe Jean Jacques, Rue , Faubourg 
Montmartre. It is not yet quite half-past eight, and no doubt 
you could see. him at-the cafe" this very night, if you thought 
proper to go." 

" Excellent ! I will go ! Describe him ! " 

" Alas ! that is exactly what I cannot do at present. For after 
hearing what I now tell you, I put the same request you 
do to my colleague, when, before he could answer me, he was 
summoned to the bureau of his chief, promising to return and 
give me the requisite description. He did not return. And I 
find that he was compelled, on quitting his chief, to seize the 
first train starting for Lille upon an important political in- 
vestigation which brooked no delay. He will be back in a few 
days, and then Monsieur shall have the description." 

" Nay ; I think I will seize time by the forelock, and try 
my chance to-night. If the man be really a conspirator, and 
it looks likely enough, who knows but what he may see quick 
reason to take alarm and vanish from Paris at any hour ? Cafe 

Jean Jacques, Rue . I will go. Stay ; you have seen 

Victor de Maule'on in his youth : what was he like then?" 

" Tall, slender, but broad-shouldered ; very erect carrying 
his head high; a profusion of dark curls, a small, black mous- 
tache ; fair, clear complexion, light-colored eyes with dark 
lashes fort bel homme. But he will not look like that now." 

" His present age ? " 

" Forty-seven or forty-eight. But before you go I must beg 
you to consider well what you are about. It is evident that 
M. de Mauleon has some strong reason, whatever it be, for 
merging his identity in that of Jean Lebeau. I presume, 
therefore, that you could scarcely go up to M. Lebeau, when 
you have discovered him, and say : ' Pray, M. le Vicomte, can 
you give me some tidings of your niece, Louise Duval ? ' If 
you thus accosted him, you might possibly bring some danger 
on yourself, but you would certainly gain no information from 
him." 

;' True." 

" On the other hand, if you make his acquaintance as M. 
Lebeau, how can you assume him to know anything about 
Louise Duval?" 

" Par 'bleu ! M. Renard, you try to. toss me aside on both 
horns of the dilemma ; but it seems to me that, if I once make 
his acquaintance as M. Lebeau, I might gradually and cau- 
tiously feel my way as to the best mode of putting the question 
to which I seek reply. I suppose, too, that the man must be 



178 THE PARISIANS. 

in very poor circumstances to adopt so humble a calling, and 
that a small sum of money may smooth all difficulties. " 

"I am not so sure of that," said M. Renard thoughtfully ; 
"but grant that money may do so, and grant also that the Vi- 
comte, being a needy man, has become a very unscrupulous 
one, is there anything in your motives for discovering Louise 
Duval which might occasion you trouble and annoyance, if it 
were divined by a needy and unscrupulous man ? anything 
which might give him a power of threat or exaction? Mfnd, I 
am not asking you to tell me any secret you have reasons for 
concealing, but I suggest that it might be prudent if you did 
not let M. Lebeau know your real name and rank ; if, in short, 
you could follow his example, and adopt a disguise. But no ; 
when I think of it, you would doubtless be so unpractised in 
the art of disguise, that he would detect you at once to be 
other than you seem ; and if suspecting you of spying into his 
secrets, and if those secrets be really of a political nature, your 
very life might not be safe." 

"Thank you for your hint ; the disguise is an excellent idea, 
and combines amusement with precaution. That this Victor 
de Mauleon must be a very unprincipled and dangerous man 
is, I think, abundantly clear. Granting that he was innocent 
of all design of robbery in the affair of the jewels, still, the of- 
fence which he did own that of admitting himself at night by 
a false key into the rooms of a wife whom he sought to surprise 
or terrify into dishonor was a villanous action ; and his pres- 
ent course of life is sufficiently mysterious to warrant the most 
unfavorable supposition. Be'sides, there is another motive for 
concealing my name from him : you say that he once had a 
duel with a Varie, who was very probably my father, and I 
have no wish to expose myself to the chance of his turning up 
in London some day, and seeking to renew there the acquaint- 
ance that I had courted at Paris. As for my skill in playing 
any part I may assume, do not fear ; I am no novice in that. 
In my younger days I was thought clever in private theatri- 
cals, especially in the transformations of appearance which be- 
long to light comedy and farce. Wait a few minutes and you 
shall see." 

Graham then retreated into his bedroom, and in a few min- 
utes reappeared, so changed that Renard at first glance took 
him for a stranger, He had doffed his dress, which habitu- 
ally, when in capitals, was characterized by the quiet, indefin- 
able elegance that to a man of the great world, high-bred and 
young, seems " to the manner born," for one of those coarse 



THE PAklSlANS, 179 

Suits which Englishmen are wont to wear in their travels, and 
by which they are represented in French or German carica- 
tures ; loose jacket of tweed, with redundant pockets, waist- 
coat to match, short dust-colored trousers. He had combed 
his hair straight over his forehead, which, as I have said some- 
where before, appeared in itself . to alter the character of his 
countenance, and, without any resort to paints or cosmetics, 
had somehow or other given to the expression of his face an 
impudent, low-bred expression, with a glass screwed on to his 
right eye such a look as a cockney journeyman, wishing to 
pass for a "swell" about town, may cast on a servant-maid in 
the pit of a surburban theatre. 

"Will it do, old fellow?" he exclaimed, in a rollicking, 
swaggering tone of voice, speaking French with a villanous 
British accent. 

" Perfectly," said Renard, laughing. " I offer my compli- 
ments, and if ever you are ruined, Monsieur, I will promise 
you a place in our police. Only one caution take care not to 
overdo your part." 

" Right. A quarter to nine I'm off." 

CHAPTER VI. 

THERE is a general brisk exhilaration of spirits in the return 
to any special amusement or light accomplishment, associated 
with the pleasant memories of earlier youth ; and remarkably 
so, I believe, when the amusement or accomplishment has been 
that of the amateur stage-player. Certainly I have known 
persons of very grave pursuits, of very dignified character and 
position, who seem to regain the vivacity of boyhood when dis- 
guising look and voice for a part in some drawing-room 
comedy or charade. I might name statesmen of solemn repute 
rejoicing* to raise and to join in a laugh at their expense in 
such travesty of their habitual selves. 

The reader must not therefore be surprised, nor, I trust, 
deem it inconsistent with the more serious attributes of 
Graham's character, if the Englishman felt the sort of joyous 
excitement I describe, as, in his way to the Cafe Jean Jacques, 
he meditated the role he had undertaken ; and the joyousness 
was heightened beyond the mere holiday sense of humoristic 
pleasantry by the sanguine hope that much to effect his lasting 
happiness might result from the success of the object for which 
his disguise was assumed. 

It was just twenty minutes past nine when he arrived at the 



180 THE PARISIANS. 

Cafe Jean Jacques. He dismissed the fiacre and entered. 
The apartment devoted to customers comprised two large 
rooms. The first was the cafe properly speaking ; the second, 
opening on it, was the billiard-room. Conjecturing that he 
should probably find the person of whom he was in quest em- 
ployed at the billiard-table, Graham passed thither at once. A 
tall man, who might be seven-and-forty, with a long black 
beard, slightly grizzled, was at play with a young man of per- 
haps twenty-eight, who gave him odds as better players of 
twenty-eight ought to give odds to a player, though originally 
of equal force, whose eye is not so quick, whose hand is not so 
steady, as they were twenty years ago. Said Graham to himself : 
" The bearded man is my Vicomte." He called for a cup of 
coffee, and seated himself on a bench at the end of the room. 

The bearded man was far behind in the game. It was his 
turn to play ; the balls were placed in the most awkward posi- 
tion for him. Graham himself was a fair billiard player, both 
in the English and the French game. He said to himself : " No 
man who can make a cannon there should accept odds." The 
bearded man made a cannon ; the bearded man continued to 
make cannons ; the bearded man did not stop till he had won 
the game. The gallery of spectators was enthusiastic. Taking 
care to speak in very bad, very English, French, Graham ex- 
pressed to one of the enthusiasts seated beside him his admi- 
ration of the bearded man's playing, and ventured to ask if the 
bearded man were a professional or an amateur player. 

"Monsieur," replied the enthusiast, taking a short cutty-pipe 
from his mouth, " it is an amateur, who has been a great 
player in his day, and is so proud that he always takes less 
odds than he ought of a younger man. It is not once in a 
month that he comes out as he has done to-night ; but to-night 
he has steadied his hand. He has had six petits verres." 

"Ah, indeed ! Do you know his name ? " 

" I should think so : he burred my father, my two aunts, and 
my wife." 

"Buried?" said Graham, more and more British in his 
accent ; " I don't understand." 

"Monsieur, you are English." 

"I confess it." 

"And a stranger to the Faubourg Montmartre." 

" True." 

" Or you would have heard of M. Giraud, the liveliest mem- 
ber of the State Company for conducting funerals. They are 
going to play La Poule" 



THE PARISIANS. l8l 

Much disconcerted, Graham retreated into the cafe, and 
seated himself haphazard at one of the small tables. Glancing 
round the room, lie saw no one in whom he could conjecture 
the once brilliant Vicomte. 

The company appeared to him sufficently decent, and 
especially what may be called local. There were some blouses 
drinking wine, no doubt of the cheapest and thinnest ; some 
in rough, coarse dresses, drinking beer. These were evidently 
English, Belgian, or German artisans. At one table, four 
young men, who looked like small journeymen, were playing 
cards. At three other tables, men older, better dressed, prob- 
ably shopkeepers, were playing dominoes. Graham scrutinized 
tiiese last, but among them all could detect no one correspond- 
ing to his ideal of the Vicomte de Mauleon. "Probably," 
thought he, " I am too late, or perhaps he will not be here 
this evening. At all events, I will wait a quarter of an hour." 
Then t\\e garfon approaching his table, he deemed it necessary 
to call for something, and, still in strong English accent, 
asked for lemonade and an evening journal. The garfon 
nodded and went his way. A monsieur at the round table 
next his own politely handed to him the "Galignani," saying 
in very good English, though unmistakably the good English 
of a Frenchman, " The English journal at your service." 

Graham bowed his head, accepted the " Galignani," and in- 
spected his courteous neighbor. A more respectable-looking 
man no Englishman could see in an English country town. 
He wore an unpretending flaxen wig, with limp whiskers that 
met at the chin, and might originally have been the same color 
as the wig, but were now of a pale gray no beard, no mous- 
tache. He was dressed with the scrupulous cleanliness of a 
sober citizen ; a high, white neckcloth, with a large, old-fash- 
ioned pin, containing a little knot of hair, covered with glass 
or crystal, and bordered with a black framework, in which 
were inscribed letters evidently a mourning pin, hallowed to 
the memory of lost spouse or child a man, who, in England, 
might be the mayor of a cathedral town, at least the town- 
clerk. He seemed suffering from some infirmity of vision, for 
he wore green spectacles. The expression of his face was 
very mild and gentle ; apparently he was about sixty years 
old somewhat more. 

Graham took kindly to his neighbor, insomuch that, in return 
for the " Galignani," he offered him a cigar, lighting one him- 
. 

His neighbor refused politely. 



182 THE PARISIANS. 

" Merei! I never "smoke never ; man mcdccin forbids it. If 
I could be tempted, it would be by an English cigar. Ah, 
how you English beat us in all things your ships, your iron, 
your tabac ; which you do not grow ! " 

This speech, rendered literally as we now render it, may 
give the idea of a somewhat vulgar speaker. But there was 
something in the man's manner, in his smile, in his courtesy, 
which did not strike Graham as vulgar ; on the contrary, he 
thought within himself: "How instinctive to all Frenchmen 
good breeding is ! " 

Before, however, Graham had time to explain to his amiable 
neighbor the politico-economical principle according to which 
England, growing no tobacco, had tobacco much better than 
France, which did grow it, a rosy, middle-aged monsieur made 
his appearance, saying hurriedly to Graham's neighbor: "I'm 
afraid I'm late, but there is still a good half-hour before us if 
you will give me my revenge." 
, " Willingly, M. Georges. Garfon, the dominoes." 

" Have you been playing at billiards ? " asked M. Georges. 

" Yes, two games." 

" With success? " 

" I won the first, and lost the second through the defect of 
my eyesight ; the game depended on a stroke which would 
have been easy to an infant I missed it." 

Here the dominoes arrived, and M. Georges began shuffling 
them ; the other turned to Graham and asked politely if he 
understood the game. 

" A little, but not enough to comprehend why it is said to 
require so much skill." 

" It is chiefly an affair of memory with me ; but M. Georges, 
my opponent, has the talent of combination, which I have not." 

" Nevertheless," replied M. Georges gruffly, " you are not 
easily beaten ; it is for you to play first, M. Lebeau." 

Graham almost started. Was it possible ! This mild, limp- 
whiskered, flaxen-wigged man, Victor de Mauleon, the Don 
Juan of his time; the last person in the room he should have 
guessed. Yet, now examining his neighbor with more atten- 
tive eye, he wondered at his stupidity in not having recognized 
at once the ci-devant gcntilhomme and beau gar f on. It happens 
frequently that our imagination plays us this trick ; we form 
to ourselves an idea of some one eminent for good or for evil : 
a poet, a statesman, a general, a murderer, a swindler, a thief ; 
the man is before us, and our ideas have gone into so different 
groove that he does not excit? a suspicion. We are told who 



THE PARISIANS. 183 

he is, and immediately detect a thousand things that ought to 
have proved his identity. 

Looking thus again with rectified vision at the false Lebeau, 
Graham observed an elegance and delicacy of feature which 
might, in youth, have made the countenance very handsome, 
and rendered it still good-looking, nay, prepossessing. He now 
noticed, too, the slight Norman accent, its native harshness of 
breadth subdued into the modulated tones which bespoke the 
habits of polished society. Above all, as M. Lebeau moved 
his dominoes with one hand, not shielding his pieces with the 
other (as M. Georges warily did), but allowing it to rest care- 
lessly on the table, he detected the hands of the French aristo- 
crat ; hands that had never done work ; never (like those of 
the English noble of equal birth) been embrowned or freckled, 
or roughened, or enlarged by early practice in athletic sports ; 
but hands seldom seen save in the higher c>cles of Parisian 
life partly perhaps of hereditary formation, partly owing their 
texture to great care begun in early youth, and continued me- 
chanically in after-life with long, taper fingers and polished 
nails ; white and delicate as those of a woman, but not slight, 
not feeble ; nervous and sinewy as those of a practised swords- 
man. 

Graham watched the play, and Lebeau good-naturedly .ex- 
plained to him its complications as it proceeded ; though the 
explanation, diligently attended to by M. Georges, lost Lebeau 
the game. 

The dominoes were again shuffled, and during that operation 
M. Georges said : "By the way, M. Lebeau, you promised to 
find me a locataire for my second floor ; have you succeeded ? " 

" Not yet. Perhaps you had better advertise in Les Petites 
Affiches. You ask too much for the habitues of this neighbor- 
hood 100 francs a month." 

"But the lodging is furnished, and well too, and has four 
rooms. One hundred francs are not much." 

A thought flashed upon Graham : "Pardon, Monsieur," lie 
said, " have-you an appartement de gar con to let furnished ?" 

" Yes, Monsieur, a charming one. Are you in search of an 
apartment ? " 

" I have some idea of taking one, but only by the month. 
I am but just arrived at Paris, and I have business which may 
keep me here a few weeks. I do but require a bedroom and a 
small cabinet, and the rent must be modest. I am not a 
milord." 

"| am sure we could arrange, Monsieur," said M. Georges, 



184 THE PARISIANS. 

" though I could not well divide my logcmenl. But 100 francs 
a month is not much ! " 

" I fear it is more than I can afford : however, if you will 
give me your address, I will call and see the rooms, say the day 
after to-morrow. Between this and then I expect letters which 
may more clearly decide my movements." 

" If the apartments suit you," said M. Lebeau, "you will at 
least be in the house of a very honest man, which is more than 
can be said of every one who lets furnished apartments. The 
house, too, has a concierge, with a handy wife who will arrange 
your rooms and provide you with coffee or tea, which you 
English prefer if you breakfast at home." 

Here M. Georges handed a card to Graham, and asked what 
hour he would call. 

"About twelve, if that hour is convenient," said Graham, 
rising. " I presume there is a restaurant in the neighborhood, 
where I could dine reasonably." 

" Je crois bien half a dozen. I can recommend to you one 
where you can dine enprince for thirty sous. And if you are 
at Paris on business, and want any letters written in private, I 
can also recommend to you my friend here, M. Lebeau. Ay, and 
on affairs his advice is as good as a lawyer's, and his fee a 
bagatelle." 

" Don't believe all that M. Georges so flatteringly says of 
me," put in M. Lebeau, with a modest half-smile, and in 
English. "I should tell you that I, like yourself, am recently 
arrived at Paris, having bought the business and good-will of 
my predecessor in the apartment I occupy ; and it is only to 
the respect due to his antecedents, and on the score of a few 
letters of recommendation which I bring from Lyons, that I can 
attribute the confidence shown to me, a stranger in this neigh- 
borhood. Still I have some knowledge of the world, and I am 
always glad if I can be of service to the English. I love the 
English," he said this with a sort of melancholy earnestness 
which seemed sincere; and then added in a more careless tone: 
" I have met with much kindness from them in the course of 
a checkered life." 

" You seem a very good fellow in fact, a regular trump, 
M. Lebeau," replied Graham, in the same language. " Give 
me your address. To say truth, I am a very poor French 
scholar, as you must have seen, and am awfully bother-headed 
how to manage some correspondence on matters with which I 
am entrusted by my employer, so that it is a lucky chance which 
has brought me acquainted with you," 



THE PARISIANS. 185 

M. Lebeau inclined his head gracefully, and drew from a 
very neat morocco case a card, which Graham took and 
pocketed. Then he paid for his coffee and lemonade, and 
returned home, well satisfied with the evening's adventure. 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE next morning Gt^iham sent for M. Renard, and con- 
sulted with that experienced functionary as to the details of 
the plan of action which he had revolved during the hours of 
a sleepless night. 

" In conformity with your advice," said he, " not to expose 
myself to the chance of future annoyance, by confiding to a 
man so dangerous as the false Lebeau my name and address, I 
propose to take the lodging offered to me, as Mr. Lamb, an 
attorney's clerk, commissioned to get in certain debts, and 
transact other matters of business, on behalf of his employer's 
clients. I suppose there will be no difficulty with the police 
in this change of name, now that passports for the English are 
hot necessary ! " 

" Certainly not. You will have no trouble in that respect." 

" I shall thus be enabled very naturally to improve acquaint- 
ance with the professional letter-writer, and find an easy op- 
portunity to introduce the name of Louise Duval. My chief 
difficulty, I fear, not being a practical actor, will be to keep up 
consistently the queer sort of language I have adopted, both 
in French and in English. I have too sharp a critic in a man so 
consummate himself in stage trick and disguise as M. Lebeau, 
not to feel the necessity of getting through my r6le as quickly 
as I can. Meanwhile, can you recommend me to some magasin 
where I can obtain a suitable change of costume? I can't 
always wear a travelling suit, and I must buy linen of coarser 
texture than mine, and with the initials of my new name in- 
scribed on it." 

" Quite right to study such details ; I will introduce you to 
a magasin near the Temple, where you will find all you want." 

" Next, have you any friends or relations in the provinces 
unknown to M. Lebeau, to whom I might be supposed to write 
about debts or business matters, and from whom I might have 
replies ? " 

" I will think over it, and manage that for you very easily. 
Your letters shall find their way to me, and I will dictate the 
answers." 



l86 THE PARISIANS. 

After some further conversation on that business, M. Renard 
made an appointment to meet Graham at a cafe near the 
Temple later in the afternoon, and took his departure. 

Graham then informed his laquais de place that, though he 
kept on his lodgings- he was going into the country for a few 
days, and should not want the man's services till he returned. 
He therefore dismissed and paid him off at once, so that the 
Idquais might not observe, when he quitted his rooms the next 
day, that he took with him no change of clothes, etc. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

GRAHAM VANE had been for some days in the apartment 
rented of M. Georges. He takes it in the name of Mr. Lamb 
a name wisely chosen, less common than Thompson and Smith, 
less likely to be supposed an assumed name, yet common enough 
not to be able easily to trace it to any special family. He 
appears, as he had proposed, in the character of an agent 
employed by a solicitor in London to execute sundry com- 
missionspand to collect certain outstanding debts. There is no 
need to mention the name of the solicitor ; if there were, he 
could give the name of his own solicitor, to whose discretion 
he could trust implicitly. He dresses and acts up to his 
assumed character with the skill of a man who, like the illustri- 
ous Charles Fox, has, though in private representations, prac- 
tised the stage-play in which Demosthenes said the triple art 
of oratory consisted ; who has seen a great deal of the world, 
and has that adaptability of intellect which knowledge of the 
world lends to one who is so thoroughly in earnest as to his 
end that he agrees to be sportive as to his means. 

The kind of language he employs when speaking EngHsh to 
Lebeau is that suited to the role of a dapper young underling 
of vulgar mind habituated to vulgar companionships. I feel it 
due, if not to Graham himself, at least to the name of the digni- 
fied orator whose name he inherits, so to modify and soften 
the hardy style of that peculiar diction in v/hich he disguises 
his birth and disgrace his culture, that it is only here and there 
that I can venture to indicate the general tone of it. But in 
order to supply my deficiencies therein, the reader has only to 
call to mind the forms of phraseology which polite novelists in 
vogue, especially young-lady novelists, ascribe to well-born 
gentlemen, and more emphatically to those in the higher ranks 
of the Peerage. No doubt Graham, in his capacity of critic, 



THE PARISIANS. 187 

had been compelled to read, in order to review, those contribu- 
tions to refined literature, and had familiarized himself to a 
vein of conversation abounding with "swell," and " stunner," 
and "awfully jolly," in its libel on manners and outrage on taste. 
He has attended nightly the Cafe Jean Jacques ; he has 
improved acquaintance with M. Georges and M. Lebeau ; he 
has played at billiards, he has played at dominoes, with the 
latter. He has been much surprised at the unimpeachable 
honesty which M. Lebeau has exhibited in both these games. 
In billiards, indeed, a man cannot cheat except by disguising 
his strength ; it is much the same in dominoes it is skill com- 
bined with luck, as in whist ; but in whist there are modes of 
cheating which dominoes do not allow : you can't mark a 
domino as you can a card. It was perfectly clear to Graham 
that M. Lebeau did not gain a livelihood by billiards or dominoes 
at the Cafe Jean Jacques. Irj the former he was not only a fair 
but a generous player. He played exceedingly well, despite 
his spectacles ; but he gave, with something of a Frenchman's 
\Q(\.y JanfaroniiLide, larger odds to his adversary than his play jus- 
tified. In dominoes, where such odds could not well be given, 
he insisted on playing such small stakes as two or three francs 
might cover. In short, M. Lebeau puzzled Graham. All 
about M. Lebeau, iiis manner, his talk, was irreproachable, 
and baffled suspicion ; except in this, Graham gradually dis- 
covered that the cafe had a guast-poYnical character. Listen- 
ing to talkers around him, he overheard much that might well 
have shocked the notions of a moderate Liberal ; much that 
held in disdain the objects to which, in 1869, an English Radi- 
cal directed his aspirations. Vote by ballot, universal suf- 
frage, etc. such objects the French had already attained. By 
the talkers at the Cafe Jean Jacques they were deemed to be 
the tricky contrivances of tyranny. In fact, the talk was more 
scornful of what Englishmen understand by radicalism or de- 
mocracy than Graham ever heard from the lips of an ultra- 
Tory. It assumed a strain of philosophy far above the vulgar 
squabbles of ordinary party politicians a philosophy which 
took for its fundamental principles the destruction of religion 
and of private property. These two objects seemed dependent 
the one on the other. The philosophers of the Jean Jacques 
held with that expounder of Internationalism,\Eugene Dupont, 
" Nous ne voulons plus de religion, car les religions etouffent 
l'intelligence.' M Now and then, indeed, A dissentient voice 
was raised as to the existence of a Supreme Being, but, with one 

* Discours par Eugene Dupont a la Cloture du Congrt-s de Bruxelles, Sept. 3, 1868. 



l88 THE PARISIANS. 

exception, it soon sank into silence. No voice was raised in 
defence of private property. These sages appeared for the 
most part to belong to the class of ouvi'iers or artisans. Some 
of them were foreigners Belgian, German, English ; all 
seemed well off for their calling. Indeed they must have had 
comparatively high wages to judge by their dress and the 
money they spent on regaling themselves. The language of 
several was well chosen, at times eloquent. Some brought 
with them women who seemed respectable, and who often 
joined in the conversation, especially when it turned upon the 
law of marriage as a main obstacle to all personal liberty and 
social improvement. If this was a subject on which the 
women did not all agree, still they discussed it without preju- 
dice and with admirable sang-froid. Yet many of them looked 
like wives and mothers. Now and then a young journeyman 
brought with him a young lady of more doubtful aspect, but 
such a couple kept aloof from the others. Now and then, too, 
.a man evidently of higher station than that of ouvrier, and 
who was received by the philosophers with courtesy and 
respect, joined one of the tables and ordered a bowl of punch 
for general participation. In such occasional visitors, Graham, 
still listening, detected a writer of the press ; now and then a 
small artist, or actor, or medical student. Among the habitues 
there was one man, an ouvrier, in whom Graham could not 
help feeling an interest. He was called Monnier, sometimes 
more familiarly Armand, his baptismal appellation. This man 
had a bold and honest expression of countenance. He talked 
like one who, if he had not read much, had thought much on 
the subjects he loved to discuss. He argued against the capi- 
tal of employers quite as ably as Mr. Mill has argued against 
the rights of property in land. He was still more eloquent 
against the laws of marriage and heritage. But his was the 
one voice not to be silenced in favor of a Supreme Being. He 
had at least the courage of his opinions, and was ahvays 
thoroughly in earnest. M. Lebeau seemed to know this man, 
and honored him with a nod and a smile, when passing by 
him to the table he generally occupied. This familiarity with 
a man of that class, and of opinions so extreme, excited Gra- 
ham's curiosity. One evening he said to Lebeau : "A queer 
fellow that you have just nodded to." 

" How so ? " 

"Well, he has que'er notions." 

"Notions shared, I believe, by many of your countrymen ?" 

"I should think not many. Those poor simpletons yonder 



THE PARISIANS. 189 

may have caught them from their French fellow-workmen, but 
I don't think that even the gobemouchcs in our National Reform 
Society open their mouths to swallow such wasps." 

"Yet I believe the association to which most of those ou- 
vriers belong had its origin in England." 

" Indeed ! What association ?" 

"The International." 

"Ah, I have heard of that." 

Lebeau turned his green spectacles full on Graham's face 
as he said slowly, "And what do you think of it?" 

Graham prudently checked the disparaging reply that first 
occurred to him, and said : "I know so little about it that I 
would rather ask you." 

"I think it might become formidable if it found able leaders 
who knew how to use it. Pardon me how came you to know 
of this cafe? Were you recommended to it?" 

" No ; I happened to be in this neighborhood on business, 
and walked in, as I might into any other cafe." 

"You don't interest yourself in the great social questions 
which are agitated below the surface of this best of all possible 
worlds ? " 

" I can't say that I trouble my head much about them." 

" A game at dominoes before M. Georges arrives?" 

"Willingly. Is M. Georges one of those agitators below the 
surface?" 

" No, indeed. It is for you to play." 

Here M. Georges arrived, and no further conversation on 
political or social questions ensued. 

Grahim had already called more than once at M. Lebeau's 
office, and asked him to put into good French various letters 
on matters of business, the subjects of which had been fur- 
nished by M. Renard. The office was rather imposing and 
stately, considering the modest nature of M. Lebeau's ostensi- 
ble profession. It occupied the entire ground-floor of a corner 
house, with a front door at one angle and a back-door at the 
other. The ante-room to his cabinet, and in which Graham 
had generally to wait some minutes before he was introduced, 
was generally well filled, and not only by persons who, by 
their dress and outward appearance, might be fairly supposed 
sufficiently illiterate to require his aid as polite letter-writers 
not only by servant maids and griseties, by sailors, zouaves, and 
journeymen workmen but not unfrequently by clients evi- 
dently belonging to a higher, or at least a richer, class of soci- 
ety men with clothes made by a fashionable tailor ; men again, 



190 THE PARISIANS. 

who, less fashionably attired, looked like opulent tradesmen 
and fathers of well-to-do families the first generally young, 
the last generally middle-aged. All these denizens of a higher 
world were introduced by a saturnine clerk into M. Lebeau's 
reception-room, very quickly and in precedence of the ouvriers 
and gr is cites. 

"What can this mean?" thought Graham. "Is it really 
that this humble business avowed is the cloak to some political 
conspiracy concealed the International Association?" And, 
so pondering, the clerk one day singled him from the crowd 
and admitted him into M. Lebeau's cabinet. Graham thought 
the time had now arrived when he might safely approach the 
subject that had brought him to the Faubourg Montmartre. 

" You are very good," said Graham, speaking in the English 
of a young earl in our elegant novel* ; "You are very good to 
let me in while you have so many swells and nobs, waiting for 
you in the other room. But, I say, old fellow, you have not 
the cheek to tell me that they want you to correct their cocker 
or spoon for them by proxy ?" 

" Pardon me," answered M. Lebeau in French, " if I prefer 
my own language in replying to you. I speak the English I 
learned many years ago, and your language in the beau monde, 
to which you evidently belong, is strange to me. You are 
quite right, however, in your surmise that I have other clients 
than those who, like yourself, think I could correct their verbs 
or their spelling. I have seen a great deal of the world ; I 
know something of it, and something of the law ; so that many 
persons come to -me for advice and for legal information on 
terms more moderate than those of an aroue. But my ante- 
chamber is full, I am pressed for time ; excuse me if I ask 
you to say at once in what I can be agreeable to you to- 
day." 

"Ah!" said Graham, assuming a very earnest look, " you 
do know the world, that is clear; and you do know the law of 
France eh ? " 

" Yes, a little." 

" What I wanted to say at present may have something to 
do with French law, and I meant to ask you either to recommend 
to me a sharp lawyer, or to tell me how I can best get at your 
famous police here." 

" Police ! " 

" I think I may require the service of one of those officers 
whom we in England call detectives ; but if you are busy now, 
I can call to-morrow." 



THE PARISIANS. 19! 

" I spare you two minutes. Say at once, dear Monsieur, 
what you want with law or police ? " 

" I am instructed to find out the address of a certain Louise 
Duval, daughter of a drawing-master named Adolphe Duval, 
living in the Rue in the year 1848." 

Graham, while he thus said, naturally looked Lebeau in the 
face not pryingly, not significantly, but as a man generally 
does look in the face the other man whom he accosts seriously. 
The change in the face he regarded was slight, but it was un- 
mistakable. It was the sudden meeting of the eyebrows, 
accompanied with the sudden jerk of the shoulder and bend 
of the neck, which betoken a man taken by surprise, and who 
pauses to reflect before he replies. His pause was but momen- 
tary. 

" For what object is this address required ? " 

" That I don't know ; but evidently for some advantage to 
Madame or Mademoiselle Duval, if still alive, because my 
employer authorizes me to spend no less than ^100 in ascer- 
taining where she is, if alive, or where she was buried, if dead ; 
and if other means fail, I am instructed to advertise to the 
effect, ' That if Louise Duval, or, in case of her death, any 
children of hers living in the year 1849, will communicate with 
some person whom I may appoint at Paris, such intelligence, 
authenticated, may prove to the advantage of the party 
advertised for.' I am, however, told not to resort to this means, 
without consulting either with a legal adviser or the police." 

" Hem ! Have you inquired at the house where this lady 
was, you say, living in 1848 ? " 

"Of course I have done that ; but very clumsily, I dare say 
through a friend and learned nothing. But I must not keep 
you now. I think I shall apply at once to the police. Wljat 
should I say when I get to the bureau ?" 

" Stop, Monsieur, stop. I do not advise you to apply to the 
police. It would be waste of time and money. Allow me to 
think over the matter. I shall see you this evening at the Cafe 
Jean Jacques at eight o'clock. Till then do nothing." 

" All right ; I obey you. The whole thing is out of my way 
of business awfully. Bon jour" 



CHAPTER IX. 

PUNCTUALLY at eight o'clock Graham Vane had taken his 
seat at a corner table at the remote end of the Cafe" Jean Jacques, 



IQ2 THE PARISIANS. 

called for his cup of coffee and his evening journal, and awaited 
the arrival of M. Lebeau. His patience was not tasked long. 
In a few minutes the Frenchman entered, paused at the comp- 
toir, as was his habit, to address a polite salutation to the well- 
dressed lady who there presided, nodded as usual to Armand 
Monnier, then glanced round, recognized Graham with a smile, 
and approached his table with the quiet grace of movement by 
which he was distinguished. 

Seating himself opposite to Graham, and speaking in a voice 
too low to be heard by others, and in French, he then said : 

"In thinking over your communication this morning, it 
strikes me as probable, perhaps as certain, that this Louise 
Duval or her children, if she have any, must be entitled to some 
moneys bequeathed to her by a relation or friend in England. 
What say you to that assumption, M. Lamb ?" 

"You are a sharp fellow," answered Graham. "Just what I 
say to myself. Why else should I be instructed to go to such 
expense in finding her out? Most likely, if one can't trace 
her, or her children born before the date named, any such 
moneys will go to some one else ; and that some one else, who- 
ever he be, has commissioned my employer to find out. But I 
don't imagine any sum due to her or her heirs can be much, 
or that the matter is very important ; for, if so, the thing would 
not be carelessly left in the hands of one of the small fry like 
myself, and clapped in along with a lot of other business as an 
off-hand job." 

"Will you tell me who employed you ?" 

"No, I don't feel authorized to do that at present; and I 
don't see the necessity of it. It seems to me, on consideration, 
a matter for the police to ferret out ; only, as I asked before, 
how should I get at the police?" 

"That is not difficult. It is just possible that I might help 
you better than any lawyer, or any detective." 

" Why, did you ever know this Louise Duval ?" 

" Excuse me, M. Lamb : you refuse me your full confidence ; 
allow me to imitate your reserve." 

"Oho !" said Graham ; "shut up as close as you like ; it is 
nothing to me. Only observe, there is this difference between 
us, that I am employed by another. He does not authorize 
me to name him ; and if I did commit that indiscretion, I 
might lose my bread and cheese. Whereas you have nobody's 
secret to guard but your own, in saying whether or not you 
ever knew a Madame or Mademoiselle Duval. And if you 
have some reason for not getting me the information I am in- 



THE PARISIANS. 193 

structed to obtain, that is also a reason for not troubling you 
farther. And after all, old boy (with a familiar slap on Le- 
beau's stately shoulder), after all, it is I who would employ 
you ; you don't employ me. And if you find out the lady, it 
is you who would get the one hundred pounds, not I." 

M. Lebeau mechanically brushed, with a light movement of 
hand, the shoulder which the Englishman had so pleasantly 
touched, drew himself and chair some inches back, and said 
slowly : 

" M. Lamb, let us talk as gentleman to gentleman. Put 
aside the question of money altogether, I- must first know why 
your employer wants to hunt out this poor Louise Duval. It 
may be to her injury, and I would do her none if you offered 
thousands where you offer pounds. I forestall the condition 
of mutual confidence ; I own that I have known her it is 
many years ago ; and, M. Lamb, though a Frenchman very 
often injures a woman from love, he is in a worse plight for 
bread and cheese than I am if he injures her for money." 

" Is he thinking of the duchess's jewels?" thought Graham. 

"Bravo, mon vieux" he said aloud ; "but as I don't know 
what my employer's motive in his commission is, perhaps you 
can enlighten me. How could his inquiry injure Louise Du- 
val?" 

" I cannot say ; but you English have the power to divorce 
your wives. Louise Duval may have married an Englishman, 
separated from him, and he wants to know where he can find, 
in order to criminate and divorce her, or it may be to insist on 
her return to him." 

" Bosh ! That is not likely." 

" Perhaps, then, some English friend she may have known 
has left her a bequest, which would of course lapse to some 
one else if she be not living." 

"By gad !" cried Graham, " I think you . hit the right nail 
on the head : c'est cela. But what then ?" 

" Well, if I thought any substantial benefit to Louise Duval 
might result from the success of your inquiry, I would really 
see if it were in my power to help you. But I must have time 
to consider." 

" How long ?" 

" I can't exactly say ; perhaps three or four days." 

"Bon! I will wait. Here comes M. Georges. I leave you 
to dominoes and him. Good-night." 

Late that night M. Lebeau was seated alone in the chamber 
connected with the cabinet in which he received visitors. A 



i 9 4 



THE PARISIANS. 



ledger was open before him, which he scanned with careful 
eyes, no longer screened by spectacles. The survey seemed 
to satisfy him. He murmured : " It suffices the time has 
come"; closed the book, returned it to his bureau, which he 
locked up, and then wrote in cipher the letter here reduced 
into English : 

" DEAR AN\V NOBLE FRIEND : 

" Events march ; the Empire is everywhere undermined. 
Our treasury has thriven in my hands ; the sums subscribed 
and received by me through you have become more than quad- 
rupled by advantageous speculations, in which M. Georges 
has been a most trustworthy agent. A portion of them I have 
continued to employ in the mode suggested, viz., in bringing 
together men discreetly chosen as being in their various ways 
representatives and ringleaders of the motley varieties that, 
when united at the right moment, form a Parisian mob. But 
from that right moment we are as yet distant. Before we can 
call passion into action, we must prepare opinion for change. 
I propose now to devote no inconsiderable portion of our fund 
towards the inauguration of a journal which shall gradually 
give voice to our designs. Trust to me to insure its success, and 
obtain the aid of writers who will have no notion of the uses to 
which they ultimately contribute. Now that the time has come 
to establish for ourselves an organ in the press, addressing 
higher orders of intelligence than those which are needed to 
destroy, and incapable of reconstructing, the time has also 
arrived for the reappearance in his proper name and rank of 
the man in whom you take so gracious an interest. In vain 
you have pressed him to do so before ; till now he had not 
amassed together, by the slow process of petty gains and con- 
stant savings, with such additions as prudent speculations on 
his own account might contribute, the modest means necessary 
to his resumed position. And as he always contended against 
your generous offers, no consideration should ever tempt him 
either to appropriate to his personal use a single sou intrusted 
to him for a public purpose, or to accept from friendship the 
pecuniary aid which would abase him into the hireling of a 
cause. No ! Victor de Mauleon despises too much the tools 
that he employs to allow any man hereafter to say, ' Thou also 
wert a tool, and hast been paid for thy uses.' 

" But to restore the victim of calumny to his rightful place 
in this gaudy world, stripped of youth and reduced in fortune, 
is a task that may well seem impossible. To-morrow he takes 



THE PARISIANS. 195 

the first step towards the achievement of the impossible. Ex- 
perience is no bad substitute for youth, and ambition is made 
Stronger by the goad of poverty. 

" Thou shall hear of his news soon." 



BOOK V. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE next day at noon M. Louvier was closeted in his study 
with M. Gandrin. 

" Yes," cried Louvier, "I have behaved very handsomely to 
the beau Marquis. No one can say to the contrary." 

" True," answered Gandrin. " Besides the easy terms for 
the transfer of the mortgages, that free bonus of 1000 louis is 
a generous and noble act of munificence." 

" Is it not ! And my youngster has already begun to do with 
it as I meant and expected. He has taken a fine apartment ; 
he has bought a coupe and horses ; he has placed himself in the 
hands of the Chevalier de Finisterre ; he is entered at the 
Jockey Club. Farbleu, the 1000 louis will be soon gone." 

" And then ? " 

" And then ! Why, he will have tasted the sweets of Pa- 
risian life. He will think with disgust of the vieux manoir. He 
can borrow no more. I must remain sole mortgagee, and I 
shall behave as handsomely in buying his estate as I have be- 
haved in increasing his income." 

Here a clerk entered and said " that a monsieur wished to see 
M. Louvier for a few minutes in private, on urgent business." 

" Tell him to send in his card." 

" He has declined to do so, but states that he has already 
the honor of your acquaintance." 

" A writer in the press, perhaps ; or is he an artist ? " 

"I have not seen him before, Monsieur, but he has the air 
trts comme il faut." 

" Well, you may admit him. I will not detain you longer, 
my dear Gandrin. My homages to Madame. Bon jour." 

Louvier bowed out M. Gandrin, and then rubbed his hands 
complacently. He was in high spirits. " Aha, my dear Mar- 
quis, thou art in my trap now. Would it were thy father in- 
stead," he muttered chucklingly, and then took his stand on the 



196 THE PARISIANS. 

hearth, with his back to the fireless grare There entered a 
gentleman exceedingly well dressed dressed according to the 
fashion, but still as became one of ripe middle age, not desiring 
to pass for younger than he was. 

He was tall, with a kind of lofty ease in his air and his move- 
ments ; not slight of frame, but spare enough to disguise the 
strength and endurance which belong to sinews and thews of 
steel, freed from all superfluous flesh, broad across the shoul- 
ders, thin in the flanks. His dark hair had in youth'been lux- 
uriant in thickness and curl ; it was now clipped short, and had 
become bare at the temples, but it still retained the lustre of its 
color and the crispness of its ringlets. He wore neither beard 
nor moustache, and the darkness of his hair was contrasted by 
a clear fairness of complexion, healthful, though somewhat pale, 
and eyes of that rare gray tint which has in it no shade of 
blue peculiar eyes, which give a very distinct character to the 
face. The man must have been singularly handsome in youth ; 
he was handsome still, though probably in his forty-seventh 
or forty-eighth year, doubtless a very different kind of comeli- 
ness. The form of the features and the contour of the face 
were those that suit the rounded beauty of the Greek outline, 
and such beauty would naturally have been the attribute of the 
countenance in earlier days. But the cheeks were now thin, 
and with lines of care and sorrow between nostril and lip, so 
that the shape of the face seemed lengthened, and the features 
had become more salient. 

Louvier gazed at his visitor with a vague idea that he had 
seen him before and could not remember where or when ; but 
at all events he recognized at the first glance a man of rank 
and of the great world. 

" Pray be seated, Monsieur ! " he said, resuming his own 
easy-chair. 

The visitor obeyed the invitation with a very graceful bend 
of his head, drew his chair near to the financier's, stretched his 
limbs with the ease of a man making himself at home, and fix- 
ing his calm, bright eyes quietly on Louvier, said, with a bland 
smile : 

" My dear old friend, do you not remember me ? You are 
less altered than I am." 

Louvier stared hard and long ; his lip fell, his cheek paled, 
and at last he faltered out : " del ! is it possible ! Victor the 
Vicomte de Mauleon ? " 

"At your service, my dear Louvier." 

There was a pause ; the financier was evidently confused and 



THE PARISIANS. 197 

embarrassed, and not less evidently the visit of the "dear old 
friend " was unwelcome. 

"Vicomte," he said at last, "this is indeed a surprise; I 
thought you had long since quitted Paris for good." 

" ' Uhomme propose,' etc. I have returned, and mean to en- 
joy the rest of my days in the metropolis of the Graces and 
the Pleasures. What though we are not so young as we were, 
Louvier, we have more vigor in us than the new generation ; 
and though it may no longer befit us to renew the gay carousals 
of old, life has still excitements as vivid for the social temper- 
ament and ambitious mind. Yes, the rot des viveurs returns 
to Paris for a more solid throrie than he filled before." 

" Are you serious ? " 

" As serious as the French gayety will permit one to be." 

" Alas, M. le Vicomte, can you flatter yourself that you will 
regain the society you have quitted and the name you have " 

Louvier stopped short ; something in the Vicomte's eye 
daunted him. 

" The name I have laid aside for convenience of travel. 
Princes travel in-cognito, and so may a simple gentilhomme. 
' Regain my place in society,' say you ? Yes ; it is not that 
which troubles me." 

" What does ? " 

" The consideration whether on a very modest income I can 
be sufficiently esteemed for myself to render that society more 
pleasant than ever. Ah, man c/ier,\vhy recoil ? Why so fright- 
ened ? Do you think I am going to ask you for money ? Have 
I ever done so since we parted ? And did I ever do so before 
without repaying you ? Bah ! you roturiers are worse than the 
Bourbons. You never, learn or unlearn. ' Fors non mutat 
genus.' " 

The magnificent millionnaire, accustomed to the homage of 
grandees from the faubourg and lions from the Chaussee d'An- 
tin, rose to his feet in superb wrath, less at the taunting words 
than at the haughtiness of mien with which they were uttered. 

" Monsieur, I cannot permit you to address me in that tone. 
Do you mean to insult me ? " 

"Certainly not. Tranquillize your nerves, reseat yourself, 
and listen ; reseat yourself, I say." 

Louvier dropped into his chair. 

" No," resumed the Vicomte politely, " I do not come here 
to insult you, neither do I come to ask money ; I assume that 
I am in my rights when I ask M. Louvier what has become 
of Louise Duval ?" 



198 THE PARISIANS. 

" Louise Duval ! I know nothing about her." 

" Possibly not now ; but you did know her well enough, 
when we two parted, to be a candidate for her hand. You did 
know her enough to solicit my good offices in promotion of 
your suit ; and you did, at my advice, quit Paris to seek her at 
Aix-la-Chapelle." 

" What, have you, M. de Mauleon, not heard news of her 
since that day ? " 

" I decline to accept your question as an answer to mine. 
You went to Aix-la-Chapelle ; you saw Louise Duval ; at my 
urgent request she condescended to accept your hand." 

"No, M. de Mauleon, she did not accept my hand. I did 
not even see her. The day before I arrived at Aix-la Chapelie 
she had left it not alone left it with her lover." 

" Her lover ! Ypu do not mean the miserable Englishman 
who " 

" No Englishman," interrupted Louvier fiercely. "Enough 
that the step she took placed an eternal barrier between her 
and myself. I have never even sought to hear of her since 
that day. Vicomte, that woman was the one love of my life. 
I loved her, as you must have known, to folly, to madness. 
And how was my love requited? Ah, you open a very deep 
wound, M. le Vicomte." 

"Pardon me, Louvier ; I did not give you credit for feelings 
so keen and so genuine, nor did I think myself thus easily af- 
fected by matters belonging to a past life so remote from the 
present. For whom did Louise forsake you?" 

"It matters not he is dead." 

"I regret to hear that ; I might have avenged you." 

"I need no one to avenge my wrong. Let this pass." 

" Not yet. Louise, you say, fled with a seducer? So proud 
as she was, I can scarcely believe it." 

".Oh, it was not with a roturier she fled; her pride would 
not have allowed that." 

" He must have deceived her somehow. Did she continue 
to / live with him ? " 

" That question, at least, I can answer ; for though I lost all 
trace of her life, his life was pretty well known to me till its 
end ; and a very few months after she fled he was enchained 
to another. Let us talk of her no more." 

"Ay, ay," muttered De Mauleon, " some disgraces are not to 
be redeemed, and therefore not to be discussed. To me, 
though a relation, Louise Duval was but little known, and after 
what you tell me, I cannot dispute your right to say, ' talk of 



THE PARISIANS. 1$9 

lier no more/ You loved her, and she wronged you. My 
poor Louvier, pardon me if I made an old wound bleed 
afresh." 

These words were said with a certain pathetic tenderness ; 
they softened Louvier towards the speaker. 

After a short pause the Vicomte swept his hand over his 
brow, as if to dismiss from his mind a painful and obtrusive 
thought ; then with a changed expression of countenance an 
expression frank and winning with voice and manner in which 
no vestige remained of the irony or the haughtiness with which 
he had resented the frigidity of his reception, he drew his chair 
still nearer to Louvier's, and resumed : "Our situations, Paul 
Louvier, are much changed since we two became friends. I 
then could say, 'Open sesame' to whatever recesses, forbidden 
to vulgar footsteps, the adventurer whom I took by the hand 
might wish to explore. In those days my heart was warm ; I 
jiked you, Louvier honestly liked you. I think our personal 
acquaintance commenced in some gay gathering of young 
viveurs, whose behavior to you offended my sense of good 
breeding?" 

Louvier colored and muttered inaudibly. 

De Mauleon continued : " I felt it due to you to rebuke 
their incivilities, the more so as you evinced on that occasion 
your own superiority in sense and temper, permit me to add, 
with no lack of becoming spirit." 
. Louvier bowed his head, evidently gratified 

" From that day we became familiar. If any obligation to 
me were incurred, you would not have been slow to return it. 
On more than one occasion when I was rapidly wasting money 
and money was plentiful with you you generously offered me 
your purse. On more than one occasion I accepted the offer ; 
and you would never have asked repayment if I had not insisted 
on repaying. I was no less grateful for your aid." 

Louvier made a movement as if to extend his hand, but he 
checked the impulse. 

"There was another attraction which drew me towards you. 
I recognized in your character a certain power in sympathy 
with that power which I imagined lay dormant in myself, and 
not to be found among the freluqucts and lions who were my 
more habitual associates. Do you not remember some hours of 
serious talk we -have had together when we lounged in the 
Tuileries, or sipped our coffee in the garden of the Palais 
Royal ? hours when we forgot that those were the haunts of 
idlers, and thought of the stormy actions affecting the history 



200 THE PARISIANS. 

of the world of which they had been the scene hours when I 
confided to you, as I confided to no other man, the ambitious 
hopes for the future which my follies in the present, alas, were 
hourly tending to frustrate ?" 

" Ay, I remember the starlit night ; it was not in the gardens 
of the Tuileries nor in the Palais Royal it was on the Pont 
de la Concorde, on which we had paused, noting the starlight 
on the waters, that you said, pointing towards the walls of the 
Corps Le'gislatif : ' Paul, when I once get into the Chamber, 
how long will it take me to become First Minister of France ? " 

" Did I say so ? Possibly ; but I was too young then for 
admission to the Chamber, and I fancied I had so many years 
yet to spare in idle loiterings at the Fountain of Youth. Pass 
over these circumstances. You became in love with Louise. 
I told you her troubled history ; it did not diminish your love ; 
and then I frankly favored your suit. You set out for Aix-la- 
Chapelle a day or two afterwards ; then fell the thunderbolt 
which shattered my existence, and we have never met again 
till this hour. You did not receive me kindly, Paul Louvier." 

" But," said Louvier falteringly ; " But since you refer to 
that thunderbolt, you cannot but be aware that that " 

" I was subjected to a calumny which I expect those who 
have known me as well as you did to assist me now to refute." 

" If it be really a calumny." 

"Heavens, man, could you ever doubt that?" cried De 
Mauleon, with heat ; " ever doubt that I would rather have 
blown out my brains than allowed them even to conceive the 
idea of a crime so base ? " 

" Pardon me," answered Louvier meekly, " but I did not 
return to Paris for months after you had disappeared. My 
mind was unsettled by the news that awaited me at Aix ; I 
sought to distract it by travel ; visited Holland and England ; 
and when I did return to Paris, all that I heard of your story 
was the darker side of it. I willingly listen to your own ac- 
count. You never took, or at least never accepted, the Duch- 

esse de 's jewels ; and your friend M. de N. never sold 

them to one jeweller and obtained their substitutes in paste 
from another ? " 

The Vicomte made a perceptible effort to repress a$ impulse 
of rage ; then reseating himself in his chair, and with that 
slight shrug of the shoulder by which a Frenchman implies to 
himself that rage would be out of place, replied calmly : "M. 
de N. did ac you say, but, of course, not employed by me, nor 
with my knowledge. Listen ; the truth is this the time has 



THE PARISIANS. 2OI 

come to tell it : Before you left Paris for Aix I found myself 
on the brink of ruin. I had glided towards it with my charac- 
teristic recklessness ; with that scorn of money for itself, that 
sanguine confidence in the favor of fortune, which are vices 
common to every roi des viveurs. Poor, mock Alexanders that 
we spendthrifts are in youth ! We divide all we have among 
others, and when asked by some prudent friend, 'What have 
you left for your own share?' answer 'Hope.' I knew, of 
course, that my patrimony was rapidly vanishing ; but then 
my horses were matchless. I had enough to last me for years 
on their chance of winning ; of course they would win. But 
you may recollect when we parted that I was troubled cred- 
itors' bills before me usurers' bills too, and you, my dear 
Louvier, pressed on me your purse ; were angry when I re- 
fused it. How could I accept ? All my chance for repayment 
was in the speed of a horse. I believed in that chance for my- 
self ; but for a trustful friend, no.. Ask your own heart now 
nay, I will not say heart ask your own common-sense, wheth- 
er a man who then put aside your purse spendthrift, vauricn, 
though he might be was likely to steal or accept a woman's 
jewels Vas, mon pauvre Louvier, again I say, ' Fors non mutat 
genus.' " 

Despite the repetition of the displeasing patrician motto, 
such reminiscences of his visitor's motley character irregular, 
turbulent, the reverse of severe, but, in its own loose way, 
grandly generous and grandly brave struck both on the com- 
mon-sense and the heart of the listener ; and the Frenchman 
recognized the Frenchman. Louvier doubted De Mauleon's 
word no more, bowed his head, and said : "Victor de Mau- 
leon, I have wronged you go on." 

" On the day after you left for Aix came that horse-race on 
which my all depended : it was lost. The loss absorbed the 
whole of my remaining fortune; it absorbed about 20,000 
francs in excess, a debt of honor to De N., whom you called 
my friend : friend he was not ; imitator, follower, flatterer, yes. 
Still I deemed him enough my friend to say to him : ' Give me 
a little time to pay the money ; I must sell my stud, or write to 
my only living relation from whom I have expectations.' You 
remember that relation, Jacques de Mauleon, old and unmar- 
ried. By De N.'s advice I did write to my kinsman. No- 
answer came ; but what did come were fresh bills from cred- 
itors. I then calmly calculated my assets. The sale of my 
stud and effects might suffice to pay every sou that I owed, in- 
clud'ng my debt to Pe N.; but that was not quite certain ; at 



202 THE PARISIANS. 

all events, when the debts were paid I should be beggared. 
Well, you know, Louvier, what we Frenchmen are : how Na- 
ture has denied to us the quality of patience ; how involunta- 
rily suicide presents itself to us when hope is lost, and suicide 
seemed to me here due to honor, viz., to the certain discharge 
of my liabilities ; for the stud and effects of Victor de Mauleon, 
roi dcs vtveurs, would command much higher prices if he died 
like Cato than if he ran away from his fate like Pompey. 
Doubtless De N. guessed my intention from my words or my 
manner ; but on the very day in which I had made all prepa- 
rations for quitting the world from which sunshine had van- 
ished, I received in a blank envelope banknotes amounting to 
70,000 francs, and the post-mark on the envelope was that of 
the town of Fontainebleau, near to which lived my rich kins- 
man Jacques. I took it for granted that the sum came from 
him. Displeased as he might have been with my wild career, 
still I was his natural heir. The sum sufficed to pay my debt 
to De N., to all creditors, and leave a surplus. My san- 
guine spirits returned. I would sell my stud ; I would re- 
trench, reform, go to my kinsman as the penitent son. The 
fatted calf would be killed, and I should wear purple yet. 
You understand that, Louvier?" 

"Yes, yes ; so like you. Go on." 

" Now, then, came the thunderbolt ! Ah ! in those sunny 
days you used to envy me for being so spoilt by women. The 

Duchesse de had conceived for me one of those romantic 

fancies which women without children, and with ample leisure 
for the waste of affection, do sometimes conceive for very or- 
dinary men younger than themselves, but in whom they im- 
agine they discover sinners to reform or heroes to exalt. I 
had been honored by some notes from the Duchesse in which 
this sort of romance was owned. I had not replied to them 
encouragingly. In truth, my heart was then devoted to another, 
the English girl whom I had wooed as my wife ; who, despite 
her parents' retractation of their consent to our union when 
they learned how dilapidated were my fortunes, pledged herself 
to remain faithful to me, and wait for better days." Again De 
Mauleon paused in suppressed emotion, and then went on hur- 
riedly : "No, the Duchesse did not inspire me with guilty pas- 
sion, but she did inspire me with an affectionate respect. I 
felt that she was by nature meant to be a great and noble 
creature, and was, nevertheless, at that moment wholly 
misled from her right place amongst women by an illu- 
sion of mere imagination about a man who happened then to 



THE PARISIANS. 203 

be very much talked about, and perhaps resembled some Lo- 
thario in the novels which she was always reading. We lodged, 
as you may remember, in the same house." 

" Yes, I remember. I remember how you once took me to 
a great ball given by the Duchesse ; how handsome I thought 
her, though no longer young ; and you say right how I did 
envy you that night ! " 

" From that night, however, the Due, not unnaturally, be- 
came jealous. He reproved the Duchesse for her too amiable 
manner towards a mauvais sujet like myself, and forbade her in 
future to receive my visits. It was then that these notes be- 
came frequent and clandestine, brought to me by her maid, 
who took back my somewhat chilling replies. 

"But to proceed. In the flush of my high spirits, and in the 
insolence of magnificent ease with which 1 paid De N. the 
trifle I owed him, something he said made my heart stand still. 
I told him that the money received had come from Jacques de 
Mauleon, and that I was going down to his house that day to 
thank him. He replied, ' Don't go ; it did not come from hint.' 
' It must ; see the postmark of the envelope Fontainebleau.* 
' I posted it at Fontainebleau.' 'You sent me the money, you !' 
' Nay, that is beyond my means. Where it came from," said 
this miserable, ' much more may yet come '; and then he nar- 
rated, with that cynicism so in vogue in Paris, how he had told 
the Duchesse (who knew him as my intimate associate) of my 
stress of circumstance, of his fear that I meditated something 
desperate ; how she gave him the jewels to sell and to substi- 
tute ; how, in order to baffle my suspicion and frustrate my scru- 
ples, he had gone to Fontainebleau and there posted the envelope 
containing the banknotes, out of which he secured for himself the 
payment he deemed otherwise imperilled. De N. having made 
this confession, hurried down the stairs swiftly enough to save 
himself a descent by the window. Do you believe me still ?" 

'' Yes ; you were always so hot-blooded, and De N. so con- 
siderate of self, I believe you implicitly." 

"Of course I did what any man would do ; I wrote a hasty 
letter to the Duchesse, stating all my gratitude for an act of 
pure friendship so noble ; urging also the reasons that rendered 
it impossible for a man of honor to profit by such an act. Un- 
happily, what had been sent was paid away ere I knew the 
facts ; but I could not bear the thought of life till my debt to 
her was acquitted ; in short, Louvier, conceive for yourself the 
sort of letter which I which any honest ma.n would write, 
under circumstances 50 cruel," 



204 THE PARISIANS. 

"H'm ! " grunted Louvier. 

" Something, however, in my letter, conjoined with what 
De N. had told her as to my state of mind, alarmed this poor 
woman, who -had deigned to take in me an interest so little de- 
served. Her reply, very agitated and incoherent, was brought 
to me by her maid, who had taken my letter, and by whom, as 
I before said, our correspondence had been of late carried on. 
In her reply she implored me to decide, to reflect on nothing 
till I had seen her ; stated how the rest of her day was pre- 
engaged ; and since to visit her openly had been made impossi- 
ble by the Due's interdict, enclosed the key to the private 
entrance to her rooms, by which I could gain an interview with 
her at ten o'clock that night, an hour at which the Due had 
informed her he should be out till late at his club. Now, how- 
ever great the indiscretion which the Duchesse here committed, 
it is due to her memory to say that I am convinced that her 
dominant idea was that I meditated self-destruction ; that no 
time was to be lost to save me from it ; and for the rest she 
trusted to the influence which a woman's tears and adjurations 
and reasonings have over even the strongest and hardest men. 
It is only one of those coxcombs in whom the world of fashion 
abounds who could have admitted a thought that would have 
done wrong to the impulsive, generous, imprudent eagerness of 
a woman to be in time to save from death by his own hand a 
fellow-being for whom she had conceived an interest. I so 
construed her note. At the hour she named I admitted myself 
into the rooms by the key she sent. You know the rest : I 
was discovered by the Due and by the agents of police in the 
cabinet in which the Duchesse's jewels were kept. The key that 
admitted me into the cabinet was found in my possession." 

De Mauleon's voice here faltered, and he covered his face 
with a convulsive hand. Almost in the same breath he recov- 
ered from visible sigiTs of emotion, and went on with a half- 
laugh. 

" Ah ! you envied me, did you, for being spoiled by the 
women ? Enviable position indeed was mine that night. The 
Due obeyed the first impulse of his wrath. He imagined that 
I had dishonored him : he would dishonor me in return. 
Easier to his pride, too, a charge against the robber of jewels, 
than against a favored lover of his wife. But when I, obeying 
the first necessary obligation of honor, invented on the spur of 
the moment the story by which the Duchesse's reputation was 
cleared from suspicion, accused myself of a frantic passion and 
the trickery of a fabricated key, the Due's, true nature of gctp 



THE PARISIANS. 20$ 

tilhomnie Came back. He retracted the charge which he could 
scarcely eveu_at the first blush have felt to be well-founded ; 
and as the sole charge left was simply that which men commc 
ilfaut do not refer to criminal courts and police investigations, 
I was left to make my bow unmolested and and retreat to my 
own rooms, awaiting there such communications as the Due 
might deem it right to convey to me on the morrow. 

" But on the morrow the Due, with his wife and personal 
suite, quitted Paris en route for Spain ; the bulk of his retinue, 
including the offending abigail, was discharged ; and, whether 
through these servants or through the police, the story before 
evening was in the mouth of every gossip in club or cafe ex- 
aggerated, distorted, to my ignominy and shame. My detec- 
tion in the cabinet, the sale of the jewels, the substitution of 
paste by De N., who was known to be my servile imitator, and 
reputed to be my abject tool ; all my losses on the turf, my 
debts, all these scattered fibres of flax were twisted together 
in a rope that would have hanged a dog with a much better 
name than mine. If some disbelieved that I could be a thief, 
few of those who should have known me best held me guiltless 
of a baseness almost equal to that of theft the exaction of 
profit from the love of a foolish woman." 

"But you could have told your own tale, shown the letters 
you had received from the Duchesse, and cleared away every 
stain on your honor." 

" How ? Shown her letters, ruined her character, even 
stated that she had caused her jewels to be sold for the uses 
of a young roue ! Ah no, Louvier ! I would rather have gone 
to the galleys." 

" H'm ! " grunted Louvier again. 

" The Due generously gave me better means of righting my- 
self. Three days after he quitted Paris I received a letter from 
him, .very politely written, expressing his great regret that any 
words implying the suspicion too monstrous and absurd to need 
refutation should have escaped him in the surprise of the mo- 
ment ; but stating that since the offence I had owned was one 
that he could not overlook, he was under the necessity of ask- 
ing the only reparation I could make. That if it ' deranged ' 
me to quit Paris, he would return to it for the purpose re- 
quired ; but that if I would give him the additional satisfac- 
tion of suiting his convenience, he should prefer to await my 
arrival at Bayonne, where he was detained by the indisposition 
of the Duchesse." 

"You have still that letter ?" asked Louvier quickly. 



206 THE PARISIANS. 

" Yes ; with other more important documents constituting 
what I may call my pieces justificatives. 

"I need not say that I replied stating the time at which I 
should arrive at Bayonne, and the hotel at which I should 
await the Due's command. Accordingly I set out that same 
day, gained the hotel named, despatched to the Due the an- 
nouncement of my arrival, and was considering how I should 
obtain a second in some officer quartered in the town for my 
soreness and resentment at the marked coldness of my former 
acquaintances at Paris had forbidden me to seek a second 
among any of that faithless number when the Due himself 
entered my room. Judge of my amaze at seeing him in per- 
son ; judge how much greater the amaze became when he ad- 
vanced with a grave but cordial smile, offering me his hand ! 

" M. de Mauleon," said he, ' since I wrote to you, facts have 
become known to me which would induce me rather to ask your 
friendship than call on you to defend your life. Madame la 
Duchesse has been seriously ill since we left Paris, and I re- 
frained from all explanations likely to add to the hysterical ex- 
citement under which she was suffering. It is only this day 
that her mind became collected, and she herself then gave me 
her entire confidence. Monsieur, she insisted on my reading 
the letters that you addressed to her. Those letters, Monsieur, 
suffice to prove your innocence of any design against my peace. 
The Duchesse has so candidly avowed her own indiscretion, 
has so clearly established the distinction between indiscretion 
and guilt, that I have granted her my pardon with a lightened 
heart and a firm belief that we shall be happier together than 
we have been yet.' 

" The Due continued his journey the next day, but he sub- 
sequently honored me with two or three letters written as friend 
to friend, and in which you will find repeated the substance of 
what I have stated him to say by word of mouth." 

" But why not then have returned to Paris ? Such letters, at 
least, you might have shown, and in braving your calumniators 
you would have soon lived them down." 

" You forget that I was a ruined man. When, by the sale 
of my horses, etc., my debts, including what was owed to the 
Duchesse, which I remitted to the Due, were discharged, the 
balance left to me would not have maintained me a week at Paris. 
Besides, I felt so sore, so indignant. Paris and the Parisians had 
become to me so hateful. And to crown all, that girl, that En- 
glish girl whom I had so loved, on whose fidelity I had so 
counted well, I received a letter from her, gently but coldly 



THE PARISIANS. 2O^ 

bidding me farewell forever. I do not think she believed me 
guilty of theft, but doubtless the offence I had confessed, in 
order to save the honor of the Duchesse, could but seem to her 
all-sufficient ! Broken in spirit, bleeding at heart to the very 
core, still self-destruction was no longer to be thought of. I 
would not die till I could once more lift up my head as Victor 
de Mauleon." 

" What then became of you, my poor Victor ? " 

"Ah ! that is a tale too long for recital. I have played so 
many parts that I am puzzled to recognize my own identity 
with the Victor de Mauleon whose name I abandoned. I have 
been a soldier in Algeria, and won my cross on the field of 
battle that cross and my colonel's letter are among my pieces 
justificatives. I have been a gold-digger in California, a specu- 
lator in New York, of late in callings obscure and humble. But 
in all my adventures, under whatever name, I have earned 
testimonials of probity, could manifestations of so vulgar a 
virtue be held of account by the enlightened people of Paris. 
I come now to a close. The Vicomte de Mauleon is about to 
reappear in Paris, and the first to whom he announces that sub- 
lime avatar is Paul Louvier. When settled in some modest 
apartment, I shall place in your hands my pieces justificatives. I 
shall ask you to summon my surviving relations or connections, 
among which are the Counts de Vandemar, Beauvilliers, Des 
Passy, and the Marquis de Rochebriant, with any friends of your 
own who sway the opinions of the Great World. You will place 
my justification before them, expressing your own opinion that 
it suffices ; in a word, you will give me the sanction of your 
countenance. For the rest I trust to myself to propitiate the 
kindly and to silence the calumnious. I have spoken ; what 
say you ?" 

" You overrate my power in society. Why not appeal your- 
self to your high-born relations ? " 

" No, Louvier ; I have too well considered the case to alter my 
decision. It is through you, and you alone, that I shall 
approach my relations. My vindicator must be a man of whom 
the vulgar cannot say, 'Oh, he's a relation, a fellow-noble: 
those aristocrats whitewash each other.' It must be an authority 
with the public at large a. bourgeois, a millionnaire, a roi de la 
Bourse. I choose you, and that ends the discussion." 

Louvier could not help laughing good-humoredly at the sang- 
froid 'of the Vicomte. He was once more under the domination 
of a man who had for a time dominated all with whom he lived. 

De Mauleon continued : " Your task will be easy enough. 



2o8 THE PAktSlANS. 

Society changes rapidly at Paris. Few persons now exist who 
have more than a vague recollection of the circumstances 
which can be so easily explained to my complete vindication 
when the vindication comes from a man of your solid respect- 
ability and social influence. Besides, I have political objects 
in view. You are a Liberal ; the Vandemars and Rochebriants 
are Legitimists. I prefer a godfather on the Liberal side. 
Pardieu, man ami, why such coquettish hesitation ? Said and 
done. Your hand on it." 

" There is my hand, then. I will do all I can to help you." 

" I know you will, old friend ; and you do both kindly and 
wisely." Here De Mauleon cordially pressed the hand he held, 
and departed. 

On gaining the street, the Vicomte glided into a neighboring 
courtyard, in which he had left his fiacre, and bade the coach- 
man drive towards the Boulevard Sebastopol. On the way, he 
took from a small bag that he had left in the carriage the flaxen 
wig and pale whiskers which distinguished M. Lebeau, and 
mantled his elegant habiliments in an immense cloak, which he 
had also left in the fiacre. Arrived at the Boulevard Sebastopol 
he drew up the collar of the cloak so as to conceal much of 
his face, stopped the driver, paid him quickly, and, bag in hand, 
hurried on to another stand of fiacres at a little distance, en- 
tered one, and drove to the Faubourg Montmartre, dismissed 
the vehicle at the mouth of a street not far from M. Lebeau's 
office, and gained on foot the private side-door of the house, 
let himself in with his latch-key, entered the private room 
on the inner side of his office, locked the door, and pro- 
ceeded leisurely to exchange the brilliant appearance which 
the Vicomte de Mauleon had borne on his visit to the million- 
naire, for the sober raiment and bourgcoise air of M. Lebeau, 
the letter-writer. 

Then after locking up his former costume in a drawer of his 
secretaire, he sat himself down and wrote the following lines: 

" DEAR M. GEORGES : 

" I advise you strongly, from information that has just reached 
me; to lose no time in pressing M. Savarin to repay the sum I 
recommended you to lend htm, and for which you hold his bill 
due this day. The scandal of legal measures against a writer 
so distinguished should be avoided if possible. He will avoid it, 
and get the money somehow. But he must be urgently pressed. 
If you neglect this warning, my responsibility is past. Agrtez 
mes sentimens les plus sindrcs. J. L." 



THE PARISIANS. 209 



CHAPTER II. 

THE Marquis de Rochebriant is no longer domiciled in an 
attic in the gloomy faubourg. See him now in a charming 
appartement de gar f on au premier in the Rue du Helder, close 
by the promenades and haunts of the mode. It had been fur- 
nished and inhabited by a brilliant young provincial from Bor- 
deaux, who, coming into an inheritance of 100,000 francs, had 
rushed up to Paris to enjoy himself, and make his million at 
the Bourse. He had enjoyed himself thoroughly he had been 
a darling of the demi-monde. He had been a successful and an 
inconstant gallant. Zelie had listened to his vows of eternal 
love, and his offers of unlimited cachemires. Desiree, succeed- 
ing Zelie, had assigned to him her whole heart, or all that was 
left of it, in gratitude for the ardor of his passion, and the dia- 
monds and coupe which accompanied and attested the ardor. 
The superb Hortense, supplanting Desiree, received his visits 
in the charming apartment he furnished 1 for her, and entertained 
him and his friends at the most delicate little suppers, for the 
moderate sum of 4000 francs a month. Yes, he had enjoyed 
himself thoroughly, but he had not made a million at the Bourse. 
Before the year was out, the 100,000 francs were gone. Com- 
pelled to return to his province, and by his hard-hearted rela- 
tions ordained, on penalty of starvation, to marry the daughter 
of an avoue", for the sake of her dot and a share in the hated 
drudgery of the avoue s business his apartment was to be had 
for a tenth part of the original cost of its furniture. A certain 
Chevalier de Finisterre, to whom Louvier had introduced the 
Marquis as a useful fellow, who knew Paris, and would save 
him from being cheated, had secured this bijou of an apartment 
for Alain, and concluded the bargain for the bagatelle of ^500. 
The Chevalier took the same advantageous occasion to pur- 
chase the English well-bred hack and the neat coupe and 
horses which the Bordelais was also necessitated to dispose of. 
These purchases made, the Marquis had some 5000 francs 
(^200) left out of Louvier' s premium of ^1000. The Mar- 
quis, however, did not seem alarmed or dejected by the sudden 
diminution of capital so expeditiously effected. The easy life 
thus commenced seemed to him too natural to be fraught with 
danger ; and easy though it was, it was a very simple and mod- 
est sort of life compared with that of many other men of his 
age to whom Enguerrand had introduced him, though most of 
them had an income less than his, and few, indeed, of them 



2IO THE PARISIANS. 

were his equals in dignity of birth. Could a Marquis de Roche- 
briant, if he lived at Paris at all, give less than 3000 francs a 
year for his apartment, or mount a more humble establishment 
than that confined to a valet and a tiger, two horses for his 
coupe and one for the saddle? "Impossible," said the Chev- 
alier de Finisterre decidedly ; and the Marquis bowed to so 
high an authority. He thought within himself, "If I find an a 
few months that I am exceeding my means, I can but dispose 
of my rooms and my horses, and return to Rochebriant a richer 
man by far than I left it." 

To say truth, the brilliant seductions of Paris had already 
produced their effect, not only on the habits, but on the char- 
acter and cast of thought, which the young noble had brought 
with him from the feudal and melancholy Bretagne. 

Warmed by the kindness with which, once introduced by his 
popular kinsmen, he was everywhere received, the reserve or 
shyness which is the compromise between the haughtiness of 
self-esteem and the painful doubt of appreciation by others, 
rapidly melted away. He caught insensibly the polished tone, 
at once so light and so cordial, of his new_-made friends. With 
all the efforts of the democrats to establish equality and fra- 
ternity, it is among the aristocrats that equality and fraternity 
are most to be found. All gentilshommes in the best society are 
equals ; and whether they embrace or fight each other, they 
embrace or fight as brothers of the same family. But with the 
tone of manners, Alain de Rochebriant imbibed still more 
insensibly the lore of that philosophy which young idlers in 
pursuit of pleasure teach to each other. Probably in all civilized 
and luxurious capitals that philosophy is very much the same 
among the same class of idlers at the same' age ; probably it 
flourishes in Pekin not less than at Paris. If Paris has the 
credit, or discredit, of it more than any other capital, it is 
because in Paris more than in any other capital it charms the 
eye by grace and amuses the ear by wit. A philosophy which 
takes the things of this life very easily ; which has a smile and 
a shrug of the shoulders for any pretender to the heroic ; which 
subdivides the wealth of passion into the pocket-money of 
caprices ; is always in or out of love, ankle-deep, never ventur- 
ing a plunge ; which, light of heart as of tongue, turns "the 
solemn plausibilities " of earth into subjects for epigrams and 
bons mots it jests at loyalty to kings, and turns up its nose at 
enthusiasm for commonwealths ; it abjures all grave studies ; 
it shuns all profound emotions. We have crowds of such 
philosophers in London ; but there they are less noticed, because 



THE PARISIANS. 211 

the agreeable attributes of the sect are there dimmed and obfus- 
cated. It is not a philosophy that flowers richly in the reek 
of fogs, and in the tee,th of east winds ; it wants for full develop- 
ment the light atmosphere of Paris. Now this philosophy 
began rapidly to exercise its charms upon Alain de Rochebriant. 
Even in the society of professed Legitimists, he felt that faith 
had deserted the Legitimist creed or taken refuge only as a 
companion of religion in the hearts of high-born women and a 
small minority of priests. His chivalrous loyalty still strug- 
gled to keep its ground, but its roots were very much loosened. 
He saw for his natural intellect was keen that the cause of 
the Bourbon was hopeless, at least for the present, because it 
had ceased, at least for the present, to be a cause. His political 
creed thus shaken, with it was shaken also that adherence to 
the past which had stifled his ambition of a future. That 
ambition began to breathe and to stir, though he owned it not 
to others * though, as yet, he scarce distinguished its whispers, 
much less directed its movements towards any definite object. 
Meanwhile, all that he knew of his ambition was the new-born 
desire for social success. 

We see him, then, under the quick operation of this change 
in sentiments and habits, reclined on the fauteuil before his 
fireside, and listening to his college friend, of whom we have 
so long lost sight, Frederic Lemercier. Frederic had break- 
fasted with Alain a breakfast such as might have contented 
the author of the " Almanach des Gourmands," and provided 
from the Cafe Anglais. Frederic has just thrown aside his 
regalia. 

" Pardieu, my dear Alain ! If Louvier has no sinister object 
in the generosity of his dealings with you, he will have raised 
himself prodigiously in my estimation. I shall forsake, in his 
favor, my allegiance to Duplessis, though that clever fellow 
has just made a wondrous coiip in the Egyptians, and I gain 
40,000 francs by having followed his advice. But if Duplessis 
has a head as long as Louvier's, he certainly has not an equal 
greatness of soul. Still, my dear friend, will you pardon me, 
if I speak frankly, and in the way of a warning homily ? " 

" Speak ; you cannot oblige me more." 

"Well, then, I know that you can no more live at Paris in 
the way you are doing, or mean to do, without some fresh ad- 
dition to your income, than a lion could live in the Jardin des 
Plantes upon an allowance of two mice a week." 

"I don't see that. Deducting what I pay to my aunt and 
I cannot get her to take more than 6000 francs a year I have 



212 THE PARISIANS. 

700 napoleons left, net and clear. My rooms and stables are 
equipped, and I have 2500 francs in hand. On 700 napoleons 
a year, I calculate that I can very easily live as I do ; and if I 
fail well, I must return to Rochebriant. Seven hundred na- 
poleons a year will be a magnificent rental there." 

Frederic shook his head. 

" You do not know how one expense leads to another. Above 
all, you do not calculate the chief part of one's expenditure 
the unforeseen. You will play at the Jockey Club and lose 
half your income in a night." 

" I shall never touch a card." 

" So you say now, innocent as a lamb of the force of example. 
At all events, beau seigneur, I presume you are not going to re- 
suscitate the part of the Ermite de la Chaussee d" Antin ; and 
the fair Parisiennes are demons of extravagance." 

<l Demons whom I shall not court." 

" Did I say you would? They will court you. Before another 
month has flown you will be inundated with billets-doux." 

"It is not a shower that will devastate my humble harvest. 
But, mon cher, we are falling upon very gloomy topics. Laissez- 
mot tranquillc in my illusions, if illusions they be. Ah, you 
cannot conceive what a new life opens to the man who, like 
myself, has passed the dawn of his youth in privation and fear, 
when he suddenly acquires competence and hope. If it lasts 
only a year, it will be something to say ' Vixi.'" 

"Alain," said Frederic very earnestly, "believe me, I should 
not have assumed the ungracious and inappropriate task of 
Mentor, if it were only a year's experience at stake, or if you 
were in the position of men like myself free from the en- 
cumbrance of a great name and heavily mortgaged lands. 
Should you fail to pay regularly the interest due to Louvier, he 
has the power to put up at public auction, and there to buy in 
for himself, your chateau and domain." 

" I am aware that in strict law he would have such power, 
though I doubt if he would use it. Louvier is certainly a much 
better and more generous fellow than I could have expected ; 
and, if I believe De Finisterre, he has taken a sincere liking to 
me, on account of affection to my poor father. But why 
should not the interest be paid regularly? The revenues from 
Rochebriant are not likely to decrease, and the charge on them 
is lightened by the contract with Louvier. And I will confide 
to you a hope I entertain of a very large addition to my rental." 

"How?" 

"A chief part of my rental is derived from forests, and De 



THE PARISIANS. 213 

Finisterre has heard of a capitalist who is disposed to make a 
contract for their sale at the fall this year, and may probably 
extend it to future years, at a price far exceeding that which I 
have hitherto obtained." 

" Pray be cautious. De Finisterre is not a man I should 
implicitly trust in such matters." 

" Why_? Do you know anything against him ? He is in the 
best society perfect gentilhomme and, as his name may tell 
you, a fellow-Breton. You yourself allow, and so does Enguer- 
rand, that the purchases he made for me in th'is apartment, 
my horses, etc. are singularly advantageous." 

"Quite true ; the Chevalier is reputed sharp and clever, is 
said to be very amusing, and a first-rate piquet-\)\a.yQr. I don't 
know him personally. I am not in his set. I have no valid 
reason to disparage his character, nor do I conjecture any 
motive he could have to injure or mislead you. Still, I say, 
be cautious how far you trust to his advice or recommenda- 
tion. " 

" Again I ask why ? " 

" He is unlucky to his friends. He attaches himself much 
to men younger than himself ; and somehow or other I have 
observed that most of them have come to grief. Besides, a 
person in whose sagacity I have great confidence warned me 
against making the Chevalier's acquaintance, and said to me, 
in his blunt way, ' De Finisterre came to Paris with nothing ; 
he has succeeded to nothing ; he belongs to no ostensible pro- 
fession by which anything can be made. But evidently now 
he has picked up a good deal ; and in proportion as any 
young associate of his becomes poorer, De Finisterre seems 
mysteriously to become richer. Shun that sort of acquaint- 
ance.' " 

" Who is your sagacious adviser ? " 

" Duplessis." 

"Ah, I thought so. That bird of prey fancies every other 
bird looking out for pigeons. I fancy that Duplessis is like all 
those money-getters, a seeker after fashion, and* De Finisterre 
has not returned his bow." 

" My dear Alain, I am to blame ; nothing is so irritating as 
a dispute about the worth of the men we like. I began it, 
now let it be dropped ; only make me one promise, that if you 
should be in arrear, or if need presses, you will come at once 
to me. It was very well to be absurdly proud in an attic, but 
that pride will be out of place in your appa rtcment au premier.' 2 

" You are the best fellow in the worki, Frederic, and I make 



214 THE PARISIANS. 

you the promise you ask," said Alain cheerfully, but yet with 
a .secret emotion of tenderness and gratitude. "And now, 
mon c/ier, what day will you dine with me to meet Raoul and 
Enguerrand, and some others whom you would like to know ? " 

" Thanks, and hearty ones, but we move now in different 
spheres, and 1 shall not trespass on yours. Je suis trop bourgeois 
to incur the ridicule of le bourgeois gentilho mine." 

"Frederic, how dare you speak thus? My dear fellow, my 
friends shall honor you as I do." 

" But that will be on your account, not mine. No ; hon- 
estly, that kind of society neither tempts nor suits me. I am 
a sort of king in my o\vn walk, and I prefer my Bohemian 
royalty to vassalage in higher regions. Say no more of it. It 
will flatter my vanity enough if you will now and then descend 
to my coteries, and allow me to parade a Rochebriant as my 
familiar crony, slap him on the shoulder, and call him Alain." 

" Fie, you who stopped me and the English aristocrat in the 
Champs Elysees, to humble us with your boast of having 
fascinated une grande dame I think you said a dttchesse." 

" Oh," said Lemercier conceitedly, and passing his hand 
through his scented locks, " women are different ; love levels 
all ranks. I don't blame Ruy Bias for accepting the love of a 
queen, but I do blame him for passing himself off as a noble 
a plagiarism, by the by, from an English play. I do not love 
the English enough to copy them. Apropos, what has become 
of cebeau Grarm Yarn? 1 have not seen him of late." 

" Neither have I." 

" Nor the belle Italic line? " 

" Nor her," said Alain, slightly blushing. 

At this moment Enguerrand lounged into the room. Alain 
stopped Lemercier to introduce him to his kinsman. " Enguer- 
rand, I present to you M. Lemercier, my earliest and one of 
my dearest friends." 

The young noble held out his hand with the bright and joy- 
ous grace which accompanied all his movements, and expressed 
in cordial words his delight to make M. Lemercier's acquaint- 
ance. Bold and assured as Frederic was in his own circles, he 
was more discomposed than set at ease by the gracious accost 
of a lion, whom he felt at once to be of a breed superior to his 
own. He muttered some confused phrases, in which ravi and 
_/?/// were alone audible, and evanished. 

.. " I know M. Lemercier by sight very well," said Enguerrand, 
seating himself. " One sees him very often in the Bois ; and 
I have met him in the Coulisses and the Bal Mabille. I think, 



THE PARISIANS. 215 

too, that he plays at the Bourse, and is /// with M. Duplessis, 
who bids fair to rival Louvier one of these days. Is Duplessis 
also one of your dearest friends ? " 

" No, indeed. I once met him, and was not prepossessed in 
his favor." 

" Nevertheless, he is a man much to be admired and re- 
spected." 

"Why so?" 

"Because he understands so well the art of making what we 
all covet money. I will introduce you to him." 

" I have been already introduced." 

" Then I will re-introduce you. He is much courted in a 
society which I have recently been permitted by my father to 
frequent the society of the Imperial Court." 

" You frequent that society, and the Count permits it ?" 

" Yes ; better the Imperialists than the Republicans ; and 
my father begins to own that truth, though lie is too old or too 
indolent to act on it." 

"And Raoul?" 

" Oh, Raoul, the melancholy and philosophical Raoul, has 
no ambition of any kind, so long as thanks somewhat tome 
his purse is always replenished for the wants of his stately ex- 
istence, among the foremost of which wants are the means to 
supply the wants of others. That is the true reason why lie 
consents to our glove-shop. Raoul belongs, with some other 
young men of the faubourg, to a society enrolled under the 
name of Saint Frangois de Sales, for the relief of the poor. 
He visits their houses, and is at home by their sick-beds as at 
their stinted boards. Nor does he confine his visitations to 
the limits of our faubourg ; he extends his travels to Montmartre 
and Belleville. As to our upper world, he does not concern 
himself much with its changes. He says that ' we have de- 
stroyed too much ever to rebuild solidly ; and that whatever 
we do build could be upset any day by a Paris mob, which he 
declares to be the only institution we have left.' A wonderful 
fellow is Raoul ; full of mind, though he does little with it ; 
full of heart, which he devotes to suffering humanity, and to a 
poetic, knightly reverence (not to be confounded with earthly 
love, and not to be degraded into that sickly sentiment called 
Platonic affection) for the Comtesse di Rimini, who is six years 
older than himself, and who is very faithfully attached to her 
husband, Raoul's intimate friend, whose honor he would guard 
as his own. It is an episode in the drama of Parisian life, and 
one not so uncommon as the malignant may suppose. Pi 



2l6 THE PARISIANS. 

Rimini knows and approves of his veneration ; my mother, the 
best of women, sanctions it, and deems truly that it preserves 
Raoul safe from all the temptations to which ignobler youth is 
exposed. I mention this lest you should imagine there was 
anything in Raoul's worship of his star less pure than it is. 
For the rest, Raoul, to the grief and amazement of that disci- 
ple ojf Voltaire, my respected father, is one of the very few men 
I know in our circles who is sincerely religious an orthodox 
Catholic and the only man I know who practises the religion 
he professes ; charitable, chaste, benevolent ; and no bigot, no 
intolerant ascetic. His only weakness is his entire submission 
to the worldly common-sense of his good-for-nothing, covet- 
ous, ambitious brother Enguerrand. I cannot say how I love 
him for that. If he had not such a weakness, his excellence 
would gall me, and I believe I should hate him." 

Alain bowed his head at this eulogium. Such had been the 
character that, a few months ago, he would have sought as ex- 
ample and model. He seemed to gaze upon a flattered portrait 
of himself as he had been. 

" But," said Enguerrand, " I have not come here to indulge 
in the overflow of brotherly affection. I come to take you to 
your relation, the Duchesse of Tarascon. I have pledged my- 
self to her to bring you, and she is at home on purpose to re- 
ceive you." 

" In that case I cannot be such a churl as to refuse. And, 
indeed, I no longer feel quite the same prejudices against her 
and the Imperialists as I brought from Bretagne. Shall I 
order my carriage ? " 

" No ; mine is at the door. Yours can meet you where you 
will, later. Allans." 

CHAPTER III. 

THE Duchesse de Tarascon occupied a vast apartment in the 
Rue Royale, close to the Tuileries. She held a high post 
among the ladies who graced the brilliant Court of the Em- 
press. She had survived her second husband the Due, who left 
no issue, and the title died with him. Alain and Enguerrand 
were ushered up the grand staircase, lined with tiers of costly 
exotics as if for a f$te ; but in that and in all kinds of female 
luxury, the Duchesse lived in a state of fete perpttudle. The 
doors on the landing-place were screened by heavy portieres of 
Genoa velvet, richly embroidered in gold with the ducal crown 
and cipher. The two salons through which the visitors passed 



THE PARISIANS. 217 

to the private cabinet or boudoir were decorated with Gobelin 
tapestries, fresh, with a mixture of roseate hues, and depicting 
incidents in the career of the first Emperor ; while the effigie-- 
of the late Due's father the gallant founder of a short-lived 
race figured modestly in the background. On a table of 
Russian malachite within the recess of the central window lay, 
preserved in glass cases, the baton and the sword, the epau- 
lettes and the decorations of the brave Marshal. On the con- 
soles and the mantelpieces stood clocks and vases of Sevres 
that could scarcely be eclipsed by those in the Imperial palaces. 
Entering the cabinet, they found the Duehesse seated at her 
writing-table, with a small Skye terrier, hideous in the beauty 
of the purest breed, nestled at her feet. This room was an 
exquisite combination of costliness and comfort luxury at 
home. The hangings were of geranium-colored silk, with 
double curtains of white satin ; near to the writing-table a con- 
servatory, with a white marble fountain at play in the centre, 
and a trellised aviary at the back. The walls were covered 
with small pictures, chiefly portraits and miniatures of the 
members of the Imperial family, of the late Due, of his father 
the Marshal and Madame la Marechale, of the present Du- 
ehesse herself, and of some of the principal ladies of the Court. 

The Duehesse was still in the prime of life. She had passed 
her fortieth year, but was so well "conserved " that you might 
have guessed her to be ten years younger. She was tall ; not 
large, but with rounded figure inclined to embonpoint ; with 
dark hair and eyes, but fair complexion, injured in effect 
rather than improved by pearl powder, and that atrocious bar- 
barism of a dank stain on the eyelids which has of late years 
been a baneful fashion; dressed I am a man and cannot 
describe her dress all I know is, that she had the acknowl- 
edged fame of the best-dressed subject of France. As she rose 
from her seat there was in her look and air the unmistakable 
evidence of grande dame ; a family likeness in feature to Alain 
himself, a stronger likeness to the picture of her first cousin, 
his mother, which was preserved at Rochebriant. Her descent 
was indeed from ancient and noble houses. But to the dis- 
tinction of race she added that of fashion ; crowning both 
with a tranquil consciousness of lofty position and unblemished 
reputation. 

"Unnatural cousin," she said to Alain, offering her hand to 
him with a gracious smile ; " all this age in Paris, and I see 
you for the first time. But there is joy on earth as in heaven 
over sinners who truly repent. You repent truly nest-ce pas ? " 



2l8 THE PARISIANS. 

It is impossible to describe the caressing charm which the 
Duchesse threw into her words, voice, and look. Alain was 
fascinated and subdued. 

"Ah, Madame la Duchesse," said he, bowing over the fair 
hand he lightly held, " it was not sin, unless modesty be a sin, 
which made a rustic hesitate long before he dared to offer his 
homage to the queen of the graces." 

" Not badly said for a rustic," cried Enguerrand ; " eh, 
Madame ? " 

" My cousin, you are pardoned," said the Duchesse. ''Com- 
pliment is the perfume of gentilhommerie ; and if you brought 
enough of that perfume from the flowers of Rochebriant to 
distribute among the ladies at Court, you will be terribly the 
mode there. Seducer ! " here she gave the Marquis a playful 
tap on the cheek, not in a coquettish but in a mother-like . 
familiarity, and looking at him attentively, said : " Why, you 
are even handsomer than your father. I shall be proud to 
present to their Imperial Majesties so becoming a cousin. But 
seat yourselves here, Messieurs, close to my arm-chair, causoas." 

The Duchesse then took up the ball of the conversation. 
She talked without any apparent artifice, but with admirable 
tact ; put just the questions about Rochebriant most calculated 
to please Alain, shunning all that might have pained him ; 
asking him for descriptions of the surrounding scenery, the 
Breton legends ; hoping that the old castle would never be 
spoiled by modernizing restorations ; inquiring tenderly after 
his aunt, whom she had in her childhood once seen, and still 
remembered with her sweet, grave face ; paused little for re- 
plies ; then turned -to Enguerrand with sprightly small-talk on 
the topics of the day, and every now and then bringing Alain 
into the pale of the talk, leading on insensibly until she got 
Enguerrand himself to introduce the subject of the Emperor 
and the political troubles which were darkening a reign here- 
tofore so prosperous and splendid. 

Her countenance then changed ; it became serious, and even 
grave in its expression. 

"It is true," she said, "that the times grow menacing 
menacing not only to the throne, but to order and property and 
France. One by one they are removing all the breakwaters 
which the Empire had constructed between the executive and 
the most fickle and impulsive population that ever shouted 
' long live ' one day to the man whom they would send to the 
guillotine the next. They are denouncing what they call per- 
sonal government ; grant that it has its evils ; but what would 



THE PARISIANS. 210 

they substitute ? A constitutional monarchy like the English ? 
That is impossible with universal suffrage and without an 
hereditary chamber. The nearest approach to it was the 
monarchy of Louis Philippe we know how sick they became 
of that. A republic? Mon Dicu ! composed of republicans 
terrified out of their wits at each other. The moderate men, 
mimics of the Girondins, with the Reds, and the Socialists, and 
the Communists, ready to tear them to pieces. And then 
what then ? The commercialists, the agriculturists, the middle 
class combining to elect some dictator who will cannonade the 
mob, and become a mimic Napoleon, grafted on a mimic 
Necker or a mimic Danton. Oh, Messieurs, I am French to 
the core ! You inheritors of such names must be as French as 
I am ; and yet you rn,en insist on remaining more useless to 
France in the midst of her need than I am I, a woman who 
can but talk and weep/' 

The Duchess spoke with a warmth of emotion which startled 
and profoundly affected Alain. He remained silent, leaving it 
to Enguerrand to answer. 

" Dear Madame," said the latter, " I do not see how either 
myself or our kinsman can merit your reproach. We are not 
legislators. I doubt if there is a single department in France 
that would elect us, if we offered ourselves. It is-not our fault 
if the various floods of revolution leave men of our birth and 
opinions stranded wrecks of a perished world. The Emperor 
chooses his own advisers, and if they are bad ones, his Majesty 
certainly will not ask Alain and me to replace them." 

" You do not answer, you evade me," said the Duchesse, 
with a mournful smile. " You are too skilled a man of the 
world, M. Enguerrand, not to know that it is not only legisla- 
tors and ministers that are necessary to the support of a throne, 
and the safeguard of a nation. Do you not see how great a 
help it is to both throne and nation, when that section of public 
opinion which is represented by names illustrious in history, 
identified with records of chivalrous deeds and loyal devotion, 
rallies round the order established ? Let that section of public 
opinion stand aloof, soured and discontented, excluded from 
active life, lending no counterbalance to the perilous oscilla- 
tions of democratic passion, and tell me if it is not an enemy 
to itself as well as a traitor to the principles it embodies ?" 

"The principles it embodies, Madame," said Alain, " are 
those of fidelity to a race of kings unjustly set aside, less for 
the vices than the virtues of ancestors. Louis XV. was the 
worst of the Bourbons ; he was the Men aimJ he escapes ; 



220 THE PARISIANS. 

Louis XVI. was in moral attributes the best of the Bourbons 
he dies the death of a felon ; Louis XVIII., against whom much 
may be said, restored to the throne by foreign bayonets, reign- 
ing as a disciple of Voltaire might reign, secretly scoffing alike 
at the royalty and the religion which were crowned in his per- 
son, dies peacefully in his bed ; Charles X., redeeming the 
errors of his youth by a reign untarnished by a vice, by a relig- 
ion earnest and sincere, is sent into exile for defending estab- 
lished order from the very inroads which you lament. He 
leaves an heir against whom calumny cannot invent a tale, and 
that heir remains an outlaw simply because he descends from 
Henry IV., and has a right to reign. Madame, you appeal to 
us as among the representatives of the chivalrous deeds and 
loyal devotion which characterized the old nobility of France. 
Should we deserve that charactei if we forsook the unfortunate, 
and gained wealth and honor in forsaking ?" 

"Your words endear you tome. lam proud to call you 
cousin," said the Duchesse. "But do you, or does any man 
in his senses, believe that if you upset the Empire you could 
get back the Bourbons ? That you would not be in imminent 
danger of a Government infinitely more opposed to the theories 
on which rests the creed of Legitimists than that of Louis Na- 
poleon ? After all, what is there in the loyalty of you Bour- 
bonites that has in it the solid worth of an argument which can 
appeal to the comprehension of mankind, except it be the 
principle of- an hereditary monarchy ? Nobody nowadays can 
maintain the right divine of a single regal family to impose it- 
self upon a nation. That dogma has ceased to be a living 
principle ; it is only a dead reminiscence. But the institution 
of monarchy is a principle strong and vital, and appealing to 
the practical interests of vast sections of society. Would you 
sacrifice the principle which concerns the welfare of millions, 
because you cannot embody it in the person of an individual 
utterly insignificant in himself? In a word, if you prefer mon- 
archy to the . hazard of republicanism for such a country as 
France, accept the monarchy you find, since it is quite clear 
you cannot rebuild the monarchy you would prefer. Does it 
not embrace all the great objects for which you call yourself 
Legitimist? Under it religion is honored, a national church 
secured, in reality if not in name; under it you have united 
the votes of millions to the establishment of the throne ; under 
it all the material interests of the country, commercial, agricul- 
tural, have advanced with an unequalled rapidity of progress ; 
under it Paris has become the wonder of the world for riches, 



THE PARISIANS. 221 

for splendor, for grace and beauty ; under it the old traditional 
enemies of France have been humbled and rendered impotent. 
The policy of Richelieu has been achieved in the abasement 
of Austria ; the policy of Napoleon I. has been consummated 
in the salvation of Europe from the semi-barbarous ambition 
of Russia. England no longer casts her trident in the opposite 
scale of the balance of European power. Satisfied with the 
honor of our alliance, she has lost every other ally ; and her 
forces neglected, her spirit enervated, her statesmen dreaming 
believers in the safety of their island, provided they withdraw 
from the affairs of Europe, may sometimes scold us, but will 
certainly not dare to fight. With France she is but an inferior 
satellite ; without France she is nothing. Add to all this a 
Court more brilliant than that of Louis XIV., a sovereign not 
indeed without faults and errors, but singularly mild in his na- 
ture, warm-hearted to friends, forgiving to foes, whom person- 
ally no one could familiarly know and not be charmed with a 
bonte of character, lovable as that of Henri IV. and tell me 
what more than all this could you expect from the reign of a 
Bourbon ? " 

" With such results," said Alain, " from the monarchy you so 
eloquently praise, I fail to discover what the Emperor's throne 
could possibly gain by a few powerless converts from an un- 
popular, and you say, no doubt truly, from a hopeless cause." 

" I say monarchy gains much by the loyal adhesion of any 
man of courage, ability, and honor. Every new monarchy gains 
much by conversions from the ranks by which the older mon- 
archies were strengthened and adorned. But I do not here 
invoke your aid merely to this monarchy, my cousin ; I de- 
mand your devotion to the interests of France ; I demand that 
you should not rest an outlaw from her service. Ah, you think 
that France is in no danger, that you may desert or oppose the 
Empire as you list, and that society will remain safe ! You 
are mistaken. Ask Enguerrand." 

"Madame," said Enguerrand, " you overrate my political 
knowledge in that appeal ; but honestly speaking, I subscribe to 
your reasonings. I agree with you that the Empire sorely 
needs the support of men of honor ; it has one cause of rot 
which now undermines it dishonest jobbery in its adminis- 
trative departments ; even in that of the army, which appar- 
ently is so heeded and cared for. I agree with you that France 
is in danger, and may need the swords of all her better sons, 
whether against the foreigner or against her worst enemies 
the mobs of her great towns. I myself received a military 



222 THE PARISIANS.. 

education, and but for my reluctance to separate myself from 
my father and Raoul, I should be a candidate for employments 
more congenial to me than those of the Bourse and my trade 
in the glove-shop. But Alain is happily free from all family 
ties, and Alain knows that my advice to him is not hostile to 
your exhortations." 

"I am glad to think he is under so salutary an influence," 
said the Duchesse ; and seeing that Alain remained silent and 
thoughtful, she wisely changed the subject, and shortly after- 
wards the two friends took leave. 



CHAPTER IV. 

THREE days elapsed before Graham again saw M. Lebeau. 
The letter-writer did not show himself at the cafe, and was 
not to be found at his office, the ordinary business of which 
was transacted by his clerk, saying that his master was much 
engaged on important matters that took him from home. 

Graham naturally thought that these matters concerned the 
discovery of Louise Duval, and was reconciled to suspense. 
At the cafe, awaiting Lebeau, he had slid into some acquaint- 
ance with, the oiivricr Armand Monnier, whose face and talk 
had before excited his interest. Indeed, the acquaintance 
had been commenced by the ouvrier, who seated himself at a 
table near Graham's, and, after looking at him earnestly for 
some minutes, said, "You are waiting for your antagonist at 
dominoes, M. Lebeau a very remarkable man." 

"So he seems. I know, however, but little of him. You, 
perhaps, have known him longer?" 

"Several months. Many of your countrymen frequent this 
cafe, but you do not seem to care to associate with the blouses." 

"It is not that ; but we islanders are shy, and don't make 
acquaintance with each other readily. By.the way, since you 
so courteously accost me, I may take the liberty of saying that 
I overheard you defend the other night, against one of my 
countryfhen, who seemed to me to talk great nonsense, the ex- 
istence of le bon Dieu. You had much the best of it. I rather 
gathered from your argument that you went somewhat farther, 
and were not too enlightened to admit of Christianity." 

Armand Monnier looked pleased ; he liked praise, and he 
liked to hear himself talk, and he plunged at once into a very 
complicated sort of Christianity partly Arian, partly St. 
Simonian, with a little of Rousseau and a great deal of Armand 



THE PARISIANS. 223 

Monnier. Into this we need not follow him ; but in sum, it 
was a sort of Christianity, the main heads of which consisted 
in the removal of your neighbor's landmarks ; in the right of 
the poor to appropriate the property of the rich ; in the 
right of love to dispense with marriage, and the duty of the 
State to provide for any children that might result from such 
union, the parents being incapacitated to do so, as whatever 
they might leave was due to the treasury in common. Graham 
listened to these doctrines with melancholy not unmixed with 
contempt. " Are these opinions of yours," he asked, " derived 
from reading or your own reflection ? " 

"Well, from both, but from circumstances in life that in- 
duced me to read and reflect. I am one of the many victims 
of the tyrannical law of marriage. When very young I mar- 
ried a woman who made me miserable, and then forsook me. 
Morally she has ceased to be my wife ; legaUy, she is. I then 
met with another woman who suits me, who loves me. She 
lives with me ; I cannot marry her ; she has to submit to hu- 
miliations, to be called contemptuously an vuviter's mistress. 
Then, though before I was only a Republican, I felt there was 
something wrong in society which needed a greater change 
than that of a merely political government ; and then, too, when 
I was all troubled and sore, I chanced to read one of Madame 
de Grantmesnil's books. A glorious genius that womari"s ! " 

"She has genius, certainly," said Graham, with a keen pang 
at his heart ; Madame de Grantmesnil, the dearest friend of 
Isaura ! u But," he added, " though I believe that eloquent 
author has indirectly assailed certain social institutions, in- 
cluding that of marriage, I am perfectly persuaded that she 
never designed to effect such complete overthrow of the sys- 
tem which all civilized communities, have hitherto held in 
reverence, as your doctrines would attempt ; and after all, she 
but expresses her ideas through the medium of fabulous inci- 
dents and characters. And men of your sense should not look 
for a creed in the fictions of poets and romance writers." 

" Ah," said Monnier, "I dare say neither Madame de Grant- 
mesnil nor even Rousseau ever even guessed the ideas they 
awoke in their readers ; but one idea leads on to another. And 
genuine poetry and romance touch the heart so much more 
than dry treatises. In a word, Madame de Grantmesnil's book 
set me thinking, and then I read other books, and talked with 
clever men, and educated myself. And so I became the man 
I am." Here, with a self-satisfied air, Monnier bowed to the 
Englishman and joined a group at the other end of the room. 



224 THE PARISIANS. 

The next evening, just before dusk, Graham Vane was 
seated musingly in his own apartment in the Faubourg Mont- 
martre, when there came a slight knock at his door. He was so 
rapt in thought that he did not hear the sound, though twice 
repeated. The door opened gently, and M. Lebeau appeared 
on the threshold. The room was lighted only by the gas-lamp 
from the street without. 

Lebeau advanced through the gloom, and quietly seated 
himself in the corner of the fireplace opposite to Graham be- 
fore he spoke. " A thousand pardons for disturbing your 
slumbers, M. Lamb." 

Startled then by the voice so near him, Graham raised his 
head, looked round, and beheld very indistinctly the person 
seated so near him. 

" M. Lebeau ? " 

" At your service. I promised to give an answer to your 
question : accept my apologies that it has been deferred so 
long. I shall not this evening go to our cafe ; I took the 
liberty of calling " 

" M. Lebeau, you are a brick." 

" A what, Monsieur ! a brique?" 

" I forgot you are not up to our fashionable London 
idioms. A brick means a jolly fellow, and it is very kind in 
you to call. What is your decision ? " 

" Monsieur, I can give you some information, but it is so 
slight that I offer it gratis, and forego all thought of undertak- 
ing farther inquiries. They could only be prosecuted in an- 
other country, and it would not be worth my while to leave 
Paris on the chance of gaining so trifling a reward as you pro- 
pose. Judge for yourself. In the year 1849, and in the month 
of July, Louise Duval left Paris for Aix-la-Chapelle. There 
she remained some weeks, and then left it. I can learn no 
farther traces of her movements." 

" Aix-la-Chapelle ! What could she do there ? " 
. " It is a Spa in great request ; crowded during the summer 
season with visitors from all countries. She might have gone 
there for health or for pleasure." 

" Do you think that one could learn more at the Spa itself if 
one went there ? " 

' Possibly. But it is so long twenty years ago." 

' She might have revisited the place." 

' Certainly ; but I know no more." 

' Was she there under the same name Duval ?" 

' I am sure of that," 



THE PARISIANS. 225 

" Do you think she left it alone or with others ? You tell 
me she was awfully belle she might have attracted admirers." 

" If," answered Lebeau reluctantly, " I could believe the re- 
port of my informant, Louise Duval left Aix not alone, but 
with some gallant not an Englishman. They are said to 
have parted soon, and the man is now dead. But, speak- 
ing frankly, I do not think Mademoiselle Duval would have 
thus compromised her honor and sacrificed her future. I 
believe she would have scorned all proposals that were not 
those of marriage. But, all I can say for certainty is, that 
nothing is known to me of her fate since she quitted Aix-la- 
Chapelle." 

" In 1849 she had then a child living ? " 

" A child ? I never heard that she had any child ; and I 
do not believe she could have had any child in 1849." 

Graham mused. Somewhat less than five years after 1849 
Louise Duval had been seen at Aix-la-Chapelle. Possibly she 
found some attraction at that place, and might yet be discovered 
there. " Monsieur Lebeau," said Graham, " you know this 
lady by sight ; you would recognize her in spite of the lapse of 
years. Will you go to Aix and find out there what you can ? 
Of course expenses will be paid, and the reward will be given 
if you succeed." 

" I cannot oblige you. My interest in this poor lady is not 
very strong, though I should be willing to serve her, and glad 
to know that she were alive. I have now business on hand 
which interests me much more, and which will take me from 
Paris, but not in the direction of Aix." 

" If I wrote to my employer, and got him to raise the reward 
to some higher amount, that might make it worth your while?" 

" I should still answer that my affairs will not permit such a 
journey. But if there be any chance of tracing Louise Duval 
at Aix and there maybe you would succeed quite as well as 
I should. You must judge for yourself if it be worth your 
trouble to attempt such a task ; and if you do attempt it, and 
do succeed, pray let me know. A line to my office will reach 
me for some little time, even if I am absent from Paris. Adieu, 
M. Lamb." 

Here M. Lebeau rose and departed. 

Graham relapsed into thought ; but a train of thought much 
more active, much more concentred than before. " No," 
thus ran his meditations ; " No, it would not be safe to employ 
that man further. The reasons that forbid me to offer any 
very high reward for the discovery of this woman operate still 



226 THE PARISIANS. 

more strongly against tendering to her own relation a sum that 
might indeed secure his aid, but would unquestionably arouse 
his suspicions, and perhaps drag into light all that must be 
concealed. Oh, this cruel mission ! I am, indeed, an impostor 
to myself till it be fulfilled. I will go to Aix, and take Renard 
with me. I am impatient till I set out, but I cannot quit Paris 
without once more seeing Isaura. She consents to relinquish 
the stage ; surely I could wean her too from intimate friend- 
ship with a woman whose genius has so fatal an effect upon en- 
thusiastic minds. And then and then ?" 

He fell into a delightful revery ; and contemplating Isaura 
as his future wife, he surrounded her sweet image with all 
those attributes of dignity and respect with which an English- 
man is accustomed to. invest the destined bearer of his name, 
the gentle sovereign of his household, the sacred mother of his 
children. In this picture the more brilliant qualities of Isaura 
found, perhaps, but faint presentation. Her glow of sentiment, 
her play of fancy, her artistic yearnings for truths remote, for 
the invisible fairyland of beautiful romance, receded into the 
background of the picture. It was all these, no doubt, that 
had so strengthened and enriched the love at first sight, which 
had shaken the equilibrium of his positive existence ; and yet 
he now viewed all these as subordinate to the one image of mild, 
decorous matronage into which wedlock was to transform the 
child of genius, longing for angel wings and unlimited space. 



CHAPTER V. 

ON quitting the sorry apartment of the false M. Lamb, Le- 
beau walked on with slow steps. and bended head, like a man 
absorbed in thought. He threaded a labyrinth of obscure 
streets, no longer in the Faubourg Montmartre, and dived at 
last into one of the few courts which preserve the cachet of the 
moycn age untouched by the ruthless spirit of improvement 
which, during the Second Empire, has so altered the face of 
Paris. At the bottom of the court stood a large house, much 
dilapidated, but bearing the trace of former grandeur in pilas- 
ters and fretwork in the style of the Renaissance, and a de- 
faced coat-of-arms, surmounted with a ducal coronet, over the 
doorway. The house had the aspect of desertion ; many of 
the windows were broken ; others were jealously closed with 
mouldering shutters. The door stood ajar ; Lebeau pushed it 
open, and the action set in movement a bell within a porter's 



THE PARISIANS. 227 

lodge. The house, then, was not uninhabited ; it retained the 
dignity of a coticierge. A man with a large grizzled beard cut 
square, and holding a journal in his hand, emerged from the 
lodge, and moved his cap with a certain bluff and surly rever- 
ence on recognizing Lebeau. 

" What, so early, citizen ? " 

" Is it too early ? " said Lebeau, glancing at his watch. "So 
it is ; I was not aware of the time. But I am tired with wait- 
ing ; let me into the salon. I will wait for the rest ; I shall not 
be sorry for a little repose." 

" J3on" said the porter sententiously ; "while man reposes 
men advance." 

" A profound truth, citizen Le Roux ; though, if they ad- 
vance on a. reposing foe, they have blundering leaders unless 
they march through unguarded bypaths and with noiseless 
tread." 

Following the porter up a dingy broad staircase, Lebeau was 
admitted in a large room, void of all other furniture than a 
table, two benches at its sides, and a fauteuil at its head. On 
the mantelpiece there was a huge clock, and some iron sconces 
were fixed on the panelled walls. 

Lebeau flung himself, with a wearied air, into the fauteuil. 
The porter looked at him with a kindly expression. He had a 
liking to Lebeau, whom he had served in his proper profession 
of messenger or commissionaiKe before being placed by that 
courteous employer in the easy post he now held. Lebeau, in- 
deed, had the art, when he pleased, of charming inferiors ; his 
knowledge of mankind allowed him to distinguish peculiarities 
in each individual, and flatter the amour propre by deference to 
such eccentricities. Marc le Roux, the roughest of " red caps," 
had a wife of whom he was very proud. He would have called 
the Empress Citoyenne Eugenie, but he always spoke of his wife 
as Madame. Lebeau won his heart by always asking after 
Madame. 

" You look tired, citizen," said the porter ; " let me bring you 
a glass of wine." 

" Thank you, mon ami, no. Perhaps later, if I have time, 
after we break up, to pay my respects to Madame." 

The porter smiled, bowed, and retired muttering, " Nom 
d'un petit bonhomme // riy a rien de tel que les belles manieres" 

Left alone, Lebeau leaned his elbow on the table, resting his 
chin on his hand, and gazing into the dim space, for it was now, 
indeed, night, and little light came through the grimy panes of 
the one window left unclosed by shutters. He was musing 



228 THE PARISIANS. 

deeply. This man was, in much, an enigma to himself. Was 
he seeking to unriddle it? A strange compound of contra- 
dictory elements. In his stormy youth there had been lightning- 
like flashes of good instincts, of irregular honor, of inconsistent 
generosity a puissant, wild nature, with strong passions of love 
and of hate, without fear, but not without shame. In other 
forms of society that love of applause which had made him 
seek and exult in the notoriety which he mistook for fame 
might have settled down into some solid and useful ambition. 
He might have become great in the world's eye, for at the ser- 
vice of his desires there were no ordinary talents. Though too 
true a Parisian to be a severe student, still, on the whole, he 
had acquired much general information, partly from books, 
partly from varied commerce with mankind. He had the gift, 
both by tongue and by pen, of expressing himself with force 
and warmth time and necessity had improved that gift. Cov- 
eting, during his brief career of fashion, the distinctions which 
necessitate lavish expenditure, he had been the most reck- 
less of spendthrifts, but the neediness which follows waste 
had never destroyed his original sense of personal honor. 
Certainly, Victor de Mauleon was not, at the date of his fall, a 
man to whom the thought of accepting, much less of stealing, 
the jewels of a woman who loved him, could have occurred as 
a possible question of casuistry between honor and temptation. 
Nor could that sort of question have, throughout the sternest 
trials or the humblest callings to which his after-life had been 
subjected, forced admission into his brain. He was one of 
those men, perhaps the most terrible though unconscious 
criminals, who are the offsprings produced by intellectual power 
and egotistical ambition. If you had offered to Victor de 
Mauleon the crown of the Caesars, on condition of his doing 
one of those base things which " a gentleman" cannot do pick 
a pocket, cheat at cards Victor de Mauleon would have refused 
the crown. He would not have refused on account of any 
laws of morality affecting the foundations of the social system, 
but from the pride of his own personality. " I, Victor de 
Mauleon ! I pick a pocket ! I cheat at cards ! I ! " But 
when something incalculably worse for the interests of society 
than picking a pocket or cheating at cards was concerned ; 
when, for the sake either of private ambition or political experi- 
ment hitherto untested, and therefore very doubtful, the peace 
and order and happiness of millions might be exposed to the 
release of the most savage passions rushing on revolutionary 
madness or civil massacre then this French daredevil would 



THE PARISIANS. 229 

have been just a." unscrupulous as any English philosopher 
whom a metropolitan borough might elect as its representative. 
The system of the Empire was in the way of Victor de Mau- 
leon in the way of his private ambition, in the way of his 
political dogmas and therefore it must be destroyed, no matter 
what nor whom it crushed beneath its ruins. He was one of 
those plotters of revolutions not uncommon in democracies, 
ancient and modern, who invoke popular agencies with the less 
scruple because they have a supreme contempt for the popu- 
lace. A man with mental powers equal to De Mauleon's,,and 
who sincerely loves the people and respects the grandeur of 
aspiration with which, in the great upheaving of their masses, 
they so of ten contrast the irrational credulities of their ignorance 
and the blind fury of their wrath, is always exceedingly loth to 
pass the terrible gulf that divides reform from revolution. He 
knows how rarely it happens that genuine liberty is not disarmed 
in the passage, and what sufferings must be undergone by those 
who live by their labor during the dismal intervals between the 
sudden destruction of one form of society and the gradual 
settlement of another. Such a man, however, has no type in a 
Victor de Mauleon. The circumstances of his life had placed 
this strong nature at war with society, and corrupted into misan- 
thropy affections that had once been ardent. That misanthropy 
made his ambition more intense, because it increased his scorn 
for the human instruments it employed. 

Victor de Mauleon knew that, however innocent of the 
charges that had so long darkened his name, and however, 
thanks to his rank, his manners, his scivoir vivre, the aid of 
l.ouvier's countenance, and the support of his own high-born 
connections, he might restore himself to his rightful grade in 
private life, the higher prizes in public life would scarcely be 
within reach, to a man of his antecedents and stinted means, 
in the existent form and conditions of established political 
order. Perforce, the aristocrat must make himself democrat 
if he would become a political chief. Could he assist in turn- 
ing upside down the actual state of things, he trusted to his 
individual force of character to find himself among the upper- 
most in the general bpuleversetnent. And in the first stage of 
popular revolution the mob has no greater darling than the 
noble who deserts his order, though in the second stage it may 
guillotine him at the denunciation of his cobbler. A mind so 
sanguine and so audacious as that of Victor de Mauleon never 
thinks of the second step if it sees a way to the first. 

\ 



230 THE PARISIANS. 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE room was in complete darkness, save where a ray from a 
gas-lamp at the mouth of the court came aslant through the win- 
dow, when Citizen Le Roux re-entered, closed the window, 
lighted two of the sconces, and drew forth from a drawer in the 
table implements of writing, which he placed thereon noise- 
lessly, as if he feared to disturb M. Lebeau, whose head, buried 
in his hands, rested on the table. He seemed in a profound 
sleep. At last the porter gently touched the arm of the 
slumberer, and whispered in his ear, "It is on the stroke of 
ten, citizen ; they will be here in a minute or so." 

Lebeau lifted his head drowsily. 

"Eh," said he; "What?" 

"You have been asleep." 

" I suppose so, for I have been dreaming. Ha ! I hear the 
door-bell. I am wide awake now." 

The porter left him, and in a few minutes conducted into the 
salon two men wrapped in cloaks, despite the warmth of the 
summer night. Lebeau shook hands with them silently, and 
not less silently they laid aside their cloaks and seated them- 
selves. Both these men appeared to belong to the upper 
section of the middle class. One, strongly built, with a keen 
expression of countenance, was a Burgeon, considered able i.i 
his profession, but with limited practice, owing to a current 
suspicion against his honor in connection with a forged will. 
The other, tall, meagre, with long, grizzled hair and a wild, un- 
settled look about the eyes, was a man of science ; had written 
works well esteemed upon mathematics and electricity, also 
against the existence of any other creative power than that 
which he called " nebulosity," and defined to be the combina- 
tion of heat and moisture. The surgeon was about the age of 
forty, the atheist a few years older. In another minute or so, 
a knock was heard against the wall. One of the men rose and 
touched a spring in the panel, which then flew back, and 
showed an opening upon a narrow stair, by which, one after 
the other, entered three other members of the society. Evi- 
dently there was more than one mode of ingress and exit. 

The three new-comers were not Frenchmen one might see 
that at a glance ; probably they had reasons for greater precau- 
tion than those who entered by the front door. One, a tall, 
powerfully built man, with fair hair and beard, dressed with a 
certain pretension to elegance faded, threadbare elegance 



THE PARISIANS. 23! 

exhibiting no appearance of linen, was a Pole. One, a slight, 
bald man, very dark and sallow, was an Italian. The third, 
who seemed like an ouvrier in his holiday clothes, was a 
Belgian. 

Lebeau greeted them all with an equal courtesy, and each 
with an equal silence took his seat at the table. 

Lebeau' glanced at the clock. " Confreres" he said, " our 
number, as fixed for this stance, still needs two to be complete, 
and doubtless they will arrive in a few minutes. Till they 
come, we can but talk upon trifles. Permit me to offer you my 
cigar-case." And so saying, he who professed to be no smoker 
handed his next neighbor, who was the Pole, a large cigar-case 
amply furnished ; and the Pole, helping himself to two cigars, 
handed the case to the man next him ; two only declining the 
luxury, the Italian and the Belgian. But the Pole, was the 
only man who took two cigars. 

Steps were now heard on the stairs, the door opened, and 
Citizen Le Roux ushered in, one after the other, two men, this 
time unmistakably French ; to an experienced eye unmistak- 
ably Parisians : the one a young, beardless man, who seemed 
almost boyish, with a beautiful face, and a stinted, meagre 
frame ; the other a stalwart man of about, eight-and-tvventy, 
dressed partly as an ouvrier, not in his Sunday clothes, rather 
affecting the blouse; not that he wore that antique garment, but 
that he was in rough costume unbrushed and stained, with 
thick shoes and coarse stockings, and a workman's cap. But of 
all who gathered round the table at which M. Lebeau presided, 
he had the most distinguished exterior. A virile, honest ex- 
terior, a massive, open forehead, intelligent eyes, a handsome, 
clear-cut, incisive profile, and solid jaw. The expression of 
the face was stern, but not mean : an expression which might 
have become an ancient baron as well as a modern workman ; 
in it plenty of haughtiness and of will, and still more of self- 
esteem. 

" Confreres" said Lebeau, rising, and every eye turned to 
him, " our numbe'i^for the present seance is complete. To busi- 
ness. Since we las'! met, our cause has advanced with rapid 
and not with noiseless stride. I need not tell you that Louis 
Bonaparte has virtually abnegated Les ide'es Napole'oniennes a 
fatal mistake for him, a glorious advance for us. The liberty 
of the press must very shortly be achieved, and with it per- 
sonal government must end. When the autocrat once is com- 
pelled to go by the advice of his Ministers, look for sudden 
changes. His Ministers will be but weathercocks, turned 



232 THE PARISIANS. 

hither and thither, according as the wind chops at Paris; and 
Paris is the temple of the winds. The new revolution is almost 
at hand." (Murmurs of applause.) "It would move the 
laughter of the Tuileriesand its Ministers, of the Bourse and of 
its gamblers, of every dainty salon of this silken city of would- 
be philosophers and wits, if they were told that here, within 
this moldering baraque, eight men, so little blest by fortune, so 
little known to fame as ourselves, met to concert the fall of an 
empire. The Government would not deem us-important enough 
to notice our existence." 

" I know not that," interrupted the Pole. 

" Ah, pardon," resumed the orator ; " 1 should have confined 
my remark to the five of us who are French. I did injustice 
to the illustrious antecedents of our foreign allies. I know 
that you; Thadeus Loubisky that you, Leonardo Raselli 
have been too eminent for hands hostile to tyrants not to be 
marked with a black cross in the books of the police. I know 
that you, Jan Vanderstegen, if hitherto unscarred by those 
wounds in defence of freedom which despots and cowards would 
fain miscall the brands of the felon, still owe it to your special 
fraternity to keep your movements rigidly concealed. The ty- 
rant would suppress the International Society, and forbid it the 
liberty of congress. To you three is granted the secret entrance 
to our council-hall. But we Frenchmen are as yet safe in our 
supposed insignificance. Confreres, permit me to impress on you 
the causes why, insignificant as we seem, we are really formid- 
able. In the first place, we are few : the great mistake inmost 
secret associations has been to admit many councillors ; and 
disunion enters wherever many tongues can wrangle. In the 
next place, though so few in council, we are legion when the 
time comes for action ; because we are representative men, 
each of his own section, and each section is capable of an in- 
definite expansion. 

"You, valiant Pole you, politic Italian enjoy the confi- 
dence of thousands now latent in un watched homes and 
harmless callings, but who, when you lift a finger, will, like the 
buried dragon's teeth, spring up into armed men. You, Jan 
Vanderstegen, the trusted delegate from Verviers, that swarm- 
ing camp of wronged labor in its revolt from the iniquities of 
capital you, when the hour arrives, can touch the wire that 
flashes the telegram ' Arise' through all the 1 lands in which 
workmen combine against their oppressors. 

"Of us five Frenchmen, let me speak more modestly. You, 
sage and scholar, Felix Ruvigny, honored alike for the pro- 



THE PARISIANS. 233 

fundity of your science and the probity of your manners, in- 
duced to join us by your abhorrence of priestcraft and 
superstition you have a wide connection among all the en- 
lightened reasoners who would emancipate the mind of man 
from the trammels of Church-born fable ; and when the hour 
arrives in which it is safe to say, l Delenda est Roma,' you know 
where to find the pens that are more victorious than swords 
against a Church and a Creed. You " (turning to the surgeon), 
" you, Gaspard le Noy, whom a vile calumny has robbed of 
the throne in your profession, so justly due to your skill you, 
nobly scorning the rich and great, have devoted yourself to 
tend and heal the humble and the penniless, so that you have 
won the popular title of the ' Mtdecin des Pauvres,' when the 
time comes wherein soldiers shall fly before the sans culottes, 
and the mob shall begin the work which they who move mobs 
will complete, the clients of Gaspard le Noy will be the 
avengers of his wrongs. 

"You, Armand Monnier, simple ouvrier, but of illustrious 
parentage, for your grandsire was the beloved friend of the 
virtuous Robespierre, your father perished a hero and a mar- 
tyr in the massacre of the coup d'etat you, cultured in the 
eloquence of Robespierre himself, and in the persuasive 
philosophy of Robespierre's teacher, Rousseau you, the 
idolized orator of the Red Republicans you will be in- 
deed a chief of dauntless bands when the trumpet sounds for 
battle. Young publicist and poet, Gustave Rameau I care 
not which you are at present, 1 know what you will be soon 
you need nothing for the development of your powers over the 
many but an organ for their manifestation. Of that anon. I 
now descend into the bathos of egotism. I am compelled 
lastly to speak of myself. It was at Marseilles and Lyons, as 
you already know, that I first conceived the plan of this repre- 
sentative association. For years before I had been in familiar 
intercourse with friends of freedom that is, with the foes of 
the Empire. They are not all poor ; some few are rich and 
generous. I do not say these rich and few concur in the ulti- 
mate objects of the poor and many ; but they concur in the 
first object, the demolition of that which exists- 1 - the Empire. 
In the course of my special calling of negotiator or agent in 
the towns of the Midi, I formed friendships with some of these 
prosperous malcontents. And out of these friendships I con- 
ceived the idea which is embodied in this council. 

" According to that conception, while the council may com- 
municate as it will with all societies, secret or open, having 



234 THE PARISIANS. 

revolution for their object, the council refuses to merge itself 
in any other confederation : it stands aloof and independent ; 
it decline's to admit into its code any special articles of faith in 
a future beyond the bounds to which it limits its design and its 
force. That design unites us ; to go beyond would divide. 
We all agree to destroy the Napoleonic dynasty ; none of us 
might agre,e as to what we should place in its stead. All of us 
here present might say 'A republic.' Ay, but of what kind? 
Vanderstegen would have it socialistic ; Monnier goes further, 
and would have it communistic, on the principles of Fourier ; 
Le Noy adheres to the policy of Danton, and would commence 
the republic by a reign of terror ; our Italian ally abhors the 
notion of general massacre, and advocates individual assassina- 
tion. Ruvigny would annihilate the worship oFa Deity ; Mon- 
nier holds with Voltaire and Robespierre, that, 'if there were 
no Deity, it would be necessary to man to create one.' J3rcf, 
we could not agree upon any plan for the new edifice, and 
therefore we refuse to discuss one till the ploughshare has 
gone over the ruins of the old. But I have another and 
m6re practical reason for keeping our council distinct from all 
societies with professed objects beyond that of demolition. 
We need a certain command of money. It is I who bring to 
you that, and how ? Not from my own resources ; they but 
suffice to support myself. Not by contributions from ouvriers^ 
who, as you well know, will subscribe only for their own ends 
in the victory of workmen over masters. I bring money to you 
from the coffers of the rich malcontents. Their politics are 
not those of most present ; their politics are what they term 
moderate. Some are indeed for a republic, but for a republic 
strong in defence of order, in support of property ; others and 
they are the more numerous and the more rich for a consti- 
tutional monarchy, and, if possible, for the abridgement of 
universal suffrage, which, in their eyes, tends only to anarchy 
in the towns and arbitrary rule under priestly influence in the 
rural districts. They would not subscribe a sou if they thought 
it went to further the designs, whether of Ruvigny the atheist, 
or of Monnier, who would enlist the Deity of Rousseau on the side 
of the drapeau rouge hot SLSOU if they knew I had the honor to 
boast such confreres as I see around me. They subscribe, as we 
concert, for the fall of Bonaparte. The policy I adopt I borrow 
from the policy of the English Liberals. In England, potent 
millionnaires, high-born dukes, devoted Churchmen, belonging 
to the Liberal party, accept the services of men who look for- 
Y/ard to measures which would ruin capital, eradicate aristoc* 



THE PARISIANS. 235 

racy, and destroy the Church, provided these men combine 
with them in some immediate step onward against the Tories. 
They have a proverb which I thus adapt to French localities : 
if a train passes Fontainebleau on its way to Marseilles, why 
should I not take it to Fontainebleau because other passengers 
are going on to Marseilles ? 

" Confreres, it seems to me the moment has come when we 
may venture some of the fund placed at my disposal to other 
purposes than those to which it has been hitherto devoted. I 
propose, therefore, to set up a journal under the auspices of 
Gustave Rameau as editor-in-chief a journal which, if he lis- 
ten to my advice, will create no small sensation. It will begin 
with a tone of impartiality : it will refrain from all violence of 
invective ; it will have wit, it will have sentiment and eloquence ; 
it will win its way into the salons and cafes of educated men ; 
and then, and then, when it does change from polished satire 
into fierce denunciation and sides With the blouses, its effect 
will be startling and terrific. Of this I will say more to Citi- 
zen Rameau in private. To you I need not enlarge upon the 
fact that, at Paris, a combination of men, though immeasurably 
superior to us in status or influence, without a journal at com- 
mand, is nowhere; with such a journal, written not to alarm 
but to seduce fluctuating opinions, a combination of men im- 
measurably inferior to us may be anywhere. 

" Confreres, this affair settled, I proceed to distribute amongst 
you sums of which each who receives will render me an ac- 
count, except our valued confrere the Pole. All that we can 
subscribe to the cause of humanity, a representative of Poland 
requires for himself." (A suppressed laugh among all but the 
Pole, who looked round with a grave, imposing air, as much as 
to say, " What is there to laugh at ? A simple truth.") 

M. Lebeau then presented to each of his confreres a sealed 
envelope, containing no doubt a banknote, and perhaps also 
private instructions as to its disposal. It was one of his rules 
to make the amount of any sum granted to an individual mem- 
ber of the society from the fund at his disposal a confidential 
secret between himself and the recipient. Thus jealousy was 
avoided if the sums were unequal ; and unequal they generally 
were. .In the present instance the two largest sums we're given 
to the Me"decin des Pauvres and to the delegate from Verviers. 
Both were no doubt to be distributed among "the poor," at 
the discretion of the trustee appointed. 

Whatever rules with regard to the distribution of money M.. 
Lebeau laid down were acquiesced in without demur, for the 



236 THE PARISIANS. 

money was found exclusively by himself, and furnished with- 
out the pale of the Secret Council, of which he had made him- 
self founder and dictator. Some other business was then dis- 
cussed, sealed reports from each member were handed to the 
president, who placed them unopened in his pocket, and re- 
sumed : 

" Confreres, our seance is now concluded. The period for our 
next meeting must remain indefinite, for I myself shall leave 
Paris as soon as I have set on foot the journal, on the details 
of which I will confer with Citizen Rameau. I am not satis- 
lied with the progress made by the two travelling missionaries 
who complete our Council of Ten ; and though 1 do not ques- 
tion their zeal, I think my experience may guide it if I take a 
journey to the towns of Bordeaux and Marseilles, where they 
now are. But should circumstances demanding concert or 
action arise, you may be sure that I will either summon a 
meeting or transmit instructions to such of our members as may 
be most usefully employed. For the present, confreres, you 
are relieved. Remain only you, dear young author." 



CHAPTER VII. 

LEFT alone with Gustave Rameau, the President of the 
Secret Council remained silently musing for some moments; 
but his countenance was no longer moody and overcast ; his 
nostrils were dilated, as in triumph ; there was a half-smile of 
pride on his lips. Rameau watched him curiously and admir- 
ingly. The young man had the impressionable, excitable tem- 
perament common to Parisian genius, especially when it nour- 
ishes itself on absinthe. He enjoyed the romance of belong- 
ing to a secret society ; he was acute enough to recognize the 
sagacity by which the small conclave was kept out of those 
crazed combinations for impracticable theories more likely to 
lead adventurers to the Tarpeian Rock than to the Capitol ; 
while yet those crazed combinations might, in some critical 
moment, become strong instruments in the hands of practical 
ambition. Lebeau fascinated him, and took colossal propor- 
tions in* his intoxicated vision vision indeed intoxicated at 
this moment, for before it floated the realized image of his 
aspirations : a journal of which he was to be the editor-in- 
chief ; in which his poetry, his prose, should occupy space as 
large as he pleased ; through which his name, hitherto scarce 
known beyond a literary clique, would resound in salon and 



THE PARISIANS. 237 

club and cafe, and become a familiar music on the lips of 
fashion. And he owed this to the man seated there a pro- 
digious man. 

" Cher poete," said Lebeau, breaking silence, "it gives me no 
mean pleasure to think I am opening a career to one whose 
talents fit him for those goals on which they who reach write 
names that posterity shall read. Struck with certain articles 
of yours in the journal made celebrated by the wit and gayety 
of Savarin, I took pains privately to inquire into your birth, 
your history, connections, antecedents. All confirmed my 
first impression, that you were exactly the writer I wish to se- 
cure to our cause. I therefore sought you in your room, unin- 
troduced and a stranger, in order to express my admiration of 
your compositions. -Href, we soon became friends ; and after 
comparing minds, I admitted you, at your request, into the 
Secret Council. Now, in proposing to you the conduct of the 
journal I would establish, for which I am prepared to find all 
necessary funds, I am compelled to make imperative condi- 
tions. Nominally you will be editor-in-chief : that station, if 
the journal succeeds, will secure your position and fortune ; if 
it fail, you fail with it. But we will not speak of failure ; I 
must have it succeed. Our interest, then, is the same. Before 
that interest all puerile vanities fade away. Nominally, I say, 
you are editor-in-chief; but all the real work of editing will, 
at first, be done by others." 

"Ah ! " exclaimed Rameau, aghast and stunned. Lebeau 
resumed : 

"To establish the journal I propose needs more than the 
genius of youth ; it needs the tact and experience of mature 
years." 

Rameau sank back on his chair with a sullen sneer on his 
pale lips. Decidedly Lebeau was not so great a man as he had 
thought. 

"A certain portion of the journal," continued Lebeau, "will 
be exclusively appropriated to your pen." 

Rameau's lip lost its sneer. 

" But your pen must be therein restricted to compositions of 
pure fancy, disporting in a world that does not exist ; or, if on 
graver themes connected with the beings of the world that does 
exist, the subjects will be dictated to you and revised. Yet 
even in the higher departments of a journal intended to make 
way at its first start, we need the aid, not indeed of men who 
write better than you, but of men whose fame is established ; 
whose writings, good or bad, the public run to read, and will 



238 THE PARISIANS, 

find good even if they are bad. You must consign one column 
to the playful comments and witticisms of Savarin." 

"Savarin ? But he has a journal of his pwn. He will not, 
as an author, condescend to write in one just set up by me. 
And as a politician, he as certainly will not aid in an ultra- 
de.mocratic revolution. If he care for politics at all, he is a 
constitutionalist, an Orleanist." 

'''Enfant! as an author Savarin will condescend to con- 
tribute to your journal, firstly, because it in no way attempts 
to interfere with his own ; secondly I can tell you a secret 
Savarin's journal no longer suffices for his existence ; he has 
sold more than two-thirds of its property ; he is in debt, and his 
creditor is urgent ; and to-morrow you will offer Savarin 30,000 
francs for one column from his pen, and signed by his name, 
for two months from the day the Journal starts. He will ac- 
cept, partly because the sum will clear off the debt that ham- 
pers him, partly because he will take care that the amount be- 
comes known ; and that will help him to command higher 
terms for the sale of the remaining shares in the journal he 
now edits, for the new book which you told me he intended to 
write, and for the new journal which he will be sure to set up as 
soon as he has disposed "of the old one. You say that, as a poli- 
tician, Savarin, an Orleanist, will not aid in an ultra-democratic 
revolution. Who/asks him to do so? Did I not imply at the 
meeting that we commence our journal with politics the mild- 
est? Though revolutions are not made with rose-water, it is 
rose-water that nourishes their roots. The polite cynicism of 
authors, read by those who float on the surface of society, pre- 
pares the way for the social ferment in its deeps. Had there 
been no Voltaire, there would have been no Camille Desmou- 
lins. Had there been no Diderot, there would have been no 
Marat. We start as polite cynics. Of all cynics Savarin is 
the politest. But when I bid high for him, it is his clique that 
I bid for. Without his clique he is but a wit ; with his clique, 
a power. Partly out of that clique, partly out of a circle be- 
yond it, which Savarin can more or less influence, I select ten. 
Here is the list of them ; study it. Entre nous, I esteem their 
writings as little as I do artificial flies ; but they are the arti- 
ficial flies at which, in this particular season of the year, the 
public rise. You must procure at least five of the ten ; and 
I leave you carte blanche as to the terms. Savarin gained, the 
best of them will be proud of being his associates. Observe, 
none of these messieurs of brilliant imagination are to write 
political articles ; those will be furnished to you anonymously, 



THE PARISIANS. 239 

and inserted without erasure or omission. When you have 
secured Savarin, and five at least of the collaborateurs in the 
list, write to me at my office. I give you four days to do this ; 
and the day the journal starts you enter into the income of 
15,000 francs a year, with a rise in salary proportioned to 
profits. Are you contented with the terms ? " 

" Of course I am ; but supposing I do not gain the aid of 
Savarin, or five at least of the list you give, which I see at a 
glance contains names the most a la mode in this kind of 
writing, more than one of them of high social rank, whom it is 
difficult for me even to approach if, I say, I fail ?" 

"What, with "a carte blanche of terms? Fie! Are you a 
Parisian ? Well, to answer you frankly, if yo fail in so easy a 
task, you are not the man to edit our journal, and I shall find 
another. Allez courage ! Take my advice; see Savarin the 
first thing to-morrow morning. Of course, my name and call- 
ing you will keep a profound secret from him as from all. Say 
as mysteriously as you can that parties you are forbidden to 
name instruct you to treat with M. Savarin, and offer him the 
terms I have specified, the 30,000 francs paid to him in advance 
the moment he signs the simple memorandum of agreement. 
The more mysterious you are, the more you will impose that 
is, wherever you offer money and don't ask for it." 

Here Lebeau took up his hat, and, with a courteous nod of 
adieu, lightly descended the gloomy stairs. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

A^night, after this final interview with Lebeau, Graham took 
leave for good of his lodgings in Montmartre, and returned to 
his apartment in the Rue d'Anjoih He spent several hours of 
the next morning in answering n-umerous letters, accumulated 
during his absence. Late in the afternoon he had an interview 
with M.' Renard, who, as at that season of the year he was not 
overbusied with other affairs, engaged to obtain leave to place 
his services at Graham's command during the time requisite for 
inquiries at Aix, and to be in readiness to start the next day. 
Graham then went forth to pay one or two farewell visits ; and 
these over, bent his way through the Champs Elysees towards 
Isaura's villa, when he suddenly encountered Rochebriant on 
horseback. The Marquis courteously dismounted, committing 
his horse to the care of the groom, and, linking his arm in 
Graham's, expressed his pleasure at seeing him again ; then 



PARISIANS. 

with some visible hesitation and embarrassment, he turned the 
conversation towards the political aspects of France. 

" There was," he said, *' much in certain words of yours, 
when we last walked together in this very path, that sank deeply 
into my mind at the time, and over which I have of late still 
more earnestly reflected. You spoke of the duties a French- 
man owed to France, and the 'impolicy ' of remaining aloof 
from all public employment on the part of those attached to 
the Legitimist cause." 

" True, it cannot be the policy of any party to forget that 
between the irrevocable past and the uncertain future there in- 
tervenes the action of the present time." 

" Should you, as an impartial bystander, consider it dishon- 
orable in me if I entered the military service under the ruling 
sovereign ?" 

" Certainly not, if your country needed you." 

"And it may, may it not? I hear vague rumors of coming 
war in almost every salon I frequent. There has been gun- 
powder in the atmosphere we breathe ever since the battle of 
Sadowa. What think you of German arrogance and ambition ? 
Will they suffer the swords of France to rust in their scabbards ?" 

"My dear Marquis, I should incline to put the question 
otherwise. Will the jealous amour propre of France permit 
the swords of Germany to remain sheathed? But in either 
case, no politician can see without grave apprehension two na- 
tions so warlike, close to each other, divided by a border-land 
that one covets an'd the other will not yield, each armed to the 
teeth ; the one resolved to brook no rival, the other equally 
determined to resist all aggression. And therefore, as you say, 
wa/ is in the atmosphere ; and we may also hear, in the clouds 
that give no sign of dispersion, the growl of the gathering 
thunder. War may come any day ; and if France be not at 
once' the victor " 

"France not at once the victor?" interrupted Alain passion- 
ately ; "and against a Prussian ! Permit me to say no French- 
man can believe that." 

" Let no man despise a foe," said Graham, smiling half 
sadly. " However, I must not incur the danger of wounding 
your national susceptibilities. To return to the point you 
raise. If France needed the aid of her best and bravest, a true 
descendant of Henri Quatre ought to blush for his ancient 
noblesse were a Rochebriant to say, ' But I don't like the color 
of the flag.' " 

"Thank you," said Alain simply ; " that is enough." There 



THE PARISIANS. 24! 

was a pause, the young men walking on slowly, arm in arm. 
And then there flashed across Graham's mind the recollection 
of talk on another subject in that very path. Here he had 
spoken to Alain in deprecation of any possible alliance with 
Isaura Cicogna, the destined actress and public singer. His 
cheek flushed ; his heart smote him. What ! had he spoken 
slightingly of her of her ? What if she became his own 
wife ? What ! had he himself failed in the respect which he 
would demand as her right from the loftiest of his high-born 
kindred ? What, too, would this man, of fairer youth than him- 
self, think of that disparaging counsel, when he heard that the 
monitor had \von the prize from which he had warned another? 
Would it not seem that he had but spoken in the mean cun- 
ning dictated by the fear of a worthier rival ? Stung by these 
thoughts he arrested his steps, and, looking the Marquis full in 
the face, said : "You remind me of one subject in our talk 
many weeks since, it is my duty to remind you of another. At 
that time you, and, speaking frankly, I myself, acknowledged 
the charm in the face of a young Italian lady. I told you then 
that, on learning she was intended for the stage, the charm for 
me had vanished. I said, bluntly, that it should vanish per- 
haps still more utterly for a noble of your illustrious name; 
you remember ? " 

" Yes," answered Alain hesitatingly, and with a look of sur- 
prise. 

" I wish now to retract all I said thereon. Mademoiselle 
Cicogna is not bent on the profession for which she was edu- 
cated. She would willingly renounce all idea of entering it. 
The only counterweight which, viewed whether by niy reason 
or my prejudices, could be placed in the opposite scale to that 
of the excellences which might make any man proud to win 
her, is withdrawn. I have become acquainted with her since 
the date of our conversation. Hers is a mind which harmo- 
nizes with the loveliness of her face. In one word, Marquis, I 
should deem myself honored, as well as blest, by such a bride. 
It was due to her that I should say this ; it was due also to 
you, in case you retain the impression I sought in ignorance to 
efface. And I am bound, as a gentleman, to obey this twofold 
duty, even though in so doing I bring upon myself the afflic- 
tion of a candidate for the hand to which I would fain, myself 
aspire a candidate with pretensions in every way far superior 
to my own." 

An older or a more cynical man than Alain de Rochebriant 
might well have found something suspicious in a confession 



242 . THE PARISIANS. 

thus singularly volunteered ; but the Marquis was himself SO 
loy;il that he had no doubt of the loyalty of Graham. 

" I reply to you," he said, " with a frankness which finds an 
example in your own. The first fair face which attracted my 
fancy since my arrival at Paris was that of the Italian demoi- 
selle of whom you speak in terms of such respect. I do think 
if I had then been thrown into her society, and found her to 
be such as you no doubt truthfully describe, that fancy might 
have become a very grave emotion. I was then so poor, so 
friendless, so despondent. Your words of warning impressed 
me at the time, but less durably than you might suppose ; for 
that very night as I sat in my solitary attic I said to myself, 
' Why should I shrink, with an obsolete, old-world prejudice, 
from what my forefathers would have termed a mesalliance ? 
What is the value of my birthright now ? None ; worse than 
none. It excludes me from all careers ; my name is but a 
load that weighs me down. Why should I make that name a 
curse as well as a burden ? Nothing is left to me but that 
which is permitted to all men wedded and holy love. Could 
I win to my heart the smile of a woman who brings me that 
dower, the home of my fathers would lose its gloom.' And 
therefore, if at that time I had become familiarly acquainted 
with her who had thus attracted my eye and engaged my 
thoughts, she might have become my destiny ; but now ! " 

" But now ? " 

" Things have changed. I am no longer poor, friendless, 
solitary. I have entered the world of my equals as a Roche- 
briant ; I have made myself responsible for the dignity of my 
name. I could not give that name to one, however peerless in 
herself, of whom the world would say, ' But for her marriage 
she would have been a singer on the stage ! ' I will own 
more : the fancy I conceived for the first fair face, other fair 
faces have dispelled. At this moment, however, I have no 
thought of marriage ; and having known the anguish of struggle, 
the privations of poverty, I would ask no woman to share the 
hazard of my return to them. You might present me, then, safely 
to this beautiful Italian certain, indeed, that I should be her 
admirer ; equally certain that I could not become your rival." 

There was something in this speech that jarred upon 
Graham's sensitive pride. But, on the whole, he felt relieved, 
both in honor and in heart. After a few more words, the two 
young men shook hands and parted. Alain remounted his 
horse. The day was now declining. Graham hailed a vacant 
fiacre, and directed the driver to Isaura's villa. 



THE PARISIANS. 243 

CHAPTER IX. 

ISAURA. 

THE Sun was sinking slowly as Isaura sat at her window^ 
gazing dreamily on the rose-hued clouds that made the western 
border-land between earth and heaven. On the table before 
her lay a few sheets of MS., hastily written, not yet reperused. 
That restless mind of hers had left its trace on the MS. 

It is characteristic perhaps of the different genius of the sexes, 
that woman takes to written composition more impulsively, 
more intuitively, than man ; letter-writing, to him a task-work, 
is to her a recreation. Between the age of sixteen and the 
date of marriage, six well-educated, clever girls out of ten keep 
a journal ; not one well-educated man in ten thousand does. 
So, without serious and settled intention of becoming an author, 
how naturally a girl of ardent feeling and vivid fancy seeks in 
poetry or romance a confessional, an outpouring of thought 
and sentiment, which are mysteries to herself till she has given 
them words, and which, frankly revealed on the page, she would 
not, perhaps could not, utter orally to a living ear. 

During the last few days, the desire to create in the realm of 
fable beings constructed by her own breath, spiritualized by 
her own soul, had grown irresistibly upon this fair child of 
song. In fact, when Graham's words had decided the renun- 
ciation of her. destined career, her instinctive yearnings for the 
utterance of those sentiments or thoughts which can only find 
expression in some form of art, denied the one vent, irresistibly 
impelled her to the other. And in this impulse she was con- 
firmed by the thought that here at least there was nothing which 
her English friend could disapprove none. of the perils that 
beset the actress. Here it seemed as if, could she but succeed, 
her fame would be grateful to the pride of all who loved her. 
Here was a career ennobled by many a woman, and side by 
side in rivalry with renowned men. To her it seemed that, 
could she in this achieve an honored name, that name took its 
place at once amid .the higher ranks of the social world, and 
in itself brought a priceless dowry and a starry crown. It 
was, however, not till after the visit to Enghien that this ambi- 
tion took practical life and form. 

One evening after her return to Paris, by an effort so invol- 
untary that it seemed to her no effort, she had commenced a 
tale without plan, without method, without knowing in one 
page what would fill the next. Her slight fingers hurried on 



244 THE PARISIANS. 

as if, like the pretended spirit manifestations, impelled by an 
invisible agency without the pale of the world. She was intox- 
icated by the mere joy of inventing ideal images. In her own 
special art an elaborate artist, here she had no thought of art ; 
if art was in her work, it sprang unconsciously from the har- 
mony between herself and her subject, as it is, perhaps, with 
the early soarings of the genuine lyric poets, in contrast to the 
dramatic. For the true lyric poet is intensely personal, in- 
tensely subjective. It is himself that he expresses, that he 
represents and he almost ceases to be lyrical when he seeks 
to go out of his own -existence into that of others with whom 
he has no sympathy, no rapport. This tale was vivid with 
genius as yet untutored ; genius in its morning fresh- 
ness, full of beauties, full of faults. Isaura distinguished 
not the faults from the beauties. She felt only a vngue 
persuasion that there was a something higher and bright- 
er, -zf something more true to her own idiosyncracy, than 
could be achieved by the art that " sings ot4ier people's words 
to other people's music." From the work thus commenced she 
had now paused. And it seemed to her fancies that between 
her inner self and the scene without, whether in the skies and 
air and sunset, or in the abodes of men stretching far and near, 
till lost amid the roofs and domes of the great city, she had 
fixed and riveted the link of a sympathy hitherto fluctuating, 
unsubstantial, evanescent, undefined. Absorbed in her rev- 
ery, she did not notice the deepening of the short twilight, till 
the servant entering drew the curtains between her and the 
world without, and placed the lamp on the table beside her. 
Then she turned away with a restless sigh, her eyes fell on the 
MS., but the charm of it was gone. A sentiment of distrust in 
its worth had crept-into her thoughts, unconsciously to herself, 
and the page open before her at an uncompleted sentence 
seemed unwelcome and wearisome as a copy-book is to a child 
condemned to relinquish a fairy tale half told, and apply him- 
self to a task half done. She fell again into a revery, when, 
starting as from a dream, she heard herself addressed by name, 
and fuming round saw Savarin and Gustave Rameau in the 
room. 

" We are come, Signorina," said Savarin, " to announce to 
you a piece of news, and to hazard a petition. The news is 
this : my young friend here has found a Maecenas who has the 
good taste so to admire his lucubrations under the nom de plume 
of Alphonse de Valcour as to volunteer the expenses for start- 
ing a new journal, of which Gustave Rameau is to be editor- 



THE PARISIANS. 245 

in-chief ; and I havj promised to assist him as contributor for 
the first two months. I have given him notes of introduction 
to certain Q\\\Q\ feuillctonistcs and critics whom he lias on his 
list. But all put together would riot serve to float the journal 
like a short roman from Madame de Grantmesnil. Knowing 
your intimacy with that eminent artist, I venture to back Ra- 
meau's supplication that you would exert your influence on his 
behalf. As to the honoraires, she has but to name them." 

" Carle blanche" cried Rameau eagerly. 

u You know Eulalie too well, M. Savarin," answered Isaura, 
with a smile half reproachful, "to suppose that she is a merce- 
nary in letters, and sells her services to the best bidder." 

" Bah, belle enfante ! " said Savarin, with his gay, light laugh. 
" Business is business, and books, as well as razors, are made to 
sell. But, of course, a proper prospectus of the journal must 
accompany your request to write in it. Meanwhile Rameau 
will explain to you, as he has done to me, that the journal in 
question is designed for circulation among readers of les hautes 
classes : it is to be pleasant and airy, full of bon mots and anec- 
dote ; witty, but not ill-natured. Politics to be lib'eral, of 
course, but of elegant admixture champagne and seltzer 
water. In fact, however, I suspect that the politics will be a 
very inconsiderable feature in this organ of fine arts and man- 
ners ; some amateur scribbler in the beau monde will supply 
them. For the rest, if my introductory letters are successful, 
Madame de Grantmesnil will not be in bad company." 

" You will write to Madame de Grantmesnil ? " asked Ra- 
meau pleadingly. 

" Certainly I will, as soon " 

"As soon as you have the prospectus, and the names of the 
collaborateurs," interrupted Rameau. " I hope to send you 
these in a very few days." 

While Rameau was thus speaking, Savarin had seated him- 
self by the table, and his eye mechanically resting on the open 
MS. lighted by chance upon a sentence, an aphorism, embody- 
ing a very delicate sentiment in very felicitous diction. One 
of those choice condensations of thought suggesting so much 
more than is said, which are never found in mediocre writers, 
and, rare even in the best, come upon us like truths seized by 
surprise. 

" Morbleu ! " exclaimed Savarin, in the impulse of genuine 
admiration, " but this is beautiful ; what is more, it is original," 
and he read the words aloud. Blushing with shame and re- 
sentment, Isaura turned and hastily placed her hand on the MS. 



246 THE PARISIANS. 

" Pardon," said Suvarin humbly ; "I confess my sin, but it 
was so unpremeditated that it does not merit a. severe penance. 
Do not look at me so reproachfully. We all know that young 
ladies keep commonplace-bfroks in which they enter passages 
that strike them in the works they read. And you have but 
shown an exquisite taste in selecting this gem. Do tell me 
where you found it. Is it somewhere in Lamartine ?" 

" No," answered Isaura half inaudibly, and with an effort to 
withdraw the paper. Savarin gently detained her hand, and 
looking earnestly into her tell-tale face, divined her secret. 

" It is your own, Signorina ! Accept the congratulations of 
a very practised and somewhat fastidious critic. If the rest of 
what you write resembles this sentence, contribute to Rameau's 
journal, and I answer for its success." 

Rameau approached half incredulous, half envious. 

" My dear child," resumed Savarin, drawing away the MS. 
from Isaura's coy, reluctant clasp, " do permit me to cast a 
glance over these papers. For what I yet know, there may be 
here more promise of fame than even you could gain as a 
singer.'* 

The electric chord in Isaura's heart was touched. Who can- 
not conceive what the young writer feels, especially the young 
woman-writer, when hearing the first cheery note of praise from 
the lips of a writer of established fame ? 

" Nay, this cannot be worth your reading," said Isaura falter- 
in gly > " I have never written anything of the kind before, and 
this is a riddle to me. I know not," she added with a sweet, 
low laugh, " why I began, nor how I should end it." 

" So much the better," said Savarin ; and he took the MS., 
withdrew to a recess by the further window, and seated him- 
self there, reading silently and quickly, but now and then with 
a brief pause of reflection. 

Rameau placed himself beside Isaura on the divan, and 
began talking with her earnestly earnestly, for it was about 
himself and his aspiring hopes. Isaura, on the other hand, 
more woman-like than author-like, ashamed even to seem ab- 
sorbed in herself and her hopes, and with her back turned, in 
the instinct of that shame, against the reader of her MS. 
Isaura listened and sought to interest herself solely in the 
young fellow-author. Seeking to do so she succeeded genu- 
inely, for ready sympathy was a prevailing characteristic of her 
nature. 

" Oh," said Rameau, " I am at the turning-point of my life. 
Ever since boyhood I have been haunted with the words of 



THE PARISIANS. 247 

Andre Chenier on the morning he was led to the scaffold : 
'And yet there was something here,' striking his forehead. 
Yes, I, poor, low-born, launching myself headlong in the chase 
of a name ; I, underrated, uncomprehended, indebted even for 
a hearing to the patronage of an amiable trifler like Savarin, 
ranked by petty rivals in a grade below themselves I now 
see before me, suddenly, abruptly presented, the expanding 
gates into fame and fortune. Assist me, you ! " 

"But how?" said Isaura, already forgetting her MS. ; and 
certainly Rameau did not refer to that. 

" How ! " echoed Rameau ; " How ! But do you not see 
or, at least, do you not conjecture this journal of which 
Savarin speaks contains my present and my future? Present 
independence, opening to fortune and renown. Ay, and who 
shall say? renown beyond that of the mere writer. Behind 
the gaudy scaffolding of vhis rickety Empire, a new social edi- 
fice unperceived arises ; and in that edifice the halls of State 
shall be given to the men who help obscurely to build it to 
men like me." Here, drawing her hand into his own, fixing 
on her the most imploring gaze of his dark persuasive eyes, 
and utterly unconscious of bathos in his adjuration, he added : 
" Plead for me with your whole mind and heart ; use your ut- 
termost influence with the illustrious writer, whose pen can as- 
sure the fates of my journal." 

Here the door suddenly opened, and following the servant, 
who announced unintelligibly his name, there entered Graham 
Vane. 

CHAPTER X. 

THE Englishman halted at the threshold. His eyes, pass- 
ing rapidly over the figure of Savarin reading in the window- 
niche, rested upon Rameau and Isaura seated on the same 
divan, he with her hand clasped in both his own, and bending 
his face towards hers so closely that a loose tress of her hair 
seemed to touch his forehead. 

The Englishman halted, and no revolution which changes 
the habitudes and forms of States was ever so sudden as that 
which passed without a word in the depths of his unconjectured 
heart. The heart has no history which philosophers can rec- 
ognize. An ordinary political observer, contemplating the 
condition of a nation, may very safely tell us what effects must 
follow the causes patent to his eyes. But the wisest and most 
far-seeing sage, looking at a man at one o'clock, cannot tell us 



248 THE PARISIANS. 

what revulsions of his whole being may be made ere the clock 
strike two. 

As Isaura rose to greet her visitor, Savarin came from the 
window-niche, the MS. in his hand. 

" Son of perfidious Albion," said Savarin gayly, "we feared 
you had deserted the French alliance. Welcome back to Paris, 
and the entente cordiale." 

" Would I could stay to enjoy such welcome. But I must 
again quit Paris." 

" Soon to return, nest-ce pas? Paris is an irresistible magnet 
to It-s beaux esprits. Apropos of beaux efprits, be sure to leave 
orders with your bookseller, if you have one, to enter your 
name as a subscriber to a new journal." 

" Certainly, if M. Savarin recommends it." 

" He recommends it as a matter of course ; he writes in it," 
said Rameau. 

*'A sufficient guarantee for its excellence. What is the 
name of the journal? " 

" Not yet thought of," answered Savarin. " Babes must be 
born before they are christened ; but it will be instruction 
enough to your bookseller to order the new journal to be edited 
by Gustave Rameau." 

Bowing ceremoniously to the editor in prospect, Graham 
said, half ironically, " May I hope that in the department of 
criticism you will not be too hard upon poor Tasso?" 

" Never fear ; theSignorina, who adores Tasso, will take him 
under her special protection," said Savarin, interrupting Ra- 
meau's sullen and embarrassed reply. 

Graham's brow slightly contracted. "Mademoiselle," he 
said, "is then to be united in the conduct of this journal with 
M. Gustave Rameau? " 

" No, indeed ! " exclaimed Isaura, somewhat frightened at 
the idea. 

"But I hope," said Savarin, "that the Signorina may become 
a contributor too important for an editor to offend by insulting 
her favorites, Tasso included. Rameau and I came hither to 
entreat her influence with her intimate and illustrious friend, 
Madame de Grantmesnil, to insure the success of our under- 
taking by sanctioning the announcement of her name as a con- 
tributor." 

" Upon social questions such as the laws of marriage ? " 
said Graham, with a sarcastic smile, which concealed the quiver 
of his lip and the pain in his voice. 

"Nay," answered Savarin, "our journal will be too sportive, 



THE PARISIANS. 249 

I hope, for matters so profound. We would rather have Madame 
de Grantmesnil's aid in some short rowan, which will charm 
the fancy of all and offend the opinions of none. But since I 
came into the room, I care less for the Signorina's influence 
with the great authoress," and he glanced significantly at 
the MS. 

" How so ? "uisked Graham, his eye following the glance. 

" If the writer of this MS. will conclude what she has begun, 
we shall be independent of Madame de Grantmesnil." 

" Fie ! " cried Isaura impulsively, her face and neck bathed 
in blushes " Fie ! such words are a mockery." 

Graham gazed at her intently, and then turned his eyes on 
Savarin. He guessed aright the truth. " Mademoiselle then 
is an author? In the style of her friend Madame de Grant- 
mesnil ? " 

" Bah ! " said Savarin, " I should indeed be guilty of mockery 
if I paid the Signorina so false a compliment as to say that in 
a first effort she attained to the style of one of the most finished 
sovereigns' of language that has ever swayed the literature of 
France. When I say, ' Give us this tale completed, and I shall 
be consoled if the journal does not gain the aid of Madame de 
Grantmesnil,' I mean that in these pages there is that nameless 
charm oT freshness and novelty which compensates for many 
faults never committed by a practised pen like Madame de 
Grantmesnil's. My dear young lady, go on with this story 
finish it. When finished, do not disdain any suggestions I may 
offer in the way of correction. And I will venture to predict 
to you so brilliant a career as author, that you will not regret 
should you resign for that career the bravos you could com- 
mand as actress and singer." The Englishman pressed his 
hand convulsively to his heart, as if smitten by a sudden spasm. 
But as his eyes rested on Isaura's face, which had become 
radiant with the enthusiastic delight of genius when the path 
it would select opens before it as if- by a flash from heaven, 
whatever of jealous irritation, whatever of selfish pain he might 
before have felt, was gone, merged in a sentiment of unutter- 
able sadness and compassion. Practical man as he was, he 
knew so well all the dangers, all the snares, all the sorrows, all 
the scandals menacing name and fame, that in the world of 
Paris must beset the fatherless girl who, not less in authorship 
than on the stage, leaves the safeguard of private life forever 
behind her, who becomes a prey to the tongues of the public. 
At Paris, how slender is the line that divides the authoress 
from the Bohe'mienne ! He sank into his chair silently, and 



250 THE PARISIANS. 

passed his hand over his eyes as if to shut out a vision of the 
future. 

Isaura in her excitement did not notice the effect on her 
English visitor. She could not have divined such an effect as 
possible. On the contrary, even subordinate to her joy at the 
thought that she had not mistaken the instincts which led her 
to a nobler vocation than that of the singer, that the cage-bar 
was opened, and space bathed in sunshine was inviting the 
new-felt wings subordinate even to that joy was a joy more 
wholly, more simply woman's. " If," thought she in this joy, 
" if this be true, my proud ambition is realized ; all disparities 
of worth and fortune are annulled between me and him to 
whom I would bring no shame of mesalliance /" Poor dream- 
er, poor child ! 

" You will let me see what you have written," said Rameau, 
somewhat imperiously, in the sharp voice habitual to him, and 
which pierced Graham's ear like a splinter of glass. 

"No, not now; when finished." 

" You will finish it ? " 

" Oh, yes ; how can I help ijt, after such encouragement ? " 
She held out her hand to Savarin, who kissed it gallantly ; then 
her eyes intuitively sought Graham's. By that time he had re- 
covered his self-possession : he met her look tranquilly and 
with a smile ; but the smile chilled her she knew not why. 

The conversation then passed upon books and authors of 
the day, and was chiefly supported by the satirical pleasantries 
of Savarin, who was in high good spirits. 

Graham, who, as we know, had come with the hope of see- 
ing Isaura alone, and with the intention of uttering words 
which, however guarded, might yet in absence serve as links of 
union, now no longer coveted that interview, no longer medi- 
tated those words. He soon rose to depart. 

" Will you dine with me to-morrow ? " asked Savarin. " Per- 
haps I may induce the Signorina and Rameau to offer you the 
temptation of meeting them." 

" By to-morrow I shall be leagues away." 

Isaura's heart sank. This time the MS. was fairly forgotten. 

" You never said you were going so soon," cried Savarin. 
"When do you come back, vile deserter ?" 

"I cannot even guess. Monsieur Rameau, count meamong 
your subscribers. Mademoiselle, my best regards to Signora 
Venosta. When I see you again, no doubt you will have be- 
come famous." 

Isaura here could not control herself. She rose impulsively, 



THE PARISIANS. 2^1 

and approached him, holding out her hand and attempting a 
smile. 

"But not famous in the way that you warned me from, "she 
said, in whispered tones. "You are friends with me still?" 
It was like the piteous wail of a child seeking to make it up 
with one who wants to quarrel, the child knows not why. 

Graham was moved, but what could he say ? Could he 
have the right to warn her from this profession also ; forbid 
all desires, all roads of fame to this brilliant aspirant?- Even a 
declared and accepted lover might well have deemed that that 
would be to ask too much. He replied, " Yes, always a friend 
if you could ever need one." Her hand slid from his, and she 
turned away, wounded to the quick. 

' Have you your coupe at the door?" asked Savarin. 

'Simply a fiacre." 

'And are you going back at once to Paris ? " 

' Yes." 

'Will you kindly drop me in the Rue de Rivoli ?" 

' Charmed to be of use." 



CHAPTER XI. 

As the nacre bore to Paris Savarin and Graham, the former 
said, "I cannot conceive what rich simpleton could entertain 
so high an opinion of Gustave Rameau as to select a man so 
young, and of reputation, though promising, so undecided, for 
an enterprise which requires such a degree of tact and judg- 
ment as the conduct of a new journal ; and a journal, too, 
which is to address itself to the beau monde. However, it is 
not for me to criticise a selection which brings a godsend to 
myself." 

" To yourself? You jest ; you have a journal of your own. 
It can only be through an excess of good-nature thatyou lend 
your name and pen to the service of M. Gustave Rameau." 

"My good-nature does not go to that extent. It is Rameau 
who confers a service upon me. Peste ! mon cher, we Frnch 
authors have not the rehts of you rich English milords. And 
though I am the most economical of our tribe, yet that journal 
of mine has failed me of late ; and this morning I did not ex- 
actly see how I was to repay a sum I had been obliged to bor- 
row of a money-lender for I am too proud to borrow of 
friends, and too sagacious to borrow of publishers when in 
walks ce cher petit Gustave with an offer fora few trifles towards 



252 THE PARISIANS. 

Starting this new-born journal, which makes a new man of nlj. 
Now 1 am in the undertaking, my amour propre and my repu- 
tation are concerned in its success ; and I shall take care that 
callaborateurs of whose company I am not ashamed are in the 
same boat. But that charming girl, Isaura ! What an enigma 
the gift of the pen is ! No one can ever guess who has it until 
tried." 

" The.^oung lady's MS., then, really merits the praise you 
bestowed on it ? " 

" Much more praise, though a great deal of blame, which I 
did not bestow. For in a first work faults insure success as 
much as beauties. Anything better than tame correctness. 
Yes, her first work, to judge by what is written, must make a 
hit a great hit. And that will decide her career ; a singer, 
an actress may retire, often does when she marries an author. 
But once an author always an author." 

" Ah ! is it so ? If you had a beloved daughter, Savarin, 
would you encourage her to be an author?" 

"Frankly, no ; principally because in that case the chances 
are that she would marry an author; and French authors, at least 
in the imaginative school, make very uncomfortable husbands." 

"Ah ! you think the Signorina will marry one of those un- 
comfortable husbands M. Rameau, perhaps?" 

" Rameau ! Hein! nothing more likely. That beautiful 
face of his has its fascination. And to tell you the truth, my 
wife, who is a striking illustration of the truth that what 
woman wills heaven wills, is bent upon that improvement in 
Gustave's moral life which she thinks a uniqn with Mademoi- 
selle Cicogna would achieve. At all events, the fair Italian 
would have in Rameau a husband who would not suffer her to 
bury her talents under a bushel. If she succeeds as a writer 
(by succeeding I mean making money), he will see that her 
ink-bottle is never empty ; and if she don't succeed as a 
writer, he will take care that the world shall gain an actress or 
a singer. For Gustave Rameau has a great taste for luxury 
and show ; and whatever his wife can make, I will venture to 
say that he will manage to spend." 

" I thought you had an esteem and regard for Mademoiselle 
Cicogna. It is Madame your wife, I suppose, who has a 
grudge against her ? " 

" On the contrary, my wife idolizes her." 

" Savages sacrifice to their idols the things they deem of 
value.. Civilized Parisians sacrifice their idols themselves and 
to a thing that is worthless." 



THE PARISIANS. 253 

"Rameau is not worthless ; he has beauty, and youth, and 
talent. My wife thinks more highly of him than I do ; but I 
must respect a man who has found admirers so sincere as to 
set him up in a journal, and give him carte blanche for terms to 
contributors. I know no man in Paris more valuable to me. 
His worth to me this morning is 30,000 francs. I own I do 
not think him likely to be a very safe husband ; but then 
French female authors and artists seldom take any husbands 
except upon short leases. There are no vulgar connubial 
prejudices in the pure atmosphere of art. Women of genius, 
like Madame de Grantmesnil, and perhaps like our charming 
young friend, resemble canary-birds to sing their best you 
must separate them from their mates." 

The Englishman suppressed a groan, and turned the con- 
versation. 

When he had set down his lively companion, Vane dismissed 
his fiacre, and walked to his lodgings musingly. 

" No," he said inly ; " I must wrench myself from the very 
memory of that haunting face the friend and pupil of Ma- 
dame de Grantmesnil, the associate of Gustave Rameau, the 
rival of Julie Caumartin, the aspirant to that pure atmosphere 
of art in which there are no vulgar connubial prejudices ! 
Could I, whether I be rich or poor, see in her the ideal of an 
English wife ? As it is as it is with this mystery which 
oppresses me, which, still solved, leaves my own career insolu- 
ble as it is, how fortunate that I did not find her alone ; did 
not utter the words that would fain have leaped from my 
heart ; did not say, ' I may not be the rich man 1 seem, but in 
that case I shall be yet more ambitious, because struggle and 
labor are the sinews of ambition ! Should I be rich, will you 
adorn my station ? Should I be poor, will you enricli poverty 
with your smile ? And can you, in either case, forego really, 
painlessly forego, as you led me to hope the pride in your own 
art ? ' My ambition were killed did I marry an actress, a singer. 
Better that than the hungerer after excitements which are 
never allayed, the struggler in a career which admits of no re- 
tirement the woman to whom marriage is no goal ; who 
remains to the last the property of the public, and glories to 
dwell in a house of glass into which every bystander has a 
right to peer. Is this the ideal of an Englishman's wife and 
home ? No, no ! Woe is me, no ! " 



254 THE PARISIANS. 

BOOK VI. 



CHAPTER I. 

A FEW weeks after the date of the preceding chapter, a gay 
party of men were assembled at supper in one of the private 
salons of the Maison Doree. The supper was given by Fred- 
eric Lemercier, and the guests were, though in various ways, 
more or less distinguished. Rank and fashion were not un- 
worthily represented by Alain de Rochebriant and Enguer- 
rand de Vandemar, by whose supremacy as 'lion' Frederic 
still felt rather humbled, though Alain had contrived to bring 
them familiarly together. Art, Literature, and the Bourse had 
also their representatives in Henri Bernard, a rising young 
portrait-painter, whom the Emperor honored with his patron- 
age ; the Vicomte de Breze, and M. Savarin. Science was not 
altogether forgotten, but contributed its agreeable delegate in 
the person of the eminent physician to whom we have been 
before introduced, Dr. Bacourt. Doctors in Paris are not so 
serious as they mostly are in London ; and Bacourt, a pleasant 
philosopher of the school of Aristippus, was no unfrequent 
nor ungenial guest at any banquet in which the Graces re- 
laxed their zones. Martial glory was also represented at that 
social gathering by a warrior, bronzed and decorated, lately ar- 
rived from Algiers, on which arid soil he had achieved many 
laurels and the rank of Colonel. Finance contributed Duplessis. 
Well it might ; for Duplessis had just assisted the host to a 
splendid coup at the Bourse. 

"Ah, cher M. Savarin," says Enguerrand de Vandemar, 
whose patrician blood is so pure from revolutionary taint that 
he is always instinctively polite, "what a masterpiece in its way 
is that little paper of yours in the Sens Commun, upon the con- 
nection between the national character and the national diet 
so genuinely witty ! For wit is but truth made amusing." 

"You natter me," replied Savarin modestly ; "but I own I 
do think there is a smattering of philosophy in that trifle. 
Perhaps, however, the character of a people depends more on 
its drink than its food. The wines of Italy heady, irritable, 
ruinous to the digestion contribute to the character which 
belongs to active brains and disordered livers. The Italians 
conceive great plans, but they cannot digest them. The En- 



THE PARISIANS. 255 

glish common people drink beer, and the bearish character is 
stolid, rude, but stubborn and enduring. The English middle 
class imbibe port and sherry ; and with these strong potations 
their ideas become obfuscated. Their character has no liveli- 
ness ; amusement is not one of their wants ; they sit at home 
after dinner and doze away the fumes of their beverage in the 
dulness of domesticity. If the English aristocracy are more 
vivacious and cosmopolitan, it is thanks to the wines of France, 
which it is the mode with them to prefer; but still, like all pla- 
giarists, they are imitators, not inventors ; they borrow our 
wines and copy our manners. The Germans " 

" Insolent barbarians ! " growled the French Colonel, twirl- 
ing his moustache ; "if the Emperor were not in his dotage, 
their Sadowa would ere this have cost them their Rhine." 

" The Germans," resumed Savarin, unheeding the interrup- 
tion, "drink acrid wines, varied with beer, to which last their* 
commonalty owes a quasi resemblance in stupidity and endur- 
ance to the English masses. Acrid wines rot the teeth : Ger- 
mans are afflicted with toothache from infancy. All people 
subject to toothache are sentimental. Goethe was a martyr to 
toothache. Werter was written in one of those paroxysms 
which predispose genius to suicide. But the German charac- 
ter is not all toothache ; beer and tobacco step in to the relief 
of Rhenish acridities, blend philosophy with sentiment, and 
give that patience in detail which distinguishes their pro- 
fessors and their generals. Besides, the German wines in 
themselves have other qualities than that of acridity. Taken 
with sour krout and stewed prunes, they produce fumes of self- 
conceit. A German has little of French vanity ; he has Ger- 
man self-esteem. He extends the esteem of self to those 
around him ; his home, his village, his city, his country all 
belong to him. It is a duty he owes to himself to defend 
them. Give him his pipe and his sabre, and, M. le Colonel, 
believe me, you will never take the Rhine from him." 

" P-r-r," cried the Colonel ; " but we have had the 
Rhine." 

"We did not keep it. And I should not say I had a franc 
piece if I borrowed it from your purse and had to give it back 
the next day." 

Here there arose a very general hubbub of voices, all raised 
against M. Savarin. Enguerrand, like a man of good/tf#, hast- 
ened to change the conversation. 

" Let us leave these poor wretches to their sour wines and 
toothaches. We drinkers of the champagne, all our own, have 



256 THE PARISIANS. 

only pity foi the rest of the human race. This new journal, 
Le Sens Comtnun, has a strange title, M. Savarin." 

" Yes ; Le Sens Commun is not common in Paris, where we 
all have too much genius for a thing so vulgar." 

"Pray," said the young painter, "tell me what you mean by 
the title Le Sens Commun. It is mysterious." 

"True," said Savarin ; "it may mean the Sensus Communis 
of the Latins, or the Good Sense of the English. The Latin 
phrase signifies the sense of the common interest ; the English 
phrase, the sense which persons of understanding have in com- 
mon. I suppose the inventor of our title meant the latter sig- 
nification." 

"And who was the inventor?" asked Bacourt. 

" That is a secret which I do not know myself," answered 
Savarin. 

"I guess," said Enguerrand, " that it must be the same per- 
son who writes the political leaders. They are most remarka- 
ble ; for they are so unlike the articles in other journals, 
whether those journals be the best or the worst. For my own 
part, I trouble my head very little about politics, and shrug 
my shoulders at essays which reduce the government of flesh 
and blood into mathematical problems. But these articles 
seem to be written by a man of the world, and, as a man of the 
world myself, I read them." 

"But," said the Vicomte de Bre'ze, who piqued himself on 
the polish of his style, " they are certainly not the composition 
of any eminent writer. No eloquence, no sentiment ; though I 
ought not to speak disparagingly of a fellow-contributor." 

" All that may be very true," said Savarin, " but M. Enguer- 
rand is right. The papers are evidently the work of a man of 
the world, and it is for that reason that they have startled the 
public, and established the success of Le Sens Commun. But 
wait a week or two' longer, Messieurs, and then tell me what 
you think of a new roman by a new writer, which we shall an- 
nounce in our impression to-morrow. I shall be disappointed, 
indeed, if that does not charm you. No lack of eloquence and 
sentiment there." 

" I am rather tired of eloquence and sentiment," said Enguer- 
rand. " Your editor, Gustave Rameau, sickens me of them 
with his ' Starlit Meditations in the Streets of Paris,' morbid 
imitations of Heine's enigmatical ' Evening Songs.' Your jour- 
nal would be perfect if you could suppress the editor." 

" Suppress Gustave Rameau ! " cried Bernard, the painter^ 
*' J adore his poems, full of heart for poor suffering humanity," 



THE PARISIANS. 257 

" Suffering humanity so far as it is packed up in himself," 
said the physician drily, " and a great deal of the suffering is 
bile. But apropos of your new journal, Savarin, there is a 
paragraph in it to-day which excites my curiosity. It says that 
the Vicomte de Mauleon has arrived in Paris, after many years 
of foreign travel ; and then referring modestly enough to the 
reputation for talent which he had acquired in early youth, 
proceeds to indulge in a prophecy of the future political career 
of a man who, if he have a grain of sens commun, must think that 
the less said about him the better. I remember him well ; a 
terrible mauvais sujet, but superbly handsome. There was a 
shocking story about the jewels of a foreign duchess, which 
obliged him to leave Paris." 

"But," said Savarin, "the paragraph you refer to hints that 
that story is a groundless calumny, and that the true reason for 
De Mauleon's voluntary self-exile was a very common one 
among young Parisians he had lavished away his fortune. He 
returns, when, either by heritage or his own exertions, he has 
secured elsewhere a competence." 

" Nevertheless I cannot think that society will-receive him," 
said Bacourt. " When he left Paris, there was one joyous sigh 
of relief among all men who wished to avoid duels, and keep 
their wives out of temptation. Society may welcome back a 
lost sheep, but not a reinvigorated wolf." 

" I beg your pardon, mon c/ier" said Enguerrand ; " society 
has already opened its fold to this poor, ill-treated wolf. Two 
days ago Louvier summoned to his house the surviving relations 
or connections of De Mauleon among whom are the Marquis de 
Rochebriant, the Counts de Passy, De Beauvilliers, De Chavi- 
gny, my father, and of course his two sons and submittt/1 to 
us the proofs which completely clear the Vicomte de Mauleon 
of even a suspicion of fraud or dishonor in the affair of the 
jewels. The proofs include the written attestation of the Duke 
himself, and letters from that nobleman after De Mauleon's 
disappearance from Paris, expressive of great esteem, and, in- 
deed, of great admiration, for the Vicomte's sense of honor and 
generosity of character. The result of this family council was, 
that we all went in a body to call on De Mauleon. And he 
dined with my father that same day. You know enough of 
the Count de Vandemar, and, I may add, of my mother, to be 
sure that they are both, in their several ways, too regardful of 
social conventions to lend their countenance even to a relation 
without well weighing \\iepros and cons. And as for Raoul, Bay- 
ard himself could not be a greater stickler on the point of honor." 



258 THE PARISIANS. 

This declaration was followed by a silence that had the 
character of stupor. 

At last Duplessis said : " But what has Louvier to do in this 
galcre? L-ouvier is no relation of that well-born vaurien j why 
should he summon your family council ?" 

" Louvier excused his interference on the ground of early 
and intimate friendship with De Mauleon, who, he said, came 
to consult him on arriving at Paris, and who felt too proud or 
too timitl to address relations with whom he had long dropped 
j all intercourse. An intermediary was required, and Louvier 
volunteered to take that part on himself ; nothing more natural, 
nor more simple. By the way, Alain, you dine with Louvier 
to morrow, do you not ? A dinner in honor of our rehabili- 
tated kinsman. I and Raoul go." 

" Yes, I shall be charmed to meet again a man who, what- 
ever might be his errors in youth, on which," added Alain 
slightly coloring, " it certainly does not become me to be 
severe, must have suffered the most poignant anguish a man 
of honor can undergo, viz., honor suspected ; and who now, 
whether by years or sorrow, is so changed that I cannot recog- 
nize a likeness to the character I have just heard given to him 
as mauvais snjet and vaurien." 

" Bravo ! " cried Enguerrand ; " All honor to courage ! 
And at Paris it requires great courage to defend the absent." 

" Nay," answered Alain in a low voice. "The gentilhomme 
who v/ill not defend another geniilhomme traduced would, as a 
soldier, betray a citadel and desert a flag." 

"You say M. de Mauleon is changed," said De Breze ; " Yes, 
he must be growing old. No trace left of his good looks ?" 

" Pardon me," said Enguerrand, " he is Men conserve", and has 
still a very handsome head and an imposing presence. But one 
cannot help doubting whether he deserved the formidable rep- 
utation he acquired in youth; his manner is so singularly mild and 
gentle, his conversation so winningly modest, so void of pretence, 
and his mode of life is as simple as that of a Spanish hidalgo." 

" He does not, then, affect the rdle of Monte Christo," said Du- 
plessis, "and buy himself into notice like that hero of romance ? " 

" Certainly not ; but he says very frankly that he has but a 
very small income, but more than enough for his wants richer 
than in his youth ; for he has learned content. We may dis- 
miss the hint in 'Le Stns Commun* about his future political 
career ; at least he evinces no such ambition." 

" How could he as a Legitimist ?" said Alain bitterly. " What 
department would elect him ?" 



THE PARISIANS. 259 

" But is he a Legitimist ? " asked De Breze. 

" I take it for granted that he must be that," answered Alain 
h ughtily, " for he is a De Mauleon." 

' His father was as good a De Mauleon as himself, I pre- 
sume," rejoined De Breze drily ; "and he enjoyed a place at 
the Court of Louis Philippe, which a Legitimist could scarcely 
accept. Victor did not, 1 fancy, trouble his head about poli- 
tics at all, at the time I remember him ; but to judge by his 
chief associates, and the notice he received from the Princes 
of the House of Orleans, I should guess that he had no pre- 
dilections in favor of Henry V." 

" I should regret to think so," said Alain, yet more haughtily, 
" since the De Mauleons acknowledge the head of their house 
in the representative of the Rochebriants." 

" At all events," said Duplessis, " M. de Mauleon appears to 
be a philosopher of rare stamp. A Parisian who has known 
riches and is contented to be poor is a phenomenon I should 
like to study.'' . 

" You have that chance to-morrow evening, M. Duplessis," 
said Enguerrand. 

" What ! At M. Louvier's dinner ? Nay, I have no other 
acquaintance with M. Louvier than that of the Bourse, and the 
acquaintance is not cordial." 

" I did not mean at M. Louvier's dinner, but at the Duchesse 
de Tarascon's ball. You, as one of her special favorites, will 
doubtless honor her reunion." 

" Yes ; I have promised my daughter to go to the ball. But 
the Duchesse is Imperialist. M. de Mauleon seems to be either 
a Legitimist, according to M. le Marquis, or an Orleanist, ac- 
cording to our friend, De Breze." 

" What of that ? Can there \,<t a more loyal Bourbonite than 
De Rochebriant ? and he goes to the ball. It is given out of the 
season in celebration of a family marriage. And the Duchesse 
de Tarascon is connected with Alain, and therefore with De 
Mauleon, though but distantly." 

" Ah ! Excuse my ignorance of genealogy." 

" As if the genealogy of noble names were not the history of 
France," muttered Alain indignantly. 



CHAPTER II. 

YES, the Sens Commun was a success : it had made a sensa- 
tion at starting ; the sensation was on the increase. It is 



260 THE PARISIANS. 

difficult for an Englishman to comprehend the full influence of 
a successful journal at Paris ; the station political, literary, 
social which it confers on the contributors who effect the suc- 
cess. M. Lebeau had shown much more sagacity in selecting 
Gustave Rameau for the nominal editor than Savarin supposed 
or my reader might detect. In the first place, Gustave himself, 
with all his defects of information and solidity of intellect, was 
not without real genius ; and a sort of genius that, when kept 
in restraint, and its field confined to sentiment or sarcasm, 
was in unison with the temper of the day : in the second place, 
it was only through Gustave that Lebeau could have got at 
Savarin ; and the names which that brilliant writer had secured 
at the outset would have sufficed to draw attention to the ear- 
liest numbers of the Sens Commun, despite a title which did not 
seem allu;''ng. But these names alone could not have sufficed 
to circulate the new journal to the extent it had already reached. 
This was due to the curiosity excited by leading articles of a 
style new to the Parisian public, and of which the authorship 
defied conjecture. They were signed Pierre Firmin sup- 
posed to be a nom de plume, as that name was utterly unknown 
in the world of letters. They affected the tone of an impar- 
tial observer ; they neither espoused nor attacked any particu- 
lar party ; they laid down no abstract doctrines of government. 
But, somehow or other, in language terse yet familiar, some- 
times careless yet never vulgar, they expressed a prevailing 
sentiment of uneasy discontent, a foreboding of some destined 
change in things established, without denning the nature of 
such change, without saying whether it would be for good or 
for evil. In his criticisms upon individuals, the writer was 
guarded and moderate ; the keenest-eyed censor of the press 
could not have found a pretext for interference with expression 
of opinions so polite. Of the Emperor these articles spoke 
little, but that little was not disrespectful ; yet, day by day, the 
articles contributed to sap the Empire. All malcontents of 
every shade comprehended, as by a secret of freemasonry, that 
in this journal they had an ally. Against religion not a word 
was uttered, yet the enemies of religion bought that journal ; 
still, the friends of religion bought it too, for those articles 
treated with irony the philosophers on paper who thought that 
their contradictory crotchets could fuse themselves into any 
single Utopia, or that any social edifice, hurriedly run up by 
the crazy few, could become a permanent habitation for the 
turbulent many, without the clamps of a creed. 

The tone of these articles always corresponded with the title 



THE PARISIANS. 261 

of the journal Common-sense. It was to common-sense that it 
appealed appealed in the utterance of a man who' disdained 
the subtle theories, the vehement declamation, the credulous 
beliefs, or the inflated bombast, which constitute so large a 
portion of the Parisian press. The articles rather resembled 
certain organs of the English press, which profess to be blinded 
by no enthusiasm for anybody or anything, which find their 
sale in that sympathy with ill-nature to which Huet ascribes 
the popularity of Tacitus, and, always quietly undermining 
institutions with a covert sneer, never pretend to a spirit of 
imagination so at variance with common-sense as a conjecture 
how the institutions should be rebuilt or replaced. 

Well, somehow or other the journal, as I was saying, hit the 
taste of the Parisian public. It intimated, with the easy grace 
of an unpremeditated, agreeable talker, that French society, in 
all its classes, was rotten, and each class was willing to believe 
that all the others were rotten, and agreed that unless the 
others were reformed, there was something very unsound in 
itself. 

The ball at the DuchessedeTarascon's was a brilliant event. 
The summer was far advanced ; many of the Parisian holiday- 
makers had returned to the capital, but the season had not 
commenced, and a ball at that time oT year was a very un- 
wonted event. But there was a special occasion for this /"<?/ .- 
a marriage between a niece of the Duchesse and the son of a 
great official in high favor at the Imperial Court. 

The dinner at Louvier's broke up early, and the music for 
the second waltz was sounding when Enguerrand, Alain, and 
the Vicomte de Mauleon ascended the stairs. Raoul did not 
accompany them ; he went very rarely to any balls, never to 
one given by an Imperialist, however nearly related to him the 
Imperialist might be. But, in the sweet indulgence of his good 
nature, he had no blame for those who did go ; not for En- 
guerrand, still less, of course, for Alain. 

Something, too, might well here be said as to his feelings to- 
wards Victor de Mauleon. He had joined in the family ac- 
quittal of that kinsman as to the grave charge of the jewels ; 
the proofs of innocence thereon seemed to him unequivocal 
and decisive, therefore he had called on the Vicomte and ac- 
quiesced in all formal civilities shown to him. But, such acts 
of justice to a iQ\\o\\-gentil/io>nme and a kinsman duly per- 
formed, he desired to see as little as possible of the Vicomte 
de Mauleon. He reasoned thus : "Of every charge which so- 
ciety made against this man he is guiltless. But of all tin 



262 THE PARISIANS. 

claims to admiration which society accorded to him, before it 
erroneously condemned, there are none which make me covet 
Ins friendship, or suffice to dispel doubts as to what he may be 
when society once more receives him. And the man is so cap- 
tivating that I should dread his influence over myself did I see 
much of him." 

Raoul kept his reasonings to himself, for he had that sort 
of charity which indisposes an amiable man to be severe on 
bygone offences. In the eyes of Enguerrand and Alain, and 
such young votaries of the mode as they could influence, 
Victor de Maule"on assumed almost heroic proportions. In 
the affair which had inflicted on him a calumny so odious, it 
was clear that he had acted with chivalrous delicacy of 
honor. And the turbulence and recklessness of his earlier 
years, redeemed as they were, in the traditions of his contem- 
poraries, by courage and generosity, were not offences to 
which young Frenchmen are inclined to be hapsh. All 
question as to the mode in which his life might have been 
passed during his long absence from the capital, was merged 
in the respect due to the only facts known, and these were 
clearly proved in \i\spticesjustificatives. Firstly, That he had 
served under another name in the ranks of the army in Algiers ; 
had distinguished himself there for signal valor, and received, 
with promotion, the decoration of the cross. His real name 
was known only to his colonel, and on quitting the service 
the colonel placed in his hands a letter of warm eulogy, on his 
conduct, and identifying him as Victor de Mauleon. Secondly, 
That in California he had saved a wealthy family from mid- 
night murder, fighting single-handed against and overmastering 
three ruffians, and declining all other reward from those he 
had preserved than a written attestation of their gratitude. 
In all countries, valor ranks high in the list of virtues ; in no 
country does it so absolve from vices as it does in France. 

But as yet Victor de Mauleon's vindication was only known 
by a few, and those belonging to the gayer circles of life. 
How he might be judged by the sober middle class, which 
constitutes the most important section of public opinion to a 
candidate for public trusts and distinctions, was another ques- 
tion. 

The Duchesse stood at the door to receive her visitors. 
Duplessis was seated near the entrance, by the side of a dis- 
tinguished member of the Imperial Government, with whom 
he was carrying on a whispered conversation. The eye of the 
financier, however, turned towards the doorway as Alain and 



THE PARISIANS. 263 

Enguerrand entered, and passing over their familiar faces, 
fixed itself attentively on that of a much older man whom 
Enguerrand was presenting to the Duchesse, and in whom Du- 
plessis rightly divined the Vicomte de Mauleon. Certainly if 
no one could have recognized M. Lebeau in the stately per- 
sonage who had visited Louvier, still less could one who had 
heard of the wild feats of the roi des viveurs in his youth rec- 
oncile belief in such tales with the quiet modesty of mien 
which distinguished the cavalier now replying, with bended 
head and subdued accents, to the courteous welcome of the 
brilliant hostess. But for such difference in attributes be- 
tween the past and the present De Mauleon, Duplessis had 
been prepared by the conversation at the Maison Doree. And 
now, as the Vicomte, yielding his place by the Duchesse to 
some new-comer, glided on, and, leaning against a column, 
contemplated the gay scene before him with that expression of 
countenance, half sarcastic, half mournful, with which men re- 
gard, after long estrangement, the scenes of departed joys, 
Duplessis felt that no change in that man had impaired the 
force of character which had made him the hero of reckless 
coevals. Though wearing no beard, not even a moustache, 
there was something emphatically masculine in the contour 
of the close-shaven cheek and resolute jaw, in a forehead 
broad at the temples, and protuberant in those organs over the 
eyebrows which are said to be significant of quick perception 
and ready action ; in the lips, when in repose compressed, 
perhaps somewhat stern in their expression, but pliant and mobile 
when speaking, and wonderfully fascinating when they smiled. 
Altogether, about this Victor de Mauleon there was a name- 
less distinction, apart from that of conventional elegance. 
You would have said : " That is a man of some marked in- 
dividuality, an eminence of some kind in himself." You 
would not be surprised to hear that he was a party-leader, a 
skilled diplomatist, a daring soldier, an adventurous traveller ; 
but you would not guess him to be a student, an author, an 
artist. 

While Duplessis thus observed the Vicomte de Mauleon, all 
the while seeming to lend an attentive ear to the whispered 
voice of the Minister by his side, Alain passed on into the 
ballroom. He was fresh enough to feel the exhilaration of the 
dance. Enguerrand (who had survived that excitement, and 
who habitually deserted any assembly at an early hour for the 
cigar and whist of his club) had made his way to De Mauleon, 
and there stationed himself. The lion of one generation has 



264 THE PARISIANS, 

always a mixed feeling of curiosity and respect for the lion of 
a generation before him, and the young Vandemar had con- 
ceived a strong and almost an affectionate interest in this dis- 
crowned king of that realm in fashion which, once lost, is 
never to be regained ; for it is only Youth that can hold its 
sceptre and command its subjects. 

" In this crowd, Vicomte," said Enguerrand, "there must be 
many old acquaintances of yours ?" 

" Perhaps so, but as yet I have only seen new faces." 

As he thus spoke, a middle-aged man, decorated with the 
grand cross of the Legion and half a dozen foreign orders, 
lending his arm to a lady of the same age radiant in diamonds, 
passed by towards the ball-room, and in some sudden swerve of 
his person, occasioned by a pause of his companion to adjust her 
train, he accidentally brushed against De Mauleon, whom he 
had not before noticed. Turning round to apologize for his 
awkwardness, he encountered the full gaze of the Vicomte, 
started, changed countenance, and hurried on his companion. 

" Do you not recognize his Excellency ?" said Enguerrand, 
smiling. " His cannot be a new face to you." 

" Is it the Baron de Lacy ? " asked De Maule"on. 

" The Baron de Lacy, now Count d'Epinay, ambassador at 
the Court of , and, if report speak true, likely soon to ex- 
change that post for the portefeuille of Minister." 

" He has got on in life since I saw him last, the little Baron. 
He was then my devoted imitator, and I was not proud of the 
imitation." 

" He has got on by always clinging to the skirts of some one 
stronger than himself ; to yours, I dare say, when, being a par- 
venu despite his usurped title of Baron, he aspired to the 
entree into clubs and salons. The entree thus obtained, the 
rest followed easily : he became a millionnaire through a wife's 
dot, and an ambassador through the wife's lover, who is a 
power in the State." 

" But he must have substance in himself. Empty bags can- 
not be made to stand upright. Ah, unless I mistake, I see 
some one I know better ! Yon pale, thin man, also with the 
grand cross surely that is Alfred Hennequin. Is he too a 
decorated Imperialist ? I left him a socialistic republican." 

" But, I presume, even then an eloquent avocctt. He got 
into the Chamber, spoke well, defended the coup-d'ttat. He 

has just been made Prtfet of the great department of , a 

popular appointment. He bears a high character. Pray re- 
new your acquaintance with him ; he is coming this way." 



THE PARISIANS. 265 

" Will so grave a dignitary renew acquaintance with me ? I 
doubt it." 

But as De Mauleon said this, he moved from the column, 
and advanced towards the Pre'fet. Enguerrand followed him, 
and saw the Vicomte extend his hand to his old acquaintance. 
The Pre'fet stared, and said, with frigid courtesy : " Pardon 
me some mistake." 

" Allow me, M. Hennequin," said Enguerrand, interposing, 
and wishing good-naturedly to save De Mauleon the awkward- 
ness of introducing himself ; " Allow me to reintroduce you to 
my kinsman, whom the lapse of years may well excuse you for 
forgetting, the Vicomte de Mauleon." 

Still the Pre'fet did not accept the hand. He bowed with 
formal ceremony, said, " I was not aware that M. le Vicomte 
had returned to Paris," and, moving to the doorway, made his 
salutation to the hostess and disappeared. 

" The insolent ! " muttered Enguerrand. 

" Hush !" said De Mauleon quietly, " I can fight no more 
duels especially with a Pre'fet. But I own I am weak enough 
to feel hurt at such a reception from Hennequin, for he owed 
me some obligations small, perhaps, but still they were such 
as might have made me select him, rather than Louvier, as the 
vindicator of my name, had I known him to be so high placed. 
But a man who has raised himself into an authority may well 
be excused for forgetting a friend whose character needs de- 
fence. I forgive him." 

There was something pathetic in the Vicomte's tone which 
touched Enguerrand's warm if light heart. But De Mauleon 
did not allow him time to answer. He went on quickly through 
an opening in the gay crowd, which immediately closed behind 
him, and Enguerrand saw him no more that evening. 

Duplessis ere this had quitted his seat by the Minister, drawn 
thence by a young and very pretty girl resigned to his charge 
by a cavalier with whom she had been dancing. She was the 
only daughter of Duplessis, and he valued her even more than 
the millions he had made at the Bourse. " The Princess," she 
said, " has been swept off in the train of some German Royalty ; 
so, petit plre, I must impose myself on thee." 

The Princess, a Russian of high rank, was the chaperon that 
evening of Mademoiselle Valerie Duplessis. 

"And I suppose I must take thee back into the ball-room," 
said the financier, smiling proudly, "and find thee partners." 

' I don't want your aid for that, Monsieur ; except this 
quadrille, my list is pretty well filled up." 



266 THE PARISIANS. 

" And I hope the partners will be pleasant. Let me know 
who they are," he whispered, as they threaded their way into 
the ball-room. 

The girl glanced at her tablet. 

" Well, the first on the list is milord somebody, with an un- 
pronounceable English ame." 

" Beau cavalier ?" 

" No ; ugly, old too thirty at least." 

Duplessis felt relieved. He did not wish his daughter to 
fall in love with an Englishman. 

"And the next?" 

" The next," she said hesitatingly, and he observed that a 
soft blush accompanied the hesitation. 

" Yes, the next. Not English, too ?" 

" Oh, no, the Marquis de Rochebrianf." 

" Ah, who presented him to thee? " 

" Thy friend, petit ptre, M. de Breze." 

Duplessis again glanced at his daughter's face ; it was bent 
over her bouquet. 

" Is he ugly also ? " 

" Ugly ! " exclaimed the girl indignantly ; " Why, he is " 
she checked herself and turned away her head. 

Duplessis became thoughtful. He was glad that he had 
accompanied his child into the ball-room ; he would stay there, 
and keep watch on her and Rochebriant also. 

Up to that moment he had felt a dislike to Rochebriant. 
That young noble's too obvious pride of race had nettled him, 
not the less that the financier himself was vain of his ancestry. 
Perhaps -he stil) disliked Alain, but the dislike was now accom- 
panied with a certain, not hostile, interest ; and if he became 
connected with the race, the pride in it might grow contagious. 

They had not been long in the ball-room before Alain came 
up to claim his promised partner. In saluting Duplessis, his 
manner was the same as usual not more cordial, not less cere- 
moniously distant. A man so able as the financier cannot be 
without quick knowledge of the human heart. 

" If disposed to fall in love with Valerie," thought Duplessis, 
"he would hive taken more pains to please her father. Well, 
thank Heaven, there are better matches to be found for her than 
a noble without fortune, and a Legitimist without career." 

In fact, Alain felt no more for Valerie than for any other 
pretty girl in the room. In talking with the Vicomte de Brez 
in the intervals of the dance, he had made some passing remark 
on her beauty ; De Breze had said ; " Yes, she is charming ; 



THE PARISIANS. 267 

I will present you," and hastened to do so before Rochebriant 
even learned her name. So introduced, he could but invite 
her to give him her first disengaged dance, and when that was 
fixed, he had retired, without entering into conversation. 

Now, as they took their places in the quadrille, he felt that 
effort of speech had become a duty, if not a pleasure ; and, of 
course, he began with the first commonplace which presented 
itself to his mind. 

" Do you not think it a very pleasant ball, Mademoiselle ?" 

" Yes," dropped, in almost inaudible reply, from Valerie's 
rosy lips. 

"And not overcrowded, as most balls are ?" 

Valerie's lips again moved, but this time quite inaudibly.. 

The obligations of the figure now caused a pause. Alain 
racked his brains, and began : 

" They tell me the last season was more than usually gay ; 
of that I cannot judge, for it was well-nigh over when I came 
to Paris for the first time." 

Valerie looked up with a more animated expression than her 
childlike face had yet shown, and said, this time distinctly : 
" This is my first ball, Monsieur le Marquis." 

" One has only to look at Mademoiselle to divine that fact," 
replied Alain gallantly. 

Again the conversation was interrupted by the dance, but the 
ice between the two was now broken. And when the quadrille 
was concluded, and Rochebriant led the fair Valerie back to 
her father's side, she felt as if she had been listening to the 
music of the spheres, and that the music had now suddenly 
stopped. Alain, alas for her, was under no such pleasing illu- 
sion. Her talk had seemed him artless indeed, but very in- 
sipid, compared with the brilliant conversation of the wedded 
Parisiennes with whom he more habitually danced ; and it was 
with rather a sensation of relief that he made his parting bow, 
und receded into the crowd of bystanders. 

Meanwhile De Mauleon had quitted the assemblage, walking 
slowly through the deserted streets towards his apartment. 
The civilities he had met at Louvier's dinner-party, and the 
marked distinction paid to him by kinsmen of rank and position 
BO unequivocal as Alain and Enguerrand, had softened his 
mood and cheered his spirits. He had begun to question him- 
self whether a fair opening to his political ambition was really 
forbidden to him under the existent order of things, whether it 
necessitated the employment of such dangerous tools as those 
\Q which anger and despair had reconciled his intellect. But 



268 THE PARISIANS. 

the pointed way in which he had been shunned or slighted by 
the two men who belonged to political life to men who in 
youth had looked up to himself, and whose dazzling career of 
honors was identified with the Imperial system reanimated 
his fiercer passions and his more perilous designs. The frigid 
accost of Hennequin more especially galled him ; it wounded 
not only his pride but his heart ; it had the venom of ingrati- 
tude and it is the peculiar privilege of ingratitude to wound 
hearts that have learned to harden themselves to the hate 
or contempt of men to whom no services have been ren- 
dered. In some private affair concerning his property, De 
Mauleon had had occasion to consult Hennequin, then a rising 
young avocat. Out of that consultation a friendship had sprung 
up, despite the differing habits and social grades of the two 
men. One day, calling on Hennequin, he found him in a state 
of great nervous excitement. The arocal had received a pub- 
lic insult in the salon of a noble, to whom De Mauleon had in- 
troduced him, from a man who pretended to the hand of a 
young lady to whom Hennequin was attached, and indeed al- 
most affianced. The man was a notorious spadassin a duel- 
list little less renowned for skill in all weapons than De Mau- 
leon himself. The affair had been such that Hennequin's 
friends assured him he had no choice but to challenge this 
bravo. Hennequin, brave enough at the bar, was no hero be- 
fore sword-point or pistol. He was utterly ignorant of the use 
of either weapon ; his death in the encounter with an antago- 
nist so formidable seemed to him certain, and life was so pre- 
cious ; an honorable and distinguished career opening before 
him, marriage with the woman he loved: still he had the 
Frenchman's point of honor. He had been told that he must 
fight ; well, then, he must. He asked De Mauleon to be one 
of his seconds, and in asking him, sank in his chair, covered 
his face with his hands, and burst into tears. 

" Wait till to-morrow," said De Mauleon ; " take no step till 
then. Meanwhile, you are in my hands, and I answer for your 
honor." 

On leaving Hennequin, Victor sought the spadassin at the 
club of which they were both members, and contrived without 
reference to Hennequin to pick a quarrel with him. A chal- 
lenge ensued ; a duel with swords took place the next morning. 
De Mauleon disarmed and wounded his antagonist, not gravely, 
but sufficiently to terminate the encounter. He assisted to 
convey the wounded man to his apartment, and planted hirn- 
ejf by his bedside, as if he were a friend, 



THE PARISIANS. 269 

"Why on eaith did you fasten a quarrel on me ? " asked the 
spadassin ; " And why, having done so, did you spare my life ; 
for your sword was at my heart when you shifted its point, and 
pierced my shoulder?" 

" I will tell you, and in so doing, beg you to accept my 
friendship hereafter, on one condition. In the course of the 
day, write or dictate a few civil words of apology to M. Hen- 
neqtiin. Ma foi ! every one will praise you for a generosity so 
becoming in a man who has given such proofs of courage and 
skill, to an avocat who has never handled a sword nor fired a 
pistol." 

That same day De Mauleon remitted to Hennequin an apol- 
ogy for heated words freely retracted, which satisfied all 
his friends. For the service thus rendered by De Mauleon, 
Hennequin declared himself everlastingly indebted. In fact, 
he entirely owed to that friend his life, his marriage, his honor, 
his career. 

"And now," thought De Mauleon, "Now, when he could so 
easily requite me now he will not even take my hand. Is 
human nature itself at war with me ? " 

CHAPTER III. 

NOTHING could be simpler than the apartment of the Vi- 
comte de Mauleon, in the second story of a quiet, old-fashioned 
street. It had been furnished at small cost out of his savings. 
Yet, on the whole, it evinced the good taste of a man who had 
once been among the exquisites of the polite world. 

You felt that you were in the apartment of a gentleman, and 
a gentleman of somewhat severe tastes, and of sober, matured 
years. He was sitting the next morning in the room which he 
used as a private study. Along the walls were arranged dwarf 
bookcases, as yet occupied by few books, most of them books 
of reference, others cheap editions of the French classics in 
prose, no poets, no romance-writers, with a few Latin authors 
also in prose Cicero, Sallust, Tacitus. He was engaged at 
his desk writing a book with its leaves open before him, " Paul 
Louis Courier," that model of political irony and masculine 
style of composition. There was a ring at his door-bell. The 
Vicomte kept no servant. He rose and answered the sum- 
mons. He recoiled a few paces on recognizing his visitor in 
M. Hennequin. 

The Pr/fet this time did not withdraw his hand; he ex- 
tended it, but it was with a certain awkwardness and timidity. 



270 THE PARISIANS. 

"I thought it my duty to call on you, Vicomte, thus early, 
having already seen M. Enguerrand de Vandemar. He 
has shown me the copies of the pieces which were inspected 
by your distinguished kinsmen, and which completely clear you 
of the charge that, grant me your pardon when I say, seemed 
to me still to remain unanswered when I had the honor to 
meet you last night." 

" It appears to me, M. Hennequin, that you, as an avocat so 
eminent, might have convinced yourself very readily of that 
fact." 

"M. le Vicomte, I was in Switzerland with my wife at the 
time of the unfortunate affair in which you were involved." 

"But when you returned to Paris, you might perhaps have 
deigned to make inquiries so affecting the honor of one you 
had called a friend, and for whom you had professed" I)e 
Mauleon paused; he disdained to add "an eternal grati- 
tude." 

Hennequin colored slightly, but replied with self-possession, 

"I certainly did inquire. J did hear that the charge against 
you with regard to the abstraction of the jewels was withdrawn ; 
that you were therefore acquitted by law ; but I heard also 
that society did not acquit you, and that, finding this, you had 
quitted France. Pardon me again, no one would listen to me 
when I attempted to speak on your behalf. But now that so 
many years have elapsed ; that the story is imperfectly remem- 
bered ; that relations so high-placed receive you so cordially 
now I rejoice to think that you will have no difficulty in re- 
gaining a social position never really lost, but for a time re- 
signed." 

''I am duly sensible of the friendly joy you express. I was 
reading the other day in a lively author some pleasant remarks 
on the effects of medisance or calumny upon our impressionable 
Parisian public. ' If,' says the writer, 'I found myself accused 
of having put the two towers of Notre Dame into my waistcoat- 
pocket, I should not dream of defending myself ; I should take 
to flight. And,' adds the writer, 'if my best friend were under 
the same accusation, I should be so afraid of being considered 
his accomplice that I should put my best friend outside the 
door.' Perhaps, M. Hennequin, I was seized with the first alarm. 
*Vhy should 1 blame you if seized with the second ? Happily 
tnrs good city of Paris has its reactions. And you can now 
offer me your hand. Paris has by this time discovered that 
the two towers of Notre Dame are not in my pocket/' 

There was a pause. De Mauleon had resettled himself at 



THE PARISIANS. 271 

his desk, bending over his papers, and his manner seemed to 
imply that he considered the conversation at an end. 

But a pang of shame, of remorse, of tender remembrance, 
shot across the heart of the decorous, worldly, self-seeking 
man, who owed all that he now was to the ci-devant vaurien be- 
fore him. Again he stretched forth his hand, and this time 
grasped De Mauleon's warmly. " Forgive me," he said, feel- 
ingly and hoarsely ; " Forgive me. I was to blame. By char- 
acter, and perhaps by the necessities of my career, I am over- 
timid to public opinion public scandal forgive me. Say if 
in anything now I can requite, though but slightly, the service 
1 owe you." 

De Mauleon looked steadily at the Prefet, and said slowly : 
" Would you serve me in turn ? Are you sincere ?" 

The Prtfet hesitated a moment, then answered firmly, "Yes." 

" Well, then, what I ask of you is a frank opinion not as 
lawyer, not as Prefet, but as a man who knows the present 
state of French society. Give that opinion without respect to 
my feelings one way or other. Let it emanate solely from your 
practised judgment." 

"Be it so," said Hennequin, wondering what was to come. 

De Mauleon resumed : 

" As you may remember, during my former career I had no 
political ambition. I did not meddle with politics. In the 
troubled times that immediately succeeded the fall of Louis 
Philippe I was but an epicurean looker-on. Grant that, so far 
as admission to the salons are concerned, I shall encounter no 
difficulty in regaining position. But as regaids the Chamber, 
public life, a political career can I have my fair opening under 
the Empire ? You pause. Answer as you have promised, 
frankly." 

" The difficulties in the way of a political career wolild be 
very great." 

" Insuperable." 

" I fear so. Of course, in my capacity of Pr/fet, I have no 
small influence in my department in support of a government 
candidate. But I do not think that the Imperial Government 
could, at this time especially, in which it must be very cautious 
in selecting its candidates, be induced to recommend you. 
The affair of the jewels would be raked up ; your vindication 
disputed, denied ; the fact that for so many years you have 
acquiesced in that charge without taking steps to refute it ; 
your antecedents, even apart from that charge your present 
want of property (M. Enguerrand tells me your income is but 



272 THE PARISIANS. ^ 

moderate); the absence of all previous repute in public life. 
No ; relinquish the idea of political contest ; it would expose 
you to inevitable mortifications, to a failure that would even 
jeopardize the admission to the salons which you are now gain- 
ing. You could not be a government candidate." 

" Granted. I may have no desire to be one ; but an oppo- 
sition candidate, one of the Liberal .party?" 

"As an Imperialist," said Hennequin, smiling gravely, "and 
holding the office I do, it would not become me to encourage 
a candidate against the Emperor's government. But speaking 
with the frankness you solicit, I should say that your chances 
there are infinitely worse. The, opposition are in a pitiful mi- 
nority ; the most eminent of the Liberals can scarcely gain seats 
for themselves ; great local popularity or property, high estab- 
lished repute for established patriotism, or proved talents of 
oratory and statesmanship, are essential qualifications for a seat 
in the opposition, and even these do not suffice for a third of 
the persons who possess them. Be again what you were before, 
the hero of salons, remote from the turbulent vulgarity of poli- 
tics." 

" I am answered. Thank you once more. The service I 
rendered you once is requited now." 

" No, indeed no ; but will you dine with me quietly to-day, 
and allow me to present to you my wife and two children, born 
since we parted ? I say to-day, for to-morrow I return to my 
Prefecture." 

" I am infinitely obliged by your invitation, but to-day I dine 
with the Count de Beauvilliers to meet some of the Corps Dip- 
lomatique. I must make good my place in the salons, since 
you so clearly show me that I have no chance of one in the 
Legislature unless " 

" Unfess what ?" 

" Unless there happen one of those revolutions in which the 
scum comes uppermost." 

" No fear of that. The subterranean barracks and railway 
have ended forever the rise of the scum the reign of \\\Q ca- 
naille and its barricades." 

" Adieu, my dear Hennequin. My respectful hommages a 
Madame" 

After that day, the writing of Pierre Firmin in Le Sens Com- 
mun, though still keeping within the pale of the law, became 
more decidedly hostile to the Imperial system, still without 
committing their author to any definite programme of the sort 
of government that should succeed it. 



THE PARISIANS. 



CHAPTER IV. 

4 

THE weeks glided on. Tsaura's MS. had passed into print : 
it came out in the French fashion of feuilletons a small detach- 
ment at a time. A previous flourish of trumpets by Savarin 
and the clique at his command insured it attention, if not from 
the general public, at least from critical and literary coteries. 
Before the fourth instalment appeared it had outgrown the 
patronage of the coteries ; it seized hold of the public. It was 
not in the last school of fashion ; incidents were not crowded 
and violent, they were few and simple, rather appertaining to an 
elder school, in which poetry of sentiment and grace of diction 
prevailed. That very resemblance to old favorites gave it the 
attraction of novelty. In a word, it excited a pleased admira- 
tion, and great curiosity was felt as to the authorship. When it 
oozed out that it was by the young lady whose future success in the 
musical world had been so sanguinely predicted by all who had 
heard her sing, the interest wonderfully increased. Petitions 
to be introduced to her acquaintance were showered upon 
Savarin : before she scarcely realized her dawning fame she 
was drawn from her quiet home, and retired habits ; she 
was fetie and courted in the literary circle of which Savarin 
was a chief. That circle touched, on one side, Bohemia ; on 
the other, that realm of politer fashion which, in every intel- 
lectual metropolis, but especially in Paris, seeks to gain bor- 
rowed light from luminaries in art and letters. But the very 
admiration she obtained somewhat depressed, somewhat troub- 
led, her ; after all, it did not differ from that which was at her 
command as a singer. 

On the one hand, she shrank instinctively from the 
caresses of female authors and the familiar greetings of male 
authors, who frankly lived in philosophical disdain of the con- 
ventions respected by sober, decorous mortals. On the other 
hand, in the civilities of those who, while they courted a rising 
celebrity, still held their habitual existence apart from the ar- 
tistic world, there was a certain air of condescension, of patronage 
towards the young stranger with no other protector but Sig- 
nora Venosta, the ci-devant public singer, and who had made her 
debnt in a journal edited by M. Gustave Rameau, which, how- 
ever disguised by exaggerated terms of praise, wounded her 
pride of woman in flattering her vanity as author. Among 
this latter set were wealthy, high-born men, who addressed her 
as woman as woman beautiful and young with words of 



PARISIANS. 

gallantry that implied love, but certainly no thought of mar- 
riage : many of the most ardent were indeed married already. 
But once launched into the thick of Parisian hospitalities, it 
was difficult to draw back. The Venosta wept at the thought 
of missing some lively soiree, and Savarin laughed at her shrink- 
ing fastidiousness as that of a child's ignorance of the world. 
But still she had her mornings to herself ; and in those morn- 
ings, devoted to the continuance of her work (for the com- 
mencement was in print before a third was completed), she 
forgot the commonplace world that received her in the even- 
ings. Insensibly to herself the tone of this work had changed 
as it proceeded. It had begun seriously indeed, but in the 
seriousness there was a certain latent joy. It might be the joy 
of having found vent of utterance ; it might be rather a joy 
still more latent, inspired by the remembrance of Graham's 
words and looks, and by the thought that she had renounced 
all idea of the professional career which he had evidently dis- 
approved. Life then seemed to her a bright possession. We 
have seen that she had begun her roman without planning how 
it should end. She had, however, then meant it to end, some- 
how or other, happily. Now the lustre had gone from life ; 
the tone of the work was saddened ; it foreboded a tragic close. 
But for the general reader it became, with every chapter, still 
more interesting; the poor child had a singularly musical gift 
of style a music which lent itself naturally to pathos. Every 
very young writer knows how his work, if one of feeling, will 
color itself from the views of some truth in his innermost self; 
and in proportion as it does so, how his absorption in the work 
increases, till it becomes part and parcel of his own mind and 
heart. The presence of a hidden sorrow may change the fate 
of the beings he has, created, and guide to the grave those 
whom, in a happier vein, he would have united at the altar. 
It is not till a later stage of experience and art that the writer 
escapes from the influence of his individual personality, and 
lives in existences that take no colorings from his own. Genius 
usually must pass through the subjective process before it gains 
the objective. Even a Shakspeare represents himself in the 
Sonnets before no trace of himself is visible in a Falstaff or a 
Lear. 

No news of the Englishman not a word. Isaura could not 
but feel that in his words, his looks, that day in her own gar- 
den, and those yet happier days at Enghien, there had been 
more than friendship : there had been love love enough to 
justify her own pride in whispering to herself, " And I love 



THE PARISIANS. 275 

too." But then that last parting ! How changed he was 
how cold ! She conjectured that jealousy of liameau might, 
in some degree, account for the coldness when he first entered 
the room, but surely not when he left ; surely not when she 
had overpassed the reserve of her sex, and implied, by signs 
rarely misconstrued by those who love, that he had no cause 
for jealousy of another. Yet he had gone ; parted with her 
pointedly as a friend, a mere friend. How foolish she had 
been to think this rich, ambitious foreigner could ever have 
meant to be more ! In the occupation of her work she 
thought to banish his image ; but in that work the image was 
never absent ; there were passages in which she pleadingly 
addressed it, and then would cease abruptly, stifled by 
passionate tears. Still she fancied that the work would re- 
unite them ; that in its pages he would hear her voice and 
comprehend her heart. And thus all praise of the work be 
came very, very dear to her. 

At last, after many weeks, Savarin heaid from Graham. 
The letter was dated Aix-la-Chapelle, at which the English , 
man said he might yet be some time detained. In the letter 
Graham spoke chiefly of the new journal : in polite compli- 
ment of Savarin's own effusions ; in mixed praise and condem- 
nation of the political and social articles signed Pierre Fir- 
min praise of their intellectual power, condemnation of theii 
moral cynicism. "The writer," he said, "reminds me of a 
passage in which Montesquieu compares the heathen philoso- 
phers to those plants which the earth produces in places that 
have never seen the heavens. The soil of his experience does 
not grow a single belief; and as no community can exist with- 
out a belief of some kind, so a politician without belief can 
but help to destroy ; he cannot reconstruct. Such writers cor- 
rupt a society ; they do not reform a system." He closed his 
letter with a reference to Isaura : " Do, in your reply, my dear 
Savarin, tell me something about your friends Signora Venosta 
and the Signorina, whose work, so far as yet published, I have 
read with admiring astonishment at the power of a female 
writer so young to rival the veteran practitioners of fiction in 
the creation of interest in imaginary characters, and in sen- 
timents which, if they appear somewhat over-romantic and 
exaggerated, still touch very fine chords in human nature not 
awakened in our trite, everyday existence. I presume that the 
beauty of the roman has been duly appreciated by a public so 
refined as the Parisian, and that the name of the author is p^"- 
exally kaown. No doubt she is now much die rage of the liter- 



276 THE fARtSlANS. 

ary circles, and her career as a writer may be considered fixed. 
Pray present my congratulations to the Signorina when you 
see her." 

Savarin had been in receipt of this letter some days before 
he called on Isaura, and carelessly showed it to her. She took 
it to the window to read, in order to conceal the trembling of 
her hands. In a few minutes she returned it silently. 

"Those Englishmen," said Savarin, "have not the heart of 
compliment. I am by no means flattered by what he says of 
my trifles, and I dare say you are still less pleased with this 
chilly praise of your charming tale; but the man means to be civil." 

"Certainly," said Isaura, smiling faintly. 

"Only think of Rameau," resumed Savarin; "on the 
strength of his sdtary in the Sens Commun, and on the chateaux 
en Espagne which he constructs thereon he has already fur- 
nished an apartment in the Chaussee d'Antin, and talks of set- 
ting up a coupe in order to maintain the dignity of letters when 
he goes to dine with the duchesses who are some day or other 
to invite him. Yet I admire his self-confidence though I laugh 
at it. A man gets on by a spring in his own mechanism, and 
he should always keep it wound up. Rameau will make a 
figure. I used to pity him. I begin to respect ; nothing suc- 
ceeds like success. But I see I am spoiling your morning. 
Au revoir, mon enfant.' 1 

Left alone, Isaura brooded in a sort of mournful wonderment 
over the words referring to herself in Graham's letter. Read 
though but once, she knew them by heart. What ! Did he 
consider those characters she had represented as wholly imag- 
inary ? In one the most prominent, the most attractive 
could he detect no likeness to himself ? What! Did he con- 
sider so "over-romantic and exaggerated," sentiments which 
couched appeals from her heart to his? Alas! in matters of 
sentiment it is the misfortune of us men that even the most 
refined of us often grate upon some sentiment in a woman, 
though she may not be romantic not romantic at all, as people 
go, some sentiment which she thought must be so obvious, if 
we cared a straw about her, and which, though we prize her 
above the Indies, is, by our dim, horn-eyed, masculine vision, 
undiscernible. It may be something in itself the airiest of 
trifles : the anniversary of a day in which the first kiss was 
interchanged, nay, of a violet gathered, a misunderstanding 
cleared up"; and of that anniversary we remember no more 
than we do of our bells and coral. But she she remembers 
it ; it is no bells and coral to her. Of course, much is to be 



THE PARISIANS. 277 

said in excuse of man, brute though he be. Consider the mul- 
tiplicity of his occupations, the practical nature of his cares. 
But granting the validity of all such excuse, there is in man an 
original obtuseness of fibre as regards sentiment in comparison 
with the delicacy of woman's. It comes, perhaps, from the 
same hardness of constitution which forbids us the luxury of 
ready tears. Thus it is very difficult for the wisest man to under- 
stand thoroughly a woman. Goethe says somewhere that the 
highest genius in man must have much of the woman in 
it. If this be true, the highest genius alone in man can com- 
prehend and explain the nature of woman ; because it is not 
remote from him, but an integral part of his masculine self. I 
am not sure, however, that it necessitates the highest genius, 
but rather a special idiosyncrasy in genius which the highest 
may or may not have. I think Sophocles a higher genius than 
Euripides ; but Euripides has that idiosyncrasy, and Sophocles 
not. I doubt whether women would accept Goethe as their 
interpreter with the same readiness with which they would ac- 
cept Schiller. Shakspeare, no doubt, excels all poets in the 
comprehension of women, in his sympathy with them in the 
woman-part of his nature which Goethe ascribes to the highest 
genius; but, putting aside that "monster," I do not remember 
any English poet whom we should consider conspicuously emi- 
nent in that lore, unless it be the prose poet, nowadays gen- 
erally underrated and little read, who wrote the letters of Cla- 
rissa Harlowe. I say all this in vindication of Graham Vane, 
if, though a very clever man in his way, and by no means unin- 
structed in human nature, he had utterly failed in comprehend- 
ing the mysteries which to this poor woman-child seemed to 
need no key for one who really loved her. But we have said 
somewhere before in this book that music speaks in a lan- 
guage which cannot explain itself except in music. So speaks, 
in the human heart, much which is akin to music. Fiction 
(that is, poetry, whether in form of rhyme or prose) speaks 
thus pretty often. A reader must be more commonplace than, 
I trust, my gentle readers are, if he suppose that when Isaura 
symbolized the real hero of her thoughts in the fabled hero of 
her romance, she depicted him as one of whom the world could 
say, " That is Graham Vane." I doubt if even a male poet 
would so vulgarize any woman whom he thoroughly rever- 
enced and loved. She is too sacred to him to be thus unveiled 
to the public stare ; as the sweetest of all ancient love-poets 
says well 

" Qui sapit in tacito gaudeat ille iny," 



278 THE PARISIANS. 

But a girl, a girl in her first untold, timid love, to let the world 
know, " that is the man I love and would die for ! " if such a 
girl be, she has no touch of the true woman-genius, and cer- 
tainly she and Isaura have nothing in common. Well, then, in 
Isaura's invented hero, though she saw the archetypal form of. 
Graham Vane saw him as in her young, vague, romantic 
dreams, idealized, beautified, transfigured he would have been 
the vainest of men if he had seen therein the reflection of him- 
self. On the contrary, he said, in the spirit of that jealousy to 
which he was too prone : " Alas ! this, then, is some ideal, 
already seen, perhaps, compared to which how commonplace 
am I !" and thus persuading himself, no wonder that the senti- 
ments surrounding this unrecognized archetype appeared to him 
over-romantic. His taste acknowledged the beauty of form 
which clothed them ; his heart envied the ideal that inspired 
them. But they seemed so remote from him ; they put the 
dreamland of the writer farther and farther from his workday 
real life. 

In this frame of mind, then, he had written to Savarin, and 
the answer he received hardened it still more! Savarin had 
replied, as was his laudable wont in correspondence, the very 
day he received Graham's letter, and therefore before he had, 
even seen Isaura. In his reply, he spoke much of the success 
her work had obtained ; of the invitations showered upon her, 
and the sensation she caused in the salons : of her future 
career, with hope that she might even rival Madame de Grant- 
mesnil some day, when her ideas became emboldened by 
maturer experience, and a closer study of that model of elo- 
quent style, saying that the young editor was evidently becom- 
ing enamoured of his fair contributor ; and that Madame 
Savarin had ventured the prediction that the Signorina's roman 
would end in the death of the heroine, and the marriage of 
the writer. 

CHAPTER V. 

AND still the weeks glided on : autumn succeeded to sum- 
mer, the winter to autumn ; the season of Paris was at its height. 
The wondrous capital seemed to repay its Imperial embellisher 
by the splendor and the joy of its /<?/<?.$. But the smiles on the 
face of Paris were hypocritical and hollow. The Empire itself 
had passed out of fashion. Grave men and impartial observers 
felt anxious. Napoleon had renounced les idees Napoleoniennes. 
He was passing into the category of constitutional sovereigns, 



THE PARISIANS. 279 

and reigning, not by his old undivided prestige, but by the 
grace of party. The press was free to circulate complaints as 
to the past and demands as to the future, beneath which the 
present reeled, ominous of earthquake. People asked them- 
selves if it were possible that the Empire could coexist with 
forms of government not imperial, yet not genuinely constitu- 
tional, with a majority daily yielding to a 'minority. The basis 
of universal suffrage was sapped. About this time the articles 
in the Sens Commun signed Pierre Firmin were creating not 
only considerable sensation, but marked effect on opinion : 
and the sale of the journal was immense. 

Necessarily the repute and the position of Gustave Rameau, 
as the avowed editor of this potent journal, rose with its suc- 
cess. Nor only his repute and position ; banknotes of con- 
siderable value were transmitted to him by the publisher, with 
the brief statement that they were sent by the sole proprietor 
of the paper as the editor's fair share of profit. The proprietor 
was never named, but Rameau took it for granted that it was 
M. Lebeau. M. Lebeau he had never seen since the day he 
had brought him the list of contributors, and was then referred 
to the publisher, whom he supposed M. Lebeau had secured, 
and received the first quarter of his salary in advance. The 
salary was a trifle compared to the extra profits thus generously 
volunteered. He called at Lebeau's office, and saw only the 
clerk, who said that his patron was abroad. 

Prosperity produced a marked change for the better, if not 
in the substance of Rameau's character, at least in his manners 
and social converse. He no longer exhibited that restless envy 
of rivals, which is the most repulsive symptom of vanity dis- 
eased. He pardoned Isaura her success ; nay, he was even 
pleased at it. The nature of her work did not clash with his 
own kind of writing. It was so thoroughly woman-like, that 
one could not compare it to a man's. Moreover, that success 
had contributed largely to the profits by which he had bene- 
fited, and to his renown as editor of the journal which accorded 
place to this new-found genius. But there was a deeper and 
more potent cause for sympathy with the success of his fair 
young contributor. He had imperceptibly glided into love 
with her a love very different from that with which poor Julie 
Caumartin flattered herself she had inspired the young poet. 
Isaura was one of those women for whom, even in natures the 
least chivalric, love, however ardent, cannot fail to be accom- 
'panied with a certain reverence the reverence with which the 
ancient knighthood, in its love for women, honored the ideal 



280 THE PARISIANS. 

purity of womanhood itself. Till then Rameau had never 
revered any one. 

On her side, brought so frequently into communication with 
the young conductor of the journal in which she wrote, Isaura 
entertained for him a friendly, almost sister-like affection. 

I do not think that, even if she had never known the English- 
man, she would have really become in love with Rameau, 
despite the picturesque beauty of his countenance, and the 
congeniality of literary pursuits ; but perhaps she might have 
fancied herself in love with him. And till one, whether man or 
woman, has known real love, fancy is readily mistaken for it. 
But little as she had seen of Graham, and that little not in it- 
self wholly favorable to him, she knew in her heart of hearts 
that his image would never be replaced by one equally dear. 
Perhaps in those qualities that placed him in opposition to her 
she felt his attractions. The poetical in woman exaggerates 
the worth of the practical in man. Still for Rameau her ex- 
quisitely kind and sympathizing nature conceived one of those 
sentiments which in woman are almost angel-like. We have 
seen in her letters to Madame de Grantmesnil that from 
the first he inspired her with a compassionate interest ; 
then the compassion was checked by her perception of his 
more unamiable and envious attributes. But now those 
attributes, if still existent, had ceased to be apparent to her, 
and the compassion became unalloyed. Indeed, it was thus 
so far increased, that it was impossible for any friendly ob- 
server to look at the beautiful face of this youth, prematurely 
wasted and worn, without the kindliness of pity. His pros- 
perity had brightened and sweetened the expression of that 
face, but it had not effaced the vestiges of decay ; rather per- 
haps deepened them, for the duties of his post necessitated a 
regular labor, to which he had been unaccustomed, and the 
regular labor necessitated, or seemed to him to necessitate, an 
increase of fatal stimulants. He imbibed absinthe with every- 
thing he drank, and to absinthe he united opium. This, of 
course, Isaura knew not, any more than she knew of his liaison 
with the " Ondine " of his muse; she saw only the increasing 
delicacy of his face and form, contrasted by his increased 
geniality and liveliness of spirits, and the contrast saddened 
her. Intellectually, too, she felt for him compassion. She 
recognized and respected in him the yearnings of a genius too 
weak to perform a tithe of what, in the arrogance of youth, it 
promised to his ambition. She saw, too, those struggles be-' 
tween a higher and a lower self, to which a weak degree of 



THE PARISIANS. 281 

genius, united with a strong degree of arrogance, is so often 
subjected. Perhaps she over-estimated the degree of genius, 
and what, if rightly guided, it could do ; but she did, in the 
desire of her own heavenlier instinct, aspire to guide it heaven- 
Avard. And, as if she were twenty years older than himself, 
'she obeyed that desire in remonstrating and warning and urg- 
ing, and the young man took all these " preachments " with a 
pleased, submissive patience. Such, as the new year dawned 
upon the grave of the old one, was the position between these 
two. And nothing more was heard from Graham Vane. 

CHAPTER VI. 

IT has now become due to Graham Vane, and to his place 
in the estimation of my readers, to explain somewhat more dis- 
tinctly the nature of the quest in prosecution of which he had 
sought the aid of the Parisian police, and, under an assumed 
name, made the acquaintance of M. Lebeau. 

The best way of discharging this duty will perhaps be to 
place before the reader the contents of the letter which passed 
under Graham's eyes on the day in which the heart of the 
writer ceased to beat. 

" Confidential. 
" To be opened immediately after my death, and before the perusal 

of my will. Richard King. 

" To GRAHAM VANE, Esq. 

" MY DEAR GRAHAM : By the direction on the envelope of 
this letter, 'before the perusal of my will,' I have wished to 
save you from the disappointment you would naturally experi- 
ence if you learned my bequest without being prevised of the 
conditions which I am about to impose upon your honor. You 
will see ere you conclude this letter that you are the only man 
living to whom I could intrust the secret it contains and the 
task it enjoins. 

" You are aware that I was not born to the fortune that 
passed to me by the death of a distant relation, ^ho had, in my 
earlier youth, children of his own. I was an only son, left an 
orphan at the age of sixteen with a very slender pittance. My 
guardians designed me for the medical profession. I began 
my studies at Edinburgh, and was sent to Paris to complete 
them. It so chanced that there I lodged in the same house 
with an artist named Auguste Duval, who, failing to gain his 
livelihood as a painter, in what for his style was ambitious 
is termed the Historical School, had accepted the humbler call- 



282 THE PARISIANS. 

ing of a drawing-master. He had practised in that branch of 
the profession for several years at Tours, having a good 
clientele among English families settled there. This clientele^ 
as he frankly confessed, he had lost from some irregularities of 
conduct. He was not a bad man, but of convivial temper, and 
easily led into temptation. He had removed to Paris a few 
months before I made his acquaintance. He obtained a few pu- 
pils and often lost them as soon as gained. He was unpunctual 
and addicted to drink. But he had a small pension accorded 
to him, he was wont to say mysteriously, by some high-born 
kinsfolk, too proud to own connection with a drawing-mas- 
ter, and on the condition that he should never name them. 
He never did name them to me, and I do not know to 
this day whether the story of this noble relationship was 
true or false. A pension, however, he did receive quar- 
terly from some person or other, and it was an un- 
happy provision for him. It tended to make him an 
idler in his proper calling ; and whenever he received the 
payment he spent it in debauch, to the neglect, while it lasted, 
of his pupils. This man had residing with him a young daugh- 
ter, singularly beautiful. You may divine the rest. I fell in 
love with her a love deepened by the compassion with which 
she inspired me. Her father left her so frequently, that, living 
on the same floor, we saw much of each other. Parent and 
child were often in great need lacking even fuel or food. 
Of course I assisted them to the utmost of my scanty means. 
Much as I was fascinated by Louise Duval, I was not blind to 
great defects in her character. She was capricious, vain, aware 
of her beauty, and sighing for the pleasures or the gauds be- 
yond her reach. I knew that she did not love me there was 
little, indeed, to captivate her fancy in a poor, threadbare med- 
ical student and yet I fondly imagined that my own persever- 
ing devotion would at length win her affections. I spoke to 
her father more than once of my hope some day -to make 
Louise my wife. This hope, I must frankly acknowledge, he 
never encouragfd. On the contrary, he treated it with scorn. 
' His child with her beauty would look much higher,' but he 
continued all the same to accept my assistance, and to sanc- 
tion my visits. At length my slender purse was pretty well 
exhausted, and the luckless drawing-master was so harassed 
with petty debts that farther credit became impossible. At 
this time I happened to hear from a fellow-student that his sis- 
ter, who was the principal of a lady's school in Cheltenham, 
had commissioned him to look out for a first-rate teacher of 



THE PARISIANS. 283 

drawing, with whom her elder pupils could converse in French, 
but who should be sufficiently acquainted with English to make 
his instructions intelligible to the young. The salary was lib- 
eral, the school large and of high repute, and his appointment 
to it would open to an able teacher no inconsiderable connec- 
tion among private families. I communicated {his intelligence 
to Duval. He caught at it eagerly. He had learned at Tours 
to speak English fluently ; and as his professional skill was of 
high order, and he was popular with several eminent artists, he 
obtained certificates as to his talents, which my fellow-student 
forwarded to England, with specimens of Duval's drawings. In 
a few days the offer of an engagement arrived, was accepted, 
and Duval and his daughter set out for Cheltenham. At the 
eve of their departure, Louise, profoundly dejected at the pros- 
pect of banishment to a foreign country, and placing no trust 
in her father's reform to steady habits, evinced a tenderness 
for me hitherto new she wept bitterly. She allowed me to be- 
lieve that her tears flowed at the thought of parting with me, 
and even besought me to accompany them to Cheltenham if 
only for a few days. You may suppose how delightedly I com- 
plied with the request. Duval had been about a week at the 
watering-place, and was discharging the duties he had under- 
taken with such unwonted steadiness and regularity that I be- 
gan sorrowfully to feel I had no longer an excuse for not re- 
turning to my studies at Paris, when the poor teacher was 
sei/ed with a fit of paralysis\ He lost the power of movement, 
and his mind was affected. The medical attendant called in 
said that he might linger thus for some time, but that, even if 
he recovered his intellect, which was more than doubtful, 
he would never be able to resume his profession. I could not 
leave Louise in circumstances so distressing ; I remained. 
The little money Duval had brought from Paris was now ex- 
hausted ; and when the day on which he had been in the 
habit of receiving his quarter's pension came round, Louise 
was unable even to conjecture how it was to be applied for. It 
seems that he had always gone for it in person, but to whom 
he went was a secret which he had never divulged. And at 
this critical juncture his mind was too enfeebled even to com- 
prehend us when we inquired. I had already drawn from the 
small capital on the interest of which I had maintained myself ; 
I now drew out most of the remainder. But thij was a re- 
source that could not last long. Nor could I, without seriously 
compromising Louise's character, be constantly in the house 
with a girl so young, and whose sole legitimate protector wa> 



284 THE PARISIANS. 

thus afflicted. There seemed but one alternative to that of 
abandoning her altogether, viz., to make her my wife, to con- 
clude the studies necessary to obtain my diploma, and purchase 
some partnership in a small country practice with the scanty 
surplus that might be left of my capital. I placed this option 
before Louise timidly, for I could not bear the thought of 
forcing her inclinations. She seemed much moved by what 
she called my generosity : she consented ; we were married. 
I was, as you may conceive, wholly ignorant of French law. 
We were married according to the English ceremony and the 
Protestant ritual. Shortly after our marriage we all three re- 
turned to Paris, taking an apartment in a quarter remote from 
that in which we had before lodged, in order to avoid any har- 
assment to which such small creditors as Duval had left behind 
him might subject us. I resumed my studies with redoubled 
energy, and Louise was necessarily left much alone with her 
poor father in the daytime. The defects in her character be- 
came more and more visible. She reproached me for the soli- 
tude to which I condemned her ; our poverty galled her ; she 
had no kind greeting for me when I returned at evening, 
wearied out. Before marriage she had not loved me after 
marriage, alas ! I fear she hated. We had been returned to 
Paris some months when poor Duval died : he had never re- 
covered his faculties, nor had we ever learned from whom his 
pension had been received. Very soon after her father's death 
I observed a singular change in the humor and manner of 
Louise. She was no longer peevish, irascible, reproachful ; 
but taciturn and thoughtful. She seemed to me under the in- 
fluence of some suppressed excitement : her cheeks flushed 
and her eye abstracted. At length, one evening when I re- 
turned I found her gone. She did not come back that night 
nor the next day. It was impossible for me to conjecture what 
had become of her. She had no friends, so far as I knew no 
one had visited at our squalid apartment. The poor house in 
which we lodged had no concierge \\\\om I could question ; but 
the ground-floor was occupied by a small tobacconist's shop, 
and the woman at the counter told me that for some days 
before my wife's disappearance she had observed her pass the 
shop window in going out in the afternoon and returning to- 
wards the evening. Two terrible conjectures beset me : either 
in her walk she had met some admirer, with whom she had 
fled ; or, unable to bear the companionship and poverty of a 
union which she had begun to loathe, she had gone forth tc 
drown herself in the Seine. On the third day from her flight / 



THE PARISIANS. 285 

received the letter I enclose. Possibly the handwriting may 
serve you as a guide in the mission I intrust to you : 

" ' MONSIEUR : You have deceived me vilely taken advant- 
age of my inexperienced youth and friendless position to decoy 
me into an illegal marriage. My only consolation under my ca- 
lamity and disgrace is, that I am at least free from a detested 
bond. You will not see me again ; it is idle to attempt to do 
so. I have obtained refuge with relations whom I have been 
fortunate enough to discover, and to whom I intrust my fate. 
And even if you could learn the shelter I have sought, and 
have the audacity to molest me, you would but subject your- 
self to the chastisement you so richly deserve. 

" ' LOUISE DUVAL,' 

"At the perusal of this cold-hearted, ungrateful letter, the 
love I had felt for this woman already much shaken by her 
wayward and perverse temper vanished from my heart, never 
to return. But as an honest man, my conscience was terribly 
stung. Could it be possible that I had unknowingly deceived 
her that our marriage was not legal ? 

" When I recovered from the stun which was the first effect 
of her letter, I sought the opinion of an avout'vn. the neighbor- 
hood, named Sartiges, and, to my dismay, I learned that while 
I, marrying according to the customs of my own country, was 
legally bound to Louise in England, and could not marry an- 
other, the marriage was in all ways illegal for her being with- 
out the consent of her relations while she was under age ; with- 
out the ceremonials of the Roman Catholic Church, to which, 
though I never heard any profession of religious belief from her 
or her father, it might fairly be presumed that she belonged; 
and, above all, without the form of civil contract which is in- 
dispensable to the legal marriage of a French subject. 

" The avoud said that the marriage, therefore, in itself was 
null, and that Louise could, without incurring legal penalties for 
bigamy, marry again in France according to the French laws ; 
but that, under the circumstances, it was probable that her next 
of kin would apply on her behalf to the proper court for the 
formal annulment of the marriage, which would be the most ef- 
fectual mode of saving her from any molestation on my part, 
and remove all possible question hereafter as to her single state 
and absolute right to remarry. I had better remain quiet, and 
wait for intimation of further proceedings. I knew not what 
else to do, and necessarily submitted. 

" From this wretched listlessness of mind, alternated now by 



286 THE PARISIANS. 

vehement resentment against Louise, now by the reproach of 
my own sense of honor in leaving that honor in so questionable 
a point of view, I was aroused by a letter from the distant kins- 
man by whom hitherto I had been so neglected. In the previ- 
ous year he had lost one of his two children ; the other was 
just dead : no nearer relation now surviving stood between me 
and my chance of inheritance from him. He wrote word of 
his domestic affliction with a manly sorrow which touched me, 
said that his health was failing, and begged me, as soon as 
possible, to come and visit him in Scotland. I went, and con- 
tinued to reside with him till his death, some months after- 
wards. By his will I succeeded to his ample fortune on con- 
dition of taking his name. 

" As soon as the affairs connected with this inheritance per- 
mitted, I returned to Paris, and again saw M. Sartiges. 1 had 
never heard from Louise, nor from any one connected with her, 
since the letter you have read. No steps had been taken to 
annul the marriage, and sufficient time had elapsed to render 
it improbable that such steps would be taken now. But if no 
such steps were taken, however free from the marriage-bond 
Louise might be, it clearly remained binding on myself. 

" At my request, M. Sartiges took the most vigorous meas- 
ures that occurred to him to ascertain where Louise was, and 
what and who was the relation with whom she asserted she had 
found refuge. The police were employed, advertisements were 
issued, concealing names, but sufficiently clear to be intelligi- 
ble to Louise if they came under her eye, and to the effect that 
if any informality in our marriage existed, she was implored 
for her own sake to remove it by a second ceremonial answer 
to be addressed to the avout. No answer came ; the police had 
hitherto failed of discovering her, but were sanguine of success, 
when a few weeks after these advertisements a packet reached 
M. Sartiges, enclosing the certificates annexed to this letter, of 
the death of Louise Duval at Munich. The certificates, as you 
will see, are to appearance officially attested and unquestion- 
ably genuine. So they were considered by M. Sartiges as well 
as by myself. Here, then, all inquiry ceased ; the police were 
dismissed. I was free. By little and little I overcame the 
painful impressions which my ill-starred union and the an- 
nouncement of Louise's early death bequeathed. Rich, and 
of active mind, I learned to dismiss the trials of my youth as a 
gloomy dream. I entered into public life ; I made myself a 
creditable position ; became acquainted with your aunt ; we 
were wedded, and the beauty of her nature embellished mine, 



THE PARISIANS. 287 

Alas, alas ! two years after our marriage nearly five years 
after I had received the certificates of Louise's death I and 
your aunt made a summer excursion into the country of the 
Rhine ; on our return we rested at Aix la-Chapelle. One day 
while there I was walking alone in the environs of the town, 
when, on the road, a little girl, seemingly about five years old, 
in chase of a butterfly, stumbled and fell just before my feet ; 
I took her up, and as she was crying more from the shock of 
the fall than any actual hurt, I was still trying my best to com- 
fort her, when a lady some paces behind her came up, and in 
taking the child from my arms as I was bending over her, 
thanked me in a voice that made my heart stand still ; I looked 
up and beheld Louise. 

" It was not till I had convulsively clasped her hand and 
uttered her name that she recognized me. I was, no doubt, 
the more altered of the two ; prosperity and happiness had left 
little trace of the needy, careworn, threadbare student. But if 
she were the last to recognize she was the first to recover self- 
possession. The expression of her face became hard and set. I 
cannot pretend to repeat with any verbal accuracy the brief con- 
verse that took place between us as she placed the child on the 
grass bank beside the path, bade her stay there quietly, and 
walked on with me some paces, as if she did not wish the child 
to hear what was said. 

" The purport of what passed was to this effect : She re- 
fused to explain the certificates of her death further than that, 
becoming aware of what she called the ' persecution ' of the adver- 
tisements issued and inquiries instituted, she had caused those 
documents to be sent to the address given in the advertisement, 
in order to terminate all further molestation. But how they 
could have been obtained, or by what art so ingeniously forged 
as to deceive the acuteness of a practised lawyer, I know not 
to this day. She declared, indeed, that she was now happy, in 
e'asy circumstances, and that if I wished to make some repara- 
tion for the wrong I had done her, it would be to leave her in 
peace ; and in case which was not likely we ever met again, to 
regard and treat her as a stranger ; that she, on her part, never 
would molest me, and that the certified death of Louise Duval 
left me as free to marry again as she considered herself to' be, 

"My mind was so confused, so bewildered, while she thus 
talked, that I did not attempt to interrupt her. The blow had 
so crushed me that I scarcely struggled under it ; only, as she 
turned to leave me, I suddenly recollected that the child, when 
taken from my arms, had called her ' Mamcm] and, judging by 



288 w THE PARISIANS. 

the apparent age of the child, it must have been born but a 
few months after Louise had left me that it must be mine. 
And so, in my dreary woe, I faltered out : ' But what of your 
infant ? Surely that has on me a claim that you relinquish for 
yourself. You were not unfaithful to me while you deemed 
you were my wife ? ' 

"'Heavens ! Can you insult me by such a doubt? No ! ' 
she cried out, impulsively and haughtily. ' But as I was not 
legally your wife, the child is not legally yours ; it is mine, 
and only mine. Nevertheless, if you wish to claim it,' here 
she paused as in doubt. I saw at once that she was prepared 
to resign to me the child if I had urged her to do so. I must 
own, with a pang of remorse, that I recoiled from such a proposal. 
What could I do with the child ? How explain to my wife the 
cause of my interest in it ? If only a natural child of mine, I 
should have shrunk from owning to Janet a youthful error. 
But, as it was the child- by a former marriage, the former 
wife still living ! my blood ran cold with dread. And if I 
did take the child, invent what story 1 might as to its parent- 
age, should I not expose myself, expose Janet, to terrible, con- 
stant danger ? The mother's natural affection might urge her 
at any time to seek tidings of the child, and in so doing she 
might easily discover my new name, and, perhaps years hence, 
establish on me her own claim. 

" ' No, I could not risk such perils,' I replied sullenly. 
' You say rightly ; the child is yours only yours.' I was 
about to add an offer of pecuniary provision for it, but Louise 
had already turned scornfully towards the bank on which she 
had left the infant. I saw her snatch from the child's hand 
some wild flowers the poor thing had been gathering ; and 
how often have I thought of the rude way in which she did 
it not as a mother who loves her child. Just then other pas- 
sengers appeared on the road ; two of them I knew---an Eng- 
lish couple very intimate with Lady Janet and myself. They 
stopped to accost me, while Louise passed by with the infant 
towards the town. I turned in the opposite direction, and 
strove to collect my thoughts. Terrible as was the discovery 
thus suddenly made, it was evident that Louise had as strong 
an interest as myself to conceal it. There was little chance 
that it would ever be divulged. Her dress and that of the 
child were those of persons in the richer classes of life. After 
all, doubtless, the child needed not pecuniary assistance from 
me, and was surely best off under the mother's care. Thus I 
sought to comfort and delude myself. 



THE PARISIANS. 289 

" The next day Janet and I left Aix-la-Chapelle and re- 
v turned to England. But it was impossible for me to banish 
the dreadful thought that Janet was not legally my wife ; that 
could she even guess the secret lodged in my breast she would 
be lost to me forever, even though she died of the separation 
(you know well how tenderly she loved me). My nature un- 
derwent a silent revolution. I had previously cherished the 
ambition common to most men in public life the ambition 
for fame, for place, for power. That ambition left me ; I 
shrank from the thought of becoming too well known, lest 
Louise or her connections, as yet ignorant of my new name, 
might more easily learn what the world knew, viz., that I had 
previously borne another name the name of her husband 
and finding me wealthy and honored, might hereafter be 
tempted to claim for herself or her daughter the ties she ab- 
jured for both while she deemed me poor and despised. But 
partly my conscience, partly the influence of the angel by my 
side, compelled me to seek whatever means of doing good to 
others position and circumstances placed at my disposal. I 
was alarmed when even such quiet exercise of mind and for- 
tune acquired a sort of celebrity. How painfully I shrank 
from it ! The world attributed my dread of publicity to un- 
affected modesty. The world praised me, and I knew myself 
an impostor. But the years stole on. I heard no more of 
Louise or her child, and my fears gradually subsided. Yet I 
was consoled when the two children born to me by Janet died 
in their infancy. Had they lived, who can tell whether some- 
thing might not have transpired to prove them illegitimate? " 

" I must hasten on. At last came the great and crushing 
calamity of my life : I lost the woman who was my all in all. At 
least she was spared the discovery that would have deprived 
me of the right of attending her deathbed, and leaving within 
her tomb a place vacant for myself. 

"But after the first agonies that followed her loss, the con- 
science I had so long sought to tranquillize became terribly re- 
proachful. Louise had forfeited all right to my consideration, 
but my guiltless child had not done so. Did it live still? If 
so, was it not the heir to my fortunes the only child left to 
me? True, I have the absolute right to dispose of my wealth: 
it is not in land ; it is not entailed ; but was not the daughter 
I had forsaken morally the first claimant ? Was no reparation 
due to her? You remember that my physician ordered me, 
some little time after your aunt's death, to seek a temporary 
change of scene. I obeyed, and went away no one knew 



290 THE PARISIANS. 

whither. Well, I repaired to Paris; there I sought M. Sartiges, 
the avoue. I found he had been long dead. I discovered his 
executors, and inquired if any papers or correspondence be- 
tween Richard Macdonald and himself many years ago were 
in existence. All such documents, with 'others not returned to 
correspondents at his decease, had been burned by his desire. 
No possible clue to the whereabouts of Louise, should any 
have been gained since I last saw her, was left. What then to 
do I kne-v not. I did not dare to make inquiries through 
strangers, which, if discovering my child, might also bring to 
light a marriage that would have dishonored the memory of my 
lost saint. I returned to England, feeling that my days were num- 
bered. It is to you that I transmit the task of those researches 
which I could not institute. I bequeath to you, with the ex- 
ception of trifling legacies "and donations to public charities, 
the whole of my fortune. But you will understand by this 
letter that it is to be held on a trust which I cannot specify in my 
will. I could not, without dishonoring the venerated name of 
your aunt, indicate as the heiress of my wealth a child by a 
wife living at the time I married Janet. I cannot form any 
words for such a devise which would not arouse gossip and 
suspicion, and furnish ultimately a clue to the discovery I 
would shun. I calculate that, after all deductions, the sum 
that will devolve to you will be about ^220,000. That 
which I mean to be absolutely and at once yours is the 
comparatively trifling legacy of ^20,000. If Louise's child 
be not living, or if you find full reason to suppose that, 
despite appearances, the child is not mine, the whole of my for- 
tune lapses to you : but should Louise be surviving and need 
pecuniary aid, you will contrive that she may have such an an- 
nuity as you may deem fitting, without learning whence it 
come. You perceive that it is your object, if possible, even 
more than mine, to preserve free from slur the name and mem- 
ory of her who was to you a second mother. All ends we de- 
sire would be accomplished could you, on discovering my lost 
child, feel that, without constraining your inclinations, you 
could make her your wife. She would then naturally share 
with you my fortune, and all claims of justice and duty would 
be quietly appeased. She would now be of age suitable to 
yours. When I saw her at Aix she gave promise of inheriting 
no small share of her mother's beauty. If Louise's assurance 
of her easy circumstances were true, her daughter has possibly 
been educated and reared with tenderness and care. You 
have already assured me that you have no prior attachment. 



THE PARISIANS. 29! 

But if, on discovering this child, you find her already married, 
or one whom you could not love nor esteem, I leave it implicit- 
.ly to your honor and judgment to determine what share of the 
^200,000 left in your hands should be consigned to her. She 
may have been corrupted by her mother's principles. She 
may Heaven forbid ! have fallen into evil courses, and wealth 
would be misspent in her hands. In that case a competence 
sufficing to save her from further degradation, from the tempta- 
jrions of poverty, would be all that I desire you to devote from 
my wealth. On the contrary, you may find in her one who, in 
all respects, ought to be my chief inheritor. All this I leave in 
full confidence to you, as being, of all the men I know, the one 
who unites the highest sense of honor with the largest share of 
practical sense and knowledge of life. The main difficulty, 
whatever this lost girl may derive from my substance, will be in 
devising some means to convey it to her, so that neither she 
nor those around her may trace the bequest to me. She can 
never be acknowledged as my child never ! Your reverence 
for the beloved dead forbids that. This difficulty your clear 
strong sense must overcome : mine is blinded by the shades of 
death. You, too, will deliberately consider how to institute 
the inquiries after mother and child so as not to betray our 
secret. This will require great caution. You will probably 
commence at Paris, through the agency of the police, to whom 
you will be very guarded in your communications. It is most 
unfortunate that I have no miniature of Louise, and that any 
description of her must be so vague that it may not serve to 
discover her ; but such as it is, it may prevent your mistaking 
for her some other of her name. Louise was above the com- 
mon height, and looked taller than she was, with the peculiar 
combination of very dark hair, very fair complexion, and light 
gray eyes. She would now be somewhat under the age of 
forty. She was. not without accomplishments, derived from 
the companionship with her father. She spoke English fluent-. 
ly ; she drew with taste, and even with talent. You will see 
the prudence of confining research at first to Louise, rather 
than to the child who is the principal object of it ; for it is 
not till you can ascertain what has become of her that you can 
trust the accuracy of any information respecting the daughter, 
whom I assume, perhaps after all erroneously, to be mine. 
Though Louise talked with such levity of holding herself free 
to marry, the birth of her child might be sufficient injury to 
her reputation to become a serious obstacle to such second 
nuptials, not having taken formal steps to annul her marriage 



292 THE PARISIANS. 

with myself. If not thus re-married, there would be no reason 
why she should not resume her maiden name of Duval, as she 
did in the signature of her letter to me : finding that I had 
ceased to molest her by the inquiries, to elude which she had 
invented the false statement of her death. It seems probable, 
therefore, that she is residing somewhere in Paris, and in the 
name of Duval. Of course the burden of uncertainty as to 
your future cannot be left to oppress you for an indefinite 
length of time. If at the end, say, of two ) r ears, your re- 
searches have wholly failed, consider three-fourths of my whole 
fortune to have passed to you, and put by the fourth to ac- 
cumulate, should the child afterwards be discovered, and satisfy 
your judgment as to her claims on me as her father. Should 
she not, it will be a reserve fund for your own children. But 
oh, if my child could be found in time ! And oh, if she be all 
that could win your heart, and be the wife you would select 
from free choice ! I can say no more. Pity me, and judge 
leniently of Janet's husband. R. K." 

The key to Graham's conduct is now given ; the deep sor- 
row that took him to the tomb of the aunt he so revered, and 
whose honored memory was subjected to so great a risk ; the 
slightness of change in his expenditure and mode of life, after 
an inheritance supposed to be so ample ; the abnegation of 
his political ambition ; the subject of his inquiries, and the 
cautious reserve imposed upon them ; above all, the position 
towards Isaura in which he was so cruelly placed. 

Certainly, his first thought in revolving the conditions of his 
trust had been that of marriage with this lost child of Richard 
King's, should she be discovered single, disengaged, and not 
repulsive to his inclination. Tacitly he subscribed to the rea- 
sons for this course alleged by the deceased. It was the sim- 
plest and readiest plan of uniting justice to the rightful inher- 
itor with care for a secret so important to the honor of his 
aunt, of Richard King himself his benefactor of the illustrious 
house from which Lady Janet had sprung. Perhaps, too, the. 
consideration that by this course a fortune so useful to his ca- 
reer was secured, was not without influence on the mind of a 
man naturally ambitious. But on that consideration he for- 
bade himself to dwell. He put it away from him as a sin. Yet 
to marriage with any one else, until his mission was fulfilled, 
and the uncertainty as to the extent of his fortune was dis- 
pelled, there interposed grave practical obstacles. How could 
he honestly present himself to a girl and to her parents in the 



THE PARISIANS. $9$ 

light of a rich man, when in reality he might be but a poor 
man ? How could he refer to any lawyer the conditions which 
rendered impossible any settlement that touched a shilling of 
the large sum which at any day he might have to transfer to 
another ? Still, when once fully conscious how deep was the 
love with which Isaura had inspired him, the idea of wedlock 
with the daughter of Richard King, if she yet lived and was 
single, became inadmissible. The orphan condition of the 
young Italian smoothed away the obstacles to proposals ot 
marriage which would have embarrassed his addresses to girls 
of his own rank, and with parents who would have demanded 
settlements. And if he had found Isaura alone on that day on 
which he had seen her last, he would doubtless have yielded to 
the voice of his heart, avowed his love, wooed her own, and 
committed both to the tie of betrothal. We have seen how 
rudely such yearnings of his heart were repelled on that last 
interview. His English prejudices were so deeply rooted, that, 
even if he had been wholly free from the trust bequeathed to 
him, he would have recoiled from marriage with a girl who, in 
the ardor for notoriety, could link herself with such associates 
as Gustave Rameau, by habits a Bohemian, and by principles a 
Socialist. 

In flying from Paris, he embraced the resolve to banish all 
thought of wedding Isaura, and to devote himself sternly to 
the task which had so sacred a claim upon him. Not that he 
could endure the idea of marrying another, even if the lost 
heiress should be all that his heart could have worshipped, had 
that heart been his own to give ; but he was impatient of the 
burden heaped on him ; of the fortune which might not be his, 
of the uncertainty which paralyzed all his ambitious schemes 
for the future. 

Yet, strive as he would and no man could strive mo:e reso- 
lutely he could not succeed in banishing the image of Isaut^i. 
It was with him always ; and with it a sense of irreparable loss, 
of a terrible void, of a pining anguish. 

And the success of his inquiries at Aix-la-Chapelle, while 
sufficient to detain him in the place, was so slight, and ad- 
vanced by such slow degrees, that it furnished no continued 
occupation to his restless mind. M. Renard was acute and 
painstaking. But it was no easy matter to obtain any trace of 
a Parisian visitor to so popular a spa so many years ago. The 
name Duval, too, was so common, that at Aix, as we have seen 
at Paris, time was wasted in the chase of a Duval who proved 
not to be the lost Louise. At last M. Renard chanced on a house 



294 THE PARISIANS. 

in which, in the year 1849, two ladies from Paris had lodged 
for three weeks. One was named Madame Duval, the other 
Madame Marigny. They were both young, both very hand- 
some, and much of the same height and coloring. But Madame 
Marigny was the handsomer of the two. Madame Duval fre- 
quented the gaming-tab lo ,s, and was apparently of very lively 
temper. Madame Marigny lived very quietly, rarely or never 
stirred out, and seemed in delicate health. She, however, 
quitted the apartment somewhat abruptly, and, to the best of the 
lodging-house keeper's recollection, took rooms in the country 
ne.| - Aix she could not remember where. About two months 
aft fr the departure of Madame Marigny, Madame Duval also 
left Aix, and in company with a French gentleman who had 
visited her much of late a handsome man of striking appear- 
ance. The lodging-house keeper did not know what or who he 
was. She remembered that he used to be announced to Madame 
Duval by the name of M. Achille. Madame Duval had never 
been seen again by the lodging-house keeper after she had left. 
But Madame Marigny she had once seen, nearly five years after 
she had quitted the lodgings seen her by chance at the rail- 
way station, recognized her at once, and accosted her, offering 
her the old apartment. Madame Marigny had, however, briefly 
replied that she was only at Aix for a few hours, and should 
quit it the same day. 

The inquiry now turned towards Madame Marigny. The date 
on which the lodging-house keeper had last seen her coincided 
with the year in which Richard King had met Louise. Possi- 
bly, therefore, she might have accompanied the latter to Aix at 
that time, and could, if found, give information as to her subse- 
quent history and present whereabouts. 

After a tedious search throughout all the environs of Aix, 
Graham himself came, by the merest accident, upon the vestiges 
of Louise's friend. He had been wandering alone in the coun- 
try round Aix,when a violent thunderstorm drove him to ask shel- 
ter in the house of a small farmer, situated in a field, a little off 
the byway which he had taken. While waiting for the cessation 
of the storm, and drying his clothes by the fire in a room that 
adjoined the kitchen, he entered into conversation with the far- 
mer's wife, a pleasant, well-mannered person, and made some 
complimentary observation on a small sketch of the house in 
water-colors that hung upon the wall. " Ah," said the farmer's 
wife, "that was done by a French lady who lodged here many 
years ago. She drew very prettily, poor thing." 

" A lady who lodged here many years ago how many ? " 



THE PARISIANS. 295 

"Well, I guess somewhere about twenty." 

" Ah, indeed ! Was it a Madame Marigny ? " 

"BonDieu! That was indeed her name. Did you know 
her ? I should be so glad to hear she is well and I hope 
happy." 

" I do not know where she is now, and am making inquiries 
to ascertain. Pray help me. How long did Madame Marigny 
lodge with you ? " 

" I think pretty well two months ; yes, two months. She left 
a month after her confinement." 

" She was confined here ? " 

" Yes. When she first came, I had no idea that she was en- 
ciente. She had a pretty figure, and no one would have guessed 
it, in the way she wore her shawl. Indeed I only began to sus- 
pect it a few days before it happened ; and that was so sud- 
denly, that all was happily over before we could send for the 
accoucheur" 

" And the child lived ? A girl or a boy ? " 

"A girl the prettiest baby." 

" Did she take the child with her when she went? " 

" No ; it was put out to nurse with a niece of my husband's 
who was confined about the same time. Madame paid liberally 
in advance, and continued to send money half-yearly, till she 
came herself and took away the little girl," 

" When was that? A little less than five years after she had 
left it?" 

" Why, you know all about it, Monsieur ; yes, not quite five 
years after. She did not come to see me, which I thought 
unkind, but she sent me, through my niece-in-law, a real gold 
watch and a shawl. Poor, dear lady for lady she was all 
over with proud ways, and would not bear to be questioned. 
But I am sure she was none of your French light ones, but an 
honest wife like myself, although she never said so." 

" And have you no idea where she was all the five years she 
was away, or where she went after reclaiming her child ? " 

" No, indeed, Monsieur." 

''But her remittances for the infant must have been made by 
letters, and the letters would have had post-marks ?" 

" Well, I dare say : I am no scholar myself. But suppose you 
see Marie Hubert, that is my niece-in-law, perhaps she has 
kept the envelopes." 

%< Where does Madame Hubert live ? " 

" It is just a league off by the short path ; you can't miss the 
way. Her husband has a bit of land of his own, but he ii also 



596 THE PARISIANS. 

a carrier ' Max Hubert, carrier,' written over the door, just 
opposite the first church you get to. The rain has ceased, but 
it may be too far for you to-day." 

" Not a bit of it. Many thanks." 

" But if you find out the dear lady and see her, do tell her 
how pleased I should be to hear good news of her and the little 
one." 

Graham strode on under the clearing skies to the house in- 
dicated. He found Madame Hubert at home, and ready to 
answer all questions ; but, alas ! she had not the envelopes. 
Madame Marigny, on removing the child, had asked for all the 
envelopes or letters, and carried them away with her. Madame 
Hubert, who was as little of a scholar as her aunt-in-law was, 
had never paid much attention to the postmarks on the envel- 
opes ; and the only one that she did remember was the first, that 
contained a banknote, and that postmark was " Vienna." 

" But did not Madame Marigny's letters ever give you an 
address to which to write with news of her child?" 

" I don't think she cared much for her child, Monsieur. 
She kissed it very coldly when she came to take it away. I 
told the poor infant that that was her own mamma ; and 
Madame said, ' Yes, you may call me maman,' in a tone of 
voice well, not at all like that of a mother. She brought 
with her a little bag which contained some fine clothes for the 
child, and was very impatient till the child had got them on." 

" Are you quite sure it was the same lady who left the child ? " 

"Oh, there is no doubt of that. She was certainly ires belle, 
but I did not fancy- her as aunt did. She carried her head 
very high, and looked rather scornful. However, I must say 
she behaved very generously." 

" Still you have not answered my question whether her let- 
ters contained no address." 

"She never wrote -more than two letters. One enclosing the 
first remittance was but a few lines, saying that if the child 
was well and thriving, I need not write ; but if it died or 
became dangerously il), I might at any time write a line to 

Madame M , Poste Restante, Vienna. 'She was travelling 

about, but the letter would be sure to reach her sooner or 
later. The only other letter I had was to apprise me that she 
was coming to remove the child, and might be expected in 
three days after the receipt of her letter. 

" And all the other communications from her were merely 
remittances in blank envelopes?" 

"Exactly so." 



THE PARISIANS. ' 297 

Graham, finding he could learn no more, took his departure. 
On his way home, meditating the new idea that his adventure 
that day suggested, he resolved to proceed at once, accom- 
panied by M. Renard, to Munich, and there learn what par- 
ticulars could be yet ascertained respecting those certificates 
of the death of Louise Duvalto which (sharing Richard King's 
very natural belief that they had been skilfully forged) he had 
hitherto attached no importance. 



CHAPTER VII, 

No satisfactory result attended the inquiries made at 
Munich, save indeed this certainly the certificates attesting 
the decease of some person calling herself Louise Duval had 
not been forged. They were indubitably genuine. A lady 
bearing that name had arrived at one of the principal hotels 
late in the evening, and had there taken handsome rooms. 
She was attended by no servant, but accompanied by a gentle- 
man, who, however, left the hotel as soon as he had seen her 
lodged to her satisfaction. The books of the hotel still re- 
tained the entry of her name Madame Duval, Fran$aise 
rentiere. On comparing the handwriting of this entry with the 
letter from Richard King's first wife, Graham found it differ ; 
but then it was not certain, though probable, that the entry 
had been written by the alleged Madame Duval herself. She 
was visited the next day by the same gentleman who had 
accompanied her on arriving. He dined and spent the even- 
ing with her. But no one at the hotel could remember what 
was the gentleman's name, nor even if he were announced by 
any name. He never called again. Two days afterwards, 
Madame Duval was taken ill ; a doctor was sent for, and at- 
tended her till her death. This doctor was easily found. He 
remembered the case perfectly : congestion of the lungs, 
apparently caused by cold caught on her journey. Fatal 
symptoms rapidly manifested themselves, and she died on the 
third day from the seizure. She was a young and handsome 
woman. He had asked her during her short illness if he 
should not write to her friends ; if there were no one she 
would wish to be sent for. She replied that there was only 
one friend, to whom she had already written, and who would 
arrive in a day or two. And on inquiring, it appeared that she 
had written such a letter, and taken it herself to the post op 
th<? morning of the day she was taken ijl. 



298 THE PARISIANS. 

She had in her purse not a large sura, but money enough to 
cover all her expenses, including those of her funeral, which, 
according to the law in force at the place, followed very 
quickly on her decease. The arrival of the friend to whom 
she had written being expected, her effects were, in the mean- 
time, sealed up. The day after her death, a letter arrived for 
her, which was opened. It was evidently written by a man, 
and apparently by a lover. It expressed an impassioned regret 
that the writer was unavoidably prevented returning to Munich 
so soon as he had hoped, but trusted to see his dear bouton de 
ros3 in the course of the following week ; it was only signed 
Achille, and gave no address. Two or three days after, a lady, 
also young and handsome, arrived at the hotel and inquired for 
Madame Duval. She was greatly shocked at hearing of her 
decease. When sufficiently recovered to bear being questioned 
as to Madame Duval's relations and position, she appeared 
confused ; said, after much pressing, that she was no relation 
to the deceased ; that she believed Madame Duval had no re- 
lations with whom she was on friendly terms, at least she had 
never heard her speak of any ; and that her own acquaintance 
with the deceased, though cordial, was very recent. She could 
or would not give any clue to the writer of the letter signed 
Achille, and she herself quitted Munich that evening, leaving 
the impression that Madame Duval had been one of those 
ladies who, in adopting a course of life at variance with con- 
ventional regulations, are repudiated by their relations, and 
probably drop even their rightful names. 

Achille never appeared ; but a few days after, a lawyer at 
Munich received a letter from another at Vienna, requesting, 
in compliance with a client's instructions, the formal certifi- 
cates of Louise Duval's death. These were sent as directed, 
and nothing more about the ill-fated woman was heard of. 
After the expiration of the time required by la\v-, the seals 
were removed from the -effects, which consisted of two malles 
and a dressing-case. But they only contained the articles 
appertaining to a lady's wardrobe or toilet. No letters not 
even another note from Achille no clue, in short, to the fam- 
ily or antecedents of the deceased. What then had become 
of these effects, no one at the hotel could give a clear or sat- 
isfactory account. It was said by the mistress of the hotel, 
rather sullenly, that they had, she supposed, been sold by her 
predecessor, and by order of the authorities, for the benefit of 
the poor. 

Jf the lady who had represented herself as Louise Puval's, 



THE PARISIANS. 299 

acquaintance had given her own name, which doubtless she 
did, no one recollected it. It was not entered in the books ot 
the hotel, for she had not lodged there ; nor did it appear that 
she had allowed time for formal examination by the civil au- 
thorities. In fact, it was clear that poor Louise Duval had 
been considered as an adventuress by the hotel-keeper and the 
medical attendant at Munich ; and her death had excited so 
little interest, that it was strange that even so many particulars 
respecting it could be gleaned. 

After a prolonged but fruitless stay at Munich, Graham and 
M. Renard repaired to Vienna; there, at least, Madame Ma- 
rignyhad given an address, and there she might be heard of. 

At Vienna, however, no research availed to discover a trace 
of any such person, and in despair Graham returned to En- 
gland in the January of 1870, and left the further prosecution 
of his inquiries to M. Renard, who, though obliged to transfer 
himself to Paris for a time, promised that he would leave no 
stone upturned for the discovery of Madame Marigny ; and 
Graham trusted to that assurance when M. Renard, rejecting 
half of the large gratuity offered him, added, " Je suis Fran$ais ; 
this with me has ceased to be an affair of money ; it has fre- 
come an affair that involves my amour 



CHAPTER VIII. 

IF Graham Vane had been before caressed and courted for 
himself, he was more than ever appreciated by polite society, 
now that he added the positive repute of wealth to that of a 
promising intellect. Fine ladies said that Graham Vane was a 
match for any girl. Eminent politicians listened to him with 
a more attentive respect, and invited him to selecter dinner- 
parties. His cousin the Duke urged him to announce his can- 
didature for the county, and purchase back, at least, the old 
Stamm-schloss. But Graham obstinately refused to entertain 
either proposal, continued to live as economically as before in 
his old apartments, and bore with an astonishing meekness of 
resignation the unsolicited load of fashion heaped upon his 
shoulders. At heart he was restless and unhappy. The mis- 
sion bequeathed to him by Richard King haunted his thoughts 
like a spectre not to be exorcised. Was his whole life to be 
passed in the weary sustainment of an imposture which in itself 
was gall and wormword to a nature constitutionally frank and 
open ? Was he forever to appear a rich man and live as a 



300 THE PARISIANS. 

poor one ? Was he till his deathbed to be deemed a sordid 
miser whenever he refused a just claim on his supposed wealth, 
and to feel his ambition excluded from the objects it earnestly 
coveted, and which he was forced to appear too much of an 
Epicurean philosopher to prize ? 

More torturing than all else to the man's innermost heart 
was the consciousness that he had not conquered, could not 
conquer, the yearning love with which Isaura had inspired 
him, and yet-that against such love all his reasonings, all his 
prejudices, more stubbornly than ever were combined. In the 
French newspapers which he had glanced over while en- 
gaged in his researches in Germany nay, in German critical 
journals themselves he had seen so many notices of the young 
author, highly eulogistic, it is true, but which to his peculiar 
notions were more offensive than if they had been sufficiently 
condemnatory of her work to discourage her from its repeti- 
tion notices which seemed to him the supreme impertinences 
which no man likes exhibited towards the woman to whom he 
would render the chivalrous homage of respect. Evidently 
this girl had become as much public property as if she had 
gone on the stage. Minute details of her personal appearance 
of the dimples on her cheek ; of the whiteness of her arms ; 
of her peculiar way of dressing her hair ; anecdotes of her from 
childhood (of course invented, but how would Graham know 
that ?) ; of the reasons why she had adopted the profession of 
author instead of that of the singer ; of the sensation she had 
created in certain salons (to Graham, who knew Paris so well, 
salons in which he would not have liked his wife to appear) ; 
of the compliments paid to her by grands seigneurs noted for 
their liaisons with ballet-dancers, or by authors whose genius 
soared far beyond the flammantia mxnia of a world confined 
by respect for one's neighbor's landmarks all this, which be- 
longs to ground of personal gossip untou.ched by English 
critics of female writers ground especially favored by Con- 
tinental, and, I am grieved to say, by American journalists 
all this was to the sensitive Englishman much what the minute 
inventory of Egeria's charms would have been to Numa Pom- 
pilius. The nymph, hallowed to him by secret devotion, was 
vulgarized by the noisy hands of the mob, and by the popular 
voices, which said, "We know more about Egeria than you 
do." And when he returned to England, and met with old 
friends familiar to Parisian life, who said, " Of course you have 
read the Cicogna's roman. What do you think of it ? Very 
fine writing, I dare say, but above me. I go in for ' Les Mys. 



THE PARISIANS. 361 

teres de Paris ' or ' Monte Christo.' But I even find Georges 
Sand a bore," then as a critic Graham Vane fired up, ex- 
tolled the roman he would have given his ears for Isaura never 
to have written ; but retired from the contest muttering only, 
" How can I I, Graham Vane how can I be such an idiot 
how can I in every hour of the twenty-four sigh to myself, 
' What are other women to me ? Isaura, Isaura ! ' ' 



BOOK VII. 



CHAPTER I. 

IT is the first week in the month of May, 1870. Celebrities 
are of rapid growth in the salons of Paris. Gustave Rameau 
has gained the position for which he sighed. The journal he 
edits has increased its hold on the public, and his share of the 
profits has been liberally augmented by the secret proprietor. 
Rameau is acknowledged as a power in literary circles. And 
as critics belonging to the same clique praise each other in 
Paris, whatever they may do in communities more rigidly vir- 
tuous, his poetry has been declared by authorities in the press 
to be superior to that of Alfred de Mussel in vigor, to that of 
Victor Hugo in refinement ; neither of which assertions would 
much, perhaps, shock a cultivated understanding." 

It is true that it (Gustave's poetry) has not gained a wide 
audience among the public. But with regard to poetry nowa- 
days, there are plenty of persons who say, as Dr. Johnson said 
of the verse of Spratt, " I would rather praise it than read." 

At all events, Rameau was courted in gay and brilliant circles, 
and following the general example of French litterateurs in 
fashion, lived well up to the income he received, had a delight- 
ful bachelor's apartment, furnished with artistic effect, spent 
largely on the adornment of his person, kept a coupe, and en- 
tertained profusely at the Cafe Anglais and the Maison Doiee. 
A reputation that inspired a graver and more unquiet interest 
had been created by the Vicomte de Mauleon. Recent ar- 
ticles in the Sens Commun, written under the name of Pierre 
Firmin on the discussions on the vexed question of the plebis- 
cite, had given umbrage to the government, and Rameau had 
received an intimation that he, as editor, was responsible for 
the compositions of the contributors to the journal he edited ; 
and that though so long as Pierre Firmin had kept his caustic 



302 THE PARISIANS. 

spirit within proper bounds, the government had winked at 
the evasion of the law which required every political article in 
a journal to be signed by the real name of its author, it could 
do so no longer. Pierre Firmin was apparently a nom deplume ; 
if not, his identity must be proved, or Rameau would pay the 
penalty which his contributor seemed bent on incurring. 

Rameau, much alarmed for the journal that might be sus- 
pended, and for himself who might be imprisoned, conveyed 
this information through the publisher to his correspondent 
Pierre Firmin, and received the next day an article signed 
Victor de Mauleon, in which the writer proclaimed himself to 
be one and the same with Pierre Firmin, and, taking a yet 
bolder tone than he had before assumed, dared the government 
to attempt legal measures against him. The government was 
prudent enough to disregard that haughty bravado, but Victor 
de Mauleon rose at once into political importance. He had al- 
ready in his real name and his quiet way established a popular 
and respectable place in Parisian society. But if this revela- 
tion created him enemies whom he had not before provoked, 
he was now sufficiently acquitted, by tacit consent, of the sins 
formerly laid to his charge, to disdain the assaults of party 
wrath. His old reputation for personal courage and skill in 
sword and pistol served, indeed, to protect him- from such 
charges as a Parisian journalist does not reply to with his pen. 
If he created some enemies, he created many more friends, or 
at least, partisans and admirers. He only needed fine and im- 
prisonment to become a popular hero. 

A few days after he had thus proclaimed himself Victor de 
Mauleon, who had before kept aloof from Rameau, and from 
salons at which he was likely to meet that distinguished minstrel, 
solicited his personal acquaintance, and asked him to breakfast. 

Rameau joyfully went. He had a very natural curiosity to 
see the contributor whose articles had so mainly insured the 
sale of the Sens Commun. 

In the dark-paired, keen-eyed, well-dressed, middle-aged 
man, with commanding port and courtly address, he failed to 
recognize any resemblance to the flaxen-wigged, long-coated, 
bespectacled, shambling sexagenarian whom he had known as 
Lebeau. Only now and then a tone of voice struck him as fa- 
miliar, but h'e could not recollect where he had heard the voice 
it resembled. The thought of Lebeau did not occur to him ; 
if it had occurred it would only have struck him as a chance 
coincidence. Rameau, like most egotists, was rather a dull ob- 
server of men. His genius was not objective. 



THE PARISIANS. 303 

" I trust, Monsieur Rameau," said the Vicomte, as he and his 
guest were seated at the breakfast-table, "that you are not dis- 
satisfied with the remuneration your eminent services in the 
journal have received." 

" The proprietor, whoever he be, has behaved most liber- 
ally," answered Rameau. 

"I take that compliment to myself, cher confrere; for 
though the expenses of starting the Sens Commun, and the 
caution money lodged, were found by a friend of mine, that was 
a loan, which I have long since repaid, and the property in the 
journal is now exclusively mine. I have to thank you not only 
for your own brilliant contributions, but for those of the col- 
leagues you secured. Monsieur Savarin's piquant criticisms 
were most valuable to us at starting. I regret to have lost his 
aid. But as he has set up a new journal of his own, even he 
has not wit enough to spare for another. Apropos of our con- 
tributors, I shall ask you to present me to the fair author of 
' The Artist's Daughter.' I am of too prosaic a nature to, ap- 
preciate justly the merits of a roman ; but I have heard warm 
praise of this story from the young ; they are the best judges 
of that kind of literature ; and I can at least understand the 
worth of a contributor who trebled the sale of our journal. It 
is a misfortune to us, indeed, that her work is completed, but 
I trust that the sum sent to her through our publisher suffices 
to tempt her to favor us with another roman in series." 

" Mademoiselle Cicogna," said Rameau, with a somewhat 
sharper intonation of his sharp voice, " Ifas accepted for the 
republication of her roman in a separate form terms which at- 
test the worth of her genius, and has had offers from other 
journals for a serial tale of even higher amount than the sum 
so generously sent to her through your publisher." 

" Has she accepted them, Monsieur Rameau ? If so, tant 
pis pour vous. Pardon me, I mean that your salary suffers in 
proportion as the Sens Commun declines in sale." 

" She has not accepted them. I advised her not to do so, 
until she could compare them with those offered by the pro- 
prietor of the Sens Commun" 

"And your advice guides her? Ah, cher confrere, you are 
a happy man ! you have influence over this young aspirant to 
the fame of a De Stael or a Georges Sand." 

" I flatter myself that I have some," answered Rameau, smil- 
ing loftily, as he helped himself to another tumbler of Volnay 
wine excellent, but rather heady. 

" So much the better. I leave you free to arrange terms 



364 THE PARISIANS. 

with Mademoiselle Cicogna, higher than she can obtain else* 
where, and kindly contrive my own personal introduction to 
her. You have breakfasted already ? Permit me to offer you 
a cigar-; excuse me if I do not bear you company ; I seldom 
smoke never of a morning. Now to business, and the state of 
France. Take that easy-chair, seat yourself comfortably. 
So ! Listen ! If ever Mephistopheles revisit the earth, how 
he will laugh at Universal Suffrage and Vote by Ballot in an 
old country like France, as things to be admired by edu- 
cated men, and adopted by friends of genuine freedom ! " 

"I don't understand you," said Rameau. 

" In this respect, at least, let me hope that I can furnish you 
with understanding. 

" The Emperor has resorted to a plebiscite, viz., a vote by 
ballot and universal suffrage, as to certain popular changes, 
which circumstances compel him to substitute for his former 
personal rule. Is there a single intelligent Liberal who is not 
against \\\Zi\. plebiscite? Is there any such who does not know 
that the appeal of the Emperor to universal suffrage and vote 
by ballot must result in a triumph over all the variations of free 
thought, by the unity which belongs to Order, represented 
through an able man at the head of the State ? The multitude 
never comprehend principles ; principles are complex ideas ; 
they comprehend a simple idea, and the simplest idea is, a 
Name that rids their action of all responsibility to thought. 

" Well, in France there are principles superabundant which you 
can pit against the principle of Imperial rule. But there is not 
one name you can pit against Napoleon the Third ; therefore, 
I steer our little bark into the teeth of the popular gale when I 
denounce \\\Q plebiscite, and Le Sens Commun will necessarily fall 
in sale it is beginning to fall already. We shall have the edu- 
cated men with us, the rest against. In every country even in 
China, where all are highly educated a few must be yet more 
highly educated than the many. Monsieur Rameau, I desire 
to overthrow the Empire ; in order to do that, it is not enough 
to have on my side the educated men, I must have the canaille 
the canaille of Paris and of the manufacturing towns. But I 
use the canaille for my purpose ; I don't mean to enthrone it. 
You comprehend ? The canaille quiescent is simply mud at 
the bottom of a stream ; the canaille agitated, is mud at the 
surface. But no man capable of three ideas builds the palaces 
and senates of civilized society out of mud, be it at the top or 
the bottom of an ocean. Can either you or I desire that the 
destinies of France shall be swayed by coxcombical artisans 



1-HE PARISIANS. 3&5 

who think themselves superior to every man who writes gram- 
mar, and whose idea of a commonwealth is the confiscation of 
private property?" 

Rameau, thoroughly puzzled by this discourse, bowed his 
head, and replied whisperingly : " Proceed. You are against 
the Empire, yet against the populace ! What are you for ? 
Not, surely, the Legitimists? Are you Republican? Orlean- 
ist ? Or what ? " 

" Your questions are very pertinent," answered the Vicomte 
courteously, " and my answer shall be very frank. lam against 
absolute jule, whether under a Buonaparte or a Bourbon. I 
am for a free State, whether under a constitutional hereditary 
sovereign like the English or Belgian ; or whether, republican 
in name, it be less democratic than constitutional monarchy in 
practice, like the American. But as a man interested in the 
fate of Le Sens Commun, I hold in profound disdain all crotch- 
ets for revolutionizing the elements of Human Nature. Enough 
of this abstract talk. To the point. You are of course 
aware of the violent meetings held by the Socialists, nominally 
against the fle'biscite, really against the Emperor himself?" 

" Yes, I know at least that the working class are extremely 
discontented ; the numerous strikes last month were not on a 
mere question of wages, they were against the existing forms 
of society. And the articles by Pierre Firmin which brought 
me into collision with the government, seemed to differ from 
what you now say. They approve those strikes ; they appeared 
to sympathize with the revolutionary meetings at Belleville and 
Montmartre." 

" Of course we use coarse tools for destroying ; we cast 
them aside for finer ones when we want to reconstruct. 

" I attended one of those meetings last night. See, I have a 
pass for all such assemblies, signed by some dolt who cannot 
even spell the name he assumes ' Pom-de-Tair.' A commis- 
sary of police sat yawning at the end of the orchestra, his sec- 
retary by his side, while the orators stammer out fragments of 
would-be thunderbolts. Commissary of police yawns more 
wearily than before, secretary disdains to use his pen, seizes his 
penknife and pares his nails. Up rises a wild-haired, weak- 
limbed silhouette of a man, and affecting a solemnity of mien 
which might have become the virtuous Guizot, moves this res- 
olution : ' The French people condemns Charles Louis Napo- 
leon the Third to the penalty of perpetual hard labor.' Then 
up rises the commissary of police, and says quietly, ' I declare 
this meeting at an end.' 



306 fHE PARISIANS. 

" Sensation among the audience ; they gesticulate, they 
screech, they bellow ; the commissary puts on his great-coat, 
the secretary gives a last touch to his nails and pockets his pen- 
knife, the audience disperses, the silhouette of a man effaces 
itself all is over." 

" You describe the scene-most wittily," said Rameau, laugh- 
ing, but the laugh was constrained. A would-be cynic himself, 
there was a something grave and earnest in the real cynic that 
awed him. 

" What conclusion do you draw from such a scene, cher 
poete ? " asked De Mauleon, fixing his keen, quiet eyes on 
Rameau. 
, " What conclusion ? Welj, that that " 

" Yes, continue." 

" That the audience were sadly degenerated from the time 
when Mirabeau said to a Master of the Ceremonies, ' We are 
here by the power of the French people, and nothing but the 
point of the bayonet shall expel us.' " 

" Spoken like a poet, a French poet. I suppose you admire 
M. Victor Hugo. Conceding that he would have employed a 
more sounding phraseology, comprising more absolute igno- 
rance of men, times, and manners in unintelligible metaphor and 
melodramatic braggadocio, your answer might have been his ; 
but pardon me if I add, it would not be that of Common Sense" 

" Monsieur le Vicomte might rebuke me more politely," said 
Rameau, coloring high. 

" Accept my apologies ; I did not mean to rebuke, but to 
instruct. The times are not those of 1789. And Nature, ever 
repeating herself in the production of coxcombs and block- 
heads, never repeats herself in the production of Mirabeaus. 
The Empire is doomed doomed, because it is hostile to the 
free play of intellect. Any government that gives absolute 
preponderance to the many is hostile to intellect, for intellect 
is necessarily confined to the few. 

"Intellect is the most revengeful of all the elements of 
society. It cares not what the materials through which it 
insinuates or forces its way to its seat. 

" I accept the aid of Pom-de-Tair. I do not demean myself 
to the extent of writing articles that may favor the principles 
of Pom-de- Tair, signed in the name of Victor de Mauleon or 
of Pierre Firmin. 

"I will beg you, my dear editor, to obtain clever, smart 
writers, who know nothing about Socialists and Internationalists, 
who therefore will not commit Le Sens Commun by advocat- 



THE PARISIANS. 307 

ing the doctrines of those idiots, but who will flatter the vanity 
of the canaille vaguely ; write any stuff they please about the 
renown of Paris, ' the eye of the world,' ' the sun of the Euro- 
pean system,' etc., of the artisans of Paris as supplying soul to 
that eye and fuel to that sun any blague of that sort genre 
Victor Hugo ; but nothing definite against life and property, 
nothing that may not be considered hereafter as the harmless 
extravagance of a poetic enthusiasm. You might write such 
articles yourself. In fine, I want to excite the multitude, and 
yet not to commit our journal to the contempt of the few. 

" Nothing is to be admitted that may bring the law upon us 
except it be signed by my name. There may be a moment in 
which it would be desirabk^for somebody to be sent to prison : 
in that case, I allow no substitute, I go myself. 

"Now you have my most secret thoughts. I entrust them to 
your judgment with entire confidence. Monsieur Lebeau gave 
you a high character, which you have hitherto deserved. By 
the way, have you seen anything lately of that bourgeois con- 
spirator ? " 

" No, his professed business of letter-writer or agent is trans- 
ferred to a clerk, who says M. Lebeau is abroad." 

"Ah ! I don't think that is true. I fancy I saw him the 
other evening gliding along the lanes of Belleville. He is too 
confirmed a conspirator to be long out of Paris ; no place like 
Paris for seething brains." 

"Have you known M. Lebeau long ?" asked Rameau. 

" Ay, many years. We are both Norman by birth, as you 
may perceive by something broad in our accent." 

"Ha! I knew your voice was familiar to me ; certainly it 
does remind me of Lebeau's." 

" Normans are like each other in many tilings besides voice 
and accent ; obstinacy, for instance, in clinging to ideas once 
formed ; this makes them good friends and steadfast enemies. 
I would advise no man to make an enemy of Lebeau. 

"Au revoir, cher confrere. Do not forget to present me to 
Mademoiselle Cicogna." 

CHAPTER II. 

ON leaving De Mauleon and regaining his coupe", Rameau 
felt at once bewildered and humbled, for he was not prepared 
for the tone of careless superiority which the Vicomte as- 
sumed over him. He had expected to be much complimented, 
and he comprehended vaguely that he had been somewhat 



308 THE PARISIANS. 

snubbed. He was not only irritated, he was bewildered, for 
De Mauleon's political disquisitions did not leave any clear or 
definite idea on his mind as to the principles which as editor 
of the Sens Commun he was to see adequately represented and 
carried out. In truth, Rameau was one of those numerous 
Parisian politicians who have read little and reflected less on 
the government of men and States. Envy is said by a great 
French writer to be the vice of Democracies. Envy certainly 
had made Rameau a democrat. He could talk and write 
glibly enough upon the themes of equality and fraternity, and 
was so far an ultra-democrat that he thought 'moderation the 
sign of a mediocre understanding. 

De Mauleon's talk, therefore, terribly perplexed him. It 
was unlike anything he had heard before. Its revolutionary 
professions, accompanied with so much scorn for the multitude 
and the things the multitude desired, were Greek to him. He 
was not shocked by the cynicism which placed wisdom in 
using the passions of mankind as tools for the interests of an 
individual; but he did not understand the frankness of its avowal. 

Nevertheless the man had dominated over and subdued 
him. He recognized the power of his contributor without 
clearly analyzing its nature a power made up of large ex- 
perience of life, of cold examination of doctrines that heated 
others, of patrician calm, of intellectual sneer, of collected 
confidence in self. 

Besides, Rameau felt, with a nervous misgiving, that in this 
man, who so boldly proclaimed his contempt for the instru- 
ments he used, he had found a master. De Mauleon, then, 
was sole proprietor of the journal from which Rameau drew 
his resources ; might at any time dismiss him ; might at any 
time involve the journal in penalties which, even if Rameau 
could escape in his official capacity as editor, still might stop 
the 'Sens Commun, and with it Rameau's luxurious subsistence. 

Altogether the visit to De Mauleon had been anything but a 
pleasant one. He sought, as the carriage rolled on, to turn 
his thoughts to more agreeable subjects, and the image of 
Isaura rose before him. To do him justice he had learned to 
love this girl as well as his nature would permit : he loved her 
with the whole strength of his imagination, and though his 
heart was somewhat cold, his imagination was very ardent. 
He loved her also with the whole strength of his vanity, and 
vanity was even a more preponderant organ of his system than 
imagination. To carry off as his prize one who had already 
achieved celebrity, whose beauty and fascination of manner 



THE PARISIANS. 309 

were yet more acknowledged than her genius, would certainly 
be a glorious triumph. 

Every Parisian of Rameati's stamp looks forward in mar- 
riage to a brilliant salon. What salon more brilliant than that 
which he and Isaura united could command ? He had long 
conquered his early impulse of envy at Isaura's success ; in 
fact, that success had become associated with his own, and 
had contributed greatly to his enrichment/- So that to other 
motives of love he might add the prudential one of interest. 
Rameau well knew that his own vein of composition, however 
lauded by the cliques, and however unrivalled in his own eyes, 
was not one that brings much profit in the market. He com- 
pared himself to those poets who are too far in advance of 
their time to be quite as sure of bread and cheese as they are 
of immortal fame. 

But he regarded Isaura's genius as of. a lower order, and a 
thing in itself very marketable. Marry her, and the bread and 
cheese was so certain that he might elaborate as slowly as he 
pleased the verses destined to immortal fame. Then he should 
be independent of inferior creatures like Victor de Mauleon. 
But while Rameau convinced himself that he was passionately 
in love with Isaura, he could not satisfy himself that she was in 
love with him. 

Though during the past year they had seen each other con- 
stantly, and their literary occupations had produced many 
sympathies between them ; though he had intimated that 
many of his most eloquent love-poems were inspired by her ; 
though he had asserted in prose, very pretty prose too, that she 
was all that youthful poets dream of ; yet she had hitherto 
treated such declarations with a playful laugh, accepting them 
as elegant compliments inspired by Parisian gallantry ; and he 
felt an angry and sore foreboding that if he were to insist too 
seriously on the earnestness of their import, and ask her plainly 
to be his wife, her refusal would be certain, and his visits to 
her house might be interdicted. ^/ 

Still Isaura was unmarried ; still she had refused offers of 
marriage from men higher placed than himself ; still he divined 
no one whom she could prefer. And as he now leaned back in 
his coupe he muttered to himself : " Oh, if I could but get rid 
of that little demon Julie, I would devote myself so completely 
to winning Isaura's heart that I must succeed ! But how to 
get rid of Julie ? She so adores me, and is so headstrong ! 
She is capable of going to Isaura showing my letters making 
such a scene ! " 



310 THE PARISIANS. 

Here he checked the carriage at a cafe on the Boulevard, 
descended, imbibed two glasses of absinthe, and then, feeling 
much emboldened, remounted his coupe and directed the 
driver to Isaura's apartment. 



CHAPTER III. 

YES, celebrities are of rapid growth in the salons of Paris. 
Far more solid than that of Rameau, far more brilliant than 
that of De Mauleon, was the celebrity which Isaura had now 
acquired. She had been unable to retain the pretty suburban 

villa at A . The owner wanted to alter and enlarge it for 

his own residence, and she had been persuaded by Signora 
Venosta, who was always sighing for fresh salons to conquer, 
to remove (towards the close of the previous year) to apart- 
ments in the centre of the Parisian beau monde. Without 
formally professing to receive, on one evening in the week her 
salon was open to those who had eagerly sought her acquaint- 
ance ; comprising many stars in the world of fashion, as well 
as those in the world of art and letters. And as she had now 
wholly abandoned the idea of the profession for which her 
voice had been cultivated, she no longer shrank from the 
exercise of her surpassing gift of song for the delight of pri- 
vate friends. Her physician had withdrawn the interdict on 
such exercise. 

His skill, aided by the rich vitality of her constitution, had 
triumphed over all tendencies to the malady for which he had 
been consulted. To hear Isaura Cicogna sing in her own 
house was a privilege sought and prized by many who never 
read a word of her literary compositions. A good critic of a 
book is rare ; but good judges of a voice are numberless. Add- 
ing this attraction of song jto her youth, her beauty, her frank 
powers of converse, an innocent sweetness of manner free from 
all conventional affectation, and to the fresh novelty of a genius 
which inspired the young witli enthusiasm and beguiled the 
old to indulgence, it was no wonder that Isaura became a 
celebrity at Paris. 

Perhaps it was a wonder that her head was not turned by the 
adulation that surrounded her. But I believe, be it said with 
diffidence, that a woman of mind so superior that the mind 
never pretends to efface the heart, is less intoxicated with flat- 
tery than a man equally exposed to it. 

It is. the strength of her heart that keeps her head sober- 



THE PARISIANS. 31! 

Isaura had never yet overcome her first romance of love ; as 
yet, amid all her triumphs, there was not a day in which her 
thoughts did not wistfully, mournfully, flyback to those blessed 
moments in which she felt her cheek color before a look, her 
heart beat at the sound of a footfall. Perhaps if there had been 
the customary finis to this young romance the lover's deliber- 
ate renunciation, his formal farewell the girl's pride would ere 
this have conquered her affection, possibly who knows ? 
replaced it. 

But, reader, be you male or female, have you ever known 
this sore trial of affection and pride, that from some cause or 
other, to you mysterious, the dear intercourse to which you had 
accustomed the secret life of your life abruptly ceases ; you 
know that a something has come between you and the beloved 
which you cannot distinguish, cannot measure, cannot guess, 
and therefore cannot surmount ; and you say to yourself at the 
dead of solitary night : " Oh for an explanation ! Oh, for one 
meeting more ! All might be so easily set right ; or, if not, I 
should know the worst, and knowing it, could conquer ! " 

This trial was Isaura's. There had been no explanation, no 
last farewell between her and Graham. She divined no wom- 
an lightly makes a mistake there that he loved her. She knew 
that this dread something had intervened between her and him 
when he took leave of her before others so many months ago ; 
that this dread something still continued what was it ? She 
was certain that it would vanish, could they but once meet 
again, and not before others. Oh, for such a meeting ! 

She could not herself destroy hope. She could not marry 
another. She would have no heart to give to another while he 
was free, while in doubt if his heart was still her own. And 
thus her pride did not help her to conquer her affection. 

Of Graham Vane she heard occasionally. He had ceased 
to correspond with Savarin ; but among those who most fre- 
quented her salon were the Morleys. Americans so well edu- 
cated and so well placed as the Morleys knew something about 
every Englishman of the social station of Graham'Vane. Isaura 
learned from them that Graham, after a tour on the Continent, 
had returned to England at the commencement of the year, 
had been invited to stand for Parliament, had refused, that his 
name was in the list published by the Morning Post of the flite 
whose arrivals in London, or whose presence at dinner-tables, 
is recorded as an event. That the Athenaum had mentioned a 
rumor that Graham Vane was the author of a political pamphlet 
which, published anonymously, had made no inconsiderable 



312 THE PARISIANS. 

sensation. Isaura sent to England for that pamphlet : the sub- 
ject was somewhat dry, and the style, though clear and vigor- 
ous, was scarcely of the eloquence which wins the admiration 
of women ; and yet she learned every word of it by heart. 

We know how little she dreamed that the celebrity which 
she hailed as an approach to him was daily making her more 
remote. The sweet labors she undertook for that celebrity, 
continued to be sweetened yet more by secret association with 
the absent one. How many of the passages most admired 
could never have been written had he been never known ! 

And she blessed those labors the more that they upheld her 
from the absolute feebleness of sickened revery, beguiled her 
from the gnawing torture of unsatisfied conjecture. She did 
comply with Madame de Grantmesnil's command ; did pass 
from the dusty, beaten road of life into green fields and along 
flowery river-banks, and did enjoy that ideal by-world. 

But still the one image which reigned over her human heart 
moved beside her in the gardens of fairyland. 



CHAPTER IV. 

ISAURA was seated in her pretty salon, with the Venosta, M. 
Savarin, the Morleys, and the financier Louvier, when Rameau 
was announced. 

" Ha ! " cried Savarin, " we were just discussing a matter 
which nearly concerns you, cher poete. I have not seen you 
since the announcement that Pierre Firmin is no other than 
Victor de Mauleon. Ma foi, that worthy seems likely to be 
as dangerous with his pen as he was once with his sword. The 
article in which he revealed himself makes a sharp lunge on 
the government. 

"Take care of yourself. When hawks and nightingales fly 
together, the hawk may escape, and the nightingale complain of 
the barbarity of kings, in a cage : ' flebiliter gemens infelix 
avis.' " 

" He is not fit to conduct a journal," replied Rameau mag- 
niloquently, " who will not brave a danger for his body in de- 
fence of the right to infinity for his thought." 

" Bravo ! " said Mrs. Morley, clapping her pretty hands. 
" That speech reminds me of home. The French are very 
much like the Americans in their style of oratory." 

" So," said Louvier, " my old friend the Vicomte has come 
put as a writer, a politician, a philosopher ; I feel hurt that he 



THE PARISIANS. 313 

kept this secret from me despite our intimacy. I suppose you 
knew it from the first, M. Rameau ? " 

''No, I was as much taken by surprise as the rest of the 
world. You have long known M. de Mauleon ? " 

" Yes, I may say we began life together that is, much the 
same time." 

"What is he like in appearance ?" asked Mrs. Morley. 

" The ladies thought him very handsome when he was young," 
replied Louvier. " He is still a fine-looking man, about my 
height." 

"I should like to know him," cried Mrs. Morley, " if only to 
tease that husband of mine ! He refuses me the dearest of 
woman's rights I can't make him jealous." 

" You may have the opportunity of knowing this ci-devant 
Lovelace very soon," said Rameau, " for he has begged me to 
present him to Mademoiselle Cicogna, and I will ask her per- 
mission to do so on Thursday evening, when she receives." 

Isaura, who had hitherto attended very listlessly to the con- 
versation, bowed assent. "Any friend of yours will be wel- 
come. But I own the articles signed in the name of Pierre 
Firmin do not prepossess me in favor of their author." 

" Why so ? " asked Louvier ; " Surely you are not an Im- 
perialist ?" 

" Nay, I do not pretend to be a politician at all, but there is 
something in the writing of Pierre Firmin that pains and chills 
me." 

"Yet the secret of its popularity," said Savarin, "is that it 
says what every one says only better." 

" I see now that it is exactly that which displeases me ; it is 
the Paris talk condensed into epigram : the graver it is the less 
it elevates ; the lighter it is, the more it saddens." 

" This is meant to hit me," said Savarin, with his sunny 
laugh "me, whom you call cynical." 

" No, dear M. Savarin ; for above all your cynicism is genu- 
ine gayety, and below^it solid kindness. You have that which 
I do not find in M. de Mauleon's writing, nor often in the talk 
of the salons you have youthfulness." 

" Youthfulness at sixty flatterer ! " 

" Genius does not count its years by the almanac," said Mrs. 
Morley. "I know what Isaura means she is quite right; 
there is a breath of winter in M. de Mauleon's style, and an 
odor of fallen leaves. Not that his diction wants vigor ; on 
the contrary, it is crisp with hoar-frost. But the sentiments 
conveyed by the diction are those of a nature sere and withered. 



3*4 THE PARISIANS. 

And it is in this combination of brisk words and decayed feel- 
ings that his writings represent the talk and mind of Paris. 
He and Paris are always fault-finding ; fault-finding is the 
attribute of old age." 

Colonel Morley looked round with pride, as much as to say, 
"Clever talker, my wife." 

Savarin understood that look, and replied to it courteously. 
"Madame has a gift of expression which Emile de Girardin 
can scarcely surpass. But when she blames us for fault-find- 
ing, can she expect the friends of liberty to praise the present 
style of things ? " 

" I should be obliged to the friends of liberty," said the Colo- 
nel dryly, " to tell me how that state of things is to be mended. 
I find no enthusiasm for the Orleanists, none for a Republic ; 
people sneer at religion ; no belief in a cause ; no adher- 
ence to an opinion. But the worst of it is that, likey all peo- 
ple who are blas/s, the Parisians are eager for strange excite- 
ment, and ready to listen to any oracle who promises a relief 
from indifferentism. This it is which makes the Press more 
dangerous in France than it is in any other country. Else- 
where the Press sometimes leads, sometimes follows, public 
opinion. Here there is no public opinion to consult : and in- 
stead of opinion the Press represents passion." 

" My dear Colonel Morley," said Savarin, " I hear you very 
often say that a Frenchman cannot understand America. Per- 
mit me to observe that an American cannot understand France 
or at least Paris. Apropos of Paris, that is a large specula- 
tion of yours, Louvier, in the new suburb." 

" And a very sound one; I advise you to invest in it. I can 
secure you at present 5 per cent, on the rental ; that is noth- 
ing ; the houses will be worth double when the Rue de Louvier 
is completed." 

" Alas ! I have no money ; my new journal absorbs all my 
capital." 

" Shall I transfer the money I hold for you, Signorina, and add 
to them whatever you may have made by your delightful roman, 
as yet lying idle, to this investment ? I cannot say more in its 
favor than this I have embarked a very large portion of my 
capital in the Rue de Louvier, and I flatter myself that I am 
not one of those men who persuade their friends to do a fool- 
ish thing by setting them the example." 

" Whatever you advise on such a subject," said Isaura 
graciously, " is sure to be as wise as it is kind." 

"You consent, then ?" 



THE PARISIANS. 3^5 

"Certainly." 

Here the Venosta, who had been listening with great atteru 
tion to Louvier's commendation of this investment, drew him 
aside, and whispered in his ear : " I suppose, M. Louvier, that 
one can't put a little money a very little money -poco-poco- 
pocolinO) into your street." 

" Into my street ! Ah, I understand into the speculation 
of the Rue de Louvier ! Certainly you can. Arrangements 
are made on purpose to suit the convenience of the smallest 
capitalists from 500 francs upwards." 

" And you feel quite sure that we shall double our money 
when the street is completed I should not like to have my 
brains in my heels. " ! 

" More than double it, I hope, long before the street is com- 
pleted." 

" I have saved a little money very little. I have no rela-. 
tions, and I mean to leave it all to the Signorina ; and if it could 
be doubled, why, there would be twice as much to leave her." 

" So there would," said Louvier. " You can't do better than 
put it all into the Rue de Louvier. I will send you the neces- 
sary papers to-morrow, when I send hers to the Signorina." 

Louvier here turned to address himself to Colonel Morley, 
but finding that degenerate son of America indisposed to get 
cent, per cent, for his money when offered by a Parisian, he 
very soon took his leave. The other visitors followed his ex- 
ample except Rameau, who was left alone with the Venosta 
and Isaura. The former had no liking for Rameau, who showed 
her none of the attentions her innocent vanity demanded, and 
she soon took herself off to her own room to calculate the 
amount of her savings, and dream of the Rue de Louvier and 
" golden joys." 

Rameau approaching his chair to Isaura's then commenced 
conversation, drily enough, upon pecuniary matters ; acquit- 
ting himself of the mission with which De Mauleon had charged 
him, the request for a new work from her peTi for the Sens 
Commun, and the terms that ought to be asked for compliance. 
The young lady author shrank from this talk. Her private 
income, though modest, sufficed for her wants, and she felt a 
sensitive shame in the sale of her thoughts and fancies. 

Putting hurriedly aside the mercantile aspect of the question, 
she said that she had no other work in her mind at present ; 
that, whatever her vein of invention might be, it flowed at it? 
own will, and could not be commanded. 

* " Avere it cervello nella culcagna "-viz., to act without prudent reflection. 



316 THE PARISIANS. 

" Nay," said Rameau, " this is not true. We fancy, in vuf 
hours of indolence, that we must wait for inspiration ; but 
once force ourselves to work, and ideas spring forth at the 
wave of the pen. You may believe me here I speak from 
experience : I, compelled to work, and in modes not to my 
taste I do my task I know not how. I rub the lamp, ' the 
genius comes.' " 

"I have read in some English author that motive power is 
necessary to continued labor : you have motive power, I have 
none." 

"I do not quite understand you." 

" 1 mean that a strong ruling motive is required to persist in 
any regular course of action that needs effort : the motive with 
the majority of men is the need of subsistence ; with a large 
number (as in trades or professions), not actually want, but a 
desire of gain, and perhaps of distinction, in their calling : the 
desire of professional distinction expands into the longings for 
more comprehensive fame, more exalted honors, with the few 
who become great writers, soldiers, statesmen, orators." 

"And do you mean to say you have no such motive?" 

"None in the sting of want, none in the desire of gain." 

"But fame?" 

" Alas ! I thought so once. I know not now I begin to 
doubt if fame should be sought by women." This was said 
very dejectedly. 

" Tut, dearest Signorina ! What gadfly has stung you ? 
Your doubt is a weakness unworthy of your intellect ; and even 
were it not, genius is destiny and will be obeyed : you must 
write despite yourself, and your writing must bring fame, 
whether you wish it or not." 

Isaura was silent, her head drooped on her breast there 
were tears in her downcast eyes. 

Rameau took her hand, which she yielded to him passively, 
and clasping it jn both his own, he rushed on impulsively. 

"Oh, I know what these misgivings are when we feel our- 
selves solitary, unloved : how often have they been mine ! But 
how different would labor be if shared and sympathized with 
by a congenial mind, by a heart that beats in unison with one's 
own ! " 

Isaura's breast heaved beneath her robe, she sighed softly. 

"And then how sweet the fame of which the one we love is 
proud ! How trifling becomes the pang of some malignant 
depreciation, which a word from the beloved one can soothe ! 
O Signorina! O Isaura! are we not made for each other? 



THE PARISIANS. 317 

Kindred pursuits, hopes, and fears in common ; the same race 
to run, the same goal to win ! I need a motive, stronger than 
I have yet known, for the persevering energy that insures suc- 
cess : supply to me that motive. Let me think that whatever 
1 win in the strife of the world is a tribute to Isaura. No, do 
not seek to withdraw this hand, let me claim it as mine for life. 
1 love you as man never loved before do not reject my love." 

They say the woman who hesitates is lost. Isaura hesitated, 
but was not yet lost. The words she listened to moved her 
deeply. Offers of marriage she had already received: one 
from a rich, middle-aged noble, a devoted musical virtuoso ; one 
from a young avocat fresh from the provinces, and somewhat 
calculating on her dot ; one from a timid but enthusiastic ad- 
mirer of her genius and her beauty, himself rich, handsome, of 
good birth, but with shy manners and faltering tongue. 

But these had made their proposals with the formal respect 
habitual to French decorum in matrimonial proposals. Words 
so eloquently impassioned as Gustave Rameau's had never be- 
fore thrilled her ears. Yes, she was deeply moved ; and yet, 
by that very emotion she knew that it was not to the love of 
this wooer that her heart responded. 

There is a circumstance in the history of courtship familiar 
to the experience of many women, that while the suitor is 
pleading his cause, his language may touch every fibre in the 
heart of his listener, yet substitute, as it were, another presence 
for his own. She may be saying to herself, "Oh, that another 
had said those words ! " and be dreaming of the other, while 
she hears the one. 

Thus it was now with Isaura, and not till Rameau's voice had 
ceased did that dream pass away, and with a slight shiver she 
turned her face towards the wooer, sadly and pityingly. 

"It cannot be," she said, in a low whisper": " I were not 
worthy of your love could I accept it. Forget that you have 
so spoken ; let me still be a friend admiring your genius, in- 
terested in your career. I cannot be more. Forgive me if I 
unconsciously led you to think I could, I am so grieved to pain 
you." 

" Am I to understand," said Rameau coldly, for his amour 
propre was resentful, " that the proposals of another have been 
more fortunate than mine ? And he named the youngest and 
comeliest of those whom she had rejected. 

"Certainly not," said Isaura. 

Rameau rose and went to the window, turning his face from 
her. In reality he was striving to collect his thoughts and de- 



318 THE PARISIANS. 

cide on the course it were most prudent for him now to pursue. 
The fumes of the absinthe which had, despite his previous fore- 
bodings, emboldened him to hazard his avowal, had now sub- 
sided into the languid reaction which is generally consequent 
on that treacherous stimulus, a reaction not unfavorable to 
passionless reflection. He knew that if he said he could not con- 
quer his love, he would still cling to hope, and trust to persever- 
ance and time, he should compel Isaura to forbid his visits, and 
break off their familiar intercourse. This would be fatal to the 
chance of yet winning her, and would also be of serious dis- 
advantage to his more worldly interests. Her literary aid 
might become essential to the journal on which his fortunes 
depended ; and at all events, in her conversation, in her 
encouragement, in her sympathy with the pains and joys of his 
career, he felt a support, a comfort, nay, an inspiration. For 
the spontaneous gush of her fresh thoughts and fancies served 
to recruit his own jaded ideas, and enlarge his own stinted 
range of invention. No, he could not commit himself to the 
risk of banishment from Isaura. 

And mingled with meaner motives for discretion, there was 
one of which he was but vaguely conscious, purer and nobler. 
In the society of this girl, in whom whatever was strong and 
high in mental organization became so sweetened into feminine 
grace by gentleness of temper and kindliness of disposition, 
Rameau felt himself a better man. The virgin-like dignity 
with which she moved, so untainted by a breath of scandal, 
amid salons in which the envy of virtues doubted sought to 
bring innocence itself into doubt, warmed into a genuine rever- 
ence the cynicism of his professed creed. 

While with her, while under her chastening influence, he was 
sensible of a poetry infused within him far more true to the 
Camcenae than all he had elaborated into verse. In these 
moments he was ashamed of the vices he had courted as dis- 
tractions. He imagined that, with her all his own, it would be 
easy to reform. 

No ; to withdraw wholly from Isaura was to renounce his 
sole chance of redemption. 

While these thoughts, which it takes so long to detail, passed 
rapidly through his brain, he felt a soft touch on his arm, and, 
turning his face slowly, encountered the tender, compassionate 
eyes of Isaura. 

" Be consoled, dear friend," she said, with a smile, half 
cheering, half mournful. " Perhaps for all true artists the 
solitary lot is the best." 



THE PARISIANS. 319 

"I will try to think so," answered Rameau ; "and mean- 
while I thank you with a full heart for the sweetness with 
which you have checked my presumption the presumption 
shall not be repeated. Gratefully I accept the friendship you 
deign to tender me. You bid me forget the words I uttered. 
Promise in turn \\\a.t you will forget them or at least .consider 
them withdrawn. You will receive me still as a friend ? " 

" As friend, surely ; yes. Do we not both need friends ? " 
She held out her hand as she spoke ; he bent over it, kissed it 
with rer.pect, and the interview thus closed. 



CHAPTER V. 

IT was late in the evening of that day when a man who had 
the appearance of a decent bourgeois, in the lower grades of that 
comprehensive class, entered one of the streets in the Fau- 
bourg Moatmartre,'tenaTited chiefly by artisans. He paused at 
the cper, doorway of a tall, narrow house, and drew back as 
he heard footsteps descending a very gloomy staircase. 

The light from a gas-lamp on the street fell full on the face 
of the person thus quitting the house the face of a young and 
handsome man, dressed with the quiet elegance which be- 
tokened one of higher rank or fashion than that neighborhood 
was habituated to find among its visitors. The first comer re- 
treated promptly into the shade, and, as by sudden impulse, 
drew his hat low down over his eyes. 

Th<.> other man did not, however, observe him, went his way 
with quick step along the street, and entered another house 
some yards distant. 

" What can that pious Bourbonite do here ? " muttered the 
first comer. "Can he be a conspirator? Diable ! 'tis as dark 
as Erebus on that staircase." 

Taking cautious hold of the banister, the man now ascended 
the stairs. On the landing of the first floor there was a gas- 
lamp which threw upward a faint ray that finally died at the 
third story. But at that third story the man's journey ended ; 
he pulled a bell at the door to the right, and in another mo- 
ment or so the door was opened by a young woman of twenty- 
eight or thirty, dressed very simply, but with a certain neat- 
ness not often seen in the wives of artisans in the Faubourg 
Montmartre. Her face,which, though pale and delicate, retained 
much of the beauty of youth, became clouded as she recognized 
the visitor ; evidently the visit was not welcome to her. 



320 THE' PARISIANS. 

" Monsieur Lebeau again ! " she exclaimed, shrinking back. 

"At your service, chtre dame. The goodman is of course at 
home? Ah, I catch sight of him," and sliding by the woman, 
M. Lebeau passed the narrow lobby in which she stood, 
through the open door conducting into the room in which Ar- 
niand Monnier was seated, his chin propped on his hand, his 
elbow resting on a table, looking abstractedly into space. In 
a corner of the room two small children were playing languidly 
with a set of bone tablets, inscribed with the letters of the 
alphabet. But whatever the children were doing with the 
alphabet, they were certainly not learning to read from it. 

The room was of fair size and height, and by no means 
barely or shabbily furnished. There was a pretty clock on the 
mantelpiece. On the wall were hung designs for the decora- 
tion of apartments, and shelves on which were ranged a few 
books. 

The window was open, and on the sill were placed flower- 
pots ; you could scent the odor they wafted into the roo'n. 

Altogether it was an apartment suited to a skilled artisan 
earning high wages. From the room we are now in branched 
on one side a small but commodious kitchen ; on the other 
side, on which the door was screened by a portiere, with a 
border prettily worked by female hands some years ago, for 
it was faded now was a bedroom, communicating with one 
of less size in which the children slept. We do not enter these 
additional rooms, but it may be well here to mention them as 
indications of the comfortable state of an intelligent skilled 
artisan of Paris, who thinks he can better that state by some 
revolution which may ruin his employer. 

Monnier started up at the entrance of Lebeau, and his face 
showed that he did not share the dislike to the visit which that 
of the female partner of his life had evinced. On the con- 
trary, his smile was cordial, and there was a hearty ring in the 
voice which cried out : 

" I am glad to see you something to do ? Eh ? " 

" Always ready to work for liberty, mon brave." 

" I hope so : What's in the wind now ?" 

"O Armand, be prudent be prudent ! " cried the woman 
piteously. "Do not lead him into further mischief, Monsieur 
Lebeau": as she faltered forth the last words, she bowed her 
head over the two little ones, and her voice died in sobs. 

" Monnier," said Lebeau gravely, " Madame is right. I 
ought not to lead you into further mischief ; there are three in 
the room who have better claims on you than " 



THE PARISIANS. 32! 

" The cause of the millions," interrupted Monnier. 

" No." 

He approached the woman and took up one of the children 
very tenderly, stroking back its curls and kissing the face, 
which, if before surprised and saddened by the mother's sob, 
now smiled gayly under the father's kiss. 

" Canst thou doubt, my Heloise," said the artisan mildly, 
" that whatever I do thou and these are not uppermost in my 
thoughts ? I act for thine interest and theirs the world as it 
exists is the foe of you three. The world I will replace it by 
will be more friendly." 

The poor woman made no reply, but as he drew her towards 
him, she leant her head upon his breast and wept quietly. 
Monnier led her thus from the room whispering words of sooth- 
ing. The children followed the parents into the adjoining 
chamber. In a few minutes Monnier returned, shutting the 
door behind him, and drawing the portiere close. 

" You will excuse me, Citizen, and my poor wife wife she 
is to me and to all who visit here, though the law says she is 
not." 

" I respect Madame the more for her dislike to myself," said 
Lebeau, with a somewhat melancholy smile. 

" Not dislike to you personally, Citizen, but dislike to the 
business which she connects with your visits, and she is more 
than usually agitated on that subject this evening, because, 
just before you came, another visitor had produced a great 
effect on her feelings poor dear Heloise." 

"Indeed! How?" 

" Well, I was employed in the winter in redecorating the 
salon and boudoir of Madame de Vandemar ; her son, M. 
Raoul, took great interest in superintending the details. He 
would sometimes talk to me very civilly, not only on my work, 
but on other matters. It seems that Madame now wants 
something done to the salle-a-manger, and asked old Gerard 
my late master, you know to send me. Of course he said 
that was impossible ; for, though I was satisfied with my own 
wages, I had induced his other men to strike, and was one of 
the ringleaders in the recent strike of artisans in general a 
dangerous man, and he would have nothing more to do with 
me. So M. Raoul came to see and talk with me scarce gone 
before you rang at the bell ; you might almost have met him on 
the stairs." 

" I saw a beau monsieur come out of the house. And so his 
talk has affected Madame/' 



322 THE PARISIANS. 

\ 

" Very much ; it was quite brother-like. He is one of the 
religious set, and they always get at the weak -side of the soft 
sex." 

" Ay," said Lebcau thoughtfully ; " if religion were banished 
from the laws of men, it would still find a refuge in the hearts 
of women. But Raoul de Vandemar did not presume to preach 
to Madame upon the sin of loving you and your children ?" 

"I should like to have heard him preach to her," cried 
Monnier fiercely. " No, he only tried to reason with me 
about matters he could not understand." 

"Strikes?" 

"Well, not exactly strikes; he did not contend that we 
workmen had not full right to combine and to strike for obtain- 
ing fairer money's worth for our work ; but he tried to per- 
suade me that where, as in my case, it was not a matter of 
wages, but of political principle, of war against capitalists, I 
could but injure myself and mislead others. He wanted to 
reconcile me to old Gerard, or to let him find me employment 
elsewhere ; and when I told him that my honor forbade me to 
make terms for myself till those with whom I was joined were 
satisfied, he said, ' But if this lasts much longer your children 
will not look so rosy'; then poor Heloise began to wring her 
hands and cry, and he took me aside and wanted to press 
money on me as a loan. He spoke so kindly that I could not 
be angry ; but when he found I would take nothing, he asked 
me about some families in the street of whom he had a list, 
and who, he was informed, were in great distress. That is true ; 
I am feeding some "of them myself out of my savings. You 
see, this young Monsieur belongs to a society of men, many as 
young as he is, which visits the poor and dispenses charity. 
I did not feel I had a right to refuse aid for others, and I told 
him where his money would be best spent. I suppose he went 
there when he left me." 

" I know the society you mean, that of St. Franfois de Sales. 
It comprises some of the most ancient of that old noblesse, to 
which the ouvriers in the great Revolution were so remorse- 
less." 

"We ouvriers are wiser now ; we see that in assailing t/iem, 
we gave ourselves worse tyrants in the new aristocracy of the 
capitalists. Our quarrel now is that of artisans against em- 
ployers." 

" Of course, I am aware of that ; but to leave general pol" 
itics, tell me frankly, How has the strike affected you as yet ? 
I mean in purse. Can you stand its pressure ? If not, you are 



THE PARISIANS. 323 

above the false pride of not taking help from me, a fellow- 
conspirator, though you were justified in refusing it when of- 
fered by Raoul de Vandemar, the servant of the Church." 

" Pardon, I refuse aid from any one, except for the common 
cause. But do not fear for me, I ani not pinched as yet. I 
have had high wages for some years, and since I and Heloise 
came together, I have not wasted a sou out of doors, except in 
the way of public duty, such as making converts at the Jean 
Jacques and elsewhere ; a glass of beer and a pipe don't cost 
much. And Heloise is such a housewife, so thrifty, scolds me 
if I buy her a ribbon, poor love ! No wonder that I would 
pull down a society that dares to scoff at her dares to say 
she is not my wife, and her children are base-born. No, I 
have some savings left yet. War to society, war to the knife ! " 

"Monmer," said Lebeau, in a voice that evinced emotion, 
''listen to me : I have received injuries from society which, 
when they were fresh, half-maddened me that is twenty 
years ago. I would then have thrown myself into any plot 
against society that proffered revenge ; but society, my friend, 
is a wall of very strong masonry, as it now stands ; it may be 
sapped in the course of a thousand years, but stormed in a 
day no. You dash your head against it you scatter your 
brains, and you dislodge a stone. Society smiles in scorn, 
effaces the stain, and replaces the stone. I no longer war 
against society. I do war against a system in that society 
which is hostile to me systems in France are easily overthrown. 
I say this because I want to use you, and I do not want to de- 
ceive." 

" Deceive me, bah ! You are an honest man," cried Mon- 
nier ; and he seized Lebeau's hand, and shook it with warmth 
and vigor. " But for you I should have been a mere grumbler. 
No doubt I should have cried out where the shoe pinched, 
and railed against laws that vex me ; but from the moment 
you first talked to me I became a new man. You taught me 
to act, as Rousseau and Madame de Grantmesnil had taught 
me to think and to feel. There is my brother, a grumbler, too, 
but professes to have a wiser head than mine. Pie is always 
warning me against you; against joining a strike; against 
doing anything to endanger my skin. I always went by his 
advice till you taught me that it was well enough for women to 
talk and complain ; men should dare and do." 

" Nevertheless," said Lebeau, " your brother is a safer 
councillor to a.ptre de famille than I. I repeat what I have so 
often said before : I desire and I resolve, that the Empire of 



324 THE PARISIANS. 

M. Bonaparte shall be overthrown. I see many concurrent 
circumstances to render that desire and resolve of practicable 
fulfilment. You desire and resolve the same thing. Up to 
that point we can work together. I have encouraged your 
action only so far as it served my design ; but I separate from 
you the moment you would ask me to aid your design in the 
hazard of experiments which the world has never yet favored, 
and trust me, Monnier, the world never will favor." 

" That remains to be seen," said Monnier, with compressed, 
obstinate lips. " Forgive me, but you are not young ; you be- 
long to an old school." 

"Poor young man ! " said Lebeau, readjusting his spectacles, 
"I recognize in you the genius of Paris, be the genius good or 
evil. Paris is never warned by experience. Be it so. I want 
you so much, your enthusiasm is so fiery, that I can concede no 
more to the mere sentiment which makes me say to myself, 
' It is a shame to use this great-hearted, wrong-headed creature 
for my personal ends.' 1 come at once to the point that is, 
the matter on which I seek you this evening. At my sugges- 
tion, you have been a ringleader in strikes which have terribly 
shaken the Imperial system, more than its Ministers deem ; 
now I want a man like you to assist in a bold demonstration 
against the Imperial resort to a rural priest-ridden suffrage, on 
the part of the enlightened working class of Paris." 

"Good ! " said Monnier. 

" In a day or two the result of the plebiscite will be known. 
The result of universal suffrage will be enormously in favor of 
the desire expressed by one man." 

"I don't believe it," said Monnier stoutly. "France can- 
not be so hoodwinked by the priests." 

" Take what I say for granted," resumed Lebeau calmly. 
" On the 8th of this month we shall know the amount of the 
majority some millions of French votes. I want Paris to 
separate itself from France, and declare against those blunder- 
ing millions. I want an e'meute, or rather a menacing ddmon- 
stration, not a premature revolution, mind. You must avoid 
bloodshed." 

" It is easy to say that beforehand ; but when a crowd of 
men once meets in the streets of Paris " 

"It can do much by meeting, and cherishing resentment if 
the meeting be dispersed by an armed force, which it would 
be waste of life to resist." 

"We shall see when the time comes," said Monnier, with a 
fierce gleam in his bold eyes. 



THE PARISIANS. 325 

" I tell you, all that is required at this moment is an evidenv 
protest of the artisans of Paris against the votes of the ' rurals' 
of France. Do you comprehend me?" 

" I think so ; if not, I obey. What we ouvriers want is what 
we have not got a head to dictate action to us." 

"See to this, then. Rouse the men you can command. I 
will take care that you have plentiful aid from foreigners. We 
may trust to the confreres of our council to enlist Poles and 
Italians ; Gaspard le Noy will turn out the volunteer rioters at 
his command. Let the emeute be within, say a week, after the 
vote of the plebiscite is taken. You will need that time to 
prepare." 

" Be contented it shall be done." 

" Good-night, then." Lebeau leisurely took up his hat and 
drew on his gloves, then, as if struck by a sudden thought, he 
turned briskly on the artisan, and said in quick, blunt tones: 

" Armand Monnier, explain to me why it is that you, a 
Parisian artisan, the type of a class the most insubordinate, 
the most self-conceited, that exists on the face of earth, take 
without question, with so docile a submission, the orders of a 
man who plainly tells you he does not sympathize in your ulti- 
mate objects, of whom you really know very little, and whose 
views you candidly own you think are those of an old and ob- 
solete school of political reasoners." 

"You puzzle me to explain," said Monnier, with an ingenuous 
laugh, that brightened up features stern and hard, though 
comely when in repose. " Partly, because you are so straight- 
forward, and do not talk blague; partly, because I don't think 
the class I belong to would stir an inch unless we had a leader 
of another class, and you give me at least that leader. Again, 
you go to that first stage which we all agree to take, and well, 
do you want me to explain more? " 

" YesT" 

"Eh bicn! you have warned me like an honest man ; like 
an honest man I warn you. That first step we take together ; 
I want to go a step further; you retreat, you say 'No': I 
reply you are committed ; that further step you must take, or 
I cry ' Traitre ! a la lanterne ! ' You talk of ' superior experi- 
ence': bah! what does experience really tell you ? Do you 
suppose that Philippe Egalite", when he began to plot against 
Louis XVI., meant to vote for his kinsman's execution by the 
guillotine? Do you suppose that Robespierre, when he com- 
menced his career as the foe of capital punishment, foresaw 
that he should be the Minister of the Reign of Terror ? Not a 



326 THE PARISIANS. 

bit of it. Each was committed by his use of those he designed 
for his tools : so must you be or you perish." 

Lebeau, leaning against the door, heard the frank avowal he 
had courted without betraying a change of countenance. But 
when Armand Monnier had done, a slight movement of his lips 
showed emotion ; was it of fear or disdain ? 

" Monnier," he said gently ; " I am so much obliged to you 
for the manly speech you have made. The scruples which my 
conscience had before entertained are dispelled. I dreaded 
lest I, a declared wolf, might seduce into peril an innocent 
sheep. I see I have to deal with a wolf of younger vigor and 
sharper fangs than myself so much the better : obey my 
orders now ; leave it to time to say whether I obey yours later. 
A u revoir" 

CHAPTER VI. 

ISAURA'S apartment, on the following Thursday evening, was 
more filled than usual. Besides her habitual devotees in the 
artistic or literary world, there were diplomatists and deputies 
commixed with many fair chiefs of la jeunesse dore'e ; amongst 
the latter the brilliant Enguerrand de Vandemar, who, deeming 
the acquaintance of every celebrity essential to his own celeb- 
rity, in either Carthage, the beau monde or the demi-monde, had, 
two Thursdays before, made Louvier attend her soiree and 
present him. Louvier, though gathering to his own salons 
authors and artists, very rarely favored their rooms with his 
presence ; he did not adorn Isaura's party that evening. But 
Duplessis was there, in compensation. Jt had chanced that 
Vale'rie had met Isaura at some house in" the past winter, and 
conceived an enthusiastic affection for her : since then, Valerie 
came very often to see her, and made a point of dragging with 
her to Isaura's Thursday reunions her obedient father. "Soir/es, 
musical or literary, were not much in his line ; but he had no 
pleasure like that of pleasing his spoilt child. Our old friend 
Frederic Lemercier was also one of Isaura's guests that night. 
He had become more and more intimate with Duplessis, and 
Duplessis had introduced him to the fair Valerie as " unjeune 
homme plein de moyens, qui ira loin" 

Savarin was there of course, and brought with him an English 
gentleman of the name of Bevil, as well known at Paris as in 
London invited every where, popular everywhere one of those 
welcome contributors to the luxuries of civilized society who 
trade in gossip, sparing no pains to get the pick of it, and 



THE PARISIANS, 327 

ftxhanging it liberally sometimes (or a haunch of vension, some- 
times for a cup of tea. His gossip not being adulterated with 
malice was in high repute for genuine worth. 

If Bevil said, "This story is a. fact," you no more thought 
of doubting him^than you would doubt Rothschild if he said, 
" This is Lafitte of "48." 

Mr. Bevil was at present on a very short stay at Paris, and, 
naturally wishing to make the most of his time, he did not tarry 
beside Savarin, but, after being introduced to Isaura, flitted 
here and there through the assembly. 

" Apis Matinee 
More modoque 
Grata carpenlis thyma " 

The bee proffers honey, but bears a sting. 

The room was at its fullest when Gustave Rameau entered, 
accompanied by Monsieur de Mauleon. 

Isaura was agreeably surprised by the impression made on 
her by the Vicomte's appearance and manner. His writings, 
and such as she had heard of his earlier repute, had prepared 
her to see a man decidedly old, of withered aspect and sar- 
donic smile, aggressive in demeanor, forward or contemptuous 
in his very politeness a Mephistopheles engrafted on the 
stem of a Don Juan. She was startled by the sight of one 
who, despite his forty-eight years and at Paris a man is 
generally older at forty-eight than he is elsewhere seemed in 
the zenith of ripened manhood ; startled yet more by the 
singular moflesty of a deportment too thoroughly highbred not 
to be quietly simple ; startled most by a melancholy expres- 
sion in eyes that could be at times soft, though always so keen, 
and in the grave, pathetic smile which seemed to disarm cen- 
sure of past faults in saying, "I have known sorrows." 

He did not follow up his introduction to his young hostess 
by any of the insipid phrases of compliment to which she was 
accustomed ; but, after expressing in grateful terms his thanks 
for the honor she had permitted Rameau to confer on him, he 
moved aside, as if he had no right to detain her from other 
guests more worthy her notice, towards the doorway, taking 
his place by Enguerrand amidst a group of men of whom 
Duplessis was the central figure. 

At that time the first week in May, 1870 all who were 
then in Paris will remember there were two subjects upper- 
most in the mouths of men : first, the plebiscite; secondly, the 
conspiracy to murder the Emperor, which the disaffected con- 



328 THE PARISIANS. 

<.idered to be a mere fable, a pretence got up in time to serve 
the plebiscite and prop the Empire. 

Upon this latter subject Duplessis had been expressing him- 
self with unwonted animation. A loyal and earnest Imperial- 
ist, it was only with effort that he could repress his scorn of 
that meanest sort of gossip which is fond of ascribing petty 
motives to eminent men. 

To him nothing could be more clearly evident than the real- 
ity of this conspiracy, and he had no tolerance for the malig- 
nant absurdity of maintaining that the Emperor or his Minis- 
ters could be silly and wicked enough to accuse seventy-two 
persons of a crime which the police had been instructed to in- 
vent. 

As De Mauleon approached, the financier brought his 
speech to an abrupt close. He knew in the Vicomte de Maul- 
e"on the writer of articles which had endangered the govern- 
ment, and aimed no pointless shafts against its Imperial head. 

" My cousin," said Enguerrand gayly, as he exchanged a 
cordial shake of the hand with Victor, " ^congratulate you on 
the fame of journalist, into which you have vaulted, armed 
cap-a-pie, like a knight of old into his saddle ; but I don't sym- 
pathize with the means you have taken to arrive at that re- 
nown. I am not myself an Imperialist a Vandemar can be 
scarcely that. But if I am compelled to be on board a ship, 
I don't wish to take out its planks and let in an ocean, when 
all offered to me instead is a crazy tub and a rotten rope." 

" Trh bicn" said Duplessis, in parliamentary tone and 
phrase. 

"But," said De Mauleon, with his calm smile, "would you 
like the captain of the ship, when the sky darkened and the 
sea rose, to ask the common sailors ' whether they approved 
his conduct on altering his course or shortening his sail ' ? 
Better trust to a crazy tub and a rotten rope than to a ship in 
which the captain consults a plebiscite." 

"Monsieur," said Duplessis, "your metaphor is ill-chosen 
no metaphor indeed is needed. The head of the State was 
chosen by the voice of the people, and, when required to 
change the form of administration which the people had sanc- 
tioned, and inclined to do so from motives the most patriotic 
and liberal, he is bound again to consult the people from whom 
he holds his power. It is not, however, of the plebiscite we 
were conversing, so much' as of the atrocious conspiracy of assas- 
sins so happily discovered in time. I presume that Monsieui 
de Mauleon must share the indignation which true Frenchmen 



THE PARISIANS. 329 

of every party must feel against a combination united by the 
purpose of murder." 

The Vicomte bowed, as in assent. " But do you believe," 
asked a Liberal Depute, " that such a combination existed, ex- 
cept in the visions of the police or the cabinet of a Minister ? " 

Duplessis looked keenly at De Mauleon while this question 
was put to him. Belief or disbelief in the conspiracy was with 
him, and with many, the test by which a sanguinary revolu- 
tionist was distinguished from an honest politician. 

" Ma f<?i," answered De Mauleon, shrugging his shoulders, 
" I have only one belief left ; but that is boundless. I believe 
in the folly of mankind in general, and of Frenchmen in par- 
ticular. That seventy-two men should plot the assassination 
of a sovereign on whose life interests so numerous a-nd so 
watchful depend, .and imagine they could keep a secret whicli 
any drunkard amongst them would blab out, any tatterde- 
malion would sell, is a betise so gross that I think it highly 
probable. But pardon me if I look upon the politics of Paris 
much as I do upon its mud one must pass through it when 
one walks in the street. One changes one's shoes before enter- 
ing the salon. A word with you, Enguerrand," and taking his 
kinsman's arm he drew him aside from the circle. "What has 
become of your brother? I see nothing of him now." 

"Oh, Raoul," answered Enguerrand, throwing himself on a 
couch in a recess, and making roam for De Mauleon beside 
him "Raoul is devoting himself to the distressed ouvriers 
who have chosen to withdraw from work. When he fails to 
persuade them to return, he forces food and fuel on their 
wives and children. My good 'mother encourages him in this 
costly undertaking, and no one but you, who believe in the in- 
finity of human folly, would credit me when I tell you that his 
eloquence has drawn from me all the argent de poche I get 
from our shop. As for himself he has sold his horses, and 
even grudges a cab- fare, saying, ''That is a meal for a family.' 
Ah ! if he had but gone into the Church, what a saint would 
have deserved canonization ! " 

" Do not lament ; he will probably have what is a better 
claim than mere saintship on Heaven martyrdom," said De 
Mauleon, with a smile in which sarcasm disappeared in mel- 
ancholy. "Poor Raoul! And what of my other cousin, the 
beau Marquis? Several months ago his Legitimist faith 
seemed vacillating ; he talked to me very fairly about the 
duties a Frenchman owed to France, and hinted that he should 
plage his sword at the command of Napoleon III. I have not 



330 . THE PARISIANS. 

yet heard of him as a soldat de France ; I hear a great deal o{ 
him as a viveitr de Paris." 

" Don't you know why his desire for a military career was 
frost-bitten ?" 

"No! Why?" 

" Alain came from Bretagne profoundly ignorant of most 
things known to a gamin of Paris. When he conscientiously 
overcame the scruples natural to one of his name, and told the 
Duchesse de Tarascon that he was ready to fight under the 
Hag of France whatever its color, he had a vague reminiscence 
of ancestral Rochebriants earning early laurels at the head of 
their regiments. At all events he assumed as a matter of 
course that he, in the first rank as gentilhomme, would enter 
ihe army, if as a sous-lieutenant, still as gentilhomme. But when 
told that, as he had been at no military college, he could only 
enter the ranks as a private soldier herd with private soldiers 
for at least two years before passing through the grade of cor- 
poral, his birth, education, habits of life could, with great 
favor, raise him to the station of a sous-lieutenant, you may 
conceive that the martial ardor of a Rochebriant was some- 
what cooled." 

" If he knew what the dormitory of French privates is, and 
how difficult a man well educated, well brought up, finds it, 
first, to endure the coarsest ribaldry and the loudest blas- 
phemy, and then, having endured and been compelled to share 
them, ever enforce obedience and discipline as a superior 
among those with whom just before he was an equal, his ardor 
would not have been merely cooled it would have been 
changed into despair for the armies of France, if hereafter they 
are met by those whose officers have been trained to be officers 
from the outset, and have imbibed from their cradle an educa- 
tion not taught to the boy-pedants from school the twofold 
education how with courtesy to command, how with dignity to 
obey. To return to Rochebriant, such salons as I frequent are 
somewhat formal as befits my grave years and my modest in- 
come ; I may add, now that you know rny vocation befits me 
also as a man who seeks rather to be instructed than amused. 
In those salons I did, last year, sometimes, however, meet 
Rochebriant as I sometimes still meet you ; but of late he 
has deserted such sober reunions, and I hear with pain that he 
is drifting among those rocks against which my own youth was 
shipwrecked. Is the report true ?" 

" I fear," said Enguerrand reluctantly, " that at least the 
jeport is not unfounded. And my conscience accuses me of 



THE PARISIANS. 331 

having been to blame in the first instance. You see, when 
Alain made terms with Louvier by which he obtained a very 
fair income, if prudently managed, I naturally wished that a 
man of so many claims to social distinction, and who repre- 
sents the oldest branch of my family, should take his right 
place in our world of Paris. I gladly therefore presented him 
to the houses and the men most a la mode advised him as to 
the sort of establishment, in apartments, horses, etc., which 
it appeared to me that he might reasonably afford I mean 
Biich as, with his means, I should have prescribed to my- 
self " 

" Ah ! I understand. But you, dear Enguerrand, are a born 
Parisian, every inch of you : .and a born Parisian is, whatever 
be thought to the contrary, the best manager in the world. He 
alone achieves the difficult art of uniting thrift with show. It 
is your Provincial, who comes to Paris in the freshness of un- 
dimmed youth, who sows his whole life on its barren streets. I 
guess the rest: Alain is ruined." 

Enguerrand, who certainly was so far a born Parisian that, 
with all his shrewdness and saroir faire, he had a wonderfully 
sympathetic heart, very easily moved, one way or the other 
Enguerrand winced at his elder kinsman's words, compliment- 
arily reproachful, and said in unvvonted tones of humility, 
" Cousin, you are cruel, but you are in the right. I did not 
calculate sufficiently on the chances of Alain's head being 
turned. Hear rny excuse. He seemed to me so much more 
thoughtful than most at our age are, so much more stately and 
proud ; well, also, so much more pure, so impressed with the re- 
sponsibilities of station, so bent on retaining the old lands in 
Bretagne ; by habit and rearing so simple and self-denying, 
that I took it for granted he was proof against stronger tempta 
tions than those which a light nature like my own puts aside 
with a laugh. And at first I had no reason to think myself 
deceived, when, some months ago, I heard that he was getting 
into debt, losing at play, paying court to female vampires, who 
drain the life-blood of those on whom they fasten their fatal 
lips. Oh, then I spoke to him earnestly ! " 

" And in vain ?" 

" In vain. A certain Chevalier de Finisterre, whom you may 
have heard of " 

" Certainly, and met ; a friend of Louvier's " 

" The same man has obtained over him an influence which 
so far subdues mine, that he almost challenged me when I told 
him his friend was a scamp. In fine, though Alain and J have 



332 THE PARISIANS. 

not actually quarreled, we pass each other with l Bon jour, mon 
ami.' " 

" Hum ! My dear Enguerrand, you have done all you could. 
Flies will be flies, and spiders, spiders, till the earth is de- 
stroyed by a comet. Nay, I met a distinguished naturalist in 
America who maintained that we shall find flies and spiders in 
the next world." 

" You have been in America ? Ah, true I remember, Cali- 
fornia ! " 

" Where have I not been ? Tush ! music shall I hear our 
fair hostess sing ?" 

'' I am afraid not to-night : because Madame S ' is to fa- 
vor us, and the Signorina makes it a rule not to sing at her 
own house when professional artists do. You must hear the 
Cicogna quietly some day ; such a voice, nothing like it." 

Madame S -, who, since she had learned that there was 

no cause to apprehend that Isaura might become her profes- 
sional rival, conceived for her a wonderful affection, and will- 
ingly contributed her magnificent gifts of song to the charms of 
Isaura's salon, now began a fragment from I Puritani, which 
held the audience as silent as the ghosts listening to Sappho ; 
and when it was over several of the guests slipped away, es- 
pecially those who disliked music, and feared Madame S 

might begin again. Enguerrand was not one of such soulless 
recreants, but he had many other places to go to. Besides, 
Madame S was no novelty to him. 

De Mauleon now approached Isaura, who was seated next to 
Valerie, and after well-merited eulogium on Madame S.'s per- 
formance, slid into some critical comparisons between that 
singer and those of a former generation, which interested 
Isaura, and evinced to her quick perceptions that kind of love 
for music which has been refined by more knowledge of the 
art than is common to mere amateurs. 

" You have studied music, Monsieur de Mauleon," she said. 
" Do you not perform yourself?" 

" I ? No. But music has always had a fatal attraction for me. 
I ascribe half the errors of my life to that temperament which 
makes me too fascinated by harmonies; too revolted by discords." 

" I should have thought such a temperament would have led 
from errors ; are not errors discords ? " 

" To the inner sense, yes ; but to the outer sense, not always, 
Virtues are often harsh to the ear ; errors very sweet-voiced. 
The sirens did not sing out of tune. Better to stop one's ears 
than glide on Scylla or be merged into CharybdJS." 



THE PARISIANS. 533 

" Monsieur/' cried Valerie, with a pretty brusquerie which 
became her well, " you talk like a Vandal." 

" It is, I think, by Mademoiselle Duplessis that I have the 
honor to be rebuked. Is Monsieur your father very suscep- 
tible to music ? " 

" Well, I cannot say that he cares much for it. But then his 
mind is so practical " 

" And his life so successful. No Scylla, no Charybdis for 
him. However, Mademoiselle, I am not quite the Vandal you 
suppose. I do not say that susceptibility to the influence of 
music may not be safe, nay, healthful to others it was not so 
to me in my youth. It can do me no harm now." 

Here Duplessis came up and whispered his daughter " it was 
time to leave ; they had promised the Duchesse de Tarascon to 
assist at the soiree she gave that night." Valerie took her 
father's arm with a brightening smile and a heightened color. 
Alain de Rochebriant might probably be at the Duchesse's. 

" Are you not going also to the Hotel de Tarascon, M. de 
Mauleon?" asked Duplessis. 

" No ; I was never there but once. The Duchesse is an 
Imperialist at once devoted and acute, and no doubt very soon 
divined my lack of faith in her idols." 

Duplessis frowned, and hastily led Valerie away. 

In a few minutes the room was comparatively deserted. 
De Mauleon, however, lingered by the side of Isaura till all 
the other guests were gone. Even then he lingered still, and 
renewed the interrupted conversation with her, the Venosta 
joining therein ; and so agreeable did he make himself to her 
Italian tastes by a sort of bitter-sweet 'wisdom like that of her 
native proverbs comprising much knowledge of mankind on 
the unflattering side of humanity in that form of pleasantry 
which has a latent sentiment of pathos that the Venosta ex- 
claimed, " Surely you must have been brought up in Flor- 
ence.! " 

There was that in De Mauleon's talk hostile to all which we 
call romance that excited the imagination of Isaura, and com- 
pelled her instinctive love for whatever is more sweet, more 
beautiful, more ennobling on the many sides of human life, to 
oppose what she deemed the paradoxes of a man who had 
taught himself to belie even his own nature. She became elo- 
quent, and her countenance, which in ordinary moments owed 
much of its beauty to an expression of meditative gentleness, 
was now lighted up by the energy of earnest conviction, the 
enthusiasm of an impassioned zeal. 



334 THE PARISIANS. 

Gradually De Mauleon relaxed his share in the dialogue, 
and listened to her, rapt and dreamingly as in his fiery youth 
he had listened to the songs of the sirens. No siren Isaura ! 
She was defending her own cause, though unconsciously ; de- 
fending the vocation of art, as the embellisher of external 
nature, and more than embellisher of the nature which dwells 
crude, but plastic, in the soul of man ; indeed therein the 
creator of a new nature, strengthened, expanded, and bright- 
ened in proportion as it accumulates the ideas that tend beyond 
the boundaries of the visible and material nature, which is 
finite ; forever seeking in the unseen and the spiritual the goals 
in the infinite which it is their instinct to divine. 

" That which you contemptuously call romance," said Isaura, 
" is not essential only to poets and artists. The most real side 
of every life, from the earliest dawn of mind in the infant, is the 
romantic. When the child is weaving flower-chains, chasing 
butterflies, or sitting apart and dreaming what it will do in the 
.future, is not that the child's real life, and yet is it not also the 
romantic ? " 

" But there comes a time when we weave no flower-chains, 
and chase no butterflies." 

"Is it so? Still on one side of life, flowers and butterflies 
may be found to the last ; and at least to the last are there no 
dreams of the future ? Have you no such dreams at this 
moment ? And without the romance of such dreams, would 
there be any reality to human life which could distinguish it 
from the life of the weed that rots on Lethe?" 

" Alas, Mademoiselle," said De Mauleon, rising to take leave, 
:< your argument must rest without answer. I would not, if I 
could, confute the beautiful belief that belongs to youth, fusing 
into one rainbow all the tints that can color the world. But 
the Signora Venosta wjll acknowledge the truth of an old say- 
ing expressed in every civilized language, but best, perhaps, in 
that of the Florentine : 'You might as well physic the dead 
as instruct the old.' " 

" But you are not old ! " said the Venosta, with Florentine 
politeness ; " You ! Not a gray hair." 

"'Tis not by the gray of the hair that one knows the age of 
the heart," answered De Mauleon, in another paraphrase of 
Italian proverb, and he was gone. 

.As he walked homeward through deserted streets, Victor de 
Mauleon thought to himself : " Poor girl, how I pity her ! 
Married to a Gustave Rameau married to any man nothing 
in the nature of man, be he the best and the cleverest, can ever 



THE PARISIANS. 335 

realize the dream of a girl who is pure and has genius. All, is 
not the converse true ? What girl, the best and the cleverest, 
comes up to the ideal of even a commonplace man -if he ever 
dreamed of an ideal ! " Then he paused, and in a moment or 
so afterwards his thought knew such questionings no more. It 
turned upon personalities, on stratagems and plots, on ambi- 
tion. The man had more than his share of that peculiar 
susceptibility which is one of the characteristics of his coun- 
trymen susceptibility to immediate impulse ; susceptibility to 
fleeting impressions. It was a key to many mysteries in his 
character when he owned his subjection to the influence of 
music, and in music recognized not the seraph's harp, but the 
siren's song. If you could have permanently fixed Victor de 
Mauleon in one of the good moments of his life, even now 
some moment of exquisite kindness, of superb generosity, of 
dauntless courage you wovrjd have secured a very rare speci- 
men of noble humanity. But so to fix him was impossible. 

That impulse of the moment vanished the moment after ; 
swept aside by the force of his very talents talents concen- 
trated by his intense sense of individuality ; sense of wrongs 
or of rights ; interests or objects personal to himself. He ex- 
tended the royal saying, " L'etat, cest moi" to words far more 
grandiloquent. "The universe, 'tis I." The Venosta would 
have understood him and smiled approvingly, if he had said 
with good humored laugh, " I dead, the world is dead ! " 
That is an Italian proverb, and means much the same thing. 



BOOK VIII. 



CHAPTER I. 

ON the 8th of May the vote of the plebiscite was recorded ; 
between seven and eight millions of Frenchmen in support of 
the Imperial programme in plain words, of the Emperor him- 
self against a minority of 1,500,000. But among the 1,500,- 
ooo were the old throne-shakers, those who compose and those 
who lead the mob of Paris. On the i4th, as Rameau was 
about to quit the editorial bureau of his printing-office, a note 
was brought in to him which strongly excited his nervous 
system. It contained a request to see him forthwith, signed 



336 THE PARISIANS. 

by those two distinguished foreign members of the Secret 
Council of Ten, Thaddeus Loubinsky and Leonardo Raselli. 

The meetings of that Council had been so long suspended 
that Rameau had almost forgotten ils existence. He gave 
orders to admit the conspirators. The two men entered the 
Pole, tall, stalwart, and with martial stride ; the Italian, smal 1 , 
emaciated, with skulking, noiseless, cat-like step both looking 
wondrous threadbare, and in that state called " shabby gen- 
teel," which belongs to the man who cannot work for his live- 
lihood, and assumes a superiority over the. man who can. 
Their outward appearance was in notable discord with that of 
the poet-politician ; he all new in the last fashions of Parisian 
elegance, and redolent of Parisian prosperity and extrait de 
Mousseline ! 

" Confrere" said the Pole, seating himself on the edge of 
the table, while the Italian leaned against the mantel-piece, 
and glanced round the room with furtive eye, as if to detect 
its innermost secrets, or decide where safest to drop a lucifer- 
match for its conflagration ; " Confrere" said the Pole, " your 
country needs you 

" Rather, the cause of all countries," interposed the Italian 
softly; "Humanity." 

" Please to explain yourselves ; but stay, wait a moment," 
said Rameau ; and rising, he went to the door, opened it, 
looked forth, ascertained that the coast was clear, then re- 
closed the door as cautiously as a prudent man closes his 
pocket whenever shabby-genteel visitors appeal to him in the 
cause of his country, still more if they appeal in that of 
Humanity. 

"Confrere" said the Pole, "this day a movement is to be 
made a demonstration on behalf of your country " 

" Of Humanity," again softly interposed the Italian. 

"Attend and share it," said the Pole. 

" Pardon me," said Rameau, " I do not know what you 
mean. I am now the editor of a journal in which the pro- 
prietor does not countenance violence ; and if you come to 
me as a member of the Council, you must be aware that I 
should obey no orders but that of its president, whom I have 
not seen for nearly a year ; indeed, I know not if the Council 
still exists." 

" The Council exists, and with it the obligations it imposes," 
replied Thaddeus. 

" Pampered with luxury," here the Pole raised his voice, 
" do you dare to reject the yoke of Poverty and Freedom ? " 



" Hush, dear but too vehement confrere}' rntirhiiired the 
bland Italian ; " permit me to dispel the reasonable doubts of 
our confrere" and he took out of his breast-pocket a paper 
which he presented to Rameau ; on it were written these words : 

" This evening, May i4th. Demonstration.-; Faubourg du 
Temple. Watch events, under orders of A. M. Bid the young- 
est member take that first opportunity to test nerves and dis- 
cretion. He is not to act, but to observe." 

No name was appended to this instruction, but a cipher in- 
telligible to all members of the Council as significant of its 
president, Jean Lebeau. 

" If I err not," said the Italian, " Citizen Rameau is our 
youngest confrere" 

Rameau paused. The penalties for disobedience to an order 
of the President of the Council were too formidable to be dis- 
regarded. There could be no doubt that, though his name \vas 
not mentioned, he, Rameau, was accurately designated as the 
youngest member of the Council. Still, however he might 
have owed his present position to the recommendation of Le- 
beau, there was nothing in the conversation of M. de Mauleon 
which would warrant participation in a popular emeute by the 
editor of a journal belonging to that mocker of the mob. Ah ! 
but and here again he glanced over the paper he was asked 
" not to act, but to observe." To observe was the duty of a 
journalist. He might go to the demonstration as De Mauleon 
confessed he had gone to the Communist Club, a philosophical 
spectator. 

"You do not disobey this order?" said the Pole, crossing his 
arms. 

" I shall certainly go into the Faubourg du Temple this 
evening," answered Rameau dryly ; " I have business that way." 

" Bon ! " said the Pole ; " I did not think you would fail us, 
though you do edit a journal which says not a word on the 
duties that bind the French people to the resuscitation of 
Poland." 

" And is not pronounced in decided accents upon the cause 
of the human race," put in the Italian, whispering. 

" I do not write the political articles in Le Sens Commun" 
answered Rameau ; " and I suppose that our president is sat- 
isfied with them since he recommended me to the preference 
of the person who does. Have you more to say ? Pardon me, 
my time is precious, for it does not belong to me." 

"Eno'I" said the Italian, "We will detain you no longer." 
Here, with bow and smile, he glided towards the door. 



tttfc PARISIANS. 

" Confrere," muttered the Pole, lingering, " you must have 
become very rich ! Uo not focget the wrongs of Poland I am 
their Representative I speaking in that character, not as my- 
self individually / have not breakfasted ! " 

Rameau, too thoroughly Parisian not to be as lavish of his 
own money as he was envious of another's, slipped some pieces 
of gold into the Pole's hand. The Pole's bosom heaved with 
manly emotion : " These pieces bear the effigies of the tyrant 
I accept them as redeemed from disgrace by their uses to 
Freedom." 

" Share them with Signor Raselli in the name of the same 
cause," whispered Rameau, with a smile he might have plagiar- 
ized from De Mauleon. 

The Italian, whose ear was inured to whispers, heard and 
turned round as he stood at the threshold. 

" No, confrere of France ; no, confrere of Poland I am 
Italian. All ways to take the life of an enemy are honorable ; 
no way is honorable which begs money from a friend." 

An hour or so later, Rameau was driven in his comfortable 
coupe to the Faubourg du Temple. 

Suddenly, at the angle of a street, his coachman was 
stopped ; a rough-looking man appeared at the door : "De- 
scends, man petit bourgeois." Behind the rough-looking man 
were menacing faces. 

Rameau was not physically a coward very few Frenchmen 
are, still fewer Parisians ; and still fewer, no matter what 
their birthplace, the men whom we call vain, the men who 
overmuch covet distinction, and overmuch dread reproach. 

"Why shoifld I descend at your summons?" said Rameau 
haughtily. " Bah ! Coachman, drive on ! " 

The rough looking man opened the door, and silently ex- 
tended a hand to Rameau, saying gently : " Take my advice, 
mon bourgeois. " Get out : we want your carriage. It is a day 
of barricades ; every little helps, even your coupe ! " 

While this man spoke others gesticulated ; some shrieked 
out : " He is an employer ! He thinks he can drive over the 
employed ! " Some leader of the crowd a Parisian crowd 
always has a classical leader, who has never read the clas- 
sics thundered forth : " Tarquin's car ! " " Down with Tar- 
quin ! " Therewith came a yell, " A la lantcrne Tarquin ! " 

We Anglo-Saxons, of the old country or the new, are not 
familiarized to the dread roar of a populace delighted to have 
a Roman authority for tearing us to pieces ; still Americans 
know what is lynch law. Rameau was in danger of lynch 



THE PARISIANS. 339 

law, when suddenly a face not unknown to him interposed be- 
tween himself and the rough-looking man. 

" Ha ! " cried this new-comer, "my young confrere, Gustave 
Rameau, welcome ! Citizens, make way. I answer for this 
patriot I, Armand Monnier. He comes to help us. Is this 
the way you receive him ? " Then in low voice to Rameau, 
" Come out. Give your coupe to the barricade. What mat- 
ters such rubbish? Trust to me I expected you. Hist.' 
Lebeau bids me see that you are safe." 

Rameau then, seeking to drape himself in majesty as the 
aristocrats of journalism in a city wherein no other aristocracy 
is recognized, naturally and commendably do, when ignorance 
combined with physical strength asserts itself to be a power, 
beside which the power of knowledge is what a learned poodle 
is to a tiger Rameau then descended from his coupe and 
said to this Titan of labor, as, a French marquis might have 
said to his valet, and as, when the French marquis has be- 
come a ghost of the past, the man who keeps a coupe says to 
the man who mends its wheels, " Honest fellow, I trust you." 

Monnier led the journalist through the mob to the rear of 
the barricade hastily constructed. Here were assembled very 
motley groups. 

The majority were ragged boys, the gamins of Paris, com- 
mingled with several women of no reputable appearance, some 
dingily, some gaudily apparelled. The crowd did not appear 
as if the business in hand was a very serious one. Amidst the 
din of voices the sound of laughter rose predominant, jests and 
bans mots flew from lip to lip. The astonishing good-humor 
of the Parisians was not yet excited into the ferocity that 
grows out of it by a street contest. It was less like a popular 
tmcute than a gathering of schoolboys, bent not less on fun 
than on mischief. But still, amid this gayer crowd were 
sinister, lowering faces ; the fiercest were not those of the very 
poor, but rather of artisans, who, to judge by their dress, 
seemed well off of men belonging to yet higher grades. 
Rameau distinguished amongst these the me'decin des paurrcs, 
the philosophical atheist, sundry young long-haired artists, 
middle-aged writers for the Republican press, in close neigh- 
borhood with ruffians of villanous aspect, who might have been 
newly returned from the galleys. None were regularly armed ; 
still revolvers and muskets and long knives were by no means 
unfrequently interspersed among the rioters. The whole scene 
was to Rameau a confused panorama, and the dissonant tumult 
of yells and laughter, of menace and joke, began rapidly to act 



340 THE PARISIANS. 

on his impressionable nerves. He felt that which is the prevalent 
character of a Parisian riot, the intoxication of an impulsive 
sympathy ; coming there as a reluctant spectator, if action 
commenced he would have been borne readily into., the thick 
of the action he could not have helped it ; already he grew 
impatient of the suspense of strife. Monnier having deposited 
him safely with his back to a wall, at the corner of a street 
handy for flight, if flight became expedient, had left him for 
several minutes, having business elsewhere. Suddenly the 
whisper of the Italian stole into his ear : " These men are 
fools. This is not the way to do business ; this does not hurt 
the robber of Nice Garibaldi's Nice : they should have left 
it to me." 

" What would you do ? " 

" I have invented a new machine," whispered the Friend of 
Humanity ; " it would remove all at one blow lion and 
lioness, whelp and jackals andt/itu the Revolution if you will ! 
not this paltry tumult. The cause of the human race is being 
frittered away. I am disgusted with Lebeau. Thrones are 
not overturned by gamins." 

Before Rameau could answer, Monnier rejoined him. The 
artisan's face was overcast, his lips compressed, yet quivering 
with indignation. "Brother," he said to Rameau, " to-day the 
cause is betrayed (the word train was just then coming into 
vogue at Paris) ; the blouses I counted on are recreant. 1 have 
just learned that all is quiet in the other quartiers where the 
rising was to have been simultaneous with this. We are in it 
guet-a-pens the soldiers will be down on us in a few minutes ; 
hark ! don't you hear the distant tramp ? Nothing for us but 
to die like men. Our blood will be avenged later. Here," 
and he thrust a revolver into Rameau's hand. Then with a 
lusty voice that rang through the crowd, he shouted, " Vive la 
peuple!" The rioters caught and re-echoed the cry, mingled 
with other cries, "Vive la Re'publique ! " "Vive le drapeau 
rouge ! " 

The shouts were yet at their full when a strong hand grasped 
Monnier's arm, and a clear, deep, but low voice thrilled through 
his ear : " Obey ! I warned you. No fight to-day. Time not 
ripe. All that is needed is done do not undo it. Hist ! the 
sergens deville are force enough to disperse the swarm of those 
gnats. Behind the sergens come soldiers who will not fraternize. 
Lose not one life to-day. The morrow when we shall need 
every man nay, every gamin will dawn soon. Answer not. 
Obey ! " The same strong hand, quitting its hold on Monnier, 



THE PARISIANS. 34! 

then seized Rameau by the wrist, and the same deep voice 
said : " Come with me." Rameau, turning in amaze, not un- 
mixed with anger, saw beside him a tall man, with sombrero 
hat pressed close over his head, and in the blouse of a laborer, 
but through such disguise he recognized the pale gray whiskers 
and green spectacles of Lebeau. He yielded passively to the 
grasp that led him away down the deserted street at the angle. 

At the further end of that street, however, was heard the 
steady thud of hoofs. 

" The soldiers are taking the mob at its rear," said Lebeau, 
calmly ; " we have not a moment to lose this way," and he 
plunged . into a dismal court, then into a labyrinth of lanes, 
followed mechanically by Rameau. They issued at last on the 
Boulevards, in which the usual loungers were quietly saunter- 
ing, wholly unconscious of the riot elsewhere. " Now, take 
that fiacre and go home ; write down your impressions of what 
you have seen, and take your MS. to M. de Mauleon." Le- 
beau here quitted him. 

Meanwhile all happened as Lebeau had predicted. The 
sergens de ville showed themselves in front of the barricades, a 
small troop of mounted soldiers appeared in the rear. The 
mob greeted the first with yells and a shower of stones ; at 
the sight of the last they fled in all directions ; and the sergcns 
de ville, calmly scaling the barricades, carried off in triumph, 
as prisoners of war, four gamins, three women, and one Irish- 
man loudly protesting innocence, and shrieking " Murther ! " 
So ended the first inglorious rise against \\\Q plebiscite and the 
Empire, on the i4th of May, 1870. 

From Isaura Cicogna to Madame de Grantmesnil. 

11 Saturday, May 21, 1870. 

" I am still, dearest Eulalie, under the excitement of im- 
pressions wholly new to me. I have this day witnessed one of 
those scenes which take us out of our private life, not into the 
world of fiction, but of history, in which we live as in the life 
of a nation. You know how intimate I have become with 
Valerie Duplessis. She is in herself so charming in her com- 
bination of petulant wilfulness and guileless naivete' that she 
might sit as a model for one of your exquisite heroines. Her 
father, who is in great favor at Court, had tickets for the Salle 
des Etats of the Louvre to-day, when, as the journals will tell 
you, the results of the plebiscite were formally announced to 
the Emperor, and I accompanied him and Valerie. I felt, on 
entering the hall, as if J had been living for months in an 



342 THE PARISIANS. 

atmosphere of false rumors, for those I chiefly meet in the 
circles of artists and men of letters, and the wits and flaneurs 
who haunt such circles, are nearly all hostile to the Emperor. 
They agree, at least, in asserting the decline of his popularity, 
the failure of his intellectual powers ; in predicting his down- 
fall, deriding the notion of a successor in his son. Well, I 
know not how to reconcile these statements with the spectacle 
I have beheld to-day. 

" In the chorus of acclamation amidst which the Emperor 
entered the hall, it seemed as if one heard the voice of the 
France he had just appealed to. If the Fates are really weav- 
ing woe and shame in his woof, it is in hues which, to mortal 
eyes, seem brilliant with glory and joy. 

" You will read the address of the President of the Corps 
Legislatif ; I wonder how it will strike you. I own fairly that 
me it wholly carried away. At each sentiment I murmured 
to myself, 'Is not this true? And, if true, are France and human 
nature ungrateful ? ' 

' ' It is now/ said the President, ' eighteen years since 
France, wearied with confusion, and anxious for security, con- 
fiding in your genius and the Napoleonic dynasty, placed in 
your hands, together with the Imperial Crown, the authority 
which the public necessity demanded.' Then the address 
proceeded to enumerate the blessings that ensued : social order 
speedily restored, the welfare of all classes of society promoted, 
advances in commerce and manufactures to an extent hitherto 
unknown. Is not this true ? And if so, are you, noble daughter 
of France, ungrateful ? 

" Then came words which touched me deeply me, who, 
knowing nothing of politics, still feel the link that unites Art to 
Freedom : ' But from the first your Majesty has looked for- 
ward to the time when this concentration of power would no 
longer correspond to the aspirations of a tranquil and reassured 
country, and, foreseeing the progress of modern society, you 
proclaimed that " Liberty must be the crowning of the edi- 
fice.'" Passing then over the previous gradual advances in 
popular government, the President came to the 'present self- 
abnegation, unprecedented in history,' and to the vindication 
of that plebiscite which I have heard so assailed, viz., Fidelity 
to the great principle upon which the throne was founded, re- 
quired that so important a modification of a power bestowed 
by the people should not be made without the participation of 
the people themselves. Then, enumerating the millions who 
had welcomed the new form pf government, the President 



THE PARISIANS. 343 

paused a second or two, as if with suppressed emotion, and 
every one present held his breath, till, in a deeper voice, through 
which there ran a quiver that thrilled through the hall, he con- 
cluded with : ' France is with you ; France places the cause of 
liberty under the protection of your dynasty and the great 
bodies of the State.' Is France with him ? I know not ; but 
if the malcontents of France had been in the hall at that mo- 
ment, I believe they would have felt the power of that wonder- 
ful sympathy which compels all the hearts in great audiences to 
beat in accord, and would have answered. ' It is true.' 

" All eyes now fixed on the Emperor, and I noticed few eyes 
V'hich were not moist with tears. You know that calm, unre- 
vealing face of his a face which sometimes disappoints ex- 
pectation. But there is that in it which I have seen in no 
other, but which I can imagine to have been common to the 
Romans of old, the dignity that arises from self-control, an ex- 
pression which seems removed from the elation of joy, the de- 
pression of sorrow, not unbecoming to one who has known 
great vicissitudes of Fortune, and is prepared alike for her 
frowns or her smiles. 

" I had looked at that face while M. Schneider was reading 
the address ; it moved not a muscle, it might have been a face 
of marble. Even when at moments the words were drowned 
in applause, and the Empress, striving at equal composure, 
still allowed us to see a movement of her eyelids, a tremble on 
her lips. The boy at his right, heir to his dynasty, had -his 
looks fixed on the President, as if eagerly swallowing each 
word in the address, save once or twice, when he looked round 
the hall curiously, and with a smile, as a mere child might look. 
He struck me as a mere child. Next to the Prince was one of 
those countenances which once seen are never to be forgotten 
the true Napoleonic type, brooding, thoughtful, ominous, beauti- 
ful. But not with the serene energy that characterizes the head of 
the first Napoleon when Emperor, and wholly without the rest- 
less eagerness for action which is stamped in the lean outline 
of Napoleon when First Consul : no ; in Prince Napoleon, there 
is a beauty to which, as woman, I could never give my heart ; 
were I a man, the intellect that would not command my trust. 
But, nevertheless, in beauty it is signal, and in that beauty the 
expression of intellect is predominant. 

" Oh, dear Eulalie, how I am digressing ! The Emperor 
spoke ; and believe me, dear Eulalie, whatever the journals or 
your compatriots may insinuate, there is in that man no sign 
of declining intellect or failing health, I care pot what may 



344 THE PARISIANS. 

be his years, but that man is in mind and in health as young as 
Caesar when he crossed the Rubicon. 

" The old cling to the past, they do not go forward to the 
future. There was no going back in that speech of the Em- 
peror. There was something grand and something young in 
the modesty with which he put aside all Inferences to that 
which his Empire had done in the past, and said with a 
simple earnestness of manner which I cannot adequately 
describe, : 

"' We must more than ever look fearlessly forward to the 
future. Who can be opposed to the progressive march of a 
regime founded by a great people in the midst of political dis- 
turbance, and which now is fortified by liberty ?' 

" As he closed, the walls of that vast hall seemed to rock 
with an applause that must have been heard on the other side 
of the Seine. 

"'Virel'Empereur!' 

" ' Vive I' Impttratiice ! ' 

' ' Vive le Prince Impe'iial ! ' and the last cry was yet more 
prolonged than the others, as if to affirm the dynasty. 

" Certainly I can imagine no Court in the old days of chiv- 
alry more splendid than the audience in that grand hall of the 
Louvre. To the right of the throne all the ambassadors of the 
civilized world in the blaze of their rich costumes and manifold 
orders. In the gallery at the left, yet more behind, the dresses 
and jewels of the denies d ' honneur and of the great officers of 
State. And when the Empress rose to depart, certainly my 
fancy cannot picture a more queenlike image, or one that 
seemed more in unison with the representation of royal pomp 
and power. The very dress, of a color which would have been 
fatal to the beauty of most women equally fair, a deep golden 
color (Valerie profanely called it buff) seemed so to suit the 
splendor of the ceremony and the day; it seemed as if that 
stately form stood in the midst of a sunlight reflected from 
itself. Day seemed darkened when that sunlight passed away. 

" I fear you will think I have suddenly grown servile to 
the gauds and shows of mere royalty. I ask myself if that be 
so ; I think not. Surely it is a higher sense of greatness which 
has been impressed on me by the pageant of to-day : I feel as 
if there were brought vividly before me the majesty of France, 
through the representation of the ruler she has crowned. 
"" I feel also as if there, in that hall, I found a refuge from all 
the warring contests in which no two seem to me in agreement 
as. to the sort of government to be established in place of the 



THE PARISIANS. 345 

present. The ' Liberty ' clamored for by one would cut the 
throat of the ' Liberty ' worshipped by another. 

"I see a thousand phantom forms of LIBERTY, but only one liv- 
ing symbol of ORDER that which spoke from a throne to-day." 
******* 

Isaura left her letter uncompleted. On the following Mon- 
day she was present at a crowded soiree given by M. Louvier. 
Among the guests were some of the most eminent leaders of 
the Opposition, including that vivacious master of sharp say- 
ings, M. P. , whom Savarin entitled "the French Sheridan"; 

if laws coHld be framed in epigrams, he would be also Uie 
French Solon. 

There, too, was Victor de Mauleon, regarded by the Repub- 
lican party with equal admiration and distrust. For the dis- 
trust,- he himself pleasantly accounted in talk with Savarin. 

" How can I expect to be trusted ? I represent ' Common- 
Sense '; every Parisian likes Common-Sense in print, and 
cries Je suis trahi' when Common-Sense is to be put into 
action." 

A group of admiring listeners had collected round one (per- 
haps the most brilliant) of those oratorical lawyers by whom, in 
France, the respect for all law has been so often talked away ; 
he was speaking of the Saturday's ceremonial with eloquent 
indignation. It was a mockery to France to talk of her plac- 
ing Liberty under the protection of the Empire. 

There was a flagrant token of the military force under which 
civil freedom was held in the very dress of the Emperor and 
his insignificant son ; the first in the uniform of a General of 
Division ; the second, forsooth, in that of a sous-lieutenant. 
Then other Liberal chiefs chimed in : " The army," said one, 
"was an absurd expense ; it must be put down "; "The world 
was grown too civilized for war," said another ; " The Empress 
was priest-ridden," said a third ; " Churches might be tolerated; 
Voltaire built a church, but a church simply to the God of 
Nature, not of priestcraft," and so on. 

Isaura, whom any sneer at religion pained and revolted, here 
turned away from the orators to whom she had before been 
listening with earnest attention, and her eyes fell on the coun- 
tenance of De Mauleon, who was seated opposite ; the coun- 
tenance startled her, its expression was so angrily scornful ; 
that expression, however, vanished at once as De Mauleon's 
eye met her own, and drawing his chair near to her, he said, 
smiling : " Your look tells me that I almost frightened you by 
the ill-bred frankness with which my face must have betrayed 



346 THE PARISIANS. 

my anger at hearing such imbecile twaddle from men who as- 
pire to govern our turbulent France. You remember that after 
Lisbon was destroyed by an earthquake, a quack advertised 
'pills against earthquakes.' These messieurs are not so cun- 
ning as the quack ; he did not name the ingredients of his pills." 

" But, M. de Mauleon," said Isaura, "if you, being opposed 
to the Empire, think so ill of the wisdom of those who would 
destroy it, are you prepared with remedies for earthquakes 
more efficacious than their pills ? " 

" I reply as a famous English statesman, when in opposition, 
replied to a somewhat similar question : ' I don't prescribe 
till I'm called in.' " 

" To judge by the seven millions and a half whose votes 
were announced on Saturday, and by the enthusiasm with 
which the Emperor was greeted, there is too little fear of an 
earthquake for a good trade to the pills of these messieurs, or 
for fair play to the remedies you will not disclose till called in." 

" Ah, Mademoiselle, playful wit from lips not formed for 
politics, makes me forget all about Emperors and earthquakes. 
Pardon that commonplace compliment ; remember I am a 
Frenchman, and cannot help being frivolous." 

" You rebuke my presumption too gently. True, I ought 
not to intrude political subjects on one like you I understand 
so little about them but this is my excuse, I so desire to 
know more.'* 

M. de Mauleon paused, and looked at her earnestly, with a 
kindly, half-compassionate look, wholly free from the imper- 
tinence of gallantry. " Young poetess," he said softly," you 
care for politics ! Happy, indeed, is he and whether he suc- 
ceed or fail in his ambition abroad, proud should he be of an 
ambition crowned at home he who has made you desire to 
know more of politics ! " 

The girl felt the blood surge to her temples. How could 
she have been so self-confessed ? She made no reply, nor did 
M. de Mauleon seem to expect one ; with that rare delicacy of 
high breeding v.hich appears in France to belong to a former 
generation, he changed his tone, and went on as if there had 
been no interruption to the question her words implied. 

" You think the Empire secure ; that it is menaced by no 
earthquake ? You deceive yourself. The Emperor began 
with a fatal mistake, but a mistake it needs many years to dis- 
cover. He disdained the slow, natural process of adjustment 
between demand and supply, employer and workmen. He de- 
sired no ignoble ambition to make Paris the wonder of the 



THE PARISIANS. 347 

world, the eternal monument 'of his reign. In so doing, he 
sought to create artificial modes of content for revolutionary 
workmen. Never has any ruler had such tender heed of man- 
ual labor to the disparagement of intellectual culture. Paris 
is embellished ; Paris is the wonder of the world : other great 
towns have followed its example ; they, too, have their rows of 
palaces and temples. Well, the time comes when the magician 
can no longer give work to the spirits he raises ; then they 
must fall on him and rend : out of the very houses he built for 
the better habitation of workmen will flock the malcontents who 
cry, 'Down with the Empire !' On the zrst of May you wit- 
nessed the pompous ceremony which announces to the Empire 
a vast majority of votes, that will' be utterly useless to it except 
as food for gunpowder in the times that are at hand. Seven 
days before, on the i4th of May, there was a riot in the Fau- 
bourg du Temple easily put down you scarcely hear of it. 
That riot was not the less necessary to those who would warn 
the Empire that it is mortal. True, the riot disperses, but it 
is unpunished : riot unpunished is a revolution begun. The 
earthquake is nearer than you think ; and for that earthquake 
what are the pills yon quacks advertise? They prate of an 
age too enlightened for war ; they would mutilate the army, 
nay, disband it if they could with Prussia next door to France. 
Prussia, desiring, not unreasonably, to take that place in the 
world which France now holds, will never challenge France ; 
if she did, she would be too much in the wrong to find a sec- 
ond : Prussia, knowing that she has to do with the vainest, 
the most conceited, the rashest antagonist that ever flourished 
a rapier in the face of a spadassin Prussia will make France 
challenge her. 

"And how do ces messieurs deal with the French army? Do 
they dare say to the ministers, ' Reform it'? Do they dare 
say, ' Prefer for men whose first duty it is to obey, discipline to 
equality ; insist on the distinction between the officer and the 
private, and never confound it ; Prussian officers are well-edu- 
cated gentlemen, see that yours are ' ? Oh, no ; they are demo- 
crats too stanch not to fraternize with an armed mob ; they 
content themselves with grudging an extra sou to the Commis- 
sariat, and winking at x the millions fraudulently pocketed by 
some ' Liberal contractor.' Dieu de dieu ! France to be beaten, 
not as at Waterloo, by hosts combined, but in fair duel by a 
single foe ! Oh, the shame ! the shame ! But as the French 
army is now organized, beaten she must be, if she meets the 
march of the German." 



34 THE PARISIANS. 

" You appal me with your sinister predictions," said Isaura; 
"but, happily, there is no sign of war. M. Duplessis, who is in 
the confidence of the Emperor, told us only the other day that 
Napoleon, on learning the result of the plebiscite, said : ' The 
foreign journalists who have been insisting that the Empire 
cannot coexist with free institutions, will no longer hint that it 
can be safely assailed from without. And more than ever I 
may say L ' Empirf c'est la paix /" 

Monsieur de Mauleon shrugged his shoulders. " The old 
story Troy and the wooden horse." 

" Tell me, M. de Mauleon, why do you, who so despise the 
Opposition, join with it in opp.osing the Empire ? " 

" Mademoiselle, the Empire opposes me ; while it lasts I 
cannot be even a Dfyutt; when it is gone, heaven knows what 
I may be, perhaps Dictator ; one thing you may rely upon, 
that I would, if not Dictator myself, support any man who was 
better fitted for that task." 

" Better fitted to destroy the liberty which he pretended to 
fight for." 

" Not exactly so," replied M. de Mauleon imperturbably ; 
" better fitted to establish a good government in lieu of the bad 
one he had fought against, and the much worse governments 
that would seek to turn France into a madhouse, and make the 
maddest of the inmates the mad doctor ! " He turned away, 
and here their conversation ended. 

But it so impressed Isaura that the same night she concluded 
her letter to Madame de Grantmesnil by giving a sketch of its 
substance, prefaced by an ingenuous confession that she felt 
less sanguine confidence in the importance of the applauses 
which had greeted the Emperor at the Saturday's ceremonial, 
and ending thus : "I can but confusedly transcribe the words 
of this singular *nan, and can give you no notion of the man- 
ner and the voice which made them eloquent. Tell me, can 
there be any truth in his gloomy predictions ? I try not to 
think so, but they seem to rest over that brilliant hall of the 
Louvre like an ominous thundercloud." 



CHAPTER II. 

THE Marquis de Rochebriant was seated in his pleasant 
apartment, glancing carelessly at the envelopes of many notes and 
letters lying yet unopened on his breakfast table. He had risen 
late at noon, for he had not gone to bed till dawn. The night had 



THE PARISIANS. 349 

been spent at his club, over the card-table by no means to the 
pecuniary advantage of the Marquis. The reader will have 
learned through the conversation recorded- in a former chapter, 
between De Mauleon and Enguerrand de Vandemar, that the 
austere Seigneur Breton had become a fast viveur oi Paris. He 
had long since spent the remnant of Louvier's premium of 
;iooo, and he owed a year's interest. For this last there was 
an excuse M. Collot, the contractor to whom he had been 
advised to sell the yearly fall of his forest-trees, had removed 
the trees, but had never paid a sou beyond the preliminary de- 
posit ; so that the revenue, out of which the mortgagee should 
be paid his interest, was rfot forthcoming. Alain had instruct- 
ed M. Hebert to press the contractor ; the contractor had re- 
plied, that if not pressed he could soon settle all claims ; if 
pressed he must declare himself bankrupt. The Chevalier de 
Finisterre had laughed at the alarm which Alain conceived 
when he first found himself in the condition of debtor for a 
sum he could not pay, creditor for a sum he could not recover. 

" Bagatelle ! " said the Chevalier. " Tschu ! Collot, if you 
give him time, is as safe as the Bank of France, and Louvier 
knows it. Louvier will not trouble you- Louvier, the best fel- 
low in the world ! I'll call on him and explain matters." 

It is to be presumed that the Chevalier did so explain ; for 
though both at the first, and quite recently at the second default of 
payment, Alain received letters from M. Louvier's professional 
agent, as reminders of interest due, and as requests for its pay- 
ment, the Chevalier assured ~TT1m that these applications were 
formalities of convention ; that Louvier, in fact, knew nothing 
about them ; and when dining with the great financier himself, 
and cordially welcomed and called "Moncher" Alain had taken 
him aside and commenced explanation and excuse, Louvier 
cut him short, " Bah ! don't mention such trifles. There is 
such a thing as business that concerns my agent ; such a thing 
as friendship that concerns me. Allez ! " 

Thus M. de Rochebriant, confiding in debtor and in creditor, 
had suffered twelve months to glide by without much heed of 
either, and more than lived up to an income amply sufficient 
indeed for the wants of an ordinary bachelor, but needing more 
careful thrift than could well be expected from the head of one 
of the most illustrious houses in France, cast so young into the 
vortex of the most expensive capital in the world. 

The poor Marquis glided into the grooves that slant down- 
ward, much as the French Marquis of tradition was wont to 
slide ; not that he appeared to live extravagantly, but he needed 



350 THE PARISIANS. 

all he had for his pocket-money, and had lost that dread of 
being in debt which he had brought up from the purer atmo- 
sphere of,Bretagne. 

But there were some debts which, of course, a Rochebriant 
must pay debts of honor and Alain had, on the previous 
night, incurred such a debt, and must pay it that day. He had 
been strongly tempted, when the debt rose to the figure it had 
attained, to risk a change of luck ; but whatever his imprudence, 
he was incapable of dishonesty. If the luck did not change, 
and he lost more, he would be without means to meet his obli- 
gations. As the debt now stood, he calculated that he could 
just discharge it by the sale of his co'upe and horses. It is no 
wonder he left his letters unopened, however charming they 
might be ; he was quite sure they would contain no check 
which would enable him to pay his debt and retain his equipage. 

The door opened, and the valet announced M. le Chevalier 
de Finisterre a man with smooth countenance and air distin- 
gue", a pleasant voice and perpetual smile. 

" Well, mon cher" cried the Chevalier, " I hope that you re- 
covered the favor of Fortune before you quitted her green 
table last night. When I left she seemed very cross with you." 

"And so continued to the end," answered Alain, with well- 
simulated gayety much too bon gentil/iomme to betray rage or 
anguish for pecuniary loss. 

'* After all," said De Finisterre, lighting his cigarette, " the 
uncertain goddess could not do you much harm ; the stakes 
were small, and your adversary, the Prince, never goes double 
or quits." 

" Nor I either. ' Small,' however, is a word of relative im- 
port ; the stakes might be small to you, to me large. Entre 
nous, cher ami, I am at the end of my purse, and I have only 
this consolation I am cured of play : not that I leave the 
complaint, the complaint leaves me ; it can no more feed on 
me than a fever can feed on a skeleton." 

" Are you serious ? " 

" As serious as a mourner who has just buried his all." 

" His all ? Tut, with such an estate as Rochebriant ! " 

For the first time in that talk Alain's countenance became 
overcast. 

" And how long will Rochebriant be mine ? You know that 
I hold it at the mercy of the mortgagee, whose interest has not 
been paid, and who could, if he so pleased, issue notice, take 
proceedings that " 

{i Peste>" interrupted De Finisterre; " Louvier take pro- 



THE PARISIANS. 35! 

ceedings ! Louvier, the best fellow in the world ! But don't 
I see his handwriting on that envelope ? No doubt an invita- 
tion to dinner." 

Alain took up the letter thus singled forth from a miscellany 
of epistles, some in female handwritings, unsealed but inge- 
niously twisted into Gordtan knots some also in female hand- 
writings, carefully sealed others in ill-looking envelopes, 
addressed in bold, legible, clerklike caligraphy. Taken alto- 
gether, these epistles had a character in common ; they be- 
tokened the correspondence of a viveur, regarded from the 
female side as young, handsome, well-born ; on the male side, 
as a viveur who had forgotten to pay his hosier and tailor. 

Louvier wrote a small, not very intelligible, but very mascu- 
line hand, as most men who think cautiously and act promptly 
do write. The letter ran thus : 

" Cher petit Marquis " (at that commencement Alain 
haughtily raised his head and bit his lips) 

" CHER PETIT MARQUIS : 

"It is an age since I have seen you. No doubt my humble 
soirees are too dull for a beau seigneur so courted. I forgive 
you. Would I were a beau seigneur at your age ! Alas ! I am 
only a commonplace man of business, growing old, too. Aloft 
from the world in which I dwell, you can scarcely be aware 
that I have embarked a great part of my capital in building spec- 
ulations. There is a Rue de Louvier that runs its drains right 
through my purse. I am obliged to call in the moneys due to 
me. My agent informs me that I am just 7000 louis short of 
the total I need all other debts being paid in and that there 
is a trifle more than 7000 louis owed to me as interest on my 
hypotheque on Rochebriant ; kindly pay into his hands before 
the end of this week that sum. You have been too lenient 
to Collot, who must owe you more than that. Send agent to 
him. Z>/iW/to trouble you, and am au cttsespoir to think that 
my own pressing necessities compel me to urge you to take so 
much trouble. Mais que faire ? The Rue de Louvier stops 
the way, and I must leave it to my agent to clear it. 

" Accept all my excuses, with the assurance of my senti- 
ments the most cordial. PAUL LOUVIER." 

Alain tossed the letter to De Finisterre. " Read that from 
the best fellow in the world." 

The Chevalier laid down his cigarette and read. "Diable /" 
he said, when he returned the letter and resumed the cigarette. 



352 THE .PARISIANS. 

"Diable! Louvier must be much pressed for money, or he would 
not have written in this strain. What does it matter ? . Collot 
owes you more than 7000 louis. Let your lawyer get them, 
and go to sleep with both ears on your pillow." 

" Ah ! you think Collot can pay if he will ? " 

" Ma foi! did not M. Gandrin tell you that M. Collot was 
safe to buy your wood at more money than any one else would 
give ? " 

"Certainly," said Alain, comforted. "Gandrin left that 
impression on my mind. I will set him on the man. All will 
come right, I dare say : but if it does not come right, what 
would Louvier do ? " 

" Louvier do !" answered Finisterre reflectively. "Well, do 
you ask my opinion and advice ? " 

" Earnestly, I ask." 

" Honestly, then, I answer. lam a little on the Bourse my- 
self most Parisians are. Louvier has made a gigantic specu- 
lation in this new street, and with so many other irons in the 
fire he must want all the money he can get at. I dare say 
that if you do not pay him what you owe, he must leave it to 
his agent to take steps for announcing the sale of Rochebriant. 
But he detests scandal ; he hates the notion of being severe ; 
rather than that, in spite of his difficulties, he will buy Roche- 
briant of you at a better price than it can command at public 
sale. Sell it to him. Appeal to him to act generously, and 
you will flatter him. -You will get more than the old place is 
worth. Invest the surplus ; live as you have done or better ; 
and marry an heiress. Morbleu ! a Marquis de Rochebriant, if 
he were sixty years old, would rank high in the matrimonial 
market. The more the democrats have sought to impoverish 
titles and laugh down historical names, the more do rich demo- 
crat fathers-in-law seek to decorate their daughters with titles 
and give their grandchildren the heritage of historical names. 
You look shocked, pauvre ami. Let us hope, then, that Collot 
will pay. Set your dog I mean your lawyer at him ; seize 
him by the throat ! " 

Before Alain had recovered from the stately silence with 
which he had heard this very practical counsel, the valet again 
appeared, and ushered in M. Frederic Lemercier. 

There was no cordial acquaintance between the visitors. 
Lemercier was chafed at finding himself supplanted in Alain's 
intimate companionship by so new a friend, and De Finisterre 
affected to regard Lemercier as a would-be exquisite of low 
birth and bad taste. 



THE PARISIANS. 353 

Alain, too, was a little discomposed at the sight of Lemer- 
cier, remembering the wise cautions which that old college 
friend had wasted on him at the commencement of his Paris- 
ian career, and smitten with vain remorse that the cautions had 
been so arrogantly slighted. 

It was with some timidity that he extended his hand to 
Frederic, and he was surprised as well as moved by the more 
than usual warmth with which it was grasped by the friend he 
had long neglected. Such affectionate greeting was scarcely 
in keeping with the pride which characterized Frederic Lemer- 
cier. 

"Afa foi /" said the Chevalier, glancing towards the clock, 
"how time flies ! I had no idea it was so late. I must leave 
you now, my dear Rochebriant. Perhaps we shall meet at the 
club later I dine there to-day. Au plaisir, M. Lemercier." 



CHAPTER III. 

WHEN the door had closed on the Chevalier, Frederic's 
countenance became very grave. Drawing his chair near to 
Alain, he said : " We have not seen much of each other lately 
nay, no excuses ; I am well aware that it could scarcely be 
otherwise. Paris has grown so large and so subdivided into 
sets, that the best friends belonging to different sets become 
as divided as if the Atlantic flowed between them. I come to- 
day in consequence of something 1 have just heard from 
Duplessis. Tell me have you got the money for the wood you 
sold to M. Collot a year ago ? " 

" No," said Alain falteringly. 

" Good heavens ! none of it ? " 

" Only the deposit of ten per cent., which of course I spent, 
for it formed the greater part of my income. What of Collot ? 
Is he really unsafe ? " 

" He is ruined, and has fled the country. His flight was the 
talk of the Bdurse this morning. Duplessis told me of it." 

Alain's face paled. " How is Louvier to be paid ? Read 
that letter ! " 

Lemercier rapidly scanned his eye over the contents of 
Louvier's letter. 

" It is true, then, that, you owe this rnan a year's interest 
more than 7000 louis ? " 

" Somewhat more yes. But that is not the first care that 
troubles me Rochebriant may be lost, but with it not my 



354 THE PARISIANS. 






honor. I owe the Russian Prince 300 louis, lost to him last 
night at /carte. I must find a purchaser for my coupe" and 
horses ; they cost me 600 louis last year, do you know any 
one who will give me three ? " 

" Pooh ! I will give you six ; your alezan alone is worth 
half the money ! " 

" My dear Frederic, I will not sell them to you on any ac- 
count. But you have so many friends " 

"Who would give their soul to say, ' I bought these horses 
of Rochebriant.' Of course I do. Ha! young Rameau, you 
are acquainted with him ?" 

" Rameau ! I never heard of him ! " 

" Vanity of vanities, then what is fame ! Rameau is the 
editor of Le Sens Commun. You read that journal ? " 

"Yes, it has clever articles, and I remember how I was ab- 
sorbed in the eloquent roman which appeared in it." 

"Ah ! by the Signora Cieogna, with whom I think you were 
somewhat smitten last year." 

" Last year was I ? How a year can alter a man ! But 
my debt to the Prince. What has Le Sens Commun to do with 
my horses ? " 

" I met Rameau at Savarin's the other evening. He was 
making himself out a hero and a martyr ; his coupe had been 
taken from him to assist in a barricade in that senseless e"mcute 
ten days ago ; the coupe got smashed, the horses disappeared. 
He will buy one of your horses and coupe". Leave it to me ! 
I know where to dispose of the other two horses. At what 
hour do you want the money ? " 

" Before I go to dinner at the club." 

" You shall have it within two hours ; but you must not dine 
at the club to-day. I have a note from Duplessis to invite you 
to dine with him to-day ! " 

" Duplessis ! I know so little of him ! " 

"You should know him better. He is the only man who 
can give you sound advice as to this difficulty with Louvier, and 
he will give it the more carefully and zealously because he has 
iliat enmity to Louvier which one rival financier has to another. 
1 dine with him too. We shall find an occasion to consult him 
quietly ; he speaks of you most kindly. What a lovely girl his 
daughter is ! " 

" I daresay. Ah ! I wish I had been less absurdly fastidious. 
I wish I had entered the army as a private soldier six months 
ago ; I should have been a corporal by this time. Still it is 
not too late. When Rochebriant is gone, I can yet say with 



THE PARISIANS. 355 

the Mousquetaire in the mtfodrame : ' I am rich I have my 
honor and my sword ! ' ' 

" Nonsense ! Rochebriant shall be saved ; meanwhile I 
hasten to Rameau. Au revoir, at the Hotel Duplessis seven 
o'clock." 

Lemercier went, and in less than two hours sent the Marquis 
bank-notes for 600 louis, requesting an order for the delivery 
of the horses and carriage. 

That order written and signed, Alain hastened to acquit him- 
self of his debt of honor, and contemplating his probable ruin 
with a lighter heart, presented himself at the Hotel Du- 
plessis. 

Duplessis made no pretensions to vie with the magnificent 
existence of Louvier. His house, though agreeably situated 
and flatteringly styled the Hotel Duplessis, was of moderate 
size, very unostentatiously furnished ; nor was it accustomed 
to receive the brilliant, motley crowds which assembled in the 
salons of the elder financier. 

Before that year, indeed, Duplessis had confined such enter- 
tainments as he gave to quiet men of business, or a few of the 
more devoted and loyal partisans of the Imperial dynasty ; 
but since Valerie came to live with him he had extended his 
hospitalities to wider and livelier circles, including some celeb- 
rities in the-world of art and letters as well as of fashion. Of 
the party assembled that evening at dinner were Isaura, with 
the Signora Venosta, one of the Imperial Ministers, the Colonel 
whom Alain had already met at Lemercier's supper, Deputes 
(ardent Imperialists), and the Duchesse de Tarascon ; these, 
with Alain and Frederic, made up the party. The conversa- 
tion was not particularly gay. Duplessis himself, though an 
exceedingly well-read and able man, had not the genial accom- 
plishments of a brilliant host. Constitutionally grave and 
habitually taciturn, though there were moments in which he 
was roused out of his wonted self into eloquence or wit, he 
seemed to-day absorbed in some engrossing train of thought. 
The Minister, the Deputes, and the Duchesse de Tarascon talked 
politics, and ridiculed the trumpery tmeuteoi the i4th ; exulted 
in the success of \\\z. plebiscite, and admitting, with indignation, 
the growing strength of Prussia and with scarcely less indig- 
nation, but more contempt, censurirrg the selfish egotism of 
England in disregarding the due equilibrium of the European 
balance of power hinted at the necessity of annexing Belgium 
as a set-off against the results of Sadowa. 

Alain found himself seated next to Isaura to the woman 



356 THE PARISIANS. 

who had so captivated his eye and fancy on his first arrival in 
Paris. . 

Remembering hisjast conversation with Graham nearly a 
year ago, he felt some curiosity to ascertain whether the rich 
Englishman had proposed to her, and if so, been refused or 
accepted. 

The first words that passed between them were trite enough, 
but after a little pause in the talk, Alain said : 

" I think Mademoiselle and myself have an acquaintance in 
common, Monsieur Vane, a distinguished Englishman. Do 
you know if he be in Paris at present ? I have not seen him 
for many months." 

" I believe he is in London ; at least, Colonel Morley met 
the other day a friend of his who said so." 

Though Isaura strove to speak in a tone of indifference, 
Alain's ear detected a ring of pain in her voice ; and watching 
her countenance, he was impressed with a saddened change in 
its expression. He was touched, and his curiosity was mingled 
with a gentler interest as he said : " When I last saw M. Vane 
I should have judged him to be too much under the spell of 
an enchantress to remain long without the pale of the circle 
she draws around her." 

Isaura turned her face quickly towards the speaker, and her 
lips moved, but she said nothing audibly. 

"Can there have been quarrel or misunderstanding?" 
thought Alain ; and after that question his heart asked itself : 
" Supposing Isaura were free, her affections disengaged, could 
he wish to woo and to win her? "and his heart answered: 
"Eighteen months ago thou wert nearer to her than now. 
Thou wert removed from her forever when thou didst accept 
the world as a barrier between you ; then, poor as thou wert, 
thou wouldst have preferred her to riches. Thou wert then 
sensible only of the ingenuous impulses of youth, but the 
moment thou saidst, ' I am Rochebriant, and having once 
owned the claims of birth and station, I cannot renounce them 
for love,' Isaura became but a dream. Now that ruin stares 
thee in the face ; now that thou must grapple with the sternest 
difficulties of adverse fate ; thou hast lost the poetry of senti- 
ment which could alone give to that dream the colors and the 
form of human life." He could not again think of that fair 
creature as a prize that he might even dare to covet. And as 
he met her inquiring eyes, and saw her quivering lip, he felt 
instinctively that Graham was dear to her, and that the tender 



THti PARISIANS. 3$ 7 

interest with which she inspired himself was untroubled by one 
pang of jealousy. He resumed : 

" Yes, the last time I saw the Englishman he spoke with 
such respectful homage of one lady, whose hand he would 
deem it the highest reward of ambition to secure, that I can- 
not but feel deep compassion for him if that ambition has 
been foiled ; and thus only do I account for his absence from 
Paris." 

"You are an intimate friend of Mr. Vane's?" 

" No, indeed, I have not that honor ; our acquaintance is 
but slight, but it impressed me with the idea of a man of 
vigorous intellect, frank temper, and perfect honor." 

Isaura's face brightened with the joy we feel when we hear 
the praise of those we love. 

At this moment, Duplessis, who had been observing the 
Italian and the young Marquis, for the first time during dinner, 
broke silence. 

'Mademoiselle," he said, addressing Isaura across the 
table, "I hope I have not been correctly informed that your 
literary triumph has induced you to forego the career in which 
all the best judges concur that your successes would be no less 
brilliant ; surely one art does not exclude another." 

Elated by Alain's report of Graham's words, by the convic- 
tion that these words applied to herself, and by the thought 
that her renunciation of the stage removed a barrier between 
them, Isaura answered, with a sort of enthusiasm : 

" I know not, M. Duplessis, if one art excludes another ; if 
there be desire to excel in each. But I have long lost all de- 
sire to excel in the art you refer to, and resigned all idea of the 
career in which it opens." 

"So M. Vane told me," said Alain, in a whisper. 

" When ? " 

" Last year on the day that he spoke in terms of admiration 
so merited of the lady whom M. Duplessis had just had the 
honor to address." 

All this while, Valerie, who was seated at the further end of 
the table beside the Minister, who had taken her in to dinner, 
had been watching, with eyes, the anxious, tearful sorrow of 
which none but her father had noticed, the low-voiced confi- 
dence between Alain and the friend whom till that day she 
had so enthusiastically loved. Hitherto she had been answer- 
ing in monosyllables all attempts of the great man to draw her 
into conversation ; but now, observing how Isaura blushed 
and looked down, that strange faculty in women, which >r* 



358 THE PARISIANS. 

men call dissimulation, and which in them is truthfulness to 
their own nature, enabled her to carry off the sharpest anguish 
she had ever experienced by a sudden burst of levity of spirit. 
She caught up some commonplace the Minister had adapted 
to what he considered the poverty of her understanding, with 
a quickness of satire which startled that grave man, and he 
gazed at her astonished. Up to that moment he had secretly 
admired her as a girl well brought up as girls fresh from a 
French convent are supposed to be ; now, hearing her brilliant 
rejoinder to his stupid observation, he said inly: "Dame! 
the low birth of a financier's daughter shows itself." 

But, being a clever man himself, her retort put him on his 
mettle, and he became, to his own amazement, brilliant him- 
self. With that matchless quickness which belongs to Paris- 
ians, the guests around him siezed the new esprit de conversation 
which had been evoked between the statesman and the child- 
like girl beside him ; and as they caught up the ball lightly 
flung among them, they thought within themselves how much 
more sparkling the financier's pretty, lively daughter was than 
that dark-eyed young muse, of whom all the journalists of 
Paris were writing in a chorus of welcome and applause, and 
who seemed not to have a word to say worth listening to, ex- 
cepting to the handsome young Marquis, whom, no doubt, she 
wished to fascinate. 

Valerie fairly outshone Isaura in intellect and in wit ; and 
neither Valerie nor Isaura cared, to the value of a bean-straw, 
about that distinction. Each was thinking only of the prize 
which the humblest peasant women have in common with the 
most brilliantly accomplished of their sex the heart of a man 
beloved. 



CHAPTER IV. 

ON the Continent generally, as we all know, men do not sit 
drinking wine together after the ladies retire, so when the sig- 
nal was given all the guests adjourned to the salon ; and Alain 
quitted Isaura to gain the ear of the Duchesse de Tarascon. 

" It is long at least long for Paris life," said the Marquis, 
"since my first visit to you, in company with Enguerrandde Van- 
demar. Much that you then said rested on my mind, disturb- 
ing the prejudices I took from Bretagne." 

" I am proud to hear it, my kinsman." 

" You know that I would have taken military service undep 



THE PARISIANS. 359 

the Emperor, but for the regulation which would have com- 
pelled me to enter the ranks as a private soldier." 

" I sympathize with that scruple ; but you are aware that the 
Emperor himself could not have ventured to make an excep- 
tion in your favor." 

" Certainly not. I repent me of my pride ; perhaps I may 
enlist still in some regiment sent to Algiers." 

" No ; there are other ways in which a Rochebriantcan serve 
a throne. There will be an office at Court vacant soon, which 
would not misbecome your birth." 

" Pardon me ; a soldier serves his country, a courtier owns a 
master ; and I cannot take the livery of the Emperor, though I 
could wear the uniform of France." 

" Your distinction is childish, my kinsman," said the Du- 
chesse impetuously. "You talk as if the Emperor had an inter- 
est apart -from the nation. I tell you that he has not a corner 
of his heart, not even one reserved for his son and his dynasty, 
in which the thought of France does not predominate." 

" I do not presume, Madame la Duchesse, to question the 
truth of what you say ; but I have no reason to suppose that 
the same thought does not predominate in the heart of the 
Bourbon. The Bonrbon would be the first to say to me : " If 
France needs your sword against her foes, let it not rest in the 
scabbard." But would the Bourbon say: 'The place of a 
Rochebriant is among the valetaille of the Corsican's suc- 
cessor ' ? " 

"Alas for poor France ! " said the Duchesse ; "and alas for 
men like you, my proud cousin, if. the Corsican's successors or 
successor be " 

" Henry V. ? " interrupted Alain, with a brightening eye. 

" Dreamer ! No ; some descendant of the mob-kings who 
gave Bourbons and nobles to the guillotine." 

While the Duchesse and Alain were thus conversing, Isaura 
had seated herself by Valerie, and, unconscious of the offence 
she had given, addressed her in those pretty, caressing terms 
with which young lady-friends are wont to compliment each 
other; but Vale'rie answered curtly or sarcastically, and turned 
aside to converse with the Minister. A few minutes more and 
the party began to break up. Lemercier, however, detained 
Alain, whispering, " Duplessis will see us on your business so 
soon as the other guests have gone." 



360 THE PARISIANS. 



CHAPTER V. 

"MONSIEUR LE MARQUIS," said Duplessis, when the salon 
was cleared of all but himself and the two friends. " Lemer- 
cier has confided to me the state of your affairs in connection 
with M. Louvier, and flatters me by thinking my advice may 
be of some service ; if so, command me." 

" I shall most gratefully accept your advice," answered 
Alain, "but I fear my condition defies even your ability and 
skill." 

" Permit me to hope not, and to ask a few necessary ques- 
tions. M. Louvier has constituted himself your sole mort- 
gagee ; to what amount, at what interest, and from what annual 
proceeds is the interest paid ? " 

Herewith Alain gave details already furnished to the reader. 
Duplessis listened, and noted down the replies. 

" I see it all," he said, when Alain had finished. " M. Lou- 
vier had predetermined to possess himself of your estate ; he 
makes himself sole mortgagee at a rate of interest so low that 
I tell you fairly, at the present value of money, I doubt if you 
could find any capitalist who would accept the transfer of the 
mortgage at the same rate. This is not like Louvier, unless he 
had an object to gain, and that object is your land. The rev- 
enue from your estate is derived chiefly from wood, out of 
which the interest due to Louvier is to be paid. M. Gandrin, 
in a skilfully guarded letter, encourages you to sell the wood 
from your forests to a man -who offers you several thousand 
francs more than it could command from customary buyers. 
I say nothing against M. Gandrin, but every man who knows 
Paris as I do knows that M. Louvier can put, and has put, a 
great deal of money into M. Gandrin's pocket. The purchaser 
of your wood does not pay more than his deposit, and has just 
left the country insolvent. Your purchaser, M. Collot, was an 
adventurous speculator ; he would have bought anything at any 
price, provided he had time to pay ; if his speculations had 
been lucky he would have paid. M. Louvier knew, as I knew, 
that M. Collot was a gambler, and the chances were that he 
would not pay. M. Louvier allows a year's interest on his 
hypotheque to become due notice thereof duly given to you by 
his agent now you come under the operation of the law. Of 
course, you know what the law is ? " 

" Not exactly," answered Alain, feeling frostbitten by the con- 
gealing words of his counsellor; "but I take it for granted 



THE PARISIANS. 361 

that if I cannot pay the interest of a sum borrowed on my 
property, that property itself is forfeited." 

''No, not quite that; the law is mild. If the interest 
which should be paid half-yearly remains unpaid at the 
end of a year, the mortgagee has a right to be impatient, has 
he not ? " 

"Certainly. he has." 

" Well then, on fait un commandement tendant a saisie immobi- 
lity e viz.: the mortgagee gives a notice that the property shall' 
be put up for sale. Then it is put up for sale, and in most 
cases the mortgagee buys it in. Here, certainly, no competitors 
in the mere business way would vie with Louvier ; the mort- 
gage at sYz per cent, covers more than the estate is appa- 
rently worth. Ah ! but stop, M. le Marquis ; the notice is 
not yet served ; the whole process would take six months 
from the day it is served to the taking possession after the sale ; 
in the mean while, if you pay the interest due, the action drops. 
Courage, M. le Marquis ! Hope yet, if you condescend to call 
me friend." 

"And me," cried Lemercier ; "I will sell out of my railway 
shares to-morrow see to it, Duplessis enough to pay off the 
damnable interest. See to it, mon ami." 

" Agree to that, M. le Marquis, and you are safe for another 
year," said Duplessis, folding up the paper on which he had 
made his notes, but fixing on Alain quiet eyes half concealed 
under dropping lids. 

" Agree to that ! " cried Rochebriant, rising ; "Agree to 
allow even my worst enemy to pay for me moneys I could 
never hope to repay ; agree to allow the oldest and most con- 
fiding of my friends to do so M. Duplessis, never ! If I car- 
ried the porter's knot of an Auvergnat, I should still remain 
gentilhomme and Breton" 

Duplessis, habitually the driest of men, rose with a moistened 
eye and flushing cheek ; " Monsieur le Marquis, vouchsafe me 
the honor to shake hands with you. I, too, am by descent 
gentilhomme, by profession a speculator on the Bourse. In both 
capacities I approve the sentiment you have uttered. Certainly 
if our friend Frederic lent you 7000 louis or so this year, it 
would be impossible for you even to foresee the year in which 
you could repay it ; but," here Duplessis paused a minute, 
and then lowering the tone of his voice, which had been some- 
what vehement and enthusiastic, into that of a colloquial good- 
fellowship, equally rare to the measured reserve of the finan- 
cier, he asked, with a lively twinkle of his gray eye, " pid you 



362 THE PARISIANS. 

never hear, Marquis, of a little encounter between me and M. 
Louvier ? " 

"Encounter at arms does Louvier fight?" asked Alain 
innocently. 

" In his own way he is always fighting ; but I speak meta- 
phorically. You see this small house of mine so pinched in 
by the houses next to it that I can neither get space for a ball- 
room for Valerie, nor a dining-room for more than a friendly 
party like that which has honored me to-day. Eh bien ! I 
bought this house a few years ago, meaning to buy the one 
next to it, and throw the two into one. I went to the propri- 
etor of the next house, who, as I knew, wished to sell. 'Aha,' 
he thought, 'this is the rich Monsieur Duplessis'; and he 
asked me 2000 louis more than the house was worth. We men 
of business cannot bear to be too much cheated ; a little cheat- 
ing we submit to, much cheating raises our gall. Bref this 
was on Monday. I offered the man 1000 louis above the fair 
price, and gave him till Thursday to decide. Somehow or 
other Louvier heard of this. ' Hillo ! ' says Louvier, ' here is a 
financier who desires a hotclto vie with mine ! ' He goes on 
Wednesday to my next-door neighbor. ' Friend, you want to 
sell your house. I want to buy the price ? ' The proprietor, 
who does not know him by sight, says : 'It is as good 
as sold. M. Duplessis and I shall agree.' 'Bah! What 
sum did you ask M. Duplessis?' He names the sum; 
2000 louis more than he can get elsewhere. ' But M. 
Duplessis will give me the sum.' 'You ask too little. I will 
give 3000. A fig for M. Duplessis ! I am Monsieur Louvier.' 
So when I call on Thursday the house is sold. I reconcile 
myself easily enough to the loss of space for a larger dining- 
room ; but though Valerie was then a child at a convent, I was 
sadly disconcerted by the thought that I could have no salle 
de bal ready for her when she came to reside with me. Well, 
I say to myself, patience ; I owe M. Louvier a good turn ; rny 
time to pay him off will come. It does come, and very 
soon. M. Louvier buys an estate near Paris ; builds a superb 
villa. Close to his property is a rising forest ground for sale. 
He goes to the proprietor : says the proprietor to himself : 
' The great Louvier wants this,' and adds 5000 louis to its mar- 
ket price. Louvier, like myself, can't bear to be cheated egre- 
giously. Louvier offers 2000 louis more than the man could 
fairly get, and leaves him till Saturday to consider. I hear of 
this ; speculators hear of everything, On Friday night I go to 
the man and I give him 6000 louis where he had asked 5000, 



THE PARISIANS. 

Fancy Louvier's face the next day ! But there my revenge 
only begins," continued Duplessis, chuckling inwardly. "My 
forest looks down on the villa he is building. I only wait till 
his villa is built, in order to send to my architect and say, Build 
me a villa at least twice as grand as M. Louvier's, then 
clear away the forest trees, so that every morning he may see 
my palace dwarfing into significance his own." 

"Bravo ! " cried Lemercier, clapping his hands. Lemercier 
had the spirit of party, and felt for Duplessis, against Louvier, 
much as in England Whig feels against Tory, or vice versa. 

" Perhaps now," resumed Duplessis more soberly " Perhaps 
now, M. le Marquis, you may understand why I humiliate you 
by no sense of obligation if I say that M. Louvier shall not be 
the Seigneur de Rochebriant if I can help it. Give me a line 
of introduction to your Breton lawyer and to Mademoiselle 
your aunt ; let me have your letters early to-morrow. I will 
take the afternoon train. I know not how many days I may 
be absent, but I shall not return till I have carefully examined 
the nature and conditions of your property. If I see my way 
to save your estate, and give a mauvais quart d'heure to Lou- 
vier, so much the better for you, M. le Marquis ; if I cannot, I 
will say frankly, ' Make the best terms you can with your 
creditor.' " 

" Nothing can be more delicately generous than the way you 
put it," said Alain ; " but pardon me, if I say that the pleas- 
antry with which you narrate your grudge against M. Louvier 
does not answer its purpose in diminishing my sense of obliga- 
tion." So, linking his arm in Lemercier's, Alain made his 
bow and withdrew. 

When his guests had gone, Duplessis remained seated in 
meditation apparently pleasant meditation, for he smiled 
while indulging it ; he then passed through the reception- 
rooms to one at the far end appropriated to Valerie as a bou- 
doir or morning-room, adjoining her bed-chamber ; he knocked 
gently at the door, and, all remaining silent within, he opened 
it noiselessly and entered. Valerie was reclining on the sofa 
near the window, her head drooping, her hands clasped on her 
knees. Duplessis neared her with tender, stealthy steps, passed 
his arm round her, and drew her head towards his bosom. 
"Child ! " he murmured ; " my child ! my only one ! " 

At that soft, loving voice, Valerie flung her arms round him, 
and wept aloud like an infant in trouble. He seated himself 
beside her, and wisely suffered her to weep on, till her passion 
had exhausted itself ; he then said, half fondly, half ghidingly : 



THE PARISIANS. 

" Have you forgotten our conversation only three days ago ? 
Have you forgotten that I then drew forth the secret of your 
heart ? Have you forgotten what I promised you in return 
for your confidence ? And a promise to you have I ever yet 
broken ? " 

" Father ! father ! I am so wretched, and so ashamed of 
myself for being wretched ! Forgive me. No, I do not for- 
get your promise ; but who can promise to dispose of the heart 
of another ? And that heart will never be mine. But bear 
with me a little, I shall soon recover." 

" Valerie, when I made you the promise you now think I 
cannot keep, I spoke only from that conviction of power to 
promote the happiness of a child which nature implants in the 
heart of parents ; and it may be also from the experience of 
my own strength of will, since that which I have willed I have 
always won. Now I speak on yet surer ground. Before the year 
is out you shall be the beloved wife of Alain de Rochebriant. 
Dry your tears and smile on me, Valerie. If you will not see 
in me mother and father both, I have double love for you, 
motherless child of her who shared the poverty of my youth, 
and did not live to enjoy the wealth which I hold as a trust for 
that heir to mine all which she left me." 

As this man thus spoke you would scarcely have recognized 
in him the cold, saturnine Duplessis, his countenance became so 
beautified by the one soft feeling which care and contest, am- 
bition and money-seeking had left . unaltered in his heart. 
Perhaps there is no country in which the love of parent and 
child, especially of father and daughter, is so strong as it is 
in France ; even in the most arid soil, among the avaricious, 
even among the profligate, it forces itself into flower. Other 
loves fade away : in the heart of the true Frenchman that 
parent love blooms to the last. 

Valerie felt the presence of that love as a divine protecting 
guardianship. She sank on her knees and -covered his hand 
with grateful kisses. 

" Do not torture yourself, my child, with jealous fears of the 
fair Italian. Her lot and Alain de Rochebriant's can never 
unite ; and whatever you may think of their whispered con- 
verse, Alain's heart at this moment is too filled with anxious 
troubles to leave one spot in it accessible even to a frivolous gal- 
lantry. It is for us to remove these troubles ; and then, when 
he turns his eyes towards you, it will be with the gaze of one 
vho beholds his happiness. You do not weep now, Valerie," 



THE PARISIANS. 3*0 

BOOK IX. 

CHAPTER I. 

ON waking some morning, have you ever felt, reader, as if a 
change for the brighter in the world, without and within you, 
had suddenly come to pass ; some new glory has been given 
to the sunshine, some fresh balm to the air; you feel younger, 
and happier, and lighter, in the very beat of your heart ; you 
almost fancy you hear the chime of some spiritual music far 
off, as if in the deeps of heaven ? You are not at first con- 
scious how, or wherefore, this change has been brought about. 
Is it the effect of a dream in the gone sleep, that has made 
this morning so different from mornings that have dawned be- 
fore ? And while vaguely asking yourself that question, you 
become aware tftat the cause is no mere illusion, that it has its 
substance in words spoken by living lips, in things that belong 
to the work-day world. 

It was thus that Isaura woke the morning after the conver- 
sation with Alain de Rochebriant, and as certain words, then 
spoken, echoed back on her ear, she knew why she was so 
happy, why the world was so changed. 

In those words she heard the voice of Graham Vane no ! 
she had not deceived herself she was loved ! she was loved ! 
What mattered that long, cold interval of absence ? She had 
not forgotten, she could not believe that absence had brought 
forgetfulness. There are moments when we insist on judg- 
ing another's heart by our own. All would be explained some 
day all would come right. 

How lovely was the face that reflected itself in the glass as 
she stood before it smoothing back her long hair, murmuring 
sweet snatches of Italian love-song, and blushing with sweeter 
love-thoughts as she sang ! All that had passed in that year 
so critical to her outer life the authorship, the fame, the pub- 
. lie career, the popular praise vanished from her mind as a 
vapor that rolls from the face of a lake to which the sunlight 
restores the smile of a brightened heaven. 

She was more the girl now than she had ever been since the 
day on which she sat reading Tasso on the craggy shore of 
Sorrento. 

Singing still as she passed from her chamber, and entering 



3>"o THE PARISIANS. 

the sitting-room which fronted the east, and seemed bathed irt 
the sunbeams of deepening May, she took her bird from its 
cage, and stopped her song to cover it with kisses, which per- 
haps yearned for vent somewhere. 

Later in the day she went out to visit Valerie. Recalling 
the altered manner of her young friend, her sweet nature be- 
came troubled. She divined that Valerie had conceived some 
jealous pain which she longed to heal ; she could not bear the 
thought of leaving any one that day unhappy. Ignorant be- 
fore of the girl's feelings towards Alain, she now partly guessed 
them one woman who loves in secret is clairvoyante as to 
such secrets in another. 

Valerie received her visitor with a coldness she did not at- 
tempt to disguise. Not seeming to notice this, Isaura com- 
menced the conversation with frank mention of Rochebriant. 
" I have to thark you so much, dear Valerie, for a pleasure you 
could not anticipate that of talking about an absent friend, 
and hearing the praise he deserved from one so capable of 
appreciating excellence as M. de Rochebriant' appears to be." 

" You were talking to M. de Rochebriant of an absent friend. 
Ah ! you seemed indeed very much interested in the con- 
versation " 

" Do not wonder at that, Valerie ; and do not grudge me 
the happiest moments I have known for months." 

" In talking with M. de Rochebriant ! No doubt, Made- 
moiselle Cicogna, you found him very charming." 

To her surprise and indignation, Valerie here felt the arm 
of Isaura tenderly entwining her waist, and her face drawn to- 
wards Isaura's sisterly kiss. 

" Listen to me, naughty child listen and believe. M. de 
Rochebriant can never be charming to me, never touch a chord 
m my heart or my fancy, except as friend to another, or kiss 
me in your turn, Valerie as suitor to yourself." 

Valerie here drew back her pretty, childlike head, gazed 
keenly a moment into Isaura's eyes, felt convinced by the lim- 
pid candor of their unmistakable honesty, and flinging herself 
on her friend's bosom, kissed her passionately, and burst into 
tears. 

The complete reconciliation between the two girls was thus 
peacefully effected ; and then Isaura had to listen, at no small 
length, to the confidences poured into her ears by Valerie, who 
was fortunately too engrossed by her own hopes and doubts to 
exact confidences in return. Valerie's was one of those im- 
pulsive, eager natures that long for a confidante. Not so Isaura's, 



THE PARISIANS. 367 

Only when Valerie had unburtliened her heart, and been soothed 
and caressed into happy trust in the future, did she recall Isaura's 
explanatory words, and said archly : " And your absent friend ? 
Tell me about him. Is he as handsome as Alain ? " 

" Nay," said Isaura, rising to take up the mantle and hat she 
had laid aside on entering, " they say that the color of a flower 
is in our vision, not in the leaves." Then with a grave melan- 
choly in the look she fixed upon Valerie, she added : " Rather 
than distrust of me should occasion you pain, I have pained 
myself, in making clear to you the reason why I felt interest 
in M. de Rochebriant's conversation. In turn, I ask you a 
favor do not on this point question me farther. There are 
some things in our past which influence the present, but to 
which we dare not assign a future on which we cannot talk 
to another. What soothsayer can tell us if the dream of a yester- 
day will be renewed on the night of. a morrow ? All is said 
we trust one another, dearest." 



CHAPTER II. 

THAT evening the Morleys looked in at Isaura's on their 
to a crowded assembly at the house of one of those rich 
Americans who were then outvying the English residents at 
Paris in the good graces of Parisian society. I think the 
Americans get on better with the French than the English do 
I mean the higher class of Americans. They spend more 
money ; their men speak French better ; the women are better 
dressed, and, as a general rule, have read more largely, and 
converse more frankly. 

Mrs. Morley's affection for Isaura had increased during the 
last few months. As so notable an advocate of the ascendancy 
of her sex, she felt a sor.t of grateful pride in the accomplish- 
ments and growing renown of so youthful a member of the 
oppressed sisterhood. But, apart from that sentiment, she had 
conceived a tender, mother-like interest for the girl who stood 
in the world so utterly devoid of family ties, so destitute of 
that household guardianship and protection which, with all 
her assertion of the strength and dignity of woman, and all her 
opinions as to woman's right of absolute emancipation from the 
conventions fabricated by the selfishness of man, Mrs. Morley 
was too sensible not to value for the individual, though she 
deemed it not needed for the mass. Her great desire was that 
Jsaura should marry well, and soon. American women usually 



368 THE PARISIANS. 

marry so young that it seemed to Mrs. Morley an anomaly in. 
social life that one so gifted in mind and person as Isaura 
should already have passed the age in which the belles of the 
great Republic are enthroned as wives and consecrated as 
mothers. 

We have seen that in the past year she had selected from 
our unworthy but necessary sex, Graham Vane as a suitable 
spouse to her young friend. She had divined the state of his 
heart ; she had more than suspicions of the state of Isaura's. 
She was exceedingly perplexed and exceedingly chafed at the 
Englishman's strange disregard to his happiness and her own 
projects. She had counted, all this past winter, on his return 
to Paris ; and she became convinced that some misunderstand- 
ing, possibly some lovers' quarrel, was the cause of his pro- 
tracted absence, and a cause that, if ascertained, could be re- 
moved. A good opportunity now presented itself Colonel 
Morley was going to London the next day. He had business 
there which would detain him at least a week. He would see 
Graham ; and as she considered her husband the shrewdest 
and wisest person in the world I mean of the male sex she 
had no doubt of his being able to turn Graham's mind 
thoroughly inside out, and ascertain his exact feelings, views, 
and intentions. If the Englishman, thus assayed, were found 
of base metal, then, at least, Mrs. Morley would be free to cast 
him altogether aside, and coin for the uses of the matrimonial 
market some nobler effigy in purer gold. 

" My dear child," said Mrs. Morley, in low voice, nestling 
herself close to Isaura, while the Colonel, duly instructed, drew 
off the Venosta, "have you heard anything lately of our pleas- 
ant friend Mr. Vane?" 

You can guess with what artful design Mrs. Morley put that 
question point-blank, fixing keen eyes on Isaura while she put 
it. She saw the heightened color, the .quivering lip of the girl 
thus abruptly appealed to, and she said inly : " I was right 
she loves him ! " 

" I heard of Mr. Vane last night accidentally." 

" Is he coming to Paris soon ? " 

" Not that I know of. How charmingly that wreath be- 
comes you ! It suits the earrings so well, too." 

" Frank chose it ; he has good taste for a man. I trust him 
with my commissions to Hunt and Roskell's, but I limit him 
as to price, he is so extravagant men are, when they make 
presents. They seem to think we value things according to 
their cost. They would gorge us with jewels, and let us starve 



fME PARISIANS. 369 

for want of a smile. Not that Frank is so bad as the rest of 
them. But apropos of Mr. Vane Frank will ba sure to see 
him and scold him well for deserting us all. I should not be 
surprised if he brought the deserter back with him, for I sent a 
little note by Frank, inviting him to pay us a visit. We have 
spare rooms in our apartments." 

Isaura's heart heaved beneath her robe, but she replied in a 
tone of astonishing indifference : " I believe this is the height 
of the London season, and Mr. Vane would probably be too 
engaged to profit even by an invitation so tempting." 

"Nousverrons. Ho\v pleased he will be to hear of your tri- 
ilmphs ! He admired you so much before you were famous : 
what will be his admiration now ! Men are so vain ; they care 
for us so much more when people praise us. But till we have 
put the creatures in their proper place, we must take them for 
what they are." 

Here the Venosta, with whom the poor Colonel had ex- 
hausted all the arts at his command for chaining her attention, 
could be no longer withheld from approaching Mrs. Morley, 
and venting her admiration of that lady's wreath, earrings, 
robes, flounces. This dazzling apparition had on her the effect 
which a candle has on a moth ; she fluttered round it and 
longed to absorb herself in its blaze. But the wreath especially 
fascinated her a wreath which no prudent lady with color- 
ings less pure, and features less exquisitely delicate than the 
pretty champion of the rights of woman, could have fancied on 
her own brows without a shudder. But the Venosta in such mat- 
ters was not prudent. " It can't be dear," she erred piteously, 
extending her arms towards Isaura. " I must have one exactly 
like. Who made it ? Ca'ra signora, give me the address." 

" Ask the Colonel, dear Madame ; he chose and bought it," 
and Mrs. Morley glanced significantly at her well-tutored Frank. 

" Madame," said the Colonel, speaking in English, which he 
usually did with the Venosta, who valued herself on knowing 
that language, and was flattered to be addressed in it, while he 
amused himself by introducing into its forms the dainty Amer- 
icanisms with which he puzzled the Britisher he might well 
puzzle the Florentine. "Madame, I am too anxious for the 
appearance of my wife to submit to the test of a rival screamer 
like yourself in the same apparel. With all the homage due to 
a sex of which I am enthused dreadful, I decline to designate 
the florist from whom I purchased Mrs. Morley's head-fixings." 

" Wicked man ! " cried the Venosta, shaking her finger at 
him coquettishly. " You are jealous ! Fie ! a man should 



3)0 THE PARISIANS. 

never be j'ealous of a. woman's rivalry with woman "; and thert 
with a cynicism that might have become a graybeard, she 
added, "but of his own sex every man should be jealous 
though-of his dearest friend. Isn't it so. Colonello? " 

The Colonel looked'puzzled, bowed, and made no reply. 

" That only shows," said Mrs. Morley, rising, " what villains 
the Colonel has the misfortune to call friends and fellow-men." 

" I fear it is time to go," said Frank, glancing at the clock. 

In theory the most rebellious, in practice the most obedient, 
of wives, Mrs. Morley here kissed Isaura, resettled her crino- 
line, and shaking hands with the Venosta, retreated to the door. 

" I shall have the wreath yet," cried the Venosta impishly. 
" La speranza % femmina " (Hope is female). 

"Alas! said Isaura, half mournfully, half smiling; "Alas! 
do you not remember what the poet replied when asked what 
disease was most mortal? 'the hectic fevef caught from the 
chill of hope.' " 

CHAPTER III. 

GRAHAM VANE was musing very gloomily in his solitary 
apartment one morning, when his servant announced Colonel 
Morley. 

He received his visitor with more than the cordiality with 
which every English politician receives an American citizen. 
Graham liked the Colonel too well for what he was in himself, 
to need any national title to his esteem. After some prelimi- 
nary questions and answers as to the health of Mrs. Morley, 
the length of the Colonel's stay in London, what day he could 
dine with Graham at Richmond o"r Gravesend, the Colonel 
took up the ball. "We have been reckoning to see you at 
Paris, sir, for the last six months." 

" I am very much flattered to hear that you have thought of 
me at all ; but I am not aware of having warranted the expec- 
tation you so kindly express." 

" I guess you must have said something to my wife which led 
her to do more than expect to reckon on your return. And, 
by the way, sir, I am charged to deliver to you this note from 
her^ and to back the request it contains that you will avail 
yourself of the offer. Without summarizing the points I do so." 
* Graham glanced over the note addressed to him : 
" DEAR MR. VANE : 

" Do you forget how beautiful the environs of Paris are in 
May and June ? How charming it was last year at the lake 



THE PARISIANS. $71 

of Knghien ? How gay were our little dinners out of doors 
in the garden arbors, with the Savarins and the fair Italian, 
and her incomparably amusing chaperon ? Frank has my 
orders to bring you back to renew these happy days, while 
the birds are in their first song, and the leaves are in their 
youngest green. I have prepared your room chez nous a 
chamber that looks out on the Champs Elysees, and a quiet 
cabinet de travail at the back, in which you can read, write, or 
sulk undisturbed. Come, and we will again visit Enghien and 
Montmorency. Don't talk of engagements. If man proposes, 
woman disposes. Hesitate not : obey. Your sincere little 
friend, LIZZY." 

" My dear Morley," said George, with emotion, " I cannot 
find words to thank your wife sufficiently for an invitation so 
graciously conveyed. Alas ! I cannot accept it." 

" Why ? " asked the Colonel dryly. 

" I have too much to do in London." 

" Is that the true reason, or am I to suspicion that there is 
anything, sir, which makes you dislike a visit to Paris ? " 

The Americans enjoy the reputation of being the frankest 
putters of questions whom liberty of speech has yet educated 
into la recherche de la v^rite^ and certain Colonel Morley in 
this instance did not impair the national reputation. 

Graham Vane's brow slightly contractedf and he bit his lip 
as if stung by a sudden pang ; but after a moment's pause, he 
answered with a good-humored smile : 

" No man who has taste enough to admire the most beautiful 
city, and appreciate the charms of the most brilliant society in 
the world, can dislike Paris." 

" My dear sir, I did not ask if you disliked Paris, but if 
there were anything that made you dislike coming back to it 
on a visit." 

" What a notion ! and what a cross-examiner you would have 
made if you had been called to the bar ! Surely, my dear 
friend, you can understand that when a man has in one place 
business which he cannot neglect, he may decline going to 
another place, whatever pleasure it would give him to do so. 
By the way, there is a great ball at one of the Ministers' to- 
night ; you should go there, and I will point out to you all 
those English notabilities in whom Americans naturally take 

interest. I will call for you at eleven o'clock. Lord , 

who is a connection of mine, would be charmed to know you." 

Morley hesitated ; but when Graham said, " How your wife 



3?2 THE PARISIANS. 

will scold you if you lose such an opportunity of telling her 

whether the Duchess of M is as beautiful as report says, 

and whether Gladstone or Disraeli seem to your phrenological 
science to have the finer head ! " the Colonel gave in, and it 
was settled that Graham should call for him at the Langham 
Hotel. 

That matter arranged, Graham probably hoped that his 
inquisitive visitor would take leave for the present, but the Col- 
onel evinced no such intention. On the contrary, settling him- 
self more at ease in his arm-chair, he said : " If I remember 
aright, you do not object to the odor of tobacco? " 

Graham rose and presented to his visitor a cigar-box which 
he took from the mantel-piece. 

The Colonel shook his head, and withdrew from his breast- 
pocket a leather case, from which he extracted a gigantic re- 
galia ; this he lighted from a gold match-box in the shape of a 
locket attached to his watch-chain, and took two or three pre- 
liminary puffs with his head thrown back and his eyes medita- 
tively intent upon the ceiling. 

We know already that strange whim of the Colonel's (than 
whom, if he so pleased, no man could speak purer English as 
spoken by the Britisher) to assert the dignity of the American 
citizen by copious use of expressions and phrases familiar to 
the lips of the governing class of the great Republic deli- 
cacies of speech wlflch he would have carefully shunned in the 
polite circles of the Fifth Avenue in New York. Now the 
Colonel was much too experienced a man of the world not to 
be aware that the commission with which his Lizzy had charged 
him was an exceedingly delicate one ; and it occurred to his 
mother wit that the best way to acquit himself of it, so as to 
avoid the risk of giving or of receiving serious affront, would 
be to push that whim of his into more than wonted exaggera- 
tion. Thus he could more decidedly and briefly come to the 
point ; and should he, in doing so, appear too meddlesome, 
rather provoke a laugh than a frown retiring from the ground 
with the honors due to a humorist. Accordingly, in his deep- 
est nasal intonation, and withdrawing his eyes from the ceiling, 
he began : 

"You have not asked, sir, after the Signorina, or, as we 
popularly call her, Mademoiselle Cicogna ? " 

"Have I not? I hope she is quite well, and her lively com- 
panion, Signora Venosta." 

" They are not sick, sir ; or at least were not so last night 
when my wife and I had the pleasure to see them. Of course 



THE PARISIANS. 373 

you have read Mademoiselle Cicogna's book a bright per- 
formance, sir, age considered." 

" Certainly, I have read the book ; it is full of unquestion- 
able genius. Is Mademoiselle writing another ? But of 
course she is." 

"I am not aware of the fact, sir. It may be predicated; 
such a mind cannot remain inactive ; and I know from M. 
Savarin and that rising young man, Gustave Rameau, that the 
publishers bid high for her brains considerable. Two transla- 
tions have already appeared in our country. Her fame, sir, 
will be world-wide. She may be another Georges Sand, or at 
least another Eulalie Grantmesnil." 

Graham's cheek became as white as the paper I write on. 
He inclined his head as in assent, but without a word. The 
Colonel continued : 

" We ought to be very proud of her acquaintance, sir. I 
think you detected her gifts while they were yet unconjectured. 
My wife says so. You must be gratified to remember that, 
sir clear grit, sir, and no mistake." 

"I certainly more than once have said to Mrs. Morley that 
I esteemed Mademoiselle's powers so highly that I hoped she 
would never become a stage-singer and actress. But this M. 
Rameau ? You say he is a rising man. It struck me when at 
Paris that he was one of those charlatans, with a great deal of 
conceit and very little information, who are always found in 
scores on the ultra-Liberal side of politics ; possibly I was 
mistaken." 

"He is the responsible editor of Le Sens Commun, in which 
talented periodical Mademoiselle Cicogna's book was first 
raised." 

" Of course, I know that ; a journal which, so far as I have 
looked into its political or social articles, certainly written by 
a cleverer and an older man than M. Rameau, is for unsettling 
all things and settling nothing. We have writers 'of that kind 
among ourselves ; I have no sympathy with them. To me it 
seems that when a man says, 'Off with your head,' he ought to 
let us know what other head he would put on our shoulders, 
and by what process the change of heads shall be effected. 
Honestly speaking, if you and your charming wife are intimate 
friends and admirers of Mademoiselle Cicogna, I think you 
could not do her a greater service than that of detaching her 
from all connection with men like M. Rameau, and journals 
like Le Sens Commun." 

The Colonel here withdrew his cigar from his lips, towered 



374 THE PARISIANS. 

his head to a level with Graham's, and relaxing into an arch, 
significant smile, said : "Start to Paris, and dissuade her your- 
self. Start go ahead don't be shy don't seesaw on the 
beam of speculation. You will have more influence with that 
young female than we can boast." 

Never was England in greater danger of quarrel with 
America that at that moment; but Graham curbed his first 
wrathful impulse, and replied coldly : 

" It seems to me, Colonel, that you, though very unconscious- 
ly, derogate from the respect due to Mademoiselle Cicogna. 
'I hat the council of a married couple like yourself and Mrs. 
Morley should be freely given to and duly heeded by a girl 
deprived of her natural advisers in parents, is a reasonably 
and honorable supposition ; but to imply that the most in- 
fluential adviser of a young lady so situated is a young single 
man, in no way related to her, appears to me a dereliction of 
that regard to the dignity of her sex which is the chivalrous 
characteristic of your countrymen and to Mademoiselle 
Cicogna herself, a surmise which she would be justified in .re- 
senting as an impertinence." 

" I deny both allegations," replied the Colonel serenely. " I 
maintain that a single man whips all connubial creation when 
it comes to gallantizing a single young woman ; and that no 
young lady would be justified in resenting as impertinence my 
friendly suggestion to the single man so deserving of her con- 
sideration as I estimate you to be, to solicit the right to advise 
her for life. And that's a caution." 

Here the Colonel resumed his regalia, and again gazed intent 
on the ceiling. 

" Advise her for life ! You mean, I presume, as a candidate 
for her hand." 

"You don't turkey now. Well, I guess, you are not wide of 
the mark there, sir." 

"You do me infinite honor, but I do not presume so far." 

" So, so not as yet. Before a man who is not without 
gumption runs himself for Congress, he likes to calculate 
how the votes will run. Well, sir, suppose we are in caucus, 
and let us discuss the chances of the election with closed 
doors." 

Graham could not help smiling at the persistent officiousness 
of his visitor, but his smile was a very sad one. 

"Pray change the subject, my dear Colonel Morley, it is not 
a pleasant one to me ; and as regards Mademoiselle Cicogna, 
gan you think it would not shock her to suppose that her name 



THE PARISIANS. 37 j 

was dragged into the discussions you would provoke, even with 
closed doors? " 

"Sir," replied the Colonel imperturbably, "since the doors 
are closed, there is no one, unless it be a spirit-listener under 
the table, who can wire to Mademoiselle Cicogna the substance 
of debate. And, for my part, I do not believe in spiritual 
manifestations. Fact is, that I have the most amicable senti- 
ments towards both parties, and if there is a misunderstanding 
which is opposed to the union of the States, I wish to remove 
it while yet in time. Now, let us suppose that you decline to 
be a candidate ; there are plenty of others who will run ; and 
as an elector must choose one representative or other, so a gal 
must choose one husband or other. And then you only repent 
when it is too late. It is a great thing to be first in the field. 
Let us approximate to the point ; the chances seem good will 
you run ? Yes or no ? " 

" I repeat, Colonel Morley, that I entertain no such pre 
sumption." 

The Colonel here, rising, extended his hand, which Graham 
shook with constrained cordiality, and then leisurely walked to 
the door ; there he paused, as if struck by a new thought, and 
said gravely, in his natural tone of voice : "You have nothing 
to say, sir, against the young lady's character and honor ? " 

" I ! Heavens, no ! Colonel Morley, such a question insults 
me." 

The Colonel resumed his deepest nasal bass : " It is only, 
then, because you don't fancy her so much as you did last 
year fact, you are soured on her and fly off the handle. Such 
things do happen. The same thing -has happened to myself, 
sir. In my days of celibacy, there was a gal at Saratoga whom 
I gallantized, and whom, while I was at Saratoga, I thought 
Heaven had made to be Mrs. MorTey. I was on the very point 
of telling her so, when I was Suddenly called off to Philadel- 
phia ; and at Philadelphia, sir, I found that Heaven had made 
another Mrs. Morley. I state this fact, sir, though I seldom 
talk of my own affairs, even when willing to tender my advice 
in the affairs of another, in order to prove that I do not intend 
to censure you if Heaven has served you in the same manner. 
Sir, a man may go blind for one gal when he is not yet dry 
behind the ears, and then, when his eyes are skinned, go in for 
one better. All things mortal meet with a change, as my 
sister's little boy said when, at the age of eight, he quitted the 
Methodys and turned Shaker. Threep and argue as we may, 
you and I are both mortals more's the pity. Good-morning, 



376 THE PARISIANS. 

sir (glancing at the clock, which proclaimed the hour of 3 P.M.), 
I err good-evening." 

By the post that day the Colonel transmitted a condensed 
and laconic report of his conversation with Graham Vane. I 
can state its substance in yet fewer words. He wrote word 
that Graham positively declined the invitation to Paris ; that 
he had then, agreeably to Lizzy's instructions, ventilated the 
Englishman, in the most delicate terms, as to his intentions 
with regard to Isaura, and that no intentions at all existed. 
The sooner all thoughts of him were relinquished, and a new 
suitor on the ground, the better it would be for the young 
lady's happiness in the only state in which happiness should be, 
if not found, at least sought, whether by maid or man. 

Mrs. Morley was extremely put out by this untoward result 
of the diplomacy she had intrusted to the Colonel ; and when, 
the next day, came a very courteous letter from Graham, 
thanking her gratefully for the kindness of her invitation, and 
expressing his regret briefly, though cordially, at his inability 
to profit by it, without the most distant allusion to the subject 
which the Colonel had brought on the tapis, or even requesting 
his compliments to the Signoras Venosta and Cicogna, she was 
more than put out, more than resentful she was deeply 
grieved. Being, however, one of those gallant heroes of woman- 
kind who do not give in at the first defeat, she began to doubt 
whether Frank had not rather overstrained the delicacy which 
he said he had put into his " soundings." He ought to have 
been more explicit. Meanwhile she resolved to call on 
Isaura, and, without mentioning Graham's refusal of her invi- 
tation, endeavor to ascertain whether the attachment which she 
felt persuaded the girl secretly cherished for this recalcitrant 
Englishman were something more than the first romantic fancy 
whether it were sufficiently deep to justify farther effort on 
Mrs. Morley's part to bring it to a prosperous issue. 

She found Isaura at home and alone ; and, to do her justice, 
she exhibited wonderful tact in the fulfilment of the task she 
had set herself. Forming her judgment by manner and look, 
not words, she returned home convinced that she ought to 
seize the opportunity afforded to her by Graham's letter. It 
was one to which she might very naturally reply, and in that 
reply she might convey the object at her heart more felici- 
tously than the Colonel had done. "The cleverest man is," 
she said to herself, " stupid compared to an ordinary woman in 
the real business of life, which does not consist of fighting and 
money-making," 



THE PARISIANS. 377 

Now there was one point she had ascertained by words in 
her visit to Isaura a point on which all might depend. She 
had asked Isaura when and where she had seen Graham last ; 
and when Isaura had given her that information, and she 
learned it was on the eventful day on which Isaura gave her 
consent to the publication of her MS. if approved by Savarin, 
in the journal to be set up by the handsome-faced young author, 
she leapt to the conclusion that Graham had been seized with 
no unnatural jealousy, and was still under the illusive glamoury 
of that green-eyed fiend. She was confirmed in this notion, 
not altogether an unsound one, when asking with apparent 
carelessness : " And in that last interview, did you see any 
change in Mr. Vane's manner, especially when he took leave ?" 

Isaura turned away pale, and involuntarily clasping her 
hands, as women do when they would suppress pain, replied, 
in a low murmur : " His manner was changed." 

Accordingly, Mrs. Morley sat down and wrote the following 
letter : 

1 ' DEAR MR. VANE : 

" I am very angry indeed with you for refusing my invitation ; 
I had so counted on you, and I don't believe a word of your 
excuse. Engagements ! To balls and dinners, I suppose, as 
if you were not much too clever to care about these silly at- 
tempts to enjoy solitude in crowds. And as to what you men 
call business, you have no right to have any business at all. 
You are not in commerce ; you are not in Parliament ; you 
told me yourself that you had no great landed estates to give 
you trouble ; you are rich, without any necessity to take pains 
to remain rich, or to become richer ; you have no business in 
the world except to please yourself : and when you will not 
come to Paris to see one of your truest friends which I cer- 
tainly am it simply means, that no matter how such a visit 
would please me, it does not please yourself. I call that 
abominably rude and ungrateful. 

"But I am not writing merely to scold you. I have some- 
thing else on my mind, and it must come out. Certainly, when 
you were at Paris last year you did admire, above all other young 
ladies, Isaura Cicogna. And I honored you for doing so. I 
know no young lady to be called her equal. Well, if you ad- 
mired her then, what would you do now if you met her ? Then 
she was but a girl very brilliant, very charming, it is true 
but undeveloped, untested. Now she is a woman, a princess 
among women, but retaining all that is most lovable in a girl; aO 



378 THE PARISIANS. 

courted, yet so simple ; so gifted, yet so innocent. Her head 
is not a bit turned by all the flattery that surrounds her. Come 
and judge for yourself. I still hold the door of the rooms 
destined to you open for repentance. 

" My dear Mr. Vane, do not think me a silly, match-making 
little woman, when I write to you thus, a cceur ouvert. 

" I like you so much that I would fain secure to you the 
rarest prize which life is ever likely to offer to your ambition. 
Where can you hope to find another Isaura ?^ Among the state- 
liest daughters of your English dukes, where is there one whom 
a proud man would be more proud to show to the world, saying, 
' She is mine ! ' where one more distinguished I will not say 
by mere beauty, there she might be eclipsed but by sweetness 
and dignity combined ; in aspect, manner, every movement, 
every smile ? 

" And you, who are yourself so clever, so well read you 
who would be so lonely with a wife who was not your compan- 
ion, with whom you could not converse on equal terms of intel- 
lect, my dear friend, where could you find a companion in 
whom you would not miss the poet-soul of Isaura ? Of course 
I should not dare to obtrude all these questionings on your 
innermost reflections, if I had not some idea, right or wrong, 
that since the days when at Enghien and Montmorency, seeing 
you and Isaura side by side, I whispered to Frank, ' So should 
those two be through life,' some cloud has passed between your 
eyes and the future on which they gazed. Cannot that cloud 
be dispelled? Were you so unjust to yourself as to be jealous 
of a rival, perhaps of a Gustave Rameau ? I write to you 
frankly ; answer me frankly ; and if you answer, ' Mrs. Mor- 
ley, I don't know what you mean ; I admired Mademoiselle 
Cicogna as I might admire any other pretty, accomplished girl, 
but it is really nothing to me whether she marries Gustave 
Rameau or any one else,' why, then, burn this letter ; forget 
that it has been written ; and may you never know the pang 
of remorseful sigh, if, in the days to come, you see her whose 
name in that case I should profane did I repeat it the com- 
rade of another man's mind, the half of another man's heart, 
the pride and delight of another man's blissful home." 



CHAPTER IV. 

THERE is somewhere in Lord Lytton's writings writings so 
numerous that I may be pardoned if I cannot remember where 



THE PARISIANS. 379 

a critical definition of the difference between dramatic and 
narrative art of story, instanced by that marvellous passage in 
the loftiest of Sir Walter Scott's works, in which all the anguish 
of Ravenswood on the night before he has to meet Lucy's 
brother in mortal combat is conveyed without the spoken words 
required in tragedy. ' It is only to be conjectured by the tramp 
of his heavy boots to and fro all the night long in his solitary 
chamber, heard below by the faithful Caleb. The drama 
could not have allowed that treatment ; the drama must have 
put into words as "soliloquy," agonies which the non-dramatic 
narrator knows that no soliloquy can describe. Humbly do I 
imitate, then, the great master of narrative in declining to put 
into words the conflict between love and reason that tortured 
the heart of Graham Vane when dropping noiselessly the letter 
I have just transcribed. He covered his face with his hands 
and remained I know not how long in the same position, 
his head bowed, not a sound escaping from his lips. 

He did not stir from his rooms that day ; and had there been 
a Caleb's faithful ear to listen, his tread, too, might have been 
heard all that sleepless night passing to and fro, but pausing 
oft, along his solitary floors. 

Possibly love would have borne down all opposing reason- 
ings, doubts, and prejudices, but for incidents that occurred 
the following evening. On that evening Graham dined en 
famille with his cousins the Altons. After dinner, the Duke 
produced the design for a cenotaph inscribed to the memory 
of his aunt, Lady Janet King, which he proposed to place in 
the family chapel at Alton. 

"I know," said the Duke kindly, "you would wish the old 
house from which she sprang to preserve some such record of 
her who loved you as her son ; and even putting you out of 
the question, it gratifies me to attest the claim of our family to 
a daughter who continues to be famous for her goodness, and 
made the goodness so lovable that envy forgave it for being 
famous. Itwasa pang to me when poor Richard Kingdecided 
on placing her tomb among strangers ; but in conceding his 
rights as to her resting-place, I retain mine to her name. 
' Nostris liber is virtutis exemplar. 1 ' 

Graham wrung his cousin's hand ; he could not speak, 
choked by suppressed tears. 

The Duchess, who loved and honored Lady Janet almost 
as much as did her husband, fairly sobbed aloud. She had, 
indeed, reason for grateful memories of the deceased : there 
had been some obstacles to her marriage with the man who 



380 THE PARISIANS. 

had won her heart, arising from political differences and family 
feuds between their parents, which the gentle mediation of 
Lady Janet had smoothed away. And never did union found- 
ed on mutual and ardent love more belie the assertions of the 
great Bichat (esteemed by Dr. Buckle the finest intellect which 
practical philosophy has exhibited since Aristotle), that " Love 
is a sort of fever which does not last beyond two years," than 
that between these eccentric -specimens of a class denounced 
as frivolous and heartless by philosophers, English and French, 
who have certainly never heard of Bichat. 

When the emotion the Duke had exhibited was calmed down, 
his wife pushed towards Graham a sheet of paper, inscribed 
with the epitaph composed by his hand. " Is it not beauti- 
ful," she said fafteringly ; " not a word too much nor too 
little!" 

Graham read the inscription slowly, and with very dim eyes. 
It deserved the praise bestowed on it ; for the Duke, though a 
shy and awkward speaker, was an incisive and graceful writer. 

Yet, in his innermost self, Graham shivered when he read 
that epitaph, it expressed so emphatically the reverential 
nature of the love which Lady Janet had inspired, the genial 
influences which the holiness of a character so active in doing 
good had diffused around it. It brought vividly before 
Graham that image of perfect, spotless womanhood. And a 
voice within him asked : " Would that cenotaph be placed 
amid the monuments of an illustrious lineage if the secret 
known to thee could transpire ? What though the lost one 
were really as unsullied by sin as the world deems, would the 
name now treasured as an heirloom not be a memory of gall 
and a sound of shame ?" 

He remained so silent after putting down the inscription, 
that the Duke said modestly : " My dear Graham, I see that 
you do not like what I have written. Your pen is much more 
practised than mine. If I did not ask you to compose the 
epitaph, it was because I thought it would please you more in 
coming, as, a spontaneous tribute due to her, from the repre- 
sentative of her family. But will you correct my sketch, or 
give me another according to your own ideas ? " 

" I see not a word to alter," said Graham ; T< forgive me if 
my silence wronged my emotion ; the truest eloquence is that 
which holds us too mute for applause." 

" I knew you would like it ; Leopold is always so disposed to 
underrate himself," said the Duchess, whose hand was resting 
fondly on her husband's shoulder. " Epitaphs are so difficult 



THE PARISIANS. 381 

to write, especially epitaphs on women of whom in life the 
least said the better. Janet was the only woman I ever knew 
whom one could praise in safety." 

" Well expressed," said the Duke, smiling ; " and I wish you 
would make that safety clear to some lady friends of yours, to 
whom it might serve as a lesson. Proof against every breath 
of scandal herself, Janet King never uttered and never en- 
couraged one ill-natured word against another. But I am 
afraid, my dear fellow, that I must leave you to a tete-h-tete 
with Eleanor. You know that I must be at the House this 
evening I only paired till half-past nine." 

" I will walk down to the House with you, if you are going 
on foot." 

" No," said the Duchess ; " you must resign yourself to me 
for at least half an hour. I was looking over your aunt's let- 
ters to-day, and I found one which I wish to show you ; it is all 
about yourself, and written within the last few months of her 
life." Here she put her arm into Graham's, and led him into 
her own private drawing-room, which, though others might call 
it a boudoir, she dignified by the name of her study. The 
Duke remained for some minutes thoughtfully leaning his arm 
on the mantel-piece. It was no unimportant debate in the 
Lords that night, and on a subject in which he took great in- 
terest, and the details of which he had thoroughly mastered. 
He had been requested to speak, if only a few words, for his 
high character and his reputation for good sense gave weight 
to the mere utterance of his opinion. But though no one had 
more moral courage in action, the Duke had a terror at the 
very thought of addressing an audience which made him de- 
spise himself. 

" Ah ! " he muttered, " if Graham Vane were but in Parlia- 
ment, I could trust him to say exactly what I would rather be 
swallowed up by an earthquake than stand up'and say for my- 
self. But now he has got money he seems to think of nothing 
but saving it." 

CHAPTER V. 

THE letter from Lady Janet, which the Duchess took from 
the desk and placed in Graham's hand, was in strange coinci- 
dence with the subject that for the last twenty-four hours had 
absorbed his thoughts and tortured his heart. Speaking of 
him in terms of affectionate eulogy, the writer proceeded to 
confide her earnest wish that he should not longer delay that 



382 THE PARISIANS. 

change in life, which, concentrating so much that is vague in 
the desires and aspirations of man, leaves his heart and his 
mind, made serene by the contentment of home, free for the 
steadfast consolidation of their warmth and their light upon 
the ennobling duties that unite the individual to his race. 

" There is no one," wrote Lady Janet, " whose character and 
career a felicitous choice in marriage can have greater influence 
over than this dear adopted son of mine. I do not fear that 
in any case he will be liable to the errors of his brilliant father. 
His early reverse of fortune here seems to me one of those 
blessings which Heaven conceals in the form of affliction. 
P'or in youth, the genial freshness of his gay animal spirits, a 
native generosity mingled with desire of display and thirst 
for applause, made me somewhat alarmed for his future. But, 
though he still retains these attributes of character, they are no 
longer predominant, they are modified and chastened. He has 
learned prudence. But what I now fear most for him is that 
which he does not show in the world, which neither Leopold 
nor you seem to detect, it is an exceeding sensitiveness of 
priue. I know not how else to describe it. It is so interwoven 
with the highest qualities, that I sometimes dread injury to 
them could it be torn away from the faultier ones which it 
supports. 

" It is interwoven with that lofty independence of spirit 
which has made him refuse openings the most alluring to his 
ambition ; it communicates a touching grandeur to his self- 
denying thrift ; it makes him so tenacious of his word once 
given, so cautious before he gives it. Public life to him is es- 
sential ; without it he would be incomplete ; and yet I sigh to 
think that whatever success he may achieve in it will be at- 
tended with proportionate pain. Calumny goes side by side 
with fame, and courting fame as a man, he is as thin-skinned 
to calumny as a woman. 

" The wife for Graham should have qualities not taken indi- 
vidually, uncommon in English wives, but in combination 
somewhat rare. 

" She must have mind enough to appreciate his, not to clash 
with it. She must be fitted with sympathies to be his dearest 
companion, his confidante in the hopes and fears which the 
slightest want of sympathy would make him keep ever after- 
wards pent within his breast. In herself worthy of distinction, 
she must merge all distinction in his. You have met in the 
world men who, marrying professed beauties, or professed lite- 
erary geniuses, are spoken of as the husband of the beautiful 



THE PARISIANS. 383 

Mrs. A , or the clever Mrs. B : can you fancy Gra- 
ham Vane in the reflected light of one of those husbands ? I 
trembled last year when I thought he was attracted by a face 
which the artists raved about, and again by a tongue which 
dropped bans mots that went the round of the clubs. I was 
relieved when, sounding him, he said laughingly, 'No, dear 
aunt, I should be one sore from head to foot if I married a wife 
that was talked about for anything but goodness.' 

" No ; Graham Vane will have pains sharp enough if he live 
to be talked about himself. But that tenderest half of himself, 
the bearer of the name he would make, and for the dignity of 
which he alone would be responsible, if that were the town 
talk, he would curse the hour he gave any one the right to take 
on herself his man's burden of calumny and fame. I know 
not which I should pity the most, Graham Vane or his wife. 

" Do you understand me, dearest Eleanor ? No doubt 
you do so far, that you comprehend that the women whom 
men most admire are not the women we, as women our- 
selves, would wish our sons or brothers to marry. But per- 
haps you do not comprehend my cause of fear, which is 
this for in such matters men do not see as we women 
do Graham abhors, in the girls of our time, frivolity and in- 
sipidity. Very rightly, you will say. True, but then he is too- 
likely to be allured by contrasts. I have seen him attracted by 
the very girls we recoil from more than we do from those we 
allow to be frivolous and insipid. I accused him of admira- 
tion for a certain young lady whom you call 'odious,' and 
whom the slang that has come into vogue calls ' fast'; and I 
was not satisfied with his answer : ' Certainly I admired her ; 
she is not a doll she has ideas.' I would rather of the two 
see Graham married to what men call a doll, than to a girl 
with ideas which are distasteful to women." 

Lady Janet then went on to question the Duchess about a Miss 
Asterisk, with whom this tale will have nothing to do, but who, 
from the little which Lady Janet had seen of her, might pos- 
sess all the requisites that fastidious correspondent would exact 
for the wife of her adopted son. 

This Miss Asterisk had been introduced into the London 
world by the' Duchess. The Duchess had replied to Lady 
Janet, that if earth could be ransacked, a more suitable 
wife for Graham Vane than Miss Asterisk could not be found ; 
she was well born ; an heiress ; the estates she inherited were 

in the county of (viz., the county in which the ancestors of 

D'Altons and Vanes had for centuries established their where- 



384 THE PARISIANS. 

about). Miss Asterisk was pretty enough to please any man's 
eye, but not with the beauty of which artists rave ; well 
informed enough to be companion to a well-informed man, but 
certainly not witty enough to supply bons mots to the clubs. 
Miss Asterisk was one of those women of whom a husband 
might be proud, yet with whom a husband would feel safe 
from being talked about. 

And in submitting the letter we have read to Graham's eye, 
the Duchess had the cause of Miss Asterisk pointedly in view. 
Miss Asterisk had confided to her friend, that, of all men she 
had seen, Mr. Graham Vane was the one she would feel the 
least inclined to refuse. 

So when Graham Vane returned the letter to the Duchess, 
simply saying : " How well my dear aunt divined what is 
weakest in me ! " the Duchess replied quickly : " Miss Asterisk 
dines here to-morrow ; pray come ; you would like her if you 
knew more of her." 

" To-morrow I am engaged an American friend of mine 
dines with me ; but 'tis no matter, for I shall never feel more 
for Miss Asterisk than I feel for Mont Blanc." 



CHAPTER VI. 

ON leaving his cousin's house Graham walked on, he scarce 
knew or cared whither, the image of the beloved dead so forci- 
bly recalled the solemnity of the mission with which he had 
been entrusted, and which hitherto he had failed to fulfil. 
What if the only mode by which he could, without causing 
questions and suspicions that might result in dragging to day 
the terrible nature of the trust he held, enrich the daughter of 
Richard King, repair all wrong hitherto done to her, and guard 
the sanctity of Lady Janet's home, should be in that union which 
Richard King had commended to him while his heart was yet 
free ? 

In such a case, would not gratitude to the dead, duty to the 
living, make that union imperative at whatever sacrifice of 
happiness to himself ? The two years to which Richard King 
had limited the suspense of research were not yet expired. 
Then, too, that letter of Lady Janet's so tenderly anxious for 
his future, so clear-sighted as to the elements of his own 
character in its strength or its infirmities combined with 
graver causes to withhold his heart from its yearning impulse, 
and no, not steel it against Isaura, but forbid it to realize, in. 



THE PARISIANS. 385 

the fair creature and creator of romance, his ideal of the woman 
to whom an earnest, sagacious, aspiring man commits all the 
destinies involved in the serene dignity of his hearth. He 
could not but own that this gifted author, this eager seeker 
after fame, this brilliant and bold competitor with men on their 
own stormy battleground, was the very person from whom Lady 
Janet would have warned away his choice. She (Isaura) merge 
her own distinctions in a husband's ! She leave exclusively to 
him the burden of fame and calumny ! She shun " to be talked 
about " ! she who could feel her life to be a success or a failure, 
according to the extent and the loudness of the talk which it 
courted ! 

While these thoughts racked his mind, a kindly hand was 
laid on his arm, and a cheery voice accosted him. "Well met, 
my dear Vane ! I see we are bound to the same place ; there 
will be a good gathering to-night." 

" What do you mean, Bevil ? I am going nowhere except to 
my own quiet rooms." 

"Pooh! come in here at least for a few minutes," and 
Bevil drew him up to the doorstep of a house close by, where, 
on certain evenings, a well-known club drew together men who 
seldom met so familiarly elsewhere men of all callings ; a club 
especially favored by wits, authors, and the flaneurs of polite 
society. 

Graham shook his head, about to refuse, when Bevil added, 
" I have just come from Paris, and can give you the last news, 
literary, political, and social. By the way, I saw Savarin the 
other night at the Cicogna's he introduced me there." Gra- 
ham winced ; he was spelled by the music of a name, and fol- 
lowed his acquaintance into the crowded room, and after re- 
turning many greetings and nods, withdrew into a remote cor- 
ner, "and motioned Bevil to a seat beside him. 

"So you met Savarin ? Where did you say?" 

" At the house of the new lady author I hate the word 
authoress Mademoiselle Cicogna ! Of course you have read 
her book ? " 

" Yes." 

" Full of fine things, is it not ? Though somewhat high-flown 
and sentimental ; however, nothing succeeds like success. No 
book has been more talked about at Paris ; the only thing more 
talked about is the lady-author herself." 

" Indeed, and how ? " 

" She doesn't look twenty, a mere girl of that kind of 
beauty which so arrests the eye that you pass by other faces to 



jg6 THE PARISIANS. 

gaze on it, and the dullest stranger would ask, ' Who and what 
is she'? A girl, I say, like that who lives as independently 
as if she were a middle-aged widow, receives every week (she 
has her Thursdays), with no other chaperon than an old ci- 
devant Italian singing woman, dressed like a guy must set 
Parisian tongues into play, even if she had not written the 
crack book of the season." 

" Mademoiselle Cicogna receives on Thursdays no harm in 
that ; and if she have no other chaperon than the Italian lady 
you mention, it is because Mademoiselle Cicogna is an orphan, 
and having a fortune, such as it is, of her own, I do not see why 
she should not live as independently as many an unmarried 
woman in London placed under similar circumstances. I sup- 
pose she receives chiefly persons in the literary or artistic 
world, and if they are all as respectable as the Savarins, I 
do not think ill-nature itself could find fault with her social 
circle." 

" Ah ! you know the Cicogna, I presume. I am sure I did 
not wish to say anything that could offend her best friends, 
only I do think it is a pity she is not married, poor girl ! " 

"Mademoiselle Cicogna, accomplished, beautiful, of good 
birth (the Cicognas rank among the oldest of Lombard families), 
is not likely to want offers." 

"Offers of marriage, h'm well; I daresay, from authors and 
artists. You know Paris better even than I do, but I don't 
suppose authors and artists there make the most desirable hus- 
bands ; and I scarcely know a marriage in France between 
a man-author and a lady-author which does not end in the 
deadliest of all animosities that of wounded amour propre. 
Perhaps the man admires his own genius too much to do proper 
homage to his wife's." 

" But the choice of Mademoiselle Cicogna need not be re- 
stricted to the pale of authorship ; doubtless she has many ad- 
mirers beyond that quarrelsome borderland." 

" Certainly countless adorers. Enguerrand de Vandemar 
you know that diamond of dandies ?" 

"Perfectly. Is he an admirer? " 

" Cela va sans dire he told me that though she was not the 
handsomest woman in Paris, all other women looked less hand- 
some since he had seen her. But, of course, French lady- 
killers like Enguerrand, when it comes to marriage, leave it to 
their parents to choose their wives and arrange the terms of 
the contract. Talking of lady-killers, I beheld amid the throng 
*it Mademoiselle Cicogna's the ci-devant Lovelace whom I 



THE PARISIANS. 387 

remember some twenty-three years ago as the darling of wives 
and the terror of husbands Victor de Mauleon." 

" Victor de Mauleon at Mademoiselle Cicogna's ! What ! is 
that man restored to society ? " 

"Ah! you are thinking of the ugly old story about the 
jewels oh yes, he has got over that ; all his grand relations, 
the Vandemars, Beauvilliers, Rochebriant, and others, took him 
by the hand when he reappeared at Paris last year ; and though 
1 believe he is still avoided by many, he is courted by still 
more and avoided, I fancy, rather from political than social 
causes. The Imperialist set, of course, execrate and proscribe 
him. You know he is the writer of those biting articles signed 
'Pierre Firmin' in the Se/is Commun ; and I am told he is the 
proprietor of that very clever journal, which has become a 
.power." 

" So, so that is the journal in which Mademoiselle Cicogna's 
roman first appeared. So, so Victor de Mauleon one of her 
associates, her counsellor and friend ah ! " 

" No, I didn't say that ; on the contrary, he was presented 
to her for the first time the evening I was at the house. I saw 
that young, silk-haired coxcomb, Gustave Rameau, introduce 
him to her. You don't perhaps know Rameau, editor of the 
Sens Commun writes poems and criticisms. They say he is a 
Red Republican, but De Mauleon keeps truculent French poli- 
tics subdued if not suppressed in his cynical journal. Some- 
body told me that the Cicogna is very much in love with. 
Rameau ; certainly he has a handsome face of his own, and 
that is the reason why she was so rude to the Russian Prince 
X ." 

" How rude ? Did the Prince propose to her ?" 

" Propose ! you forget he is married. Don't you know the 
Princess ? Still there are other kinds of proposals than those 
of marriage which a rich Russian Prince may venture to make 
to a pretty novelist brought up for the stage." 

" Bevil ! " cried Graham, grasping the man's arm fiercely, 
"how dare you ?" 

" My dear boy," said Bevil, very much astonished, "I really 
did not know that your interest in the young lady was so great. 
If I have wounded you in relating a mere on dit picked up at 
the Jockey Club, I beg you a thousand pardons. I dare say 
there was not a word of truth in it." 

" Not a word of truth, you may be sure, if the on dit was 
injurious to Mademoiselle Cicogna. It is true, I have a strong 
interest in her; any man any gentleman would have such 



388 THE PARISIANS. 

interest in a girl so brilliant and seemingly so friendless. It 
shames one of human nature to think that the reward which 
the world makes to those who elevate its platitudes, brighten 
its dulness, delight its leisure, is Slander! 1 have had the 
honorto make the acquaintance of this lady before she became 
a 'celebrity,' and I have never met in my paths through life a 
purer heart or a nobler nature. What is the wretched on dit 
you condescend to circulate ? Permit me to add : 

' He who repeats a slander shares the crime.' " 

" Upon my honor, my dear Vane," said Bevil seriously (he 
did not want for spirit), "I hardly know you this evening. It 
is not because duelling is out of fashion that a man should 
allow himself to speak in a tone that gives offence to another 
\vhointendednone ; and if duelling is out of fashion in England, 
it is still possible in France. Entre nous, I would rather cross 
the Channel with you than submit to language that conveys 
unmerited insult." 

Graham's cheek, before ashen pale, flushed into dark red. 
" I understand you," he said quietly, " and will be at Boulogne 
to-morrow." 

"Graham Vane," replied Bevil, with much dignity, " you and 
I have known each other a great many years, and neither of 
us has cause to question the courage of the other ; but I am 
much older than yourself permit me to take the melancholy 
advantage of seniority. A duel between us in consequence of 
careless words said about a lady in no way connected with 
either, would be a cruel injury to her ; a duel on grounds so 
slight would little injure me a man about town, who would 
not sit an hour in the House of Commons if you paid him a 
thousand pounds a minute. But you, Graham Vane you 
whose destiny it is to canvass electors and make laws would 
it not be an injury to you to be questioned at the hustings why 
you broke the law, and why you sought another man's life ? 
Come, come ! Shake hands and consider all that seconds, if 
we chose them, would exact, is said, every affront on either 
side retracted, every apology on either side made." 

"Bevil, you disarm and conquer me. I spoke like a hot- 
headed fool ; forget it forgive. But but I can listen calmly 
now what is that on dit?" 

" One that thoroughly bears out your own very manly up- 
holding of the poor young orphan, whose name I shall never 
again mention without such respect as would satisfy her most 
sensitive champion. It was said that the Prince X boasted 



THE PARISIANS. 389 

that before a we-ek was out Mademoiselle Ctcogna should ap- 
pear in his carriage at the Bois de Boulogne, and wear at the 
opera diamonds he had sent to her ; that this boast was enforced 
by a wager, and the terms of the wager compelled the Prince 
to confess the means he had taken to succeed, and produce 
the evidence that he had lost or won. According to this on dit, 
the Prince had written to Mademoiselle Cicogna, and the letter 
had been accompanied by aparure that cost him half a million 
of francs ; that the diamonds had been sent back, with a few 
words of such scorn as a queen might address to an upstart 
lackey. Bat, my dear Vane, it is a mournful position for a 
girl to receive such offers ; and you must agree with me 
in wishing she were safely married, even to Monsieur Rameau, 
coxcomb though he be. Let us hope that they will be an ex- 
ception to French authors, male and female in general, and 
live like turtle-doves." 

CHAPTER VII. 

A FEW days after the date of the last chapter, Colonel Mor- 
ley returned to Paris. He had dined with Graham at Green- 
wich, had met him afterwards in society, and paid him a fare- 
well visit on the day before the Colonel's departure; but the 
name, of Isaura Cicogna had not again been uttered by either. 
Morley was surprised that his wife did not question him mi- 
nutely as to the mode in which he had executed her delicate 
commission, and the manner as well as words with which Gra- 
ham had replied to his " ventilations." But his Lizzy cut him 
short when he began his recital : 

" I don't want to hear anything more about the man. He 
has thrown away a prize richer than his ambition will ever 
gain, even if it gained him a throne." 

"That it can't gain him in the old country. The people are 
loyal to the present dynasty, whatever you may be told to the 
contrary." 

" Don't be so horribly literal, Frank ; that subject is done 
with. How was the Duchess of M dressed ? " 

But when the Colonel had retired to what the French call 
the cabinet de travail and which he more accurately termed 
his '' smoke den " and there indulged in the cigar which, de- 
jpite his American citizenship, was forbidden in the drawing- 
room of the tyrant who ruled his life, Mrs. Morley took from 
her desk a letter received three days before, and brooded ovet 
it intently, studying every word. When she had thus reperused 



390 THE PARISIANS. 

it, her tears fell upon her page. " Poor Isaura ! " she mut- 
tered ; "poor Isaura ! I know she loves him and how deeply 
a nature like hers can love ! But I must break it to her. If I 
did not, she would remain nursing a vain dream, au_ refuse 
every chance of real happiness for the sake of nursing it." 
Then she mechanically folded up the letter I need not say it 
was from Graham Vane restored it to the desk, and remained 
musing till the Colonel looked in at the door and said peremp- 
torily : " Very late come to bed." 

The next day Madame Savarin called on Isaura. 

" Chtre enfant" said she, " I have bad news for you. Poor 
Gustave is very ill an attack of the lungs and fever ; you 
know how delicate he is." 

" I am sincerely grieved," said Isaura, in earnest, tender 
tones ; " it must be a very sudden attack : he was here last 
Thursday." 

"The malady only declared itself yesterday morning, but 
surely you must have observed how ill he has been looking for 
several days past. It pained me to see him." 

"I did not notice any change in him," said Isaura, some- 
what conscience-stricken. Wrapt in her own happy thoughts, 
she would not have noticed change in faces yet more familiar 
to her than that of her young admirer. 

" Isaura," said Madame Savarin, " I suspect there are moral 
causes for our friend's failing health. Why should I disguise 
my meaning ? You know well how madly he is in love with 
you, and have you denied him hope ? " 

"I like M. Rameau as a friend ; I admire him at times I 
pity him." 

" Pity is akin to love." 

" I doubt the truth of that saying, at all events as you apply 
it now. I could not love M. Rameau ; I never gave him cause 
to think I could." 

" I wish for both your sakes that you could make me a dif- 
ferent answer ; for his sake, because, knowing his faults and 
failings, I am persuaded that they would vanish in a com- 
panionship so pure, so elevating as yours : you could make 
him not only so much happier but so much better a man. 
Hush ! let me go on, let me come to yourself I say for your 
sake I wish it. Your pursuits, your ambition, are akin to his ; 
you should not marry one who could not sympathize with you 
in these. If you did, he might either restrict the exercise of 
your genius or be chafed at its display. The only authoress J 
ever knew whose married lot was serenely happy to the last 



THE PARISIANS. 391 

Was the greatest of English poetesses married to a great Eng- 
lish poet. You cannot, you ought not to, devote yourself to 
the splendid career to which your genius irresistibly impels 
you, without that counsel, that support, that protection, which 
a husband alone can give. My dear child, as the wife myself 
of a man of letters, and familiarized to all the gossip, all the 
scandal, to which they who give their names to the public are 
exposed, I declare that if I had a daughter who inherited 
Savarin's talents, and was ambitious of attaining to his renown, 
I would rather shut her up in a convent than let her publish a 
book that was in every one's hands until she had sheltered her 
name under that of a husband ; and if I say this of my child 
with a father so wise in the world's ways, and so popularly re- 
spected as my ban homme, what must I feel to be essential to 
your safety, poor stranger in our land ! poor solitary orphan ! 
with no other advice or guardian than the singing mistress 
whom you touchingly call " Madre "/ I see how I distress 
and pain you ; I cannot help it. Listen : The other evening 
Savarin came back from his favorite cafe in a state of excite- 
ment that made me think he came to announce a revolution. 
It was about you ; he stormed, he wept actually wept my 
philosophical, laughing Savarin. He had just heard of that 
atrocious wager made by a Russian barbarian. Every one 
praised you for the contempt with which you had treated the 
savage's insolence^ But \\\z.\.you should have been submitted 
to such an insult without one male friend who had the right to 
resent and chastise it you cannot think how Savarin was 
chafed and galled. You know how he admires, but you can- 
not guess how he reveres you ; and since then he says to me 
every day : ' That girl must not remain single. Better marry 
any man who has a heart to defend a wife's honor and the 
nerve to fire a pistol : every Frenchman has those qualifica- 
tions ! ' ' 

Here Isaura could no longer restrain her emotions ; she burst 
into sobs so vehement, so convulsive, that Madame Savarin be- 
came alarmed ; but when she attempted to embrace and soothe 
her, Isaura recoiled with a visible shudder, and gasping out, 
" Cruel, cruel ! " turned to the door and rushed to her own 
room. 

A few minutes afterwards a maid entered the salon with a 
message to Madame Savarin that Mademoiselle was so unwell 
that she must beg Madame to excuse her return to the salon. 

Later in the day Mrs. Morley called, but Isaura would not 
see her. 



392 THE PARISIANS, 

Meanwhile poor Rameau was stretched on his sick bed, and 
in sharp struggle between life a,nd death. It is difficult to dis- 
entangle, one by one, all the threads in a nature so complex as 
Rameau's, but if we may hazard a conjecture, the grief of dis- 
appointed love was not the immediate cause of his illness, and 
yet it had much to do with it. The goad of Isaura's refusal 
had driven him into seeking distraction in excesses which a 
stronger frame could not have courted with impunity. The 
man was thoroughly Parisian in many things, but especially in 
impatience of any trouble. Did love trouble him love could 
be drowned in absinthe ; and too much absinthe may be a 
more immediate cause of congested lungs than the~love which 
the absinthe had lulled to sleep. 

His bedside was not watched by hirelings. When first taken 
thus ill too ill to attend to his editorial duties information 
was conveyed to the publisher of the Se/is Commun, and in con- 
sequence of that information, Victor de Mauleon came to see 
the sick man. By his bed he found Savarin, who had called, 
as it were, by chance, and seen the doctor, who had said, " It 
is grave. He must be well nursed." 

Savarin whispered to De Mauleon, "Shall we call in a pro- 
fessional nurse, or a sceur de charite"!" 

De Mauleon replied also in a whisper, "Somebody told me 
that the man had a mother." 

It was true Savarin had forgotten it. Rameau never men- 
tioned his parents he was not proud of them. 

They belonged to a lower class of the bourgeoisie, retired 
shopkeepers, and a Red Republican is sworn to hate of the 
bourgeoisie, high or low ; while a beautiful young author push- 
ing his way into the Chaussee d'Antin does not proclaim to the 
world that his parents had sold hosiery in the Rue St. Denis. 

Nevertheless Savarin knew that Rameau had such parents 
still living, and took the hint. T\vo hours afterwards Rameau 
was leaning his burning forehead on his mother's breast. 

The next morning the doctor said to the mother, "You are 
worth ten of me. If you can stay here, we shall pull him 
through." 

" Stay here ! My own boy ! " cried indignantly the poo< 
mother. 



THE PARISIANS. 393 



CHAPTER VIII. 

THE day which had inflicted on Isaura so keen an anguish, 
was marked by a great trial in the life of Alain de Roche- 
briant. 

In the morning he received the notice of " un commandement 
tendant a saisie immobiliere" on the part of his creditor, M. 
Louvier ; in plain English, an announcement that his property 
at Rochebriant would be put up to public sale on a certain day, 
in case all debts due to the mortgagee were not paid before. 
And hour afterwards came a note from Duplessis stating that 
" he had returned from Bretagne on the previous evening, and 
would be very happy to see the Marquis de Rochebriant before 
two o'clock, if not inconvenient to call." 

Alain put the " commandement " into his pocket, and repaired 
to the Hotel Duplessis. 

The financier received him with very cordial civility. Then 
he began, " I am happy to say I left your excellent aunt in 
very good health. She honored the letter of introduction to 
her which I owe to your politeness with the most amiable hos- 
pitalities; she insisted on my removing from the auberge at 
which I first put up and becoming a guest under your vener- 
able rooftree a most agreeable lady, and a most interesting 
chateau" 

" I fear your accommodation was in striking contrast to your 
comforts at Paris ; my chateau is-only interesting to an anti- 
quarian enamoured of ruins." 

" Pardon me, 'ruins' is an exaggerated expression. I do 
not say that the chateau does not want some repairs, but they 
would not be costly ; the outer walls are strong enough to 
defy time for centuries to come, and a few internal decorations 
and some modern additions of furniture would make the old 
manoir a home fit for a prince. I have been over the whole 
estate, too, with the worthy M. Hebert a superb property ! " 

" Which M. Louvier appears to appreciate," said Alain with 
a somewhat melancholy smile, extending to Duplessis the men- 
acing notice. 

Duplessis glanced at it, and said dryly : " M. Louvier knows 
what he is about. But I think we had better put an immediate 
stop to formalities which must be painful to a creditor so 
benevolent. I do not presume to offer to pay the interest due 
on the security you can give for the repayment. If you re- 
fused that offer from so old a friend. as Lemercier, of course 



394 THE PAUISIANS. 

you could not accept it from me. I make another proposal, 
to which you can scarcely object. I do not like to give my 
scheming rival on the Bourse the triumph of so profoundly 
planned a speculation. Aid me to defeat him. Let me take 
the mortgage on myself, and become sole mortgagee hush ! 
on this condition, that there should be an entire union of in- 
terests between us two ; that I should be at liberty to make 
the improvements I desire, and when the improvements be 
made, there should be a fair arrangement as to the proportion 
of profits due to me as mortgagee and improver, to you as 
original owner. Attend, my dear Marquis ; I am speaking as 
a mere man of business. I see my way to adding more than a 
third I might even say a half to the present revenues of 
Rochebriant. The woods have been sadly neglected, drainage 
alone would add greatly to their produce. Your orchards 
might be rendered magnificent supplies to Paris with better 
cultivation. Lastly, I would devote to building purposes or to 

market gardens all the lands round the two towns of and 

. I think I can lay my hands on suitable speculators for 

these last experiments. In a word, though the market value of 
Rochebriant, as it now stands, would not be equivalent to the 
debt on it, in five or six years it could be made worth well, I 
will not say how much but we shall be both well satisfied 
with the result. Meanwhile, if you allow me to find purchas- 
ers for your timber, and if you will not suffer the Chevalier 
de Finisterre to regulate your expenses, you need have no fear 
that the interest due to me will not be regularly paid, even 
though I shall be compelled, for the first year or two at least, 
to ask a higher rate of interest than Louvier exacted say a 
quarter per cent, more ; and in suggesting that, you will com- 
prehend that this is now a matter of business between us, and 
not of friendship." 

Alain turned his head aside to conceal his emotion, and 
then with the quick, affectionate impulse of the genuine French 
nature threw himself on the financier's breast and kissed him 
on both cheeks. 

" You save me ! You save the home and tombs of my an- 
cestors ! Thank you I cannot : but I believe in God I pray 
I will pray for you as for a father ; and if ever," he hurried on 
in broken words, " I am mean enough to squander on idle 
luxuries one franc that I should save for the debt due to you, 
chide me as a father would chide a graceless son." 

Moved as Alain was, Duplessis was moved yet more deeply. 
4< What father would not be proud of such a son ? Ah, if I 



THE PARISIANS. 395 

had such a one ! " he said softly. Then quickly recovering 
his wonted composure, he added, with the sardonic smile which 
often chilled his friends and alarmed his foes, " Monsieur 
Louvier is about to pass that which I ventured to promise 
him, a ' mauvais quart <f figure.' Lend me that commandement 
tcndant a saisie. I must be off to my avoue" with instructions. 
If you have no better engagement, pray dine with me to-day, 
and accompany Valerie and myself to the opera." 

I need not say that Alain accepted the invitation. How 
happy Valerie was that evening ! 



CHAPTER IX. 

THE next day Duplessis was surprised by a visit from M. 
Louvier ; that magnatie of millionnaires had never before set 
foot in the house of his younger and less famous rival. 

The burly man entered the room with a face much flushed, 
and with more than his usual mixture of jovial bnisquerie and 
opulent swagger. 

"Startled to see me, I dare say," began Louvier, as soon as 
the door was closed. "I have this morning received a com- 
munication from your agent containing a check for the interest 
due to me from M. Rochebriant, and a formal notice of your 
intention to pay off the principal on behalf of that popinjay 
prodigal. Though we two have not hitherto been the best 
friends in the world, I thought it fair to a man in your station 
to come to you direct and say : ' Cher confrere, what swindler 
has bubbled you ? You don't know the real condition of this 
Breton property, or you would never so throw away your 
millions. The property is not worth the mortgage I have on it 
by 30,000 louis.' " 

" Then, M. Louvier, you will be 30,000 louis the richer if I 
take the mortgage off your hands." 

" I can afford the loss no offence better than you can ; 
and I may have fancies which I don't mind paying for, but 
which cannot influence another. See, I have brought with me 
the exact schedule of all details respecting this property. You 
need not question their accuracy ; they have been arranged by 
the Marquis's own agents, M. Gandrin and M. Hebert. They 
Contain, you will perceive, every possible item of revenue, down 
to an apple-tree. Now look at that, and tell me if you are justi- 
fied in lending such a sum on such a property." 

(< Thank you very much for an interest in my affairs that I 



396^ THE PARISIANS. 

scarcely ventured to expect M. Louvier to entertain ; but I see 
that I have a duplicate of this paper, furnished to me very hon- 
estly by M. Hebert himself. Besides, I, too, have fancies which 
I don't mind paying for, and among them may be a fancy for 
the lands of Rochebriant." 

" Look you, Duplessis, when a man like me asks a favor, you 
may be sure that he has the power to repay it. Let me have 
my whim here, and ask anything you like from me in return ! " 

"Desoti not oblige you, but this has become not only a whim 
of mine, but a matter of honor; and honor, you know, my dear 
M. Louvier, is the first principle of sound finance. I have my- 
self, after careful inspection of the Rochebriant property, vol- 
unteered to its owner to advance the money to pay off your 
hypotheque ; and what would be said on the Bourse if Lucien 
Duplessis failed in an obligation ? " 

" I think I can guess what will one day be said of Lucien 
Duplessis if he make an irrevocable enemy of Paul Louvier. 
Cor bleu ! moncher, a man of thrice your capital, who watched 
every speculation of yours with a hostile eye, might some beau 
jour make even you a bankrupt ! " 

" Forewarned, forearmed ! " replied Duplessis imperturbably. 
" ''Fas cst abhoste doceri,' I mean, ' It is right to be taught by an 
enemy,' and I never remember the day when you were other- 
wise, and yet I am not a bankrupt, though I receive you in a 
house which, thanks to you, is so modest in point of size ! " 

"Bah! that was a mistake of mine and ah ! ah! you had 
your revenge there that forest ! " 

"Well, as a peace-offering, I will give you up the forest, and 
content my ambition as a landed proprietor with this bad 
speculation of Rochebriant ! " 

" Confound the forest, I don't care for it now ! I can sell my 
place for more than it has cost me to one of your Imperial favor- 
ites. Build a palace in yourforest. Let me have Rochebriant, 
and name your terms." 

" A thousand pardons ! but I have already had the honor to 
inform you, that I have contracted an obligation which does 
not allow me to listen to terms." 

As a serpent, that, after all crawlings and windings, rears it- 
self on end, Louvier rose, crest erect : 

" So then it is finished. I came here disposed to offer peace ; 
you refuse, and declare war." 

" Not at all, I do not declare war ; I accept it if forced on me/ 

" Is that your last word, M. Duplessis ?" 

" Monsieur Louvier, it is." 



THE PARISIANS. . 397 

" Bon jour!" 

And Louvier strode to the door; here he paused : " Take a 
day to consider." 

" Not a moment." 

" Your servant, Monsieur, your very hiirttble servant." Lou- 
vier vanished. 

Duplessis leaned his large, thoughtful forehead on his thin, 
nervous hand. " This loan will pinch me," he muttered. "I 
must be very wary now with such a foe. Well, why should I 
care to be rich ? Valerie's dot, Valerie's happiness, are secured." 



CHAPTER X. 

MADAME SAVARIN wrote a very kind and very apologetic 
letter to Isaura, but no answer was returned to it. Madame 
Savarin did not venture to communicate to her husband the 
substance of a conversation which had ended so painfully. He 
had, in theory, a delicacy of tact, which, if he did not always 
exhibit it in practice, made him a very severe critic of its defi- 
ciency in others. Therefore, unconscious of the offence given, 
he made a point of calling at Isaura's apartments, and leaving 
word with her servant that " he was sure she would be pleased 
to hear M. Rameau was somewhat better, though still in 
danger." 

It was not till the third day after her interview with Madame 
Savarin that Isaura left her own room she did so to receive 
Mrs. Morley. 

The fair American was shocked to see the change in Isaura's 
countenance. She was very pale, and with that indescribable 
appearance of exhaustion which betrays continued want of 
sleep ; her soft eyes were dim, the play of her lips was gone, her 
light step weary and languid. 

" My poor darling ! " cried Mrs. Morley, embracing her, 
" you have indeed been ill ! What is the matter ? Who attends 
you ? " 

" I need no physician, it was but a passing cold the air of 
Paris is very trying. Never mind me, dear what is the last 
news ?" 

Therewith Mrs. Morley ran glibly through the principal topics 
of the hour the breach threatened between M. Ollivierand his 
former Liberal partisans ; the tone unexpectedly taken by M. 
de Girardin ; the speculations as to the result of the trial of the 
allsged conspirators against the Emperor's life, which was fixed 



398 THE PARISIANS. 

to take place towards the end of that moi th of June all matters 
of no slight importance to the interjsts of an empire. Sunk 
deep into the recesses of her fauteuil, Isaura seemed to listen 
quietly, till when a pause came, she said in cold, clear tones : 

'And Mr. Graham Vane he has refused your invitation ?" 

' I am sorry to say he has he is so engaged in London." 

' I knew he had refused," said Isaura, with a low, bitter laugh. 

' How ? Who told you ? " , 

' My own good sense told me. One may have good sense, 
though one is a poor scribbler." 

" Don't talk in that way ; it is beneath you to angle for com- 
pliments." 

" Compliments, ah ! And so Mr. Vane has refused to come 
to Paris ; never mind, he will come next year. I shall not be 
in Paris then. Did Colonel Morley see Mr. Vane ?" 

"Oh yes ; two or three times." 

"He is well?" 

" Quite well, I believe ; at least Frank did not say to the 
contrary ; but, from what I hear, he is not the person I took 
him for. Many people told Frank that he is much changed 
since he came into his fortune is grown very stingy, quite 
miserly indeed ; declines even a seat in Parliament because of 
the expense. It is astonishing how money does spoil a man." 

" He had come into his fortune when he was here. Money 
had not spoiled him then." 

Isaura paused, pressing her hands tightly together ; then she 
suddenly rose to her feet, the color on her cheek mantling and 
receding rapidly, and fixing on her startled visitor eyes no longer 
dim, but with something half fierce, half imploring in the 
passion of their gaze, said : "Your husband spoke of me to 
Mr. Vane : I know he did. What did Mr. Vane answer? Do 
not evade my question. The truth ! the truth ! I only ask 
the truth ! " 

" Give me your hand ; sit here beside me, dearest child." 

" Child ! no, I am a woman ! Weak as a woman, but strong 
as a woman too ! The truth ! " 

Mrs. Morley had come prepared to carry out the resolution 
she had formed and " break" to Isaura "the truth," that which 
the girl now demanded. But then she had meant to break the 
truth in her own gentle, gradual way. Thus suddenly called 
upon, her courage failed hej;. She burst into tears. Isaura 
gazed at her dry-eyed. 

" Your tears answer me. M. Vane has heard that I have been 
insulted. A man like him does not stoop to love for a woman 



THE PARISIANS. 

who has known an insult. I do not blame him ; I honor him 
the more he is right." 

" No no no ! you insulted ! Who dared to insult you ? 
(Mrs. Morley had never heard the story about the Russian 
Prince.) Mr. Vane spoke to Frank, and writes of you to me as 
of one whom it is impossible not to admire, to respect ; but 
I cannot say it you will have the truth there, read and judge 
for yourself." And Mrs. Morley drew forth and thrust into 
Isaura's hands the letter she had concealed from her husband. 
The letter was not very long ; it began with expressions of 
warm gratitude to Mrs. Morley, not for her invitation only, but 
for the interest she had conceived in his happiness. It then 
went on thus : 

" I join with my whole heart in all that you say, with such 
eloquent justice, of the mental and personal gifts so bounteously 
lavished by nature on the young lady whom you name. 

" No one can feel more sensible than I of the charm of so 
exquisite a loveliness ; no one can more sincerely join in the be- 
lief that the praise which greets the commencement of her career 
is but the whisper of the praise that will cheer its progress with 
louder and louder plaudits. 

" He only would be worthy of her hand, who, if not equal to 
herself in genius, would feel raised into partnership with it by 
sympathy with its objects and joy in its triumphs. For myself, 
the same pain with which I should have learned she had adopted 
the profession which she originally contemplated, saddened and 
stung me when, choosing a career that confers a renown yet 
more lasting than the stage, she no less left behind her the peace- 
ful immunities of private life. Were I even free to consult only 
my own heart in the choice of the one sole partner of my des- 
tinies (which I cannot at present honestly say that I am, though 
I had expected to be so ere this, when I last saw you at Paris) ; 
could I even hope which I have no right to do that I could 
chain to myself any private portion of thoughts which now flow 
into the large channels by which poets enrich the blood of the 
world still (I say it in self-reproach, it may be the fault of my 
English rearing, it may rather be the fault of an egotism pecul- 
iar to myself) still I doubt if I could render happy any woman 
whose world could not be narrowed to the home that she 
adorned and blessed. 

"And yet not even the jealous tyranny of man's love could 
dare say to natures like hers of whom we speak, ' Limit to the 
household glory of one the light which genius has placed in its 
firmament for the use and enjoyment of all.' " 



46(3 THE PARISIANS. 

" I thank you so much," said Isaura calmly ; " suspense 
makes a woman so weak, certainty so strong." Mechanically 
she smoothed and refolded the letter mechanically, but with 
slow, lingering hands then she extended it to her friend, 
smiling. 

" Nay, will you not keep it yourself?" said Mrs. Morley. 
" The more you examine the narrow-minded prejudices, the 
English arrogant man's jealous dread of superiority nay, of 
equality in the woman he can only value as he does his house 
or his horse, because she is his exclusive property, the more 
you will be rejoiced to find yourself free for a more worthy 
choice. Keep the letter ; read it till you feel for the writer for- 
giveness and disdain." 

Isaura took back the letter, and leaned her cheek on her hand, 
looking dreamily into space. It was some moments before she 
replied, and her words then had no reference to Mrs. Morley's 
consolatory exhortation. 

" He was so pleased when he learned that I renounced the 
career on which I had set my ambition. I thought he would 
have been so pleased when I sought in another career to raise 
myself nearer to his level I see now how sadly I was mistaken. 
All that perplexed me before in him is explained. I did not 
guess how foolishly I had deceived myself till three days 
ago ; then I did guess it ; and it was that guess which tortured 
me so terribly that I could not keep my heart to myself when I 
saw you to-day ; in spite of all womanly pride it would force its 
way to the truth. Hush ! I must tell you what was said to 
me by another friend of mine a good friend, a wise and kind 
one. Yet I was so angry when she said it that I thought I 
could never see her more." 

"My sweet darling! who was this friend, and what did she 
say to you ? " 

"The friend was Madame Savarin." 

" No woman loves you more except myself and she said ? " 

" That she would have suffered no daughter of hers to com- 
mit her name to the talk of the world as I have done ; be ex- 
posed to the risk of insult as I have been ; until she had the 
shelter and protection denied to me. And I having thus over- 
leaped the bound that a prudent mother would prescribe to her 
child, have become one whose hand men do not seek, unless 
they themselves take the same roads to notoriety. Do you not 
think she was right ? " 

" Not as you so morbidly put it, silly girl certainly not 
right. But I do wish that you had the shelter and protec- 



fttfi PARISIANS. 40f 

tion which Madame Savarin meant to exp.ress ; I do wish that 
you were happily married to one very different from Mr. 
Vane one who would be more proud of your gei>ius than of 
your beauty one who would say, 'My name, safer far in its 
enduring nobility than those that depend on titles and lands 
which are held on the tenure of the popular breath must be 
honored by prosperity, for She has deigned to make it hers. 
No democratic revolution can disennoble me." 

" Ay, ay, you believe that men will be found to think with 
complacency that they owe to a wife a name that they could 
not achieve for themselves. Possibly there are such men. 
Where? among those that are already united by sympathies 
in the same callings, the same labors, the same hopes and fears 
with the women who have left behind them the privacies of 
home. Madame de Grantmesnil was wrong. Artists should 
wed with artists. True true ! " 

" Here she passed her hand over her forehead it was a 
pretty way of hers when seeking to concentrate thought and 
was silent a moment or so. 

" Did you ever feel," she then asked dreamily, " that there 
are moments in life when a dark curtain seems to fall over one's 
past that a day before was so clear, so blended with the pres- 
ent ? One cannot any longer look behind ; the gaze is at- 
tracted onward, and a track of fire flashes upon the future 
the future which yesterday was invisible. There is a line by 
some English poet Mr. Vane once quoted it, not to me, but 
to M. Savarin, and in illustration of his argument that the most 
complicated recesses of thought are best reached by the sim- 
plest forms of expression. I said to myself, ' I will study that 
truth if ever I take to literature as I have taken to song '; and 
yes it was that evening that the ambition fatal to woman 
fixed on me its relentless fangs at Enghien we were on the 
lake the sun was setting." 

" But you do not tell me the line that so impressed you," said 
Mrs. Morley, with a woman's kindly tact. 

" The line which line ? Oh, I remember ; the line was 
this : 

' I see as from a tower the end of all.' 

And now kiss me, dearest never a word again to me about 
this conversation : never a word about Mr. Vane the dark 
curtain has fallen on the past." 



4O2 THE PARISIANS, 

' CHAPTER XL 

I 

MEN and women are much more like each other in certain 
large elements of character than is generally supposed, but it is 
that very resemblance which makes their differences the more 
incomprehensible to each other ; just as in politics, theology, 
or that most disputatious of all. things disputable, metaphysics, 
the nearer the reasoners approach each other in points that to 
an uncritical bystander seem the most important, the more sure 
they are to start off in opposite directions upon reaching the 
speck'of a pin-prick. 

- Now there are certain grand meeting-places between man and 
woman; the grandest of all is on the ground of love, and yet here 
also is the great field of quarrel. And here the teller of a tale 
such as mine ought, if he is sufficiently wise to be humble, to 
know that it is almost profanation if, as man, he presumes to 
enter- the penetralia of a woman's innermost heart, and repeat, 
as a man would repeat, all the vibrations of sound which the 
heart of a woman sends forth undistinguishable even to her 
own ear. 

I know Isaura as intimately as if I had rocked her in her 
cradle, played with her in her childhood, educated and trained 
her in her youth ; and yet I can no more tell you faithfully 
what passed in her mind during the forty-eight hours that inter- 
vened between her conversation with that American lady and 
her reappearance in some commonplace drawing-room, than I 
can tell you what the Man in the Moon might feel if the sun 
that his world reflected were blotted out of creation. 

I can only say that when she reappeared in that .common- 
place drawing-room world, there was a change in her face not 
very perceptible to the ordinary observer. If anything, to his 
eye she was handsomer the eye was brighter, the complexion 
(always lustrous, though somewhat pale, the limpid paleness 
that suits so well with dark hair) was yet more lustrous ; it 
was flushed into delicate rose hues hues that still better suit 
with dark hair. What, then, was the change, and change not 
for the better ? The lips, once so pensively sweet, had grown 
hard ; on the brow that had seemed to laugh when the lips did. 
there was no longer sympathy between brow and lip ; there 
was scarcely seen a fine, thread-like line that in a few years 
would be a furrow on the space between the eyes ; the voice 
-was not so tenderly soft ; the step was haughtier. What all 
change denoted it is for a woman to decide I can only 



THE PARISIANS. 403 

guess. Tn the mean while, Mademoiselle Cicogna had sent her 
servant daily to inquire after M. Rameau. That, I think, she 
would have done under, any circumstances. Meanwhile, too, 
she had called on Madame Savarin ; made it up with her ; 
sealed the reconciliation by a cold kiss. That, too, under 
any circumstances I think she would have done under some 
circumstances the kiss might have been less cold. 

There was one thing unwonted in her habits. I mention it, 
though it is only a woman who can say if it means anything 
worth noticing. 

For six days she had left a letter from Madame de Grant- 
mesnil unanswered. With Madame de Grantmesnil was con- 
nected the whole of her innermost life from the day when the 
lonely, desolate child had seen, beyond the dusty thoroughfares 
of life, gleams of the faery land in poetry and art, onward 
through her restless, dreamy, aspiring youth onward on- 
ward till now, through all that constitutes the glorious reality 
that we call romance. 

Never before had she left for days unanswered letters which 
were to her as Sibylline leaves to some unquiet neophyte yearn- 
ing for solutions to enigmas suggested, whether by the world 
without or by the soul within. For six days Madame de 
Grantmesnil's letter remained unanswered, unread, neglected, 
thrust out of sight ; just as when some imperious necessity 
compels us to grapple with a world that is, we cast aside the 
romance which, in our holiday hours, had beguiled us to a 
world with which we have interests and sympathies no more. 



CHAPTER XII. 

* 

GUSTAVE recovered, but slowly. The physician pronounced 
him out of all immediate danger, but said frankly to him, and 
somewhat more guardedly to his parents, "There is ample 
cause to beware." " Look you, my young friend," he added 
to Rameau, " mere brain-work seldom kills a man once accus- 
tomed to it like you ; but heart-work, and stomach-work, and 
nerve-work, added to brain-work, may soon consign to the 
coffin a frame ten times more robust than yours. Write as 
much as you will that is your vocation ; but it is not your vo- 
cation to drink absinthe, to preside at orgies in the Maison 
Doree. Regulate yourself, and not after the fashion of the 
fabulous Don Juan. Marry, live soberly and quietly, and 
you may survive the grandchildren of viveurs. Go on as you 



464 THE PARISIANS. 

have done, and before the year is out you are til Pere la 
Chaise." 

Rameau listened languidly, but with a profound conviction 
that the physician thoroughly understood his case. 

Lying helpless on his bed, he had no desire for orgies at the 
Maison Doree ; with parched lips thirsty for innocent tisane of 
lime blossoms, the thought of absinthe was as odious to him as 
the liquid fire of Phlegethon. If ever sinner became suddenly 
convinced that there was a good deal to be said in favor of a 
moral life, that sinner at the moment I speak of was Gustave 
Rameau. Certainly a moral life " Damns et placens uxor," 
were essential to the poet who, aspiring to immortal glory, was 
condemned to the ailments of a very perishable frame. 

"Ah," he murmured plaintively to himself, "that girl Isaura 
can have no true sympathy with genius ! It is no ordinary 
man that she will kill in me ! " 

And so murmuring he fell asleep. When he woke and found 
his head pillowed on his mother's breast, it was much as a sen- 
sitive, delicate man may wake after having drunk too much the 
night before. Repentant, mournful, maudlin, he began to weep, 
and in the course of his weeping he confided to his mother the 
secret of his heart. 

Isaura had refused him ; that refusal had made him des- 
perate. 

"Ah ! with Isaura how changed would be his habits! How 
pure ! How healthful ! " His mother listened fondly, and 
did her best to comfort him and cheer his drooping spirits. 

She told him of Isaura's messages of inquiry duly twice a 
day. Rameau, who knew more about women in general, and 
Isaura in particular, than his mother conjectured, shook his 
head mournfully. " She could not do less," he said. " Has 
no one offered to do more ?" He thought of Julie when he 
asked that ; Madame Rameau hesitated. 

These poor Parisians ! it is the mode to preach against them ; 
and before my book closes, I shall have to preach no, not to 
preach, but to imply plenty of faults to consider and amend. 
Meanwhile I try my best to take them, as the philosophy of 
life tells us to take other people, for what they are. 

I do not think the domestic relations of the Parisian bour- 
geoisie are as bad as they are said to be in French novels. 
Madame Rameau is not an uncommon type of her class. She 
had been when she first married singularly handsome. It was 
from her that Gustave inherited his beauty ; and her husband 
was a very ordinary type of the French shopkeeper ; very 



THE PARISIANS. 405 

plain, by no means intellectual, but gay, good-humored, devot- 
edly attached to, his wife, and with implicit trust in her con- 
jugal virtue. Never was trust better placed. There was not 
a happier nor a more faithful couple in the quartier in which 
they resided. Madame Rameau hesitated when her boy, think- 
ing of Julie, asked if no one had done more than send to in- 
quire after him as Isaura had done. 

After that hesitating pause she said, " Yes a young lady 
calling herself Mademoiselle Julie Caumartin wished to instal 
herself here as your nurse. When I said : ' But I am his mother, 
he needs no other nurses,' she would have retreated, and 
looked ashamed poor thing ! I don't blame her if she loved 
my son. But, my son, I say this ; if you love her, don't talk 
to me about that Mademoiselle Cicogna ; and if you love 
Mademoiselle Cicogna, why, then your father will take care 
that the poor girl who loved you not knowing that you loved 
another is not left to the temptation of penury." 

Rameau's pale lips withered into a phantom-like sneer. Julie ! 
the resplendent Julie ! true, only a ballet-dancer, but whose 
equipage in the Bois had once been the envy of duchesses Julie! 
who had sacrificed fortune for his sake ; who, freed from him, 
could have millionnaires again at her feet ! Julie ! to be saved 
from penury, as a shopkeeper would save an erring nurse- 
maid Julie ! the irrepressible Julie ! who had written to him, 
the day before his illness, in a pen dipped not in ink, but in 
blood from a vein she had opened in her arm : " Traitor ! 
I have not seen thee for three days. Dost thou dare to love 
another ? If so, I care not how thou attempt to conceal it 
woe to her ! Jngrat ! woe to thee ! Love is not love, unless 
when betrayed by Love, it appeals to death. Answer me, 
quick quick. JULIE." 

Poor Gustave thought of that letter and groaned. Certainly 
his mother was right he ought to get rid of Julie ; but he did 
not clearly see now Julie was to be got rid of. He replied to 
Madame Rameau peevishly : " Don't trouble your head about 
Mademoiselle Caumartin ; she is in no want of money. Of 
course, if I could hope for Isaura rbut, alas ! I dare not hope. 
Give me my tisane." 

When the doctor called next day, he looked grave, and 
drawing Madame Rameau into the next room, he said, "We 
are not getting on so well as I had hoped ; the fever is gone, 
but there is much to apprehend from the debility left behind. 
His spirits are sadly depressed." Then added the doctor, 
pleasantly, and with that wonderful insight into our complex 



406 THE PARISIANS. 

humanity in which physicians excel poets, and in which Paris- 
ian physicians are not excelled by any physicians in the world : 
" Can't you think of any bit of good news that ' M. Thiers 
raves about your son's last poem '; that ' it is a question among 
the Academicians between him and Jules Janin'; or that ' the 

beautiful Duchesse de has been placed in a lunatic asylum 

because she has gone mad for love of a certain young Red 
Republican whose name begins with R.' can't you think of 
any bit of similar good news ? If you can, it will be a tonic to 
the relaxed state of your dear boy's amour propre, compared to 
Avhich all the drugs in the pharmacopoeia are moonshine and 
water ; and meanwhile be sure to remove him to your owri 
house, and out of the reach of his giddy young friends, as soon 
as you possibly can." 

When that great authority thus left his patient's case in the 
hands of the mother, she said : " The boy shall be saved." 



CHAPTER XIII. 

ISAURA was seated beside the Venosta, to whom, of late, she 
seemed to cling with greater fondness than ever, working at 
some piece of embroidery a labor from which she had been 
estranged for years ; but now she had taken writing, reading, 
music, into passionate disgust. Isaura was thus seated, silently 
intent upon her work, and the Venosta in full talk, when the 
servant announced Madame Rameau. 

The name startled both ; the Venosta had never heard that 
the poet had a mother living,, and immediately jumped to the 
conclusion that Madame Rameau must be a wife he had 
hitherto kept unrevealed. And when a woman, still very hand- 
some, with a countenance grave and sad, entered the salon, 
the Venosta murmured : " The husband's perfidy reveals itself 
on a wife's face," and took out her handkerchief in preparation 
for sympathizing tears. 

" Mademoiselle," said the visitor, halting, with eyes fixed on 
Isaura, " pardon my intrusion my son has the honor to be 
known to you. Every one who knows him must share in my 
sorrow so young, so promising, and in such danger my poor 
boy ! " Madame Rameau stopped abruptly. Her tears 
forced their way ; she turned aside to conceal them. 

In her twofold condition of being womanhood and genius 
Isaura was too largely endowed with that quickness of sympa. 



THE PARISIANS. 407 

thy which distinguishes woman from man, and genius from 
talent, not to be wondrously susceptible to pity. 

Already she had wound her arm round the grieving mother, 
already drawn her to the seat from which she herself had risen, 
and bending over her had said some words true, conventional 
enough in themselves, but cooed forth in a voice the softest I 
ever expect to hear, save in dreams, on this side of the grave. 

Madame Rameau swept her hand over her eyes, glanced 
round the room, and noticing the Venosta in dressing-robe and 
slippers, staring with those Italian eyes, in seeming so quietly 
innocent, in reality so searchingly shrewd, she whispered plead- 
ingly : " May I speak to you a few minutes alone ? " This was 
not a request that Isaura could refuse, though she was embar- 
rassed and troubled by the surmise of Madame Rameau's object 
in asking it ; accordingly she led her visitor into the adjoining 
room, and making an apologetic sign to the Venosta, closed 
the door. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

WHEN they were alone, Madame Rameau took Isaura's hand 
in both her own, and gazing wistfully into her face, said : " No 
wonder you are so lov.ed yours is the beauty that sinks into 
the heart and rests there. I prize my boy more, now that I 
have seen you. But, oh, Mademoiselle ! pardon me do not 
withdraw your hand pardon the mother who comes from the 
sick-bed of her only son and asks it you Anil assist to save him ! 
A word from you is life or death to him ' ' 

" Nay, nay, do not speak thus, Madame ; your son knows 
how much I value, how sincerely 1 return, his friendship ; but 
but," she paused a moment, <*i\d continued sadly and with 
tearful eyes, "I have no heart to give to him to any one." 

"I do not I would nor if I dared ask what it would be 
violence to yourself to promise. I do not ask you to bid me 
return to my son and say : ' Hope and recover,' but let me take 
some healing message from your lips. If I understand your 
words rightly, I at least may say that you do not give to 
another the hopes you deny to him ? " 

" So far you understand me rightly, Madame. It has been 
said that romance-writers give away so much of their hearts to 
heroes or heroines of their own creation, that they leave noth- 
ing Vorth the giving to human beings like themselves. Per- 
haps it is so ; yet, Madame," added Isaura, with a smile of 



408 THE PARISIANS. 

exquisite sweetness in its melancholy, " I have heart enough 
left to feel for you." 

Madame Rameau was touched. "Ah, Mademoiselle, I do not 
believe in the saying you have quoted. But I must not abuse 
your goodness by pressing further upon you subjects from which 
you shrink. Only one word more : you know that my husband 
and I are but quiet tradesfolk, not in the society, nor aspiring 
to it, to which my son's talents have raised himself ; yet dare 
J ask that you will not close here the acquaintance that 1 have 
obtruded on you ? Dare I ask that I may, now and then, call 
on you that now and then I may see you at my own home ? 
Believe that I would not here ask anything which your own 
mother would disapprove if she overlooked disparities of sta- 
tion. Humble as our home is, slander never passed its thresh- 
old." 

" Ah, Madame, I and the Signora Venosta, whom in our 
Italian tongue I call mother, can but feel honored and grateful 
whenever it pleases you to receive visits from us." 

"It would be a base return for such gracious compliance with 
my request if I concealed from you the reason why I pray 
Heaven to bless you for that answer. The physician says that 
it may be long before my son is sufficiently convalescent to 
dispense with a mother's care, and resume his former life and 
occupation in the great world. It is everything for us if we can 
coax him into coming under our own roof-tree. This is difficult 
to do. It is natural for a young man launched into the world to 
like his own chcz lui. Then what will happen toGustave? 
He, lonely and heart-stricken, will ask friends, young as him- 
self, but far stronger, to come and cheer him ; or he will seek 
to distract his thoughts by the overwork of his brain ; in either 
case he is doomed. But I have stronger motives yet to fix him 
awhile at our hearth. This is just the moment, once lost never 
to be regained, when soothing companionship, gentle, reproach- 
less advice, can fix him lastingly in. the habits and modes of 
life which will banish all fears of his*future from the hearts of 
his parents. You at least honor him with friendship, with 
kindly interest you at least would desire to wean him from all 
that a friend may disapprove or lament a creature whom 
Providence meant to be good and perhaps great. If I say to 
him : ' It will be long before you can go out and see your 
friends, but at my house your friends shall come and see you 
among them Signora Venosta and Mademoiselle Cicogria will 
now and then drop in ' my victory is gained and my son is 
saved," 



THE PAkiStANS. 409 

" Madame," said Isaura, half sobbing, " what a blessing to 
have a mother like you ! Love so noble ennobles those who 
hear its voice. Tell your son how ardently I wish him to be 
well, and to fulfil more than the promise of his genius ; tell him 
also this how I envy him his mother ! " 



CHAPTER XV. 

IT needs no length of words to inform thee, my intelligent 
reader, be thou man or woman but more especially woman of 
the consequences following each other, as wave follows wave 
in a tide, that resulted from the interview with which my last 
chapter closed. Gustave is removed to his parents' house ; he 
remains for weeks confined within doors, or, on sunny days, 
taken an hour or so in his own carriage, drawn by the horse 
bought from Rochebriant, into by-roads remote from the fash- 
ionable wot Id ; Isaura visits his mother, liking, respecting, in- 
fluenced by her more and more ; in those visits she sits beside 
the sofa on which Rameau reclines. Gradually, gently more 
and more by his mother's lips is impressed on her the belief 
that it is in her power to save a human life, and to animate its 
career towards those goals which are never based "wholly upon 
earth in the earnest eyes of genius, or perhaps in the yet more 
upward vision of a pure-souled, believing woman. 

And Gustave himself, as he passes through the slow stages 
of convalescence, seems so gently softened in character ; seems 
so gratefully to ascribe to her every step in his progress ; 
seems so refined from the old affectations, so ennobled above 
the old cynicism ; and, above all, so needing her presence, so 
sunless without it, that well, need I finish the sentence ? the 
reader will complete what I leave unsaid. 

Enough, that one day Isaura returned home from a visit at 
Madame Rameau's with the knowledge that her hand was 
pledged, her future life disposed of ; and that, escaping from 
the Venosta, whom she so fondly, and in her hunger for a 
mother's love, called Madre, the girl shut herself up in her own 
room with locked doors. 

Ah, poor child ! Ah, sweet-voiced Isaura ! whose delicate 
image I feel myself too rude and too hard to transfer to this 
page in the purity of its outlines and the blended softnesses of 
its hues thou who, when saying things serious in the words 
men use, saidst them with a seriousness so charming, and with 
looks so feminine ; thou, of whom no man I ever knew was 



410 THE PARISIANS, 

quite worthy ah, poor, simple, miserable girl, as I see thee 
now in the solitude of that white-curtained, virginal room ; hast 
thou, then, merged at last thy peculiar star into the cluster of 
all these commonplace girls whose lips have said "Ay," when 
their hearts said "No"? Thou, O brilliant Isaura ! Thou, 
O poor, motherless child ! 

She had sunk into her chair her own favorite chair ; the 
covering of it had been embroidered by Madame de Grantmesnil, 
and bestowed on her as a birthday present last year the year in 
which she had first learned what it is to love ; the year in which 
she had first learned what it is to strive for fame. And somehow 
uniting, as many young people do, love and fame in dreams of 
the future, that silken seat had been to her as the Tripod of 
Delphi was to the Pythian : she had taken to it, as it were in- 
tuitively, in all those hours, whether of joy or sorrow, when 
youth seeks to prophesy, and does but dream. 

There she sate now, in a sort of stupor, a sort of dreary be- 
wilderment the illusion of the Pythian gone, desire of dream 
and of prophecy alike extinct, pressing her hands together, and 
muttering to herself: "What has happened? What have I 
done ?" 

Three hours later you would not have recognized the same 
face that you see now. For then the bravery, the honor, the 
loyalty of the girl's nature had asserted their command. Her 
promise had been given to one man ; it could not be recalled. 
Thought itself of any other man must be banished. On her 
hearth lay ashes and tinder, the last remains of every treasured 
note from Graham Vane ; of the hoarded newspaper extracts 
that contained his name ; of the dry treatise he had published, 
and which had made the lovely romance writer first desire " to 
know something about politics." Ay, if the treatise had been 
upon fox-hunting, she would have desired " to know something 
about " that ! Above all, yet distinguishable from the rest 
?e the sparks still upon stem and leaf here and there faintly 
glowed and twinkled the withered flowers which recorded 
that happy hour in the arbor, and the walks of the forsaken 
garden the hour in which she had so blissfully pledged her- 
self to renounce that career in art wherein fame would have 
been secured, but which would not have united Fame with 
Love in dreams evermore over now. 



THE PARISIANS. 4H 

BOOK X. 

CHAPTER I. 

GRAHAM VANE had heard nothing for months from M. 
Renard, when one morning he received the letter I translate : 

" MONSIEUR : 

"I am happy to inform you that I have at last obtained one 
piece of information which may lead to a more important dis- 
covery. When we parted after our fruitless research in Vienna, 
we had both concurred in the persuasion, that for some reason 
known only to the two ladies themselves, Madame Marigny 
and Madame Duval had exchanged names ; that it was Madame 
Marigny who had deceased in the name of Madame Duval, 
and Madame Duval who survived in that of Marigny. 

" It was clear to me that the beau Monsieur who had visited 
the false Duval must have been cognizant of this exchange of 
name, and that if his name and whereabouts cotild be ascer- 
tained, he, in all probability, would know what had become of 
the lady who is the object of our research ; and after the lapse 
of so many years he would probably have very slight motive to 
preserve that concealment of facts which might, no doubt, 
have been convenient at the time. The lover of the soi-disant 
Mademoiselle Duval was by such accounts as we could gain a 
man of some rank very possibly a married man ; and the 
liaison^ in short, was one of those which, while they last, ne- 
cessitate precautions and secrecy. 

" Therefore, dismissing all attempts at further trace of the 
missing lady, I resolved to return to Vienna as soon as the 
business that recalled me to Paris was concluded, and devote 
myself exclusively to the search after the amorous and mysteri- 
ous Monsieur. 

" I did not state this determination to you, because, possi- 
bly, I might be in error; or, if not in error, at least too sanguine 
in my expectations ; and it is best to avoid disappointing an 
honorable client. 

" One thing was clear, that, at the time of the soi-disant 
Duval's decease, the beau Monsieur was at Vienna. 

" It appeared also tolerably clear that when the lady friend 
of the deceased quitted Munich so privately, it was to Vienna 



PARISIANS. 



she repaired, and from Vienna comes the letter demanding the 
certificates of Madame Duval's death. Pardon me if 1 remind 
you of all these circumstances, no doubt fresh in your recollec- 
tion. .1 repeat them in order to justify the conclusions to 
which they led me. 

" I could not, however, get permission to absent myself from 
Paris for the time I might require till the end of last April. I 
had meanwhile sought all private means of ascertaining what 
Frenchmen of rank and station were in that capital in the 
autumn of 1849. Among the list of the very few such Mes- 
sieurs I fixed upon one as the most likely to be the mysterious 
Achille Achille was, indeed his nom de bapteme. 

" A man of intrigue a bonnes fortunes of lavish expendi- 
ture withal ; very tenacious of his dignity, and avoiding any 
petty scandals by which it might be lowered ; just the man 
who, in some passing affair of gallantry with a lady of doubtful 
repute, would never have signed his titular designation to a 
letter, and would have kept himself as much incognito as lie 
could. But this man was dead ; had been dead some years. 
He had not died at Vienna ; never visited that capital for some 
years before his death. He was then and had long been the 
ami de la mai'son of one of those grandes dames of whose inti- 
macy gra nds seigneurs are not ashamed. They parade there 
the bonnes fortunes they conceal elsewhere. Monsieur and the 
grande dame were at Baden when the former died. Now, 
Monsieur, a Don Juan of that stamp is pretty sure always to 
have a confidential Leporello. If I could find Leporello alive 
I might learn the secrets not to be extracted from a Don Juan 
defunct. I ascertained, in truth, both at Vienna, to which I 
first repaired in order to verify the renseigniments I had 
obtained at Paris, and at Baden, to which I then bent my 
way, that this brilliant noble had a favorite valet who had 
lived with him from his youth an Italian, who had contrived 
in the course of his service to lay by savings enough to set up 
a hotel somewhere in Italy, supposed to be Pisa. To Pisa I 
repaired, but the man had left some years ; his hotel had not 
prospered ; he had left in debt. No one could say what had 
become of him. At last, after a long and tedious research, I 
found him installed as manager of a small hotel at Genoa a 
pleasant fellow enough ; and after friendly intercourse with 
him (of course I lodged at his hotel), I easily led him to talk 
of his earlier life and adventures, and especially of his former 
master, of whose splendid career in the army of 'La Belt* 
Dfesse ' he was not a little proud. It was not very easy to g* ' 



THE PARISIANS. 413 

him to the particular subject in question. In fact, the affair 
with the poor false Duval had been so brief and undistin- 
guished an episode in his master's life, that it was not without 
a strain of memory that he reached it. 

"By little and little, however, in the course of two or three 
evenings, and by the aid of many flasks of Orviette or bottles 
of Lacrima (wines, Monsieur, that I do not commend to any 
one who desires to keep his stomach sound and his secrets 
safe), I gathered these particulars. 

" Our Don Juan, since the loss of a wife in the first year of 
marriage, had rarely visited Paris, where he had a domicile his 
ancestral hotel there he had sold. 

" But happening to visit that capital of Europe a few months 
before we came to o